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VIDEO: Bioethics, Eugenics and the “after-birth abortion” of newborns

A video from BoilingFrogsPost.com (2012), shown here in full for the first time.

How many of our readers are aware of the paper from 2012 entitled “After-birth abortions; why should the baby live”? Here’s a screenshot of the abstract:

It’s real. Not a sick joke or satire. It’s a serious, academic argument for the murder of new born, healthy, full term babies. Because they “do not have the same moral status as actual persons.”

Still don’t believe it? Here’s the open letter (published in the “Journal of Medical Ethics” no less) in which the authors “defend” their grotesque psychopathy.

Maybe it’s time for full disclosure of the covertly Nazi ideologies haunting the edges of the neoliberal agenda. Are the current campaigns for “voluntary euthanasia” exclusively and essentially benign? Selling an obscene ideology to decent people requires the slow normalising of the unthinkable. How long before the creep toward tiered notions of “personhood” means we see academic papers suggesting the elderly, the disabled, the chronically unemployed, the “anti-social” and just the indefinably different are also slightly less than “actual persons”, for whom non-voluntary euthanasia is a decent and economic choice?

Transcript and show notes here


90 Comments

  1. GM, I’m curious. You wrote that the value of a scientist is greater than a subsistence farmer. I think your rationale was that a scientist was of greater value because the scientist could increase the probability of human survival, is that correct?
    Looking at history, I could imagine that the recent explosion of human population has been, at least in part, due to scientific discoveries. Is that your view?
    Do you think scientific discoveries might play a role in any of the threats that confront humanity today? I happen to agree with you about overpopulation, at least in part. But looking at the record so far I think farmers feeding themselves are a much smaller threat than you.

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    • GM says

      Looking at history, I could imagine that the recent explosion of human population has been, at least in part, due to scientific discoveries. Is that your view?

      Yes, of course, it has been,

      But this is because as a whole we are still behaving as dumb mindless animals, not as the rational self-aware species we like to imagine we are

      Remember Borlaug’s (the man most responsible for the Green Revolution) Nobel Prize speech? He explicitly warned the world that the Green Revolution has only bought us some time, it has not solved the fundamental problem.

      That example is very much illustrative of the role science has played in the development of our predicament.

      Science gives us improved understanding of the world around us.

      Which does indeed allow us to more efficiently destroy our environment but it also allows us to know what the consequences of that would be.

      The problem is that we are, as I said above, a dumb stupid rapacious primate who will immediately jump to take advantage of the opportunities for reckless self-destructive behavior provided by science without caring at all about the other lessons that it teaches.

      That does not mean you should blame science for it though — because we were just as much of dumb stupid rapacious primates without science, and science is the only hope we have to overcome that condition.

      Which is why the average scientist is more valuable than the average subsistence farmer.

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  2. A facinating and terrifying video. Coincidentally, or not, I am the author of a soon to be released dystopian novel, Quietus, in which a dictator uses euthanasia as a form of population control. It seems my theme is not so outlandish. This is something that is gaining acceptance in our society – the choice between keeping granny alive or hiring teachers.
    In Canada, euthanasia and physician assisted suicide were recently decriminalized. The language surrounding this issue is being twisted. People are being killed now in the name of compassion. It is now assistance in dying rather than assisted suicide. It’s funny how a simple change in wording can make a horrendous act acceptable.
    Just as eugenics gained a bad reputation due to the Nazis, so it changed its name to social biology. Beneath the gentrified term lurks the same ugly monster.

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    • ” People are being killed now in the name of compassion.”

      Nonsense. There is a difference between ‘murdering’ infants and ‘helping’ granny, who may be both terminal and suffering and pleading for her misery to end.

      I have a very close friend whose mother is scheduled for “assistance in dying” next Saturday (20 May 2017). She was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer by the time it was ‘caught,’ and though availed of a ‘pain pump,’ suffers excruciating pain. At this point, she wants to die on a day of her choosing. Are yous suggesting that she should be denied, in her terminal misery, the right to end her torment?

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      • I’m so sorry your friend’s mother is suffering severe pain. Accompaning a loved one one their final journey is a heart-wrenching experience, made worse when we see they are suffering. I wonder if your friend could ask the care-givers to investigate a different method of drug delivery or a different type of medication. It could be she has developed tolerance or it is not the correct medication to address her particular type of pain. No one should have to suffer that badly. I’m including a link to a website that you or your friend might find useful. I certainly wouldn’t suggest she have to suffer torment. Another option is comfort care involving palliative sedation until natural death.
        https://patient.info/doctor/pain-control-in-palliative-care

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        • Madelaine,

          I see nothing wrong with the choice that my friend’s mother has made. She is sound of mind, and having been a nurse by profession most of her, knows perfectly well the choices that are available to her in terms of palliative sedation.

          But like medical doctors who would not dare themselves undertake certain low probability radiation-and-chemotherapy treatments while adamantly urging these same pointless courses of treatments for their patients, treatments that earn profits for drug and medical equipment and “service” companies, she has borne witness too often as a nurse to what really had been pointless and legally enforced prolongations of misery.

          She quite simply doesn’t want it for herself, and in my opinion, is quite correct in her thinking.

          For some, there really comes a time in life when life is over and when one wants it to be over, and for these individuals, there is far more dignity in choosing one’s moment to bow out than in clinging on to what is already spent, to a foregone conclusion whose putting off increasingly becomes but a trial beyond endurance for all concerned, both the person dying and those who must attend and survive the passing.

          People, here, in Canada are not “being killed in the name of compassion.” Those who want to linger to the very end are not being counselled or encouraged out of their conviction to do so, and they most certainly aren’t being denied “palliative sedation” onto “natural death.” But whereas before an individual of sound mind might have desired an earlier exit and would have been steadfastly denied that choice, that person now has that choice. If you are terminally ill and suffering, why should you be denied this choice? Out of compassion? Whose compassion? That of the dying person? Or that of an “industry” that knows where its profits come from? There is compassion and then there is “compassion.” Depending on your point of view, on the circumstances in which you find yourself, compassion may not look like how it appears to someone else.

          “Assisted dying” is to my mind as compassionate as any other kind of care and support that can be offered to a dying and physically tormented person.

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          • The trouble is not the observance of the law but the abuse of the law. And the precedent it sets. In a decent society the legalisation of “assisted dying” in certain prescribed circumstances might be a good thing. But in the current climate of authoritarian fascism, is it really a good idea to give the state this additional potential weapon? The fact the neolibs are so supportive of “assisted dying” really ought to give us pause. After all, if murdering newborns can be mooted, how long before “assisted dying” becomes eased into “well, you might not WANT to die, but you would be better off dead – so we are going to assist you whether you like it or not”?

            And bear in mind also that “assisted dying” is practiced already without the need for the law. Every doctor and nurse knows when it’s appropriate to give a bit more morphine etc to help the dying out of the world. A blind eye is turned. That system works and has worked for a long time. Legalising it only advantages those who may want to push the acceptability of assisted dying further than the mere helping of the terminally ill. Do we really want to empower such forces?

            Liked by 1 person

            • “well, you might not WANT to die, but you would be better off dead – so we are going to assist you whether you like it or not”?”

              Question: is this the situation, now, in Canada? That is the issue I’m addressing. And I’m speaking from the viewpoint of someone who wants to die because the person is both terminally ill and suffering. That is a far cry away from “you are better off dead, so we will put you down irrespective of your wishes.” Of course I don’t agree with the latter. And of course, anyone who wants to live, at whatever cost to themselves, in whatever circumstances they may find themselves, should receive whatever care is known to mitigate his pain while prolonging life.

              But Madelaine’s purport was that in Canada “people are being killed now in the name of compassion.” Is that what’s happening? Does the law mandate “killing” individuals who do not want to die? Did I miss something? Maybe I did. . .

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              • Words hold a lot of power. Why is it called “assisted dying?” Why not call it what it is, “assisted suicide?” It is because the softening of words makes the act somehow more acceptable.
                The laws forbidding PAS in Canada were just recently changed. We have not yet reached the stage of other countries, such as the Netherlands, where it has been legal for years.
                People have become increasingly tolerant towards transgressions of the law.
                To quote: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3070710/
                “In 30 years, the Netherlands has moved from euthanasia of people who are terminally ill, to euthanasia of those who are chronically ill; from euthanasia for physical illness, to euthanasia for mental illness; from euthanasia for mental illness, to euthanasia for psychological distress or mental suffering—and now to euthanasia simply if a person is over the age of 70 and “tired of living.” Dutch euthanasia protocols have also moved from conscious patients providing explicit consent, to unconscious patients unable to provide consent.”
                All of this is done in the name of compassion. This is where Canada is heading.

                Liked by 1 person

                • “In 30 years, the Netherlands has moved from euthanasia of people who are terminally ill, to euthanasia of those who are chronically ill; from euthanasia for physical illness, to euthanasia for mental illness; from euthanasia for mental illness, to euthanasia for psychological distress or mental suffering—and now to euthanasia simply if a person is over the age of 70 and “tired of living.” Dutch euthanasia protocols have also moved from conscious patients providing explicit consent, to unconscious patients unable to provide consent.”

                  This is beyond chilling and also directly related to why I’ve cautioned my loved ones not to carry organ donor cards, sadly, because we can no longer trust that the decision that one is or is not “beyond saving” will be done, on the spot, at the scene of an accident, in good faith. Unless we’re wealthy, our organs are, increasingly, worth more than we are.

                  And, of course, this was all predicted by writers of pulp sci fi, fifty or sixty years ago.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • True, StAug. Dystopian fiction is written as a (let’s hope exaggerated) warning of what may be. 1984, being a primary example. I have written more on the subject on my blog, if you want to come have a look.

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                • Madelaine,

                  I don’t know where Canada is heading. I only know what I consider to be ethical.

                  Euthanizing someone without their consent is for me simply beyond the pale. “Involuntary euthanasia” and “non-voluntary euthanasia,” as defined in the brief to which you provided a link, are for me off the table.

                  Helping someone who wants to commit suicide, who wants to die, who is fully aware and competent, on the presumption that the person is afflicted with physical torment from which there can be but little to no relief, is entirely morally commendable and ought to be, legally speaking, within any chronically suffering person’s rights.

                  Assisted suicide, in a situation where an afflicted person has made a firm and informed decision but cannot alone consummate the act — by all means, with the help of competent medical professionals who can arrange for and oversee an ‘easy’ and ‘panic free’ death.

                  As for the transgression of laws, people have ever murdered others for a multitude of reasons.

                  Whether ‘assisted suicide’ is legal or not, those kinds of incidents have always happened and will always continue to happen.

                  How does making “assisted suicide” illegal counter what will contravene a law in any case, under any circumstances, in any event? I’m speaking about murder, i.e., not ‘assisted suicide,’ but killing someone which by definition is always without their consent.

                  Those intent upon murder will murder, however they may rationalize their deed, as having been motivated by compassion or otherwise.

                  But most who would be assisted in their own suicide, for eminently rational and ethical reasons, would not be so assisted if such assistance were legally proscribed.

                  They would be thereby effectively injured, condemned to endure what they could no longer endure against their will, without their consent, as indeed they have always been, under such a social and legal proscription.

                  Unless you can convince me of the immorality of helping someone die who wants to die because he or she is dying and suffering, and helping him or her in the most humane fashion known to be possible, I deem it by no means an ill, but a good thing that some who can be assisted in their heartfelt and perfectly rational desire to end their life.

                  I highly recommend to all this documentary for its nuanced exploration of the issue:

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                  • Thank you, Norman, for your thoughtful replies. It is good to have a discussion with someone with differing views and not have it devolve into hateful comments and name-calling. I refuse to engage such people.
                    I haven’t watched the documentary you posted yet, but I will.
                    What you are talking about, I think, is autonomy. Just today, I posted on my blog about this issue. “Autonomy, Choosing one’s death day.” Go and have a look if you like.

