The problem with environmentalists isn’t merely that they have destructive ideas about the economy, but that so many of them embrace repulsive ideas about human beings.
Take this recent NPR piece that asks: “Should We Be Having Kids In The Age Of Climate Change?” If you want to learn about how environmentalism has already affected people in society, read about the couple pondering “the ethics of procreation and its impact on the climate” before starting a family or the group of women in a prosperous New Hampshire town swapping stories about how the “the climate crisis is a reproductive crisis.”
There are, no doubt, many good reasons a person might have for not wanting children. But, certainly, it’s tragic that some gullible Americans who have the means and emotional bandwidth — and perhaps a genuine desire — to be parents avoid having kids because of a quasi-religious belief in apocalyptic climate change and overpopulation.
Then again, maybe this is just Darwinism working its magic.
In the article, NPR introduces us to a philosopher, Travis Rieder, who couches these discredited ideas in a purportedly moral context. Bringing down global fertility rates, he explains, “could be the thing that saves us.”
Save us from what, you ask? The planet, he tells a group to students at James Madison University, may soon be “largely uninhabitable for humans” and it’s “gonna be post-apocalyptic movie time.” According to NPR, these intellectual nuggets of wisdom left students speechless.
The room is quiet. No one fidgets. Later, a few students say they had no idea the situation was so bad.
Oh, no! Did someone forget to tell them that the megatons of greenhouse gases their cell-phone charging has emitted into the atmosphere is going to create a dystopia? That’s an unforgivable oversight by our culture and public schools, which almost never broach the topic of climate change.
What can we do? Well, Rieder says: “Here’s a provocative thought: Maybe we should protect our kids by not having them.”
The idea that we should have fewer children to save the planet hasn’t been provocative in about 50 years. It would take these students five minutes of googling to understand that doomsayers have been ignoring human nature and ingenuity since the eighteenth century, at least.
They might read about Paul Ehrlich and our “Science Czar” John Holdren, who coauthored a 1977 book suggesting mass sterilizations and forced abortions to save the world (we’re decades past the expiration date); or about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who not long said that she always assumed Roe v. Wade was “about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” Did she mean poor people? Did she mean people who recklessly use air conditioners? It’s still a mystery.
It’s a serious failure of our society that the intellectual offspring of frauds like Ehrlich, rather than Julian Simon, are the ones lecturing students about the future. But “overpopulation” is regularly cited by journalists — who quite often live in the densest, yet somehow also the wealthiest, places on earth — as one of the world’s pressing problems, thrown in with war and famine and so on.
It’s got bit of a new twist these days. As Rieder tells it, Americans are responsible for more carbon emissions per capita than anyone; and since the world’s poorest nations are most likely to suffer from “severe climate” it all “seems unfair.”
Agreed. Let’s make the world fairer and stop pressuring emerging nations to stop using the cheapest, most effective energy. It’s immoral. Let’s also stop worrying about population growth. The biggest spikes in population growth in our history coincide with the greatest growth in wealth and innovation for a good reason. Best of luck to everyone else.