Why all the population control hate?

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Tojiah
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Sep 24 2011 14:04
LBird wrote:
I'm deadly serious about the discussion about the philosophical roots of tastybrain's mistaken position on the need for reduction in human population.

And you don't see the problem with this? You don't see how smug you come out with your repeated "didactic" exposure of people's real arguments by "digging" into their real "foundations", despite their protestations? You don't see how toxic a form of debate this is? We are not on trial here, and you are not the prosecutor. And yet you seem to think that we who were being too "personal", for arguing with you for what you actually did claim. This is exactly the kind of Communism with capital C that has nothing to do with the "lib" part of "libcom". Denunciations are not an interesting form of conversation, there is nothing comradely about berating people about their "mistaken position". And if you're really surprised that not enough people here have come to your aid - well - you may think much of humanity, but you don't seem to understand humans that much.

tastybrain
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Sep 24 2011 14:22
radicalgraffiti wrote:
tastybrain wrote:

As I understand it, communism will raise the living standard of the vast majority on the planet. Rising living standards-->greater consumption-->greater strain on resources. Am I missing something here?

yes, you are, consumption is not equal to living standards.
For example, although i don't agree with all the factors in this if you compare quality of life indexes with greenhouse gas emissions per capita there is really no correlation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quality-of-life_Index

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_greenhouse_gas_emissions_per_capita

Ah, but for that analysis you are assuming autarky. Most of the countries at the top of the list have high per-capita greenhouse gas emissions because of export-based economies. They are exporting timber and agricultural products to first world countries. The root of the environmental destruction is still consumption.

radicalgraffiti wrote:
tastybrain wrote:
I think if you took a poll of most working class neighborhoods (at least in America), explained anarchist communism and that they would collaboratively produce and consume whatever they wanted, many of them would want us to collectively produce lambos, lexus's, hummers, flat-screen tvs, big mansions, and go around digging each others' swimming pools. Of course I still want libertarian communism to come about, but I believe as a part of that movement we will have to educate our fellow workers about the desirability of and necessity for a reconciliation of humans and our earth.

That may be what people would want now, but for a anarchist communism society to come about requires a complete change in the culture of the working class.
Oblivious there would be noting to stop people deciding to use there resources in a stupid way, if that is what they wanted to do, but when people go from being passive consumers to actively making decisions about how the world runs then their priorities will change.
At the current time most people think, rightly, that they can't do anything about most environmental issues so they ignore them, in a libertarian communism society that would no longer be the case.

I agree with you entirely. Revolution will change people's attitudes and priorities. However, I don't want to conceive of this change mechanistically in regards to environmentalism. I don't think we can just count on it to happen by itself; revolutionaries must actively foster and environmental consciousness and propose solutions which balance human desires with respect for our planet.

tastybrain
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Sep 24 2011 14:52
piter wrote:
I understand "population control" as state control.
and that cannot exist with communism.

What about "quality control" of food and products? I hope that will still exist in communist society.

piter wrote:
can people deciding by themselves to make less kids if necessary for them to have better conditions be called "population control"? is it still "population control"?

Yes. Call it "population self-control" if you wish. Like Tojiah said, its mostly semantics.

Khawaga wrote:
From reading this discussion, I must say that LBird, you are not discussing in good faith at all. You've made up your mind about what you believe Tastybrain's (or for that matter Tojijah) views to be, neglect to see that he in large part agree with you about the social relations and thus construct him to be onsidedly obsessed with Malthus.

Thank you. I was beginning to think I was the only one noticing this, and yes, I agree with a portion of LBird's ideas, if not his debating style. He refuses to acknowledge this, however, as sharing common ground with someone with a non-pure philosophy is a huge embarrassment for a True Communist

Arbeiten wrote:
Now I know you may consider yourself a an unqualified Communist with a capital C, but I don't think TastyBrain does, so it is a little bit of a non-sequitur to keep condemning him to the pits of counter-revolutionary hell. It is exactly the rhetorical devices mode of argumentation you have used here (True proletarian science Vs. Bourgeois revisionism) and the Kafka-esque debates that ensue, that has made most of us run a mile from the 'true communist' milieu.

I do consider myself a communist, if anarchist communism counts. No, I would not leave it unqualified except maybe on this forum as people here have a better sense of what I mean than your average guy.

Arbeiten wrote:
Once again, I am more inclined to your position, but (as Khawaga has pointed out) I don't think TastyBrain is really as Malthusian as your making him out to be here.

