The “p” word

Jonathon Porritt, chairman of the British government’s Sustainable Development Commission, says having more than two children is irresponsible and contributes to global warming and other vicious assaults on our loving, nurturing and much-abused Mother Earth:

I think we will work our way towards a position that says that having more than two children is irresponsible. It is the ghost at the table. We have all these big issues that everybody is looking at and then you don’t really hear anyone say the “p” word.

According to the Times Online article, Mr. Porritt says that

curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming

This is pretty shocking. Usually leftists are careful to say they want more birth control but we need to keep abortion both legal and rare. Apparently Mr. Porritt forgot to read the fine print on the talking points. Or maybe now that we’ve all gotten so comfortable with abortion, leftists can dispense with all that “rare” rot and speak their minds on the subject.

Mr. Porritt, coincidentally perhaps, has two children himself. I can’t help but wonder whether he might not have decided one child was the maximum a good environmentalist should in good conscience have, if he himself had decided to stop after one.

I’ve written about this kids-are-bad-for-the-environment nonsense before, so I won’t belabor the point here. Besides, I’m too busy taking care of my planet-destroying children — the two to which I was entitled, and the two I had the bad taste not to abort.

Comments 25

  1. Grue in the Attic wrote:

    How very ironic.

    I have two siblings myself, a younger brother and sister. I had a pretty graphic nightmare last night that the latter had died. Woke up absolutely terrified and couldn’t get back to sleep for what felt like an hour.

    Yet more meddling by people who have no business meddling. More micromanagement. Just what the doctor ordered.

    Posted 03 Feb 2009 at 6:34 pm
  2. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Marxism “Uber Alles”.

    Your need to have more than one sibiling Grue are secondary to the needs of the state.

    Of course, the White-Christian Europeans are not propagating yet the Muslims in Europe are reproducing like rabbits.

    Game over for Dan’s precious “Europe”.

    Posted 03 Feb 2009 at 8:15 pm
  3. Dan wrote:

    Why is it game over for “Europe” if it becomes less “White-Christian” Bowden? Who wins the game then? Asia?

    By the way, the state you live in you live in is not majority “White-Christian”. It probably is majority “Christian” for the time being though. Is that good enough to keep the game from being “over”? (Which game are you talking about and how does the scoring work?)

    Posted 03 Feb 2009 at 9:17 pm
  4. Grue in the Attic wrote:

    Who wins the game then? Asia?

    Only if we started a Land War.

    Posted 03 Feb 2009 at 10:01 pm
  5. Dan wrote:

    [i]Only if we started a Land War.[/i]

    Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

    Posted 03 Feb 2009 at 10:12 pm
  6. Grue in the Attic wrote:

    You missed the joke. 😛

    Posted 03 Feb 2009 at 10:45 pm
  7. Dan wrote:

    No, I got it, I was making another joke. :)

    Posted 03 Feb 2009 at 10:52 pm
  8. Grue in the Attic wrote:

    Alas, I am foiled! 😮

    Posted 03 Feb 2009 at 11:02 pm
  9. Bowden Russell wrote:

    “Why is it game over for “Europe” if it becomes less “White-Christian” Bowden? Who wins the game then? Asia?”

    Honestly Dan, when you go to lunch do you buy two lunches? I mean one for each face that is.

    You lament Islam’s anti-female provisions/agenda yet in this post you seem to take issue with my concern of Europe falling under Islam’s control.

    Have you no idea what fate awaits Europe’s homosexuals when the Caliphate is established in Europe? Or what of the women and their progress they’ve made under a CHRISTIAN Europe?????

    As the father of numerous daughters I for one don’t care for it, while you seem to have no problem with seeing Europe being put back into the 11th century.

    Posted 04 Feb 2009 at 12:59 am
  10. Victor Jimenez wrote:

    Bowden,
    Given you’re family lifestyle (wife-no job; religious outlook-bordering on extreme; female children-educated at home; family size-large; tolerance level of other religions-low; tolerance level of other lifestyles-low; tolerance level of other cultures-low) it sounds like you and your women would fit in nicely (or better) in the Muslim world.
    Who agrees w/me?

    Posted 04 Feb 2009 at 1:57 am
  11. Dan wrote:

    Its pretty hilarious that you actually think that Europe is going to be taken over completely by some new Caliphate Bowden. Don’t let reality get in the way of your paranoia.

    In reality, as the population as a whole becomes more wealthy and educated, their procreation rates drop. This happens in all countries regardless of ethnicity or religion. Its even happening with the Mormons in Utah.

    Posted 04 Feb 2009 at 3:53 pm
  12. Bowden Russell wrote:

    ” Don’t let reality get in the way of your paranoia.”

    I take it you don’t know what is happening in London, do you Mr. G.E. College Bowl.

