Will Blogland Change the World?

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I was just over at Dudge’s post about a few things on his mind, and one of them got me thinking about how the internet or perhaps more specifically the blogosphere is working to eliminate a lot of barriers between people of different races, cultures, and backgrounds. Now I know that we all have ideas about people from certain places, just as I know we can’t actually SAY that we have these ideas about people from certain places. So I’ll stick to American (the rules of political correctness seem to dictate-hypocritically-that one can indeed mock, belittle, and otherwise ridicule one’s own race, color, culture, and/or religion); I’ve written before about how we are viewed as Ugly Americans by many people overseas (and not only overseas, by those in Mexico and Canada–though “Gringo” doesn’t have the same connotation as “Ugly American,” it’s still more often than not used as a slur), and since that post, I don’t think our image has improved a whole lot.

But it’s been interesting to watch bloggers “meet” some of us American bloggers and begin . . . oh, I wouldn’t say to change their minds about us, but to at least be open to the idea that we can’t be easily and conveniently labeled “Americans” or “Ugly Americans” but that we are individuals with hopes, dreams, fears, concerns, and for many of us, a great love of shoes. Just like them. Wow, you mean all Americans aren’t rolling in money and tossing it about like kleenex? They worry about paying their bills, health care, and jobs? Wow, we do that, too. You mean all Americans aren’t heathens who’ve never set foot in a religious structure or who’ve never knelt and prayed to their God? Wow, we do that, too. You mean all Americans aren’t fundamentalist radicals bent of ensuring that the world worships Jesus or God or the Almighty Dollar? Wow, that’s news to us.

I’ve seen people make subtle ideological shifts in their writing, too, now whether this is because they are aware of an American audience or that they are actually opening their minds to the idea that we aren’t all “capitalist pigs” who are war-mongering, shallow, obnoxious, and naive (lovely, huh?), I’ve no idea. But the change is marked. Of course, it’s sometimes an aside that takes into account only the American readers of that person’s blog, but sometimes, sometimes it’s more. And that makes me smile happily. Or wryly. Depending on my mood.

A few times, I’ve even been singled out as the only acceptable American. Wow. (okay, I love that, I have to admit. Yay!) But my point is that blogland is changing the world in seemingly small ways that will eventually (I hope and think) change much of the global dynamic. The kids around the world who are tapping out messages and posts and comments to other kids in other parts of the world will one day be policy makers, voters, movers and shakers, and they’re not going to grow up with a single, myopic view of other cultures and peoples. They’re not going to be indoctrinated in hate, at least not as much as we were, not as much as the generations before us were. And that gives me hope: and that coming from a self-proclaimed crusty old cynic . . . hope? Well, well, well.

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The first picture doesn’t really go with the post; it’s one I took at the park last week, but I like that the perspective is “looking up” and that the leaf is multi-hued. Seems to fit.

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67 thoughts on “Will Blogland Change the World?

  1. It’s a very interesting point, and I guess I’d never thought of it that way. We think nothing of being able to speak to someone on a different continent nowadays. It’s great that the younger generation get to experience that.
    I like Americans! Just had to point that out 😛
    hugggs, TFT

  2. Blogosphere?? Closing of the miles. There is some truth in it. Turning the pages of History perhaps a hundred years or so and all we know is by word of mouth about one another or the newspapers. Now, in a matter of seconds we can message one another and immediately arrive to our own unique impressions.

  3. LOL, Tal, I know you like Americans!! 😀 I just picked on us because it would have been wrong to go through all the stereotypes and “beliefs” that we have about other cultures. Well, not wrong, just . . . not what I was in the mood for, I guess. Huggs back to you, TFT of the world.

    So true, RiverRat, so true! 😀

  4. I believe there happen great changes in people’s minds with the help of blogging.We are always afraid of the unknown,we start to like when we get to know people or things.We share so many things here about life,each and every friend is very special for me.I guess it is the politicians who make relations worse,not you,not me and not others here.All we want is friendship.

  5. wonderful post, fuzzy. i’ve often had these same sort of thoughts since i started blogging here. and like you, it’s given me a great deal of hope. what an opportunity we have to impact the lives of our children (‘we’ and ‘our children’ both meant in a generalized sense, of course) in a positive way by breaking down these barriers that, before, seemed almost impossible. ok, i’ll stop here before i try to get us all to hold hands and sing ‘we are the world’. 🙂

  6. thought provoking post fuzzy . . .i know this way of communicating has open me up to the world and we do see that if you peel us all down to our skin we are the same . . .surprised to see a leaf already changing this early . . .i do hope that it helps to show that we aren’t all living in the jet setting hollywood style. . . if they need proof they can come balance my check book after i get paid on the 31st =)

  7. That is so true, Spicy, and I think that is key to this whole experience, you know? Between the politicians and the media, we really don’t get a good and clear view of other peoples, and that’s changing now. I hope for the better and good of all of us. 😀

    Thanks so much, Kerry. And lol @ holding hands and singing we are the world. I was very much in that mindset writing this!! Teehee. 😀

    Thanks to you, too, Laurie. And I so know what you mean about the checkbook thing; it’s odd to me that a lot of other people think we are all wealthy, living in mansions, driving awesome cars (many of them), and all that. Especially as we have an enormous homeless population and an even larger poverty level population. But I guess all they see, as you say, are the films and the tourists (who obviously have some money or couldn’t travel). Foreigners are shocked by the beggars in the streets here, I think, and that’s weird to me. Maybe it’s not just our media that isn’t giving the full picture, you know? Seems like everyone is pretty much ignorant of everyone else, but we all feel we know it all. But I hope that blogging is changing that, seems to be in some small ways already, so imagine in ten, twenty, fifty years! Yay!! 😀

  8. What a great post, got my brain juices flowing and thank goodness I have had my first cup of coffee…lol

    The internet has broken alot of racial barriers, but it is also a shield, because face to face would we still have these prejudices against eachother? I would like to think that we are all growing into a more acceptable civilization.

    I believe alot of this has to do with the way we are raised and the way children these days are being raised. My parents we straight off the boat from Italy, the were prejudice against ever other nationality, they didn’t know better! I was raised with some of their prejudices….but I have not raised my children this way. My sons really have never questioned black, white or any other nationality, we are all just people in their eyes. I know we (adults and some children)are all racist in some way, time and influence taints us. It’s innocence in children, and I wish it would last!
    You are right, the internet has certainly helped. People are more accepting of eachother, at least that’s what I see on here. But I just hope that it reaches beyond the realm of the internet and when we do come face to face we remain, without prejudice. Is that possible?

