Sunday, December 21, 2008


This report issued from Australia, almost a year from the demise of the hated “corrupt, right wing” administration of John Howard, a government that was castigated in some quarters for propelling dangerous population growth through its ambitious immigration policies:

Recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that Australia's population is growing at its fastest rate in nearly 20 years.
Records show that the number of people living in Australia has increased to 21.374 million as of June 30th this year. This is an increase of 359,000 (1.7 per cent) from the previous year.

Fifty nine per cent of the growth can be attributed directly to immigration, with the Government's successful migration program enabling more foreign nationals to live and work in Australia.

In light then, of the fact that growth is even more reckless under the progressive, democratic and enlightened watch of Kevin Rudd’s Labor government, one is given to wonder how population activists feel retrospectively about Mr. Howard. I would guess that environmentalists, so-called, would still regard Rudd as the green knight because environmentalists are typically anthropocentric. But the problem is, nature is not, is it?

If wildlife could cast a vote, I believe its vote would be vote for Adolf Hitler rather than Mother Theresa. The good Sister, while very compassionate on one level, the level of individual care for individual people, was, to be frank, inhumane to humanity. Anyone who promotes population growth by the advance of papal pro-natalist and pro-life but not pro-“quality of life” positions is coldly inhumane to the consequences of those positions. The consequences being fewer resources for more people.

The consequences of human population growth on non-humans is even more manifestly ruinous. It is lethal. Species extinction ranges in the tens of thousands a year from habitat destruction occasioned by growth. Adolf’s record was relatively stellar in comparison to the damage wrought by “compassionate”, Christian, socialist and democratic rivals. His Minister of the Interior, Hermann Goering, was the architect of gaming laws which were so progressive that they remained German law for several decades after the war. Nazi ideology was fully rooted in German romanticism with its love of nature and countryside. “Blut and Boden”, blood and soil, was a slogan of National Socialism. It emphasized that German identity was tied to the land--- unlike cornucopian leftists and greens today who seem to think that identity is drawn from the importation of diverse human cultures at the expense of the biological diversity of the land. Or that somehow technological advances will compensate for the absence of that biodiversity. Nazi culture stressed physical fitness, outdoor activity like hiking and respect for nature and the lessons that it teaches. Their opponents were urban-focused, as are the left-greens are today, sitting in their cafés discussing human rights issues. No wonder it took the Nazis to overhaul and modernize animal cruelty law, something that the Weimar socialists and liberals never bothered to do.

But the biggest contribution Hitler made to the environment was to engineer a war that ultimately resulted in 43 million fewer Europeans. Their footprint was high enough then. Had they lived, how many more people would Europe have today? How many more forests, farms and animal species would have been destroyed to accommodate them? What would CO2 emissions be today? Not that his war was motivated by environmental concerns. Or that he deserves all the credit for culling the continents most environmentally unfriendly species. Uncle Joe Stalin did his bit too. In fact Stalin murdered…wrong word. Let us be clinically scientific here. Stalin reduced three times as many homo sapiens under his rule than his megalomaniacal revival to the west. But Hollywood hasn’t gotten around to really publicizing that yet.

Now of course, this account of rapid population decline (RPD) of humans in mid twentieth century Europe may strike many as shocking in its emotional detachment. But what is surely more shocking is our detachment from the ongoing rapid wildlife holocaust. Many patriots have been quite gleeful in seeing potential enemies destroy themselves by warring with each other. After all, divide and conquer was a proven strategy for both the Roman and British Empires among others. One imagines that the Pentagon wasn’t choked to see Iran and Iraq to duke it out in the 1980s, or China fight it out with its comrades in Vietnam. Just as many in Anglo-America would have loved to see Hitler and Stalin consume each other totally before Normandy. At the end of the war, in fact, after the Soviets lost 20 million of their people, the Truman administration, were considering the application of the “Morgenthau” plan to de-industrialize and depopulate Germany by starving its citizens to death. Only the need for a strong West Germany to face the Communist bloc caused them to reconsider. Wildlife “managers” make essentially the same calculations. One species keeps the population level of another in check. If wildlife could view the human drama with the same perspective, would they not cheerlead our internecine quarrels as downsizing rituals that give them more space? Tribal wars are a form of “human” management that ecologists, planners and other ‘smart growth’ snake oil salesmen have yet to match in terms of results. The war economy is, de-facto, a steady state economy because it alone seems to be the most efficient means of reducing the most pernicious variable of growth, the “P” in the IPAT equation. Consumers.

