Monday, May 12, 2008

DEBATE AT HEAVEN'S GATE: Garrett Hardin Takes on John Lennon

One day in September of 2003 there was a momentous confrontation just outside the pearly gates of heaven. As newly arrived biologist Garrett Hardin was approaching the door to eternal peace, he was met by the extra terrestrial organizer for the Green Party, former Beatle John Lennon, who got up from his piano to greet him.

“Garrett”, he said in his trade mark Merseyside accent, “Imagine a world where there’s open immigration, where there’s no borders to divide people, man.” Then sitting down at his piano, Lennon broke into song:

“Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday that you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.”

Then Lennon followed the song by repeating the maverick views that he expressed in 1973 in an interview with American talk show host Dick Cavett when he called overpopulation “a joke” and opined that “Texas could hold everyone” and “any extra could just go to the moon.” He agreed with Yoko Ono that there simply needed to be a balance in the food supply, and argued that it was immoral for those once born to maintain that no one should follow them.

At that point Hardin asked if he could take a turn at the piano. Lennon relented. “John,” he said in his American mid-Western accent, “ can you imagine a world where population levels are effectively contained by sovereign governments who maintain prosperity by preventing poor nations from exporting their poverty to rich nations?” Then, breaking into song as he hit the keyboard, Hardin sang the following lyrics:

“Imagine that overpopulation can be avoided, if borders are secure, otherwise poor and overpopulated nations will export their excess to richer and less populated nations…

Imagine that people are so unwise as to globalize overpopulation by permitting population excesses to migrate into better endowed countries.

Imagine that without global sovereignty there can be no global solution to population problems.

Imagine that low standards of living drive out the high standards and that immigrant labour pauperizes domestic labour.

Imagine that our country was once in a juvenile phase but now it is in a mature phase with an immigration rate that is only appropriate to the juvenile phase.

Imagine that thou shalt not transgress the carrying capacity.

Imagine that the quality of life and quantity of it are inversely related and the maximum is not the optimum.

Imagine a single feature of your daily life, name one, that you expect to be improved by a farther increase in the population.

When Hardin concluded, he rose and said, “Well John, what did you have to say that?”
Lennon fumbled through his Green Party manual for parrot responses, gave up, then remarked in Liverpudlian frustration, “effing racist mon, effing racist!” He then turned toward Heaven and abandoning his piano stomped off to confer with St. Peter about the possibility of deporting this xenophobe.

Garrett Hardin thought he might wait and loiter around another five decades and face off against Philippe Legrain when he expired. But then he realized, the bastard would probably be going to that other place down below, where all the favourites of public broadcasting hang out.

1 comment:

Jaap Schepper said...

Imagine a world with no countries to die for, only parties to die for.
Imagine a world with no Icelands but filled with Lebanons.
Imagine a world replete with diversity but devoid of solidarity.
Imagine a world where the foreigner does not live on the other side of the border but on the other side of the street.