by Marcia Mueller
I can understand why some people criticize Trump, just as I can understand why some criticize Hillary (although for different reasons).
The constant name calling—racism, misogyny, etc.—may not have hurt Trump at the polls, but those names have tagged him for many here and around the world. And Trump has not been the only target of labeling.
As a lifelong progressive, I am ashamed of the tactics of the Left. The political correctness police with their bullying have attacked freedom of speech along with individuals. They are able to shut down vital dialogues before could start. And they have been hypocrites.
For example, worry over climate and environmental issues from a Trump presidency may be justified, and many on the Left criticize those who do not believe in climate change as “anti-science.” However, the Left claims to worry about environment and climate issues but refuses to discuss the biggest danger to the whole planet—human overpopulation.
Overpopulation is driving the destruction of rain forests in South America for cattle ranching and soy bean cultivation. The forests of Indonesia are being similarly destroyed for palm oil plantations. Increasing use of fossil fuels, along with more methane release from intensive animal agriculture and melting tundra, are causing climate warming and all its dire consequences.
Animals face the sixth great extinction as we destroy their habitat. We are losing some species before we even knew they were here. Thus, we are even robbing them of their place in the record of life on this earth. Animals endure increasing abuse as they are crammed into factory farms, and face faster and more brutal killing methods in slaughterhouses. Predators are gunned down for harming cattle grazing on public lands near wilderness areas. Wild lives are dying on our highways by the millions as we exploit their wilderness homes for resources. They are poisoned and trapped as pests for invading our neighborhoods
Human beings are losing also. Many countries are exceeding their carrying capacities to produce their own food. When currently exporting countries also grow, they may no longer be able to help. And as population and poverty increase, so do starvation, malnutrition, lack of education and jobs, and social unrest. Some desperate people will migrate to other countries, but there is a limit to how many newcomers those countries can absorb.
In 1968 Paul Ehrlich wrote “The Population Bomb,” detailing the horrendous prospects of an overpopulated world. Ehrlich received attention in the media, he appeared frequently on TV talk shows, and people listened. Although Ehrlich was wrong about how soon we would face the consequences of overpopulation, his message is more valid than ever: An earth approaching a population of 9 billion by mid-century is in trouble!
Enter the political correctness factions and their dampening effect on the population issue.
Promoting population control was deemed anti-Catholic and anti-religion because of their restrictions on abortion and contraception. It was deemed sexist and anti-woman since it suggested that women should exercise some control on fertility and how many offspring they produce. It was called anti-immigrant and racist since the major population increase in America, among other countries, resulted from immigration. In some hyperbolic eruptions of outrage, population control was compared to eugenics and genocide.
As a result, organizations who had been concerned with increasing populations and their harm to the environment, wilderness areas, and resource use started to retrench. When members of Earth!First were accused of racism for asking that immigration numbers be based on considerations of available resources and the environmental effects of growth, the other groups, such as the Sierra Club, took promoting population control off their agendas.
Thus while Trump and his climate-denial followers may harm the environment, the people who criticize them for being anti-science are doing damage with their own denial and their list of “isms.” Any humane solution to overpopulation for people and other animals will depend on whether we are willing to admit there is a problem and be willing to discuss it. The discussion will be difficult and probably contentious. It will require dealing with conflicting values and accepting compromise. If nothing else, it will require acceding to the consequences for people and other animals if the problems of overpopulation are deemed preferable to proposed solutions. But at least the conversation will have occurred. Calling population control advocates racists, bigots, and xenophobes to avoid the topic will help no one.
Here is a quotation worth heeding and that should remain “ism-less”:
“Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess. What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and education of the billions of its victims.” Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1966
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