    And the french still do not like us Americans…..heheheehee

  9. You are American, I didn’t know that :). People will always stereotype, I used to be one of them before, but since then I take case by case basis :). When somebodys says to me Americans are this and Americans are that, I point out the same in their country, what about that 🙂 then they shut up. There are good, bad and ugly in every country, every group, every religion. Like you said, the internet has made them less ignorant and get to know each other better. I am sure every 360 member will have a wide range of audience in their group and they will see they have better people outside their group more. I just approach everyone equally I have no problems so far, maybe because I consider Earth as my country :). Good to see you back Doc. Cheers. 🙂

  10. Terrific post! I was thinking similar thoughts when I read Dudge’s post. The world has suddenly become a smaller place to live. And, I don’t mean that in a more crowded way (although it is). We are able to read things first hand without the shadings of a media person’s perceptions. I love having my pre-conceived notions changed by coming in contact with others from around the globe. I love having them challenged. And, I love being made to think that maybe I was wrong about something and have to re-consider my stand/belief. It does give me hope. 🙂

  11. I think you are totally correct! I think the internet over the years has totally opened up barriers between us and other countries. I will admit to being on the defense a lot over the years. I felt like I had to prove myself & actually got tired of hearing (from my non-american friends) that “you are the exception”. I bickered, cried, and debated many a times that I wasn’t the exception, that they were totally making generalizations.

    I could say all of such and such country’s men are womanizers and flirts. I could say all of such and such country’s people are rude or blunt. I could say etc. etc. etc., but I know better. And the internet & blogs…is helping others see it too.

    Are there ugly Americans out there….yes. But are there also ugly Europeans and Australians, etc. Yes. Slowly but surely we are learning to know each other past what we’ve been told/taught earlier in life. Yay!

    Now..where’s the group hug?? hahhaha

  12. I agree that opening this line of communication has really broken down lots of barriers. But I think if we need to keep our eyes open where we are in the physical world as well. I am constantly confronted with people that blow my preconcieved notions out of the water. That is what you get when you work with the public I guess.

  13. hehe, Dudge, yeah that really worked on my imagination, so thanks!! And yeah, I kinda figured you must like Americans since you married one of ’em. 😀

    Maggie, that is so true, I hadn’t thought about the shield aspect in this context or the impersonality of computer communication. Maybe it won’t change the world. But hopefully it will have some impact for these kids to learn early on that all people have the same set of needs (maybe their wants and desires will be slightly different). I hope so, anyway, like you. 😀 But I do think that there will always be prejudice (that’s the cynic in me, which most days wins out). Merry Christmas huggs to you, 😉

    Yay Chris! Earth is your country, that’s so great. Well, guess that wouldn’t work, really, still need a passport, etc., but what a lovely concept. And yes, I guess there will always be stereotypes and ignorance, but maybe it won’t be quite so bad in the future? I know that desegregation and Civil Rights didn’t eliminate racism in the States, but it did allow people to come into contact with people they otherwise wouldn’t and see them as real people, people just like themselves. Not everyone, but some people did change their racist ways, open their minds and hearts. It can happen. We just have to be in contact with one another, and how else am I going to be in contact with people from India, Vietnam, and Africa but right here in my living room? 😉

    Yeah, LO, I’ve definitely had to reassess some of my ideas and preconceptions, too, it goes both ways of course, and I guess that’s why I have the hope, because I’ve seen it work here and in me, too. Yay!! Good point.

    LOL, Ang, I can so see you having these talks with foreign friends! Too funny. And of course you are so right, there are so many “uglies” out there, and they are here in America, too. But it’s good to know that a stereotype isn’t real, not that we don’t actually KNOW that intellectually, but knowledge and knowing aren’t only cerebral, after all. Great comments, and yay! group hugs. 😀

    Hehe, Marianne, well, I’ve talked to some cops and ER staff who might beg to differ, but I do think it’s true that in some professions and in some settings, we can see all sorts of heart warming diversity right in our own day to day life. Well, those of you who leave your house, I mean. LOL

  14. Fabulous! The kids . . . will one day be policy makers. Yes! Isn’t this the whole point! We don’t want politicians conducting censuses or censi to find out what out ethnic background is, to make sure we all mix at work or to move us to various schools; none of it matters. Our kids just get on with each other (if we don’t tell them otherwise). When we came home from Bangladesh our kids made friends with some other kids in the store while we were shopping and later told us that ‘Mary is the one with the blue hair ribbon.’ I wonder how many of us adults would have said ‘she’s the black one’? Stereotypes can be pernicious. I know some Americans even think that the rest of the world is interested in shoes!

  15. Excellent post Fuzzy, and one I’m in complete agreement with. I’ve said often enough myself that old hatreds and prejudices have oftentimes been able to go unchallenged because it was often the case that we had no way to challenge them, only believing what we had been told. Now, as you say, we can find out for ourselves…and almost instantly, too!! I have great hopes for the future, because of the internet and blogging in particular. However, let’s not get too excited just yet. There’s a flipside to every story. A brief tour of the net, and again blogland in particular, finds many sites and pages dedicated to promoting the very hatreds and prejudices we seek to rid ourselves of.
    I have never had a problem with Americans, per se. Some individuals, maybe. But you can always find someone disagreeable regardless of their nationality, race, creed etc. I’m more critical of the British than any other nationality. From the inside I find it easy to see our own faults, and they are many.

  16. There’s nothing quite like “meeting” someone from another culture to dispel preconceived notions. I remember as a child having a pen pal from Brazil. It would take weeks to get a reply and I’d rarely get a picture. I think it’s great that we can have so many “blog” pals and be able to immediately see the next blog post or the newest pictures. (As long as Yahoo is cooperating, anyway.) It does seem to make the world smaller and cozier!

  17. America is by and far a country, culture, phenomenon, idea, nation that attracts me more than anything in the world. And I guess it is same for most people around the world really. Everyone is plugged into Hollywood, Music produced in America, popular American books (hmmm..not J.K. though. ! lol), NASA space probes, fast food chains, and trillions of consumer products, to say the least. Indeed quite a few of those who are plugged into Americana, some day, want to go there for a visit or to immigrate forever.

    As a literature student I was mostly fed commonwealth/ British works. When I got to read books by myself, I fond myself immersed in American literature. There is a delightfully fresh, crisp and wild quality to American imagination. Indeed Imagination and Invention is America’s biggest strength. In case you maybe yawning by now by my eulogizing, let me add that -Jesus willing- someday I have plans to go for American Studies at post-graduate level. lol

    I remember few months back I had berated American foreign policy and you wanted to kneecap me. This is where outside world and Americans differ. Most outside Amerophiles are capable of seeing the ugliness or pointlessness of knee-jerk foreign military campaigns, greed or bigotry wrapped in ”Spreading democracy and freedom” missions. But Americans get all sentimental when ”foreigners” talk like that because they take it as a personal attack.

    I believe good ol’ satire firmly grounded in truth is more effective tool than ranting and raving. So, here is one. A section of the government of the U.S. of A is always flexing muscles to restore democracy across the deserts that exist on the other side of the planet but strikingly U.S. is totally surrounded by impoverished,struggling and defunct countries on all sides except Canada. It is a bit amusing if not really mind boggling…

  18. LOL.- WTF. Hey in the beginning of my blog comment it should read, ”BY FAR and not BY AND FAR.”!!!! Sometimes, I have no discretion. Gee!

  19. That’s a great illustration, Neil, and yes, I suspect that many adults would at least think about saying the color of the girl’s skin. And my point, at least in part, is that kids will have their own experiences and grow up not isolated from others and subject to the hate that we adults (I’m sure inadvertantly in many cases) teach them. And we do teach it, as you show, it’s not really innate to focus on skin color as difference, and it’s certainly not innate to focus on socio-economic backgrounds, education, and whatever else we use to place people in a heirarchy of worthiness. Hopefully the internet will help. And what??! You mean other people don’t love shoes? (LOL, I’m quite sure it’s a Fuzzy thing and not an “American” thing, anyway.)

    And that, Mitch, is indeed the flipside; the sites dedicated to white supremecy, al quada like hatred of the West, and a zillion others. I guess everyone has a right to do that, but I hope that people with the vastness of the internet will find other things, too, counter arguments, etc. before swallowing stories whole. You know? I mean, sure there are a lot of sites dedicated to saying the Holocaust never happened, but there are just as many (not that I’ve counted) dedicated to the memory of those who died and to ensuring that we never walk that path again. Like you said, people have the ability to find out for themselves, and the curious will do so. Those who don’t . . . sigh.

    OG, you are SOOOO right about penpals, too, I remember when we were first moving back to the States, my teacher told me that I should stay in touch with my classmates, as we could be lifelong friends. Well, that strikes the imagination, doesn’t it? But it only lasted a year or so . . . the postal service is too slow (well, compared to the internet, much faster than the Pony Express; guess it’s relative), and kids grow up so fast, make friends so quickly, just drift, you know? I wonder, though, now that you’ve mentioned this, if we might have stayed in touch if we could im or shoot emails, photos, etc. at the click of a mouse? Wow! Great point there. 😀

    LOL, Eskimo, it’s great to learn more about your interest in America, particularly American lit (as you know, it’s a favorite of mine, as well). I love how you’ve described it here, too, as being due to a “delightfully fresh, crisp and wild quality to American imagination.” Beautifully said. And you do know, that apart from Canada, Mexico is the only other country to which we are geographically attached, right? I mean, we’re pretty close to parts of Russia up by Alaska, but . . . . And what do you think the role of blogland is playing in shaping or perhaps changing some of the Hollywood images people have of America, and of course, of other countries around the world?

  20. Hey Fuzz,

    I do think that it gets people talking from different nations as they may not have spoken to people from that country before and really got to know them. I for one am glad that I have friends all ove rthe world and not just from the UK. I think its great to get other people points of view all be in that they come from a different country adn sometimes have a different view point on things. Thats got to be a good thing right. Great thought provoking blog girl.

    Loads of love to you and yours. x

  21. Someone phoned in to the national Spanish radio (they usually have a whole hour in the mornings airing uncensorred voice messages of people in the country calling up this radio station (RNE3)). This particular day the calls were in relation to all the differences in Culture and languagages within Spain, which is a big issue (the Catalans, the Basque, the Andalucians,the Valencianos, all with their own believes and dialects/languages. But, of course it escalated further as there are tons foreigners living here, same as anywhere else.
    This caller had one sentence that struck me. He said, in his mind when he hears the word “patriotism” he immediately asocites it with “idiotism”. It made me think for days about this issue. As harsh as it sounded, I realized that I myself, can’t relate to patriotism, as I have lost touch with the love for one particular country/soil in the past four decades. The only thing I love about my mother land is my family, because they still live there. And I love many other countries lived in, but mostly for the people I met there (Germany, Hungary, Taiwan, China, Australia, Spain).

    In order to be a global citizen, one must leap out of it’s own skin/country a little and try to absorb things of interest from a new culture and forget about it’s own for little while . I consider muself a global citizen, because I follow the above rule. I can never ever understand people who LOVE a country.
    To fall in love with a scenery , the smells of a particular place, the special souls that live in the country, that I understand. But to Love a country, to me is surreal.

    And yes, I had some terrible encounters at the Americam embassy before as you well know, but I have come across many americans here on 360 and in the real life as well whom I realy like. However , you are still my old time favourite. There’s only one Fuzz:))

  22. Hei Fuzz.

    Good entry as always on this pad of yours.
    Fanta’s comments are nearest to my thinking.
    Although, I still just love to be Finnish from Lapland!!

    As far as the Americans I will quote me old comment on the blog you are referring to:

    “The positive thing with the Americans that I do like the best in you lot is that you in any given situation make it ‘lighter’ where the Brits get far too pompous, the French too snobby and the Germans too exact – the Americans bring it all back to the earth level, to normality.

    Yes, there are a lot about ‘The Innocence Abroad’ a la Mark Twain, but honestly,
    which nationality on earth can boast it being a dream tourist, visitor nation to the others!!
    There ain’t such.”

    HUGZ from Rii xx

  23. ppl must stop being myopic and begin to accept ppl just the way they are and not on generalisation. We must all seek the good in others and not otherwise. Thank goodness for the blogworld which is helping in some ways to eradicate the myopic ideas of many biased minds.

  24. I love the way my eyes have been opened to many peoples views, lives and cultures through blogging… it must only be a good thing…

  25. “My dear sweet brother numpsie” as eddie murphy once said “i have sinned, i have been bad, i should be flogged……” for tis I that really doesn’t mind what when or how I describe a race creed or religion. I don’t think that I spare to many people when I get a pre-anearismic (spelling there, don’t even know if the word exists, but it sounds posh and medical lol) rant on. For it was I that claimed to hate not americans, but their false pretentiousness outside of the states, for it DOES exist. I have many american friends, I count you as one of them and I have absolutely no qualms in saying something to you and not pulling punches. In return I would expect the same respect from you, thats why I consider you to be a VALUED friend.

    Will blogging change the globe?

    When you consider that 50% of the earths population have never made a telephone call (and you can research that little gem) then NO, not yet, but one day, when all the world is equal and money no longer decides who can do what, then it will change us, but by then it’ll be that outdated that we will all be doing something totally different.

  26. Now thats an interesting thought…..and you’re right, the blogosphere does open the doors to new people. Yay! Ambassador Fuzzy…the acceptable American…I love it! But you’re right, years ago when hubby and I were in France having dinner with friends of a friend…you wouldn’t believe the ideas they had about us. One woman told me we all drive Ferraris and live on the beach in big glass houses. Uh…no…..! She thought we were all rude and too concerned with money. The preconceptions must come from movies and the media. I, for one, do not drive a Ferrari! (:

  27. If more minds are opening up I think that is a good thing. There are a lot of ferment for Americans to understand others in the name of “diversity”, but others also need to understand us- that the freedoms we enjoy are something special, that we don’t go around murdering people because they draw some goofy cartoons for example.

    Too often “diversity” is a hypocritical one way street, filled with bogus signs, twists and turns. We will tolerate crufixes in urine for example, but somehow maintain a studied “politically correct” silence when certain other religions are critiqued. “Diversity” needs to flow both ways.

