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July 12, 2009

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Spiny Norman

With an acolyte of Saul Alinsky and protege of Frank Marshall Davis and Bill Ayres in the White House, a good old-fashioned eugenicist as "science czar" should surprise no one.

In the comments to the zombietime post here:

http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?p=576

it is claimed that Holdren has renounced these views, but the evidence presented is rather weak.

On a somewhat related note, Holdren's co-author of Ecoscience, Paul R. Ehrlich, (who ought to be utterly discredited, but isn't - at least among the Left), claims his laughable doomsday predictions in The Population Bomb were "too optimistic".

http://www.dominantanimal.org/index.php?page_id=279

Huh? The man has rocks in his head and the gullible still laud him as a "visionary".

The Thin Man

I have no doubt that Holdren is a highly educated, intelligent man, who believes he is saving the world.

Intelligence however is no guarantee of outbreaks of morony. I have had several bouts of it myself. The difference is that my attempts to "fix" the world have been exclusively fueled by alcohol, and confined to the pub - which is the proper place for such moronic notions.

When the Nazis took Poland, there were bureaucrats whose job it was to "rehouse" the "undesirable" population. So some guy sat in his office - "If I send this family of undesirables to the camps this morning, I can move this desirable family into their home this afternoon".

This kind of banal atrocity is what Holdren advocates - presumably he and his friends would become the deciders - intervening on a micro scale in everybody else's lives to save us all from that troublesome free will and freedom business.

I suspect that what Erlich, Holdren and their ilk don't understand is that by the act of sitting down and writing the book outlining the actual methodology that you will use to force the chaotic world to conform to the smooth statistical analysis you crave, you have effectively put Sauron's ring of power on your finger and it's evil is already consuming you.

Precious.

David

“…by the act of sitting down and writing the book outlining the actual methodology… you have effectively put Sauron’s ring of power on your finger…”

Quite. It seems to me that if someone sits down and writes a few hundred thousand words on the social and practical details of mass sterilisation and compulsory abortion as potential necessities, then that person has crossed some kind of line. Where does your head have to be to ruminate on such things, seriously, for so long and in such detail? When you get to the stage of mulling how to avoid the “unpleasant side effects” of mass sterilisation, and how to present this coercion as “acceptable,” we’re already somewhere we really don’t want to be.

And even if we assume Holdren has since flatly renounced such ideas as repellent (which as yet isn’t clear), there are plenty of others who seem entranced by the same kind of dream. See, for instance, the Optimum Population Trust or the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, or George Monbiot’s fantasies of a World Government. Or the environmental crusader, Dr John Reid, whose plan to save the world from human beings also entails putting “something in the water” – specifically, “a virus that would… make a substantial proportion of the population infertile.” And while the good doctor is happy to share his view of all human life as an extraneous infestation of an otherwise pristine Earth, he’s also insistent that “affluent populations should be targeted first.”

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/12/infestation.html

carbon based lifeform

"it must be free of dangerous or unpleasant side effects; and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets, or livestock."

Feel the compassion.

James S

See this – "Obama’s Biggest Radical":

"When Barack Obama nominated John P. Holdren as his Science Adviser last December 20, the president-elect stated "promoting science isn’t just about providing resources" but "ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology." In nominating John Holdren, his words could scarcely have taken a more Orwellian ring.

Some critics have noted Holdren's penchant for making apocalyptic predictions that never come to pass, and categorizing all criticism of his alarmist views as not only wrong but dangerous. What none has yet noted is that Holdren is a globalist who has endorsed "surrender of sovereignty" to "a comprehensive Planetary Regime" that would control all the world's resources, direct global redistribution of wealth, oversee the "de-development" of the West, control a World Army and taxation regime, and enforce world population limits."

http://www.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=34198

Candice

“affluent populations should be targeted first.”

Because they breed like rabbits. :eyeroll:

Thin Man, you are completely correct. I see shades of the HBO film Conspiracy, where the Wanesse Conference took place in Nazi Germany to decide on the "final solution." It's truly disgusting to talk of controlling people's lives this way.

