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Melbourne Atheist: The Exterminator

Jan 10, 2007

Who says ideas do not have consequences? Ideas are not just neutral, ethereal concepts with no bearing on life. Quite the contrary. Bad ideas have bad consequences. And good ideas have good consequences.

One very bad idea which leads to some very nasty consequences is materialistic reductionism. This is the idea that only matter matters. It is a severely reductionist way of looking at reality, and is the basis of many harmful worldviews, such as Marxism.

A good example of the ugly consequences of lousy ideas came out in an ABC Radio National program last December. The December 10 Ockham’s Razor, hosted by Robyn Williams, featured a talk by Melbourne neuroscientist Dr John Reid. Williams, with hardly a word of comment, simply reproduced a talk Reid had given earlier.

Reid’s talk is essentially a call for the extermination of much of humanity, all in the name of humanity of course. Whenever someone starts chirping on about humanity, it usually means he or she has no real concern for individual humans. Stalin is a good case in point. Reid seems to be no different.

Reid is convinced that planet earth is grossly overpopulated, and unless we take some radical steps, like culling the human race, we are all doomed. I kid you not. Let me give you his own words on the issue.

Reid begins his talk – which he entitled “Apocalypse now” – by offering the usual doomsday scenarios: “The fact is, Planet Earth cannot support the present human population.” And he makes clear early on that he shares the worldview of the philosophical naturalists:

“Many people would say the character that most distinguishes human beings from all other animals is language. I suggest the only attribute that really distinguishes our species from all others is our ability to delude ourselves. Human beings are self-deluders. We can convince ourselves, in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary, that black is white and heat can flow from a cooler to a hotter body. It is this power of self-delusion that leads us to believe that somehow we will find a way to fix the problem of our unsustainable consumption of the Earth’s resources.”

Then he starts to let the cat out of the bag: “I believe the problem of overconsumption/overpopulation will not be solved by civil means.” Ah yes, we have heard this before from the coercive utopians. And he tells us how our problems can be overcome, offering the usual list of socialist solutions.

He says we will have to reject the belief in “steady economic growth”. Instead, we “in the affluent world will have to accept substantial reductions in our standard of living. . . . To achieve this, income and wealth distribution within our societies will have to become much more equal. The higher up the tree one is, the greater the sacrifice one will have to make.”

And it is all bad news if you happen to drive a car: the fleet of fossil-fuel-burning motor vehicles “will have to be reduced to no more than about 10% of the present number.” Will this be voluntary, or at the barrel of a gun? And will Reid be the first to give up his car?

But wait, there’s more: “Perhaps water meters that turn off automatically after a household’s daily ration of water has been consumed will be fitted to every house. Meat will be rationed to no more than, say, 200 grams per person per week.”

And just to make sure that we have not missed his socialist and coercive agenda, he tells us, “And private property rights will be severely curtailed to prevent landowners from engaging in environmentally-damaging behaviours. And many, many more such infringements on what we now regard as our rights will have to be accepted.” Nice of him to so glibly suggest how many rights must be stripped away from us. And we trust that he will be leading by example in all of this.

Now for the really totalitarian and barbaric side to Reid’s proposals: “The population of the world must be very quickly reduced to 5 billion (that is, if 6 billions equals 120% of capacity, then 5 billions equals 100%). And then, as the average level of affluence rises, fairly quickly reduced further to, say, 2 to 3 billion.”

Well folks, there you have it. Half of the human race needs to go. And will Reid be the first volunteer? Or will he be pulling the trigger of the machine gun, or flipping the switch to release the poison gas? Funny, but all this somehow sounds strangely – and eerily – familiar.

He is not just being rhetorical here. He is dead serious. He says people will never voluntarily stop breeding, so more drastic measures will be needed. Reid admits, “These ways are all painful, and most are brutally painful in their effect.”

For starters, he makes this suggestion: “One small, but appropriate, token gesture would be to ban immediately all forms of assisted conception, including the use of donated sperm or ova.” He then ups the ante: “The next most human way to reduce the population might be to put something in the water, a virus that would be specific to the human reproductive system and would make a substantial proportion of the population infertile. Perhaps a virus that would knock out the genes that produce certain hormones necessary for conception.”