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                    • Madelaine,

                      I do not, on the whole, disagree with the points you make for the reasons you make them in the light of the examples you adduce.

                      However, you do not really address the circumstances or the situation on which I am focused. I’m not advocating helping otherwise healthy depressives end their lives or deciding for others whether their lives are worth living. Far from it.

                      I’m advocating for “assistance” when requested by a patient in a situation that is rather clear-cut and unambiguous: terminal and suffering as well as competent and consenting.

                      The abuses compiled by Dr. Margaret Cottle bear no resemblance to the “situation” I’m addressing.

                      Cottle and yourself want to prevent abuses. You argue that “government safeguards and guidelines are bound to fail,” but then you would “criminalize” assisted suicide.

                      What is a “law” if not a government safeguard and guideline that if contravened triggers criminal prosecution?

                      Of course, you are right: regulation is bound to fail. But then the reason regulation exists as legislation is to forestall actions deemed injurious to someone, to try to reduce the incidence of the purported injury that some people will be apt to commit. Murder is a crime. The reason it is a crime is precisely because it happens. If it didn’t happen, there would be no reason for the law that criminalizes murder. Should we decriminalize murder because as a safeguard and guideline it is bound to fail?

                      The matter at hand has nothing at all to do with the fact that government safeguards and guidelines and regulations are bound to fail. Of course they are bound to fail. But that’s part of the reason why they exist in the first place.

                      This line of reasoning, then, as an argument for or against assisted suicide, is somewhat spurious.

                      Furthermore, you advocate for something that is in fact no less abusive than any of the abuses Cottle lists: by nullifying the “autonomy” of patients, you would compel some dying and suffering individuals to choose palliative sedation against their will. For the choice under your proposed scheme is really “no choice” since it would be between palliative sedation or excruciating pain.

                      In addition, if palliative care sometimes requires that to make things tolerable for a patient, he/she must be sedated into a state of unconsciousness, then what, effectively speaking, is the difference between “that” and “killing the person?” For an unconscious person maintained in a medically induced coma onto death is effectively dead and effectively so from the moment that the sedation is induced.

                      In this way both Cottle and yourself end up advocating the very thing you decry: euthanizing some people against their will, palliative sedation onto death being a form of death, but one that some patients, sound of mind, would not consent to, but given no choice, are effectively coerced into.

                      If that isn’t a form of abuse, I don’t know what is.

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                    • Madelaine,

                      Dr. Cottle writes:

                      A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in March 2015 reviewed the most recent data in Belgium around hastened death. It showed that 4.6 percent of all deaths in Belgium were euthanasia deaths, while 1.7 percent of all deaths were euthanasia deaths without the explicit consent of the patient.

                      While these percentages seem rather small, serious concerns emerge when compared to the mortality statistics in the U.S. There were 2,596,993 deaths in the U.S. in 2013, and 4.6 percent of that is almost 120,000 deaths. This would qualify physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia as the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., almost as many as the fifth leading cause of death, strokes, with about 129,000 deaths .
                      . .

                      If in one instance, 4.6% seems a rather small number, why does it become a serious concern in the second instance, as if it had become a larger number?

                      Has it become more than 4.6% or is it still 4.6% and, therefore, arguably just as small a concern as it had been in the first instance?

                      Or does the severity of the concern have only to do with the ranking of a cause of death on the scale of “leading causes of deaths?”

                      What if it remained 4.6% of the total number of deaths, but suddenly it dropped to the rank of the twentieth leading cause of death because statisticians decided to change the definitions pertaining to the “causes of death?”

                      (Sidebar: What if a leading cause of death was only 1% of the overall total? Would it still be concering? Conceptually speaking, a leading cause of death could be only 1% of the total. It would only mean that all other identified causes added together would comprise 99% of the total. All would depend on how exact or discriminating your attributions of “cause of death” were. The definitions statistics depend on determine what the statistics “say.” Tweaking definitions make statistics “say” different things. The science of statistics, if we can call it a science, is inherently problematical even at its best.)

                      One last thing pertaining to Dr. Cottle’s assertion: in what sense would ‘assisted suicide’ add to the total number of annual deaths if the assistance were being provided to patients who were terminally ill? Obviating these cases of ‘assisted suicide’ wouldn’t in any way reduce the overall annual death rate, but merely shuffle numbers from one category of a statistical table to another.

                      So in what sense is a ‘cause of death’ to be concerning? As something that if you removed it would reduce the overall number of annual deaths? Or as a mere ranking in a statistical model?

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              • Question: is this the situation, now, in Canada?

                Probably not overtly, and not yet. But these things are always introduced in stages to allow the “normalising of the unthinkable.” The question isn’t why do decent people support assisted dying, because obviously they have decent motives, it’s why do the neoliberal fascists support it?

                Besides the notion of consent is always thorny. People don’t make decisions about anything without coming under influence from others. A person in terrible pain who receives even gentle pressure to opt for a quick exit might end up making a decision they don’t entirely want to make. And we can be sure the medical infrastructure will be reshaped slowly to make that kind of covert pressure a required norm.

                Why do we make murder a crime? Not for the majority of people who don’t want to kill anyone, but for the small minority who would do so happily if they could. Once you make it legal to kill people with their consent you are opening up unknown and unknowable avenues of exploitation for state actors and for unscrupulous individuals. We’d be massively naive to think this would not be exploited by these people, because they exploit everything to the max they can.

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                • “The question isn’t why do decent people support assisted dying, because obviously they have decent motives . . .”

                  Thus we agree that there are “decent” reasons for wanting to assist some people in ending their lives. And the law permitting such suicides exists to protect both those who assist anyone in this matter as well as the person being assisted, i.e., by prescribing the strict conditions under which assistance may be offered and the ways in which that assistance is to be provided, so as not to maim or harm, but effectively help the person succeed in his/her aim.

                  “. . .why do the neoliberal fascists support it?”

                  As good eugenicists, they see it as means of culling the herd and managing ‘costs,’ so to speak, to keep things efficiently operational from their corporate bureaucratic standpoint. It also satisfies their authoritarian yen to control and dominate all aspects of the existence of the working class. On this point, we also agree.

                  “Besides the notion of consent is always thorny. People don’t make decisions about anything without coming under influence from others. A person in terrible pain who receives even gentle pressure to opt for a quick exit might end up making a decision they don’t entirely want to make. “

                  Yes. It’s true. No one ever makes any decision that isn’t influenced by others. Consequently, the notion of ‘consent’ is always to some degree and in reality moot. Hence the ‘attitude’ toward ‘assisted suicide’ or plain old ‘suicide’ is at bottom a cultural one, something in us that is very much attuned to the gentle pressures of others and their opinions.

                  Confronting the fact of one’s own impending death unsurprisingly might leave the intending suicide somewhat vacillant in his/her determination leading up to the fateful moment, and being human, he/she will seek out the influence of trusted others to help anchor his/her decision one way or the other, for support in his/her resolve either to commit or not commit. Consequently, his/her consent is in fact and in reality always the concrete consummation of a cultural attitude, that is to say, of a consensus of opinion over what the right course of action ought to be for the person contemplating the commitment.

                  I can’t imagine that suicide would ever be a decision that anyone would entirely ever fully embrace even as they drank the draught of poison or pulled the trigger.

                  On the other hand, I can imagine that a person might be strengthened into a calm resolve over all qualms but for the influence of those approvingly accompanying him/her in the embrace of his/her own demise.

                  Consent to suicide is always in this way, so I imagine, to some degree a pressured consent, by both a cold appraisal of a deteriorating medical circumstance and the unavoidable influence of others.

                  “Why do we make murder a crime?”

                  We make it a crime because no one wants to die but by their own consent or on terms with which they cannot but consent (i.e. circumstances beyond human control), and death by murder is something that we can dissuade some psychopaths from committing.

                  Once you make it legal to kill people with their consent you are opening up unknown and unknowable avenues of exploitation for state actors and for unscrupulous individuals. We’d be massively naive to think this would not be exploited by these people, because they exploit everything to the max they can.

                  Indeed. As there is no angle on anything whatsoever that is legal that the bastards don’t try to exploit in ways unknown and unknowable. And this applies as much to legally forbidding ‘assisted suicide’ as it does to permitting it.

                  I’d wager that the greatest resistance to ‘assisted suicide’ actually eminates from the ‘medical industry’ and associated business offshoots.

                  If people begin to opt en masse to rationally die earlier than later in their terminal phases of life, that is to say, instead of undertaking ‘treatments’ or receiving ‘care,’ the substantial industrial profits associated with those ‘treatments’ and that ‘care’ get squeezed. We’d be equally massively naïve to think otherwise.

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                  • Did you read the assessment of how “mission creep” has affected the realities of “assisted suicide” in the Netherlands?
                    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3070710/

                    “In 30 years, the Netherlands has moved from euthanasia of people who are terminally ill, to euthanasia of those who are chronically ill; from euthanasia for physical illness, to euthanasia for mental illness; from euthanasia for mental illness, to euthanasia for psychological distress or mental suffering—and now to euthanasia simply if a person is over the age of 70 and “tired of living.” Dutch euthanasia protocols have also moved from conscious patients providing explicit consent, to unconscious patients unable to provide consent.”

                    This is the “normalising of the unthinkable” in action. This is why the neolibs support the thin end of the wedge that is “assisted dying.” Only a hopeless unrealist would believe it will play any differently in Canada or in any other country. Human nature and the current socio-political paradigm that drives to devalue human life make this journey inevitable.

                    And indeed it won’t stop there. In another thirty years the age-cap for “tired of living” will have dropped to zero. At some point the voluntary aspect will be revoked – again, bit by bit. So slowly we barely notice. Until there’s mandatory “assisted dying” for anyone chronically sick, chronically depressed, chronically unemployed, or chronically “anti-social”

                    Our friend GM is currently saying the things wiser souls only say behind closed doors. He’s repeating the received unofficial realities he hears at the water cooler in academe. The things the Gates Foundation discuss in closed policy docs. This is why that door should remain closed.

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                    • “Did you read the assessment of how “mission creep” has affected the realities of “assisted suicide” in the Netherlands?”

                      Yes. And I entirely agree with you: people can come to accept anything at all as perfectly “normal” and morally justified.

                      Perfectly decent people join the army all the time, literally running the risk of becoming complicit in the “murder” of innocent people, of ordinary people like themselves, for no other reason than they have to “follow orders” or have already been fooled by notions of “honor” or of “defending freedom and democracy for all” and other such abstract claptrap. And it is all perfectly respectable and accepted at large that they do. And we know (and many of them, also) that “they” are put up to “it” by the criminal ruling elements of our society.

                      So I have no doubt whatsoever that the corporate fascists have “their” reasons for getting behind “assisted suicide,” that it is part of a strategy for implementing far worse down the line.

                      But the same argument can be made as to why some corporate fascists are actually against “assisted suicide,” namely, those who are invested in pharmacology and the palliative care industry and the like.

                      Among them the calculus is that more can be clawed back from the working class by having them linger for as long as possible in the for-profit medical service sector.

                      The assessment to which Madelaine has provided the link is published by “Current Oncology: A Canadian Cancer Research Journal,” and the article is being disseminated by the “U.S. National Library of Medicine / National Institute of Health.”

                      Are we to believe that those who are in the business of providing “care” to “cancer patients” in a society where — even in Canada, despite the cloak of “single payer” health care – services do not get provided but for princely sums and profits to a very much embourgeoised technocracy?

                      In this connection, some personal if anecdotal experience: my wife’s mother, Carmen, who had been living with us for the better part of a decade, was diagnosed with colon cancer. On the day of the diagnosis – if I recall correctly – the hospital where she was diagnosed was ready to operate her that very evening, imploring her (and my wife who had accompanied her) that it was an urgent matter of life and death.

                      She and my wife both demurred, insisting that they wanted to be better informed on the matter than was possible in the absurdly narrow time frame that had been placed before them.

