Ed Hudgins

Al Gore's War on Children

Recommended Posts

Al Gore's War on Children

by Edward Hudgins

June 22, 2011-- I have long argued that the morally twisted beliefs of many environmentalists imply that humans are pollution and that the Earth would be better without us.

Al Gore, the Guru of Gaia, now seems to agree with this assessment and comes down clearly against the human race.

In an interview the former vice president argued that one way to reduce the carbon emissions that he claims are causing climate change is "to stabilize the population, and one of the principle ways of doing that is to empower and educate girls and women." Specifically, "You have to have ubiquitous availability of fertility management so women can choose how many children have, the spacing of the children." Gore states that, "You have to lift child survival rates so that parents feel comfortable having small families."

What size families individuals choose to have is a very personal and private matter. In pursuit of their own happiness, individuals must balance their various goals in life concerning careers, family, and the like.

But Gore has a different balance in mind. He endorses smaller families so that "the population [can begin] … to stabilize and societies begin to make better choices and more balanced choices" with the goal of reducing carbon emissions. Note "societies" making decisions, not individuals.

IMG_4416B-1-1-1.jpg

Gore's point here is not just that education, family planning options, and lower infant morality are good things. It's that individuals should take account of the impact of the children they might choose to have on the environment because children and humans in general are a burden on the planet.

Here is the stark essence of how Gore and his co-religionists view the world. The environment is not material to be used to support human life and comfort, to be utilized by us for our food, shelter, and all the great human enterprises and achievements. The environment has some kind of intrinsic value apart from its value to humans.

If one accepts that premise, then one is always asking, "How can I reduce my impact on the Earth? How can I reduce my carbon footprint?" Returning to a more primitive existence might seem one way. But only a small fraction of the global population of nearly seven billion and rising can be supported if we all were to cut back on the technology and advances that now support our lives. See the assumption here? Humans are the problem. The obvious solution: Have fewer humans!

And sure enough, there are environmentalists who promote the idea of having no children because children are pollution. There is former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's environmental adviser Jonathon Porritt, who advocates cutting his country's population in half, by 30 million. And there is a human extinction movement.

Some individuals might think that Gore and company only mean to say that for the sake of humans, for the sake of our survival, for the sake of our children, we must conserve limited natural resources. The planet will certainly run out of a few non-renewable resources—fossil fuels, for example—in the distant future.

But something is a "resource," that is, of value to humans, because we use our minds to discover how to utilize it. A hundred and fifty years ago, oil was simply a nuisance to farmers when it seeped out of the ground and spoiled their crops. It was our minds that figured out how to use it for fuel. And there is no limit to the capacity of the human mind to discover how to utilize the environment for our benefit, assuming that the survival and happiness of individual humans on this Earth is one's goal.

Let's thank Al Gore for clarifying the nature of a crucial struggle in the world today. There are those who value the environment separate from its value to humans and thus in conflict with the life of humans. And there are those who value their own lives, families, friends, and everything they gain from this world. If you choose the latter, don't miss opportunities to call to task those who advocate the former, to point out the implications for their anti-human philosophy, and to reject that philosophy wherever it rears its ugly head.

Explore:

Edward Hudgins, "Light Up the World for Humans" March 27, 2009.

Edward Hudgins, "Reducing Humans to Carbon Ash" November 16, 2009.

Robert Bidinotto, "Green Cathedrals: Environmentalism's Mythological Appeal" September 2007.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is noteworthy as a measure of how hard up these people are. Overpopulation was the global warming of its day, roughly the mid-50s to the mid-70s. It climaxed and blew itself off in the writings of Paul Ehrlich and thereafter vanished down the memory hole. Apparently global warming has been so thoroughly discredited that they're bringing overpopulation back. A whole generation has been born and has grown to adulthood since the last time anybody heard of it.

We see a similar development in the Democrats' revival of the blame-Bush-for-the-economy theme. Obama and his people tried it early on, saw that it was a failure politically and dropped it. Lately though, some of his party (Wasserman-Schultz comes to mind) have exhumed it for a new run.

Edited by Reidy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the other hand, consider Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids by Bryan Caplan. Caplan is a professor at George Mason University and blogger here for the Library of Economics and Liberty. (The Online Library of Liberty here is a huge repository of PDF and HTML presentations of important political, economic, and philosophical works going back 4000 years.)

China's one child policy shows that this can be enforced. However, it is now under some criticism within China.

I agree 100% with Edward: "What size families individuals choose to have is a very personal and private matter. In pursuit of their own happiness, individuals must balance their various goals in life concerning careers, family, and the like." We had one because I looked at the "average mental age" argument.

Husband - 30

Wife - 25

Kid - 5

Mean - 20

Husband - 31

Wife - 26

Kid 1 - 6

Kid 2 - 3

Kid 3 - 0

Mean - 13

Who makes better choices, a 20-year old, or a 13-year old?

When you have several children, they begin raising each other, forming relationships that exclude parenting. With one child, you get an adult sooner, deeper, and more lasting. At least, that's my theory... though there was one time, I had just used all of my parental powers to get her to come out and help me rake leaves, when one of her friends cruised up in a new truck. "Bye, Dad!" she said, getting in. And I said to myself, "If I'd had two more, I wouldn't be standing here alone right now."

China's one child policy shows that Gore's dream can be legally enforced. However, that policy is now under some criticism in China.

People are precious resources. The reason we leave this - and as much else as possible to the choices of individuals unconstrained by political pressure - is that our success socially and as a species depends on a variegated tapesty of skills, interests, pursuits, and talents. In fact, the list of things like that which we need is impossible to complete, on the "I Pencil" theory that as soon as we list them all, someone will think of a new one, just as the modern pencil of 1950 was a manifold improvement over the tool of 1850.

It might be nice to have a doctorate in chemistry. But if everyone else does, too, the advantage vanishes. That is an exaggeration, but not hyperbole. Also on the Econolog Blog is a report from Arnold Kling about the consequences of Japan's push in the 1990s to create 10,000 post docs in science.

I had one child. Other people make other choices. It is good that they do because you never know when you will come to need something you never needed before... like a cellphone... or a spouse...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If Gore really is concerned about over-population, he should set an example and commit suicide.

Chris:

Excellent idea.

I will provide the rope, shotgun and slugs, knife, razor, bath tub and electrical wiring, or any other device he chooses!

Adam

Dr. Kevorkian is my hero!

Edited by Selene

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent article, Ed.

"Fertility management" -- now there is an example of Orwellian doublespeak, if ever I have seen one.

Ghs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent article, Ed.

"Fertility management" -- now there is an example of Orwellian doublespeak, if ever I have seen one.

Ghs

In zee Vateralnd vee used to call it Shterilization.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Excellent article, Ed. "Fertility management" -- now there is an example of Orwellian doublespeak, if ever I have seen one. Ghs

It is not a doublespeak or a doublethink; i.e, it is not an oxymoron. Fertility, like nutrition, physical exercise, education, and acculturation, to say nothing of labor, occupation, employment, career, or calling, all should be under the control of the individual.

Do you prefer fertility mismanagement? How would you manage infertility?

... the former vice president argued that one way to reduce the carbon emissions that he claims are causing climate change is "to stabilize the population, and one of the principle ways of doing that is to empower and educate girls and women." Specifically, "You have to have ubiquitous availability of fertility management so women can choose how many children have, the spacing of the children." Gore states that, "You have to lift child survival rates so that parents feel comfortable having small families."

Regardless of the former Vice President's goals, I do agree with that much. In too many cultures, traditional folkways continue when they are not needed. Infant mortality was a reality. Now it can be defeated. Women, not their husbands, should decide how many children to have and when.

Perceiving political discussions in a left-right dichotomy prevents insight. Too many libertarians (especially Objectivists) argue for a business's right to discriminate on the basis of race or gender or religion, rather than applying a rational humanist ethic to the problem and identifying those discriminators as primitive mystics to be enlightened or ignored.

Similarly, primitives with their large families (from polygamous marriages, where they can), attempting to follow some holy book from the bronze age are in need of education.

And in some ways, of course, Al Gore's comrades embrace other stone age cultures, wanting to preserve subsistance farming. So did Thomas Jefferson; and so do many self-defined patriots who want to retreat to self-sufficient farms. Those mythical 19th century Jeffersonian yeoman farmers needed large families of children to labor at low mental tasks like herding cows and hauling their manure.

My wife's great-grandfather had 18 children, 12 by his first wife, six by his second. It was Traverse City, Michigan, circa 1900: soap and hot water had worked a miracle in a virgin land that made mixed farming profitable. But they did not continue in that mode. Her parents came from families of four and six. She was one of three. We had one. Put all your eggs in one basket and then guard that basket.

When we can live to 100 or 1,000, what is the need for children? When there are 10 babies for every million people, child abuse will be a bad memory. No child should inherit hunger or ignorance or for that matter diabetes or anything else no one needs. Every child should be recognized as a precious, valuable addition to the population. Children should be rare.

Edited by Michael E. Marotta

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we can live to 100 or 1,000, what is the need for children? When there are 10 babies for every million people, child abuse will be a bad memory. No child should inherit hunger or ignorance or for that matter diabetes or anything else no one needs. Every child should be recognized as a precious, valuable addition to the population. Children should be rare.

So you think. I believe in hatching as many as a family can afford. The more people, the more chance for new ideas. Children are the future.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we can live to 100 or 1,000, what is the need for children? When there are 10 babies for every million people, child abuse will be a bad memory. No child should inherit hunger or ignorance or for that matter diabetes or anything else no one needs. Every child should be recognized as a precious, valuable addition to the population. Children should be rare.

So you think. I believe in hatching as many as a family can afford. The more people, the more chance for new ideas. Children are the future.

Ba'al Chatzaf

That's fine, too. Have all the kids you want. I agree with Edward Hudgins main point, that the world planners have unlimited powerlust, thinking they know best for everyone. They will offer incentives and if that does not work, they will pass laws, like China's One Child Policy.

There is no doubt that the rise in net wealth matched the rise in population. Back in the Paleolithic, we might have produced one genius every three generations. Now, the smartest 25% of people in China is greater than all the people in the USA. I understand that.

I only suggest that here and now large families are not for everyone; and in the future, we may have better quality in newborns without the need for quantity.

Edited by Michael E. Marotta

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...