Wednesday, January 2, 2008



Overcoming Population Myopia and gaining an holistic perspective

Like grief, overcoming PC is a process of stages. But whereas grief recovery is characterized by nine emotions, political correctness defends its hold by only one—denial.

Stage One: You deny the economy is a subset of the environment. You believe that you live in an “economy” and not a biosphere and you are mesmerized by statistics like GNP, per capita income and the balance of payments, thinking that to be the measure of reality. You think that the environment is an entity outside of us that is nice to have, if we can afford it. But we can’t afford it, or clean it up, unless we have lots of “economic growth”—the very thing that despoils it. We can’t build a new medical treatment centre for lung cancer patients unless a thriving tobacco industry funds it with tax revenues ! And we can keep all of our toys and the good life because there is something called “sustainable growth”.

Stage Two: You come to the realization that we and all of our economic activities are, after all, a branch plant of the environment, and so must limit and stabilize them to keep it alive and healthy. But you deny that population growth plays a crucial role in environmental degradation. For you, it’s all about reducing our “footprint”, our per capita consumption. The number of “per capitas” doesn’t concern you.

Stage Three:You finally accept that halting population growth is key to stopping GHG emissions and biodiversity loss, but you deny it is a local or national problem. You insist it is a global issue, and that allows you to throw up your hands, focus on the trendy Green mission of reducing your individual environmental impact and avoid uncomfortable confrontations at home.

Step Four: You agree now with Garrett Hardin’s observation that over-population is really just the sum-total of local and national problems. Population growth begins at home. Especially in North America, Britain and Australia. But analogous to the denial of Stage Three when you denied the role of population growth in environmental degradation, you now deny or ignore the role that the nasty and inconvenient “I” word---immigration---plays in population growth. Instead you continually harp on fertility issues.

Step Five: At last you accept that population growth in Anglo-America, Canada and Australia is immigrant-driven, but you deny that the ethnic and religious composition of immigrants has any bearing on the environment. Only numbers are relevant.

Step Six: You examine the comparative fertility rates of migrant and native residents in North America and the UK. And you note the absence of a conservation ethic in those not of Northern European ancestry in North America as measured by wilderness park visitation and membership in conservation organizations. Then you understand that the source of migrants is as important as their number. Culture matters.

Step Seven: You are now ready to take a holistic approach to environmental issues. Population is paramount. Technology won’t save us. Nor will greener lifestyles. Economic growth is not “sustainable”. And cultural and religious values are fair game. No tolerance for what is killing us.

Congratulations. You have been scanned and cleaned of the PC virus. You are now free to attack Mormons, Catholics, Muslims, the American Jewish Committee, trade union leaders, the environmental establishment, Greens, Trotskyists and the human rights industry. In short, all those who play a role in promoting runaway population growth. Don’t worry, the easy targets of multi-nationals, cheap labour employers and developers are still available for the faint of heart.

Now you can piss the world off, one identity group at a time.

Your only goal is to build bridges to the truth, not to people. For the truth changes sides frequently. Political parties and organizations are only vehicles, not shrines to be worshipped long after they’ve betrayed their original purpose. They should come with an expiry sticker.

Better right, and unpopular, than politically correct. PS Don’t like Stage 6? Get stuffed!

Tim Murray

Quadra Island, BC


October 13, 2007

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