                      The surgeon consulting them apparently left in a huff, after having accused my wife of unduly pressuring her mother in not immediately consenting to an operation that would have left her that very evening with an ostomy pouch.

                      My wife absolutely denies that anything like this ever happened. Rather, it was the surgeon who in a ham-fisted way had tried to pressure my wife into pressuring her mother over her own objections.

                      Anyway, on Carmen’s behalf and at her request, we spent the next several weeks doing some research, and what we found was that statistically, in probabilistic terms, given Carmen’s apparent diagnosis, the likelihood that the proposed course of treatment (the ostomy + chemotherapy) would prolong her life in any meaningful way wasn’t any greater than it would be if nothing at all was done.

                      With or without the ‘treatment,’ she could expect to live about two years, given her condition. Furthermore, we inferred, by foregoing treatment, her quality of life in the time remaining to her would probably be far better.

                      But here is for me the interesting bit of that whole affair: a neighbor two doors down from us, Tanis, also had her mother diagnosed with the exact same cancer declared to have been at the same stage as that of Carmen’s.

                      Both patients were the same age. Tanis’ mother opted for the immediate ostomy and all of the ensuing and aggressive chemotherapy.

                      So two “identical” cases indicating the same course of treatment, but one person refusing treatment (even in the face of subsequent enormous and repeated pressure to undertake treatment), and the other accepting.

                      Both Carmen and Tanis’s mother died in just a little over two years after their diagnoses. Carmen in fact lived two months longer than did Tanis’s mother.

                      Carmen did not live her two remaining years in a state of gloom or manifest physical discomfort, but quickly made her peace with her predicament and spent most of her time being the person she always had been, cheerful and characteristically wry in her humor, literally experiencing only mild bouts of nausea in the week or so before she died. In that week, she also had to stop eating because her colon had become obstructed by a large tumor.

                      We dealt with the nausea by teaching her how to smoke marijuana, and she kept herself comfortably and giddily stoned until the moment she began to manifest serious signs of uncharacteristic confusion punctuated by momentary seizures.

                      At that point — because the in-home palliative “team” that was supposed to have been “on call” couldn’t be reached(!) – we called an ambulance, had her hospitalized, whereupon she was with her consent medicated into a coma that lasted but two days or so.

                      Tanis’s mother, on the other hand, by all accounts, went through hell.

                      The recovery from the ostomy operation was beset by a multitude of complications, and the chemo made her terribly ill and depressed.

                      At one point she was so debilitated that she had to start using a walker. Then while using her walker, she fell and broke a hip some eight or nine months or so before dying.

                      The doctors then urged a hip replacement, which she accepted.

                      She was bedridden from that time forward until she died, again because there were complications — six months all told.

                      Anecdotal? Yes. But the point is that bias and pressure tactics are as rampant now in the provision of medical services as they ever have and ever will be. And the patient’s best interest isn’t always being taken into account. Not maliciously. But on account of the biases that are part and parcel of the mindsets that are inevitably an integral part of all institutional cultures.

                      Surgeons want to operate because that’s what they do and for which they get paid. Sometimes their professional zeal doesn’t align with what might be best for the patient. If you are good with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

                      Which brings me back to “assisted suicide.” You are right in adducing all of the concerns you raise. But as a person who is dying and suffering, that isn’t, nor should it be, really of your concern.

                      If misery is your sentence, and it will only become worse in the coming weeks and months, you might want it to end and end now, and you’d be right in your desire.

                      If the legal option doesn’t exist, and you are too sick to undertake measures yourself, you are at the mercy of people who, if they even decide to help you, risk prison terms, or worse for you, don’t know what they are doing and will only end up aggravating your torment. For such a person in that situation, it is better that a law and competent institutional oversight exist to ensure a proper and effective assistance.

                      As for ensuring that “assisted suicide” doesn’t become the thin edge of a eugenicist wedge, that’s where active resistance to the ideological hegemony constantly being foisted upon us comes in.

                      We can uphold a form of “assisted suicide” that remains well within the bounds of a decency that isn’t part of a drive to devalue human life.

                      The fascists most certainly have their reasons for promoting the legalization of ‘assisted suicide,’ but we also can have our own reasons, which are vastly different in quality and intent than those of these nihilists.

                      Although there may be an intersection of apparent practice, it is merely superficially incidental because there most emphatically is no overlap of either short- or long-term interests.

                      One set of interests would dis-empower the patient, whereas the other aims clearly to empower the sick and dying, and nothing more.

                      Like

                    • Of course, in my last comment, what I meant to write, to correct one paragraph, is:

                      Are we to believe that those who are in the business of providing “care” to “cancer patients” in a society where — even in Canada, despite the cloak of “single payer” health care – services do not get provided but for princely sums and profits to a very much embourgeoised technocracy would not be biased in favor of keeping patients alive for as long as possible?

                      Whatever I’ve got, I hope it’s not too serious. 🙂

                      Like

  3. BigB says

    When I was a young teenager, my Dad took a two year sabbatical from his corporate management career to work for the Spastics Society. Yes, in the pre-PC 70s, that is exactly what the charity was called. This afforded me the privilege to spend an extended amount of time with fellow human beings who were somehow more human, vivacious, loving and caring than I was, for all their supposed ‘disability’. This formative experience instilled me with the principle that no life can be deemed unworthy of life. End of.
    So it is not with an academic rationality and dispassion that I can look at anything, I’m sure this clouds my judgement. From my irrational armchair pseudo-academic emotive POV, I have looked at the problem of overpopulation and the crisis of humanity only to conclude it is far too complex a problem to propose a singular and simplistic solution. Especially one that justifies murder.
    I first heard of Ehrlich’s concept of ‘overshoot’ in the 80s, it was a bit passe even then as we were all supposed to be in the midst of famine or dead already – but the beleaguered concept lived on. Apparently, in some academic circles, it still does.
    Where population overshoot occurs, according to my non enlightened view, it is likely to be localised, manmade, and forced (think of the four manmade famines in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen: being lined up for ‘humanitarian intervention’ by the UN.) Nowhere is it a Natural Law or a consequence of the impartial Laws of Physics that uninformed people just keep on breeding.
    In fact, I thought that the global birthrate had been in decline since the 70s; particularly in so called developed countries – where the real population crisis is the ageing demographic. So if the solution is some form of Social Darwinism, why not start there, with the relatively rich resource hungry, but no longer productive senescent ‘useless eaters’ – as Kissinger was wont to call them, before he got old. After all, all those people that just keep getting born into poverty by an accident of geography, in the ‘undeveloped’ world, hardly consume anything. For most of their falsely impoverished lives literally, unfortunately. They can’t, our elderly (and us) are living off their wealth and resources.
    That wealth, and those resources, unequally shared, are being drained – quickly. They won’t last until the population peaks in 2050, and the populations decline and burden of old age really begins. That is, if we are to believe Nafeez Ahmed. Apparently Nafeez Ahmed is the new Paul Ehrlich: according to a leaked HSBC report, the next ‘extinction’ begins in 2018 through a global economic collapse brought on by a combination of ‘Peak Oil’ and ‘Peak Demand’. Let’s wait and see before breaking out the Nembutal, shall we?
    View story at Medium.com
    Earlier in his career though, Ahmed did what I believe that Academia fails to do – look through the microscope the wrong way – to try and glimpse the bigger picture. His seminal work, the Crisis of Civilisation – in film and a quasi-academic book – tries to join the dots between climate change; overdependence on fossil fuels; food inequality; economic instability; and terrorism and foreign policy (though not specifically overpopulation.) IMO, its flaws are outweighed by its attempt at a holistic and interdisciplinary approach – the sort of approach Johan Galtung had pioneered to study (at least) peacebuilding.
    http://www.crisisofcivilization.com/
    You see, when you have a $604.5 bn Imperial death machine, and you extend its funding by $54bn (as Trump just did in his ‘Lite’ budget) – it cares not who owns the resources, where in the undeveloped world they are, what terrorist group it has to fund, or Government to depose, what corruption or violence occurs, what infrastructure or environment it has to pollute or destroy, how many civilians are internally or externally displaced, or who dies in the resultant wars or famine. These are its modus operandii, profit its raison d’etre.
    There is the remorseless consumption epitomised; there is the structural violence of an out of control, psychotic and systemic greed apparent. Even a portion of that budget redistributed could end the by-design-suffering, debt, misery and death for good.
    So, before we embark on the mass Murder of the Innocents, let’s try and attribute the true causation to the ownership class that profits from all this inbuilt structural misery – and keep from blaming the unborn kids.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Saba says

    Susan George has debunked the theory of overpopulation and food shortages in her book A Fate Worse Than Debt (1998). However, the people who r rulinng the world are aware of the fact that their control rests on keeping humankind hungry, poor and powerless, hence their attempts to create food shortages, giving the impression of fuud insufficency.

    A hungry humanity gives the impression that food ahortage is due to overpopulation rather than unequal resource consumption, (north v/s south within regions, and rich v/s poor within countries) and so ordinary people are led into concluding that the problem is with people rather than resource distribution.

    In this backdrop, the academics do their work, which is to normalize abhorrent concepts by using the apparently-neutral language of science, eugenics being just one example.

    Whether a Black person should be considered 3/4 of a human, or a woman a property rather than a person, or an animal less than human,Eugenics has always always been a part of our history. So this debate about a baby having no self-awareness is an extension of the centuries old argument where some people, who want to play God (by deciding who should live and who should die,) do so in the name of public good rather than admitting that they loathe/hate humankind and are driven by a rage tht wants to annihilate every living creature except their ownselves.

    Since such people will NEVER admit their hatred of creation, it is up to the others to be wary, and not get fooled by agreeing to murder in the name of eugenics. Murder is murder, no matter what name it is called/masqueraded with!

    Like

    • Susan George has debunked the theory of overpopulation and food shortages in her book A Fate Worse Than Debt (1998).

      The threshold of intellectual disability that needs to be crossed for one to become unable to write a book is unfortunately nowhere near as a low as it should be in an ideal world. In other words one can be a complete lunatic and still write books. The threshold of intellectual disability that prevents one from being able to read is even higher, meaning that the books in question can have strong influence on the very large population of braindead scientifically illiterate idiots that fills the world.

      Overpopulation is not defined with respect to food at a given moment. We have overpopulation if the environment cannot support the environmental footprint of the population indefinitely. The population can temporarily exceed the carrying capacity (this is how you get into overshoot) destroying it in the process, but the crash will sill inevitably arrive.

      And it is not food that determines what the carrying capacity is, it is the absolutely required resource that is of least abundance relative to requirements. Which can be food, but it can be also lots of other things, and need not even be a resource in the narrow definition of the terms, it can be a waste sink the capacity of which to absorb the population’s waste has been exceeded.

      Industrial civilization depends critically on a very long list of nonrenewable resources and renewable resources that are being exploited at unsustainable rates exceeding the rates of recharge, and also on waste sinks (such as the atmosphere).

      That the footprint of industrial civilization is totally unsustainable is abundantly evident from the situation with resource depletion, collapsing ecosystems all over the world, climate change, etc. One has to be a complete lunatic to deny the totality of it.

      In this backdrop, the academics do their work, which is to normalize abhorrent concepts by using the apparently-neutral language of science, eugenics being just one example.

      This is why I talked about crazy conspiracy theories below.

      A conspiracy theory is fine as long as there is evidence for it. But in this case it flies straight in the face of the empirical evidence.

      What is the evidence that the so called “elites” are ecologically literate and understand the sustainability crisis and what is to be done about it? There is none, and really, where would they get it from? Those are mostly middling Ivy League legacy graduates in humanities majors, who then spend all their lives plotting and scheming for political influence. They do not spend their time reading about the P-T extinction and its causes.