And the rich get to go first: “The world’s most affluent populations should be targeted first. According to the 2006 Living Planet Report, the six populations that have the biggest per capita ecological footprint live in the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, Finland, Canada, Kuwait, and Australia.”

Since Reid lives in one of these countries, will he simply pop a suicide pill, or take a more ‘humanitarian’ view, and try to take as many people with him, as in a suicide bombing?

But hey, it all sounds good to me. After all, we are no different to animals, or slugs, or microbes, according to the accepted Darwinian wisdom. So I guess there is no problem in treating human beings as a disease to be eradicated.

But Reid is not finished yet. The elderly will of course be a big problem as well. “Societies will not be able to provide the healthcare services needed to keep large numbers of unhealthy old people alive. A triage approach will be necessary so that scarce medical resources go to those who can contribute most to the long-term viability of the planet. Consequently, many middle-aged-to-elderly people will die uncomfortable deaths. Not every problem is solveable.”

Gee, thanks John for those comforting and reassuring words. But heck, it’s only humanity we are talking about here. Faceless masses who do not count for beans in a goo-to-you evolutionary world.

He finishes his cheery picture on the fate of humanity with a misotheist rant: “My plea is that we should face reality and begin to discuss the unspeakable. Humanity must undergo a mind-shift. If you must have a God, at least recognise he/she/it did not give humanity licence to trash the planet, whatever the Bible may tell you. Indeed, humanity has been all too compliant with the Biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The precepts of the Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam represent the quintessential perversion of the human mind. They must be abandoned and the notion of the sanctity of human life must be subjugated to the greater sanctity of all life on Earth.”

Well there you have it folks. The “sanctity of all life,” whatever that means, trumps mere humanity any day of the week. Let’s wipe out half of the human race in the name of humanity, and of a better future. These are the ugly consequences of ugly ideas. And Reid is lecturing us about the “perversion of the human mind”!?!

Of course Reid is not alone in such proposals. Paul Ehrlich uttered similar thoughts back in the 60s. And more recently, evolutionary ecologist Eric Pianka told a Texas audience that 90% of the world’s population should be eliminated by an airborne Ebola virus. He received a standing ovation for his humane remarks.

And of interest, all Williams could do as he ended the broadcast was to say, “Some startling suggestions there from John Reid, who lives in Melbourne.” Thanks John Reid and Robyn Williams for giving us in such cold, clinical and chilling detail the fruit of your materialist worldview. It is always refreshing to hear out of the horses’ mouths the savage proposals that flow from an anti-theist worldview.

Right now these men mainly propagate their ugly belief systems in the public arena. Pray that they do not take control of the political processes, or we may see their Brave New World forced on us all a lot sooner than expected.

www.abc.net.au/rn/ockhamsrazor/stories/2006/1807002.htm#

[1477 words]

29 Responses to Melbourne Atheist: The Exterminator

  • So come on Bill, what are your solutions to the problems he poses? Now don’t jump down my throat and assume I am supporting this guy’s ideas. But seriously, what is the solution to overpopulation? The resources of the world are not infinite, so what are we to do?
    Chris Mayer

  • Thanks Chris

    But I don’t think that we have an overpopulation problem. In this I stand with many leading international demographers. See the articles in my “Population Issues” section for more details.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill said: “Right now these men mainly propagate their ugly belief systems in the public arena. Pray that they do not take control of the political processes, or we may see their Brave New World forced on us all a lot sooner than expected.”

    Pray that they do not take control of the political process? Slowly but surely they already are, in their nefariously anti-democratic manner.

    Isn’t the deliberately innocous-sounding Charter of Human Rights — to be passed into law in Victoria this year, if not already law — precisely a stealthy means by which humanists are siphoning political power by illegitimate means? If the masses are perceived by such people not to be competant enough to govern themselves, merely being “[f]aceless masses who do not count for beans in a goo-to-you evolutionary world”, then these wannabe gods will govern for them whether they like it or not! Perish the thought that such demi-gods as themselves should be held accountable to the soiled masses every few years as are our politicans! No, the law-making powers of society ought to be reposed in the judicial branch of government, in their own hands, aloof from and pristinely unaccountable to the despicable hoi polloi, and thus free to direct the course of human evolution in the direction of their whims.

