The Most Politically Incorrect Word in the United States

There is a word almost never uttered by politicians.  It is seldom mentioned on the news or by pundants. It’s a word that raises hackles.

The word is overpopulation.  The term implies some finite capacity of the earth to support humans.  The opposite of this is the word is, “The Lord will provide.”  People have said this to me.

The world and U. S. population is rising by about one percent per year.  The rate outside the U. S. is higher than that within the U. S.  

Fortunately, the rate of growth is slowing.  If the rate continues to slow, the population will peak in 20 to 30 years.

Yet, the population may have run right by the capacity marker in the 1980′s.  We may see adjustments to overpopulation that will affect us here in the U. S.  

There are areas of the world that are farther beyond the ability to support growing populations than other areas.  Our country will be asked to help, including, perhaps, military support.

I wish it were possible to separate birth control, including the “A” kind, from religion and this Chrisitian thing, sin. If we know there is a problem that requires a solution, we know the solution and can provide it, I think we have an ethical obligation to do something. 

 The problem of death and suffering caused by too many people is preventable.  Some members of Congress and religion officials take pride in stopping funding of birth control and increasing the suffering that results.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to The Most Politically Incorrect Word in the United States

  1. Tyler says:

    John,

    Interesting yet you provide no evidence that the world is “Over-Populated”. You simply state some kind boogey-man future. Have you seen these on the myth of over-population?

    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZVOU5bfHrM&feature=player_embedded
    2. http://overpopulationisamyth.com/content/episode-4-poverty-where-we-all-started

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Tyler 2:10 Funny videos. Are you saying they are “evidence”. They imply that it is impossible to overpopulate the planet. We can argue about whether or not we have a sustainable level of population right now. It might be that we are close to being sustainable, we will not know for a while. But, there is no rational person argues that the planet’s resources are infinite. (That is except those who say, “The Lord will provide”.) There is one place where the video makes a statement as if it were a fact when it is actually speculation. It says that after the population peak, “population will decline”. This may or may not be true. There are overpopulated areas of the world. Bangladesh, for example. I’ve been there. And in places like that, it seems like making available birth control is an ethical thing to do. One of the videos makes another point that is really a reach, that growing populations bring prosperity. There are cases where that is true, and cases where it is not. China started a draconian one child policy about 30 years ago. Their standard of living is now rising. Lower birth rates means fewer resources used to support children. Now, there are lots of variables, but implying that high birth rates are single key to prosperity is misleading. Your comments illustrate why “overpopulation” is a politcally incorrect term.

      • Tyler says:

        John,

        I think overpopulation is a position born from hysterics. But lets say, you were correct about your concern for a second, besides reproductive technology, don’t you think technology will keep pace? For St. Peter’s Sake, we are creating mini-black holes at the Large Haldron Collider right now. Technology appears to keep pace.

        I once got a personal tour of the Glyphosate Resistance Breeding Buildings at Monsanto in St Louis by the guy who founded it…we are very adept at making food and will continue to advance in those areas.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Tyler 3:11 and Brad 2:11 Yes, we can feed the world with our present land, yes, technology would help for a while to keep up with population growth. In addition, if we would not eat meat, the existing land would feed even more than it does now. My point seems to be lost, so I’ll try again. Resources are finite, not infinite. There is absolutely no evidence to the contrary. Today the world’s population is 7 billion. If it doubled to 14 billion, then 28 billion and to 56 billion, it seems irrefutable the world could not be fed with the resources it has. It is not rational to believe there are infinite resources. As I pointed out, at the moment, the population appears to be peaking. That does not mean it will not start rising. Feeding the population is only one aspect of what we might politely call “challenges”. The amount of energy people use, the waste from their bodies, their trash, the disagreements that seem to come from migration from one country to another and a host of other things arise. It just seems not rational to me to scoff at this topic because it has been wrong in the past, because some don’t like the people who bring it up or because it weakens the case against the “A” issue. A society that truely wants provide whatever good life it can for future generations should be willing to support reseach and hold rational discussions about this, even if it does not serve everyone’s short term political interests.

  2. Jeanne says:

    All studies show that the ONLY way to control population is to educate women. Why is this such a hard concept for so many people? An educated woman has less children, and this is true in every country, in every economic situation. Even in the United States, the less educated you are, the more children you are likely to have.

    I find it interesting that the “Freethinkers” are considered athiest, yet everything I read from the group seems to be about God. Why is that?

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Jeanne 5:17 Thanks for the comment. I agree 100%, there is negative relationship between education of women and the birth rates. One goes up, the other goes down. On the discussion of religion here, I am a Freethinkers but the majority of those who stop in and comment are Christians. We have a lively time of it. I appreciate them and everyone who stops in.

    • Tyler says:

      An “Educated” woman has “Less” Children….and that statement is considered “Godly”. One would first have to take on the premise that having “Less” children is either intelligent or wise or both.

      I will now counter with a quote from G.K. Chesterton: “Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.”

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Tyler 3:15 The statement that there is a negative relationship between the number so years of education of women and the number of births is a statistical one, not one of propaganda. It is neither “Godly” nor “unGodly”. It happens my PhD dissertation was on this topic four decades ago. The relationship was there then, still is.