    I don’t think blogging will change this state of affairs or the world much. For one thing, all the old prejudices will roll over into blogging, and they have. Already you can see the blogworld divided into sectarian camps in many ways.

    Corporations, governments, the mainstream media, activists and other assorted ideologues have also figured out how to manipulate the blogworld. One of their prime methods is to flood it, to create so much “white noise” that facts, or open-minded balance get lost.

    On the plus side the blogworld gives voice to the ordinary person’s opinion, which, when armed with and based on the facts and common sense, is often better than the tales spun by those with more power or influence.

  28. Yay! Hi Snuggles, good to see you. 😀 I so think that blogging is allowing people to see other people in a more realistic light (Americans are not all rich, boorish, etc. and same with other narrow views of other nationalities).

    Aww, you warm my heart and make me happy, Fanta. Biggest huggs. I do see what you are saying here, but I don’t think that one needs to step out of their own culture/country/identity in order to understand and be tolerant of another. I don’t think I could. But that is related to my “idiotism” LOL Some countries foster it; America sure does. And some religions foster a form of it (though of course not “patriotism”, but just as rabid and heartfelt). Maybe seeing things more as they are and not as they seem to be through television, the movies, and our own learned prejudices can help. I sure hope so!! 😀

    Yay, thanks Rii!! You rock!! And I see what you are saying about everyone needing to blog for it to change the world, but I guess I was being “elitist” in thinking that the people who blog (i.e. own computers, are interested in the world around them, read, write, and think well) are more likely to be future leaders and thus have the influence and power to change things. A sort of trickle down effect.

    Hehe, nice name change, Mee!! And yes, I think you’ve summed it up beautifully! 😀

    I so agree, Treesparrow!! 😀 And I really love how my own perceptions and thoughts are ever-changing and growing. It’s a wonderful thing.

    LOL, Monty, I’m proud to be your friend and would expect (and want) nothing less than your true and honest view. And I think that a lot of American tourists are as you describe. I wish that weren’t true, but it is. As I said to Rii, I was thinking in terms of leadership . . . perhaps myopically so because you raise a good point about how few people can read and write much less have access to a computer.

    See, RiverGirl, that’s just what I mean. I’ve met foreigners who were stunned to learn that I couldn’t afford things (But you’re RICH, ALL Americans are rich. Um, in a lot of ways and compared to much of the world, but “rich”? Worry free? Not).

    SARGE!! Yay!! Huggs and secret handshakes galore. Good to see you back. 😀 And yes, I couldn’t agree more with you about the diversity issue being instituted crazily, hypocritically (did you get a chance to read my multiculturalism blog? I think you might like it, and I know I’d like to hear what you have to say). Anyway (on this topic), I think that the close-minded will ALWAYS be so, but it’s the people who just don’t realize, who are truly ignorant that might change, no? Gosh, I sure hope so. (though I’m swinging back to cynicism)

  29. Hey Fuzz, sorry I forgot to get back to you about your question about Blogland changing the world. AND. Resurrected Sarge. has EXACTLY put in the middle paragraph what I wanted to say. Blogs only represent blocks of brains, more or less. But good thing happens when liberal or at least centrist people jump into blogland who can understand all sides of an issue or subject.

    So, expanding on it, I must also say how CLOSETED we are in the blogland and how very limited indeed in spreading this UNDERSTANDING of our world or viewpoint. More often than not we only attract like minded people as friends, so it beats the purpose (of spreading tolerance or understanding) anyway.

    ”Like minded” also means a group of people using same language; English in your case for example. In my case too: Though I do speak or understand other languages, English is now very much not only my first language but the only language. So, adding everything up, I find myself in Judeo- Christian/Western/Liberal/ English speaking camp. When I came to blogs I wanted it to be DIVERSE AND MULTI CULTURAL/ INTERNATIONAL . I aggressively added people from Middle East, Iran, Eastern Europe etc. and people with ”ethnicities” like Middle Eastern, Afro- American and people with ideologies like Atheism. And I lost them all. There was no common ground or even a lasting interest or common language… So there you go….

    Contrast my situation with yours: how many Middle Eastern, Iranian, Arabs, Africans, Afro- Americans or even the Frenchies you have as your ”Friends” or even regular commentators? Almost none. So, automatically, all your blog ends up doing is talking to your own self or mirror images.

    **There are lots positives too but I am just giving you brutally honest kick ass version since it is such an underrepresented and ignored point**

  30. I think certain factions want to keep people in a state of panic over things that we really can’t (and don’t want to) control so that we don’t look at the things that we can and should change. It is a slight of hand trick…a distraction to keep us from seeing what they have up their sleeves.

    Wow, that sounds cynical and paranoid. It’s Wednesday.

  31. actually, i would hazard a guess that the people who, for lack of a better expression, cheer for population control, are the same ones who are pro-choice. years ago when politically incorrect was still on the air, two of the celebrities that were on was some chick that had been on baywatch and ben stein, who along with being in ferris bueller, being the spokesperson for clear eyes, and having his own game show, was also nixon’s speech writer. i don’t remember how it came up, but china’s birth control policy came up and baywatch chickie thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. the audience cheered everything she said because she was the liberal in this group. everytime ben stein said anything, he was talked over by baywatch chickie and the other panelists and booed by the audience. he thought china’s policy was horrible and unfair and was shocked that baywatch chickie didn’t think so, too. now, despite whatever political slant one takes, who would you think would be better informed? it’s probably obvious who i think, but come on, how can you take someone seriously when there biggest claim to fame is baywatch?

  32. Twinkies and wine…..That’s so “Grease” (I don’t know if you are a Grease fan and will get that one, hope you do!)

    Anyways, I agree with you, the human race will eventually be wiped out, or at least most of it, and it’s probably going to be due to disease or some force of nature.

    I have noticed more and more lately that alot of couples are only having one or 2 children, alot of people say it’s too expensive to have more than 2 and some people feel that having one is enough. So is inflation/money or lack-of money a means of population control?
    No, it seems the wealthy or upper-middle class people have one or 2 children and the less wealthy, who really can’t afford it, have many children.

    I was going to get into the whole religious part of the end of the world, but I’ll save that for another time and another blog.

  33. Great blog! (And, not just ’cause you called me most marvelous either – although I really DID need to be called marvelous today LOL! so thank you and hugs!) I think that with education and a lot of thought before someone makes an educated choice to become a parent, the population takes care of itself. Again, maybe I am being Polly-Anna, but if we could simply bring personal responsibility back to the forefront, a lot of the world’s problems could be resolved. But, I am at a loss as to how you accomplish that. And, personal responsibility is a rant for another time. 🙂 Plus, I am overly tired and no longer making a heck of a lot of sense. So, I will simply repeat, great blog and will stop typing now. 😀

  34. Well, thanks to my throwing curses (!) in their misbehaving direction, my children are not that keen on reproducing… their children might turn out to be like them! There! I’ve done my part.

