Page 837: Compulsory abortions would be legal
||Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.
As noted in the FrontPage article cited above, Holdren “hides behind the passive voice” in this passage, by saying “it has been concluded.” Really? By whom? By the authors of the book, that’s whom. What Holdren’s really saying here is, “Ihave determined that there’s nothing unconstitutional about laws which would force women to abort their babies.” And as we will see later, although Holdren bemoans the fact that most people think there’s no need for such laws, he and his co-authors believe that the population crisis is so severe that the time has indeed come for “compulsory population-control laws.” In fact, they spend the entire book arguing that “the population crisis” has already become “sufficiently severe to endanger the society.”
Page 786: Single mothers should have their babies taken away by the government; or they could be forced to have abortions
||One way to carry out this disapproval might be to insist that all illegitimate babies be put up for adoption—especially those born to minors, who generally are not capable of caring properly for a child alone. If a single mother really wished to keep her baby, she might be obliged to go through adoption proceedings and demonstrate her ability to support and care for it. Adoption proceedings probably should remain more difficult for single people than for married couples, in recognition of the relative difficulty of raising children alone. It would even be possible to require pregnant single women to marry or have abortions, perhaps as an alternative to placement for adoption, depending on the society.
Holdren and his co-authors once again speculate about unbelievably draconian solutions to what they feel is an overpopulation crisis. But what’s especially disturbing is not that Holdren has merely made these proposals — wrenching babies from their mothers’ arms and giving them away; compelling single mothers to prove in court that they would be good parents; and forcing women to have abortions, whether they wanted to or not — but that he does so in such a dispassionate, bureaucratic way. Don’t be fooled by the innocuous and “level-headed” tone he takes: the proposals are nightmarish, however euphemistically they are expressed.
Holdren seems to have no grasp of the emotional bond between mother and child, and the soul-crushing trauma many women have felt throughout history when their babies were taken away from them involuntarily.
This kind of clinical, almost robotic discussion of laws that would affect millions of people at the most personal possible level is deeply unsettling, and the kind of attitude that gives scientists a bad name. I’m reminded of the phrase “banality of evil.”
Not that it matters, but I myself am “pro-choice” — i.e. I think that abortion should not be illegal. But that doesn’t mean I’m pro-abortion — I don’t particularly like abortions, but I do believe women should be allowed the choice to have them. But John Holdren here proposes to take away that choice — to force women to have abortions. One doesn’t need to be a “pro-life” activist to see the horror of this proposal — people on all sides of the political spectrum should be outraged. My objection to forced abortion is not so much to protect the embryo, but rather to protect the mother from undergoing a medical procedure against her will. And not just any medical procedure, but one which she herself (regardless of my views) may find particularly immoral or traumatic.
There’s a bumper sticker that’s popular in liberal areas which says: “Against abortion? Then don’t have one.” Well, John Holdren wants to MAKE you have one, whether you’re against it or not.
Page 787-8: Mass sterilization of humans though drugs in the water supply is OK as long as it doesn’t harm livestock
||Adding a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods is a suggestion that seems to horrify people more than most proposals for involuntary fertility control. Indeed, this would pose some very difficult political, legal, and social questions, to say nothing of the technical problems. No such sterilant exists today, nor does one appear to be under development. To be acceptable, such a substance would have to meet some rather stiff requirements: it must be uniformly effective, despite widely varying doses received by individuals, and despite varying degrees of fertility and sensitivity among individuals; it must be free of dangerous or unpleasant side effects; and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets, or livestock.
OK, John, now you’re really starting to scare me. Putting sterilants in the water supply? While you correctly surmise that this suggestion “seems to horrify people more than most proposals,” you apparently are not among those people it horrifies. Because in your extensive list of problems with this possible scheme, there is no mention whatsoever of any ethical concerns or moral issues. In your view, the only impediment to involuntary mass sterlization of the population is that it ought to affect everyone equally and not have any unintended side effects or hurt animals. But hey, if we could sterilize all the humans safely without hurting the livestock, that’d be peachy! The fact that Holdren has no moral qualms about such a deeply invasive and unethical scheme (aside from the fact that it would be difficult to implement) is extremely unsettling and in a sane world all by itself would disqualify him from holding a position of power in the government.
Page 786-7: The government could control women’s reproduction by either sterilizing them or implanting mandatory long-term birth control
||Involuntary fertility control
A program of sterilizing women after their second or third child, despite the relatively greater difficulty of the operation than vasectomy, might be easier to implement than trying to sterilize men.
The development of a long-term sterilizing capsule that could be implanted under the skin and removed when pregnancy is desired opens additional possibilities for coercive fertility control. The capsule could be implanted at puberty and might be removable, with official permission, for a limited number of births.
