Sunday, October 23, 2011

Seven Billion

Seven Billion people in the world and counting.  I heard about this as I was listening to the latest Radio Derb Podcast.

Derbyshire said the following about World Population:

Is that too many, too few, or just right? Nobody knows, and there are cogent arguments on all sides. Only one thing is mathematically certain, and that is that our planet has some maximum capacity to support human life. What you think that capacity is, depends on your own personality and outlook. American conservatives, especially religious ones, are mostly philoprogenitive, while liberals and some irreligious conservative contrariwise favor fewer people. As always in a fact-free zone, people go with their inclinations and cook up arguments to support them. The really interesting numbers are comparative: fertility rates in the zone of barbarism compared with those in the zone of civilization, or fertility rates of the very religious when compared with those of the irreligious or casually religious..

My inclination, currently, is to say it is too few.  I come from Canada where one doesn't see that many people and have seem a vivid contrast to this in China.  I can't get my head around the fact that China can support so many people.  I think now that this worry about overpopulation is overblown.

Asking Derbyshire's question to a group of students at an English Corner, all the students said they thought there were too many people.  I told them I thought they were wrong and that the world, and China included could take on more people.  I told students, rather crudely, that they probably hadn't been exposed to arguments questioning the assumption that China had too many people.  The Chinese should have bigger families I said, adding that bigger families made for better people.  To want to keep the population down I said was an indication of a hatred for the human race.** 

I was asked how many children I had.  I told them I had one and wanted more, and kept the regretful thought to myself about how, if I hadn't made screwy decisions in early adulthood and hadn't been living in a strange mental darkness, I would have had four or five.

I have seen people, using the overpopulation arguments, to justify the most monstrous of behaviors, ideologies, government policies, and lifestyles.  I make the following observations:
  • Abortion, the murder of the innocent, revels in the self-righteousness of keeping the population down.  
  • And the fewer children people have, the more self-righteous they become.
  • The people who crave experiences in life are missing out on the best when they don't have children.  Now, I don't mean to say that raising children is glamorous.  It is torture for example to sit at a playground while Tony plays.  There are times when I wish I could yank the Ipad from him and read a book I have on the E-reader App.  Watching him practice his coloring is as dull as dishwater.  But these little bits of suffering are necessary to make the moments of love more special.  The good things in life are hard-won.  We don't make the world better by shirking our duties and satisfying our inclinations.

** I have indicated a tendency to adopt the misanthropic pose myself.  But I would be a conservative misanthrope, the type whose misanthropy is passive.  I would shoot at the government official trying to intrude on my privacy.  The Liberal or Socialist Misanthrope seems to revel in forced sterilizations, forced abortions, and forced asceticism on the lower classes.

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