Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pope;be generous with the poor

Pope Benedict XVI today told a special summit of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization that “opulence and waste are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greater proportions.”“Sufficient food is produced on a global scale to satisfy both current demands and those in the foreseeable future,” the pope said. What’s missing, the pope said, is instead “a network of economic institutions capable of guaranteeing regular access to sufficient food and water.”

In particular, Benedict insisted “there is no cause-and-effect relationship between population growth and hunger” – an indirect reply to critics of the church’s ban on contraception, which is sometimes blamed for impeding efforts to limit population growth.
The pontiff asserted that “food and access to water” [are] “universal rights of all human beings, without distinction or discrimination.” Those rights, the pope argued, take on meaning as part of a network of rights “beginning with the primary one, the right to life.”

Read John Allen Jr's entire article in the National Catholic Reporter.
How fitting that on the feast day of St Elizabeth of Hungary, whose charity to the poor led her in-laws to throw her and her children out of the castle upon the death of the king, we should be discussing the poor. St Elizabeth lived among the poor she had faithfully seved until she was restored to the castle, and gave most of her goods to the poor. She remained humble, refusing to wear her crown in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and prostrating herself to Our Lord's Eucharistic Presence.
Many of the commenters on the above article criticized the Vatican and US bishops for their lifestyles instead of soul searching on their own extravagant lifestyles. There is hardly a soul in North America and Europe who couldn't cut back somewhere on their budget to give to the poor, myself included. That is where true change begins, poverty will never be ended by a government program. They just give us an excuse not to sacrifice, and say we've done our part.
But one import point to note from the article; the Holy Father specifically stated that world hunger cannot be blamed on population growth, but a failure to deliver the world's abundant food. I would add that sometimes its' political structures which block food from reaching the poor. Remember the 28 million Chinese peasants who starved in 1977 during Mao's Cultural Revolution? Remember when the great "We are the World" effort to feed the starving in Ethiopia led to the food rotting on the docks as hostile government forces blockaded efforts at delivery to the needy?

The overpopulation movement is now buoyed by support financial and moral from the Obama Administration, Steven W. Mosher of the Population Research Institue, addresses this in his weekly briefing below:
The Overpopulation Movement Struggles to Stay Relevant
by Colin Mason

Like aging sixties radicals seeking to relive their glory days, the fear mongers at the Optimum Population Trust (OPT) are still trying to scare us with the specter of overpopulation. The trouble is, the world has moved on, even if they haven't. The latest move by the British group—a major move to push contraception as the solution to global warming—has received a less than warm welcome from the global community.

This couldn't have been what OPT expected when it tried to capitalize on the obsession of leftist politicians with global warming. But their press release, put out in September of this year, struck many as more than a little self-serving. Perhaps it was that it hailed contraception as, of all things, “the latest in green technology.” Or perhaps it was the OPT funded the very study by the London School of Economics that it later hyped in its press release. Then there was the study itself, which made the rather strange claim that, “considered purely as a method of reducing future CO2 emissions, family planning is more cost-effective than leading low-carbon technologies.”

The report concluded by claiming that “the population issue must now be added into the negotiations for the Copenhagen climate change summit in December.” Although the authors stopped short of asserting, as Al Gore did, that babies cause global warming, they came close. Readers are left with the impression that fewer breathing humans equal a greener, healthier planet. We've never heard that one before.
A visit to OPT's prehistoric web site is like a trip back in time. “By reversing population growth,” OPT says, “we'd be taking another green step towards environmental survival for all.” There is no mention that Europe is dying.

The site even has a “Stop At Two” pledge, where environmental devotees can make a promise to reverse population growth. One wonders whether any of OPT's aging membership are still young enough to reproduce.

The intriguing thing about OPT's most recent pitch for mass population control—disguised as a scientific study—is the reaction it garnered among the public. One might expect at least some denizens of the Left to enthusiastically second its program, or at least nod approvingly.

Instead, the reaction was muted and, well, uncomfortable.
Austen Ivereigh of America Magazine, for instance, encountered OPT at London's “Battle of Ideas” festival in early November. Ivereigh reminds us that “doom-mongers always ignore the elasticity of economic productivity,” and contends that “the ecological crisis will be solved by meeting the needs of the poor, not chasing them off the planet.”
Even Ellie Lee, a self-proclaimed member of the pro-choice movement, takes issue with the “moral imperative” laid down by the OPT. “Campaign groups such as the Optimum Population Trust,” she writes on the Times Online, “seek to persuade us that we should plan, found and grow our families according to a moral imperative far more pressing than what we may feel is right for us.”
Lee is (rightly) miffed at the idea that OPT sees itself as a referee on who can have children, and when. “This is the attempt to manipulate the feelings and decisions of women all over the world,” she writes, “as they negotiate their way through the profoundly important process of making decisions about when to start a family.”
Brendan O'Neill, writing for Spiked!, thinks likewise. He describes an invitation-only OPT conference that he attended earlier this year, quipping that the affair was “hideously white.” There is something “unavoidably spooky,” he notes, about people who spend all their time “fretting about overpopulation.”

“You can bet,” he continues, “that when these well-to-do worriers about the human plague on the planet talk about burdensome people causing 'congestion, overcrowding and loss of green space' . . . they aren't talking about themselves, or their friends, or their neighbors, or their mistresses; they're talking about 'them'. You know 'them'! The breeders, the not-sufficiently-educated, the dwellers of teeming cities, not only in Africa and Asia but in Europe and America too.”

This apt observation shines a harsh light on the innate “creep factor” of organizations like OPT. Their members, when viewed en masse, look less like crusading saviors of the earth, and more like angry, bigoted, pampered ideologues. Their creed has not aged well.

Regrettably, gatherings of these types of crazy people are not limited to country clubs and richly-catered seminars. Population obsession is alive and well in men like John P. Holdren, President Obama's “Science Czar.” PRI has reported on Holdren's extremism in the past, and suffice it to say he has shown evidence of being yet another of these “well-to-do worriers.” Unfortunately, he now has the President's ear, as well.

However, culturally, population control is beginning to make the Western public uncomfortable. While many still believe the world to be overrun with humans, the proposed “solutions” to this so-called “problem” are even more unthinkable. Men like John P. Holdren, and the leaders at OPT, would do well to remember this.

As far as population control goes, in the words of a sixties song, the times, they are a-changin'.
Colin Mason is the Director of Media Production at Population Research Institute.

Yet, despite this recent unpopularity of "Stop at two" programs, the Obamacare program has language which suggests that this will be part of universal health care, along with abortion, and birth control.

UPDATE 11/20 The United Nations is on the same outdated page as Obama. They are pushing for limited population growth as part of a green initiative, according to Piero Tozzi at CFAM. Read the article here.

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