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Mindless Philanthropy At The Grass Roots Level

It has become a tradition in my community, the island of Dr. David Hypocrite, to hold an annual fundraiser for the Philippines. On the face of it, the income raised by these events to help develop pre-school programs in seven villages in Luzon sounds like an unmitigated good. After all, what could be wrong about helping over a 1,100 children and their families? Actually, a lot. But tell that to people here, who regard attendance at this bazaar almost like a mark of civic responsibility and a gesture of community solidarity.

For me, unconditional aid of any kind to nations like the Philippines is an act of criminal irresponsibility and ignorance. The same kind of irresponsibility and ignorance which permits self-righteous environmentalists to birth or sire two or more carbon footprints, but mount the moral high-horse because they recycle their garbage or save paper. Rage compelled me to write the attached diatribe. Distributing it would be what Jack Alpert calls "Pissing in your own soup." I have to live here among the wolves, so the prudent course would be to follow Lenin’s advice that "You then must howl like a wolf." Handing it out to those in attendance would be equivalent to wearing a sandwich board that says "Legalize Pedophilia".

Then again, it is not like I could hurt my reputation. I am irreparably isolated--politically and socially. Like a pig farmer in Saudi Arabia. It is nature's paradise, but Bertoldt Brecht's hell. In a small communities like this, where one ruling clique controls the politics and the media, to get along, one must "go along". And as you know, that just isn't my style. You might as well tell a fish to start walking.

Does invective and insult achieve anything? Certainly. It makes me feel good--- and Sierrans should relate to that because all of their activities seem to be about feeling good about yourself rather than changing anything. As Kirkpatrick Sale remarked, “The whole individualist what-you-can-do-to-save-the-earth guilt trip is a myth. We, as individuals, are not creating the crises, and we can’t solve them.” The role of the activist is not to "feel good", nor is it, as Derrick Jensen said, " ... to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take down those systems." But of course, soft green environmentalists are not about challenging the growth economy or stopping growth, but managing it. Voila---"smart growth". It's smart to accept growth because they that way corporate donors like Encana natural gas, RBC and the TD Bank will keep sending donations to their beloved NGOs. (How can greens feel good about that?).

Mindless philanthropy is now, apparently, a national trait. Prime Minister Harper reflected that Canadian character flaw recently when he asked Canadians to "open their hearts and their wallets to Pakistan." Another country on the road of reckless fecundity which, if it doesn't get its demographic act together, is set to double its population in a generation, thus wiping out any benefits that flow from foreign aid. Canada is on the sucker list of Haiti, Afghanistan, central Africa or any basket case that refuses to send their bishops and mullahs packing so that people can get the family planning they need. But then, why should they? They will get our assistance anyway.

Tim Murray

September 16, 2010

So much for the efforts of soft-headed volunteers in the Quadra Philippine Connection
A gauntlet thrown at the community

You have possibly heard of the “Labour of Sisyphus”, the ancient Greek fable about futility. Poor Sisyphus struggled to role a boulder up a hill, only to see roll all the way back down to the bottom, where he would have to struggle to roll it all the way back up, to see it roll down to the bottom once more. But who knows, may be he was a New-Age Buddhist Quadra fool volunteering for the annual fundraiser for the Philippines. One thing about these gentle cretins of good intentions, they can b e counted on not to do any research for themselves. “In the Sierra Club and Delai Lama We Trust” might be the inscription on any coins if they were minted here. What does aid of any kind do for a country that will not control its own numbers? What has it done for Haiti? For Afghanistan? For Africa?

Sir Bob Geldoff was, for all intents and purposes, the father of forty million Ethiopians. When Ethiopian was a starving nation of 40 million people in 1985, Geldoff organized his “Band Aid “ concert to recruit global sympathy and philanthropy to rescue that nation’s children. Result , those children grew up to have sire or birth many times their number, so Ethiopia’s population doubled in 25 years and now 6.2 million people are starving. As Dr. Russell Hopfenberg has demonstrated, the more food that is made available, the more the population will grow up to meet that supply. Human beings are just like any other species in that regard. But what makes us different is that we have the ability to limit our numbers with birth control programs. Over a generation, the results can be dramatic. 25 years ago Thailand was in the same pathetic basket case as the Philippines. But they decided to embark on family planning, while the Philippines did not. The result is predictable. Thailand has been able to feed its population, while the Philippines still languishes in misery. Like Sisyphus, it labours to double its housing, its schools, its medical clinics and food supply every generation just to stay in the same spot.

