Consider this “progress.” For whatever reason, possibly the vogue generated by the Goracle’s Nobel win, a bunch of green commentary in this vein popped onto our radar in mid- to late 2007. First came a think tank urging Brits to go green by having fewer children, even though their population’s already below replacement rate; then came that notorious “abort your way to a healthier planet” op-ed that kicked up a fuss in the ‘sphere; and finally a call for a tax on reproduction by an Aussie environmentalist, coincidentally on the very day that Gore delivered his Nobel speech. (A few months later, Ted Turner rounded off the meme by insisting that we might eventually resort to a tastier form of population control.)
Those ideas were all aimed at incentivizing childlessness, either through tax breaks or appeals to conscience, but ultimately left the choice of whether to have kids to the individual. Not this new one, though. It seems we’ve now reached the point of explicit, balls-out admiration for Chinese-style compulsory population control and all the social niceties it entails. And not for the first time lately, either. Remember this hyper-creepy Tom Friedman ode to the one-party ChiCom system in September?
It’s come to this:
Ironically, China, despite its dirty coal plants, is the world’s leader in terms of fashioning policy to combat environmental degradation, thanks to its one-child-only edict…
China has proven that birth restriction is smart policy. Its middle class grows, all its citizens have housing, health care, education and food, and the one out of five human beings who live there are not overpopulating the planet.
For those who balk at the notion that governments should control family sizes, just wait until the growing human population turns twice as much pastureland into desert as is now the case, or when the Amazon is gone, the elephants disappear for good and wars erupt over water, scarce resources and spatial needs.
China itself has already used this argument, in fact, to claim that it’s “doing its part” to fight global warming. Two points, then. First, does the author realize that, with a few exceptions (like the U.S.), it ain’t first-world countries that are driving the population boom? The birth rates in Europe and Japan are already helping to depopulate the planet; if she wants to make a dent in global crowding, talk to the third world. And second, what’s alarming about pieces like this isn’t that they’re close to being implemented politically but that the basic idea — fascism in the name of environmentalism — is respectable enough to warrant publication even in outlets like the Financial Post and the NYT. If you think the illuminati at Copenhagen are wagering an awful lot on the science being settled, imagine how heavy a bet idiots like this are willing to lay. Thank goodness there’s no one in power in America who’s ever entertained similar ideas.
Your reading here will not be complete until you see the punchline from Jim Geraghty. Exit question: Would compulsory population control also involve some sort of cap-and-trade system, with anomic urbanites like myself able to barter away our reproductive “quota” to couples who want more than one?
Update: No post on green scaremongering would be complete without the video that opened Copenhagen. Via MKH, don’t watch this with the lights off.