    Pray that they don’t control of the political process? Unfortunately — in spite of the valiant efforts of people like yourself — they are making great headway in places like Victoria, having achieved in the dark of night a tremendous coup against democracy with nary a Victorian having been aware of it!

    Francis Gamba, Melbourne

  • Sigh!

    I keep hearing echos of Isaac Asimov’s Robot series. I think I have mentioned them here before (if not, someone please correct me).

    Caves of Steel probably gives most of the clues – a highly regimented life based on a strictly striated class structure including permission to have either one or two children, collective facilities for eating, personal toiletry, masses of people on Earth but limited to a total of less than 8 billion (at least his figure was a little higher than Reid’s).

    Funny, though – for such a scientifically knowledgeable, strident evolutionist, he couldn’t avoid the God Delusion himself – it shows up everywhere: in R. Daneel Olivaw, his hero of both Robots and Empire/Foundation, and in his short stories, too.

    And he couldn’t help himself – the fundamentals of right and wrong still manage to derive from a Biblical source. A bit like standing up in God’s lap to slap Him in the face !

    John Angelico

  • Thanks Frank
    Yes I knew as I penned that sentence that a case could be made that many in fact are seeing their radical agendas being realised through the political process, the judiciary, and so on.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • So come on Chris Mayer, what are your solutions to the problems Hitler poses? Now don’t jump down my throat and assume I am supporting this guy’s ideas. But seriously, what is the solution to the huge unemployment, rioting, usurious war reparations and trains not running on time?
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Bill,

    The interesting thing about a naturalistic, humanistic worldview like Dr. Reid’s is that he seems to want to exterminate humanity that does not comply with his relativistic values. Take the quote you gave:

    >>“The population of the world must be very quickly reduced to 5 billion (that is, if 6 billions equals 120% of capacity, then 5 billions equals 100%). And then, as the average level of affluence rises, fairly quickly reduced further to, say, 2 to 3 billion.”

    Spencer Gear

  • Have you seen the “church of euthanasia” website? I’m not sure what to make of it, but I think some people take it seriously.
    Amanda Fairweather

  • The piece was certainly provocative, but I think it is inappropriate to demonise the writer in using terms like “extermination” which appear nowhere in the original transcript. Population reduction can be achieved by a reduction in fertility rate, which in turn can be driven by government measures, e.g. progressive reduction in middle class welfare support, and by better contraceptive education in poverty-stricken countries.

    Bill quotes:
    ” … the fleet of fossil-fuel-burning motor vehicles “will have to be reduced to no more than about 10% of the present number.” Will this be voluntary, or at the barrow of a gun? And will Reid be the first to give up his car?”

    Note it says “fossil-fuel-burning”. Now I would have thought that statement would be just common sense. We are rapidly approaching the day when there will be no more oil, which will have consequences far beyond just losing our precious cars, e.g. it will drastically affect agricultural production and food transport. Yet we continue to acquire big gas-guzzling 4WDs, V8s and V6s as if there was no tomorrow. Car manufacturers are slowly beginning to wake up, and we are seeing the gradual introduction of hybrid, electric and more fuel efficient vehicles. Obviously electric vehicles ultimately consume fossil fuels too, and eventually we’re going to have to wean ourselves off coal because of climate impact.

    Bill further quotes:
    “And private property rights will be severely curtailed to prevent landowners from engaging in environmentally-damaging behaviours.”

    Why do you have a problem with that, Bill? We already have laws in Australia protecting the environment from further destruction, e.g. limiting destruction of forest areas. There’s a major problem occurring in Brazil with rapid clearing of the Amazon rain forests, one of the world’s major carbon sinks. In case you’re not aware, forests remove CO2 and create the oxygen we breathe.

    As to what constitutes a sustainable population, Reid is not alone in his concerns. There is a substantial body of evidence that the world is already over-populated. Now I’m no authority on this issue, and neither are you Bill, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to just dismiss concerns about population sustainability out of hand. We are already seeing early signs of the problem in Australia, with water supply, dryland salinity and river system degradation which could one day mean Australia is no longer self-sufficient in food production.