I am not "Malthusian" at all. I mean, this is like saying white supremacists and anarchists are the same because they both advocate "revolution". I have never read Malthus, but from what I know he has been thoroughly discredited by Marx and others.

I advocate "population self-control" implemented through democratic decision-making, a change in culture, gender equality, and other peaceful, non-coercive means. Also, my concern stems from a desire to halt ecocide and bring humans into balance with their environment, which as far as I know was not Malthus' motivation. In short, Malthus and I propose totally different measures for totally different reasons. The only thing we share is being concerned with "population"; I don't think this should be enough to discredit me.

Arbeiten, since you are more inclined to LBird's position, why don't you give me your perspective. I would love to hear a legitimate critique of my positions.

LBird wrote:
I don't seem to have made any impression on you

No, you haven't, because you have failed to engage with the substance of my argument and instead have engaged in bizarre ideological denunciations.

radicalgraffiti
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Sep 24 2011 15:09
tastybrain wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
tastybrain wrote:

As I understand it, communism will raise the living standard of the vast majority on the planet. Rising living standards-->greater consumption-->greater strain on resources. Am I missing something here?

yes, you are, consumption is not equal to living standards.
For example, although i don't agree with all the factors in this if you compare quality of life indexes with greenhouse gas emissions per capita there is really no correlation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quality-of-life_Index

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_greenhouse_gas_emissions_per_capita

Ah, but for that analysis you are assuming autarky. Most of the countries at the top of the list have high per-capita greenhouse gas emissions because of export-based economies. They are exporting timber and agricultural products to first world countries. The root of the environmental destruction is still consumption.

i wasn't really using these for analysis just an example.
i think that the unregulated consumption of resources is caused by capitalism, rather than something inherent to humans.

LBird
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Sep 24 2011 15:24

Y'know, this situation would be laughable, if it didn't have such serious implications.

tastybrain wrote:
I advocate "population self-control" ...

Won't someone else who has both a knowledge of philosophy and a better 'style' than me, take up the cudgels on behalf of Communists? We don't advocate 'population control'.

tastybrain wrote:
Arbeiten, since you are more inclined to LBird's position, why don't you give me your perspective. I would love to hear a legitimate critique of my positions.

Please, Arbeiten, take up the challenge.

Although, even though tastybrain claims they'd 'love to hear', I think they're a bit cloth-eared when it comes to listening to philosophical debates, so I don't give much for your chances.

Anyway, good luck, Arbeiten.

My last words?

Fuck 'population control'.

tastybrain
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Sep 24 2011 17:37
LBird wrote:
Y'know, this situation would be laughable, if it didn't have such serious implications.
tastybrain wrote:
I advocate "population self-control" ...

Won't someone else who has both a knowledge of philosophy and a better 'style' than me, take up the cudgels on behalf of Communists? We don't advocate 'population control'.

tastybrain wrote:
Arbeiten, since you are more inclined to LBird's position, why don't you give me your perspective. I would love to hear a legitimate critique of my positions.

Please, Arbeiten, take up the challenge.

Although, even though tastybrain claims they'd 'love to hear', I think they're a bit cloth-eared when it comes to listening to philosophical debates, so I don't give much for your chances.

Anyway, good luck, Arbeiten.

My last words?

Fuck 'population control'.

I think this is a bit dramatic.

Instead of "storming out in a huff", so to speak, why don't you set aside these supposed differences in philosophy and address the practical concerns and problems and the tentative solutions I have laid out. I have explained myself adequately, you should have plenty to go on.

You should not be incapable of engaging with people with different philosophies anyway.

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Khawaga
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Sep 24 2011 17:42

LBird, as you should've noticed form my post I take issue with your style of discussion not necessarily with your arguments (most of which are, tbh, pretty self-evident).

LBird
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Sep 24 2011 18:13
tastybrain wrote:
...set aside these supposed differences in philosophy and address the practical concerns and problems ...

tastybrain, mate, I know you're not aware of the implications of your request, but please try to do some research yourself on the philosophic concerns of 'practical men', who disdain to engage in the distractions of mere philosophy.

Khawaga wrote:
LBird, as you should've noticed form my post I take issue with your style of discussion not necessarily with your arguments (most of which are, tbh, pretty self-evident).

Look, mate, I'll hold my hands up and plead guilty to being an argumentative bastard with little finesse.

But if you really do think that the substance of my philosophic objections to tastybrain's underlying ideology are 'pretty self-evident' to you (and I would imagine many others), it must also be obvious to you that they need to be explained in a form that tastybrain and Tojiah can understand.

