Thursday, September 25, 2008

My favorite issues

Are the ones that rise above party politics in a hilarious and interesting way.

What prompted this post?

It's a thought sure to turn heads. Paying citizens to not reproduce. Disgusted? Intrigued? The reactions run the spectrum, I'm sure, though many are probably immediately repulsed.

And we should be. It's an awful thought, one that conjures images of Nazi Germany, among other things (as the reporter points out).

But if disgust is your only reaction, you're probably haven't been somewhere very poor and overpopulated. The land of my birth (India), for all its beauty and greatness, certainly is such a place. This type of policy, if implemented, would provide immediate relief to the hundreds of millions of citizens who are currently starving on the streets (if you're still repulsed that I sound like I'm endorsing this, which I'm not necessarily, read that number again - a population larger than that of America starving on the streets). Furthermore, it will pave the way to a smaller and more sustainable population.

Take a step back. In the grand scheme of things, the issue is way bigger than people living on welfare. Our current population growth, as a species, is fundamentally unsustainable. Unless the people all over the world realize this and start to have fewer babies (a possibility, albeit an unlikely one), at some point in the future, we will have to implement state-required birth control or, worse, mandatory sterilization. If that's the future, offering money on a voluntary basis for sterilization doesn't seem like such a bad idea.

Just a thought. But now the bigger point - if this future does pan out, and we need to implement some sort of limit on children, which party do you think will champion the cause? In the video, it's a Republican from the South (who contrasts greatly with the subtly shocked and "morally superior" CNN host). But, in the future, I'd bet it's the Democrats (the party of abortion and big government) that would be pushing such a bill (in a sense, it could even be seen as an issue of environmental policy).

Another interesting issue is that of marijuana legalization, and, specifically, the case of Gonzales v. Reich. In short, the case pitted the federal government against a California medical marijuana user who was growing his own marijuana.

This is classic liberals vs. conservatives, right? Wrong. Yes, you had liberal marijuana legalization advocates on the side of Reich. But another group rallied to his cause: far right libertarians. For this group, possible opposition to marijuana use was dwarfed by their desire for states' rights, and this was textbook case of state government against federal jurisdiction.

It's always fascinating when groups on polar opposite sides of the political spectrum are united by a common cause. Anyone know any other great examples?


  1. The evangelical Christian environmentalist movement is another good one. People who believe that the Earth is God's gift and humans have a duty to be good custodians teaming up with left-leaning crunchies.

    Separately, I heard an interview with Paul Ehrlich recently, who threw out the idea that 2B people might be a long-term sustainable number for the planet. Makes me wonder how we'd get there.

  2. I wouldn't bet on it taking much hold in the West. For starters, the populations of most Western countries are stagnating, or even shrinking as fewer people opt to have children, and those who do have fewer than they would have in the past. Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan are in fact already shrinking as we speak.

    India and China should certainly pursue such population control policies, but in the West, how to INCREASE population is actually becoming the greater concern.

  3. I point you to this interesting Wikipedia article:

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