    Frankly, i would be quite cautious about bringing a child into the world at the present time. I think the next 100 years are going to be a very difficult time for the human race if we continue to act in denial of environmental and sustainability issues.

    Bronwyn Kingsley

  • Thank you Bronwyn for your very revealing comment. You have made my point so well about the heartless ideology of coercive secularists. Just like Robyn Williams, you refuse to say one critical thing about Reid, or find any fault at all in his outrageous claims. All you can come up with is “provocative”.

    This speaks volumes about where the amoral coercive utopians are coming from. I find it mind-boggling that the secularist version of humanism can be so callous toward humans. So much for the humanitarianism of secular humanism. I am glad that the likes of Reid, Williams and Kingsley are not running this country. Scary thought indeed.

    Moreover, as Reid admits, voluntary population reduction simply won’t happen. So what coercive means would you employ? And why “progressive reduction in middle class welfare support” Why not include the poor? Why not just let them starve to death?

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Similarly, some radical environmentalists opposed DDT because it destroyed the vectors of malaria that was so beneficial in keeping the human population down.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Bill,
    You’ve completely ignored the central question about over-population and the limits that earth’s biosphere can sustain.

    For the record I don’t agree that we need the kind of extreme reductions that Reid proposes, but he still has a point.

    What is callous and heartless about reducing our population and the rampant consumerism that is rapidly depleting the planet’s finite resources? Isn’t it more callous and heartless to bring children into the world knowing that they will face a tough and uncertain future?

    I don’t agree that population reduction can’t be achieved voluntarily. Fertility rates have already fallen in many parts of the world, including Australia. If people were aware of the implications of population growth they would change their behaviour. But that means we need more informed debate about the issue, not denial.

    As to “middle class welfare”, I was using the term that is commonly applied to the vast welfare system we have in Australia that provides financial incentives to people to have more children. I certainly don’t support welfare for the rich, and I don’t support reducing welfare for the genuinely poor. Nothwithstanding your assertions, humanists care about people.

    I note that you edited out the links I provided to information about over-population. I have to wonder why you would do that?

    Bronwyn Kingsley

  • Thanks Bronwyn

    No I haven’t. As I told another blogger on this site, I agree with leading demographers who argue that we do not have an overpopulation problem. See the articles in my ‘Population Issues’ section for my reasoning.

    As to: “humanists care about people”, I’d rather not have Reid’s care, thanks very much. It’s far too costly.

    As to links, I remind you of my blogging rules: while comments are welcome, if you want to pontificate and push your own agenda, use your own website.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Although Bronwyn, unlike Reid, prefers voluntary population controls, I wonder where she stands on China’s coercive one-child policy lauded by Ehrlich et al.

    As for welfare, who does she think will pay for it in the future if we lower our birthrate? The ratio of workers to beneficiaries has steadily decreased over the past few decades. However, Reid doesn’t have a problem — he’d just cull the elderly (or maybe others that the Nazis called “useless eaters”).

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Bronwyn, I do not believe that we have a population problem. The earth can handle a much larger population providing the productivity of the land is managed more efficiently and wisely.

    I am all for the proper care of the world we live in. That includes planting more trees, and using ‘greener’ fuels, and managing salinity etc (Note 1: I do not subscribe to global warming alarmists. Note 2: I have been involved in agriculture and horticulture). This comes from a desire to follow God’s command in Genesis to subdue the earth and take dominion over it. This practically means stewardship. Humanity not only have authority over the rest of Creation, but also have a responsibility to care for it. Therefore, the problem that arises out of a humanistic point of view is when the ‘rights’ of the rest of creation are stressed over human rights, and the ‘rights’ of humanity in general are stressed over individual rights. This is precisely the problem Reid has.

    The Scriptural worldview places the responsibility of the management of the earth’s resources into the hands of humans, but the responsibility for the management of ‘human resources’ (in terms of population control and the like) lies with God and God alone. The reason for this is because humans are created in the image of God (Gen. 9). Humanist solutions to population problems include euthanasia, abortion, involuntary and abortive means of contraception, and selective breeding through IVF etc. All these things are contrary to the sanctity of life.

