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Opinions on the economy please....

Discussion in 'Other Hot Topics' started by Heather(CA), Jun 27, 2010.

  1. Lisa P.

    Lisa P. Approved members

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    Nope, I see no snark. And I see you don't understand. I've been there, it's like one of those funky pictures they used to sell where if you look at is squirrelly the 3D dinosaur pops out. . .. .But I'm not sure I can get ya there, you know me and my communication issues. And of course once you're there you may still think I'm wrong.

    1. No, my opinion is not based on the fact that there are enough resources to support an infinite number of people. There's no such thing as an infinite number of people, is there?

    Biological systems correct, and not just with famines and plagues, to a balance; we can't know just how many of any one species this planet can "support"; humans innovate; and it's not a closed system.

    I'm not saying it's an impossibility, this eventual running out of stuff. I'm saying it's certainly not an inevitability, logic tells you that. Reason tells you that the assertion that we will certainly run out of resources is baseless. We can't know any such thing.

    All of that is distinct from religious faith, it is reason based.

    2. All that God stuff, no, I'm not saying that, that's not what I believe about this question. I don't think the other people who share my opinion do, either.

    3. I always think any one person has value. There's no such thing as one "more" person, see? None of us are in the "extras" category, the "next" category. It has to do with how you think about human individuals. Historically, you get into huge trouble with the "those people" stuff. Black people, Jewish people, mentally disabled people, women people, past people, future people. That's why this philosophy is linked to eugenics, because they complement each other. Now, I'm not against toothpaste because Hitler brushed his teeth. Just because an idea has been used by nasty people doesn't mean the idea is untrue or faulty in itself. But this one ("we will inevitably run out of resources unless we limit population" and usually "soon") is demonstrably false and has come in handy for a lot of bad guys.

    I think what you are getting at with the "more" question, though, is whether I think adding humans willy nilly to the planet is some kind of good act in itself. No. You're not a better person for having more kids, a kid is not a good act. People are not things. That's the point. You don't have "not enough" any more than you have "too many".

    The point is to not treat people as if they were things. It's a product mentality, a consumerist point of view, that sees people as commodities -- and people fall into it without even knowing they are doing it.

    4. Now, the 30 kids thing, and this part might make more sense to you.

    Whenever people talk about limiting population because of scarce resources, they aren't talking infinity. They are talking about now.

    So, for example, I have friends who would like to have more children than what is "done" these days. Almost every time a woman I know stops breastfeeding the second child, the sadness begins. This is my last child. I won't ever do this again. Sometimes they've had a tubal. Sometimes they just know they'll be on the Pill until menopause. Almost always, they've talked about it with a spouse, and they've come "together" to the conclusion that they can't afford another child.

    Then dad goes out and buys a boat.

    So with the population at large. Drive down a suburban street on trash day, look in the dumpster after school on any school day. Maybe once Americans aren't throwing away 4 million apples every day I'll have sympathy for the "we'd better budget in programs to push population programs on people in Africa because there's just not enough food to go around" lines. I'm not calling people racist, in general it's about power and greed. I wants my stuff, and I'm afraid those unwashed hordes of barbarians might come between me and it.

    And, you know, someone wants to be straightfoward about it, I guess that's her choice. I like having three cars, and I can't have that if I'm worried about those kids in Africa, so let's limit their kids so we don't have to limit my cars. But the problem I have is that limiting populations and limiting families is sold as the responsible, moral thing to do. It's a fraud. And many people of good will fall for it and collect for UNICEF each Halloween. But it's a trick. I remember the day Hannity finally got turned off in my car forever, the day he said people should be responsible and not have more chidren than they could afford. With "afford" defined as "being able to buy a computer to send with them to college". It's a national sickness we all have a touch of.

    So, if you've waded through all that, you can disagree with me with full comprehension of the crazy you're disagreeing with. :D
     
  2. SueM

    SueM Banned

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    Does anyone have any good sources of information in regards to where people are getting the notion of an overpopulation problem? I would be interested in reading about it. Now, it may be true that there are areas of the world where the amount of people living there is too much for the resources, etc... However, as far as a global problem? I'm not seeing it. At all...

    Personally, I think that a lot of this stuff comes from the same people who are claiming that global warming is going to kill us all off... Then, they profit from the "solutions". LOL! (ie let's green the planet, and make me a bazillionaire while you're at it....).
     
  3. Illinifan

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    Discussions of global population control were popular in the 70s. I have referenced The Population Bomb by Paul Ehrlich in a couple of posts as has Lisa. Ehrlich put on paper things that some people had been discussing for years. The UN has been trying to address population issues since the 1960s. China has a one child policy. Not trying to be snarky (which, btw, is a word unique to CWD in my experience), but Google "overpopulation" or "popluation control" or "Paul Ehrlich" and you'll get more information than you can process. Ehrlich claimed that the population would explode in the late 70s and we'd have global disaster. He did it again in the 1980s. It didn't happen then either. He then fell out of fashion and the idea evaporated from the public consciousness. However, the radical environmentalist movement saw Erhlich as a kindred soul and adopted him as one of their own. The topic still comes up at the UN on a regular basis.

