I wasn’t sure whether or not to post this as an update to my earlier post on John Holdren, but I thought it was interesting enough to warrant its own posting.
I’ve read some of the scanned pages of Ecoscience, the 1977 book co-authored by Holdren that calls for horrifying coercive measures for population control. Interestingly, Holdren & Co. felt the need to address pro-life arguments in their book. Their moral reasoning only proves, yet again, how dangerous (not to mention illogical) some ‘scientists’ can become when they venture into moral philosophy. This provides us an opportunity to take a tour through the inhuman humanism condemned by Pope Benedict in Caritas in Veritate.
In one particular section of the book, the authors are attempting to justify their arguments within the framework of the US Constitution (I invite all readers to go to zombietime’s website and read these scanned pages). They believe, simply put, that the Constitution does not actually prohibit limits on population size and measures that would be needed in order to sustain those limits. For instance, they argue on page 838:
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? The legal argument has been made that the First Amendment provision for the separation of church and state prevents the United States government from regulating family size. The notion is that family size is God’s affair and no business of the state [how quaint! — J.H.]. But the same argument has been made against the taxation of church property, prohibition on polygamy, compulsory education and medical treatment for children, and many similar measures that have been enacted.
Unfortunately, the answer to the question makes no sense if you don’t believe that life has any inherent value to begin with. Why shouldn’t the law be able to regulate children? Because that ultimately means compulsory abortion, the deliberate destruction of an innocent human being and a grave violation of the rights of both mother and father. From the premise that life is not valuable or sacred, it makes perfect sense to resort to coercion to regulate family size.
This is from page 839:
Those who argue that a fetus has a right to life usually proceed from the assumption that life begins at or soon after conception [‘soon after’? Who argues this? — J.H.]. As stated elsewhere, the question When does life begin? is misleading. Life does not begin; it began . (emphasis added by me)
Like other more sophisticated advocates of abortion, Holdren & Co. do not believe that the question of life itself is in dispute at all. They go on to argue:
The real question from a legal, as well as from religious, moral, and ethical points of view, is as follows: in what forms, at what stages, and for what purposes should society protect human life? Obviously overweight people regard their fat cells different from their brain cells. A wandering sperm cell is not the same thing as a fertilized egg; nor is a fetus a child. Yet a fat cell, a sperm cell, a fetus, an adult, and even a group of people are all human life.
How could someone make the drastic – and in my view, manifestly absurd – leap from a ‘fat cell’ to a fetus? Anyone who has seen a picture of an unborn child that is actually developed enough to be surgically aborted in the first place can tell you the difference between that being, and an individual cell.
An individual fat cell – or even a whole group of fat cells – is not a human being. A sperm is alive, yes – but it is not a human being. How desperate to make the case for abortion must one be to fail to understand the distinction between fat cells or genetic material on the one hand, and a unique human being on the other?
The materialists have no conception of what it means to exist, to “be”. They do not see a “human being”, they see a more complicated arrangement of cells that eventually acquires the ability to think and speak, but nothing greater than the sum of its mechanical parts. It is therefore not surprising that they can so easily advocate a totalitarian regime of population control. If all we are is matter, then only pleasure and pain can possibly serve as the parameters on what is just or unjust. A more pleasurable world for the enlightened few who have the privilege of belonging to the upper classes and the protection of the state is only made possible by eliminating the vast majority of undesirables, who from their point of view, are nothing but extra consumers of resources.
It is hard to understand when or where or if ever a human being actually comes into existence in the materialist worldview. The authors do go on to acknowledge that infanticide is illegal in the US and do not attempt to argue for it – but why not? There is no logical reason for them to reject infanticide. It would serve the exact same purpose they want to attain – population control. It would be done to a living organism not much more developed than a fetus. Peter Singer had no trouble seeing this, but then, he wasn’t trying to dance with the US Constitution either.
In the end the problem is that the authors, and all those who share their views, have no answer to their own question. I’ll present it again:
“The real question from a legal, as well as from religious, moral, and ethical points of view, is as follows: in what forms, at what stages, and for what purposes should society protect human life?”
They don’t know. They don’t answer it. They go on to state what they think the Constitution has to say about it. “The common law and the drafters of the U.S. Constitution”, they argue, “did not consider a fetus a human being”. This is not quite accurate – prior to “quickening”, the first stirrings of the unborn child in the womb, they did not consider whatever was in there to even be alive. They did not have the same understanding of pre-natal development that we have today. Their views cannot be considered authoritative in that case.
But why should it matter? If we look back again on page 838, the authors argue that if there is a “compelling, subordinating interest” the government can do whatever it damned well pleases. So why not extermination camps for adults – you know, those highly complex arrangements of cells without an inherent nature differentiating them from fat or sperm – who refuse to comply too?
I believe there is a reason why Hitler dubbed his plan for eliminating the Jews of Europe, “The Final Solution”. It is “final” because it is the final implication of a belief that a certain group poses a threat to the existence of humanity. You can begin, as Hitler did, with laws preventing intermarriage. You can move on to compulsory sterilization, as the Third Reich did. You can proceed to place the dangerous people in ghettos to quarantine them from the rest of the population.
But all of that, in the end, is not going to be enough. They might get out. They might find ways to get around sterilization. The only way to be sure they no longer pose a threat is to get rid of them once and for all. If the problem is bad enough, if the crisis is severe enough, why not?
Whether or not Holdren and his colleauges are conscious of that eventuality and are simply coddling us with Constitutional considerations, or whether they sincerely and stupidly believe it can be avoided, is besides the point. Moreover, I would oppose all of the measures they propose whether they lead to a “final solution” or not, because they are inherently disordered. Even so, this gives us all the more reason to do what we must to oppose the decayed, inhuman philosophy of materialism and its partner, hedonism.
As a closer, let me present what I believe to be the real question, one which no materialist can ever provide a satisfactory answer to: