Saving the planet

by Russ Roberts on February 25, 2009

in Environment

When it comes to saving the environment or saving the children, which is more precious. James Lileks gets it right.

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{ 9 comments }

Gil (not 'gil') February 25, 2009 at 2:10 am

So this guy uses the old line of:

"It doesn’t matter whether reducing the population might deprive the world of another Mozart or a scientist who can cure cancer . . ."

If the expectant mother is a teenager from a generally hard-done-by background and the father is at least one of five guys she occasionally flirts with and has no intention of helping to raise the child then it's highly unlikely the kid's going to be some sort of superstar but instead be a dirtbag criminal who spend most of life in prison at taxpayers' expense. Why Conservatives types get uptight about abortion is mindboggling? It's 'pro-choice' not 'no-choice'. Conservatives should instead be pro-choice for Liberals to help cull the left-minded part of the human population.

Babinich February 25, 2009 at 5:35 am

"If the expectant mother is a teenager from a generally hard-done-by background and the father is at least one of five guys she occasionally flirts with and has no intention of helping to raise the child then it's highly unlikely the kid's going to be some sort of superstar but instead be a dirtbag criminal who spend most of life in prison at taxpayers' expense."

That, my friend, is a character flaw of the mother. To punish a child because of her gross immorality is inhuman.

geoih February 25, 2009 at 6:59 am

Quote from Babinich: "That, my friend, is a character flaw of the mother. To punish a child because of her gross immorality is inhuman."

A mother's character flaw doesn't create a duty on me or anybody else to raise or provide for her children. If you wish to take on that burden, then good luck to you.

Jerry February 25, 2009 at 8:47 am

Kind of an extreme position… we don't really need to choose between children and cleaning up the environment. Though it's not like you people believe in externalities anyway.

Martin Regnen February 25, 2009 at 10:23 am

If you believe that more people is bad, you should be addressing both the birth and death sides of population growth. Shifting money from curing illness to abortion is entirely logical and consistent with the misanthropic-environmentalist worldview. Kill two birds with one stone!

Of course misanthropy is silly, but at least this is internally consistent silliness.

Dallas February 25, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Sorry about reality. With the world population going from 6 to 9 billion and a few billion moving from poverty, the system doesn't mass/energy balance. Water for food production, CO2 production, ocean fisheries can barely support what we have, let alone another 3 billion people.

I hope James Lileks is a vegan who want everyone else to become an vegan, if not he doesn't understand how the physical world works.

I oppose most of the environmentalist nonsense, but there is some truth mixed in with the BS.

Rich February 25, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Dallas,

How can I be sure you wouldn't have made the same argument when the world's population was 3 billion? I suspect you would have claimed that 6 billion would not "mass/energy balance" either.

If you have a formula that converts the world population into a numerical measure of mass/energy balance, please share it with us.

Christopher Renner February 25, 2009 at 3:53 pm

This reminds me of something I'd like to see a study on – I think the fallacy of seeing all humans as 100% consumptive and 0% productive is much more prevalent among those (think government and a good portion of academia) who aren't themselves engaged in work for profit, or producing an identifiable good or service.

brotio February 26, 2009 at 3:01 am

If you have a formula that converts the world population into a numerical measure of mass/energy balance, please share it with us.

I'm sure that His Holiness: The Divine Prophet Algore I has such a formula, and that Torquemierduck will be along shortly to enlighten us as to what it is.

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