    About 10 years ago, the concept of "sustainability" became popular and Ehrlich's doomsday predictions were trotted back out. This time they were tied to the concept of man-made global warming. Too many people, too much greenhouse gas, that's unsustainable, gotta limit the number of people so we don't harm the lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

    I do have to offer a mea culpa though. In an earlier post, I referenced "Lifeboat Ethics" as another one of Ehrlich's stupid ideas. I was wrong. "Lifeboat Ethics" is Garrett Hardin's stupid idea. Hardin and Ehrlich are contemporaries and Hardin addresses population control in his essay.

    If you really want to see the logic that these people use, here's the link to Lifeboat Ethics. Read it on a empty stomach.
     
  4. Karenwith4

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    It may not have been intended to be serious but Swellman has a history of mocking Christianity, particularly in coversations with Lisa, in an attempt to be...witty?...sarcastic?... Honestly I don't know what he is trying to be. I'm not Christian but I find but I find his execution offensive and unnecessary and I think this conversation and people's deeply held beliefs are deserving of more respect than these sorts of cheap shots followed by the predictable "I was only joking" comment.
     
  5. hawkeyegirl

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    Well, certainly people decide to not have more children for a myriad of reasons other than finances. We could certainly afford another child, but my husband would be raising it alone while I counted ceiling tiles in the looney bin. Not much of an exaggeration there - I am not emotionally equipped for more than the two we have now. So certainly it CAN be a responsible, moral thing to not take all the children that God would otherwise give you, no? (Setting aside your probable opinion of the morality of my (Catholic) husband getting the Big Snip).

    I get your point about not being able to "afford" another child, but what about those who cannot AFFORD another child? Who cannot provide the bare necessities for them? And what about the woman in Africa who honestly would prefer not to have baby after baby after baby? Given the choice, most women in developed countries take advantage of the resources out there so that they are not having litters of kids. Obviously we differ on the morality of birth control, so I'm not sure there's a lot of room for discussion here, but how is it moral that I have the choice (and the know-how) to prevent another kiddo, and my African counterpart does not? Is it so hard to believe that given a choice between 10 kids and 2 kids, many (dare I say, even most) women would choose the two kids? Why can we not feed those African babies and also make sure that they are WANTED African babies? (And American babies and Indian babies and Lithuanian babies....)
     
  6. Lisa P.

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    But don't you see that you in no way address what I (in too, too many words) was saying?

    It's not that your points aren't legit or addressable, it's that they skipped over what we were talking about and went straight to the old saws.

    I'll be happy to give you my email address and we can have that whole discussion, I'm not trying to dodge, but I think it's a (related) but different topic. The question here is whether we have a moral duty to limit population because of scarcity of resources. Can you see why I would say we do not?
     
  7. StillMamamia

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    Bold is mine.

    1st bold - I really wish you'd give people more credit than that. I see you take offense to the "quantitative" (read Thing) from my "too many" word. I don't master all the subleties of the English language to have come up with a better word or expression.

    I am not advocating race cleansing by mentioning Africa or India. Good grief! talk about overreading and assumptions!!

    These were examples. Just as I could have used NY or Paris.
    Overcrowding. Does this fall into bad population distribution? Or am I falling into a product mentality without knowing it, because I lack the brains to see through the madness?

    2nd bold - Who are you referring to?


    That said, I bow out of this discussion because I am coming across like an ignorant dumba$$ (and probably rightly so, not having the instruction or literary baggage to build a solid foundation for my arguments, if they can be called as such) and to eventually be supposed with bad intentions, and leave the thread to the better informed people.
     
  8. hawkeyegirl

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    Scarcity of resources can certainly occur on a personal level too, no? I don't see how it's that much different, especially since I don't see anyone advocating for governments limiting populations.

    ETA: Unless governments step in (which is not going to happen in democratic countries), people are not going to limit their families because of a scarcity of worldwide resources. We're way too self-absorbed for that sort of altruism. So I find that particular conversation almost completely academic. (Interesting, but academic.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  9. Lisa P.

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    I don't see where I accused you of racism or bad intentions. Could you quote?

    The "distribution problem" was referring to resources, not people, the idea being that at least for now there are plenty of resources but they don't always get where they need to get. This rings true to me, both in my experiences in the states and elsewhere.

    My discussion of philosophies that consider people commodities goes beyond your posts, and beyond language use.

    In the second bold, I was referring to the imaginary individual in my example and anyone who consciously makes the same choices (consumer items over care of humans).

    I don't personally believe you come off as ignorant and dumb.
     
  10. Lisa P.

    Lisa P. Approved members

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    Yup. It's related. As is the question, brought up by you and Paula both, of whether it is moral to "bring children into a painful world" -- the "every child a wanted child" discussion.
     
