Friday, July 13, 2018

Scary Thoughts: A Collision of Worldviews


Opinions are like navels. Everybody has one. Some folks, however, are more influential than others. Occasionally, a few of these influential people make statements that make my hair stand on end. 

I remember when a former governor of Colorado proposed the scary idea that we should not give medicine to anyone over 70 in order ease our health care burden. (This statement from the 90s inspired my futurist flash fiction story Please Come Soon.)

Well, here are some other scary ideas which a number of rather influential people have asserted. Some of this could be funny if they aren’t kidding.

I've sought to verify the accuracy of these quotes, but if there are any errors
I would like to correct them to make sure they accurately reflect beliefs of those cited.
* * * * * * * *

The right to have children should be a marketable commodity, bought and traded by individuals but absolutely limited by the state.
—Kenneth Boulding, originator of the “Spaceship Earth” concept (as quoted by William Tucker in Progress and Privilege, 1982)

EdNote: Hmmm. Really?

We have wished, we ecofreaks, for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us into the Stone Age, where we might live like Indians in our valley, with our localism, our appropriate technology, our gardens, our homemade religion—guilt-free at last!
—Stewart Brand (writing in the Whole Earth Catalogue)

EdNote: I'm all for the idea of slowing our lives down. I liked Small Is Beautiful. But the idea of being bombed into the Stone Age doesn't have a lot of appeal for me at the moment.

We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects…. We must reclaim the roads and plowed land, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of tens of millions of acres of presently settled land.
—David Foreman, Earth First!

EdNote: And where do you propose to move all these people who presently live here?

Everything we have developed over the last 100 years should be destroyed.
Pentti Linkola 

EdNote: I get it that you're unhappy with all the television commercials, but really? It’s always easier to destroy something than to actually create something. Now what?

If you ask me, it’d be a little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it. We ought to be looking for energy sources that are adequate for our needs, but that won’t give us the excesses of concentrated energy with which we could do mischief to the earth or to each other.
—Amory Lovins in The Mother Earth–Plowboy Interview, Nov/Dec 1977, p.22

EdNote: I’m not sure I follow the logic here.

The only real good technology is no technology at all. Technology is taxation without representation, imposed by our elitist species (man) upon the rest of the natural world.
—John Shuttleworth

EdNote: I’m sorry you feel that way, John.

What we’ve got to do in energy conservation is try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, to have approached global warming as if it is real means energy conservation, so we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.
—Timothy Wirth, former U.S. Senator, Colorado

EdNote: I thought we'd already learned that the end does not justify the means. I guess post-modern logic doesn’t have to be logical, right?

I suspect that eradicating smallpox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems. —John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal

EdNote: I suppose that we can always go back to having large families so that at least a percentage of them survive into adulthood. Is that the plan? 

Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs.
—John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal

EdNote: I prefer a worldview that honors our humanity. Being made in the image of God does not mean we hate the earth. We’re created to be caretakers, not destroyers.

The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable but a good thing... This is not to say that the rise of human civilization is insignificant, but there is no way of showing that it will be much help to the world in the long run.
—Economist editorial

EdNote: Do you really believe that?

Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental.
—Dave Forman, Founder of Earth First!

EdNote: That's one way to do it, I suppose. 

If radical environmentalists were to invent a disease to bring human populations back to sanity, it would probably be something like AIDS
—Earth First! Newsletter

EdNote: Really? What does your mom think about all this?

Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, is not as important as a wild and healthy planet… Some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.
—David Graber, biologist, National Park Service

EdNote: I can see where the seed idea for 12 Monkeys was germinated.

The collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans.
—Dr. Reed F. Noss, The Wildlands Project

EdNote: I guess we’re not on the same page here either.

If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.
—Prince Phillip, World Wildlife Fund

EdNote: I hear that reincarnation is making a comeback. Maybe you’ll get lucky.

Cannibalism is a “radical but realistic solution to the problem of overpopulation.”
—Lyall Watson, The Financial Times, 15 July 1995

EdNote: Just curious what you’ve been smoking, Lyall. I suppose you're familiar with the joke about the two cannibals who were eating a clown and one says to the other, "Do this taste funny to you?"

We, in the green movement, aspire to a cultural model in which killing a forest will be considered more contemptible and more criminal than the sale of 6-year-old children to Asian brothels.
—Carl Amery

EdNote: Where do you come up with this stuff? When something is wrong it’s wrong.  

To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem.
—Lamont Cole

EdNote: Oh? So we should stop building or supporting orphanages? Why stop at the children? Might as well close the food shelves if that is your attitude. Might as well stop sending meds to the Third World as well. Tell Bill Gates to keep his billions to himself and build a bigger house.

* * * *

To paraphrase Woody Allen, "I'm not afraid of the end of the world. I just don't want to be there when it happens." It's hard to believe some of these people were serious. I'm curious how many have had a change of heart since uttering these declarations. 

To paraphrase the title of a film I once enjoyed: "It's a sad, sad, sad, sad world."

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