If one wants to control population growth, the surest method is to increase the affluence and mechanization of people's lives. When the utility of an additional child is less than the cost of having them, birth control becomes an attractive option. Holdren is so enamored with the ends that he's willing to countenance any means. He should be kept far away from the halls of power.

JuliaM

"This kind of banal atrocity is what Holdren advocates - presumably he and his friends would become the deciders..."

I don't think there's any 'presumably' about it.

And these people NEVER think that their blueprints might one day be used on them, by others. Because at heart, they're narcissists...

The Thin Man

I've heard these arguments before.

Many times. Many, many times.

And the goal is ALWAYS to "save" the world. Such policies allow one to reduce human individuals to little more than a stain on the planet and how much brighter the world will be if we can just remove those stains.

The policy maker can then indulge his psychotic fantasy by couching it in the language of science. Without having to kill anyone oneself. The act of murder is just one generation removed. And there are always armies of "progressives" ready to do your bidding.

"Mrs Sanger says Superman is the aim of birth control"

"Such human weeds clog up the path. Drain up the energies and the resources of this little Earth. We must clear the way for a better world. We must cultivate our garden."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEja-1emRic

James S

"Such human weeds clog up the path...We must cultivate our garden."

"he's also insistent that "affluent populations should be targeted first.""

It's the kind of evil you never have to apologize for - as long as you're "progressive".

David

“It’s the kind of evil you never have to apologize for - as long as you’re ‘progressive’.”

You don’t have to apologise if you expect to be in charge, absolutely, and thus unassailable. It’s interesting how the kinds of worlds such people imagine leave very little room for a dissenting population. It’s the egalitarian way.

Dom

"...and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets, or livestock."

Excuse me for being thick here, but:

1. Which sex is he talking about? Does it affect males and not females, or the other way around?

2. If the answer to "1" is "it should affect females", then why does he care about old people? If "males", then does he really want very old fathers?

AntiCitizenOne

It's good to know that those who start totalitarian revolutions tend to get "population controlled" next to a wall...

> view of all human life as an extraneous infestation of an otherwise pristine Earth,

Very original sin. He sees himself as a priest.

The Thin Man

Dom

I think you are missing one of the fundamental component of these "ecologists" thinking - revenge.

The specifications are a nonsense - since any substance of the required biological activity would undoubtedly affect other organisms - there is simply no way to avoid this since we share dna and proteins with every other organism on the planet. Although individual genes and proteins have widely differing effects and agencies on different species - think of the cannabinoids which are thought to be an insect repellent in plants but which cause altered consciousness in humans and other animals - we are interconnected in ways that we are only just beginning to imagine. For anyone to call themselves an "ecologist" and to believe that some magic bullet like the one described can be added to the ecosystem without impacting the system in any way other than the primary purpose shows the basic unseriousness of their thinking and argument.

The specifications are there to make THEM feel more comfortable - they are discussing the extermination of large swathes of human life and for them, this nod to compassion (well they wouldn't want to "hurt" anybody, would they?) allows them to rationalize this impulse to murder.

"WE" - the great unwashed, or jews, or rich people, or stupid people or poor people (or which ever group is their preffered demon) have sullied their pristine Earth and they will make us PAY for what we have done.

Hitler's Einsatzgruppen were so psychologically damaged by early operations that tests with Carbon Monoxide and later zyclon were carried out to relieve SS officers from having to shoot people - the ovens were an administrative solution to both the massive numbers of those to be eliminated and effect of "hands-on" killing on their own troops.

Holdren's plan would not require this to be considered since all he would be doing is adding something to the food supply or potable water.

I imagine a mindset somewhat like that of General Ripper in Dr Strangelove is operative in cases like Holdren. It is only from such a place that one can talk of such destruction of human life and view it as some form of moral or ethical behavior.

He would be saving the planets precious bodily fluids.