  11. swellman

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    Firstly, I am sorry Lisa - my post was ill-advised.

    Secondly, I personally do not think we currently have an overpopulation problem. At least not in respect to food and housing. We, do, however have problem with our population in respect to distribution and I think your earlier post explaining this is spot on - for now.

    All I have been trying to do is to to this point is to illustrate that an overpopulation problem is a simple issue of math, and reason as you like to use. Our livable space and resources are, with current technology and our understanding of science, finite. This necessitates the conclusion that the number of people which occupies said space and consumes said resources are are also finite - in one or the other category of space or resources. That was my entire point up to this point.

    I was accused of suggesting, what feels like Eichmann-like, population control earlier because I answered a question with, what I thought at the time, was a very simple and analytical answer off the top of my head and that was IF there was ever a possibility of an overpopulation problem the only answer was to decrease the rate of population.

    I do not currently see a population/resource problem in the near future but I do believe that it is mathematically possible. I have no opinions on what to do or, most importantly, when and if to implement but I do think it's something we, as a society, should be mindful of. What turns out to be or to have been a moral duty will only shake out at some point in the future - perhaps a very distant future - but it can't be said that we, as a society, couldn't have conceptualized the possibility.

    I'm done with population control - all of this was a result of Illinifan putting words in my mouth or suggesting a nefarious meaning to my earlier post.
     
  12. Lisa P.

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    That's all right, your post bugged me less than the posts on here that show understanding and compassion brighten my day. :)

    Thanks for trying to reasonably examine the topic. I would suggest that while I certainly believe you meant none of those things that have historically gone into the "population limitation" argument to be part of your point, if you bring up the topic it's fair for someone to make reasonable (if unexpected by yourself) connections and discuss them.

    On the OT, I state my opinion again to wrap this all together, that the problem with the economy is that many of us have behaved badly and the solution is to stop that. :D
     
  13. swellman

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    I've been thinking about this a bit. I had already read that letter so I read it again, and again, and again. I tried in vain to find a critique of it but my Google-fu failed me. So, I read it again and did my best to interpret it. Here it is and, for the record, I think you are using that quote wrong.

    EDIT: Damned cut and paste problem - editing the question marks.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The letter startled with Jefferson making fun of Calvin and what appears to have been an inside joke from Adams' previous letter. Jefferson continues to criticize Calvin and referencing an earlier work by Calvin.

    Jefferson then criticizes "every Christian sect" for giving ammunition to the Atheists because of their practice of requiring "revelation" as proof of the being of a god.

    Revelation is the revealing or disclosing, or making something obvious through active or passive communication with supernatural entities (divine, ,). - Wikipedia

    It seems pretty obvious to me that Jefferson, who I believe to be a devout and passionate believer in a god, is pretty miffed at his contemporary Christians for their reliance on "revelation". I interpret the next sentence as Jefferson further criticizing the "revelations" because it alienates 5/6 of the world population. The bulk of the rest appears to be explaining a) why "revelation" is inconsistent with his reasons for believing in a god and b) his reasons for believing in a god.

    Jefferson goes on to explain how Calvin copied his concept of god from the Jews and that he believed the attributes of this god to be "blasphemous". He then states that it seemed that Jesus' "chief object" was to re-define god in a "more worthy, pure and sublime" way.

    He goes on to lament that contemporary Christians have mistranslated one word, from the Greek, of Jesus' in the Book of John and that mistranslation has resulted in a personification of god that is inconsistent with his views. He feels that the Christians are anthropomorphizing god and this gives the Atheists additional ammunition.

    This is the key part of his letter that is most difficult to interpret and puts the quote in context.
    "The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors."
    It's seems clear that Jefferson is referring to the aforementioned contemporary Christians who preach "revelations" and actually calls them the "enemies of the doctrine of Jesus". He asserts they have "perverted" his doctrines and created a "structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible". The big quote therefore, in my opinion, is not Jefferson lamenting the loss of "revelation" but, instead, his hope that the "dawn of reason and freedom of thought" would "do away with this artificial scaffolding". I interpret the scaffolding to be the "system of fancy" he refers to. This is consistent with the Jefferson Bible where he stripped out most, if not all, of the supernatural aspects of the New Testament and changed what he thought were misinterpretations in the bible of his time.

    I believe it is clear that Jefferson does not believe in the divinity of Jesus and the virgin birth and, I can only assume, his resurrection. He feels these "revelations" to be a perversion of his view of Christianity and feels it helps Atheists with their views. I believe he is a deep believer in the wisdom of Jesus' words and a deep believer in a god. I believe he considers himself a Christian as a follower of the doctrines of Jesus but he doesn't believe in the divinity of Jesus, the virgin birth and, I believe, the resurrection and that would place him outside what I understand to be the current definition of Christian.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010

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