Comments about ‘Overpopulation? We should be so lucky’

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Published: Thursday, Feb. 7 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Eugene, OR

Assuming that overpopulation isn't a problem after all, then I'd assume that that Evensen would be promoting policies that would ensure a strong middle class that can afford to raise larger families. That he'd support increased funding for education and aid to poor families. That he's support wider access to the contraceptives that allow people to determine when they start their families and how large they want them to be.

However, his wish for more religion in the public square gives him away. What he (and the DN) are primarily interested in is using shaky statistics and guilt-tripping to try to force everyone to live their lives the way the LDS church sees fit. If you're financially and emotionally unable to comply, that's just too bad. Take personal responsibility! And don't forget to give Mitt Romney and his friends another tax cut while you're at it. Oh, and gay marriage is going to destroy American society. No, really. It totally is.

Sad, guys. Just sad.

Ogden, UT

Mr. Evensen must truly be in love with Mr. Last's work to both cite it in an article yesterday and to write a full editorial on it today. Evensen jumps right on Last's bandwagon of calling overpopulation concerns "theological belief" when his viewpoint is almost certainly rooted and motivated by religious edicts calling for large family size. Overpopulation doomsday predictions are the extreme belief. Jonathan Last's viewpoints are the other extreme. In between are valid concerns about the resource, environmental, quality of life costs of an ever growing population and the unpleasant economic realities of a shrinking population. Pragmatists understand this, zealots only see their side.

Mr. Evensen, please do objectivity a favor and publish, this week, an editorial about water shortages in the Western US and in nations breadbasket, how we expect to power, fuel, and feed a world with twice the current population, whether you will want to live in Salt Lake City when the population has doubled, and what you think "multiply and replenish" the earth actually means. Please do not include faith-based arguments that human ingenuity will miraculously figure it all out.

American Fork, UT

We're foolish if we approach overpopulation the way we approach climate change in utah. That is, if it's not happening in my backyard right this minute it's not happening at all. It's truly bizarre to state that we really don't know what the carrying capacity and then saying we should just keep adding. "Just because we've always done it that way", my favourite saying goes, "Doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid". Instead of encouraging all humanity to risk itself on your religious premise or whatever is driving this desire to reduce the quality of life for all of us by adding to our number, maybe we should slow down and think for a while.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

Wow, this article has more holes than Swiss cheese… where to begin?

First off, Earth (or more accurately the habitable parts of it) certainly does have a “carrying capacity” and to suggest otherwise is to take the “theological” position. The timing of Malthus’ predictions were off because he did not properly account for technological advancement, however, if and until we can find ways to live sustainably, with extremely cheap energy, and with a large decline in our use of natural resources, simple logic suggests that Malthus was right.

And these arguments say nothing about quality of life. Is there anyone who would trade the open spaces of our country for the slums of Calcutta or the congestion of Shanghai?

The real solution is to let this leveling off in population occur and then adapt our economics and public policies to that reality. Unless and until we begin colonizing other planets, an economic system that relies solely on growth to maintain itself is simply unsustainable.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

And was anyone else struck by the irony of Last and especially Evensen using the term “theological” in an attempt to discredit the other side? For someone whose entire worldview rests on theological presuppositions, I found that strange… not to mention a bit amusing.

Salt Lake City, UT

To make an argument that we need an every increasing population of young workers to support an ever increasing population of retired seniors sounds an awful lot like a pyramid scheme. At some point, the pyramid scheme is doomed to collapse.

Centerville, UT

Mr. Last says couples are being selfish because they are not having more children. He then says a main reason we need more children is so they can support the elderly. That sounds selfish to me. I have five children and three grandchildren, all of whom bring me great joy. But I am not looking to them as the workers who will provide for me in my old age. I'm trying to put enough aside to take care of myself.
And I don't trust someone who is a senior writer for the Weekly Standard any more than Mr. Evensen would trust a senior writer for Mother Jones. A google search reveals remarkably little response to Mr. Last's book or WSJ article. Thus far, his work seems to have been met, not with ideological fury or even skepyicism, but with disinterest.

Salt Lake City, UT

Well, not so fast. Today's national and world populations require mechanized agriculture which has created an unreliable and even dangerous food chain - carcinogens abound. And there is global warming which is a fact. Is the world becoming overpopulated? Stay tuned as they say - but I'm worried about the world my children and grandchildren will live in.

Lafayette, IN

Mr. Evenson does not like the math; fair enough. There are 7 billion people on planet Earth. Some countries are not having enough children to replenish their populations. True. Other countries are not showing any restraint (i.e. India), and the planet's population is going up (as is the number of people in poverty). There is no doubt, we do have a mess. But just adding more people is not a fix.

