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Analysing Greens Mercurius Goldstein's message on population numbers

Mercurius Goldstein is a current candidate for the Legislative Council Preselection in New South Wales. Because overpopulation via mass planned invited economic immigration is a very big concern in Australia, and people wonder why the Greens downplay or even suppress this concern, we have published Goldstein's views on population numbers with an analysis by Jane O'Sullivan.


Mercurious Goldstein's views on population [1]

"Briefly I believe that:

1) Anyone who isn’t serious about equality, empowerment and education for women and girls globally, isn’t serious about population.
2) Anyone who isn’t serious about developing a carbon-neutral economy for NSW, Australia and the world, isn’t serious about population.
3) Anyone who isn’t serious about implementing sustainable agriculture such as the Greens NSW policy in this area, isn’t serious about population.
I think it’s obscene that we live in a world where lumps of coal, new cars, or live sheep, can more readily cross borders than human beings.

The liberty of people can be arbitrarily denied and they can be indefinitely detained and abused by governments, but we are told we must not restrict the flow of fossil fuels, live animals in misery ships, or any form of cross-border corporate power. That’s the “logic” of neoliberalism, and we need to dismantle it.

I hope the above can serve as a general response to the question."

Jane O'Sullivan's analysis

This is a very interesting response, in a population-denialist psychology sense.

Before looking at the substance of what he is saying, the tone is aggressively condescending. It reads as a put-down to the people raising the population issue.

It uses the same rhetorical device that the Greens' population policy by-line uses: appearing to introduce balance between population and other factors, while actually deflecting and belittling any attention to population.

(That policy by-line says, “Environmental impact is not determined by population numbers alone, but by the way that people live.” It does not say, "Environmental impact is not determined by consumption patterns alone, but also by our population numbers." The wording the Greens have chosen might be argued to be saying the same thing, but actually it is falsely accusing those who raise the population issue of claiming it is the sole determinant of environmental impact, at the same time it completely dismisses population by failing to include the word "also" in the final clause.)

Mercurius' three points use the same trick of reversing the points. It makes it look at first glance as if he is "serious about population" - indeed, more so than all those shallow, naive people who raise the population issue, because they, by implication, don't put sufficient weight on equality, carbon emissions or sustainable agriculture. His logic seems to be that if you are not way too busy pursuing equality, renewable energy or sustainable agriculture to even think about population, then you're not "serious about population".

Of course, he's not serious about population at all. He doesn't seem to have any awareness of the issues, other than that the people raising it often want to reduce immigration and therefore they are evil and dangerous in his view. He does seem to be serious about silencing the population issue within the Greens agenda. That's what this statement is designed to do. He hopes "the above can serve as a general response to the question." It doesn't "serve" as anything, it just deflects the issue.

To illustrate, would it be acceptable to anyone, if the Greens said "Anyone who isn't serious about developing a carbon-neutral economy isn't serious about equality"? Would people really accept that these issues are linked to the extent that we shouldn't actually do or say anything about equality until we have achieved a carbon-neutral economy? Of course not. We can and must do both at once. But apparently not when it comes to "population".

However, it would be entirely valid to say:

1) Anyone who isn’t serious about population, isn’t serious about equality, empowerment and education for women and girls globally. (The fact is, family planning programs, through both their direct impact on changing attitudes toward women and their role, and by reducing the burdens of childrearing and the crowding of schools through population growth, has enabled far greater empowerment and education for women than any non-family-planning agenda to help women in high-fertility countries.)

2) Anyone who isn’t serious about population, isn’t serious about developing a carbon-neutral economy for NSW, Australia and the world. (Do I need to explain this one?)

3) Anyone who isn’t serious about population, isn’t serious about implementing sustainable agriculture. (Regardless of whatever the Greens NSW policy in this area is, agriculture can't be indefinitely intensified to feed indefinitely more people - and its further intensification comes with greater environmental costs.)

Sheila [Newman] asks [2] "Are the Greens actually an open-borders party?" Certainly, there are quite a few Greens members who appear to support open borders. There are a great many more who wouldn't actually support open borders if they thought a lot of people would use them, but delude themselves into thinking that the refugee inflow will remain a mere trickle, and the economic migrants will continue to be only those we really need to fill skills shortages (as if they ever were), even if we let anyone come and stay for ever and access our welfare system if that's what they want to do. Such nonsensical beliefs are cultivated by ensuring that there can be no open and honest discussion about the implications of "open borders".

To emulate Mercurius,
Anyone who supports open borders isn't serious about democracy.
Anyone who supports open borders isn't serious about protecting the environment.
Anyone who supports open borders isn't serious about indigenous rights;
Anyone who supports open borders isn't serious about housing affordability and homelessness;
Anyone who supports open borders isn't serious about a welfare safety-net;
Anyone who supports open borders isn't serious about decent pay and secure jobs.

Perhaps these statements could be taken as "hypotheses" which the Greens should either disprove, or openly distance themselves from advocating open borders. That means, they have to actually come up with workable policies on immigration, not just heap scorn on the government's position.

NOTES

[1] The context of statement from Mercurius Goldstein is explained in this email: On Sat, Aug 6, 2016 at 1:52 PM, Geoff at Eco Bushwalks Sydney wrote: I received this email below the dotted line today from the candidate. It was as you can see addressed to the group via me. [...]"
.................................................................................................

[...]
As you may be aware, I am currently a candidate for the Legislative Council Preselection that is being run.

For the information of members of the group, could I please ask for this opportunity to share my views on population?
I was asked about population recently in another forum, and this is the answer I gave then, and it remains my view.
I have also cc:'d a couple of other GNSW members for whom this matter may be of interest.

Briefly I believe that:

1) Anyone who isn’t serious about equality, empowerment and education for women and girls globally, isn’t serious about population.
2) Anyone who isn’t serious about developing a carbon-neutral economy for NSW, Australia and the world, isn’t serious about population.
3) Anyone who isn’t serious about implementing sustainable agriculture such as the Greens NSW policy in this area, isn’t serious about population.
I think it’s obscene that we live in a world where lumps of coal, new cars, or live sheep, can more readily cross borders than human beings.

The liberty of people can be arbitrarily denied and they can be indefinitely detained and abused by governments, but we are told we must not restrict the flow of fossil fuels, live animals in misery ships, or any form of cross-border corporate power. That’s the “logic” of neoliberalism, and we need to dismantle it.
I hope the above can serve as a general response to the question.
---
With thanks for your consideration,
Yours sincerely,

MERCURIUS GOLDSTEIN
New England Greens (Glen Innes Region)
I live and work on Ngarrabul land and pay my respects to Elders past and present.

[2] Sheila Newman (Researcher and editor of candobetter.net in correspondence with Geoff Dowsett about Mercurius Goldstein's statement) wrote: "Is this guy a globalist? Does he agree with massive import export economies and with destroying the diversity of hunter-gatherers, herders, tribes and nations for this? What is his timeline for educating all women and how does he reconcile this with the problem of suburbs being built over our bushland and the rights of other species? Are the Greens actually an open-borders party?"

[a] Due to a garbled email, I erroneously gained the impression that Mercurius was the convenor of a population working party in the Greens, but he is not.