Tuesday, February 9, 2010

SIERRA CLUBBERS ANONYMOUS

Sierra Clubbers Anonymous

A 12-Step Program for Recovering Population-Deniers and Green Growth-Managers


You finally hit rock bottom—and you just can’t seem to summon the stamina to climb out. But don’t despair. Realizing that you are in trouble and are powerless to get out of it without assistance is the first step to recovery.

Once when you had control of your life you were an authentic environmentalist. You regarded the “IPAT” equation as axiomatic. That is, you accepted the fact that environmental impact (I) equalled the population level (P) times per capita consumption (A) times technology (T). But then you fell off the wagon, and in deference to political correctness you discreetly dropped the “P” and refused to acknowledge that population growth, and particularly immigrant-driven population growth was a key variable of environmental degradation. You could only think about one thing, “over-consumption”, or another, “green technology”. Until one day you woke in the gutter without a brain and without integrity, without everything that made you an intellectually independent being. You suddenly came to realize that your escapism and self-indulgent quest to feel good about yourself by making token “green” consumer choices only promoted more growth, and that growth of any kind was harmful. Oh, the guilt and the shame of it. You are ready to change but you just can’t find the strength within yourself to make it happen. Where do you turn to? Whom do you turn to?

Friend, Sierra Clubbers Anonymous (SCA) is there for you. You are not alone. Other soft greens have also lost their way and lost their wits too. With their help, together you can locate that strength, that power that exists beyond yourself that you can draw on to effect and repair the damage you have done by your denial. At any time of day or night, at your weakest moment, when you feel that you must forfeit your new found courage and return to the soft but suffocating bosom of an environmental NGO and surrender your mind to Sierra Group Think---members of Sierra Clubbers Anonymous will be there for you to steady your faltering willpower and keep you to the path of redemption. If they are not immediately at your door they will be at the other end of telephone to guide your through you the darkness of despair back to a comprehensive understanding of the causes of environmental damage. Just when you were about to give up all hope of understanding why things are going to hell, SCA will come to your rescue. Change is possible.

But first you must admit to yourself that numbers matter, that it is not just about per capita consumption but the sum total of “capitas”. You must acknowledge that would be pointless for a society to cut its per capita consumption in half only to turn around and double the population. And you must accept that there are no miracle technological solutions to what is essentially a moral problem—the need to stabilize and reduce our population level. By making things more efficient, new technology makes them cheaper, and therefore provokes even more consumption than before. More efficient use of scarce resources allows for and promotes more growth. You must finally grasp that smart growth is dumb. In short, you must make the decision to think for yourself and not swallow the filtered information of the Sierra Club executive or rely upon CBC Pravda for the facts. You must choose reality over delusion
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As a signal of this commitment, you must pledge to follow the 12 steps to full recovery. They are,

Step 1: Honesty

After many years of denial, recovery can begin when with one simple admission of being powerless to regain your intellectual independence without reaching out for truth and that a self-righteous Sierran yuppie who is semi-literate in the laws of sustainability is more a fool than a so-called blue collar redneck who has no pretensions of superior consciousness.

Step 2: Faith
You must first have faith in biophysical laws and that the Commandment “Thou Shalt Not Trespass Carrying Capacity” trumps anything that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai or the optimism of the green apostles of false hope.


Step 3: Surrender

You must surrender your dependence on Sierra Club newsletters and set out on the lonely journey of educating yourself. You must start by understanding the exponential function and the limits to growth. You must understand that the world is finite as are its resources. No feat of human ingenuity can conjure up extinct species, replenish cheap oil or rehabilitate mined out soils without the use of fossil fuel-based fertilizers.

Step 4: Soul Searching

There is a saying in the 12-step programs that recovery is a process, not an event. The same can be said for this step -- more will surely be revealed. You must conduct a fearless moral inventory. Have any of your feel-good green gestures made a whit of difference? Did that solar panel you installed create more energy than was involved in making it? Did that so-called smart car you bought not involve an industrial process, was ore not mined , smelted and transported to a factory to rendezvous with rubber derived from fallen trees? Did not the so-called green factory it was made in consist of materials that inflicted a cost on the environment to make and transport? Were not the gains you made by riding a bike to work wiped out by taking that annual plane flight to Mexico or Bali? By siring or giving birth to two children did you not effectively double your ecological footprint and be responsible for more carbon emissions than a meat-eating man or woman without children could ever make up for? Are you not a hypocrite with your holier-than-thou green conscience?

Step 5: Integrity

Probably the most difficult of all the steps to face, Step 5 is also the one that provides the greatest opportunity for personal growth, the only kind that is benign. You must examine the financial reports of any environmental organization that you belong to and follow the money trail. You must renounce any group like the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy or the David Suzuki Foundation which accepts corporate donations. You wouldn’t accept your beloved NDP accepting such dirty money, so why is it acceptable for these groups to receive money from financial institutions and energy corporations? “Hear no evil, see no evil” is not the posture of anyone with integrity.

Step 6: Acceptance

The key to Step 6 is acceptance – accepting that you have been WILLFULLY ignorant and tolerant of corruption in the environmental movement. You must accept that you need an education. Start with Christine MacDonald’s “Green Inc” which documents how much mainstream environmental organizations are on the corporate take. Then take a look at Canada and ask, why is the Royal Bank funding the David Suzuki Foundation and Nature Conservancy? Why is the Toronto Dominion Bank doing the same for the Sierra Club? What do they want in return? What are these green organizations doing, or more to the point, not doing and not saying to get that money? Why does Suzuki accuse climate change deniers of being shills for the petroleum industry while his foundation accepts donations from the natural gas giant Encana? Why haven’t YOU being doing this homework? Why haven’t YOU being asking these questions? Are not you the same kind of person who shakes his head when Christians in an evangelical church still support a minister who has been exposed for dishonesty, betrayal or adultery? Are you not a credulous dupe too?

Step 7: Humility
The spiritual focus of Step 7 is humility, realizing that your smug superiority complex is unwarranted. That the average logger or fish farm worker is no more responsible than you are for the system that we are trapped in.
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Step 8: Willingness

Making a list of those that have been harmed by your support of false gods. The first casualty is the farmland we have lost to development fuelled by our having the highest population growth rate in the G8 group. And the many hundreds of species that are now at risk of extinction as a result. You must include on that list the fact that the environmental groups you blindly supported by their unwillingness to bite the corporate hand that feeds them have refused to fight population and economic growth and therefore made meeting Kyoto targets IMPOSSIBLE.

Step 9: Forgiveness

You must ask for the forgiveness of those you have slandered and race-baited, and from the constituency that you have betrayed by allowing them to think that your group was a watchdog guarding the environment. Your green “watchdog” stopped barking when corporate Canada fed him a bone.

Step 10: Maintenance

Nobody likes to admit to being wrong. But you must continually remind yourself that your blind obedience to a corrupt, money-grubbing corporate lackey for so many years demands your consistent apologies.

Step 11: Making Contact
You must make contact with reality and with knowledge that your organization and the editors of the politically correct rags that you read do not allow you to see. As the Romans said, “nullius verba”---take no one’s word. Don’t take their word or my word. Do your own research.

Step 12: Service

You can make amends for some of the damage that you have unwittingly done with your ill-informed good intentions by redirecting your donations and your efforts to projects and causes that make a difference. For example , instead of sending money or support to a nation like the Philippines that has no intention of controlling its population growth, re-deploy it to countries like Thailand or Madagascar that are serious about birth control programs. Money to nations like Ethiopia, Haiti, Afghanistan, the Philippines and the like essentially amounts to a birth incentive and too often a bounty on wildlife.

Finally, you must ask yourself, is your loyalty to an organization an informed loyalty to its ideas, policies principles or are you more loyal to the neighbours and friends in it? It is fundamentally a social club that you can’t bear to challenge, is fellowship your main motive? If your allegiance is to the tribe and not the cause then you must ask, is a friendship that is contingent on your fixed opinions and organizational support more important than your integrity and intellectual growth? Are you too weak to stand alone? Is “getting along” by “going along” your survival code? If it is it, you are very human. And that is why we are in very big trouble.

Tim Murray . In your face and on your case. You gave me no quarter, so you shall receive none. With apologies to Diderot, the environment will never be safe until the last counterfeit environmentalist is strangled with the entrails of the last banker or developer.

TEN ECOLOGICAL REASONS TO OPPOSE MASS IMMIGRATION

1. Overpopulation is more than a third-world phenomena in scope. Even industrial societies with relatively stable and falling population levels are overpopulated.

2. We are not obliged for any compelling reason to replace current population levels anywhere. On the contrary, our obligation is to effort the most rapid population decrease as politically possible in the least inhumane of effective ways.

3. Population growth is a major ingredient of environmental degradation.

4. Immigration is a major ingredient of population growth in many jurisdictions, most especially Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia, and therefore deserves our focus.

5. Restricting immigration not only constrains domestic population growth, it constrains population growth in those countries in chronic overshoot who use emigration as a safety value to relieve ecological pressure and avoid coming to terms with it. Porous borders in affluent nations often stimulate fertility rates in countries of emigration.

6. Restricting immigration and suppressing domestic fertility allows respite for biodiversity.

7. The loss of biodiversity services and natural habitat is a more imminent and serious threat to humanity than climate change.

8. Biodiversity loss and C02 emissions are to a large measure, the product of human population growth. Whether CO2 emissions are an agency of climate change or not, they are ultimately a function of population and economic growth. Therefore addressing population growth is the most efficient approach to solving or mitigating biodiversity losses and containing C02 emissions whether they are of valid concern or not.

9. Reducing population levels is in itself, not the answer to all problems but it makes all problems easier to deal with. Population growth may or may not be THE root cause of all problems, but it is certainly A root cause of all problems.