Wm T Sherman

As science czar, Dr. Holdren has a new catastrophe for which to ramrod an arrogant, overbearing solution - man-made global warming. He will no doubt apply to this project the same confidence in predicting the future that he has always had.

This time around, Holdren is actually in a position to do some real damage. Things like the cap and trade bill will cause economic disaster without affecting the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to any significant degree. The government shall micromanage, intrude and punish to an unprecendented degree - all for a hypothesis. It's the opportunity of a lifetime for a man of his ilk.

If he really needs a tough ecological problem to work on, I'd be willing to put on a pair of army boots and kick him in the nuts. Any man can tell you that's a tough one.

TDK

I visited the Eden Project during the last few years where these ideas, and the gurus who present them, are a feature of the education centre. There's a wall where you can add your thoughts - graffiti to save the planet! Most contributors had followed the script and demanded more recycling, less flying and driving (an oxymoron for a centre accessible only by road), less CO2 etc. I recall writing something along the lines of it being better not to laud Paul Erlich since his predictions always seem to go wrong. Someone, perhaps staff, asked me what I meant, so I mentioned the lack of millions dying in the US during the 1980s. They literally hadn't a clue that that was one of his predictions but nevertheless still felt that he must be right. Further questions failed to bring up any concrete examples of what he said that was so enlightening apart from the vague idea that he was on the right side of the environmental argument.

I guess that like followers of Marx, the less you actually read about the aims and objectives of the leaders, the easier it is to follow the movement.

randian

"Which sex is he talking about? Does it affect males and not females, or the other way around?"

I think the answer is obvious. In leftist politics, women are the privileged sex. Ergo, any involuntary sterilizing agent must only affect men.

I don't see how, given the similarity in biology, such an agent could affect humans and not dogs or cows. I'm actually surprised they care about pets and food animals, given the left's increasing insistence on vegetarianism and its flirtation with the effective extinction of both.

randian

How do I get HTML to work here? Italics, bold, blockquote, all appear to not work.

morbo

What makes it doubly stupid is that every first world country has a reproduction rate at or below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per mother (see for example http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/78/Fertility_rate_world_map_2.png ), so there is absolutely no need for any 'coercive fertility control' in first world countries. But hey, why let facts get in the way of your enthusiasm for green totalitarianism.

The population of all first world countries is only growing because of increased immigration, and the population of the world is only growing because of high reproduction rates in the third world. It's kind of funny how advocating an end to immigration is too un-PC for population control enthusiasts to even consider, but totalitarian governments forcing abortions on people are fine to them. It's a glimpse at leftist priorities.

dw

"I'd have guessed that "concluding" such things, even in the passive voice, might hinder a person's climb to a position of political influence."

Not if you think the United States is "the meanest of wealthy countries" and the West should be "de-developed" to make the world fairer. Leftist extremism gets cut a lot more slack.

David

“Leftist extremism gets cut a lot more slack.”

There is, it seems, a distinct double standard. And Holdren’s more recent pronouncements share many of the same wild errors and coercive inclinations. (See link below for examples.) And this is the man chosen to “ensure that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology.”

http://www.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=34198

Presumably, Holdren was vetted for his current job, and if so that raises a question. Was the vetting procedure inexcusably incompetent, or did those doing the vetting see nothing objectionable about Holdren’s ideas, particularly his book and its assumptions? Either way, the journey from totalitarian fantasist to statusful appointee seems remarkably free of baggage.

To pick a slightly more lurid example, William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn spent a great deal of time and effort fantasising about “seizing power” via “armed struggle” and “revolutionary war,” thereby “building a new society” – a “dictatorship of the proletariat” – complete with “re-education centres” and the “elimination” of those who refused to embrace their new Communist overlords:

http://www.zombietime.com/prairie_fire/

Call me cynical, but it doesn’t seem wise to trust a person who spent so many years mentally masturbating over such atrocities; nor does it seem wise to grant that person a position of influence over children. Yet Ayers has been granted precisely that. Evidently, some monstrous fantasies - even those that are enacted - can be brushed aside as youthful indiscretions. Academia in particular seems willing to forgive almost any level of extremism, provided it’s of an approved political stripe.