  35. So here it is, my take on yet more BOLITICAL statements.

    You see, say what you will, but governments will alwas want to harbour a form of control via the lack of privacy in your life, which now extends to how much sex your permitted with your other half (sex is only for re-population purposes right?). So China tried, and they failed, hardly surpirising as perhaps half of their population still live in the sticks and have never visited a hospital in their lives and therefore the “powers” can’t stop home births. The human race is a dumb machine, we destroy all that we don’t understand and we inhabit areas that weren’t meant to be inhabited. We assume we know all there is to know about the planet because “a scientist” said so (so what, the scientist is only as good as the last one, i mean, when was the last great theory invented?).

    Global Warming
    Over Population
    Holes In The Ozone Layer (remember that one)

    It’s all a way of taxing us more (basically its BOLOTICS – Politics mixed with a huge amount of Bollocks!!)

    OK I’m finished!

  36. I’ve read 2 good dystopian novels about scary fictional societies where human reproduction is controlled:
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley & The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

    You’re right, you can’t force it, it can’t work.

  37. I’ve read 2 good dystopian novels about scary fictional societies where human reproduction is controlled:
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley & The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

    You’re right, you can’t force it, it can’t work.

  38. Kerry… the Baywatch chickie — did she bounce up and down a lot and flounce her hair over her shoulder… I think the audience was probably just full of men… plus, even if the audience were full of women, Mr. Clear Eyes is one ugly dude, I don’t think there’d be any cheering there!!

    My ex-husband happened to be telling me that he was “nominated” by his boss to be part of an Avarian Flu Pandemic Committee…. He’s a finance guy, what the heck does he know about preventing the Avarian Flu??? Plus, I thought that was so last year?? Apparently the thought is to determine, if there was mass-sickness, which department were absolutely necessary to staff (and this is no hospital or stock exchange or anything, it’s a publishing company!)

    So, yes, I think you are right, sickness takes care of the population explosion.

  39. lol! no, i don’t remember her bouncing up and down, but you’re probably right about the audience being mostly men. 🙂

  40. Reading along and enjoying myself with your friend’s comments about your post on breeding curtailment…then “Just Me” said her ex-husband was nominated to be part of an Avarian Flu Pandemic Committee…at a publishing company. Blew limeade out me nose. OMG! LOL.

    Perfect.

    Check out the World Clock and the population growth.
    http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf

    Humans might want to think about doing what we do … When Llamas are in season, we separate the males from the females. Ta-dum! No babies. LOL I say there are just too many screaming children–particularly in restaurants and on airplanes…
    Hugs!

  41. Ah yes… there are times when I too am in favor of population control. Gaby touched on two (restaurants and airplanes) and I’d offer movie theatres as well. lol

    And speaking of movies, Jurassic Park might offer a lesson on this very topic. Remember how the dinosaurs were all female, yet they still found a way to produce offspring? (That idea was modeled after an actual species of Amazonian frogs, I believe.)

    Not to say that women would start to spontaneously get pregnant! lol Though we do utilize artificial insemination and other less than natural methods of fulfilling our need to cultivate offspring.

    Point in fact though, I don’t believe that forced population control works to the betterment of society, and I most wholeheartedly agree with you on “Nothing good in history comes from population control, from trying to “fix” nature or God or the cosmos…”

  42. Sometimes I feel quite shallow when I read your blogs!! You’re good….has anyone ever told you that??? Haha…seriously!

    Well, I don’t agree with population control…I think it’s horrible to tell people what/how/when/how many when talking about them having children. However, I’m with LO…I sooooo would like some personal responsibility coming into play.

    I only have one child. Half by circumstance, half by choice. Who knows…..with a bunch of changes…I might add to that number some day. Until then…well…pffft.

    Twinkies???? Yummmmmmmmmmmmmy. Do they reall never go bad?? I think I learned something today. Wow…I seriously can’t remember the last time I consumed one of those lovely delicasies! (sp). However, can I have something besides wine to wash it down? Wait…but, that doesn’t mean I don’t want the wine….just not with my twinkie!! Oh…and I don’t like red….yes, I’m weird. Well, except for the oh-so-yummy sangria that my neighbor makes!!

    Great blog, Fuzzy!! Sorry, I couldn’t contribute anything intellectual to it (I’ve been in the company of a six year old for farrrrrrr too long this summer :p

  43. Good timing Fuzzy. The Economist leader a couple of weeks back was on just this subject. This centuries Malthus was Paul Erhlich who’s book ‘The Population Bomb’ made similarly dire prophecies about an impending implosion of the human race as our numbers outstripped our resources. His conclusions have been broadly discredited of course.

    The issue is more complex of course. An increasing number of countries have already got a fertility rate below replacement, with some countries (e.g. Japan, Spain, Italy) seeing a collapse in the fertility rate. This courses issues in terms of countries future economic growth, funding of state pensions and social cohesion where inward immigration is used to ‘fill the gap’. States should not be in the business of regulating population, although many Western governments are going to have to deal with increasingly small populations that live longer.

  44. This subject (birth rates,Population and controlling its increase) has zillions of dimensions and it all depends which one you’re talking about. Your point in this post is, it is wrong for governments to control population growth: ”Nothing good in history comes from population control, from trying to “fix” nature or God or the cosmos or whatever it is that you believe in.” You push all the buttons of the argument and top it off with this comment. I think the gist of your post was, ”I don’t give a rat’s ass anyway and wonder why some people do” LOL? Here are some views anyway:

    1.) Overpopulation IS A PROBLEM, in most parts of the world. Poor parts, impoverished parts. yeah. It is very ironical that the birth rates are overwhelmingly higher in countries that don’t have enough food, potable water and other resources to sustain even their existing population. Quality of life as a result is further deteriorating and no one cares.

    It is largely because people there are such miserable wretches they neither know nor can afford contraception. Other than that those new babies are useful to them ragged folks. These kids can do manual labor, beg in the streets and very often can be sold as sex objects to horny Western paedophiles flying into these godforsaken lands from all sorts of rich Western countries.

    2.) Religious folks have a strange idea about population control though: They oppose it, through and through. All Catholics, other Christians and of course Muslims too. I believe reasons for it are more political than religious in nature. Of course if one religious sect’s birth rate is high their total number is also likely to be high. For these reasons I find population growth encouraged by religious leaders as very depressing. Because it means religious leaders want their followers to breed like chickens for their own statistical advantage.

    I have noticed even purely political calls for making more babies. The one I remember was by Palestinians leaders. They asked all Palestianian and Arabs women living within Israel to make as many babies as they can so that in due time it would be possible to outnumber Jews in Israel. The exact words were, ”use your wombs as weapons.”. Phew. That’s one twisted conspiracy. LOL.