      There is, however, plenty of evidence to the contrary of your conspiracy theory. The essence of the crisis was well understood 40-50 years ago, plenty of time for whatever program of mass extermination that the “elites” might have planned to have been launched. But what have we gotten instead? We get one desperate attempt after another at propping up the doomed socioeconomic system predicated on the infinite growth in a finite system (a biophysical impossibility). We also get zero discussion of sustainability issues in the media (discussions of climate change have long ago stopped being that and moved firmly in the real of virtue signalling of one’s ideological purity and tribal partisan allegiances).

      So where is the evidence that there is a vast conspiracy by the elites? There is none

      Also, where is the evidence that academics are part of it? The people warning about the sustainability crisis and the impending collapse of civilization are indeed mostly academics. Almost invariably in the physical sciences though. And what else would they really be? It is a biophyiscal problem, not a political one, of course it would be within the natural sciences that concern about it would be most urgent, But the people sounding the alarm are a tiny minority compared to the army of academic economists and all sorts of other intellectual pond scum that are loudly shouting from the top of their lungs that there is no problem.

      And who would you a priori think would get more support from the system? What the physical scientists are telling us is that the system has to be completely destroyed and redesigned from scratch. The economists are propping up the status quo.

      Since such people will NEVER admit their hatred of creation, it is up to the others to be wary, and not get fooled by agreeing to murder in the name of eugenics. Murder is murder, no matter what name it is called/masqueraded with!

      There is no God. Grow up.

      We weren’t “created”, and we are not special in any way, just another species eking out a meaningless existence on a tiny piece of rock floating around in an insignificant galaxy in an unremarkable corner of the universe, who evolved just as all the other species on the planet, and who are subject to the same laws of physics and of ecology that govern the fate of all other organisms. We ignore that at our peril.

      Like

  5. It’s a serious, academic argument for the murder of new born, healthy, full term babies. Because they “do not have the same moral status as actual persons.”

    A newborn is indeed not an actual person — it has no self awareness. It is a serious academic argument for a reason.

    Also, the world is vastly overpopulated, which means that we need to move away from the category mistake of picking between “choice” and “life” when it comes to abortion. That does not exhaust the space of possible positions, because those are not opposites of each other. It is in fact a 2D space, i.e. we have:

    1) anti-abortion, anti-choice
    2) anti-abortion, pro-choice
    3) pro-abortion, anti-choice
    4) pro-abortion, pro-choice.

    1) and 4) are presented as the major alternatives, sometimes you will see people espouse 2), i.e. they will say they are on principle opposed to abortion but will let women choose. But nobody ever talks bout 3).

    However, given that the world is vastly overpopulated (scientific fact), and that the vast majority of people have zero intention of even understanding that, let alone modifying their behavior accordingly, it is inevitable that if the problem is to be addressed in a meaningful way, the policy implemented will have to be exactly 3), pro-abortion, anti-choice, in other worlds forced abortions. And infanticide too.

    That is what the cold hard remorseless laws of physics dictate.

    But rest assured, nobody has any intention of implementing that, neither the right wing fundamentalist wackaloons, nor the neoliberal “elites”. Neither side actually understands the situation and its severity.

    Which reminds me: if the Off-Guardian is to serve as a credible alternative to The Guardian, it has to strive for scientific accuracy and towards avoiding at all costs falling in the trap of outlandish conspiracy theories. Alex Jones already exists. There is no need to overcrowd that niche, neither is it going to serve the stated goal of correcting the insanity spewed by the likes of the The Guardian.

    You might get a pass on the 9/11 conspiracy theories, because those are primarily in the realm of the political, but when you go off the rails with respect to well established science, you really lose credibility.

    Like

    • Do you realise you spend nine the tenths of your comment advocating for the very pathological and eugenicist ideas you then, in your concluding para, attempt to pass of as “conspiracy-theories”?

      Like

      • If you can demonstrate that the world is not vastly overpopulated and that civilization is not headed to the same kind of post-overshoot crash that has put an end to most past civilizations, we can have a discussion.

        If you can’t the only right you have is to shut up and listen to what the scientists are telling you.

        However, it is extremely unlikely that you could do such a thing because the evidence is so overwhelming (and after a certain point we’re not even talking about evidence to the contrary, we’re talking about denial of the most fundamental laws of nature).

        Nature neither has any morals, not it cares one iota about human feelings. That has to be kept in mind at all times. We ignore it at our peril.

        Like

        • 1) You haven’t produced any evidence for you own claims, other than airy assertions about “science.”

          2) Even if human population is out of control, most would argue the solution is not, and never could be the murder of innocent people.

          3) We encourage open debate but arguments for the murder of children is actually an incitement to violence, so be careful.

          Liked by 2 people

          • 1) Gish gallop on your end. I don’t have the time to write thousands of words just to educate ignorant people on the internet. That work has already been done by others in more formal settings, how is it my fault you haven’t bothered to read it? Also, in general I don’t need to demonstrate what is common scientific knowledge. Do you recheck the math behind general relativity every time you use the GPS in your car? I thought so.

            2) Murder of innocent people is precisely what we are trying to avoid here. If we do not reduce our population, billions will perish prematurely, that is a 100% biophysical certainty. The question is whether we reduce our population in a humane organized way or we let nature do it, which will be a lot more unpleasant. Nuclear war is very much not out of the question either. Also, a fetus is not a “innocent person”, it’s a lump of cells.

            3) Once again, only ignorant fools think in terms of “morality”. There is no such thing in the real world. The real world is physical, and physics is amoral. What happens in an ecosystem is driven by the energy flows in it, and organismal behavior is primarily shaped by the mandate for inclusive fitness maximization. Those are the cold hard facts. Unfortunately most people choose to ignore them and never grow up.

            4) Nobody is talking about murder of children. Once again, a fetus is a mass of cells. It’s not a child. And a newborn is not a person — it has no self-awareness. There is a reason why that paper was written — it makes a very difficult to refute argument. The proper response to which is not emotionally driven outrage.

            Like

            • 1) You arbitrarily redefine certain people as being “not people”.

              2) You claim a moral imperative for the murder of the non-people.

              This is the Nazi playbook you are opening.

              We repeat the question, is this view mainstream in your area of academia?

              Liked by 1 person

        • Follow up: – we note you have an email address at a mainstream US university. Are such neo-nazi ideas about the legitimacy of murdering those deemed to be “non-persons” mainstream in your area of academia?

          Liked by 1 person

          • This is a highly inappropriate thing to post — you are abusing your admin privileges in this case.

            Like

            • Absolutely not. We have not given out your email address. There is no way for anyone to identify or trace you. We just very much want to know if you are reflecting mainstream academic views when you advocate for the murder of newborn babies

              Liked by 1 person

              • I speak for myself. The facts on which the conclusions are based are common knowledge though. The question is how many are ready to follow the facts and logic to where they lead

                Like

                • 1) How many of your academic colleagues argue that personhood is separable from humanity – not simply regarding the unborn but regarding living human beings?

                  2) How many of them support your advocacy of a mass-culling of non-persons for the good of the planet?

                  3) Can you define your concept of personhood?

                  4) At what age would you argue that a baby becomes a person?

                  5) How about mentally handicapped human beings, the senile or demented, the physically handicapped or those with genetic diseases or abnormalities – do you consider they have personhood?

                  6) How should those you deem to be non-people be disposed of?

                  Like

                  • You are making a category error once again by conflating the issue of population reduction with the question of what we do about people with disabilities. The latter are a fairly small number and as such have little influence over the overpopulation problem.

                    Also, most severe “disability” problems are detectable in utero, either in the genome or in the phenotype of the fetus. Prenatal whole genome sequencing will be routine soon, allowing for quick abortions, and eliminating most of the problem.

                    Yes, that is eugenics.

                    No, eugenics is not and should not be a dirty word. The only reason it is a dirty word is that the side that won WWII had to ideologically justify its victory and eugenics became a victim of that imperative (the fact that it was almost as popular in the Anglo-Saxon world as in Nazi Germany was quickly swept under the rug).

                    There is no valid rational objection to eugenics though. If you know that a fetus has 100 CAG repeats in its HTT>/i> genes, there is no other sane course of action but abortion. And if you know that an adult has 100 such repeats, it is the height of irresponsibility for that person to produce offspring that will be doomed to the same horrible fate as himself.

                    The problem of overpopulation can be solved in two ways. By reducing the birth rare or by increasing the death rate. There are no other options, this is what simple mathematics dictates.

                    One way or the other it will be resolved, the problem is that if we do not do it by decreasing the birth rate, nature will do it for us by increasing the death rate. The latter is by far the least desirable option, leaving the option of decreasing the birth rate as the only one available.

                    If we are stupid enough to think that the universe will cater to our whims, we can ignore that. Unfortunately it seems that we are indeed that stupid

                    Like

                    • Eight – count them – eight paras and you did not answer a single question put to you. Though you did answer several you were not asked, but which apparently were easier for you.

                      Let’s try again:

                      1) How many of your academic colleagues argue that personhood is separable from humanity – not simply regarding the unborn but regarding living human beings?

                      2) How many of them support your advocacy of a mass-culling of non-persons for the good of the planet?

                      3) Can you define your concept of personhood?

                      4) At what age would you argue that a baby becomes a person?

                      5) How about mentally handicapped human beings, the senile or demented, the physically handicapped or those with genetic diseases or abnormalities – do you consider they have personhood? (you told us soon most physically imperfect people will be aborted, but you did not tell us what should be done with this who are not).

                      6) How should those living human beings you deem to be non-people be disposed of?

                      You have come here advocating for the killing of living human beings (not foetuses) deemed to be non-people by some criteria you consider meaningful. People need to know the basic outline of why you believe this, which is why we formulated the questions above. There is little point in your being here if you only want to evade direct answers.

                      Like

                    • I haven’t answered your question for the simple reason that they are mostly nonsensical, irrelevant or not interesting to me.

                      1) and 2) — how exactly do you expect me to have that information? Clearly you have zero experience of being in research, you wouldn’t be asking that question otherwise. You think people carry A4 sheets with their ideological positions on every issue listed in bullet points stapled on the front of their shirts? Or that they talk about much else but research with each other? Well, you’re deeply mistaken.

                      3) I am not really interested in that question thus I don’t have a well formulated answer. In general, self-awareness is usually seen as the defining characteristic.

                      4) The argument does not derive from age, but from self-awareness. The mirror test would probably work well in practice. Human infants usually begin to pass it around 18 months of age, but obviously that varies, thus the test is much more objective than some age cutoff.

                      5) I didn’t answer that because it is a dishonest question — you are lumping all sorts of disparate categories of conditions with each other (and allow me to impute some motivation for that — you’re doing it because you are driven by a visceral emotional and ideological reaction to the issue, which is clouding your judgement; thus you are just looking for something to throw at me without much careful consideration about what exactly it is). Stephen Hawking is as physically disabled as one could get. You are lumping him together with terminal Alzheimer patients. Do I need to explain what the problem is here?

                      For the record, I really hope that I will either die before I develop severe dementia or that it will develop slowly enough to allow me to understand that it is happening and ingest some cyanide pills before it gets too bad.

                      There is little point in your being here if you only want to evade direct answers.

                      Oh, what a supreme irony would it be to get banned both from The Guardian and from the Off-Guardian

                      You should be asking yourself some very hard questions if you make that happen.

                      Like

                    • 3) I am not really interested in that question thus I don’t have a well formulated answer. In general, self-awareness is usually seen as the defining characteristic

                      You’re advocating the killing of human beings based on their being “non-persons” – yet you haven’t even considered how non-personhood should be evaluated?

                      4) The argument does not derive from age, but from self-awareness. The mirror test would probably work well in practice. Human infants usually begin to pass it around 18 months of age, but obviously that varies, thus the test is much more objective than some age cutoff.

                      So, are we to understand you would consider it permissible to kill any child under the age of 18-months (or whenever it passes the mirror test) should its parents or carers, or the state choose?