10. We do not have an energy shortage, or a food shortage, or a water shortage, or a housing shortage, or a job shortage. We have a people longage. Peak oil is not a problem, it is a solution, as are lack of food availability, or a limited supply of water. Growth is the problem. Not the lack of resources that fuel growth. We need limiting factors, not a more efficient method to extract limited resources or make more efficient use of them. The greatest calamity that could ever be inflicted on human and non-human species alike would be the discovery of an abundant, cheap and perpetual energy source, or unlimited availability of cheap food and universal and uninhibited access to bountiful water supplies. Until we put the horse before the cart, that is, reducing and stabilizing the population within the framework of a zero growth economy, relieving the bottlenecks that resource shortages place in front of us offers temporary relief at best. Humanity always grows to meet supply. It is Says Law---Supply creates demand. There is no technological fix to growth and the problems that result from it. Efficient and renewable technologies only provoke more total consumption of the input that is thought to be in short supply, just as freeing up land for more production promotes as well as accommodates human expansion in numbers and appetites. A commitment to the scientific method does not imply a faith in technology---only belief in a rigorous and rational method of discovering truth.

Tim Murray
February 9, 2010

PARADISE LOST----KELOWNA THEN AND NOW

The fate of Westbank resident Jorden Martz did not surprise me. I have seen it coming for five decades. Martz was the young man who was cut down by a hit-and-run driver at 3am in mid January while he was riding his bike to work at a Tim Horton’s outlet. As he staggered for help suffering the agony of fractured ribs and a broken leg, not one of the half dozen cars he tried to flag down stopped to assist him. Not one driver even bothered to roll down his window an inch to ask if there was a problem. Martz’s sister, reflecting upon his experience, confessed that her perception of the city and its people was henceforth changed. She had once thought of Kelowna as the home of friendly people with a strong sense of community, but that particular incident indicated otherwise. Kelowna had arrived. It was now an urban paradise. The city that developers, businessmen and politicians across Canada aim for. A growing, “vibrant” , “community” with an array of amenities that human beings allegedly can’t live without. Fine restaurants, expansive malls, sports complexes, big box stores and a college. The drugs, the gangs, the violent and petty crime, well , those are the expected growing pains along the road to greatness. A little “planning” will take care of that.

Call me old-fashioned-- a charge which I quite eagerly admit to---but I prefer the Kelowna I knew in 1958. That was a paradise. No one locked their homes or their cars. The beaches were relatively empty and the orchards were unmolested by bulldozers. The mood was friendly and the pace of life relaxed. No wonder--- there were 10,000 residents then. Today there are more than 106,000. And the current OCP (Official Community Plan) growth strategy projects the “City” population to be 153, 222 in 2020, with the addition of another 22,666 people in the following ten years. But as a discussion paper revealed, “With a revised growth strategy, the City would see an additional 22,666 people during the 2011 to 2020 time period and an additional 17,887 people from2021 to 2030, for a total population of 161,701.” http://www.kelowna2030.ca/spaw2/uploads/files/Population%20and%20Housing%20Projections%20Discussion%20Paper.pdf Compound growth rates will decline from 2.13% presently to 1.22% in two decades. But this is meaningless when it is remembered that a lower growth rate for a larger population base will add more people to a region than a larger growth rate would for a smaller population. The environment cares little for percentages. It is the total impact that counts, and the absolute number of consumers and the rate of their consumption and waste is what factors in.

Naturally the quest for more profits and more business will be couched in the deceptive language of trendy growth “management” and “sustainability” principles. Residents will continue to be told that the city can have its cake and eat it too. Those on the left will be recruited to this cause by the tired old arguments of growthism. They will be told that more employment will be needed to uplift those with lower incomes. That more tax revenue will be needed to provide the social services that they will require. That economic growth will allow for the provision of that most Holy of left-wing Grails, “affordable” housing. And the “left” will buy it as they always have, for two reasons. One is that many in the so-called “progressive” coalition have a vested interest in growth. Growth allows the number of dues-paying members in unions to grow, growth increases the number of students and classrooms for teachers and college administrators, growth generates work for the social workers and psychologists who feed off the social problems that come with growth---more cases, more case workers. Growth and the taxes it yields can improve the job security and benefits of public sector workers, a pillar of the progressive constituency. As NDP leader Carol James declared at the party’s convention in November of 2009, “We need to grow the revenues.” And growing that revenue for modern social democrats cannot be done by raising corporate taxes or killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. It must be accomplished by creating a “business-friendly” environment. By encouraging economic growth. And only through continued growth, or “prosperity” as it is termed, can we “afford” a clean environment. Notice that the rhetoric of the left has now become almost indistinguishable from that of the right. Both want to “grow the pie” but merely quibble about how it is to be sliced. Growth is good, according to NDP leader Jack Layton, so long its ‘benefits’ are “shared”. So not only do progressives have a mercenary stake in growth, they have an ideological commitment to it as well. That is the second reason for their membership in the growth lobby.

Both left and right want growth, and both attempt to dress it up with assurances about sustainability, now a buzz word devoid of any meaningful sense. The aforementioned discussion paper for the Kelowna OCP stated that “Several growth allocation/land use scenarios will..be developed and tested for impacts on various sustainability criteria (financial, environmental, social and cultural). Hello? There is no such thing as “financial”, “social” or “cultural” sustainability outside the context of “environmental” sustainability. As one grows tired of reminding growth advocates, the economy and the society and culture which it supports itself is a subset of the environment. We make our living in an “economy”, but we live in a biosphere. Without clean air, productive soils, replenished aquifers---without biodiversity services, any economy will collapse. Once the environment is trashed, try using your “robust” economy and growing tax revenues to buy a new one.
Of course, growth-managers will tell us that it is not “whether” we grow but “how” we grow. There is no need to document the failure of smart-growth snake oil nostrums. There is no need to talk about failures in Portland, Oregon or Los Angeles to maintain growth boundaries in the face of unrelenting population growth, or the failure of densification to contain this pressure, or the fallacy that densification reduces ecological footprints. Or that the tax revenues of urban growth are consumed by the costs of supplying new infrastructure to growing subdivisions. Or that more growth may create more jobs but it does not reduce the unemployment rate or catch up with homelessness by creating “affordable” housing. Trying to grow enough revenue to cure poverty through more growth is, to use a recent metaphor, like trying to cure Type 2 diabetes with twinkies. Or a morning hangover with another six-pack. The NDP governments in BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba presided over some of the highest rates of child poverty in Canada. Growth never closed income gaps---it widened them. And wealth became even more unevenly distributed.

But the most compelling indictment of growth is not found in statistics, but in the intangibles, in the more subjective measurement of “quality of life”. We do not need to refer to studies like those of Professor James White of UBC who documented that people in more densely populated areas have about one-third fewer close friends than people who live in less populated areas. We can observe that big city folk are more lonely. And Jordan Martz and his sister can observe that a city of Kelowna’s scale has a much compromised sense of community. I for one noticed the change as early as 1970, when Kelowna’s population was already twice the size it had been a decade before when I saw it first. For the first time, I felt uncomfortable in one section of the city core. The drug scene then was intimidating. Imagine it now when the population is now five times larger than that.

Let’s be fair. Even with its current problems, Kelowna is, relative to most cities, an attractive destination. Eight inches of rain a year, sunny summers and tolerably cold winters, in conjunction with its lake and mountain setting, have ensured that. But nevertheless, Kelowna is a victim of a global malaise—the addiction to growth. Ironically, those few who have attempted to fight it have been labelled as “extremists” despite the fact that it is the pace of growth that is extreme, not those who oppose it.

Perhaps the most cogent argument against growth will be waged not by civic reformers, but by the return of triple-digit oil prices, which will escalate to strangle the best laid plans and projections of mice and planners. Big box stores will be empty warehouses and many cities will resemble Barkerville or Detroit. Urban centres in post-carbon Canada will suffer a demographic crash diet. That’s not my vision, or the hallucinations of a crank. It is the scenario of Richard Heinberg, James Kunstler, Michael Ruppert, Richard Embleton, Jeff Rubin, Christopher Steiner, Chris Clugston and dozens of analysts. It is the forecast of anyone who can see the writing on the wall. Oil production has peaked. And while the world will demand more and more, the cost of extracting accessible quantities will grow to exceed their value. The math is indisputable. Either deal with that reality or have that reality deal with you.

Kelowna, B.C., like countless other localities across the globe, is Paradise Lost. But after a tribulation of untold duration and misery, it may one day become Paradise Recovered. Pity I will not live to see it.

Tim Murray,
January 15/09

VERBAL EMITICS FOR NEO-MALTHUSIANS


Growthist buzzwords that instantaneously evoke nausea and vomiting


When one is forced-fed an unrelenting diet of growthist, pro-immigration and pro-natalist propaganda, it is common to be afflicted by a medical condition known as G.I.G. (Growth-Induced Gastroenteritis). Similar in consequences to the ingestion of rat poison, it becomes medically necessary to induce immediate vomiting to expel the toxin before it becomes absorbed by your body and causes a brain seizure. It has been conventional to induce this expulsion by the oral administration of an emetic like syrup of ipecac, copper sulfate or, as in ancient times, by salt or mustard water. But recent experience suggests that certain growthist buzzwords can act more quickly and effectively without biochemical complications. These verbal emetics can be regarded as trigger words that induce instant nausea and expulsion of growthist propaganda that relieves pressure and provokes the release of endorphins into the bloodstream. For that reason the experience can prove dangerously euphoric and addictive, and many neo-Malthusians, particularly enlightened teens, have been known to adopt a bulimic lifestyle of deliberate exposure to the programming of state-broadcasting corporations like the CBC, the BBC and Australia’s ABC in order to feel good about themselves after each sado-masochistic viewing. Of particular attraction is the nightly newscast which inevitably quotes meaningless stock market indices that offer no facsimile to the real world. Some addicts organize their day around these reports and refer to the post-CBC purge as “ecstasy” and the coalition of law enforcers, health professionals and psychologists recruited to fight this phenomena have failed to stem the tide. They advise parents, spouses and loved ones to watch for dry heaves and simulated retching that these sustainability junkies often display involuntarily and habitually.

