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December 11, 2007

The Cult Of Death

by Doug Mataconis

An Australian medical expert has called for a $ 5,000 per child tax for any family with more than two children:

COUPLES who have more than two children should be charged a lifelong tax to offset their extra offspring’s carbon dioxide emissions, a medical expert says.

The report in an Australian medical journal called for parents to be charged $5000 a head for every child after their second, and an annual tax of up to $800.

And couples who were sterilised would be eligible for carbon credits under the controversial proposal.

(…)

“Every family choosing to have more than a defined number of children should be charged a carbon tax that would fund the planting of enough trees to offset the carbon cost generated by a new human being,” said Prof Walters, an obstetrician at King Edward Memorial Hospital.

Along the same lines, the British media ran a story a few weeks ago about a woman who had herself sterlizd to “protect the planet:”

Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers – and a voice calling her Mummy.

But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.

Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible “mistake” of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time.

He refused, but Toni – who works for an environmental charity – “relentlessly hunted down a doctor who would perform the irreversible surgery.

Finally, eight years ago, Toni got her way.

At the age of 27 this young woman at the height of her reproductive years was sterilised to “protect the planet”.

Incredibly, instead of mourning the loss of a family that never was, her boyfriend (now husband) presented her with a congratulations card.

There was a time when the birth of a child, any child, was a time of celebration and, for most sane people, that is still the case. For this new breed of environmentalists, though, the birth of a child, if not the very existence of humanity itself, is a cause for despair, not a cause for celebration. To them, human beings are a scourge upon an otherwise pristine paradise.

Now, it’s not surprising that people like this exist; doomsday cults of one kind or another have existed as long as human civilization. Usually, though, they are recognized for the nuts that they are.

Today, though, they are lauded as visionaries.

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11 Comments

  1. Well you seem to have skipped your history lessons.

    example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infanticide

    In times of trouble, especially when regarding the life of the family/group people have pruned off children to save themselves, and their more, um, selected heirs.

    For example China, and we should be happy they actually punished parents that had too many children; for our own general future. Furthermore most countries in the west are not in population blooms – given the situation in Sweden parents can fuck all they want, and to boot have as many children as they want; the society it self has seen to it that through culture we are staying stable rather then growing/withering away (the population rise in Sweden comes from immigrants)

    Given the old Aristotelian thought, if it works don’t change it ~ and seen over the history of the world various societies have needed to use various methods to limit their population to avoid self-destruction.

    Thank rubber for condoms.

    Comment by Dan Liimatta — December 11, 2007 @ 9:09 am
  2. Dan,

    Are you saying that it is morally acceptable to kill children in response to a perceived overpopulation problem ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — December 11, 2007 @ 9:10 am
  3. The idea that Earth, something humans will leave behind thousands of years from now, needs care and protection and not humans, who will be around for millions, is, needless to say, short-sighted.

    Comment by somebody — December 11, 2007 @ 9:11 am
  4. Well with infanticide you should note, if you know your history at least, that it was mostly done to be able to survive – Morals have never been really good in a knuckle fight with survival.

    Of course it also depends on what your Morals/morals are, since they seem to be relative – though supporting the argument with say Kant or Mill one could argue for the death of an individual as morally right – the problem is of course ancient and the answer seem to me to be heavenly sublime and yet so ephemerally subtle that none have been able to present a clear moral code to this date.

    So yes, it could be, depending on circumstances – So while the idealistic answer is No; in ideal circumstances a negative action should never have to be done to bring positive action. The ideal is sweet, but not really apart of Nature.
    Now the more common, but not here scenario.
    - when for example a child/infant is killed* so that the family can live, say due to starvation, I hardly think the parents rejoice in the death – but that said keeping morals has never been easy, and the other kids needs to have their future; this isn’t clear cut, but parents in strained situations have ended on both sides of that line for a long time now.

    Then Morals are mostly skewers to hold the individual down, and I myself often goes with Nietzsche (not the wrongly cited version) and a mixture of Mill/Kant and would hold up a moral that is dependent on what is imperatively good, weighted with what is good for all and on the third hand what feels good emotionally.

    So the answer? yes/no or rather, depending.**

    * killed being moral neutral, given my tale attempting to follow those lines as well; for positive actions, or the morally right euthanasia/sacrifice could be used, for the morally wrought murder would fit nicely.

    Comment by Dan Liimatta — December 12, 2007 @ 5:27 am
  5. Dan,

    Thank you for your answer.