                      5) I didn’t answer that because it is a dishonest question — you are lumping all sorts of disparate categories of conditions with each other (and allow me to impute some motivation for that — you’re doing it because you are driven by a visceral emotional and ideological reaction to the issue, which is clouding your judgement; thus you are just looking for something to throw at me without much careful consideration about what exactly it is). Stephen Hawking is as physically disabled as one could get. You are lumping him together with terminal Alzheimer patients. Do I need to explain what the problem is here?

                      If you are going to advocate the forcible killing of human beings based on assumptions of non-personhood you must be prepared to define what ‘non-personhood” means. By all means make as many distinctions as you need in order to do that. No lumping was intended.

                      Would it be reasonable to assume that mentally disabled people who don’t, in your view, have self-awareness should be deemed killable?

                      BTW – We don’t ban people. We ask them to explain themselves. You aren’t doing very well at that as of now I’m afraid.

                      Liked by 2 people

          • “Follow up: – we note you have an email address at a mainstream US university.”

            If our Heideggerian friend is really an academic at a mainstream American university, and advocating boldly Eugenicist policies, there’s only the slimmest chance in hell that he isn’t also a champion (closeted or not) of the widely-discredited The Bell Curve (by Richard Hernstein, Charles Murray and the ghost of Alfred Rosenberg), that mean-spirited jumble of false correlatives, unfalsifiable insinuations, fudged and downright invented statistics and thinly-veiled Goldilocks complex. All to say that a Racist worldview will not only very neatly undergird both a belief in “The Bell Curve” and “Overpopulation” Alarmism… but usually precedes both. Which is why “GM” doesn’t need sources to back up his statements… he feels them, deep down, in the marrow of his exalted Dasein.

            What’s truly amazing and convenient is that the people who get it in their heads that one kind of human is more, you know, human (and valuable), than another, always tends to belong to “the more valuable” group! They possess the ability to establish the objective criteria as well as the traits that the objective criteria are reverse-engineered to valorize: it’s almost eerily constant… as well as being a lovable foible of provincial racists with IQs of c. 110.

            Let’s hear it for self-serving delusions. It’s not Industrial Technology/Progress threatening the ecosystem’s viability… it’s a bunch of “Overbreeding Dum-Dums” who each consume one-hundredth (or one thousandth?) of the resources the exalted “GM” does, with his 2.5 cars, reservoir-depleting lawns, ten air-conditioning units and coltan-dependent social life. Which is totally just and logical.

            Today, “non-person” newborns, tomorrow… Blacks in prison. Then Blacks on Welfare. And so on. Until, finally, a little Lebensraum, right, GM? More golf courses and hunting preserves for The Overman.

            Liked by 1 person

            • GM says

              Normally I wouldn’t bother replying to something so old, but this is so egregious that it mandates a response.

              It is generally a good advice to either know what you are talking about or shut the fuck up if you don’t. Clearly you don’t know what you’re talking about.

              Your typical academic is very very far from living the lifestyle you are describing because he/she is not being paid anywhere remotely enough to be living like that (especially in relative terms — a place like Stanford, for example, pays the highest salaries in academia, which are still completely insufficient relative to the cost of living in the area, and a number of universities have the same problem because of the expensive areas that have developed around them) and because the demands that surviving in academia places on you are such that having kids is often impossible; you simply don’t have the time for that.

              Your typical academic is also not a faculty member but some sort of research/teaching staff member, who is being paid much much less than faculty members are.

              But even when we talk about faculty, there has been a major trend towards replacing tenured professors with adjuncts in all fields where this is possible (which is essentially everything but the hard sciences), and adjuncts are being paid essentially minimum wage with no benefits.

              So while a few people in academia have struck it rich through patents/consulting/etc. and a larger than that number are living very comfortable upper middle class lifestyles, those people are still in the minority. And even among them the fertility rate is lower than average because they had do make sacrifices to get to that point.

              For the record, I don’t have kids, I have never owned a car in my life, and I have always lived in apartments.

              Finally, yes, some people are more valuable than others. It’s just an empirical fact of life. And yes, very few of those people live in Africa, that’s another empirical fact of life. If you drop a nuclear bomb on top of Kinshasa, you will kill 10 million people and the world will not lose anything of value, if you do the same with Cambridge, Princeton or Palo Alto, the world will lose a lot. But that has nothing to do with racism, it’s just that Kinshasa has produced nothing of value for humanity — how many major mathematical theorems have been proven in Kinshasa, how many major discoveries have been made there, how many inventions? And how much understanding of overpopulation and the global environmental crisis is there is n Sub-Saharan Africa vs in the academic centers of the world?

              The knowledge and understanding of our surrounding environment that we have been able to generate over the last few centuries is our greatest evolutionary asset. Therefore it naturally follows that the members of the species maintaining and further developing that knowledge are most valuable to its long-term survival.

              It also quickly exposes the stupidity of the “start with yourself” objection (which itself is based on complete lack of understanding of the situation — nobody needs to be killed, we just need to stop having kids and reduce our per capita resource consumption) — if you have a population of size N, 1 person who is ecologically literate and N-1 people who are not, that population is 100/N% ecologically literate, and it has a chance of becoming more literate through that one person educating the rest. If you remove that one person from it, the population is 0% ecologically literate and has zero chance of improvement.

              Like

              • “Finally, yes, some people are more valuable than others. It’s just an empirical fact of life. And yes, very few of those people live in Africa, that’s another empirical fact of life. ”

                Well that’s really all we needed to read, isn’t it? Humorously, you’ve only managed to deny (by implication) having 2.5 cars or a lawn, though you swerved right around the heart of my comment by saying nothing about that pseudo-scientific pamphlet (masquerading as a proper book) called “The Bell Curve”… I’ll assume that was a direct hit. As to whether you’re just a wretched TA in the math department or a tenured goose with a house in the country, you, without a doubt, consume in a week more of the earth’s resources than the “disposables” that you wouldn’t mind nuking consume in a month. So how is it not logical to save the Earth a little by eliminating you (and your ilk) instead of the “disposables”? What do you do of “value”? Eat pizza and convert it into fertilizer? We’ve got animals for that.

                “But that has nothing to do with racism, it’s just that Kinshasa has produced nothing of value for humanity..”

                “Value” as defined by you and your ilk, yes? Under whose authority? “God”? The unspoken premise being that the Earth and its population are yours to judge/ adjust/ “save” in whatever ways you and your ilk see fit. If you were a little brighter you’d see the humor in that.

                You remind me of the patriarchs of a bronze-age tribe of desert nomads, working out the Moral Framework for governing all human life on Earth (infractions punishable by stoning… or afterbirth abortions… whichever comes first) while fucking their own daughters and their livestock and knowing precisely fuckall about anything: it was all in their heads. It’s all in your head. The difference being that you’re supposed to know better, with the benefit of a couple of thousand years of hindsight. You haven’t even learned anything from the rather glaring lessons of 1930s-1940s. You’re worthless; you are the problem. You bring nothing of value to the world but your Big Idea, after being here a bit, is the (not even original) notion that lots and lots of the people who are already here need to go. People with real lives, family connections, communities to interact with; people with feelings, memories, goals. But to a tiny tick of a micro-Nazi like you, who, without a doubt, always took more from the world than it gave, that’s of no consequence. Because you’re one of the Gods, yes? Laugh.

                “nobody needs to be killed, we just need to stop having kids and reduce our per capita resource consumption)”

                Which is rather rich coming from someone who posted a comment to the effect that the planet’s population needs to go from 7 billion to one hundred million. So, you expect to go from 7 billion to one hundred million without a moment of “euthanasia” , eh? And that stuff about after-birth abortions of full-term babies was just a joke, yes?

                Do you actually read your comments (while you’re typing them) or is this all for the desperately lonely thrill of being taken seriously enough, by a few strangers you’ll never meet, to have them despise you for a few hours? No need to respond.

                But at least we’ve established that you’re nothing but an embittered underling in the First World. Influence: zero.

                Good to know.

                Liked by 1 person

                • GM says

                  Why do you have to force me to call you names such as “braindead moron” and the likes?

                  The “Bell Curve” book (which I have not read so I cannot comment in details about, I have only heard about it) has nothing to do with my observation of Sub-Saharan Africa being of little value to humanity. That IQ and general intellectual level is the lowest in the world there is an empirical fact. That it is highest in certain areas of East Asia is also an empirical fact that has to always be pointed out before the usual accusation of racism is thrown around.

                  There is little reason, however, to think that this is genetic — cultural and environmental factors are more than sufficient to explain it. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest levels of malnutrition and of chronic parasitic disease, i.e. things that have absolutely devastating effect on the mental development of kids. It also has the worst educational systems. Which is why once you take people out of Africa and move them elsewhere in the world, and you also control for the effects of poverty, the IQ gap largely disappears.

                  But that does not change the fact that it is there, that it is very real when those people live in the tropics, and that once a child has grown into an adult there is little that can be done to fix whatever deficiencies already exist.

                  Which brings us to another favorite canard of the cornucopian lunatics — that all those people that are being born out there represent an enormous untapped potential of human ingenuity. No, they don’t, they are illiterate slum dwellers of low intelligence who will be a source of only one thing — political instability — not of major scientific innovation. Really, what world are the people making such statements living in? And before the usual accusation of racism gets thrown around, let’s point out that this applies to the typical obese suburban dweller in the US too. Also, this is without even going into how no amount of “ingenuity” and innovation can make what is physically impossible possible.

                  Regarding your point about how we get from 7 billion to 100 million. The simple facts of mathematics and human biology tell us that pretty much everyone who is alive today will be dead by 2100-2110. So all that we need to do to get the population down to 100 million in the year 2100 is to ensure that not more than 100 million kids are born between now and then.

                  If you consider abortion murder, than obviously you would think that this could not be done without killing people. But that is because you are scientifically illiterate and have close to zero understanding of the objective reality of the world around you. A fetus is not a person, and as I already explained, neither is a newborn infant.

                  You haven’t even learned anything from the rather glaring lessons of 1930s-1940s

                  Hmm, let’s see what we have learned from the 1930s-1940s:

                  There are many lessons to be learned from that period indeed. It just that it seems to me that you have not actually thought about the subject deep enough to get past the propaganda and learn the most important ones. For example, one glaring lesson from that period is that genocide works — there are barely any Jews left in Germany today. BTW, just as there are barely any Native Americans left in the US. But it looks to me that the only “lesson” that you have ingested is how horrible genocide is. Understandable, you are posting on the Off-Guardian, you think you have overcome the influence of mainstream propaganda on your thinking, but the reality is that, because you have not developed your thinking faculties sufficiently well to question the deeper foundations of the culture you’re living in (which comes down once again to scientific illiteracy), you have in fact only been able to overcome the very thin superficial layer of bullshit that you have been spoon fed since you were born.

                  Like

                  • Last time you were here we tried to get you to define some of the “objective facts” you refer to as being scientific positions. You dodged and weaved an eventually departed. So, may we try again?

                    1) How can we measure “personhood” through self-awareness? Do you consider the mirror-test sufficiently robust and infallible as to be a measure of whether a human being lives or dies?

                    2) you say the humans in sub-Saharan Africa are not useful to “humanity”. How do you separate humans as a group from “humanity” as a group?

                    3) How, in fact, do you define “humanity’?

                    4) How do you define “benefit”? If 6.8 billion humans die but the remainder all get to got to MIT or Yale and do higher math, has “humanity” benefitted? If so, in what sense? If the planet could in fact sustain 8 billion people would their potentially happy lives be of less benefit to “humanity” than a new version of string theory?

                    5) Do theoretical physicists benefit “humanity” more than farmers or bricklayers?

                    6) Do you benefit “humanity”?

                    7) Do you think you may be hiding your own very emotional and subjective opinions behind a cloak of faux or misapplied “science”? After all you offer little or no objective evidence for the “objective” facts you repeatedly and airily claim.

                    Like

                    • GM says

                      1) We’ve gone over this, no need to revisit it

                      2) You’re twisting my words, I said that it is an empirical fact that some people are more valuable than others and that scientists are more valuable to humanity than illiterate subsistence farmers.

                      3) “Humanity” == members of the species Homo sapiens

                      4)

                      How do you define “benefit”?

                      An activity that increases the species’ chances of survival. The reverse is easily definable too. From which it directly follows that, for example, doing climate science is a benefit to humanity, while driving a gas guzzler to and from the mall (in the case of the typical obese suburbanite in the US) is a net negative, as is destroying natural habitat to make more room for agriculture (in the case of the subsistence farmer somewhere in the Third world with his half a dozen kids to feed). This sort of thing:

                      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/13/madagascar-mass-extinction-plants-kew-gardens

                      Is not the responsibility of the “colonialism”, “capitalism”, or any other “ism”, it is a direct consequence of overpopulation and in this case an obvious continuation of a process that started 1500 years go before any of those isms came into existence.

                      5)

                      Do theoretical physicists benefit “humanity” more than farmers or bricklayers?

                      False equivalency. Obviously what farmers and bricklayers do is essential. But individual farmers and bricklayers are less valuable than individual physicists because typically narrow scientific expertise is concentrated in only a very small number of people (there is no such thing as “physics” that is fully known by any single individual, physics is a vast collection of smaller subsubdisciplines). For example, there are probably less than 5000 people in the world who truly understand string theory, and significantly fewer who understand the alternatives. There are hundreds of millions of subsistence farmers, and the main reason why they are needed is to feed themselves. Which is not a very good reason.

                      6)

                      Do you benefit “humanity”?

                      Through my research, yes, I do. Through my efforts to pour knowledge into empty heads, probably not so much, because empty heads tend to be not just hollow but also full of holes, through which whatever your pour in quickly leaks out.

                      7)

                      Do you think you may be hiding your own very emotional and subjective opinions behind a cloak of faux or misapplied “science”? After all you offer little or no objective evidence for the “objective” facts you repeatedly and airily claim.

                      Have you actually considered the possibility that you really are as ignorant and illiterate as I am telling you that you are and that it is not up to me to fix that? It is not in fact possible for me to do such a thing, I can’t realistically reproduce all the reading you should have already done for you here, and even if it was, experience has repeatedly shown than when one tries to do that, there is no effect.

                      Like

                    • 1) We’ve gone over this, no need to revisit it

                      We’ve “gone over it” only to the extent that you persistently refuse to answer the question. It’s not very rational or scientific to maintain a position you find impossible to clarify, develop or support with any form of data or even reasonable argument.

                      2) You don’t seem to understand the question. But never mind.

                      3) So, what you are saying is the members of species homo sapiens inhabiting areas of the world that have been ravaged by exploitation are of no benefit to the members of species homo sapiens that do NOT inhabit these regions?

                      Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this just a very commonplace silly and selfish credo wrapped in pseudo-objective and pseudo-scientific language? “They don’t matter, because they are not us.”

                      4) The science of population and climate change are cited by many eugenicists such as yourself, but only in the general. Can you give us sources that use the scientific method to establish a) that these issues are genuine and their sources confirmed and b) an irrefutable evidence chain that shows reducing human population will solve the problem you have proved to exist.

                      You do understand that if you are advocating the wholesale culling of non-person and “useless” humans you really need to have some data on hand to confirm the “science” you are claiming as a justification? You do understand genuine science requires data and sources, not grandiose proclamations of certitude?

                      5) How does understanding string theory benefit humanity?

                      5a) Do you understand string theory?

                      6 Through my research, yes, I [benefit humanity].

                      Congratulations. Tell us about your research and its impact on ensuring the survival of [the important sections of] homo sapiens.

                      Have you actually considered the possibility that you really are as ignorant and illiterate as I am telling you that you are and that it is not up to me to fix that? It is not in fact possible for me to do such a thing, I can’t realistically reproduce all the reading you should have already done for you here, and even if it was, experience has repeatedly shown than when one tries to do that, there is no effect.

                      You don’t need to “reproduce” anything GM. There’s a marvellous device known as a hyperlink that can direct your readers to any source of knowledge anywhere on the web that might support your testimony. All you need to do is copy and paste.

                      Surely an ubermensch and self-certified benefit to humanity such as yourself can drop a few links to your scientifically credentialed sources?

                      Like

                  • Ha ha!

                    Listen, I’m not going to bother, this time around. I went after you, initially, because I thought you might be an academic of some (at least local) consequence and therefore a lot more sinister/dangerous than it turns out you are. You’re exactly like a seething 20-something from 4Chan. This is reassuring. Your views are merely a function of your powerlessness and sophistry and your deep wish to elicit a reaction. Aka: welcome to The Internetz.

                    “For example, one glaring lesson from that period is that genocide works — there are barely any Jews left in Germany today. BTW, just as there are barely any Native Americans left in the US.”
                    Chuckle. Thanks for that, Captain Obvious. I’ll be sure to mention these surprising examples the next time I get in a debate with someone who insists that genocide (like waterboarding?) “doesn’t work”.

                    See ya…!

                    Like

                    • BigB says

                      @GM: I looked at your link to Madagascar and what I can see is a familiar model: local wealth being extracted for minimal return to the locals – while comprador businessmen make intermediate profits as the resources are exported into the global economy; to be monetised into futures and other derivatives; at each stage the potential wealth is being multiplied; at each stage someone takes a cut – while the locals are driven deeper into poverty.
                      The island is being carved up on an exploitative and unsustainable model by international industrial developers and foreign investors (including USAid – the CIA benevolent fund) – for services such as meat and shellfish processing, soap production, auto production; ‘Export Processing Zones’ are being set up for textiles, glassware, etc.; oil reserves are being opened in the West; Rio Tinto are extracting gems and rare earth minerals (and polluting the waterways); deforestation (legal and illegal) profits the local ‘timber barons’; clear cut land is being turned over to palm oil and sugar cane – getting the picture?
                      Yes, there is a problem with ‘tavy’ – the local ‘slash and burn’ subsistence farming – but there are solutions to that. ‘Slash and char’ (biochar) retains the soil, moisture and the CO2 – or ‘savoka’ – permaculture with perennials. There is a local cultural problem with the veneration of rice cultivation – but with fair trade, an equitable share in their own resources, re-education, sustainable agroforestry – even ecotourism (exploitative in itself but I’ll let it slide if it raises the population out of what is essentially slavery) – problem solved.
                      The poor are poor because they are being driven into poverty and desperation. Their wealth is being extracted for the benefit of a trans-national global elite. Plenty of others take a cut on the way. I suspect that with a redistributive and sustainable model – Madagascar could be heaven on earth for all who live there. What was that about overpopulation?
                      (I haven’t got time to do Haiti – but I bet you can pretty much blame both the Clintons for that.)

                      Liked by 2 people

                  • BigB says

                    Dear GM: from a scientific illiterate to a spiritual illiterate; I’ve got to say – I can’t believe you have spent all those hours diagnosing the symptoms of the world crisis – only to completely misappropriate the cause. If you were a doctor, the patient would die, not despite of your misdiagnosis, but because of it. The problem is not the largest demographic (which I will label the ‘trans-national global poor’); but the smallest demographic – the very elite of the trans-national global rich. That is where the commodified, monetised and multiplied global resources end up. That is the cause of the depletion. That is why there is not enough to go round. Human greed, pure and simple – it runs throughout our societies – but gets amplified at the top. Not the bottom. What you are proposing is nothing more the a playground for the super rich, with a large enough indentured service community to run the farms, mow the golf courses, serve the banquets, etc. I’ve got news for you – when your ‘academic’ proposals have served their purpose – your services will no longer be required. There will no longer be a need for (erroneous) thinking in such a society. Your contract will be terminated. Permanently. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • GM says

                      The empirical facts are against your explanation.

                      10,000 years ago when humans moved to North America there was no capitalism, global elite or anything of the sort. The result? Mass extinction.

                      Same thing 50,000 years ago in Australia

                      Same thing 1500 years ago in Madagascar

                      Same thing in New Zealand 1000 years ago.

                      Look at the link about Madagascar today I posted above. Look at what happened in Haiti (you can argue that Haiti is poor because of colonialism, and you would be correct, but colonialism is not the reason why it is deforested, overpopulation is).

                      Etc. etc. etc.

                      Poor people are just as good at wrecking their environment as rich people are.

                      Because the fundamental drivers of the environmental catastrophe go much deeper than social stratification by wealth and are common to all people, rich and poor.

                      Like

              • Seraskier says

                [[ f you drop a nuclear bomb on top of Kinshasa, you will kill 10 million people and the world will not lose anything of value, if you do the same with Cambridge, Princeton or Palo Alto, the world will lose a lot. ]]

                Do we have to tolerate this kind of racist gobshite??? Fuck you and your Princeton pals, ASSHOLE.

                Like

                • GM says

                  Do we have to tolerate this kind of racist gobshite???

                  Substitute Kinshasa with Oklahoma City, the statement still largely applies. Am I still a racist?

                  Like

                  • GM,

                    You ask Seraskier,

                    “Am I still a racist?”

                    You might just as well have asked the other equally obvious question, eh?

                    Oh, don’t ask. I mean, if you have to ask, eh?

                    You write:

                    “. . . it is an empirical fact that some people are more valuable than others and that scientists are more valuable to humanity than illiterate subsistence farmers.”

                    Question: how does one “scientifically” measure the “value” of a person or persons? Where in nature is this “scientific” ratio to be found or measured? From where do we extrapolate it?

                    Take your time. Don’t rush the answer. You don’t want to misspeak yourself or have have us twist your words.

                    It’s just that the last time you were here, you seemed rather adamant about the inherent meaninglessness of human life in general cosmic terms.

                    So I’m just wondering how you go about reconciling the “objective scientific fact” of some people being more “valuable” than others in a universe in which humanity is to all intents and purposes meaningless.

                    I hope you understand my question, that you can discern what to me appears to be a bit of a contradiction in your so “scientific” outlook.

                    Please take it slow and do mind your words. Make everyone of them count. I’ll be giving them all of the attention I can muster.

                    Like

                  • Racist and classist, sure… but not nearly as dangerous as I initially assumed; it’s pretty clear, by now, that you’re not in any position of power or influence at some university. Anyone who enjoys this kind of time-wasting “debate” can have it on hundreds of threads at 4Chan, all day long, every day of the week.

                    Boring.

                    Like

                    • Seraskier says

                      [[ it’s pretty clear, by now, that you’re not in any position of power or influence at some university. ]]

                      Cleaning the bathrooms is a position of power.

                      Like

                    • @Seraskier

                      “Cleaning the bathrooms is a position of power.”

                      If that were true, the Proletariat would be running an Empire of their own and 4Chan would already have launched World War 4.

                      Like

                    • “GM is attached to a US university”

                      As are tens of thousands of low level functionaries. Ho hum.

                      Like

                  • Jen says

                    You are a racist for deliberately choosing and comparing a city in an impoverished country that has long been exploited by Europeans, beginning with the Belgians back in the 1800s, and Americans as well, never allowed to govern itself with politicians of its own choosing (I’m thinking of Patrice Lumumba) with cities in countries that have robbed other peoples (including the Congolese) of their lands and resources and deliberately left these peoples destitute, malnourished and unable to better themselves.

                    Of course you’d never compare Flint or Detroit in the US or Sarnia in Canada with Kinshasa, would you?

                    Liked by 1 person

                  • BigB says

                    @GM: I replied to you about Madagascar: unfortunately it went in above my original comment. I do hope you see it, as I detail – it has less to do with overpopulation – more to do with exploitation.

                    Like

                    • GM says

                      Well, yes, of course, it can never be about overpopulation…

                      But I am curious what you will come up with next, so let’s point that out again: what was it about when the original megafauna of Madagascar was exterminated many centuries before Europeans even knew about the island?