    3.) Finally, I come to what you’re familiar with. No problems about overpopulation in the Western world. It is true. Indeed your neighbor to the North, Canada is DESPERATE to have a certain number of people to immigrate to Canada- every year- in order to maintain minimum population growth rate which is VITAL for the growth of economy in all sectors from farming, housing, banking, industry to anything you can imagine. Just like Canada, Australia, New Zealand have TARGETS of ELIGIBLE Immigrants that must reach their shores every year in order to maintain the population growth rate that could at least replace the number of people that die or leave their country permanently every year.

    U.S. of A is the only industrial and Western country that is not facing low birth rate problems YET. Indeed Americans are happily breeding at a very healthy rate all you Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Asians etc. But some countries especially in Europe are getting all Jittery. Population is increasingly getting OLD and not enough new babies are being born. More and more old pensioners needing public health services than young energetic employees. An economic nightmare. In Sweden it was considered a national crisis and there used to be ads on TV in which their international Tennis superstar used to urge his countrymen to ”F*** for future.”

    I think Swedes (and other Europeans/ Japanese) would be much more successful if they all become Catholics. I should shut up, I’m sounding all political.

  45. Thanks for provoking my brain about such an interesting topic. I will blog this comment. I should blog all my comments since they are too long to exist as mere ”comments.” LOL

  46. WEll..I must echo Ang..you are a great and thought provoking blogger. I first went to Eskimo’s page and he had written that you had had a few glasses of wine…and started blogging..but I don’t see that!! I think you are just plain brillant..

    As for controlling the population..I guess I will keep my comments brief because if I try to be prolific on a subject I can’t go on and on about..I will sound idiotic.. so I will say my opinion..

    No..we can’t control it artificially. It would be wrong.

    Thanks for your blogs Fuzzy. They are great. Peace Angel girl. xoxox kate

  47. Government controlled population control? Nope, never works….but I consider myself a bit of an environmentalist and wonder what will happen as our species keep expanding, pushing out all others. Do we have the right to drive other creatures to extinction because we need to develop the land?
    What happens when we overuse our resources? Fish the sea dry and can’t feed ourselves? The human race has done more damage to this planet in the last 100 years than it did in the previous 10,000….food for thought!! Great blog Fuzz….pants on fire liar or not!

  48. Interesting post here, Fuzzy. I don’t agree with everything you’ve said but you have certainly stirred up some discussion. I had to laugh at, and agree with, Eskimo’s first paragraph. If you really don’t give a toss, why bother blogging it? LOL.
    Ok, here’s some of my thoughts on the subject:
    Firstly: resources. I don’t matter how much you pretend otherwise, Earth’s resources ARE finite. Particularly ones we have placed so much reliance on, ie oil and coal. Fossil fuels can’t be replaced overnight, they take hundreds of thousands, even millions of years to form. The rate we are investing in alternatives is far too slow. Even with a zero-population growth, they WILL run out. No amount of burying our collective heads in the sand is going to change that. Ok, the projected time-scales are a matter for debate, but the central fact ISN’T. It’s time that the vested interests (governments and big business) realised that no amount of money will solve the problem when it’s too late.
    Secondly: population control. The main problem with the human race is that we have outstripped our ecological niche. Virtually all other species on the planet live in a well-balanced ecosystem of predator and prey, which maintains population numbers (I won’t go into great detail here….Google it!!). Humans, in developing (so-called) intelligence have moved far beyond the bounds of it’s original niche. What I’ve gotten to wondering about, and this is wild speculation on my part, is that nature, in enabling the mechanisms of such intelligence, had to build in ‘new’ natural controls. As others have noted, as we become more technically sophisticated, we demonstrate a greater ability for genocide. We seem to have a natural proclivity for war. Is that just coincidence? I am beginning to think not.
    One thing I do agree with you on is that governmental imposition of population control, as in the Chinese example, will never work. It is too deeply ingrained in the collective human psyche that procreation is important. And on a purely biological level, it’s the most important drive in any species : survival.
    I enjoyed this blog. One of those that really gets everyone thinking.

  49. I agree that too many restrictions always bring the worst. But I think we should as a overall race should do what is good for the Earth, if we keep growing, then there is going to be wars on limited food, water even. Some religions have strict laws about birth control, but also they want to propogate their religion, so they don’t care a damn about population. In India there are many castes who does that. There is limited land but the population will exceed China one day, so there is going to be excess competition for education and jobs. I think we should do what is sensible for the human race and for the nature. Even if we don’t control ourselves, the nature knows how to deal with it.

  50. Teehee, Marianne, I have to both giggle and agree; fear does seem to be a huge political tool these days. Most often weilded by huge political tools, if you’ll pardon the idiomatic pun. The left blames the right for fear mongering, and the right blames the left for it; they both do it, though. A lot.

    lmao, Kerry, I LOVE this comment, and I didn’t know all that about Ben Stein, though I did once see him drop trou on tv. Another claim to fame, perhaps, but still . . . I’m with you, he comes across as more knowledgable about ANYTHING than some Baywatch chickie. (okay, I’m still giggling)

    Yay Twinkies, Marianne! 🙂

    hehe, Laurie, I knew I could count on you to get it. 🙂

    Oh, Maggie, you so should do the religious take, though, it’s certainly pertinent here. And yes, it does seem that the people who can “afford” kids, don’t have as many, and of course, we can go into the “benefits” for poor people having kids, but that’s a whole other blog. 🙂

    Most Marvelous LO (and you are), I think that personal responsibility is key. Well, for those of us over here, privileged, etc. It’s not really an option for many people around the world (when it comes to birth control, etc., I mean). And keep talking, I love what you have to say. 🙂

    Woohoo, Pinkie, you go, Girl!! LOL

    Yay, Monty, you never let me down! Though I did think that you were pro-population control for some reason, but I love that term Bolitics, so fitting!!

    Julie, Handmaid’s Tale is brilliant, I just love it! And you make a good point, most utopian novels deal with population control in one form or another (that’d make a good paper. If I still wrote them, that is.).

    omg, JustMe, that’s too funny about your ex being on some committee for avian flu in the publishing business. Sigh. See? It’s just too much pc crap, I think. We’re getting bogged down in it all and nothing is really being accomplished (though loads of money is doled out). Gah!

    Teehee, Gaby, I love the idea of separating the men from the women . . . but I’m not sure it’s feasible for we humans. We like a bit of nonreproductive “touch” now and again. 😉

    Ooooh, I love that Jurasic Park reference, Office Goddess, because it really does touch on something key here, and that is that “nature” (quoting JP) does find a way. Sure the amphibious thing was working for the dinosaurs, but humans will multiply; it’s what we do. Well, one of the things we do.

    LOL, Ang, you are too funny. It’s not that heavy a topic (at least not the way I deal with it), but I love your funny comments. And so agree, twinkies + wine = bad. Truly bad. 🙂

    Right on, Fabi, couldn’t agree more.