Note well the phrase “with official permission” in the above quote. Johh Holdren envisions a society in which the government implants a long-term sterilization capsule in all girls as soon as they reach puberty, who then must apply for official permission to temporarily remove the capsule and be allowed to get pregnant at some later date. Alternately, he wants a society that sterilizes all women once they have two children. Do you want to live in such a society? Because I sure as hell don’t.
Page 838: The kind of people who cause “social deterioration” can be compelled to not have children
||If some individuals contribute to general social deterioration by overproducing children, and if the need is compelling, they can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility—just as they can be required to exercise responsibility in their resource-consumption patterns—providing they are not denied equal protection.
To me, this is in some ways the most horrifying sentence in the entire book — and it had a lot of competition. Because here Holdren reveals that moral judgments would be involved in determining who gets sterilized or is forced to abort their babies. Proper, decent people will be left alone — but those who “contribute to social deterioration” could be “forced to exercise reproductive responsibility” which could only mean one thing — compulsory abortion or involuntary sterilization. What other alternative would there be to “force” people to not have children? Will government monitors be stationed in irresponsible people’s bedrooms to ensure they use condoms? Will we bring back the chastity belt? No — the only way to “force” people to not become or remain pregnant is to sterilize them or make them have abortions.
But what manner of insanity is this? “Social deterioration”? Is Holdren seriously suggesting that “some” people contribute to social deterioriation more than others, and thus should be sterilized or forced to have abortions, to prevent them from propagating their kind? Isn’t that eugenics, plain and simple? And isn’t eugenics universally condemned as a grotesquely evil practice?
We’ve already been down this road before. In one of the most shameful episodes in the history of U.S. jurisprudence, the Supreme Court ruled in the infamous 1927 Buck v. Bell case that the State of Virginia had had the right to sterilize a woman named Carrie Buck against her will, based solely on the (spurious) criteria that she was “feeble-minded” and promiscuous, with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes concluding, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Nowadays, of course, we look back on that ruling in horror, as eugenics as a concept has been forever discredited. In fact, the United Nations now regards forced sterilization as a crime against humanity.
The italicized phrase at the end (“providing they are not denied equal protection“), which Holdren seems to think gets him off the eugenics hook, refers to the 14th Amendment (as you will see in the more complete version of this passage quoted below), meaning that the eugenics program wouldn’t be racially based or discriminatory — merely based on the whim and assessments of government bureaucrats deciding who and who is not an undesirable. If some civil servant in Holdren’s America determines that you are “contributing to social deterioration” by being promiscuous or pregnant or both, will government agents break down your door and and haul you off kicking and screaming to the abortion clinic? In fact, the Supreme Court case Skinner v. Oklahoma already determined that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment distinctly prohibits state-sanctioned sterilization being applied unequally to only certain types of people.
No no, you say, Holdren isn’t claiming that some kind of people contribute to social deterioration more than others; rather, he’s stating that anyone who overproduces children thereby contributes to social deterioration and needs to be stopped from having more. If so — how is that more palatable? It seems Holdren and his co-authors have not really thought this through, because what they are suggesting is a nightmarish totalitarian society. What does he envision: All women who commit the crime of having more than two children be dragged away by police to the government-run sterilization centers? Or — most disturbingly of all — perhaps Holdren has thought it through, and is perfectly OK with the kind of dystopian society he envisions in this book.
Sure, I could imagine a bunch of drunken guys sitting around shooting the breeze, expressing these kinds of forbidden thoughts; who among us hasn’t looked in exasperation at a harried mother buying candy bars and soda for her immense brood of unruly children and thought: Lady, why don’t you just get your tubes tied already? But it’s a different matter when the Science Czar of the United States suggests the very same thing officially in print. It ceases being a harmless fantasy, and suddenly the possibility looms that it could become government policy. And then it’s not so funny anymore.
Page 838: Nothing is wrong or illegal about the government dictating family size
||In today’s world, however, the number of children in a family is a matter of profound public concern. The law regulates other highly personal matters. For example, no one may lawfully have more than one spouse at a time. Why should the law not be able to prevent a person from having more than two children?
Why should the law not be able to prevent a person from having more than two children?
I’ll tell you why, John. Because the the principle of habeas corpus upon which our nation rests automatically renders any compulsory abortion scheme to be unconstitutional, since it guarantees the freedom of each individual’s body from detention or interference, until that person has been convicted of a crime. Or are you seriously suggesting that, should bureaucrats decide that the country is overpopulated, the mere act of pregnancy be made a crime?
I am no legal scholar, but it seems that John Holgren is even less of a legal scholar than I am. Many of the bizarre schemes suggested in Ecoscience rely on seriously flawed legal reasoning. The book is not so much about science, but instead is about reinterpreting the Constitution to allow totalitarian population-control measures.