                      Like

                    • BigB says

                      Your arguments from history are spurious. In 50,000 bce were we even behaviorally modern? Allegedly, we are at the top of our game now – why do indigenous people damage the environment that sustains them – ignorance? From the comments BTL on the Madagascar article: “The situation is a bit more complex, in that most land is held under customary law. This is not recognized by the government, and people find it impossible to defend their territory against incomers, particularly if they are the same ethnic group.” The farmers “had maintained a complex regime of land management with most land set aside for future generations, some for present use, and some for the ancestors (burial areas). However, all around them ‘their’ forest was being cut down by townies” [Cathy Rozel.]
                      Clearly the situation is a bit more complex the lingering pre-Stone-Age mentality of indigenous folk trying to make themselves extinct. There is the external driver of a life blind parasitic value system – something you have left out of your equation – that forces people to cut down their cultural heritage for short term gain. Hadn’t you better research that before you jump to conclusions based on prehistory?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • BigB says

                      @GM: I won’t have time later, so I’m answering in anticipation now. There are flaws exposed when you apply your thesis empirically to a real life scenario (Madagascar.) With half an hours internet research I have shown that there are other drivers to the current species extinctions – factors you don’t seem to have accounted for.
                      A couple of other points I’d like to draw to your attention to.
                      I’m prepared to admit that at 2.8% pa; overpopulation IS a factor – but what is driving it? The logical fallacy in your thesis is that if the population is truly at subsistence level – the local population is governed by the carrying capacity of the land. There is no way to sustain a population growth of 2.8% – most of the women would be infertile on such a subsistence diet.
                      The external factor is food aid. I haven’t got time to detail here, but if you were to look, in an unbiased way, into how Haiti went from a net rice producer to being reliant on USAid – you’d find enormous parallels – and maybe you’d understand how weaponised food aid works.
                      Without doing a proper demographic survey (or field trials) there is no way to test your thesis – and it is invalid if if not empirically tested. I suspect that the Madagascan population boom is being fuelled by abject poverty – artificially manufactured and maintained at near subsistence levels by foreign aid – and that the population is being used as a modern day Colonial/Imperial slave force to service the factories of foreign corporate investors/exploiters.
                      Did you look at the kind of industry going on? Does any of it strike you as local? You’ve got a classic cash crop (coffee, vanilla, sugar, shellfish, etc.) for export scenario going on. Does it look as though any of this industrial ‘development’ benefits to local population? Do you know if foreign workers are immigrating, being brought in – from say East Africa? Will the Government set up a Sovereign Wealth Fund for the proceeds of the oil/timber/minerals/gems? Do you know what proportion of the ‘slash and burn’ is for mining/timber or other factors – and not just subsistence farming? Or are compradorists stealing the local indigenous wealth and selling it on for self-maximising gain? If you don’t know, why not? Your thesis depends on real world validation.
                      BTW: In neuroscience; they [Koch and Tononi] are beginning to be able to measure consciousness. The unit of measure is phi – so soon we will be able to scientifically determine the consciousness of the foetus – bye, bye ‘Mirror Test.’ I wonder how this will impact your thesis? I thought I/we (at OffG) were the scientific illiterates?

                      Like

                    • BigB says

                      @GM: if you have any time left after refuting me – research Rio Tinto – they’re well known eco-terrorists.

                      Like

        • “If you can demonstrate that the world is not vastly overpopulated and that civilization is not headed to the same kind of post-overshoot crash that has put an end to most past civilizations, we can have a discussion.”

          What evidence do you have that the world “is” vastly overpopulated?

          I hear you making the assertion, but I don’t hear you making the case. I wonder if you could oblige.

          I mean you are advocating something along the line of “pro-abortion, anti-choice,” aren’t you?

          So the situation must dire. How do you know this? What are your facts? How have these facts been established? By whom?

          Like

          • As I mentioned above, do you require a complete explanation of general relativity every time you use GPS? No , you don’t. Do you ask for a comprehensive introduction to quantum mechanics every time you use a semiconductor-based device? Of aerodynamics every time you are about to board a plane? Etc. No, you don’t, you just trust the science and you use it.

            Now why is it that when it comes to things less pleasant for you you all of a sudden distrust the scientists? Be consistent.

            At some point things become so well established that the burden of proof is no longer on the affirmative position.

            The problem here is that you need to have read hundreds of thousands of pages of literature to fully understand the global sustainability crisis. Do you seriously expect me to reproduce all of that here? Whatever I can reasonably say in the available time will always be followed by “You haven’t provided enough evidence” and so on ad infinitum. You either take the time to properly educate yourself on the topics or you shut up and accept what more knowledgeable people are telling you, just as you do with everything else in your life. You don’t really have other valid options.

            A population is in overshoot when its environmental footprint exceeds the long-term carrying capacity of its environment. Long-term is key here — overshoot happens by temporarily exceeding carrying capacity, during which period things can feel quite good, but the collapse is still inevitable. We’re precisely in that moment in time right now:

            And what determines whether carrying capacity has been exceeded is the resource or waste sink in least abundance relative to requirements. It need not be food at all, although food happens to a problem in our case too.

            Are we wrecking the climate of the planet? Yes, we are. Are we utterly dependent on fossil fuels, a nonrenewable rapidly depleting resource? Yes, we are. Are we utterly dependent on a long list of other concentrated mineral resources that we are rapidly dissipating? Yes, we are. Are we dependent on technically renewable resources that we are using at rates much higher than their natural recharge, destroying them in the process (topsoil, freshwater, fisheries, etc.)? Yes, we are. Are we destroying the ecosystems of the planet Yes, we are. Is a sixth major mass extinction ongoing because of our activities? Yes, it is.

            Etc.

            If only one of these things was true, we would be overpopulated, They all are. And you’re asking me for proof why we have a problem?

            On top of all that we have a socioeconomic system that cannot exist except in a state of perpetual growth (a clear biophysical impossibility) meaning that because of the remorseless logic of the exponential function even if the situation was not yet completely dire it would certainly become so soon enough.

            Which part of “infinite growth in a finite system contradicts the laws of physics” requires proof?

            Like

            • “As I mentioned above, do you require a complete explanation of general relativity every time you use GPS? No , you don’t. Do you ask for a comprehensive introduction to quantum mechanics every time you use a semiconductor-based device? Of aerodynamics every time you are about to board a plane? Etc. No, you don’t, you just trust the science and you use it.”

              Right. Because everytime I use a GPS or turn on my air-conditioner or board a plane, a new-born must die. Because “science.” So shut up, and hand over your newborn, right? Got it.

              “At some point things become so well established that the burden of proof is no longer on the affirmative position.”

              Dear Sir, dear Madame, we must murder your child. Surely you understand. The world is overrun with humans, and enough is enough. If you don’t know that this is the case, if you’ve never had it “demonstrated” to you, tough! Your ignorance is your own fault. Now, now, do stop protesting. There is a scientific basis for what we do, trust us. Life is meaningless anyway. And anyway, nature neither has any morals, nor does it cares one iota about human feelings. That has to be kept in mind at all times. We ignore it at our peril! What? What do you say? If life is meaningless and nature doesn’t care, why do I feel so strongly about having to murder your infant? Because “science!” And “science” says that if we don’t kill your child, we will fail to do it at our peril. And anyway, life has no meaning, so do get over yourselves. We are just another species scratching out a meaningless existence, subject to the same laws of physics and of ecology that govern the fate of all other organisms. We ignore that at our peril. Do you not understand the profound connection between “the utter meaninglessness of life” and “my” need to “murder your child?” Why is this so difficult to understand?

              “The problem here is that you need to have read hundreds of thousands of pages of literature to fully understand the global sustainability crisis. Do you seriously expect me to reproduce all of that here? Whatever I can reasonably say in the available time will always be followed by “You haven’t provided enough evidence” and so on ad infinitum. You either take the time to properly educate yourself on the topics or you shut up and accept what more knowledgeable people are telling you, just as you do with everything else in your life. You don’t really have other valid options.”

              Do you imagine that I haven’t heard these arguments before. With the same level of conviction. Does the name Paul Ehrlich mean anything to you?

              When I was growing up, an impending ice age and overpopulation were already upon us. These were “facts.” It was all incontrovertible. There was a vast corpus of “scientific” literature that “proved” it.

              By the time the early 80’s rolled in, in the span of only half a decade, the impending ice age was now turning into “acid rain” and “anthropogenic global warming” catastrophism, but still we stand on the precipice of the Overpopulation Bomb, despite human numbers having already far exceeded the limits at which mass starvation was supposed to begin wiping us out in our hundreds of millions per year and thereby reduce our numbers to what the planet could again sustain or perhaps set us on our irrevocable path to extinction. Luckily, though, our lives in the greater scheme of things are utterly meaningless. So it would have been a non-event, in my humble but nihilistic estimation.

              <

              blockquote>“A population is in overshoot when its environmental footprint exceeds the long-term carrying capacity of its environment. Long-term is key here — overshoot happens by temporarily exceeding carrying capacity, during which period things can feel quite good, but the collapse is still inevitable. We’re precisely in that moment in time right now:”M/blockquote>

              I “get” the concept of overshoot. The “idea” that humans can become so numerous as to irrevocably compromise the ecologies that keep them alive in their numbers is a “truism.” No great insight, there, I’m afraid. The difficulty arises in appraising whether we have sufficient “evidence” to believe that we are in that “moment “right now. Where are the scientific references that “prove” or at least objectively suggest that resources are disappearing as a result of overpopulation and not something else, oh, like extracting things on the “cheap” so as to maximize profits?

              “Are we wrecking the climate of the planet? Yes, we are.”

              You claim we are wrecking the climate. Maybe we are. Is that the result of “overpopulation” or industrial production being pursued for profit and being done on the cheap? And then you are convinced that we “most definitely are” wrecking the climate, but the evidence isn’t in, is it? Because if you had done your homework on this particular issue, you would know that no climate scientist will go so far as assert with your degree of conviction that this is in fact the case. See two discussions taking place, here, at this website, here and here. You won’t have to have the entire literature on climatology recapitulated for you to “get” that there most definitely is an appreciable and rational degree of uncertainty over whether or not AGW is as much of a concern as the tabloid hysteria makes it out to be.

              “Are we utterly dependent on fossil fuels, a nonrenewable rapidly depleting resource? Yes, we are.”

              I’ve been hearing this argument since I was a child of ten. The world was always on the cusp of running out of oil! Running out iron! Running out of copper! And on, and on. And somehow or other, at this moment, the world is awash in hydrocarbons that they can’t even sell. If the oil was disappearing, rationing would be happening, no? The only rationing that is happening is that occurring by the irrational economic dictates of “for profit only” production and not because they can’t pump enough of the stuff out of the ground to meet “human need.” Hydrocarbons remain cheap and abundant, and though we could certainly reduce our dependency on them to the enormous benefit of the environment and therefore to ourselves, they will continue to be cheap and abundant for centuries to come. Furthermore, do you believe that all oil reserves have already been tapped or even all discovered? It’s a big planet.

              “Are we utterly dependent on a long list of other concentrated mineral resources that we are rapidly dissipating? Yes, we are. “

              So we know where all the mineral deposits are already and we know they are disappearing? Every rock on planet Earth has been turned over? Please. Why do miners continue to engage in exploration, then? Is it that the Earth is being depleted or that the deposits found and already being exploited by these miners are being used up and now they have to go looking elsewhere? And when they look in places they’ve never looked before, guess what? They find new deposits of what they can mine and sell. You seriously overestimate the extent to which mineral resources have been depleted. In fact, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the Earth in this respect.

              “Are we dependent on technically renewable resources that we are using at rates much higher than their natural recharge, destroying them in the process (topsoil, freshwater, fisheries, etc.)?”