  51. omg, Elmo, I almost snorted tea all over my keyboard at your comment: I think the gist of your post was, ”I don’t give a rat’s ass anyway and wonder why some people do” LOL? I’m not sure that’s exactly what I was saying, but it’s hilarious nonetheless. 🙂 I wouldn’t say that no one cares about the quality of life in countries with burgeoning populations, but I would say that those of us in the west (um, Americans, in particular) feel a bit . . . torn and helpless. This is just the sort of Catch-22 that’s led to our standing in the world today; do we step in and get further berated for not helping or caring or do we leave others to it and watch them make huge messes. The world can’t seem to decide what we should do, when, and to what extent, but you can bet that it’ll always be wrong. We do too much. We don’t do enough. Can’t win for losing on that score, right?

    I’m not particularly religious in the sense of being “pro-life” (against abortion), but I do know that you cannot control a population without killing newborns, the unwanted (mentally or physically challenged), and in some cases (as in China, for instance) females. It’s the way it is. You tell someone they can have only one child; they’ll want a male to carry on the family line. Then the majority of the population (as China found) is male. Who do they carry on the line WITH? Ooops.

    And you’ll hear PLENTY of overpopulation screaming in the west, that’s for certain. Is it a pressing issue? Likely not. Do economies need a certain amount of population growth? In the western world, especially? Yes, of course. Not sure of your point on that one. I’ve not googled the American population growth/census data, but my guess is that Maggie is probably right, that it’s the lower classes that are happily breeding (as you say); the middle and upper classes … not so much. The baby boom generation (associated with war) is retiring or getting close to it, and they’ll suck up our resources, but . . . well, shrug. That’s been coming for forty odd years, time we dealt with it, no?

    Btw, I’m not sure what you wrote on your own page, but I wasn’t even close to drinking when I wrote this; it’s a decent representation of some of what I think writ large. As usual.

  52. Kate Angel, thanks for the fab words about the post! Yay! 🙂 And I do agree, population control is just a nonstarter. At least I’ve not heard of a humane way to do it.

    Hey there Rivergirl! 🙂 Well, I’m not so sure we’ll fish the sea dry or eat all the plants, but I do take your point and agree that we’ve done more damage to the planet since the Industrial Revolution than all humankind did up to that point. But (um) we’ve also done more good, too. Go figure.

    Hiya Mitch, yeah, the earth’s resources are finite(ish), but the population to resources ratio is the bigger question here, I think. I mean, are we really going to outgrow our resources? Or is it more likely that some disease + war + natural disaster combination will keep things relatively even? As has been the case since the first Chicken Little (linked in my post). Just a thought. Alternative fuel sources are certainly needed, but we know that, right? I mean we’re not hiding our heads in the sand about that; we are, it seems, debating what fuel sources to use, how to change our consumption of existing sources, etc., but I sincerely doubt that the last bit o’ coal/oil will be consumed and we’ll be sitting in the dark wondering where our next meal is coming from. Or am I naive? And no, of course it’s not coincidence, for balance to be maintained (and I think it must be, will continue to be) we must find new and exciting ways to kill ourselves and each other. It’s the way we survive. Nothing shocking or new there. Yay! I love this sort of chat with you, Mitch. Well, with everyone, of course. This thinking thing is really grand!!

    Chris, perfect! I agree, even if we can’t control ourselves, nature can. And will.

  53. Many years ago I went to a lecture by Isaac Asimov – who lived from 1920 to 1992.

    He was best known as a science fiction writer but was also a scientist and held a Doctorate Degree. He was a Humanist and a rationalist. (Humanism has appeal to scientific skeptics)

    He basically said the same thing you did – and you said it very funny with a tounge in cheek attitude that I enjoyed reading.

    People create their own problems when the try and start to control things like this – per Asimov the earth, as an organism will take care of itself – with some sort of disaster, natural or manmade that will control the population. People screw-up when they try and come up with their own controls – my thought – You can’t fool mother nature nor do better than she.

  54. Hello again Fuzz. I think it is very tricky to say ”Western World”, ”we in US”, and talk the population thing in the same breath. As I mentioned in my comment, U.S. is the only developed and industrialized country where natural birth rates are causing substantial population growth. And U.S. is nowhere in crisis- either way- and can happily welcome millions more and use them for economic growth. Google tells me U.S. only has 301 million people and this is mighty low… compared to China’s 1.3 billion and India’s 1.1 billion (which is less than half the land size of U.S.) Moreover, both these countries are technically very backward- compared to U.S. so they can barely match food production rates of the developed world.)In short U.S. is decades away from worrying about ”over-population” as long as cities are well planned and infrastructure is well- built, expanded, maintained.

    As for Europe… all of it is dying and growing older (not drastically though).. U.K. is exception again, it’s birth rates are a bit over the death rates. But others ARE feeling the pressure of ageing citizens. Japan is second biggest economy in the world and Germany is third …both have had low birth rates and now deal with increasingly elderly workforce and others who are retired and on benefits. I believe this is one big reason of these two having ailing economies and flat or negative economic growth rates in the last 2 decades. So, it is different story for every country, even in the ‘Western world”.

    At last, I’m not very sure about what sections of U.S. population are making more babies. Lower classes may also be deterred from making more babies because they simply could not afford them. In fact, I happened to listen to the Weekend Edition on NPR recently and there was a story how many wealthy Americans consider it a status symbol to have heaps babies (6-8 or more!) simply because they can afford it. The next week it received angry letters from people all over America saying these rich folks are simply being vain and making life more difficult for poorer people as they are indiscriminately breeding and consequently hogging limited food and economic resources. There is other side to every notion.

  55. Hi LuckyLady and welcome! 🙂 Thanks for the fabulous comment, and though I don’t think of myself as a humanist, I have to agree that I can be very tongue in cheek. Teehee

    Elmo, really? How interesting about the wealthy Americans having 6-8 kids because they can afford to. I wonder who these people are . . . I could guess, but then I’d be guilty of being politically incorrect. And we can’t have that. (hehe)

  56. Just to add some further thoughts here having read Eskimo’s comments here. America does have a higher fetility rate, more or less bang on the replacement rate of 2.1 in fact. In the next four decades America will add a further 100 million to its population, but that is of course not a result of just the birth rate, but of inward immigration and increasing life expectancy. I have heard a few explanations for America’s higher birth rate compared to Europe and Japan for example, from a higher levels of optimism and religiosity, to the low population density [some of the lowest fertility rates are in crowded place like Hong Kong, Singapore etc].

    In Europe the picture is more complex than suggested above. France, Denmark and Ireland have fertility rates above the replacement rates, with other countries like Britain and some Scandanavian countries not far behind. On the flipside you have countries like Spain, Greece, Italy and Germany and alot of the former communist countries where fertility rates are down around 1.25. It is difficult to know what the cause of these discrepancies are, as it cannot just be generous social provision for working mothers [Germany has these]. I have heard one thesis that suggests the low fertility rates in countries such as Italy, Spain and former communist dictatorship, the drop in fertility may be a delayed reaction to more freedoms from women and a decrease in the buttressing of strong family values by totalitarian regimes and/or the Catholic Church.

    Sorry for rambling, but this was a thought provoking post.