It has even been found that when a group of Malthusians watch a CBC program together, for example, once one Malthusian reacts to nauseating growthist cant, others reflexively react to his reaction. This response apparently evolved from primates who notice that when one of their party ingests harmful food and vomits, it proves advantageous for the others to follow suit. It is therefore recommended that Malthusians only subject themselves to the CBC in the company of like-minds.
What then are the trigger words that evoke nausea and vomiting? Words that once had a precise or legitimate meaning but were subsequently co-opted and rendered meaningless? This is a tentative list. Any of these verbal allergens could result in the gastric relief that victims require. You are welcome to supply worthy additions.

vibrant
sustainable
green
holistic
equitable
tolerant
embracing
life-enhancing
societal well-being
pro-active
paradigm shift
zero waste
stakeholder
accountability
dynamic
robust
sexy
iconic
diverse, diversity
enriched
inclusive
gender-neutral
bias-free
choice
multicultural
"smart" (smart growth, smart cars, etc.)
eco (eg. eco-friendly, eco-density ie. urban sardine cans coated in green paint)

To illustrate how these words can be employed to induce violent sickness, in my former community, growth brought more traffic congestion, pollution, bikers, drug-dealers, drug-addicts, criminals, transients and boom boxes. It therefore at once became both "vibrant" and "diverse". Self-serving development proposals with damaging impacts became instantly benign with the mere attachment of an adjective like "sustainable" or "green". An economy that is ripping up the landscape by deforestation, strip-mining and urban sprawl across arable land can be described as "dynamic" or "robust", but one which pauses to give the environment some desperately needed respite can be described as "stagnant". A car that was assembled in a "green" factory is designated as "smart", despite the mining, the smelting and the transportation involved in producing and delivering the final product to market, and despite the fact that this green factory was not constructed in virtual reality or with angel dust. Seen through the lens of this obfuscatory jargon, the world can be seen as a joyful and wondrous place. If you fail to see it as such, then you are "negative" or "misanthropic". Only by being "positive" can we meet the "challenges" ahead. Hand me your barf bag.

"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end, we shall make thought-crime literally impossible because there will be no words in which to express it."
A character in Orwell's 1984

Tim Murray
February 5/2010

PRESS RELEASE
GREENWASH INC.


In the interest of societal well-being I feel it is our moral imperative to think outside the box, to pro-actively develop sustainable, life-enhancing, zero-waste policies that put environmental needs on a level playing field with economic considerations. To meet the challenges ahead we need to effect a seismic paradigm shift that will eventually result in a sea-change of public attitudes. A cultural regime change, if you like. Those who have issues with this agenda typically favour sexy solutions that don't impact the big picture. We can grow and prosper if we do it smart and share the benefits equitably and fairly . It won't be easy, but it is doable. As we say in America, we have a situation on our hands. We have lost our moral compass and our leaders are not held accountable. But to quote President Obama, who has achieved a somewhat iconic status of late, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I think we can handle adversity if we pre-plan for it, and can embrace perspectives which are inclusive of the great diversity of stakeholders we have in our nation. If we remain focused on our objectives, and no one moves the goal posts, if we steadfastly reject negativity and adopt blue-skies thinking, we can make it happen. Reality is after all, ultimately what we perceive it to be. The glass is half full. If we work with each other instead of working against each other it will be a win-win situation for everybody. Tolerance must be our watchword. Do we have a consensus on that?

Tim Murray
Director of Communications
Greenwash Inc

There really is only one kind of sustainability



The Fallacy of Equivalent Concerns


Despite our best efforts, there are persistent and common misunderstandings about the rudiments of overshoot and sustainability. Four come to mind:
1. The exponential function. Albert Bartlett is right about that. I can't get people alarmed by lets say, a 2-3% annual growth rate. Like the magic of compound interest, your town can double in population in a mere generation at this deceptively incremental pace.

2. Efficiency paradoxes. People don't understand that efficiencies, outside the context of a steady state economy, by making things cheaper only provoke more consumption and growth. (eg. Jevons Paradox, Khazoom-Brooks postulate).

3. Social justice doesn't solve resource shortages . The integrity of the lifeboat is more important than how the passengers treat each other. Food can be shared equitably between passengers, but if there are too many passengers, the boat will sink. The law of gravity doesn't care about social justice, human rights or human political arrangements. Moral laws, whether handed down by Stephen Lewis, Dr. William Rees or Moses, are trumped by bio-physical laws. Socialists, liberals, federal Greens, clergymen and humanitarians simply don't get it. There ain't enough to go around, however justly and efficiently things are managed or distributed. And economists of course, are equally delusional, if not mad for believing that with some technological 'fix' we can 'grow' the limits.

4. Limiting factors. The weakest link in the chain can bring a society to its knees. It can have everything in abundance, but a shortage in just one critical area can prove its undoing. This to me is the source of this current fashion of assigning "sustainability" to a series of sectors thought to enjoy some independence from others. It is this misconception which I find most pernicious.

Buzzwords

Like the word “green”, “sustainable” or “sustainability” has become the buzzword of the millennia. Corporations and governments of the left or right feel compelled to dress up the most ecologically invasive development proposal or economic activity with assurances that it is “sustainable”. Employed as an adjective it coats the unpalatable with the sweet syrup of delectability rendering the bitter pill of upheaval and damage neutral in flavour. Growth not couched in green psychobabble went down like Buckley’s Mixture, but “sustainable growth”, “sustainable tourism” and “sustainable agriculture” on the other hand tastes like sugary cough syrup. Such is the Newspeak of contemporary growthism, the vocabulary of deceit that promises a new kind of capitalism, capitalism in a green velvet glove, business as usual with apparent sensitivity to environmental concerns that will nevertheless satisfy the shareholders.

Trade-offs or the Fallacy of Equivalent Concerns


But even the compromise suggested by oxymoronic terminology does not apparently suffice to satisfy the corporate agenda. As can be witnessed in the tourist industry, economic considerations have achieved a delusional parity in a “holistic” paradigm that sees “environmental” sustainability balanced off against “economic” and “cultural” sustainability. In this three-legged stool model of viability, environmental issues must compete with other “sustainability” concerns on a level playing field with other equally valid objectives so as to achieve the optimal “trade-offs”. This misconception may be termed “The Fallacy of Equivalent Concerns”. It is the assumption that would, if applied to the human physiognomy, rate the heart as an organ of equal importance to every other organ of the body when in fact, as we know, a patient can survive with one lung, or one kidney , or a colonoscopy, or brain impairment, but when his heart stops all of these important but ancillary parts die with the patient. The economy is a subsidiary part of society. It is, as former World Bank economist Herman Daly described it, “a fully owned branch plant of the environment. “ We make our living in an economy, but we live in a biosphere.

Environmental externalisation doesn't change Mother Nature's rules


Case in point. Newfoundland politicians were warned that the cod fishery was not sustainable, but they replied that without the cod fishery, Newfoundland’s economy was not sustainable, so the fishermen of Newfoundland continued to fish. Nature replied that what the economy of Newfoundland required was irrelevant, and so refused to yield more cod. In any such contest, nature’s agenda prevails. Similarly politicians and developers want the city of Phoenix, already at 3 million people, to grow even further. Mother Nature’s City Council, however, has set limits to the volume of water available in aquifers. One day folks in Phoenix, together with 15 million other refugees in America’s south east, will discover that any economy without water is not sustainable. The needs and wants of an economy cannot trespass carrying capacity. Nature imposes boundaries. Without clean air, productive soils, replenished aquifers---without biodiversity services---any economy will collapse. And once the environment is trashed, try milking your “robust” economy for tax revenues to buy another one. Yet that is what corporate and government green wash implies. Former social democratic Premier of British Columbia, Mike Harcourt, crystallized this confusion with a classic line of obsolete reasoning, “To have a healthy environment we need a healthy economy.” He does not seem to understand that the environment was doing quite well before human activity arrived to “manage” it. His underlying assumption seems to be that the environment is an externality, a desirable luxury that we can only “afford” once we have achieved economic “prosperity”. This reasoning is equivalent to saying that yes, while it is desirable that I have a triple bypass operation, I must postpone the operation until I can afford it by continuing to work overtime at my strenuous job.

Environmental passengers

Imagine if the officers on board the sinking Titanic claimed that the cabins on the third deck were sustainable because each had a barrel of water, ten sacks of beans, a compost, renewable energy and a water-tight door. Trouble is, they would not be sustainable 5 miles underwater. Every cabin was rendered unsustainable when the Titanic itself was unsustainable after the collision. Similarly, the space shuttle Challenger could have been said to have a sustainable oxygen supply, a sustainable food supply, a sustainable waste disposal system, and a sustainable crew compartment. But one "O" ring was the limiting factor that made the Challenger unsustainable. All the other "sustainable" aspects on that space ship were rendered unsustainable by the explosion that blew the crew compartment away, eventually crashing it into the sea. Until it hit the water, apart from the loss of air pressure, the crew survived in a 'sustainable' compartment. Our economy and our culture are like that crew compartment. They are completely dependent on the health of the environment. Without the estimated $33 trillion in free biodiversity services, we're toast. Trash the environment if you like but the so-called 'prosperity' you achieve won't buy you a new one.