Page 942-3: A “Planetary Regime” should control the global economy and dictate by force the number of children allowed to be born
||Toward a Planetary Regime
Perhaps those agencies, combined with UNEP and the United Nations population agencies, might eventually be developed into a Planetary Regime—sort of an international superagency for population, resources, and environment. Such a comprehensive Planetary Regime could control the development, administration, conservation, and distribution of all natural resources, renewable or nonrenewable, at least insofar as international implications exist. Thus the Regime could have the power to control pollution not only in the atmosphere and oceans, but also in such freshwater bodies as rivers and lakes that cross international boundaries or that discharge into the oceans. The Regime might also be a logical central agency for regulating all international trade, perhaps including assistance from DCs to LDCs, and including all food on the international market.The Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining the optimum population for the world and for each region and for arbitrating various countries’ shares within their regional limits. Control of population size might remain the responsibility of each government, but the Regime would have some power to enforce the agreed limits.
In case you were wondering exactly who would enforce these forced abortion and mass sterilization laws: Why, it’ll be the “Planetary Regime”! Of course! I should have seen that one coming.
The rest of this passage speaks for itself. Once you add up all the things the Planetary Regime (which has a nice science-fiction ring to it, doesn’t it?) will control, it becomes quite clear that it will have total power over the global economy, since according to Holdren this Planetary Regime will control “all natural resources, renewable or nonrenewable” (which basically means all goods) as well as all food, and commerce on the oceans and any rivers “that discharge into the oceans” (i.e. 99% of all navigable rivers). What’s left? Not much.
Page 917: We will need to surrender national sovereignty to an armed international police force
||If this could be accomplished, security might be provided by an armed international organization, a global analogue of a police force. Many people have recognized this as a goal, but the way to reach it remains obscure in a world where factionalism seems, if anything, to be increasing. The first step necessarily involvespartial surrender of sovereignty to an international organization.
The other shoe drops. So: We are expected to voluntarily surrender national sovereignty to an international organization (the “Planetary Regime,” presumably), which will be armed and have the ability to act as a police force. And we saw in the previous quote exactly which rules this armed international police force will be enforcing: compulsory birth control, and all economic activity.
It would be laughable if Holdren weren’t so deadly serious. Do you want this man to be in charge of science and technology in the United States? Because he already is in charge.
Page 749: Pro-family and pro-birth attitudes are caused by ethnic chauvinism
||Another related issue that seems to encourage a pronatalist attitude in many people is the question of the differential reproduction of social or ethnic groups. Many people seem to be possessed by fear that their group may be outbred by other groups. White Americans and South Africans are worried there will be too many blacks, and vice versa. The Jews in Israel are disturbed by the high birth rates of Israeli Arabs, Protestants are worried about Catholics, and lbos about Hausas. Obviously, if everyone tries to outbreed everyone else, the result will be catastrophe for all. This is another case of the “tragedy of the commons,” wherein the “commons” is the planet Earth. Fortunately, it appears that, at least in the DCs, virtually all groups are exercising reproductive restraint.
This passage is not particularly noteworthy except for the inclusion of the odd phrase “pronatalist attitude,” which Holdren spends much of the book trying to undermine. And what exactly is a “pronatalist attitude”? Basically it means the urge to have children, and to like babies. If only we could suppress people’s natural urge to want children and start families, we could solve all our problems!
What’s disturbing to me is the incredibly patronizing and culturally imperialist attitude he displays here, basically acting like he has the right to tell every ethnic group in the world that they should allow themselves to go extinct or at least not increase their populations any more. How would we feel if Andaman Islanders showed up on the steps of the Capitol in Washington D.C. and announced that there were simply too many Americans, and we therefore are commanded to stop breeding immediately? One imagines that the attitude of every ethnic group in the world to John Holdren’s proposal would be: Cram it, John. Stop telling us what to do.
Page 944: As of 1977, we are facing a global overpopulation catastrophe that must be resolved at all costs by the year 2000
||Humanity cannot afford to muddle through the rest of the twentieth century; the risks are too great, and the stakes are too high. This may be the last opportunity to choose our own and our descendants’ destiny. Failing to choose or making the wrong choices may lead to catastrophe. But it must never be forgotten that the right choices could lead to a much better world.
This is the final paragraph of the book, which I include here only to show how embarrassingly inaccurate his “scientific” projections were. In 1977, Holdren thought we were teetering on the brink of global catastrophe, and he proposed implementing fascistic rules and laws to stave off the impending disaster. Luckily, we ignored his warnings, yet the world managed to survive anyway without the need to punish ourselves with the oppressive society which Holdren proposed. Yes, there still is overpopulation, but the problems it causes are not as morally repugnant as the “solutions” which John Holdren wanted us to adopt.