    Whether you like it or not, negative population growth (NPG) comes with its own set of problems. Aging populations, a product of NPG, place undue weight on the productive portion of the population. Of coarse, the humanist solution is euthanasia, because these people have done their bit for humanity, now it is the time for them to die! How disrespectful and dishonourable to these people!

    Really, if the sanctity of life is not upheld, then we may as well all die. Maybe that would fix all the problems we have on planet earth. If we really do not have an eternal purpose, then this is the logical conclusion. As I have said before, the only true value that evolutionary and humanistic worldviews have is survival of the fittest.

    As Christians, we know that God is in control, and one day He will bring this current earth and all its problems to an end and create a new heaven and earth. So overpopulation need not be a problem for the Christian, only fearing God and keeping His commands.

    David Clay

  • Dear Bill and Fellow Bloggers: “Who are the truly good (=godly) people’ in Australia today? And who by elimination then are the ‘misotheists’?”

    The meanings of this term are being thrown around ‘disapprovingly’ from all sides, but I hope not ‘contemptuously’.

    There is Bill Muehlenberg, John Reid, and also Sheik Hilaly (in the paper today), and all the people represented by their worldviews.

    We must all palpably feel like ‘the proverbial meat in the sandwich’ … thrice killed: at the abbatoir, cooked to a ‘tender’ cut, and eaten by ‘who knows who’!

    But despite the solutions that require ‘live people to die’, I still need go no further than a reading of John’s Gospel to find convincing evidence from one who brings ‘life out of death’.

    And the bonus from this worldview, to which Bill refers, is that WE CAN ALL LIVE to tell the story.

    Bernard Tibbs, Wollongong NSW

  • Bronwyn said:
    “We are rapidly approaching the day when there will be no more oil, which will have consequences far beyond just losing our precious cars, e.g. it will drastically affect agricultural production and food transport. Yet we continue to acquire big gas-guzzling 4WDs, V8s and V6s as if there was no tomorrow.”

    Oil reserves (lowest estimates): 1082 gigabarrels
    [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves and could have used other sources]
    Current Oil use: 28 billion barrels per annum
    [http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/oil.html]

    This means 386 years worth of economically recoverable reserves.

    Not included are the Canadian tar/oil sands of Alberta [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athabasca_Oil_Sands] with 174 billion barrels economically recoverable at current prices, representing 10% of the total oil in the fields, nor the Orinoco tar sands [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orinoco_tar_sands] at about half the size of Alberta.

    The key to greater quantities of recoverable oil, better fuel efficiencies and encouragement of alternative energy sources is higher prices for oil to reflect its scarcity value and higher demand.

    Whilst we have people bleating to governments to protect them from high fuel prices, and governments giving in to the pressure, we will never face the economic reality that the rising prices are trying to signal, and we will never invest in technology to do something about it.

    Gas-guzzling vehicles have fallen out of favour, and fuel-efficient vehicles have been sought in direct connection with the rise in pump prices. Have you noticed that Ford and GMH, the producers of bigger vehicles, are in financial difficulties, but the Japanese and Europeans producing smaller fuel efficient and hybrid cars are doing well?

    And you may notice that the price signals have not required any government compulsion? Reid’s centralist approach is simply not necessary.
    John Angelico

  • John,

    You’ve made an arithmetic error. Using your figures, there are 38.6 years left, not 386.

    The second site you quoted says:
    “Using these data (estimated reserves: 800 billions of barrels, world consumption: 76 millions per day), it looks like planet Earth has have oil for about 10,000 days, i.e. about 27 years. Assuming that consumption does not increase… If consumption increases an average 5% a year, then we have oil for about 15 years.”

    I don’t think it’s safe to assume that consumption won’t increase. As China and India’s economies develop, we can expect greater demand from those countries.

    There are varying estimates for when Peak Oil production will occur. Some sources say we’ve reached it already, but there seems to be a consenus for 2010. As supply falls, price will increase, so for the ordinary user we will effectively run out of oil sooner.