That task seems to be beyond my poor communication skills, so surely the task devolves onto the likes of you and others to help them come to some wider understanding of philosophy.

They're more likely to listen to you and others, even if not to me any longer.

Surely the myth of the need for 'population control' is worth confronting?

tastybrain
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Sep 24 2011 18:34

I really don't think there are too many philosophical differences, LBird. That's why I said "supposed" differences.

1) You assert that humans are social creatures shaped by the social system in which they live. I agree. I simply have concerns about the social humans of a future, superior social system continuing to perpetuate ecocide unless a change in values with regards to environmental consciousness is an explicit, articulated part of the revolutionary process.

2) You first took up the position that natural limits don't exist, which you retracted, and then started asserting that they do exist but don't matter. I disagree that they don't matter and I don't think you have addressed the reasons I gave for why they do matter.

3) You claim that humans are "conscious nature", which I agree is strictly true; however, I have pointed out this doesn't automatically solve the problem of our relationship to the rest of nature, and that the solution will have to be one that is consciously planned rather than one that arises "automatically". You have not engaged with this point either.

4) You accuse me of looking at humanity in the abstract and ignoring classes. I have done nothing of the kind and agree entirely with class analysis; I have, however, highlighted reasons a classless society might still have problems with its relationship with nature. You have not even tried to argue against these reasons.

5) You use social analysis; I use social analysis. You simply don't like the conclusions I come to following my social analysis and therefore disparage my so-called "philosophical roots".

Maybe if you really think there are philosophical differences make another stab at explaining them to me in a more satisfactory way than the "green vs red" post, in which you simply asserted a bunch of things about my position that aren't true.

Khawaga, why don't you tell me which of LBird's arguments you agree with to me. Maybe you can explain them in a way LBird cannot.

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Sep 24 2011 18:32
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But if you really do think that the substance of my philosophic objections to tastybrain's underlying ideology are 'pretty self-evident' to you (and I would imagine many others), it must also be obvious to you that they need to be explained in a form that tastybrain and Tojiah can understand.

I don't think you're understanding that they don't actually have an issue with that part of your argument. You seem to repeatedly deny that they do in large part agree with you on that. But they don't see it purely from a social standpoint, rather they view it as a dialectic between nature and society, which I might add is something that even Marx did. I do believe, as Tojijah and Tastybrain do, that there is an upper limit to the carrying capacity of the ecosystem and that environmental problems won't magically go away ATR. But I do believe that it will be less of an issue than it is now. Population won't be a problem at all. The demographic transition will take care of that. Population can only be an issue if the means of subsistence is inequitably distributed.

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Sep 24 2011 18:39
Tastybrain wrote:
Khawaga, why don't you tell me which of LBird's arguments you agree with to me. Maybe you can explain them in a way LBird cannot.

The ones you share with him. There's not much of a difference between the two of you on the fundamentals. I just think that LBird is discussing in bad faith and therefore (as point of pride?) cannot accept that the nuances you and Tojijah have brought into the discussion are valid.

LBird
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Sep 24 2011 19:07
Khawaga wrote:
I just think that LBird is discussing in bad faith and therefore (as point of pride?) cannot accept that the nuances you and Tojijah have brought into the discussion are valid.

Khawaga, I've been patient so far with your cod psychology about me and my inability to 'accept nuances', but you've now twice accused me of 'bad faith', the second time after my numerous apologies and concessions about my 'style' and plea to you to do some of the philosphical work that you apparently agree with me about, but apparently can't be arsed to contribute to explaining to tastybrain, and my comradely assurance that you're mistaken, and I'm not discussing in bad faith. I expect you to take my word.

Knock it off, leave alone the personal slights, and try addressing the content of my posts.

tastybrain wrote:
I advocate "population self-control" ...

.

Khawaga wrote:
Population won't be a problem at all.

Now, I might be a bit thick, but tell me if I'm wrong. These look to me like contradictory positions, no 'nuance' at all.

So, let's have some discussion about why you two hold opposing views.

I think that there are philosophical underpinnings to your respective positions, but I'd like you both to try to explain to us all why, in your opinions, you fundamentally disagree.

FWIW, I agree with Khawaga.

Over to you two...

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Sep 24 2011 19:23

When I say population won't be a problem at all, how on earth can that mean that I simultaneously advocate population control? This is exactly what I mean with you discussing in bad faith. What can only be read as a direct refutation of any need for population control (whether it be imposed or through self-control considering that I cite the demographic transition), you take as me having contradictory positions.