    I understand exactly where you’re coming from now, and, quite frankly, people like you scare me to death.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — December 12, 2007 @ 5:29 am
  6. To clarify – I was hazy in my first, and 2nd comment – I actually only answered to “There was a time when the birth of a child, any child, was a time of celebration and, for most sane people, that is still the case”.

    I thought I had quoted it the first time around, but it seems that I failed at that.

    As for

    “Are you saying that it is morally acceptable to kill children in response to a perceived overpopulation problem ?”

    Given the consequences of the problem in combination with other solutions – again I would answer yes.

    As for our current situation I feel that much less drastic measures should be attempted before we open the rivers of blood to wash our sins away.

    - on the other hand I live in Sweden, and unless the Gulf stream happens to be cut off, we are going to profit from a further temperature rise, at least in relations with others – so I’m divided on the issue, so lets save the babies for now.

    Comment by Dan Liimatta — December 12, 2007 @ 5:46 am
  7. “I understand exactly where you’re coming from now, and, quite frankly, people like you scare me to death.”

    Where am I coming from then?

    Personally I’d take a stab at it by going.

    Finn living in Sweden

    27, male

    Vegetarian/Libertarian/blood giver/red cross contributor/philosopher/materialist (in the philosophical sense)/illustrator/artist/reader/

    Often cries when speaking of Ghandi/Martin Luther King jr. or watches civil rights documentaries.

    Who likes the Apollonian as much as the Dionysian, or rather has all ways been divided on idealism vs. pragmatism as noted, with a touch of Freudian pessimism about humanity and how little most will do to help their fellow beings.

    who likes to take a chill pill and argue around issues since it’s fun

    You might try the later.

    Furthermore,

    Comment by Dan Liimatta — December 12, 2007 @ 5:58 am
  8. Dan,

    Anyone who thinks that it is morally acceptable to kill an innocent human being, especially a child, scares the hell out of me.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — December 12, 2007 @ 5:59 am
  9. For it to be morally right, in shades of grey, given my example – death to other family members would be the result of not doing it, probably including the infant as well.

    That female infants are killed in various societies is abhorrent, that a child is killed, no murdered, in any rich society at all is equally vile.

    Yet we go to war, and I’m no pacifist*, and sometimes we resort to cannibalism (Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571) – and both can be morally right, depending on the circumstances.

    So I take it your dislike is that I view morals as relative and not absolute? for I hardly view killing babies morally acceptable in any normal situation.

    Note that I don’t view the eating of meat morally acceptable for myself – in my situation, and I do value humans higher the cattle.

    *though I wish I could be again.

    Comment by Dan Liimatta — December 12, 2007 @ 6:33 am
  10. Dan,

    Let’s break it down for a second. You said that while it wouldn’t be an ideal solution, that infanticide would be a morally acceptable solution to deal with overpopulation.

    Who decides when the problem gets “too bad”, and whose kids get the ax? If your answer to the first question is “society”, and your answer to parents who object to their own kids getting culled is “deal with it”, then we’ve got a serious problem. Your scenario cannot be implemented without force, and you claim above to be Libertarian.

    I’ve got no problem with the guys over at the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. They might be a bit kooky, and I might disagree with their goals, but their plans in no way impact my rights. But the day the government or “society” comes and says that *you* or *your kids* need to die to solve the problem, are you going to be so placid?

    If you’re worried about overpopulation, removing yourself from the population is a much more moral solution that trying to remove “others”.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — December 12, 2007 @ 7:23 am
  11. Brad,
    Had I said that the society should force upon abortion/infanticide/child sacrifice it’s population for growth control, rather then that they did; sure.

    I didn’t.

    Again, I simply stated that the following ~

    “There was a time when the birth of a child, any child, was a time of celebration and, for most sane people, that is still the case.”

    …is false, that once upon a time, it was probably a lot worse then today.

    I did also hint at that we could/should be happy for various atrocities that once happened, for where we are today – not that we should seek moral guidance from it, nor that we should view them as morally right.

    I do find it fun though, that you see this dark abyss in me, rather then in human history – as it was the later I tried to display.

    & I have ideals, I have no problems in understanding other peoples ideals, and what is morally right for me, need not be for someone else; we simply don’t share morals.

    Thus I hardly ever argue from my moral foundation, and my main conflict with morals is to always to escape my own; trying to be open rather then closed, it might make my posting impersonal, yet of course it isn’t, since I can’t escape my own convictions even when I’m playing the devils fiddle.
    Now to me most of humanity is morally corrupt, I included – or we get the war we deserve.
    But in my writing I do try to be less condemning, apparently I managed today – pat me on the back. & I apparently managed to troll unintentionally; sorry.

    Comment by Dan Liimatta — December 12, 2007 @ 8:33 am

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