Friday, July 17, 2009

John Holdren, Dystopian Nightmare

I generally don't write a lot about politics on my blog, but I'll make an exception. John Holdren, Obama's new science czar, advocated some absolutely, monstrously evil policies back in the 1970s. Blogger Zombietime has scans of a book that he wrote with the infamously wrong-about-everything environmentalist Paul Ehrlich.

In the book, Holdren warns of ecological catastrophes sweeping the world by the year 2000 if aggressive population controls are not implemented. These include mandatory abortions for entire sectors of the human population, forced sterilization for undesirable people and, ultimately, complete government control over who can have children, how many, and when. This would be supervised by a worldwide government with absolute police powers.

This man's opinions should never be sought in any public policy discussion, at any time, now or ever.

HT: Ace

17 comments:

Earl said...

Considering who nominated him, why would anyone be surprised? And considering what he has advocated, is it any surprise that his positions have not been featured in broadcast and print by the msm? When it comes to any critical evaluation of this administration by the msm, their submissive silence is nothing less than deafening. But then again, given their past record of such compliance, that submission in silence is not surprising.

John said...

Well, I am a little. This is worse than Bill Ayers at his worst.

bob said...

The population control people always seem a little selfish when ever I read something they have written or hear them speak. It's like the earth isn't big enough to accomadate them and anyone else.

The administration having someone like this as an advisor makes you think about the health care reform being proposed. What better way to control population than to control who gets and what kind of treatments are available.

Earl said...

"What better way to control population than to control who gets and what kind of treatments are available."

Hold that thought! Now with that thought firmly in mind, give some consideration to "candid" comments made by Biden on the future cost of healthcare for senior citizens. Is it any wonder that no one trust him or the current administration to tell the truth about anything remotely connected with healthcare or the economy? It would be wonderful if they could be trusted. But such trust would only be an exercise in fantasy.

BruceA said...

I guess the question he ought to answer is, has he learned from his mistakes? Does he still advocate the policies he did back then, or has he repudiated them?

John said...

Yes, and according to Zombietime, he hasn't.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm not at all clear from the quotes offered (and without context) that this is what Holdren is advocating. The quotes discuss the theoretical legal complications, but is he ADVOCATING these as solutions in the book? If so, is he STILL advocating them?

I am not saying he wasn't or isn't, I'm just saying a few quotes out of context are not conclusive evidence. Clearly if he IS advocating such actions, most of us would agree that he is wrong.

Where he is right is that the world simply can't continue support an ever-growing population. We are feeding about all we can now at nearly 7 billion. The population charts are talking about growth up to 10 billion in the coming years and more beyond that. Clearly, this world is a finite world and there IS a number at which point we would no longer be able to support people.

It is a serious problem with no clear and easy solutions. If his book was discussing possible solutions, so be it. If he was advocating forced abortions, etc, he was wrong and that line of thinking would go no further than someone who was advocating unlimited growth.

John said...

Zombietime addresses the context issue in his post. How much context would you consider necessary to reflect the truth?

Is he advocating these positions? It sure seems that way.

Where he is right is that the world simply can't continue support an ever-growing population. We are feeding about all we can now at nearly 7 billion. The population charts are talking about growth up to 10 billion in the coming years and more beyond that. Clearly, this world is a finite world and there IS a number at which point we would no longer be able to support people.


Resources are finite, human ingenuity is not. Using the agricultural technology of a century ago, the world would be starving now. Holdren himself says that the US could not feed a population of 280 million. Yet we are feeding 305 million now. Arguably, if you've been to a swimming pool lately, we're overfeeding that many now.

These doomsday scenarios of population bombs have never, ever, ever, ever come true.

BruceA said...

On the contrary, human ingenuity, though it has always been underestimated, is limited. The doomsday scenarios have not come true yet, but we as a species are causing some serious damage to our environment, and we're going to need a lot more ingenuity if we want to fix the mess we are making.

Dan Trabue said...

Bruce is quite right. We are clever folk, but we can't create food for an infinite number of people. We can't create food out of nothing. We live in a finite world with finite resources and no amount of ingenuity can fix that.

We HAVE been able to feed more people than previously thought. But we've done so using unsustainable methods. We can't do so forever. Nor even for 100 more years, probably.

John said...

Dan, why did the population explosion predictions of a generation ago fail so spectacularly?