        • Tyler says:

          John,

          Because you state a statistical fact about educated women and low birth rates does not mean the fact is

          A. Enlightened..in the sense that it is a good idea for educated women to have less children
          B. That “Education” & Intelligence or better yet “Education and Wisdom” are directly related
          C. That besides it being a statistical fact..the fact is not immune to criticism.

    • PK says:

      Jeanne, exactly. If we could educate every women on the planet and make them leaders in our communities, most of the worlds problems would disappear overnight.

  3. Wasn’t it Paul Erlich who warned about this decades ago??? His predictions did not pan out.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Buffalo Gal 1:19 You are correct about Paul Erlich. The cautionary tale of all the debate on this is that no rational person believes that resources are infinite.

      • PK says:

        Paul Erlich is a Eugenicist who co-authored a book with current Science Czar John Holdren, Ecoscience. On page 942-3 they lay out a plan for a planetary regime with a world army to enforce population measures. Of course, the UN would be this framework. Throughout it there are many draconian suggestions. Compulsory abortions(837). All illegitimate children would be seized by the state, or the women would be forced to abort.(786). The “adding of a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods”.(787-8). Forced sterilization of women and implantable devices that could only be removed with “official permission”.(786-7). And of course Chinese style child limit laws. But he says we can have 2, what a nice guy.(838).
        I agree that the world will become overpopulated eventually, probably not for 200-500 more years, but i don’t want a psychopathic control freak controlling population. This is being used, just like every other crisis, as a way to gain more power and control.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          PK 5:28 I’m with you, PK. I do not want government setting any rules about child numbers like China did. We need to avoid this by all means available to us. That is why the issue must be discussed. If we had some meeting of the minds on this, and understood and adjusted to circumstances as they develop, it will not be necessay.

  4. Brad Campbell says:

    Jon…..I do not have facts in front of me but my guess is the US could feed a lot more people on this planet. Our CRP program has 30+ million acres that could be used to grow crops like corn-soybeans-wheat. I suspect there are other parts of the world that could also increase their tillable acres. So, actually the “Lord would provide”…..

    We, as Americans, are “spoiled” with our low cost of food compared with the rest of the world.

    • PK says:

      Good point. The world is really a lot bigger than many people perceive. It almost seems small, due to our fast technology, but there is a lot of unused landmass out there. There’s a lot of desert that can be irrigated. But there is a maximum level of sustainability.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        PK 5:33 I don’t want to pick apart everyone’s comments because I appreciate them. But, I just have to respond to your observation that, “There’s a lot of desert that can be irrigated.” There areas that can be used for housing and busiesses, but irrigating deserts is not an answer. I just finished 18 years on a local water board and learned a lot about irrigation. Irrigation is being phased out in lots of the U. S. because it is too expensive to work and there is not enough water near the areas that are dry. Los Angels is city in a desert. It having lots of trouble getting enough water. It was only built there because all of us taxpayers subsidized the transfer of water from were it was naturally to where developer wanted it. The fed. gov’t has since withdrawn its support for subsidizing irrigation.

        • PK says:

          Yeah it is very expensive right now. But if it was absolutely necessary for growing food in the future, i think we could find a way. Or perhaps weather modification would be more suitable in these areas. If we really need to farm these areas, i think we can somehow.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          If I remember right, weren’t there large areas in ancient Iraq made sterile from evaporated salt residue due to irrigation? It also seems to me the same has happened in California. (Water containg disolved salts, and soils that don’t perculate), made worse in arrid areas. Some waters, and soils just are not condusive to long term irrigation.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 12:43 You are correct. Large areas of the world have had to abandon irragated land because of the dissolved salts. That problem has been lessened some by rationing the water. But, as you state, the soils in many area will not accept irragation. The Garrison Diversion Project in ND was supposed to irrigate huge areas, but most of the acres were dropped out because the soils were the wrong kind. You and I can recall from our childhoods the magic of irrigation, turning desert into blooming fields. Did not work out so well.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Well Jon, There is always the unavoidable plague/ pestelence/ etc. that man has not had the ability to solve, nor that may have the ability in the future. Some estimate up to 70% of the population of Europe died of the “black death”. They are concerned that a new virus, or something may cause a pandemic. Everyone hopes that this wouldn’t take place of course, but that sure would take care of your concerns in your original thesis. I would guess that the probabilities are just as strong for a pandemic to happen as there is an unsustainability of population in the next 200 years. That should take the edge off. (Really sick joke).

  5. Avatar of mrpotatohead mrpotatohead says:

    Population growth is slower in other parts of the world than the US. As the world becomes more civilized and women become more educated and have careers, growth will stabilize.

    There is a movement to control population on the planet that’s based on the pursuit of power and not science. We are capable of growing much more to feed populations than we are currently. The last 50 years food production capacity has increased substantially and there’s absolutely no reason to think it won’t continue. Rising carbon dioxide levels will also increase plant production.

    Overpopulation has been around for a long time but we keep advancing. Some people just have no faith in human ingenuity.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      potato 3:57 Thanks for you comment. In my blog I challenged the view that the world’s population could keep doubling forever. Is it your view that we could never reach a level of population that would outrun our ability to feed and handle its pollution? That would, it seems to me, to be a conviction that “the Lord will provide.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>