    Posted 04 Feb 2009 at 5:15 pm
  13. Martha Brozyna wrote:

    Dan, you’re actually wrong about that. In America, the new status symbol for the wealthy is to have a large family. Check out this article from April 2008:

    http://www.usaweekend.com/08_issues/080406/080406abtn-money-family-size.html

    Posted 04 Feb 2009 at 5:23 pm
  14. Dan wrote:

    Yes Bowden, I do know what’s happening in London, though you probably shouldn’t given your loud and repeated claims to not care about Europe or what happens there. Its the same thing that happened to New York City in the nineteenth century: religious minorities are moving in to escape the poverty of their home countries. In New York that minority was Catholics and they were mostly coming from Ireland and Italy. In London those minorities are muslims, hindus, and sikhs and they’re coming from Pakistan and Northern Africa.

    Strangely enough, New York City survived the invasion of the barbarian Catholic minorities.

    Posted 04 Feb 2009 at 5:35 pm
  15. Brigette Russell wrote:

    Victor Jimenez wrote:

    Given you’re family lifestyle (wife-no job…

    Dude, YOU try taking full-time care of four kids 7 and under, and tell me it isn’t a job. Ladies, can I have some back-up here, please?

    it sounds like you and your women would fit in nicely (or better) in the Muslim world.

    I’d just as soon not be referred to as though I’m chattel, if it’s all the same to you.

    And as to fitting in better in the Muslim world, well, although I do look spectacular in black, I didn’t spend all those hours working out and all that money at the Estee Lauder counter to hide my aging but still quite well-preserved self under a burqa.

    Posted 04 Feb 2009 at 9:05 pm
  16. Brigette Russell wrote:

    Dan wrote:
    In New York that minority was Catholics and they were mostly coming from Ireland and Italy. In London those minorities are muslims, hindus, and sikhs and they’re coming from Pakistan and Northern Africa.

    Big difference — the Catholic immigrants wanted to assimilate and become Americans. They loved America, and embraced American culture wholeheartedly. They remained Catholic rather than becoming Protestant, yes, but the two denominations had co-existed in the US from colonial days, with Maryland actually founded as a Catholic colony.

    A great many of the Muslim immigrants to the US, England, France, Netherlands OTOH do NOT want to assimilate. They have contempt for American and European culture. They think American and European women are a pack of uppity whores who need to be put in their places. Some, of course, do want to assimilate, but a far smaller percentage than the percentage of Irish or Italians or Poles who did.

    As the daughter of Polish immigrants who grew up in a Polish immigrant suburb, you can testify to this, Martha (and BTW thanks for the link about big families and money).

    Posted 04 Feb 2009 at 9:18 pm
  17. Bowden Russell wrote:

    Given you’re family lifestyle (wife-no job; religious outlook-bordering on extreme; female children-educated at home; family size-large; tolerance level of other religions-low; tolerance level of other lifestyles-low; tolerance level of other cultures-low) it sounds like you and your women would fit in nicely (or better) in the Muslim world.
    Who agrees w/me?

    As long as I keep my kids from entering conventional school, where they apparently will become prima-donnas where if someone looks at them the wrong way they run office and cry to the Principal, my wife and I will have done an excellent job of raising them.

    Posted 04 Feb 2009 at 10:12 pm
  18. Mad Mad Mom wrote:

    Given you’re family lifestyle (wife-no job…you and your women would fit in nicely (or better) in the Muslim world.

    Anybody know how you say “stupid asshole” in Arabic?

    Posted 04 Feb 2009 at 10:55 pm
  19. Dan Gebler wrote:

    Wow! This is a juicy blog, Brigette, where a lefty with 2 kids + 1 on the way can get really lost. Here’s what this Seattle fan thinks:

    1. Any environmentalist who believes in “…curbing population growth through […] abortion…” is an extremist and shouldn’t represent the left in any system. Maybe his British pension should be drawn only from first-born children…

    It shouldn’t require any special care to argue for more birth control and keeping abortion rare but legal–he’s just representing an extreme and misguided p.o.v.

    2. Let’s not forget that the West is not a monolith and that despite our current immigrant Muslim populations in the U.S. integrate far more successfully here than in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, etc. France is especially troubled because they play both sides of the coin–friendly immigration policies towards Muslims, but horrible support for and absorption of Muslims into French society.

    Just not true here. The success stories FAR outweigh the bad apples (which can be found in all immigration waves), and this is true DESPITE a foreign policy that for decades has been widely interpreted in the larger Muslim world as anti-Muslim.

    3. You mentioned that far fewer Muslims want to assimilate than Irish, Italians, or Poles–not sure about the Poles, but a SHOCKING number of Irish and Italian immigrants from the 1840s thru the early 20th C turned right around and went back! By shocking, I’m talking an average of 33% and as much as 50% at times (esp. before and during the Civil War).

    Finally, if we we’re not willing to welcome Muslims freely into the West, then the West should stop trying to spread freedom in the Muslim world.