    Sales of gas-guzzling vehicles have fallen a little, but they’re still high. I suspect that governments will do nothing until it is too late, just as they have with water infrastructure. I think they should be taxing big private vehicles far more heavily and encouraging development of other forms of transport.

    We might argue over exact timing, but the crisis will hit within our children’s lifetime, if not ours. It will affect every facet of our existence, not just our love affair with cars.

    Bronwyn Kingsley, Brisbane.

  • So Bronwyn substitutes an intelligent faith in Christ with a blind faith in big government. Never mind that government has been the problem not the solution. Much of Brisbane’s water crisis is due to councils of yesteryear forbidding rainwater tanks and greywater use on gardens.

    As for oil, Bronwyn makes the same mistake as the discredited doomsayer Paul Ehrlich: the shortage of oil has much less to do with how much stuff there is, but whether it is economically viable to extract it.

    President Reagan realised this, and get rid of interminable petrol queues and closed stations with one stroke of the pen: get rid of price controls. Of course, there was much bellyaching from the likes of Harvard cheat and girl-drowner Teddy Kennedy about how oil would become too expensive, and that rationing was here to stay. But Reagan’s actions made it became economically viable to re-open capped oil wells and pursue new technology. The extra supply soon resulted in prices lower in real terms than they had been with price caps.

    The same would happen if price controls were removed from water.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Johnathan,
    While I don’t disagree with you that price should reflect scarcity, water is necessary for life. Are you suggesting that only the rich should live as the dams get lower? That sounds worse than John Reid’s ideas.

    As for oil, I’m not aware there are any price controls, at least at the retail petrol level. Oil companies seem to charge whatever they can get away with, and that certainly seems to apply at the production end, where output is manipulated to drive oil prices.

    But irrespective of whether or not governments have any say in it, oil supply is finite, price will increase over time, and eventually there will be none left, either in practical or real terms.

    Is anyone here really trying to argue against that? Remember, this thread started because I queried Bill’s objection to giving up his car.

    Bronwyn Kingsley, Brisbane.

  • Food is necessary for life as well, so perhaps by Bronwyn’s socialistic reasoning, that should be rationed as well? But the problem with rationing, just as Teddy Kennedy proposed with petrol, is that it restricts only demand, while not doing a thing to increase supply. But higher prices would provide an incentive for entrepreneurs to provide water, as well as an incentive to consume less.

    Bronwyn, it seems, hates unequal distribution of wealth so much that she would rather have equal distribution of poverty.

    BTW, don’t blame big oil for high prices; blame big government for creaming off far more in taxes than they make in profit.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Jonathan,
    Would you kindly desist from ascribing views to me than I have never expressed. Your argumentative style relies almost solely on straw men and ad hominem attacks.

    It’s not socialism to suggest that government has a role in providing infrastructure. It’s one of the few reasons that we need government, because pure market incentives rarely work with public infrastructure.

    Your economics on the other hand seems to have much in common with the philosophy of Rousas Rushdoony and Gary North. Is that mere coincidence or are you a Reconstructionist?

    Bronwyn Kingsley, Brisbane.

  • Biblical Christians have a small government view whilst others including most humanists believe in big government. The primary Biblical mandate for civil government is to restrain evil (i.e. law and order). One does not have to subscribe to reconstructionism to agree with Rushdoony’s views on the proper role of civil government.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria

  • Ewan,
    You claim:
    “Biblical Christians have a small government view whilst others including most humanists believe in big government.”

    Do you have any evidence for this assertion?

    Social engineering, as increasingly advocated by social conservatives, is surely a glaring example of “big government”, and the uncomfortable link between fundamentalist religion and the far Right of politics is a fairly recent development. Equally I can think of no good reason why humanists should be drawn to any particular side of politics.

    Tim Costello made an interesting comment recently (SMH, 6th Jan):
    “It is striking that the textbook for Christian faith, the Bible, has some 3000 verses urging us to care for the poor and marginalised, and only a handful of verses on two of the topics that the religious right trumpets as its main values criteria: homosexuality and the family.”