Misunderstanding the structure of the real world


We still believe that we can negotiate with nature on our own terms. We can pursue business-as-usual just by genuflecting to trendy green shibboleths. Government and corporate communiqu├ęs are now laced with green-growthist double-talk. Try this from a discussion paper from the Planning Department of a typical Canadian city. Note how it attempts to appease environmental concerns with trendyisms while remaining faithful to the political mandate to keep growing as usual: “Several growth allocation/land use scenarios will...be developed and tested for impacts on various sustainability criteria (financial, environmental, social and cultural).” In other words, there are several criteria for sustainability, and the environment is just one of them. So Mother Nature, stand back. Get to the back of the line and wait your turn until cultural and economic needs have been satisfied.

Hair splitting

Of course, what exactly constitutes “sustainability” is a matter of some debate among ecologists. As one wildlife biologist commented in response to this critique, “Because natural systems are always changing or ‘dynamic’ there seems to be some disturbing latitude in what we consider a sustained ecosystem. What degree of impairment can a system tolerate before it loses the very characteristics that ‘define’ it? The term ‘integrity’ often emerges in these discussions with predictable results. It is much easier to define what constitutes unsustainable or an irreversible change in the system. A boreal forest without fire disturbance is no longer "sustainable"? Or, can forestry be made to replace this disturbance? At what point do we no longer have a boreal forest? This does not at all detract from your argument that clearly shows that without a sustainable natural environment, all other constructs of "sustainability" are meaningless.” A dead planet indeed can achieve an equilibrium, but it cannot sustain life. And this may come as a shock to economists and nationalists alike, but human economic activity, culture, language and customs cannot exist without living human beings.

Sustainability doesn't come in different brands

Even those organizations committed to imposing limits have succumbed to this flawed understanding. An emerging immigration reform organization declares, as one of its aims, “To promote the creation of a sustainable Canada through urgently needed reform of immigration policies that are in the national interest.” Well and good. But then one opinion has it that this proposal “has some merit because it implies sustainability across a number of areas---cultural and institutional as well as environmental.” But mass immigration is not, as Samuel Gompers characterized it, fundamentally a labour issue, nor is it a cultural one. It is not about how many people our economy requires or how many people our culture can assimilate but how many people our environment can sustain. Contemporary culture as we know it cannot survive an ecological meltdown. The nation itself would not endure. When the water you drink is polluted or inaccessible, when the farmland needed to provide food to Canadians after international trade collapses with stratospheric fuel costs, when our exhausted soils starved of fossil-fuel based fertilizers cannot yield crops, when our forests are mowed down and the air unfit to breath, the fact that a lot people in the neighbourhood are wearing strange clothing or speaking in foreign tongues will be of little importance. Cultural “sustainability” in this context will be a mirage. There is ultimately only one “sustainability”. The sustainability of the whole, not its constituent parts.

Tim Murray
February 4/2010

33 Malthusian Truisms and The Laws of Population Politics

33 Malthusian Truisms and The Laws of Population Politics

There are 23 Sustainability Laws that form the backbone of a comprehensive understanding of population issues.

Erhlich-Holdren equation
Hardin’s Commandment (Thou Shalt Not Trespass Carrying Capacity)
Hopfenberg’s thesis
Abernethy’s axiom
Jevon’s Paradox, Khazoom-Brooke Postulate
Boulding’s Three Theorems
Bartlett’s 17 laws of sustainability

Additionally, I would submit ten supplementary Laws of Population Politics:

Michels Iron Law of Oligarchy
--- when a successful grassroots movement forms an organization designed to pursue its radical aims and grows its dues-paying membership, it builds up a bureaucracy that eventually controls it. Then the goal of the organization becomes to preserve the bureaucracy even if that goal conflicts with the original aim of the organization. Exhibit A: Environmental NGOs.

Law of Organizational Ossification, or Salinsky’s Law
---since any radical organization, that is, an organization dedicated to the pursuit of root causes and their solution, succumbs to Michels Iron Law of Oligarchy, the remedy is not to waste energy and time in a fruitless attempt to work within the organization and reform it, but form a new organization to fight the corrupted one. As Saul Alinsky confessed, he would frequently have to visit a town to help set up a committee to fight the committee that he helped set up two years before. Conclusion, all organizations have a limited shelf life, and our loyalty should not be to the organization but to its original ideals. Organizations are just vehicles, and like cars, eventually must be traded in, sold or junked.

The Watermelon Law
---scratch the green coating of a soft green environmentalist, and you get a bleeding heart refugee advocate who forgets sustainability at the first sight of an incoming vessel of asylum-seekers. Watermelon environmentalism is social engineering and a human rights agenda dressed up in a green cloak, reflecting a mentality that has no fundamental understanding of Hardin’s Commandment (Thou Shalt Not Trespass Carrying Capacity).

The Follow-the-Money-Trail Law
----Funding sources reveal more about an environmental NGO’s objectives than the politically correct greenwash and growth-management policies it promotes to rationalize its population myopia.

Mother Nature’s Law of Total Indifference
---In a nutshell, nature doesn’t give a crap about our political priorities or moral imperatives. It does not give a Tinkers Damn if environmentalists feel good about themselves by following green living habits or that people have reduced their per capita consumption---it only cares about our Total consumption, a function of per capita consumption and our population level. Nor does it care about our political arrangements, only about our footprint. A Hitler or a Pol Pot is to be preferred to a Mother Theresa or a liberal democrat if he gets the job done. Nature doesn’t care if people we judge to be worthy (the poor, the persecuted, the people of colour, the handicapped, the fashionably oppressed) should be lifted on to our lifeboat, only if it is overloaded. And whether the passengers live together without class barriers or in feudal subjugation is of no concern to nature either. The laws of physics trump the laws of any Holy Text, ethical system or left-wing manifesto.

The Law of Contagious Stupidity
—based on the Christakis-Fowler hypothesis, that is, our social network influences our health, wealth and welfare, and effects our weight, whether we smoke or drink or what we believe and how we vote, for example. Murray’s Law is a subsidiary of this conclusion. It reads, “The more you hang around Sierra Club members, by a process of osmosis, the dumber and blinder you get.” Solomon Asch’s study of peer pressure harmonizes with this finding.

The Law of Irrelevant Considerations
----Motives and intentions are immaterial to the truth of a policy position. A decent man of humane intentions can promote a policy that results in a net increase of misery and ecological degradation, while a fascist bastard can effect a policy that results in greater sustainability and a net improvement in the quality of life for a more viable human and non-human population. This Law can be construed as a corollary of Mother Nature’s Law of Total Indifference and a precursor to the Law of Truth’s Moral Impartiality and Undemocratic Nature.

The Law of Truth’s Moral Impartiality and Undemocratic Nature
---The truth of an argument depends entirely on its merits and not on the moral character or political affiliation of the person who is making it. The veracity or falsehood of John Nash’s Game Theory does not depend on whether John Nash was an anti-semite or not, but whether his theory is testable and verifiable. That Nick Griffin is a racist does not in the least discredit his assertion that the government’s immigration policy is damaging Britain’s ecological sustainability. The fact that a given study was authored by the Mickey Mouse Club does not in itself discredit its methodology, its data or its conclusions. If a zillion people fervently believe something to be true, that does not make it true. And if only one person in the world believes something to be true, that does not make it false. One person in the right constitutes a majority of one. Truth is not subject to a democratic vote. The IPCC can enjoy support from 95% of the world’s scientists, but their support does not substitute for a testable hypothesis.

The Law of Inhumane Humanitarianism
---AKA the Denial of Hard Choices. This alludes to the hypocrisy of bleeding hearts who pretend that avoidance of cruel dilemnas, made possible by the luxury of surplus resources, is equivalent to compassion. In a world of scarcity, there is an opportunity cost for almost any government policy. Money spent pursuing one policy goal is money that cannot be spent on another. Affluent societies built on cheap fossil fuels can afford to be more indiscriminate in their financial allotments. Canadian governments, for example, have been able to spend $100,000 of taxpayers money annually on the incarceration of a serial child killer like Clifford Olson or a sadistic torturer like Paul Bernando, but third world countries cannot afford our profligate legal system. If Rwanda was burdened by the Western system of jurisprudence, it would take 25 years to prosecute their war criminals and money that they don't have. In a global context, by opposing capital punishment because it is barbaric and cruel, bleeding hearts subject third world villagers and those who live below the poverty line in their own country to a cruel fate by depriving our government of the opportunity to use the money spent on Olson and Bernardo for family planning education and medical care to help them. The most humane course in a world of scarce resources is the most cost-effective one, that is, getting the biggest bang for the buck. Putting Bernardo or Olson up against the wall and shooting them, in Chinese fashion, is arguably more humane to more people than our present practise of wasting precious resources on useless people. The Chinese would not waste $6 million on trying and convicting serial murderer Robert Picton. They would allocate two days to weigh the obvious evidence, and one day to execute him. Our justice system does the world a great injustice. And our compassionate foreign aid policy of unconditional food dispensation has created more misery than it has alleviated. As Garrett Hardin observed, there is nothing more dangerous than a shallow-thinking compassionate person.

The Law of Counter-Intuitive Results
----This speaks to the reflexive habit to designate a chosen policy option as a no-brainer, which is apt because the leftists and greens who favour that option have no brains. Many proposals seem, at first blush, to be obviously flawed or obviously correct. But closer, independent scrutiny and research often indicates that the recommended choice will achieve exactly the opposite of what is intended. Some examples: Food aid dispensed to today may rebound and return a generation later as a famine of far greater scope and consequences. Feed 5,000 hungry mouths now and see 25,000 hungry mouths a decade from now. Bangledesh, Ethiopia and Haiti make good case studies. Rent control designed to make housing more affordable to the poor can act to reduce the supply of affordable housing and minimum wage laws designed to improve the incomes of the working poor may result in fewer unskilled workers being hired. Lower subsidized ferry rates to make transportation for poorer people more affordable can actually reduce their disposable income. Lower transportation costs make an island more accessible and therefore bid up the price of real estate. Higher real estate prices mean higher mortgages, higher rents and higher taxes. Since housing costs soak up 40% of an average family budget, while ferry costs eat up less than 10%, higher ferry rates can put more money in commuters pockets.