“How do I get HTML to work here? Italics, bold, blockquote, all appear to not work.”

I’m stuck with egalitarian comment software. It doesn’t allow commenters to “privilege” particular words and thereby “oppress” the others.

Rob

It isn't about population control, it is about destroying the West. The most wealthy populations (i.e. Western ones) are reproducing at below replacement rates anyway. If this appalling and disgusting policy was to be implemented at all, it would be in those areas where the population is expanding at a fantastic rate. We all know where they are.

I am struck by how often 'progressives' mimic fascists. Yes, I have read Goldberg's book. The amazing thing is not their ideas per se, but the fact that they still think they are the "good guys" even while advocating lunacy such as mass-sterilisation. There is something in their brains which says, HAS to say, that they are good people, nice people, and because they are good people, everything they do must be good. It is a mental illness. How can you advocate mass serilisation and believe yourself to be benevolent?

Can we call them fascists now?

P.S. Let's also high-five the MSM for investigating this...oh, they didn't? How odd. I guess it cannot be because it is an Obama administration, surely?

Rob

On a lighter note, another classic from the Sobbing Abbess:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jul/12/climate-change-art-food?commentpage=2&commentposted=1

Vintage stuff.

sk60

Rob, see Tim Worstall:

http://timworstall.com/2009/07/13/no-maddy/

Rob

There's some ruthless culling of comments on that thread. I wrote one mocking the article and the philosophy which produced it, and it disappeared. Lots of others vanishing too.

Comment is free. Hah.

Spiny Norman

Only those comments of the approved political flavor are "free", Rob.

AntiCitizenOne

http://www.reason.com/news/show/134795.html

James S

AntiCitizenOne,

Money quote:

"When, during his Senate confirmation hearing, Holdren was asked about his penchant for scientific overstatements, he responded that "the motivation for looking at the downside possibilities… is to motivate people to change direction." "Motivation" is when Holdren tells us that global warming could cause the deaths of 1 billion people by 2020. Or when he claimed that sea levels could rise by 13 feet by the end of this century when your run-of-the-mill alarmist warns of only 13 inches… Holdren's past flies in the face of Barack Obama's contention, made on the day of the science czar's appointment, that his administration was "ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology."

I wonder why the "science studies" people aren't going after Holdren?

David

James & AC1,

“…the motivation for looking at the downside possibilities… is to motivate people to change direction.”

Ah, his motives are pure. I’m still not convinced that good intentions excuse chronic alarmism or a record of suggesting authoritarian fixes to his own outlandish prophesies, including the creation of a “Planetary Regime” to “control the development, administration, conservation, and distribution of *all* natural resources.” Are we to assume that a history of apparently deliberate overstatement and doom-mongering is not only fine but will suddenly cease? I don’t see why.

With regard to the prospect of compulsory population control etc, you could argue that Holdren was merely offering a passive summary of the views of others (e.g., Johnson Montgomery). But it seems to me he presents these horrors as worthy of consideration. He expects the reader to take these ideas seriously, hence the rumination on public “acceptability” and avoiding “unpleasant side effects.” The advocacy of a “Planetary Regime” is more obviously Holdren’s own view, and no other source is mentioned. Presumably, this is what he and his co-authors saw as a virtuous objective, despite its rather ominous moral and democratic implications.

At other times there are notes of affirmation, as for instance when advancing the ideas of Kingsley Davis, who suggests pregnant single women might be forced to marry or have abortions. And Holdren's repeated use of the passive voice - blurring distinctions between his own preferences and those of other dystopian prophets - is itself suspicious and probably disingenuous. Is “adding a sterilant to drinking water” Davis’ idea or Holdrens? It isn’t clear. It has, however, “been concluded.”

There’s a good piece on Accuracy in Media on this, which addresses some of the more lurid coverage and its basis in Holdrens’ book:

http://www.aim.org/aim-column/is-obamas-science-czar-a-crackpot/

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