Demo Dave
Holladay, UT

Too many people consuming too many resourses leaves less for everyone. The American way of life is not sustainable at its present rate and will continue to deteriorate as we go on taking more from the earth than the earth can provide.

Procreate responsibly and stop filling your quivers with children. This was never a commandment.

Salt Lake City, UT

7 billion human beings on earth....

and we need 'more' in America.

This is arrogance showing itself.

As, America, is not the center of the world.

Bountiful, UT

Human beings generally perform best when in a secure environment. Children perform best and have fewer problems in a stable home. Economic anxiety and apprehension about the future directly impact birth rates, negatively.

It's no wonder that young people are hesitant to marry and have children, as people above them in the economic food chain ship jobs overseas. This shouldn't be a shock to anyone.

Our forefathers recognized that parents of child bearing age rarely have accumulated the economic resources to afford to educate their children, so they implemented (what today would be viewed as a redistributionist, marxist set of) tax policies so people would be encouraged to have children when they're in perhaps the healthiest part of their lives, their 20s and 30s.

If society is really concerned about falling birth rates, conditions need to be more favorable for young adults to feel greater economic security. Those at the upper end of the economic food chain seem far more sharply focused on maximizing profit, minimizing costs - and moving good jobs out of the country, in the process. Presto! Economic anxiety for young adults.

This isn't rocket science.

Saint George, UT

Athiests are equivalent to generational welfare recipients. They secure the blessings of liberty and prosperity that come from a belief in God and the future at the expense of those who believe in the future and do so by action, by having children. Philosophic irresponsibility by any other name is still irresponsibility. 7 billion people by even the most conservative estimates by credible scientists is still far below the 'carrying capacity' of this planet. Italy will be extinct by 2078 at current population trends. The fearmongers of population control have been around for generations, instilling a futile helplessness that compensates for an empty morality and view of the universe. Wow! Look around. God is everywhere!

Provo, UT

It's only been 1.93 since the recession. People are acting responsibile about being able to afford a child. When the economy gets better it will go back up. Look at the last 50 years.

In 1n 1920 our country hit 100 million, in 1970 we hit 200 million, and 2010 brought us 300 million. We are growing faster than any other time in our countries history.

Columbus, OH

To add to the above arguments, I'd also note that using immigration to fill the gap is actually a great strategy. When has this country ever not relied on immigrant labor? So, Mexico's rate is getting near the magical 2.1, great! They're not the only country in the world. This point of view is so America-centric it borders on the arrogant. Right now, we have overcrowding and starvation in much of the world. Yes, there's enough food for everyone, but we're not willing to sacrifice our gluttony to help them out. How about this, let's keep our birthrate below 2, and bring in people from other parts of the world to buoy our economy, and spread the wealth (slightly) at the same time. Setting aside ethical concerns (because we're going to anyway) and thinking strategically, we are right now in the position of being able to cherry-pick the best talent from around the globe to fill out our labor force. Instead, we identify that talent, bring it here and give it PhDs, and kick them out. It's like a college football team limiting recruiting to children of alumni.

Dietrich, ID

Ehlrich prophecied same thing and put time line on prophecies that did not come to pass.

Dave D
Pocatello, ID

For a more productive discussion on overpopulation that presents multiple sides of the issue, please refer to a recent Radio West on KUER.

For LDS readers, we know that there is "enough and to spare," yet the same scripture makes the point that there is only enough and to spare if we use the earth's resources wisely and provide for the poor in the Lord's way. We aren't doing a very good job at that.

Newport Beach, CA

The problem, if you listen to the birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger, isn't that too many people are being born. It's that too many of the wrong sort of people are being born. Too many poor brown people, as she put it.

Last is absolutely correct that the entire civilizational model of western civilization -- not to mention our social insurance programs -- are premised on a fertility rate of at least replacement level. I know Utah liberals have been fixated for several decades on the idea that babies=bad (because Mormon culture teaches that babies=good, and whatever the latter is for, the former must be against), but here's a case where those ignorant Morons really have stumbled on a valid point: The birth dearth in civilized countries is making their civilizational model unsustainable. That would be fine, if the said liberals weren't deadset against any kind of reform of the entitlement programs premised on rapid growth -- but they are.

The gods of the copybook headings always win out in the end.

Mcallen, TX

Too many corrupt governments, has given the illusion of over population. --North Korea is just one of many examples.

Ogden, UT

"Mr. Last says couples are being selfish because they are not having more children."

Well, we see that certain ethnic groups ARE having more children... minorities such as African Americans and Hispanics for two examples. We see in the news that minorities (probably all sorts combined) will exceed White Americans in number in just a few years. This means that White Americans are the ones not having enough children.

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