The nuance I was referring to is the dialectic of Man and Nature; if you focus only on either side you're missing something.

Quote:
Khawaga, I've been patient so far with your cod psychology about me and my inability to 'accept nuances', but you've now twice accused me of 'bad faith', the second time after my numerous apologies and concessions about my 'style' and plea to you to do some of the philosphical work that you apparently agree with me about, but apparently can't be arsed to contribute to explaining to tastybrain, and my comradely assurance that you're mistaken, and I'm not discussing in bad faith. I expect you to take my word.

Again, your style of debating is horrendous. I was giving an opinion, not offering an analysis of your psyche. I think that you've debated in bad faith and I expressed that. You've apologized, which is good, but the you do not change your approach. The fact that you refer to this as "cod psychology" is yet another example of bad faith. And I've already said why I don't want to be involved in the actual discussion because in large part the two of you agree on the fundamentals, which you can't seem to understand (or yet another example of your bad faith).

I do recognize that in your opinion you're discussing in good faith, but you from reading this entire thread I can't think that it's simply down to your self-admitted 'style'. And I am not the only one to point this out.

Please read properly the points Tastybrain's raises. Some things like population self-control I agree more with you than him, but the philosophical fundamentals is all just bs. Get beyond that and you will have a discussion in good faith. But again, this is my opinion. You might very well still see the difference as fundamental.

And just to reiterate: I have no interest in taking part in a discussion that is, at the moment, wall

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Tojiah
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Sep 24 2011 19:28

Better cod psychology than cod Stalinist ideological interrogation, if you ask me.

LBird
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Sep 24 2011 19:47
Khawaga wrote:
Please read properly the points ...

Shouldn't you take your own advice, first, before offering it to me?

Khawaga wrote:
When I say population won't be a problem at all, how on earth can that mean that I simultaneously advocate population control? This is exactly what I mean with you discussing in bad faith. What can only be read as a direct refutation of any need for population control (whether it be imposed or through self-control considering that I cite the demographic transition), you take as me having contradictory positions.

Let's see what I wrote. Luckily, this doesn't require any philosophical training (thank god!), just bare literacy.

tastybrain wrote:

I advocate "population self-control" ...

Khawaga wrote:

Population won't be a problem at all.

LBird wrote:

FWIW, I agree with Khawaga.

So, my 'bad faith' consists in agreeing with you, in opposition to tastybrain?

Khawaga wrote:
Again, your style of debating is horrendous. I was giving an opinion, not offering an analysis of your psyche. I think that you've debated in bad faith and I expressed that.

I'll offer you some advice then, eh, Khawaga. You keep your 'opinions' about me to yourself, and spend the time saved on reading what you write first, then turn to what I write next, eh?

Khawaga wrote:
...but the philosophical fundamentals is all just bs

Is this the same person who attempts to explain Capital to me? Philosophy bs?

Tojiah wrote:
Better cod psychology than cod Stalinist ideological interrogation, if you ask me.

You back, are you? Admin edit - no flaming

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Tojiah
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Sep 24 2011 19:56
Pikel wrote:
Tojiah wrote:
That's really cute. Quoting from my profile like that. Great discussion tactic there. roll eyes

I was just teasing, don't get your knickers in a twist.

Well, I had another paragraph after my poor response to your humor. If you're interested, we can proceed with that. This thread isn't really tickling my funny bone.

Tojiah wrote:
More to the point, it would be stupid of them to follow the so-called True Communist guideline of "let's ignore Nature because we're Nature and we're awesome and we will defeat any limit ever". But I imagine that after a while rearing more children (and under a communist society, it is likely that this, in itself, will become less of a burden and more of a joy due to the fact that production would not be as precluding of child-rearing as it is now), but they would end up having to deal with the fact that there is a finite space and there are finite resources, so more and more people will mean less and less for everyone. That will be a form of self-adjustment with accordance to nature.
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Tojiah
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Sep 24 2011 20:00
piter wrote:
Quote:
Tojiah wrote :

I am not sure that communism will make that very real deficit (as opposed to the nonsense capitalists make up now to justify austerity) simply go away without having to make very unpleasant decisions to a particular manifestation of Nature.

I understand "population control" as state control.
and that cannot exist with communism.

can people deciding by themselves to make less kids if necessary for them to have better conditions be called "population control"? is it still "population control"?