    Now I’m off to drive a minivan and collect my passel o’ kids.

    Posted 05 Feb 2009 at 12:20 am
  20. Martha Brozyna wrote:

    Just to add to what Dan Gebler wrote — many Poles who came to America in the 19th and early 20th centuries ultimately did return home (at that time there was no entity called “Poland” because it had been partitioned by Prussia, Austria, and Russia). In fact, my great grandmother spent some time in Brooklyn in the late 19th century, working and saving money, and then she returned to her village back in the Old Country.

    My parents came to the US in the early 1970s and I was born here. My parents and I are proud, assimilated Americans. Interestingly, although I didn’t live through World War II and I never experienced life under Communist oppression, my personality has been shaped by the traumas of those who had — my parents and the Polish immigrants I grew up around. First generation Polish-Americans carry political and cultural baggage from the Polish experience that intertwines with their Americanism with a complexity that is both positive and negative. I don’t think this is necessarily something that many or indeed most immigrants from other parts of the world wrestle with or feel.

    Posted 05 Feb 2009 at 1:33 am
  21. MIT Mommy wrote:

    Oh my.

    It seems that to some degree the commentors have wandered away from the original article. I am a sahm of three children, so clearly I do not agree with Mr. Porritt.

    As much as I find many cultural phenomenon unfortunate at best (burqas, and instances of fathers willing to dispatch their daughters on rumors of infidelity and the sort). I certainly am not willing to throw all Muslims into that category. Muhammed was a man of peace. I have too dear a Muslim, who respects women immensely (and lives in the Middle East, by the way) to ever cast such a wide net of stereotypes.

    Of course, there are fanatics who fit and perpetuate the stereotype, and I assume you were discussing people of that stripe.

    If you feel that Brigette and her family belong with Muslims to the extent that they have a respect for life and a dedication to family, then I certainly wouldn’t be able to argue with that, as for the other details, I’m not really able to comment.

    As for the original article, I am thinking that China might be a better case to study. After all, they have had their one-child rule for quite awhile. There are many articles out there studying the ongoing results of that social experiment, but I don’t think any of them have mentioned that China has progressed any further towards improving their impact on the environment.

    In fact, the studies I have seen indicate that this nation of only-children is battling with their population’s tendency towards self-centeredness. I suspect that the effect of not learning to share with and respect a sibling may outweigh the mathematical calculations of the carbon footprint of that additional sibling.

    I know, Mr. Porritt says its okay to have two children, so theoretically each child could have one sibling, but I do believe the dynamic of some larger families does add an important variation into our social fabric.

    Oh, and by the way, my husband and I are both third children, so I have to take personal offense to the idea that my entire family should be deemed excessive and wasteful in relation to the environment.

    Are people really taking this man seriously?

    Posted 05 Feb 2009 at 2:21 am
  22. Brigette Russell wrote:

    MIT Mommy wrote:I do believe the dynamic of some larger families does add an important variation into our social fabric.

    Amen to that. I couldn’t agree more.

    Dan Gebler, welcome. Glad you included your last name, otherwise things might have gotten confusing. And congratulations on your soon-to-be thirdborn. And a girl, no less, at long last. Mazel tov!

    Posted 05 Feb 2009 at 2:39 am
  23. Bev wrote:

    In re to the comment by Victor Jimenez:

    Brigette and her girls as Muslim????? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha HA!!!!! While Brigette and Bowden may be conservative, they are certainly not extreme nor, I believe, intolerant of others.

    Raising children is a job that both parents do, but if you are a SAH parent it is THE job! And it is a job that is literally 24/7. For the vast majority, there is no vacation, even when the children are sleeping. There are still meetings, budgeting, organization, papers to be signed, and all those other things that come with corporate life. It’s just dealing with smaller people who take things more literal.

    I have 3 kids, and I provide child care for 3 others. My children go to public school, eat at McDonald’s as a special treat, watch cable TV, attend church, and volunteer at the local animal shelter. We recycle, freecycle, have a compost pile, plant a garden, and hang our clothes out on a line. I feel like I have the best of both modern technology, but the values of past generations. And why is that so bad?

    Posted 06 Feb 2009 at 1:59 am
  24. Bowden Russell wrote:

    So Victor, it doesn’t look like you can get anyone to agree with you. Perhaps you should go to Democraticunderground.com to get your allies to agree with you?

    Posted 06 Feb 2009 at 4:46 am
  25. Foxfier wrote:

    Brigette Russell wrote:
    Victor Jimenez wrote:

    Given you’re family lifestyle (wife-no job…

    Dude, YOU try taking full-time care of four kids 7 and under, and tell me it isn’t a job. Ladies, can I have some back-up here, please?

    Taking care of five children that are not biologically related for no more than ten hours a day: job.
    Taking care of seven related children 24/7/365.24whatever not a job?

    Posted 07 Feb 2009 at 1:47 am

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