Re: Time article and letter to editor

Date: Sun 07 Sep 2003 - 21:33:45 GMT

  • Next message: Brad Jensen: "RE: Time article and letter to editor"

    In a message dated 9/7/2003 3:17:52 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

    > Subj: Re: Time article and letter to editor
    > Date: 9/7/2003 3:17:52 PM Central Daylight Time
    > From: (Scott Chase)
    > Sender:
    > Reply-to:
    > To:
    > >From: Keith Henson <>
    > >Reply-To:
    > >To:
    > >Subject: Time article and letter to editor
    > >Date: Sun, 07 Sep 2003 12:43:58 -0400
    > >
    > cnn=yes
    > >
    > >Interesting article on the Saudis.
    > >
    > >Humans almost certainly have a psychological tendency to go to war with
    > >neighboring tribes when the per capita income is falling. (I.e., the
    > >has been eaten and they are going to starve.) Even if the attacking
    > >lost and every male was killed, females and children (who carried the
    > >genes) were normally absorbed by the winners.
    > >
    > >In any case, evolution favored those who resorted to violence over those
    > >who quietly starved.
    > >
    > >A proposed mechanism to couple bad economic situations to wars is that
    > >under conditions of looming privation xenophobic memes leading to wars
    > >replicate well. This can even be seen in the US where neo-nazie
    > >become more common in bad times.
    > >
    > >Population growth rates above growth in economic productivity are highly
    > >correlated with areas where xenophobic memes induce fighting. In this is
    > >should be noted that the per capita income in Saudia Arabia has fallen by
    > >about three quarters over the past generation from smaller oil income and
    > >rapidly rising population.
    > >
    > >Easter Island is a long ways in both time and space from the Mid East,
    > >there may be a lesson in the gruesome history of that isolated place.
    > >American Southwest about 1250 CE is another example of privation induced
    > >wars and population collapse. (See LeBlanc)
    > >
    > >Unfortunately, the current US administration is utterly opposed to
    > >population limiting steps that would improve the per capita income,
    > >that probably lies behind reversing the tide of violence in Northern
    > >Ireland.
    > >
    > >
    > What population limiting steps? Contraception? Abortion? Sterilization?
    > Where? The U.S.? Saudi Arabia? Are these steps supposed to be a matter of
    > choice or gov't imposition?
    > Implicit in this Malthusian claptrap would be the canard of the affluent
    > intelligent people having fewer babies and thus stable K population levels
    > where the poor dumb folk are sprewing gametes all over the place ("stupid
    > people are breeding" AKA r-strategy). Thus, these steps to curb population
    > growth would have the untermenschen as their target. They are the ones who
    > are underprivilileged, feel the tears of privation and serve as fermenting
    > vats of xenophobic "memes".
    > As conservative as Dubya is, I haven't yet seen Roe vs Wade overturned nor
    > contraception banned in the US. I would foresee us having a lot of
    > imposing planned parenthood upon a fundamentalist Islamic state such as
    > Saudi Arabia, in the hopes of socially engineering privation and terrorist
    > "memes" away. Imposing abortion (or other "population limiting steps")
    > our own people would be bad. Trying to do this to another nation would be
    > pretty nasty situation too.
    > There's always forced sterilization. Didn't the US already impose this on
    > the "inferior" folks within our borders back in the day? There's not much
    > a line to be crossed between Malthusian talk and eugenic action.
    > Population limiting steps (contraception, sterilization or abortion),
    > be a matter of individual choice, not gov't edict. That's the most
    > part of pro-choice.

    Hi Scott.

    I don't think Keith was suggesting forcible birth control. Rather, he seems to be referring to the Bush administrations blockage of UN and USAID funding to organizations that give women the option to practice contraception. Much of the religious right here in the US regards such things as condoms as being morally wrong, and consider abstinence to be the only legitimate option for birth control.

    The problem is that in the most conservative Islamic societies, women do not have a right to abstinence from marriage. They must accept the husbands their fathers arrange for them. Once married, they effectively lack any right to refuse sex from their husbands, too. Such women lack the right to abstinence that is generally taken for granted in the US. (Many also lack other basic rights, such as the right to refuse beatings by their husbands.) They also often lack the right to decide how any of the household money is spent, too. This effectively gives them no right to spend household money on such things as contraception. Under such circumstances, the only "right to choose" if available at all, is supplied by charities, including population programs. These include programs that receive UN and US funds.

    Women who want to choose not to have a fifth child (etc.) often want to stop having children because the feel they cannot afford to have children. In many cases, they cannot even afford contraception. The question is often one of whether women who do not feel they can even afford cheap contraception can afford something as expensive as another compulsory childbirth, and whether or not these women should have any say in the matter at all.

    --Aaron Lynch

    Thought Contagion Science Page:

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