Why are the population explosion predictions of today methodologically superior to those false predictions?

Dan Trabue said...

The population problems did not appear because, as you suggested, we found a way to create more food than was traditionally thought possible, using the current methods. That "Way" included using petrochemicals to artificially stimulate growth, or at least that's my understanding.

Petrochemicals are made from, you guessed it, petroleum. Petroleum is a finite resource that is expected to peak in availability in the coming decades. What then?

We are currently able to feed the world population of nearly 7 billion, but what happens when the population passes 9 billion in 2050?

We are currently about tapped out, although we can heap on more temporary petrochemicals/fertilizers (which destroy the fertility of the land requiring, you guessed it, more petrochemicals/fertilizers) until our cheap fertilizers run out. Then what?

Also, we are having problems with water shortages and they are projected to get worse. Then what?

Genetically modified organisms? "Natural" mass starvations?

And what of beyond 2050, when population keeps rising? The way nature normally handles overpopulation problems is mass starvation, but we have been ingenuous enough to avoid much of that, but to what end and for how long?

John said...

Lookie! Zombietime has added scanned pages from the book! Scroll to the bottom of this post.

zeraygazette said...

Petrochemicals are made from, you guessed it, petroleum. Petroleum is a finite resource that is expected to peak in availability in the coming decades. What then?


Hasn't this been predicted for years and not come true? Ever?

Were agricultural improvements solely based on petrochemicals?

We are currently able to feed the world population of nearly 7 billion, but what happens when the population passes 9 billion in 2050?


We'll find a way, as we always have, over and over again, in spite of doomsday predictions. Holdren, for example, predicted mass famines in the US when the population reached the completely unsustainable level of 280 million. We now have 305 million people, and no famine.

We are currently about tapped out, although we can heap on more temporary petrochemicals/fertilizers (which destroy the fertility of the land requiring, you guessed it, more petrochemicals/fertilizers) until our cheap fertilizers run out. Then what?


As Ehrlich and Simon's famous bet illustrates, doomsday predictions about the availability and accessibility of natural resources fail.

Also, we are having problems with water shortages and they are projected to get worse. Then what?


They were predicted to get worse a generation ago, and didn't.

Genetically modified organisms?


Aren't they wonderful? With genetic engineering, we can create crops that can grow in places where they couldn't before, and animals that can produce more meat than before.

"Natural" mass starvations?


When? Where?

And what of beyond 2050, when population keeps rising? The way nature normally handles overpopulation problems is mass starvation, but we have been ingenuous enough to avoid much of that, but to what end and for how long?


Since we've always been able to invent our way into higher productivity, and doomsday predictions have never, ever, ever come true, the burden of proof is those who make those predictions every generation, and have each and every single time been proven wrong.

I don't see any methodological difference between the predictions that Ehrlich, and others like him made a generation ago, and the ones that you're making now. In fact, I see some of the very same arguments -- such as water and oil shortages.

Why was Ehrlich wrong, Dan? What mistakes did he make that led to such a completely inaccurate prediction?

Dan Trabue said...

Appreciating our "inventiveness" is one thing, planning a future betting that we can "invent" our way out of predicted shortages is another and more foolish thing.

This IS a finite world. Oil WILL run out. We can't support 50 billion people. At some point, we peak on what we can sustain in a finite world.

It's just math.

John said...

We can't support fifty billion? A generation ago, they said that we couldn't support five, but we are.

Why has the math consistently been wrong?

Dan Trabue said...

The math wasn't incorrect. Given the inputs, the conclusion was correct. The projected inputs changed (ie, we learned to produce more food than was known at the time). That's not to suggest the math was wrong.

That's merely to suggest the reality that sometimes the inputs change. When that happens, you update the formulae. It doesn't invalidate the scientific process.

If you think we can feed 50 billion, then all you have to do is demonstrate mathematically - given valid input such as amount of arable land, available water, fertilizers used, pricing for all this, etc - how it will happen. What the "pro-ingenuity" side is doing, though, is saying X amount of arable land + Y amount of available water + Z amount of fertilizer + SOME UNKNOWN HUMAN INVENTION OF SOME SORT, SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T EXIST TODAY BUT JUST MAY IN THE FUTURE, RIGHT... I MEAN, IT COULD HAPPEN, YA KNOW??? = A amount of sustainable food.

You'll forgive us if we don't think it wise to advocate policy based upon guesswork?