More examples. An ugly clear-cut that would desecrate a national or provincial park may actually increase the sum total of unspoiled natural wonderments because it might dissuade tourists from visiting the region. As the Saiz-Carlino study on tourism found, popular tourist destinations encourage tourists to move to those areas and overload their carrying capacity, despoiling more land than if the land was protected from all development at the start. One conspicuous eyesore at the doorstep of an otherwise beautiful community can act to ward off prospective visitors and settlers in the manner of a crucifix repelling vampires---thereby preserving most of the area. A scallop farm, an open pit mine or one hundred hectares blemished by logging can be just what the doctor ordered. And as James Lovelock observed, dumping nuclear waste in the Amazon rain forest might actually save it by keeping the loggers and farmers away. Or more people eating more meat might enhance sustainability because it deprives grain producers the opportunity to use land now devoted to livestock and so feed more people with fewer resources. Feeding more people who breed more people. The negative ecological impact of those many billions of extra people, notwithstanding their vegan diet, would be greater than the much more limited number of meat-eaters would have. Similarly, failure to recycle garbage could stress the landfills to the point that governments would have to cut back on the number of land-fillers rather than inducing people to compact their waste so that more and more of them can be compacted into urban feedlots like garbage. Forcing governments up against the wall sooner rather than later is better than postponing the day of reckoning to a time when many more people will have degraded the environment irrevocably. In summary, there can be more silver in the silver linings of black clouds than the silver found in silver clouds that disguise so much black.

Tim Murray

WATCH YOUR MOUTH---YOU ARE IN A CANADIAN UNIVERSITY NOW

WATCH YOUR MOUTH---YOU ARE IN A CANADIAN UNIVERSITY NOW
PC Group-Think 101 a degree pre-requisite

Once upon a time a university could be described as an island oasis of free inquiry in a societal sea of intolerance. But in an age when cultural diversity has come at the cost of intellectual diversity, and ethnic harmony trumps free speech, the reverse is more true. You are likely to find more scope for dissenting opinions in a bar room debate than in these academic boot camps for political correctness. Journalism schools are among the worst. Carleton University's School of Journalism, for example, to use Dan Murray's characterization, seems little more than a farm team for the CBC (Commie Bull Crap). It would be a feat of immeasurable character for a young man or woman to enter a Canadian university with an independent mind, run the gauntlet of four years of PC indoctrination and then emerge with an independent mind at the end. By the time they are 22 years old, Canadian students have neural pathways that resemble concrete conduits, unable to think in alternative ways by mere virtue of lacking a vocabulary to frame the world differently than multicultural thought control allows. Case in point, York University. Take a look at this "coherent grouping of degree-credit courses" under the rubric of the Orwellian "Anti-Racist Research and Practice Certificate". Read on: (BOLDED highlighting mine)

In this certificate program, you will develop comprehensive knowledge about how to challenge systemic and institutional racism, with a special focus on addressing issues in the workplace, educational and health care sectors, immigration, law enforcement, media and the expressive arts. You will acquire a host of valuable skills including policy assessment and program planning, research design and implementation and critical/analytical skills.
The program's major international collaborative research initiative, Diaspora, Islam and Gender, provides opportunities to participate in research activities as work/study students. Through this you would learn excellent research, interviewing and computer skills. You will also have the opportunity to take part in our annual symposium – Women's Voices from the Middle East.

This is all so fascinating. Students will be taught "to challenge systemic and institutionalm racism" but not when native-born Canadian Caucasian males are subject to discrimination obviously. "Systemic racism" against white whipping-boys does not qualify as racism. So don't expect a phalanx of York university graduates to join the fight to "reverse" reverse discrimination. Police departments, fire halls and ivory towers can carry on their blatantly unwelcoming attitude to white male oppressors. Students will also acquire "critical/analytical skills". Where? At York University--or any Canadian university today----where historical revisionism, cultural relativism and ultra-feminism prevails? And you have to love this research initiative, "Diaspora, Islam and Gender". Excuse me, but isn't the Jews who have suffered the exile of disapora for the past couple of millenia? Will this symposium on "Women's Voices from the Middle East" give a podium to the voices of Israeli women too? The ones who have lost children to rocket attacks and family to terror bombings? Do only Palestinian women suffer in the Middle East? Don't bet on this symposium offering a balanced discussion. At York University and a hundred like it racism thrives under the banner of “anti-racism”, or sorry, “anti-Zionism”. This is the kind milieu in which future CBC reporters are educated. This is where future CBC producers learn their sense of fair play.

And remember, this is just one program among many, and in just one Canadian post-secondary institution. A glance at other liberal arts departments in other schools would reveal more or less the same approach. And notice the rainbow of faces that are presented in every picture on university websites. The sublimal message is, this ain't your place anymore---it is a global institution now and we serve a foreign clientele. Making them feel comfortable is priority number one. So watch your mouth.

http://futurestudents.yorku.ca/program/certificates/antiracist_research_and_practice

Tim Murray
November 23, 2009

REFUSE TO BE MANAGED

"It seems that every group attracts potential politicians and that the trick is to keep these people under control: Unions, political parties, conservation groups, churches, media networks, corporations ...
Once you have given years of your life to a group, having chosen to associate with them because you think they are worthwhile, they become like your tribe. It is then very difficult for you to leave, if you find that the tribal spokesperson is not really singing the tune you joined to hear. Leaving means going out into the social wilderness and starting all over again, which is a big thing in our adult lives.
So many people stick with their tribes and try to rationalise what their rogue leaders are saying, or to influence the politics, only to discover that the power bases have been rigged". Sheila Newman


Sheila Newman's profound insight regarding our emotional incarceration through tribal bonds articulates a thought that I have had since I studied the history of the German Social Democratic Party in college. The SPD was almost like the Jehovah's Witnesses. It was not a political party so much as a subculture of German society. Leaving it or being expelled by it was a trauma of incomprehensible magnitude for its devotees. The SPD was their extended family. Members had their own theatrical and reading groups, their picnics, their dances, their sporting activities, and with this involvement, the party became their self-contained society. It monopolized friendships as well leisure time. Interaction with the "worldly" or bourgeois society became limited. But like the JWs, the SPD was at one time persecuted, even banned. This increased mutual dependence and cohesion. And the SPD was like the JWs in another respect. They spoke of a radically different society, but were anything but revolutionary in their behaviour. The SPD would not risk the loss of their treasury or their bureaucracy to challenge the state, preferring to focus on winning electoral victories to a parliament that did not even have the power to elect the executive. Their accommodation to the state was best exemplified at the outbreak of the First World War when they joined forces with their right wing parliamentary foes and voted for war credits to fund the Prussian war machine. Essentially then, what was the role of the SPD? Was it not to tame and channel revolutionary sentiments along harmless lines? To give dissension a safety-valve, and thereby contain it? Is that not the role of nearly every institution--- to "manage" people?

Is that not what environmental NGO's do? Decoy people toward fighting relatively inconsequential symptoms rather than challenge root causes? Why would they want to solve the root problems? If they did, their bureaucracy would be out of a job. By trying to "manage" growth rather than stop it, they keep the game going. Environmental degradation continues while pyrrhic victories like the designation of this or that land as natural reserve are tossed out like sops to vindicate their campaigning. But whenever land is "saved" for nature, the land outside park boundaries, where most of the endangered species live, is more intensively exploited, until one day, development knocks on the door of sacred parks until government opens it. In the context of a growth-economy, there is no durable sanctuary for wildlife, farmland, greenbelts, nor is there any virtue in per capita reductions in consumption or waste. So the never-ending cycle of growth and conservation continues, and the environmental NGOs can present themselves as saviours when in fact they are facilitators. The battle to save this river or that forest or that species yields more recruits and more donations. The green orgs gain financial sustenance and their supporters get to feel good about themselves. And do not most immigration reform organizations do the same thing? They offer people a vehicle for their frustrations, but make sure that those frustrations continue by "managing" immigration with zero-net-migration nostrums? An immigration moratorium would put them out of business.

If putatively radical or oppositional organizations "manage" people rather than mobilize and empower them, then are they not a force for the status quo? If that is true, then would it be paranoid to suspect that the status quo is feeding them? Setting them up as harmless lightening rods? Hasn't that been done before? Did not the Stalinists in the Soviet Bloc often set up political parties like the "Peasants Party" in fake opposition to the de-facto monopoly of the Communist Party? Did not Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of Lenin's secret police and intelligence agency, the Cheka, organize and fund a phony counter-revolutionary organization for White Russians to draw out those who opposed the revolution? Was it not so convincing that the British government even contributed money to it? It is much easier to control your enemies by bringing them to the surface and letting them spin their wheels uselessly within an organization whose bark is far worse than its bite. Let's take a look at the organizations we support. Are they really not doing just what the doctor ordered? That is, essentially nothing? They suck in our time and our money and have us believe that they are making a difference, when in fact they are only offering a venue for our self-indulgent exercise in ineffective venting. Have any of these population or immigration organizations been able to stop growth? Have I been able to stop a single immigrant from entering the country, or single baby from being born, or a single building permit from being issued? As the forces opposing growth seem to be gathering strength, growth continues at an even more frenetic pace. Dogs bark but the caravan moves on.