  57. Great post. The overpopulation thing has been hyped beyond belief using bogus data or dubious extrapolation methods. The biggest offender is Paul Erlich who has made several wrong predictions of impending doom, and when the years fail to prove his claim, he swiftly glides on to another bogus “crisis.”

    Sometimes he links overpopulation with a “crisis” in food supplies- pointing to China and India as examples of impending doom where food runs out. In fact, China and India are net exporters of grain, and the main problem with food is not quantity but transport. If anything the world has a SURPLUS of food.

    In case after case, (dwindling forests, declining fisheries, global warming, etc) and any number of alleged doomsday scenarios, environmental scaremongers get the gushing attention of the mainstream media and the frantic activity of assorted activists. When however their claims are compared to the empirical data they invariably fall flat.

    The fallacies of much environmentalist thinking are easy to spot:

    FINITE RESOURCES
    Finite resources are not necessarily cause for alarmist scare-mongering. For one thing, new resources come on line. 200 years ago, petroleum was not a major engine of world energy supplies. It was bothersome blank gunk in the sands. The same for nuclear power, and the same for coal even further back. Of course resources will run out SOMETIME, but new alternatives are always coming on line. As for time, current potential oil reserves are projected to last over two centuries at current rates, and we still havent tapped vast alternatives like Canada’s shale sands, not to mention exhaust coal or natural gas. Two hundred years from now is hardly cause for “crisis”, and that’s without the alternatives.

    POPULATION CONTROL
    Some say we have outstripped our ecological niche. The empirical data suggest quite the opposite. It is estimated that every human being on earth could comfortably fit inside the state of Texas with room enough for a comfortable suburban house. The fact is that much of the earth is UNDERPOPULATED, and we have a SURPLUS of food available. Humans havent outstripped anything in a global sense, although there are localized shortages and problems. Ironically some of the most sparsely populated countries per sq mile (like Mali in afirca for example) are among the world’s poorest, while the most densely populated countries per sq mile (Japan or Belgium for example) are among the world’s richest.

    Also other animal and plant species constantly expand their niches when they have the chance, from birds to rats, to pesky Brazilian pepper trees. Given the opportunity, these species will actively supplant and eliminate other species. It happens all the time- Life 101. It is by no means certain that the rest of the natural world is more virtuous and caring than humans. Data suggest quite the opposite.

    GOVERNMENT POPULATION CONTROL
    The results have been very mixed. China has achieved some success with draconian methods but would such methods be needed in the first place if the stifling hand of communism did not restrict economic output? Also the fallout is not talked about much by assorted activists. THe widespread abortions of girls for example is one such result, as parents limited to 2 kids by the regime, opt for boys. Eventually these numbers will even out as the regime scrambles to “adjust” its targets, but this coercion is part of the brave new world pro-government control activists rarely mention. The growing education of women and increases in labor-saving technology have done more for population reduction in the rest of the world than armies of bureaucrats and party hacks telling parents what to do or think, at much less cost to human freedom.

    A good resource that debunks the long line of environmentalist myths is Bjorn Lomborg’s “The Skeptical Environmentalist” – required reading, even if its production cost some trees.. 🙂

  58. The trouble is we’ve all become sceptics. Well, you can’t believe anything Government says any more, can you. And experts?? well, don’t Governments use them too?

  59. Over population is a huge problem on this planet..one only has to look at the housing problems in places like China to see the problems…I will send you an email after I have done this with some rather scary but amazing photos – just think, a country that has to dredge the sea bed to create islands upon which to build new housing to accommodate its people HAS to have population problems and just think about the rubbish polution and the air polution not to mention the overcrowding and food consumption and the fuel consumption…we are priviliged int he western world!! Then just take a look at poverty stricken areas – example in Brazil – and thrid world countries that are unable to sustain their populations let alone provide suffiecient health care and education.

    Now having said that….here’s me with my four children and nary a thought for whether there is enough land for us to live on. However, my children know how to plant and tend vegetables, they know how to hand rear a calf and a lamb, they have seen such animals hand killed for food also and could probably do it themselves if they absolutely HAD to.
    Now to the raping of the planet’s reasources – the facts and figures are apparently that by 2050 we will need two Mother Earth’s to be able to provide the resources needed for the population we will have then and of course this will not be possible…have you considered the magnetic polarity of the planet within the galaxy also? Fossil Fuels cannot be replaced..its quite scary!! What will we do when everything runs out? Oh I know that most people think that technology will provide the answer to that…but if we cannot successfully find alternatives to the resources we have now all that will happen is that we will travel further afield and rape the other planets within our galaxy….man the predator!!

    Governmental population control is not the solution, most definately, but whilst the majority sit blindly by and think no further than their own survival the world is slowly going to wrack and ruin. I agree with Sg’t R’s comments on womens education.

    Wow Fuzz this is a thought provoking blog but it also highlights the lack of knowledge (I’d say ignorance but i dont want to offend anyone) within the western world – many sit back in their priviliged positions saying “what problem?” and all that is clear is that they actually have not bothered to look further into the subject because at present “it doesn’t appear to affect them” – not good enough says I.

    Love and light my friend…hope to hear from you soon

  60. The problem or issue is not experts but the quality of their data and analysis. Too often it is sorely lacking on the population issue. Winston Churchill was right when he said experts should “be on tap, not on top.” Skepticism in this area is exceedingly healthy.

    Ali is right in pointing to localized population pressures, but overpopulation is a very imprecise concept. Too often its definition shifts depending on who is speaking.

    How many people are “too much” for an area? One of the most densely populated countries in the world per sq mile is Belgium, but no one is holding rock concerts to solve any particular crisis in Belgic population numbers. The same could be said of Taiwan or Japan.

    China itself is number 71 on the list of the most densely populated countries per sq mile in the world, well behind Bangladesh, Japan, India and even the Caribbean island of Barbados. And some of the poorest countries in the world are among the LEAST densely populated.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_density

    The problem is not some vague feeling that “too many people” are in a particular area. The key issue is whether (a) resources are being used effectively and (b) whether sufficient economic output is occuring to support that population.

    Japan and Belgium excel on both these measures, hence their high densities do not constitute a “crisis”. In fact the main demographic problem of places like Japan or Belgium is an AGING, DECLINING population. CHina has failed until very recent times to meet points (a) and (b). Were it to do so, it could sustain a much larger population than its current 1 billion.

    The harsh poverty in places like Brazil is a fact of life but we all need to ask: Is it overpopulation that is the problem, or (a) inefficient use of resources and (b) insufficient economic output.

    There are many in the Third World that resent affluent Westerners telling saying that there are “too many” of them. They note that the West had no problem with encouraging ITS growing population numbers during the colonial and settler eras when native populations were sharply reduced or exterminated in several areas.

    This is not a criticism of Ali’s comments. She is right in that there are severe localized problems in different parts of the globe. The key question however: Is the real reason because there are “too many” people? If so, how do we define what “too many” is?

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