Re: Time article and letter to editor

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Sun 07 Sep 2003 - 23:24:45 GMT

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    >Subject: Re: Time article and letter to editor
    >Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2003 17:33:45 EDT
    >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
    > > >
    > >
    > >,9171,1101030915-483269,00.html?
    > > cnn=yes
    > > >
    > > >Interesting article on the Saudis.
    > > >
    > > >Humans almost certainly have a psychological tendency to go to war
    > > >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
    > > >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
    > > >correlated with areas where xenophobic memes induce fighting. In this
    > > >should be noted that the per capita income in Saudia Arabia has fallen
    > > >about three quarters over the past generation from smaller oil income
    > > >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
    > > >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
    > > choice or gov't imposition?
    > >
    > > Implicit in this Malthusian claptrap would be the canard of the
    > > intelligent people having fewer babies and thus stable K population
    > > where the poor dumb folk are sprewing gametes all over the place
    > > people are breeding" AKA r-strategy). Thus, these steps to curb
    > > growth would have the untermenschen as their target. They are the ones
    > > are underprivilileged, feel the tears of privation and serve as
    > > vats of xenophobic "memes".
    > >
    > > As conservative as Dubya is, I haven't yet seen Roe vs Wade overturned
    > > 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
    > > "memes" away. Imposing abortion (or other "population limiting steps")
    > > our own people would be bad. Trying to do this to another nation would
    > > pretty nasty situation too.
    > >
    > > There's always forced sterilization. Didn't the US already impose this
    > > the "inferior" folks within our borders back in the day? There's not
    > >
    > > 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
    He wasn't explicit on what he meant about population limiting steps, so maybe its the UN and USAID funding he was talking about. I haven't kept up with the Bush administration's policies towards contraception. I'd rather things like contraception and education about birth control be offered and if Bush et al are impeding the ability of women to exercise educated choices, that's not a good thing.

    Sorry if I took Keith's usage of a vague phrase like population limiting steps the wrong way. That's why I had asked whether said steps were to be by individual choice or gov't edict. I fleshed out the latter course in depth to voice my disgust at such a possibility, but limiting choice by cutting funding that could enable women to make an educated choice is just as bad.
    >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.
    But condoms are still available. Hopefully nobody is calling for a ban on contraceptive technologies like condoms and birth control pills. I'm also in favor of the morning after pill, which is probably not a favorite option for conservatives. People should have a window of opportunity to make a decision on such delicate personal matters.
    >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.
    Yet IIRC the man merely needs to chant I divorce thee three times and his marriage is ended. It's a shame that in repressive societies that women can't exercise freedoms taken for granted by those of us in the modern world.
    >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.
    I would be afraid of compulsory abortion also. One could envision a technocratic society where there are things like forced abortion and forced sterilization. In the United States there were eugenic laws for compulsory sterilization, well before the Third Reich took eugenics to a new level. We have a dark history not far removed from Germany's when it comes to applying Malthusian principles to human society. That's why I got a little bent out of shape over Keith's vagueness.

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