But see, once they are doing this they are admitting that Nature has limits. If Nature had no limits, there would never be any reason to not have as many children as is enjoyable at any particular time, because gilded-age-type modernist superhumanity could overcome any kind of problem that would cause. Also, one needs to worry about consequences that will not be immediately apparent.

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Sep 24 2011 20:01

Fair enough, what I read as you assuming I held contradictory points I see now as you opposing me and Tasty. So my bad on that. But I don't see it as a philosophical difference more of a practical issue. It would be a philosophical issue if he was adopting Malthus' line. He blantantly isn't.

Quote:
Is this the same person who attempts to explain Capital to me? Philosophy bs?

This is bad faith. Philosophy is not bs, but the whole belief that there is some fundamental philosophical difference between you and Tasty/Tojijah is bs.

Quote:
I'll offer you some advice then, eh, Khawaga. You keep your 'opinions' about me to yourself, and spend the time saved on reading what you write first, then turn to what I write next, eh?

Hey, not my fault if I hit a nerve.

FWIW in another completely unrelated thread I praised you for being very frank about asking questions and not at all feeling embarrassed (because why should anyone if they want to learn) about it (the Capital threads being an example). That you're an example new posters should follow rather than lurking or intimidation being a barrier to post.

LBird
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Sep 24 2011 21:15

Look, let's get this thread back on track, and let bygones be bygones, eh?

Khawaga wrote:
But I don't see it as a philosophical difference more of a practical issue. It would be a philosophical issue if he was adopting Malthus' line. He blantantly isn't.

.

Khawaga wrote:
Philosophy is not bs, but the whole belief that there is some fundamental philosophical difference between you and Tasty/Tojijah is bs.

Khawaga, I want you and the others to understand something.

I think that the view that 'population control' is needed is built upon a philosophical position.

That's not 'bad faith'.

I think that there is a poor understanding by the posters on this thread about the ideological basis to such views. One doesn't have to be a card-carrying Malthusian to be influenced by the sorts of ideas that he was also influenced by.

Now I might be wrong. But I'm not showing 'bad faith'.

Furthermore, now that two people have expressed the view that 'practical' matters should take precedence, I'm even more concerned. A desire to concentrate upon 'practical matters' at the expense of 'irrelevent philosophy' is a hallmark of conservative philosophy, not just a personal preference.

That's not 'bad faith'.

I'm not showing 'bad faith' to be concerned that an understanding of philosophy appears to play no or little part in a discussion that has been taking place for hundreds of years, on openly ideological grounds.

If discussing philosophy is beyond anyone, let them just read the posts various people make, and then ask questions.

But turning my constant questioning into my 'bad faith' is, to me, avoiding the real issue. Shooting the messenger?

I daresay now it's too late for this thread to progress while I'm participating, and I'm sorry about that, so it's probably best if I leave it to others to discuss.

I'm not 'storming off in a huff', just disappointed. I hope someone else takes up the very important philosophical issues that the 'population control' debate relies upon.

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Sep 24 2011 21:33
Quote:
Khawaga, I want you and the others to understand something.

I think that the view that 'population control' is needed is built upon a philosophical position.

I completely understand you, and I think that Tastybrain completely understands this as well. Tasty and Tojijah say, yeah sure, but there's a real world, a real nature out there with some very real problems. What are we supposed to do with them? Tasty's choice of the term population control is unfortunate, but what he's really saying is simply that there is a certain carrying capacity to the earth's ecosystem and that certain social/cultural practices may lead to extinction of more species etc. that will not just go away simply because there's a revolution. Now as I've said, I think the population issue will solve itself as soon as the social product is distributed equitably because of the demographic transition and that therefore there is no need to take any extra measures. But there might still be beliefs and practices, leftovers from previous socio-cultural systems, that can lead to environmental degradation. What are we supposed to do about that? The "correct" philosophical position won't help anyone.

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Sep 25 2011 01:16
Khawaga wrote:
Tasty's choice of the term population control is unfortunate...

Not to be pedantic, but this choice was actually made by Yoda in the title of this thread.

LBird
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Sep 25 2011 06:18

Right, deep breath.

Khawaga, I’ll try once again (really, against my better judgement) to explain my philosophical position. Please, no-one accuse me of ‘bad faith’. I can be accused of being ‘wrong’, or being ‘right’ (but also just being anti-social bastard), but this is not my ‘bad faith’, but a substantial philosophical disagreement between us.

Khawaga wrote:
I completely understand you, and I think that Tastybrain completely understands this as well.