“The Philippine population in the early 1990s continued to grow at a rapid, although somewhat reduced rate from that which had prevailed in the preceding decades. In 1990 the Philippine population was more than 66 million, up from 48 million in 1980. This figure represents an annual growth rate of 2.5 percent, down from 2.6 percent in 1980 and from more than 3 percent in the 1960s. Even at the lower growth rate, the Philippine population will increase to an estimated 77 million by the year 2000 and will double every twenty-nine years into the next century. Moreover, in 1990 the population was still a youthful one, with 57 percent under the age of twenty. The birth rate in early 1991 was 29 per 1,000, and the death rate was 7 per 1,000. The infant mortality rate was 48 deaths per 1,000 live births. Population density increased from 160 per square kilometer in 1980 to 220 in 1990. The rapid population growth and the size of the younger population has required the Philippines to double the amount of housing, schools, and health facilities every twenty-nine years just to maintain a constant level.”

What makes this possible? In a nutshell, unconditional foreign aid, that is, aid not made conditional on birth control. Why don’t countries like this, governed as they are by religious ignorance, make family planning accessible to women? Apart from the fact that partriarchal political, religious and domestic authority denies so many women of that choice? Simply put, because they have no incentive to do so. Credulous dupes and well-meaning sadists in private agencies work to keep the gravy train coming. And governments like Canada dole out money unconditionally. In Haiti, for example, Harper handed out $300 million in aid in 2008, to much fanfare in Port-au-Prince, and to the acclaim of CBC Pravda. But not a single dollar went to condoms or birth control pills. The result is runaway population growth and starvation. In January 2007 a committee of the Canadian Senate concluded that 40 years of development aid totalling $575 billion dollars had only made Africans more miserable and wretched at a higher population level. A level that has resulted in more clearcut forests and loss of wildlife habitat, more environmental degradation. The life support system of the human population.

The aid agencies of countries like Canada are not supplicants. We have bargaining power and leverage. We have the money and too many countries need it. We can set the terms. If African dictators or mullahs and priests won’t accept our terms, there are many other countries like Madagascar who will, and use it to limit families and control growth. We can either focus on the endless enterprise of saving lives, or we can end the cycle of poverty by focusing on preventing lives from being born. Those who protract misery by their mindless philanthropy and volunteer fund-raising efforts are practitioners of cruelty wrapped in the guise of sainthood. As Garrett Hardin said, “There is nothing more dangerous than a compassionate shallow thinking person.”

Helping people is not about feeling good about yourself, it is about achieving positive long-term results for them. What would you prefer if you were laying injured in a roadside accident---to be assisted by a clumsy, incompetent do-gooder who with his good intentions paralyzed you for life by moving you when he shouldn ‘t have been? Or to be attended to by a cold hearted bastard who employed his first aid training to treat you proficiently? The Bill Gates, Stephen Lewises, Bob Geldoffs and Mother Theresas are the clumsy do-gooders. The birth control promoters are the people who will actually improve a people’s long term quality of life. Use your brain, not your Quadra group-think herd instinct. Better to do nothing than do to harm. The Philippines needs to be starved to their senses, not be given what amounts to perpetual birth incentives. Would you give money to a drunken panhandler? Would you continue to give lunch money to your teenager if you knew he was spending it on drugs? If you were a bank manager would you make loans without setting down conditions? Then why would you help those who will not agree to help themselves?

Try thinking for yourself for a change. And direct your money and your time to effective foreign aid through family planning initiatives.

Tim Murray


Poverty can also be caused by government/leadership power corruption, not just overpopulation. How many people give to NGOs for a "feel good" factor, or for magnanimous Christian charity, but without realizing that their efforts are misguided and patronising? There is a place certainly for medical assistance for those suffering from illness, trauma, birth defects, eyesight loss, deformities and childbirth injuries, but giving aid for ongoing food and development relief just prolongs the pain. There has to be a place for compassion sometimes. However, corrupt leaders can then continue their corruption by relying on foreign aid instead of distributing wealth. Sometimes aid has not gone to the needy because the goods have been sold on the black markets!
Globalisation of aid and the options of asylum or immigration overseas for relief of overpopulation has caused a complacency about birth control. The planet is in a mess, and there is no other species as prolific, as successful, and as damaging to their habitats than humans! Ecologically, we are a human plague, and without restraints, our increasing numbers will overwhelm any intrinsic human worth.