Most of the counter arguments I have gotten on Vandergriff’s 12 points have been with controlling overpopulation, “not doable,” “can’t happen,” are many of the same themes.
I love your counter arguments.
I still disagree with all of them.
Having been a student of population issues since I was a teenager (as I said in an earlier post, I was a geek), I am a big follower of Thomas Robert Malthus and Paul R. Erhlich, so I would like to challenge the arguments for overpopulation (or the argument that we just cannot do it). I am also a Christian (so I am always taking on my “brothers” in this discussion). But, I consider myself a realistic Christian. I only want the best for people under realistic conditions. I would just say that both scientists above were off by 30 years or so, but they are right all the same.
First of all, where I stand, overpopulation comes down to a matter of choices?
What do I mean by choices?
Well, okay, take all your arguments, that we can support more people, for the moment, but why?
Why do we want to be so crowded?
Why do we want to have billions at or below the poverty line?
Why do we constantly want to seek and develop technology to help stay just a foot ahead or even with population growth (most of this technology is or has been very damaging to our environment)?
Why do we want to eliminate entire ecosystems and species of animals?
Of course the first answer is that we cannot tell people what they can or cannot do in the bedroom, or how many children they can have. Well, yes, I agree with that (I hate how big and controlling our government has gotten). But, being a student of the Constitution, one of the aspects other than the pursuit of happiness is the responsibilities of the citizens. What the citizens return to the state for their security and their freedoms to pursue their dreams. It is each citizens’ obligation to others to plan their families. As I have began to realize as I work harder and earn more, I get taxed a lot more. The person, regardless of income, has a large family (I consider anything over two kids this), who pays for everything? Well, yes, if the person is making good money, you can say they are? But, are they really? No, lets take public schools. Who pays for public schools? Well, I will tell you that most people by themselves cannot afford to pay for their child’s public school bill on top of everything else. But, people don’t see it that way.
There are also the issues of road use, free space, land use, etc…Additionally, we now have crowded public schools, less learning as discipline declines. I know many teachers and they tell me that the issue is with the parents (my Father was a principle and said the same to me all the time), they want kids because of the image, but beyond that, they dump them off on the schools for everything. So, it would be nice that every large family home schooled, and truly devoted their lives to their children. But even if they did, they are still a burden to their fellow citizens for the reasons I cite above.
The other counter argument to overpopulation has always been the care and funding for the older generations. It is a good one, but one that again goes to civic obligation of my fellow citizens. First of all, It is my responsibility to ensure I can care for myself, in old age, where ever. It is not the government’s, as many people have been brain washed into believing.
We must be held responsible for our choices. A year ago, I had both heart surgery and got diagnosed with Gout right after that. For weeks in September and October I was bedridden with my wife caring for me constantly. When I found out I had Gout in late September, I asked myself, this is a warning. I have two choices, I can continue to live as I am and get worse, or I can change my lifestyle (no drinking, red meat, get back to constant exercise, etc…, which applied to my heart as well). I chose the latter. I am now 29 pounds lighter and feeling great. But, I also have to think about being dependent on others, and them having to take care of me. I don’t want that. This is why I am against national health insurance as well. Why should you and I pay for the fat ass who sits on the couch after work and eats away? Who is going to pay for that person’s medical bill? When they are older? People are relying too much on our government for everything. I also saw what the great free medical care did to the military, it indirectly encouraged larger families. When people don’t directly pay for their actions, well they tend to act in certain ways.
Second, another reason our culture (politicians) doesn’t want to talk about the issue of overpopulation, is for two reasons, one we are a culture that measures success on short term growth. More people, more cheap labor and more consumers (why have the government always looked the other way at illegal immigration? Until recently when local areas cannot afford them anymore, and people are starting to get stressed by crowded conditions). This in turn means constant growth somewhere, housing, Wal-Mart sales, whatever. I contend that a viable, smart run economy does not need a growing population to be successful. Businesses must be innovative to be successful in a culture of stable non-growing population.
Second, if you cannot be responsible yourself, then how can you tell others to be so? Meaning, the large percentage of our politicians today, our “leaders” are former business men and or lawyers. They were measured by today’s short term definition of success, they made money and they have a lot of stuff, sometimes under questionable conditions. But, all the same, they were selected based upon a definition that has little if nothing to do with leadership. Politicians are survivors, and they tell the people what they want to hear. Overpopulation, the discussion of it, can get into some sticky areas with religious and special interest groups who have misinterpreted the Bible’s “go forth and bear fruit.” But, all the same, they want to avoid arguments and confrontation (got to know your subject as well, and most of our politicians will not look beyond their morning EXSUM to do so).
By the way, I took on two children when I got married, and that was my obligation. I did not want my own children because I see how the world is going.
Third, we are now at the most critical stage of resources, the main two: energy and water. Everything else depends on them. One of my constant contentions is that overpopulation is outstripping the ability to support it. There has been no pause time. Our nation needs this badly, a leveling off of the population so we can fix our infrastructure, damaged ecosystems, slow down sprawl, etc…The result of what is occurring to us today, is a result of the fact that overpopulation is stripping our ability to support it. Overpopulation has now outstripped the ability of water to support us. What is the Middle East really in conflict over? Water. Look at our far west, mega cities built upon nothing starting to have water wars. Hell, it is happening to my home town of Chattanooga, Tennessee who have oversized Atlanta breathing down their neck to move the border with Georgia a mile north so they can claim some of the Tennessee River.
I will not even go into the pollution issues. China, hell they are having problems keeping the air clean around the Olympics. I remember someone a year ago arguing with me that the green revolution in food production has allowed us and will allow us to keep abreast of population growth. Okay, say it does. How do you get the food there? What are the consequences of the petro based runoff of fertilizers? Now, you are in competition with petroleum use for cars?
My question to myself, “but why do we have to go through all this?”
Why cannot we level or balance our population, both as a nation and as a globe, so people have a better quality of life, so children can grow up healthy and better educated. Where is the mandate that we must have 9 billion people? 10 billion? 12 billion? There is no sound reason to support this. The only argument for is individual choice. But at what cost? Our globe cannot support it. The cultures cannot support it, and my prediction is that we will soon reach the breaking point, which is going to lead to chaos and anarchy. We are creating an entire new class of people, the underclass-criminal and warfighting groups composed of deposed men and women that cannot go anywhere else, but because of our unrealistic views of population, we are to blame.
This is where overpopulation becomes a big national security issue.
When anyone argues with pro overpopulation, I always end up asking them,
“Now, just be honest with me on this one, are you willing to give up, lower, your standard of living to take on more people?”
Everyone that answers, says “no.”
The rest just ignore the question.
Second, I will ask, “do you like dealing with congestion, constant lines, overcrowded parks, waterways, etc…?
They all say “no” as well. I say, well we have already got there, and it is only going to get worse.
My solution, is using the positive, a world with a manageable population (2-4 billion), in that our society has the moral courage to talk this issue in public instead of it being a forbidden or shameful subject-“you must be a Nazi or racist if you believe that.” No, I just want a better life for everyone that is here.
Thanks for your time.