    Christ himself showed great concern for the poor, and didn’t have much good to say about the capitalists of his day. And he never said a single word about homosexuality. Wouldn’t that make him a liberal?

    Bronwyn Kingsley, Brisbane.

  • Bronwyn

    Your policies of government redistribution and coercion are straight from the socialist handbook. And no, I am not a reconstructionist, but the economic views of the authors you cite are very similar to those of economists such as Mises, Hayek, Friedman and Sowell. It is no accident also that government intervention in the economy usually inversely correlates with both political freedom and prosperity.

    As for infrastructure, I’ve already pointed out that government is the problem here as well. Forbidding rainwater tanks and greywater recycling, and imposing price caps on water have largely contributed to the problems we have today in our state.

    Oh, I forgot to mention banning the highly efficient drip-watering system, because that would discriminate against those who can’t afford it. This is a classic example of socialists preferring equality of poverty to inequality of wealth.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Jonathan,
    I’ve never considered myself a socialist, and I don’t think many people apart from you would twist my brief remarks to label me a socialist. If you think I am a socialist, you would have to consider the current Australian federal government socialist, because of the raft of incentives, middle class and corporate welfare, subsidies, tax rebates and deductions etc. that this government uses to change behaviour. I understand that Centrelink has 20 million “clients” on its database, almost more than the total population. Something cleary wrong there.

    And if you agree, I’m wondering how far to the right a government would have to lean to avoid the socialist tag. I doubt there is any government on the planet that would lie outside your definition.

    But I do agree with you in your comments about water management, in Qld and elsewhere in Australia.

    Bronwyn Kingsley, Brisbane

  • Tim Costello is a liberal himself who believes the Bible only when it can be twisted to his socialist-like agenda. However, not one of the allegedly 3000 verses about the poor say anything about forced redistribution of wealth by an impersonal state bureaucracy.

    Jesus most definitely spoke against gay marriage when he stated that marriage was one man and one woman, designed that way “from the beginning of creation” (Mark 10:6 ff.). Jesus also condemned sexual immorality, which from a Jew speaking to Jews must logically have included homosexual acts (Mt. 15:19). See also Response to ‘gay marriage’ article objections.

    It is anachronistic for Bronwyn to claim that Jesus spoke against “the capitalists of his day”, since there was no capitalism per se in such a honor-shame/group oriented culture. However, he did support the principle of the tithe, which was a flat tax (God prospers you 10 times as must, you pay 10x as much, not 50 times as per “progressive” taxation — an inspiration for President Reagan’s policies). Jesus also supported the right of an employer to make individual employment contracts (Mt. 20).

    In any case, despite Bronwyn’s leftist nonsense that only liberals believe in compassion, conservative Christians still give far more support to charities than other people, as noted by a recent book, Who Really Cares, by Prof. Arthur Brooks. Strangely enough, Brooks himself had been raised in a socially liberal environment and was so surprised by the outcome that he had to recheck his data before he would accept it. But the data showed;

    Religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly nonreligious charities. Religious people give more blood; religious people give more to homeless people on the street.

    One reviewer summarized:

    The further to the left you are — particularly to the secular left — the less likely you are to donate your time or money to charity. Imagine two demographically identical people, except that Joe goes to church regularly and rejects the idea that the government should redistribute wealth to lessen inequality, while Sam never goes to church and favors state-driven income redistribution. Brooks says the data indicate that not only is Joe Churchgoer nearly twice as likely as Sam Secularist to give money to charities in a given year, he will also give 100 times more money per year to charities (and 50 times more to non-religious ones).

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Bill
    Theoretically if we did have a problem with over population….how would you suggest we deal with that issue. im interested as i believe that it may not be a problem currently but im sure as time passes and worlds populations continue to grow as they have done then we will need a viable solution…its worth asking the questions now and trying to find an answer rather than realising too late and not having enough time to do anything.
    Kind regards, Andrew Hudson

  • Thanks Andrew

    But as I have argued elsewhere, the only population problem we face is a population implosion, not explosion. World population levels will plateau by mid century and then decline, if current trends continue. So that is the population scare that we must be mobilising for. See the articles contained in the “Population Issues” section.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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