The practice of "managing" dissent is now down to a fine art. Corporations and media outlets have it down pat. What they do for angry customers, viewers or listeners is to offer a resolution "process". A process that is a long and winding road through interminable steps. When the first line of defence does not give you a satisfactory answer, you are advised to appeal to the flak above him, and then to the managing director of consumer affairs, or in the case of the CBC, "the ombudsman", whose verdict is typically unsatisfactory or evasive ("This matter is outside my province, you are best advised to refer it to the Minister"). The point of the exercise is to render the complainant frustrated, defeated, and exhausted to the point that further complaints will be deemed futile. The "managers" have achieved their goal. They bought time and ate up the clock by sending their opponents down a long detour. This is really what our famous "EARP" (Environmental Assessment Review Panels) are all about. It is Muhammed Ali's "rope-a-dope" strategy. Siphon off the energy of the opposition by encouraging them to throw all their punches in a constrained arena until they are spent. Let the environmentalists compose their reports and present their briefs and after a year of hearings, adjourn. Then later, their findings can be dismissed. Duty has been discharged. The opposition has had their day in court. But before it went to court, public rage was first corralled into an environmental organization that posed as its champion. Public rage was filtered and processed before it went through "the process". It was managed and we were humoured.

Once we recognize that we are being manipulated and used to build careers and feather bureaucratic nests, once we decide that we are not in business to promote the job security of those who talk a good game but are too heavily invested in the perks of pseudo-importance or in the illusory rapport they have established with the establishment---how do we make a break? What are the alternatives? Can we act as lone wolves or don't we need a political medium of some kind? The answer is that we can go it alone, but we don't. We don't for the reasons Sheila Newman expressed. We are pack animals and have been hard-wired with a pack mentality. Ostracism either self-imposed or inflicted is a very painful predicament. The experiments of Solomon Asch documented how very powerful peer pressure can be. If we are one of a closely knit group of ten people, and nine of them say that two plus two equals five, the inclination to agree with them is in most cases, too overwhelming to resist. Best to hang with the tribe and support the leader to the bitter end.

I have been told enumerable times to "soften" my message, to "tone it down", or stick with the points that I can "sell". But I have been inhibited by one observation. Those who compromise what they know to be true in order to pander to the sensibilities of a wider audience, over time, come to believe in their own half-truths and half-measures. A leader who once knew that only an immigration moratorium would provide enough respite for the environment, or ease unemployment or heal cultural fragmentation, comes to believe that "zero-net migration" will accomplish the same goals. Or he eventually believes that a "two-child per family" law would suffice to stabilize and reduce the population when he formerly was committed to a One-Child-Per-Family policy. Or a leader who once believed in socialism becomes, in his quest for power, a social democrat, and eventually a supporter of privatization. And with each permutation or compromise, incredibly, the membership follows in loyal lock-step.

We need to cut loose and become free agents. To stop working as foot soldiers for fossilized organizations but instead form provisional coalitions with people, groups or causes that serve as allies and vehicles of convenience Dump the tribe, grow up and go free-lance.

Tim Murray
December 28/09

CANADA IS THE WORLD'S BURGHER KING---WE ARE HERE TO SERVE YOU, NOT US

Did you notice how the Canadian media described Governor-General Michaelle Jean’s tearful message to Haiti in the wake of this most devastating earthquake? They spoke of the earthquake as “the worst disaster to strike her homeland in two centuries.” Her “homeland”. Wait a second. This amazing lady of great accomplishment has spent 79% of her life as a Canadian citizen, and the PC press refers to Haiti, which she left as an 11 year old, as her “homeland”.

This is the legacy of almost four decades of Official Multiculturalism. Foreign-born Canadians are able to regard another country as their home, and the media collaborates in the project. It is interesting that while the Governor- General was pressured to drop her dual citizenship---she had a French passport as well---she nonetheless can be granted a dual emotional loyalty. That is Canada in a nutshell. Not only can crowds of New Canadians be seen at international soccer matches in Toronto or Vancouver cheering against Canada and waving the flag of their former country, even the Head of State can signal that her primary affections lie elsewhere in a public fashion. Or at least that is how the media frames it.
The Americans have a constitutional provision that requires their head of state to be American-born. The fact that Canadians don’t have a similar rule speaks volumes about the difference between our respective political cultures. While the United States is fragmenting along ethnic fault lines like Canada, at least there is a strong residual commitment to the concept of cohesion. The ideal of America as a melting pot still prevails, notwithstanding the reality of cultural balkanization that is unfolding nearly everywhere. Canadians have no such luck. Our political class not only disregards the importance of breaking done ethnic solitudes, it encourages them. Ethnic enclaves---that is Canada-speak for ‘ghettos’---are multiplying in number and strength in the nation’s major urban centres. A phenomena which our state broadcaster, the tax-payer funded CBC, finds reason to celebrate, even going so far as to claim, in numerous commentaries, that native-born Canadians have no right to “impose” Canadian core values on newcomers. After all, in the words of one protagonist of chaos, Canada is no longer “this white European place” where the citizens of European ancestry born and raised here have a right to set the rules. It is amazing what just 15%-18% of the population can dictate if it has the advantage of cohesion, state patronage and a vocal leadership that has no difficulty in obtaining a CBC microphone.

It is no wonder that the slogan judged by the National Post to be the most appropriate for the country on July 1, 2008 was “Canada---Home to the World”. It is no wonder that 7 of the 11 members of the Standing Committee on Immigration are foreign-born. It is no wonder that our Head of State was born in a foreign land. The message clearly is, “come in and make yourself at home” because fundamentally, the “homeowners” are to be regarded as squatters or provisional custodians. The message is that somehow, Canadian citizenship is everyone’s birth right, and that the purpose of Canada is not to serve the Canadians who live here but the Canadians who just arrived or hope to arrive. A club where anyone can claim club privileges without deference to club rules or club tradition.

Canada is the world’s Burgher King. We are here to serve you, not us. And the sick thing is, a great many Canadians are proud of that. “Canada—doormat to the world”.

Now that is a slogan that fits.

Tim Murray,
January16/09

WHO IS COERCING WHOM?

I am frankly sick and tired of growth-promoters raising the spectre of “coercive population measures” whenever a suggestion is made that we must promote family planning or smaller families. Is there some sacred reason why fertility should not be limited if deemed necessary? In a world of 6.8 billion people going on 9 or 10 billion, or in any nation suffering from exponential population growth, there can be no “pro-creative” right.

This must not be confused with “reproductive” rights. Women should have the right not to have children. But they have no right, in the context of overshoot, to have as many children as they or their husbands want. The “right to choose” cannot be the right to abuse. Even the most jealously guarded right must be measured against equally fundamental rights, most especially the right of our species, and others, to live.

I have, at present, the ‘right’ to drive a car. But I do not have a right to drive it over the speed limit. And it is society that establishes that limit, not me. Indeed, if society determines that there are too many people driving cars, it has the moral right to impose petroleum taxes, restrict parking permits and spaces, put tolls on highways and bridges and employ an assortment of other measures to discourage me from driving. I similarly have the right to go fishing, but I don’t have the right to catch as many fish as I may like. In the face of shortages, we have come to accept that our collective right to achieve sustainability supersedes any individual “right”. The number of consumers who will compete for critically scarce resources is surely every bit as important as the number of people who go fishing and how many fish they catch. If there is a licence needed to fish, why should there not, in principle at least, be a licence required to inflict a child upon the rest of society? Am I advocating “coercion”? Absolutely. Coercion if necessary, but not necessarily coercion. Mutual coercion mutually agreed upon, if voluntary efforts, yet to be exhausted, prove ineffective. But would fertility controls represent the introduction of coercion where none presently exists? Absolutely not.

Let’s get real. A great many women in the undeveloped world at least, are having children precisely because they are coerced. Coerced by husbands, priests and mullahs to have more than the number they want. Coerced by their cultural programming to give male wishes greater priority than their own. Coerced by their lack of access to birth control information, and by the denial of educational opportunities. This is where coercion makes itself most present. Not in China. Not by communist bureaucrats and law-makers. But by the dictates of domestic and religious patriarchal power.

And what of my rights? What about my right not to see my share of non-renewable resources diminished by the “personal” decision of the couple down the street to have an unnecessary child? Did they consult me about their decision to conceive another Canadian, an earth-trampling shopping machine who emits 23 metric tonnes of carbon each year, consumes 40,000 pounds of metals and minerals and accounts for over 150 pounds of curb side waste each day? Did they submit an application to the local planning authority or town council for a permit to stress the environment even further than it is being stressed? Why is their “right” to create more life considered more fundamental than our right to sustain the life that is already here? Why should the human population level of a country or a planet be subject to the whimsy and haphazard “personal” decisions of fertile individuals? Why must they replicate their own genes? Why are so many children forced to live in orphanages, foster homes and on the squalid streets of sprawling cities to fend for themselves while irrational ego-trippers generate more children just because they want to raise someone with the same pair of ears or eyes as they have? Children do not have to share your genes to share your love.

I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone to have a child. So why would anyone tell me that I should move over for theirs? To paraphrase Hilary Clinton, it takes a whole ecosystem to raise a child, and as a charter member of it, I have the right to participate in the decisions that affect me. On an overloaded planet anybody’s pregnancy is everybody’s business. For every extra billion we grow in number, another 200 billion tonnes of Green House Gases are emitted, and to effectively reduce emissions, we must, among other things, reduce the number of emitters. Unfettered procreative rights are of little value on a dead planet. Beyond a certain point, parenthood is not a service but an imposition, not only upon humanity, but disproportionately upon the most disempowered and poorest part of it, the very people whom many Western feminists and human rights crusaders are most concerned with. How can an unsustainable population level enhance their rights? Can anyone seriously contend that the sum total of unplanned or unwanted pregnancies does not restrict personal autonomy more than the most intrusive family planning program? Or maintain that the absence of effective birth control is not the most coercive regime that women can suffer?

Just who is coercing whom?

Tim Murray

Too Dumb to Live: Malthusian Hubris

“For humans, instincts are far more powerful than logic, facts and reason. Instincts include greed by those in power and the reproduction instinct of us pawns living under their growth-based pyramid scheme.” Brishen Hoff

This afternoon I committed an act of spontaneous futility. Upon hearing the news that in a nation suffering from the highest population growth rate in the G8 group, and despite the surplus of children needing adoption, a woman in my immediate social cirlce gave birth to a Canadian consumer, I spent the morning in a funk. Then as I passed a used clothing store, an idea flashed. I would find something in black, buy it, and make an armband. I bought the cheapest black tee shirt that I could select, then before a puzzled proprietor, used her scissors to cut off the left sleeve, and slide it up my arm. This action had the desired effect. It prompted her, and several others in the village to ask why I was wearing it. I told them that I was in mourning, and no, it wasn’t because Canada lost a gold medal hockey game to our sibling rivals, the Americans. It was because this woman I speak of did the unspeakable and added a human ecological footprint when nature is already burdened with far too many of them, some 216,000 born each and every day.

Why did this particular example of global self-indulgence affect me so much? Because for me more than any other planned pregnancy, hers underscored the failure of (allegedly) the most intelligent species to defeat or countermand instinct, as well as my phenomenal arrogance that I or anyone else like me could change that. Years of proselytizing had failed to persuade even of one the three people I feel closest to use her formidable intelligence and rationality to resist a primitive calling to reproduce herself. Despite her advanced education she proved to be yet another robotic replicator. She just had to have a child with the same pair of ears or eyes as she did. So how could I expect a different result or response from others? Even the most powerful religions have not mounted a frontal assault on human nature—on the contrary, they have accommodated to it and exploited it by channelling it more than suppressing it. Brishen Hoff was right. After fighting the good fight against growth, exhausted and dispirited, he had this to say:

“The same way that Julian Simon is guilty of hubris by saying that humans are smart enough to solve any problem through technology, many of us in the Neo-Malthusian movement are guilty of hubris by saying that unlike other animals, humans are smart enough to limit their numbers by limiting reproduction instead of waiting for nature to intervene brutally. I have come to the unfortunate realization that our numbers will be culled by nature. Therefore, I will put most of my effort from now on ensuring that I am not one of those who is culled.”

The answer does not lie in the stars, or in institutional arrangements and economic systems, or cultural engineering. It lies in our genetic re-programming. Slash the human population back to the 5-10 million of us who existed as hunter-gatherers for 99% of our existence and in less than a millennium we would be back to square one. Vastly over-populated. As presently designed, we are simply too dumb to live. Soap operas that model smaller families won’t suffice. Our brains must be modified and enhanced, or we will suffer the fate of any other extinct species that could not impose limits on its growth. We need a product re-call or another model needs to come off the assembly line. Quick.

Tim Murray
January 6/10

Rabbi's Penis Held Accountable for Coming Holocaust---Failing to understand the exponential function or failing Kant's moral litmus test?

Jason Brent is a unique individual. By his early twenties he was he was a young man of astounding academic accomplishments, have earned both an MBA and a degree in engineering, and later on, the legal training to finish his working life as a judge. He is a dedicated Malthusian from Brooklyn who lost well over a hundred relatives in the Holocaust, and his draconian prescriptions for rapid population reduction to sustainable levels are rooted in a desire to avoid a holocaust inflicted by nature on a vaster scale failing our intervention. As such, Jason has a problem with Orthodox Rabbis who tell their flock to go forth and multiply and at the same time be good stewards of the earth. Viable biodiversity cannot co-exist with relentless human expansion. Moreover, as a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, he is all too aware that water shortages trump the tribal ambitions of orthodox Jews to win a breeding war with the Palestinians, whose wombs, according to the late Yassir Arafat, are their best weapon.

Mr. Brent also finds that one Rabbi Shanowitz is caught in another moral contradiction. He is in logical violation of Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative. Namely, that one cannot will for himself, a privilege or a right which he would not accord to everyone else in the same situation. I cannot, for example, argue that it is acceptable for me to steal someone’s wallet without allowing everyone else the right to steal mine. Thus, if Rabbi Shanowitz is morally justified in siring 9 children, as he has, then he must permit everyone else the same privilege. What would be the consequences then, if those 9 children, and the 10 generations which followed them, modelled their reproductive behaviour on Rabbi Shanowitz’s example?
Mr. Brent answered that question by constructing a table consisting of 10 generations each separated by 35 years. He calculated that the number of the good rabbi’s descendents would rise exponentially from 9 in the first 35 years to 6,561 in 140 years, to 43,046,721 in 280 years, to over 3 billion Shanowitz products in 350 years. Then, he pointed out to the rabbi,
“ln just one more generation (11 generations), a total of less than 400 years, you would have in excess of 31 billion descendants. If this were to continue for just 100 generations or 3,500 years, your descendants would exceed the number of atoms in the entire universe. And by the number of atoms in the entire universe I include not only our sun and its planets, not only our galaxy, the Milky Way, with in excess of 100 billion stars, I include at least 100 billion galaxies with each having in excess of 100 billion stars and each of the stars having a number of atoms that you cannot conceive of. God himself could not cause the number of human beings to exceed the number of atoms in the entire universe in 3,500 years. To be more realistic, not even God himself could cause the earth, our planet, to support in excess of 31 billion human beings and your descendants would exceed 31 billion in under 400 years...Your descendants, based on the assumptions above, will destroy all of humanity substantially before 400 years by destroying the ability of the earth, our planet, to provide the resources needed by humankind to survive. And the previous statement does not take into consideration the descendants of any other person on the face of the earth.”

Mr. Brent then concludes that “Your descendants will cause resource wars, with or without weapons of mass destruction, concentration camps will make those of Nazi Germany look like a picnic, ethnic cleansing, massive rapes of innocent women, and deaths beyond your wildest imagination. Having nine children is an evil so monstrous that there aren’t any words in the English language to describe it. You and your penis will be responsible for more Jewish deaths and more deaths of humans than Adolf Hitler. Hitler killed six million Jews. (But) you and your penis will cause the death of every Jew on the face of the earth when the earth is no longer able to support the needs of humanity and humanity turns into wild beasts fighting for every scrap of resources to survive. Any person who advocates having a large number of children should be executed for crimes against humanity.”

Amen to that!

Tim Murray,
January 2/09

ALLIANCE FOR DEATH (aka "Alliance for Life")

This TV ad takes the cake. Have you seen it? It is paid for by an organization that calls itself “Alliance for Life” (Ontario). http://www.allianceforlife.org It is a “provincial coordinating organization” of some 44 affiliates which, surprise surprise, includes seven Christian denominations, of which, another shocker, five are Catholic. Most interesting is an organization calling itself the “Population Research Institute”, founded of course by a priest, Father Paul Marx. Its mission? “...to expose the myth of overpopulation, to expose human rights abuses committed in population control programs.” http://pop.org/20090117800/who-we-are The Alliance, meanwhile, claims to present “a united voice for the dignity and worth of all human beings from conception/fertilization to natural death.” I can personally attest to the kind of dignity in death to which they are referring. My brother writhed in agony for months from terminal cancer, and repeatedly indicated that he wanted to die. But his Christian fundamentalist doctor was too concerned with his dignity to assist him in executing his wishes, and so my brother was forced to suffer without the ability to swallow or control his bowels. This conduct is sanctioned by the Alliance for “Life” as “morally and ethically acceptable”.http://www.allianceforlife.org/euthanasia.html And of course, the Criminal Code, built on this kind of “morality”, stands behind them. This is the cultural “heritage” which some Canadian anti-immigrationists are intent upon saving. They are the people who grasp at environmental reasons for limiting immigration, but then turn around and advocate more birth incentives for native-born Canadians, most of whom are self-described Christians. Their objective is an ancient one. “Grow the tribe and screw carrying capacity.” So how does the Alliance for Life present its case on television?

The ad features children playing, when in a stroke, one in four of them vanish from the screen. This is to simulate the number of “children” or “babies” destroyed since the abortion law was struck down in 1988. That’s right. After 20 years the Christian right still doesn’t get it. They don’t understand the difference between a baby and a feotus. Between a life and a potential life. I once bought a lottery ticket, and I discovered that there was a substantial difference between a ticket that had the potential of winning the jackpot and one that actually did. It only took one purchase for me to figure that out. But then my learning curve is rather shorter and higher than a Bible-thumper’s I think.

But the Alliance for “Life” , or more aptly, the Alliance for the Increased Quantity of Life (rather than Quality of Life) is animated by different logic. They claim that since one-quarter of all pregnancies were terminated in Canada since the abortion law was passed, young Canadians are “missing” 3 million of their friends. Think of what a difference they would have made, they ask. Over to you Julian Simon. Another Sydney Crosby, or 100 cancer researchers, or 10,000 teachers perhaps. Forget the extra criminals, dead beats and real estate speculators. The more “life” we have the better. After all, “people” are our greatest resource.
Yeah sure. But each Canadian member of that “resource” emits, on average, 23 metric tonnes of green house gas (GHG) per year, consumes 3 million tons of metals, minerals and fuel in a lifetime, and produces more than 150 pounds of waste annually as well. So what would those 3 million “missing” friends bring us? For starters, about 65% more GHG emissions than the tar sands produce, and about half the farmland that has been developed to accommodate the New Canadians that have arrived since the abortion law was enacted. And let us not forget the number of non-human species that would have been obliterated by the bulldozer to clear the way. Do you still miss those 3 million potential consumers now?

Each extra Canadian, whether he or she enters the country through the hospital or through the airport, diminishes the per capita share of non-renewable resources that existing Canadians enjoy. Even if the extra 3 million would have spurred more economic growth---a proposition refuted by two or three studies so far---that growth is still contingent on the supply of cheap fossil fuel and rapidly scarce minerals and metals upon which an industrial economy depends. More people does not mean a higher per capita GDP, and even if it did, the economic foundation upon which our inflated population rests is built on quicksand. The bigger we are, the harder we’ll fall. Triple digit oil will kill our transportation system and our ability to grow, harvest, transport and refrigerate our food. If we continue to grow our economy and grow our population, many more of us will starve, freeze and die, along with the flora and fauna we take down with us.

