" Every woman, should be able to have the number of children they wish for. In most places this is way less than the actual number they have. For me this is a moral right. " S. Gardiner
This is to inform feminists that I consider it my sovereign human right not only to drive a car, but to drive it is as fast as I want to, and into areas which they arrogantly claim should be car-free zones. I should also have the right to take on as many passengers as I want to, even if my car is designed to carry just a few. I also consider it my right to fish wherever and whenever I want to, and to catch as many fish as I see fit. As hunter gatherers we fished without restriction for hundreds of millennia, and therefore this too must be considered a fundamental human right. Conservative Mormon commentator Glen Beck recently said the rights stipulated in America's foundational documents were inalienable because they were God-given. Since our Creator gave us those rights, no human being or elected body of human beings can take them away. I was born free, and I will not be chained by sustainability laws that would make me behave responsibly.
Perhaps many feminists believe, that in the interests of some totalitarian utopia, that these freedoms should be sacrificed for the collective good. But coercion must be rejected on practical, as well as ethical grounds. The answer is that if men like me are given the opportunity to be educated, career-oriented and prosperous, we will throw off the shackles of self-centeredness and freely decide in our own good time (50-100 years perhaps), to voluntarily drive slowly and respectfully, take on just one or two passengers and be content with catching one or two fish in the designated season. We know that strategy worked with cigarette smoking. After decades of health warnings, smokers out of their own free will suddenly decided that it was inconsiderate to blow smoke into other people's faces in pubs, restaurants, planes and theatres. Coercion was not necessary. Moreover, studies showed that those smokers who were highly educated, independent and prosperous were the very first ones to quit killing the rest of us with secondary smoke. Sure it took three decades to work itself out, but what was the death of millions from lung cancer compared to the alternative of having coercive laws imposed on all of us?
It may indeed take 50 years for women across the world to become independent, educated, urban, rich, secure and free of patriarchal religious programming. Eventually, though, they will choose to give birth to only one child for each seven families --- or whatever it takes to drive us down to 100 million global consumers or less---a number that would still exceed carrying capacity by a factor of ten. But so what? The biosphere can wait. We are only losing 100 species a day from human overpopulation---we still have 10 million species in the bank. So what's the rush? Peak oil? Peak water? Peak everything? Don't worry, human ingenuity will solve it. Meanwhile, of course, I must be free, as a man, not to use a prophylactic. For me this too is a moral right. Not so? There you go again, trying to interfere with my rights.
OK, say I am wrong. Say that by insisting on my human rights that our own species will become extinct. So what? Life would not be worth living without the freedom to do as we please. Give me liberty, or give me extinction. Better dead than red, as they used to say in the 50s. It's a slogan I still live by.
If you don't like my attitude, take it up with God. He's the guy who gave me my rights, remember.
Seriously: A question. If the Chinese OCPF law is coercive, what was Mao's policy of encouraging women to have 5 or 6 children? Is it only laws which are coercive? Or can an envrionment of human overpopulation be even more coercive than coercive laws? An environment created by the sum total of individual haphazard decisions? Is it not possible that any regulatory environment fashioned by "coercive" laws is less coercive than the laissez-faire environment that forced the creation of those regulations? Are not laws of any kind "coercive"? Do do not laws imply regulation of people by law-enforcers who have the power to punish transgressors? Why are some behaviours deemed as inalienable rights while others are deemed provisional privileges? Does not changing context dictate changing standards?
I am a consequentialist. I believe that if an action or behaviour is intrinsically "right" or "wrong", "good" or "bad", then surely its consequences must be assigned those same attributes. And if that is the case, then the consequences of an action or a behaviour which is thought be a 'right' should be weighed against the loss of rights that it may involve. It is really just a math problem. Only the calculus of what is good for the greatest number must factor in all those lives yet to come which may be foreclosed by a given behaviour (eg. the "right" of women or their husbands to have as many children as they choose). We need to design a population policy that takes into account not the wishes of individual people for a given family size, but the number of kids which will not cause our extinction. The laundry list of countries or states which have lowered their birth rates to "replacement" levels from Costa Rica to Iran to Kerala through voluntary measures does not impress me, because replacing our currently unsustainable population is not an option. Even shrinking it to 2 billion is not enough. We need to go much, much lower, much more quickly than that. So far, Jack Alpert's calculations of a sustainable target http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTWduFB_RX0 ( a global population of less than 100 million) are the most realistic. But that damns Jack with faint praise. A good case can be made for 2-3 million. No, I am not out of my mind: 2-3 million. But that is another discussion.