And why would wildlife populations favour democratic or socialist regimes over undemocratic or fascist ones? Was Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista regime good news for Nicaraguan biodiversity? Ortega was not only oblivious to the country’s appalling TFR, the worst on the continent, he promoted it by his alliance with Catholic forces. A survey of other “socialist” governments in the third world would also be very disappointing for leftists of a Malthusian persuasion. China’s one child policy a notable exception.

Imagine if the Titanic had a large cargo of wild animals as it was steaming towards its mortal nemesis. (Right now it is the iceberg of human overpopulation.) Would they care if a cadre of socialists had seized control of the bridge and forced the captain to eliminate class privileges on the ship? That passengers in steerage would be allowed to come up to first class and share its amenities? That the hierarchical division between officers and crew was abolished in favour of a consensual decision-making process? That the stairways were made accessible to the handicapped and that anyone making disparaging remarks about women or the foreigners in steerage would be jailed or fined? Not likely.

Because if they were aware of these petty fixations they would also be aware that the socialists, the liberals, the conservatives, the officers and the captain all believed that the ship was, like our current growth economy, invincible. That it didn’t matter that there weren’t enough lifeboats for the number of passengers because, after all, the ship itself was one big lifeboat that wouldn’t sink. In fact, it could just as easily pick up even more passengers. And apparently, socialist, social democratic and progressive “captains”, historically, want to stop and take on more “passengers” than right wing, corrupt ones like Howard. Check out the immigration levels.

The fact that these new passengers may consist of proportionately more asylum seekers, or more family class immigrants, is completely irrelevant to the seaworthiness of the ship. The environment does not care what category of “passenger” a nation takes on board. Refugees, the persecuted, the homeless, the downtrodden, the skilled, the unskilled, English or non-English, white or brown----Mother Nature doesn’t take notice. They all have a footprint. Or shall we say in Australia’s case, and Canada and America’s too, a “bootprint”. And under that boot is biodiversity, our lifeline and insurance policy.

The Rudd victory may have been a victory for Australian “democracy”. But so far it is looking like a defeat for Australian wildlife, and by the immutable laws of nature, ultimately a crushing defeat for humanity too.

Tim Murray,
Quadra Island, BC, Canada
December 13/08

PS I might be cogently argued that notwithstanding the appalling losses of both world wars in the 20th century, their impact on impact on human population growth has been negligible while their toll on wildlife has been devastating. One immediately conjures up images of millions refugees streaming through the contryside foraging for food and in their wake causing much "collateral" ecological damage. In fact, the disease that ensues from war often takes more lives than war itself. The so called "Spanish influenza" following at the heels of the November 11, 1918 Armistice took more lives than the war itself. Points well taken.

But did Vietnamese wildlife appreciate that it was being carpet-bombed and napalmed out of existence by a Texas liberal, LBJ, architect of the Great Society and the impetus behind the Civil Rights Bill? A man, under whose direction American forces dropped more explosives than all combatants combined in the Second World War. Does the global atmosphere appreciate that the methane it is going to receive from Canada's boreal forest that is being clear-cut by the corporations blessed by the custodians of a universal medicare program and a "civilized" democracy?

If you were offered a stark choice between a "humane" egalitarian society that pursued growth at the cost of the environment on the one hand or a fascist steady state society that lived within ecological limits, which option would you choose.?

1 comment:

Greg Wood said...

If you were offered a stark choice between a "humane" egalitarian society that pursued growth at the cost of the environment on the one hand or a fascist steady state society that lived within ecological limits, which option would you choose.?

Tough choice. Life has to be worth living as well as physically sustainable.

I appreciate the premise being illustrated by this simple polarity but in reality there is no need for such a limited choice.
The very need for such polar illustration in itself demonstrates the mental sickness at large within the social arena.

On an aside relevant to your warfare imagery, close by to home we have a large military training area. We also have an obnoxiously active urban development industry. By a range of explicit and meaningful measures, active warfare is quite clearly a more ecologically benign activity than urban development.