              This is standard practice for capitalist exploitation of resources. Everything is done on the cheap and without much regard for the sustainability of the practice or resource. That’s not overpopulation, that’s just bad resource management. What happened to the cod fisheries off the coast of Newfoundland? Was that the result of “overpopulation?” Or was it the reckless pursuit of profit? Did they have to fish every last cod because otherwise people were going to starve? Was that the motivation for overexploiting that resource? If not a single cod had been pulled out of those waters, not a single human would have been imperiled as a result. So “overpopulation” isn’t the only or even probably the most important explanation for the ecological devastation that humans in this day are inflicting upon the world.

              “Yes, we are. Are we destroying the ecosystems of the planet Yes, we are. Is a sixth major mass extinction ongoing because of our activities? Yes, it is.”

              Note what you wrote: “. . . because of our activities . . .” There is a difference between reckless and wanton destruction of a resource and “overpopulation” being the “reason” it is being undermined.

              “On top of all that we have a socioeconomic system that cannot exist except in a state of perpetual growth (a clear biophysical impossibility) meaning that because of the remorseless logic of the exponential function even if the situation was not yet completely dire it would certainly become so soon enough.

              Which part of “infinite growth in a finite system contradicts the laws of physics” requires proof?”

              Now we begin to see eye to eye. There is a difference between arguing that “overpopulation” is the reason the world and mankind are in trouble and arguing that the issue is more complicated than that, and that in addition to numbers, or perhaps more importantly than numbers, in this moment in time, it is rather the “logic” driving our economic practice that is the primary problem. However that may be, one thing beyond doubt is that “for profit production” results in a needlessly devastation of the environment globally regardless of whether or not the world’s carrying capacity is being seriously and only undermined by human numbers.

              In my opinion, this is a greater and more easily observed certainty than that the world is currently vastly overpopulated. And you and I both know that unless capitalism is dismantled, the overexploitation and destruction of the environment will continue unabated, regardless of what the world population may be doing. Furthermore, we also understand that if capitalists get it in their collective minds that people are in the way, they have no scruples about committing mass murder, and you can be certain that the “cold rationality of science” will become their legitimating rationale for culling human numbers. There is no need to imagine anything “conspiratorial,” in this connection. The “ideological” blindness of ‘capital’ is all that is needed as an explanation.

              It may not be obvious to you, but you have wondered into a nihilistic abyss, and that abyss strongly echoes what for many defines a crypto-fascist ideology. Just saying.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Why do I have to explain the faultiness of the “It hasn’t happened yet, therefore it never will” logic?

                A junkie has been on heroin for 6 months, he hasn’t died of it yet, therefore he never will. This is exactly what you are arguing.

                Yes, in the long run Paul Ehrlich did more damage than good with his overdramatic statements at the time. That is correct. But it in no way invalidates the message.

                BTW, yes, we have turned over every piece of rock. Oil forms under very special circumstances, which are very well understood, You need sediment basins or passive continental margins, you won’t find it in the middle of a stable craton that has been above sea level for hundred of millions of years. And the world has been thoroughly explored, aside from the polar regions (but those will not yield more than a few years of current consumption even if the most optimistic projections turn out to be correct).

                Discovery peaked many decades ago. And conventional oil peaked worldwide a decade ago. How can Peak Oil be invalidated when we’re past Peak Oil already?

                You also seem to be deeply misinformed about human nature and what is driving all this. Capitalism isn’t the problem, it is unsustainable not so much because it is capitalism but because it has no mechanisms for controlling innate human behavior, and it is innate human behavior that is driving the overshoot and collapse dynamics.

                Evolution has no foresight, it operates at the transition from one generation to another, which is why it cannot select for sustainable behavior, because the individual exhibiting unsustainable behavior will always be selected for at the expense of those who behave responsibly. That’s just the cold hard logic of population dynamics — if you breed irresponsibly, hog as much material resources as possible, and behave in an aggressive expansionist manner, you will outcompete those who do none of those things.

                Capitalism has little to do with this, it is much deeper than capitalism. Which is why there has never really been a sustainable societal system on a large scale.

                The only cases where approximate sustainability has been achieved are all at a local level and involve some combination of:

                Hunter-gatherer lifestyle, characterized by relatively low birth rate, high death rate and a very low standard of living
                Agricultural societies being lucky to be located around a river carrying sediment replenishing the soil, or near an active volcanic area, the eruptions from which have the same effect. The lifestyle is again primitive, but in addition to that the society is usually a repressive totalitarian hellhole in which the majority of the population is basically slaves to a tiny elite.
                Draconian population control being practiced, including such things as infanticide.

                Number 2) does not work on a global scale, and nobody is willing to live as a slave, so what are the options?

                Note that the choice here isn’t between “murdering innocent children” and business as usual.

                The choice is between the following:

                People educate themselves about the situation and change their behavior accordingly, voluntarily not having children to begin with (no forced abortions would be necessary if people were doing it voluntarily) until we get down to 100 million or so globally.
                A draconian forced population and per capita resource consumption control scheme is implemented worldwide
                Global collapse of civilization and possible extinction of the species.

                If you think the option of happily continuing on the current trajectory exists, you are a lunatic, plain and simple.

                Now 1) is unfortunately not happening because of the same evolutionary factors I mentioned above — in addition to sustainable behavior not paying off from an evolutionary perspective, educating yourself about the issues doesn’t pay off either as it requires an enormous investment of time and energy, which automatically lowers one’s inclusive fitness (because that’s time and effort not spent toward maximizing it in more direct ways). Is it any wonder pretty much nobody makes that investment?

                Option 3) is what we are trying to avoid. So what does that leave us with? It would be nice if people weren’t so suicidally stupid and were wise enough not to have kids. But they are not wise despite out binomial species name. So forced abortions and forced infanticide is what remains, as unpleasant an option as it is.

                But rest assured, it is not happening, because first, the “elites” are just as stupid and delusional as the majority of the population, and second, even if they weren’t, they don’t have the power to implement it on the required scale.

                So the great news is that option 3) is what will happen in practice. Isn’t that wonderful? Such a glorious future.

                you have wondered into a nihilistic abyss, and that abyss strongly echoes what for many defines a crypto-fascist ideology. Just saying.

                The pessimist is a well informed realist.

                I haven’t arrived at that worldview because I wanted to, I have arrived at it because I am well informed about a wide variety of issues and disciplines and have the intellectual capacity to integrate it all into a coherent picture that makes sense and looks to be correct.

                What has been seen cannot be unseen, and red and blue pills exist only in Hollywood fiction, not in real life.

                Like

                • You don’t have to write a treatise, just link to some sources.

                  As an academic you really should be familiar with the requirement to source and support your claims. You have repeatedly sneered at posters for failing to produce data, yet refuse to produce any of your own.

                  You also failed to answer any of the questions put to you about your advocacy for the killing of infants under the age of 18 months.

                  It seems you expected to be denounced but not questioned and have not come prepared to support your contentions with even basic amounts of research.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Let me make sure I understand: according to you I have to quote the original Pythagoras’ publication when I want to use the fact that a^2 + b^2 = c^2?

                    Got it.

                    Like

                    • MoriartysLeftSock says

                      No you idiot – you have to show evidence for the real word application you are claiming.

                      If you were my student you’d have to whiteboard that fifty times.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • “You don’t have to write a treatise, just link to some sources,” is in no sense equivalent to saying one has “to quote the original Pythagoras’ publication when [one wants] to use the fact that a^2 + b^2 = c^2″… so you’re either an order of magnitude dimmer than you’d like to think you are… or engaging in spurious argumentation for the sheer pleasure of saying evil things for the facade of power you seem to think such pronouncements lend you. No one here is fooled into thinking you’re A) learned B) a superman of some sort C) not merely a creep.

                      Like

                • “until we get down to 100 million or so globally”

                  You do realize that by eliminating yourself, before asking others to die, you’d prove that you aren’t merely another unremarkable psychopath with delusions of grandeur wedded to an utter inability to face the implications of your own hypocritical bloodlust? Sure, your death would merely be one of the (in your mind) 7 billion + required, but, again, you’d earn a measure of respect for the action (versus how you’re currently viewed, both by many readers here and the few humans in your actual life) and, in any case: baby steps, as they say. And losing one corrupted super-creep is something like gaining a dozen beautiful newborns, in my calculus…

                  Like

              • Jen says

                Dear Norman,

                Thanks for trying to tell GM that climate change, the neoliberal capitalist system and environmental destruction caused by mining and other activities for profit really do have no connection with overpopulation. The problems we currently have in the world with climate change, environmental pollution and over-exploitation, and debt turn out to be the result of choices made in the context of an overarching culture and its values, systems and networks that privilege the few and the choices they make at the expense of others.

                Overpopulation becomes a convenient excuse to explain the failures of neoliberal capitalism and the resort to deliberate mass murder under the guise of necessary war to remove governments designated as “non-democratic” or “authoritarian” or to remove people whose lands are coveted for their mineral wealth or strategic importance.

                Perhaps that’s why our new visitor omits to put up any links to sources or evidence that would demonstrate the solidity of his / her arguments.

                Liked by 2 people

                • “Overpopulation becomes a convenient excuse to explain the failures of neoliberal capitalism….”

                  In one sense. But one can’t help noticing that the personality type most often driven to rule vast fortunes or large populations (or to admire those who do) are Caligulan, at core. Many of them would like to see bloodletting on a megadeath scale. The inability to Love (a malfunction on a genetic level, perhaps) is expressed as a (sexual) Love of Death/Murder… a passion that requires, in the minds of those afflicted, no excuse or alibi. Neoliberal capitalism is no “failure” in their minds: the misery it inflicts is a bonus.

                  Like

                  • BigB says

                    You are spot on in your diagnosis of the ‘Caligulan’ mind – if it came to it they’d go full ‘Samson Option’ and nuke the planet rather than let society progress beyond their control. I wonder, have you read Ernest Becker – “The Denial of Death”; the follow on work of Terror Management Theory; or watched “The Flight From Death” – which form a nascent theory into how this mind develops? If we can’t rule the world, at least we can have a meaningful life in the debris and destitution! 🙂

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • BigB!

                      I think they’re going to go for neutron bombs instead…! To protect the real estate… laugh… weep… laugh…

                      Like

    • Jen says

      Off-Guardian does strive for scientific accuracy but for that to be achievable, it has to be a platform for open discussion of theories and positions, most of which might seem crackpot and outlandish to you.

      Yet here you are saying that the world is vastly overpopulated with no evidence that suggests that biophysical systems are failing and not the economic and distribution systems that we have, and you are advocating as well some form of “mass extermination” without saying how and where that takes place (presumably in some Third World hellhole populated by coloured people).

      We can do without your definition of “scientific accuracy” – go back and talk to Kevin MacDonald over at the Occidental Observer or Stormfront.org.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nerevar says

      Just curious: Were doctors Joseph Goebbels or Alfred Rosenberg (with their diplomas) educated enough?

      Like

    • “A newborn is indeed not an actual person — it has no self awareness. ”

      I’d love to see the 25th century science you have access to to support this combination of inhuman pronouncement and wild guess.

      Like

  6. Martin stanley says

    Hmn …step back … let us dare to imagine a world where a certain breed of humans; those with the excess power that they are addicted to abuse (war mongering politicians/war profiteers and wall street bankers, par example), had been ‘gotten rid of’ as easily and efficiently as say … well, half a million kids (aged 5 and under) sanctioned to death, under blair and bush.

    To quote madeline albright, this deliberate act (of mass murder) was ” a price worth paying “. If we lack qualms regarding innocent children slaughtered on mass;well, let us not get all sentimental in regard to applying that genocide quota instead to the polluting scum perched at the ‘pinnacle of the stinking dung heap’ …

    Let us then observe how much greater such a human sacrifice would benefit the majority on the planet … ” a price infinitely more worth paying” .

    Just a thought. Ho ho.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sabelmouse says

      let’s not forget where the nazis got it from. the usa. and partly the british empire.

      Like

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