What is really required is an advertisement showing the number of various species on a screen, and those that disappear with each increment of the human population. Christians are fond of justifying the Biblical mandate for humans to exercise dominion over all God’s creatures by stressing our obligation to be wise stewards. That is a difficult task when the human population, to Catholic and evangelical cheerleading, has nearly tripled its size in my lifetime and is shrinking wildlife habitat relentlessly and mercilessly. Whether a primate’s life begins at conception or not, there are now fewer primates in existence than there are human beings born in any given day. If each one of God’s 214,000 miracles born each day is precious, what of the hundreds of thousands of non-human life forms that are murdered that day by our expansion? Each and every day we are breeding our life support system into the ground.

It is in this sense, then, that the Alliance for Life is the Alliance for Death.

Tim Murray
December 26/09
PS Happy New Year to Canada’s greatest and most effective environmentalist, Dr. Henry Morgenthaler.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Questions for the self-righteous climate-obsessed

Local Sierrans held a vigil outside the local store one Saturday morning to register their impatience with lack of action on climate change. The following questions came to mind:

Why isn't there a vigil outside the store about this: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6041 Or do we not think stratosphere fossil fuel prices are imminent and will destroy our ability to feed more than a fraction of humanity?

Why isn't there a vigil outside the store about Peak Everything? About biodiversity loss? About what underlies all of it—overpopulation. About the dangerous problems right around the corner?

Why is global warming our obsession when the Canada Research Chair on Energy and the Environment, the much acclaimed Dr. David Keith, said recently that while climate change is very serious, "there is no credible science" to back up the belief that it is this "apocalyptic, existential threat" that must be addressed "in years rather than decades". http://www.cbc.ca/thesundayedition/podcast.html

Why has climate change hijacked the environmental agenda? Was there no environmental degradation before Al Gore?

Why do environmentalists care so much about GHG emissions and nothing about the number of GHG emitters?

Why don't environmentalists realize that birth control is five times more cost-effective in reducing GHG emissions than green technology?

Why is it that the BC Sierra Club produced 10 "things you can do to fight global warming", the David Suzuki Foundation another 10 "ways to fight global warming" and Guy Dauncey 101 "solutions" to fight climate change, and not one of them, not one recommendation in a grand total of 121 tips to fight climate change, mentioned birth control? How can these green NGOs insist that climate change is a result of human activity when they apparently won't acknowledge that the number of "humans" has something to do with human activity? Why did they remain silent when an Abbotsford couple had their 18th child? Was that not a "teachable moment"? Is that at least as important as replacing incandescent bulbs? Who drives SUVs or generates waste? Chimpanzees? Gremlins? Ghosts?

It is it just a coincidence that between 1970 and 2004 America's population grew by 43% while its GHG emissions grew by 43%? Do environmentalists and politicians believe that there is a technological "fix" for unchecked growth and greed? Do they think that we can decouple GHG emissions and environmental damage from economic and population growth? That we can decouple ice cream consumption from weight gain and starvation from lack of food? That we can we reduce landfills while increasing the number of land-fillers? Hello?

Could it be that green NGO silence about population and economic growth (it's OK if it is "smart") has something to do with their corporate benefactors? Financial institutions who have a vested interest in growth? Do their members choose not to know? Do they not read the financial reports of the organizations they support? Are they wilfully blind? Or so lazy as to be satisfied with the spoon-fed filtered information they get from their club's newsletters? Is the name of the game attacking root causes or is it addressing symptoms? Is it about taking on taboos or just focusing on easy politically correct targets? Are symbolic protests and cosmetic lifestyle adjustments really about feeling good about yourself? Penitence perhaps for taking the carbon footprints you gave birth to or sired to Bali or Mexico by jet aircraft at Mother Nature’s expense.

Tim Murray
December 16/09

10 False Assumptions of the BC NDP (and leftist parties everywhere)

1.We must “grow” our revenues

2.We need economic growth to grow our revenues or......

3.We can grow our revenues by taxing corporations and ‘making the rich pay their fair share’ or....

4.We can grow our revenues by both growing the economy and making the corporations pay more tax.

5.We can grow our limits. We can ignore the imminent loss of cheap fossil fuels and rely upon continued economic growth because miraculously, we can find alternative technology to scale up to the energy requirements of a growing economy and the superstructure of social services that rest upon it.

6.We can decouple economic and population growth from green house gas emissions.

7.Constant reductions of per capita consumption and per capita waste can offset
constant increases in total consumption that come with a growing population, ad infinitum.

8.We can nullify the ecological impact of a growing population by concentrating people into urban feed lots, by rezoning city land to increase infill housing, and by defending Greenfield acreage with strict land-use planning. We can pretend that land-use decisions are not made by local politicians who are owned by developers. And we can argue that because capitalism is bad for the environment, then by a magical feat of deductive reasoning, socialism must be better. Take away the profit motive, and institutions will work in our best interest. Case in point, the pristine, bucolic paradises of the late Soviet bloc, China, and the Sandinista regime that bought Catholic support by not instituting family planning so that the population levels could skyrocket.

9.Not only can we have infinite growth in a finite world, but infinite growth in the number of tax-payer funded services.

10.Government will always be there for you. As it was for the people of New Orleans and as it will be when our world is soon beset with a million Katrinas. Therefore, there is no reason to promote personal or community self-sufficiency. We can make people even more dependent on government than they are already. More daycare spaces. More child benefits. More funding for the arts. More subsidies for more services. Less individual responsibility. That is how elections are won. That was how the West Was Won. Pioneers got government funding and support for barn-raising, didn’t they? They must have, because without government help Canadians can’t do anything, can they? And whose fault is that? It is always someone else’s fault, isn’t it?

AS PRESENTLY CONSTITUTED, THIS CURRENT MODEL OF HUMAN WON'T DO

"Man can be the most affectionate and altruistic of creatures, yet he's potentially more vicious than any other. He is the only one who can be persuaded to hate millions of his own kind whom he has never seen and to kill as many as he can lay his hands on in the name of his tribe or his God." Benjamin Spock, pediatrician and author (1903-1998)

Count me in as one of those people who hates millions, no, billions of my own kind whom I have never seen. Farley Mowat once said, while standing before an audience in front of his microphone, that if he could press a button that would wipe out mankind, he would. I would not go that far because I want the human race to survive, or at least, to see its limited tenure on Earth extended. It is precisely because of that objective that I believe that probably all but 5 million of us require termination. Then again, there is no reason to believe that those five million would not give rise to the same behaviour which has led to the current crisis. As I have said before, our brains are not sufficiently developed, a deficit that cannot be remedied by "education" or moral improvement. We are hardwired for denial, we need unfounded optimism to get through the night. That is why religion and superstition will never be eradicated. We require comfort, not the cold truth. Even Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" needed a Hollywood ending. We have a limited tolerance for bad news. Remove mass advertising and media-spun delusions, and we are still left with an ineradicable human appetite for escape. We can't live with reality. It is too mundane, boring or awful. We need to be entertained with good stories. Soap operas, games and gossip were as much the signature of our species in our hunter gatherer guise as they are now.

It is really quite bizarre when you think about it. We face extinction and we spend our time talking about the Academy Awards or the Winter Olympics. What would alien pathologists and archaeologists conclude about our demise? Especially if they discover the archive of books and movies and documentaries that we produced that have warned us of the consequences of our folly. The best snapshot of human mentality can be found by recollections of so many Titanic passengers who continued to party well after the collision. The cheerful bimbos who tell me to "have a good day" or "stay positive" in the face of the gathering storm before us are little different than the women in evening gowns on April 12, 1912 who would point to their cocktail glass with punch listing at 30 degrees and say, "Look, the glass is half full". By what measure of acumen can we be rated as an intelligent species? How can we remain motivated to fight what, in the great scheme of things, can only be regarded as trivial pursuits? Almost any cause that we invest so much time and energy in can be likened to the hackneyed metaphor of changing deck chairs on the Titanic. Human rights, women's rights, rights for the handicapped, rights for minorities, social justice, wealth redistribution, urban planning, border control, save the poster species of the month----all of these things seem pathetically inconsequential in the context of the collapse that must come. To be objective, my efforts are nothing more than an exercise in therapeutic catharsis---dogs bark but the caravan moves on. Yet trying to do something about it is a more satisfying preoccupation than doing absolutely nothing.

I believe that we need genetic engineering or brain surgery on a mass scale. Seriously. Whatever it is that is causing a disconnect between our actions and the consequences of our actions must be identified and surgically or genetically removed. Jason Brent has argued for the development of a Master Race, a term that must not be confused with Hitlerian concepts of "race", but nevertheless will be. Differences of skin pigmentation or culture are irrelevant. What is important is that we are just not smart enough to continue our reign as king of the food chain. The present model of a hominid is defective.

Tim Murray,
December 1/09

PS Take a look at a 1970 movie entitled "The Forbin Project", then tell me that we would not be better governed by the competent and chilling rationality of a super-computer than the most benevolent rule of an omnipotent Mother Theresa. Just as war is too serious to be left to the generals, overpopulation is too serious to be left to the democratic wishes of a species that is congenitally incapable of acknowledging limits. Tim Flannery has proposed that immigration, a subset of population policy, be removed from the control of politicians and placed in the hands of a scientific body aloof from political pressure. A super-computer like "Collossus" in the movie that would command all military levers could act like a surgeon and global policeman to exact all the penalities and sacrifices necessary for humanity to survive. First-World wealth could be commandeered, consumption curtailed and mass sterilizations imposed instantly on pain of liquidation. Sounds good to me.