The problem here, mate, is that I don’t think that either you or tastybrain do understand what my philosophical position is. I think this because of what you’re writing, not because I’m ‘right’.

Khawaga wrote:
…Tasty's choice of the term population control is unfortunate, but what he's really saying is simply that there is a certain carrying capacity to the earth's ecosystem…Now as I've said, I think the population issue will solve itself…

Now here, we are on separate sides of the ‘philosophical fence’. The notion of a ‘carrying capacity’ (tastybrain) and a ‘population issue to be solved’ (Khawaga) put you two together in a philosophical sense.

That is, in some sense, ‘humans’ are a problem for nature. Humans are a problem for nature either through potential numbers (the ‘population control’ issue) or through damage done to nature (the ‘environmental degradation’ issue).

At the heart of this view is a philosophical separation between ‘humans’ and ‘nature’.

I, on the other hand, stand on the other side of this philosophical divide. I don’t agree there is a ‘carrying capacity’, because from my viewpoint humans are nature, and not passive passengers on the bus of the Earth, a bus which can ‘fill up’ and become overloaded. Further, if it is pointed out that ‘humans are damaging nature’, I reply that ‘nature damages itself far more’ than humans will ever have even the capacity to do so. If ‘damage to nature’ is a problem, it’s a ‘natural problem’ not simply a ‘human problem’. The answer lies in nature trying to stop itself from mindlessly damaging itself. This can only happen if ‘nature’ has the ability to think and change. This ability is reflected in human consciousness, which is natural consciousness.

So, from my philosophical position, the expansion of human population is the growth in nature’s ability to think for itself. This growth of consciousness is the only way to reduce environmental damage. The minor damage done by humans is a by-product of nature’s development, which, in comparison with nature’s self-damage, is microscopic, and is comparatively easily dealt with. ‘Human’ environmental degradation is nature trying to understand its conscious capacities, which nature can sort out (ie. natural consciousness, or humans).

I hope now you can see that our respective views of the relationship between ‘humans and nature’ are very different.

For you, humans and nature are something separate. Nature in some sense is a ‘resource’ which can be destroyed. Nature has a ‘fixity’ that must be preserved from ‘damage’.

For me, humans are nature. Nature is not a ‘resource’ to be protected from itself, but part of a physical and conscious whole that can decide to change itself, the better for itself to develop. Nature has always changed and developed, so the wish to prevent conscious change in the ‘natural environment’ is meaningless. Forests cut down? Rivers re-directed? Cities built? More natural consciousness (humans)? Not a problem. Any conscious changes that humans make are as nothing compared to the random and massive destruction of ‘nature’ itself. The re-making of the Earth is nature consciously re-modelling itself.

I would label these very different philosophical views, which have very different political outcomes, using shorthand, as ‘Green’ and ‘Red’.

Now, why do I think these philosophical issues are so important?

If we separate out ‘humans’ and ‘nature’, we’ll end up building the connection through ‘god’ or a special section of humanity which has ‘insight’.

I think this conceptual separation is a function of the separation of society into two essential classes, the exploiters and the exploited.

In political terms, it’s well-known that ‘Greens’ have an authoritarian bent and a dismissal of the abilities of the ‘masses’. ‘Greens’ are very wary of democracy, because they can’t believe that humans have the ability to think. To most Greens, ‘bread and circuses’ will always remain the true concern of the masses, not philosophical speculation.

FWIW, I’m a Communist, a ‘Red’. I don’t see humanity as a ‘problem’ to be ‘solved’ in any sense. I want humans to decide democratically what to do with our planet. Communism will be the coming to consciousness of nature, the planet thinking for itself.

On the wish to ignore ‘philosophy’ and concentrate on ‘practical’ matters.

J. M. Keynes wrote:
The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.

I think, Khawaga, tastybrain and others, that your desire for ‘practical’ solutions suffers from the same lack of philosophical awareness that Keynes points out. Malthusian philosophy still stalks the human race.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, you might think I’m a lunatic, a mad philosophiser, and completely wrong, but surely you can see that my objections to your line of thinking are genuine, and not just ‘bad faith’?

tastybrain
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Sep 25 2011 07:12
Tojiah wrote:
Khawaga wrote:
Tasty's choice of the term population control is unfortunate...

Not to be pedantic, but this choice was actually made by Yoda in the title of this thread.

Yeah I would never advocate "population control" without a shitload of qualifications...which I have already given ad nasuem. Just as communism for us does not mean commissars and gulags, "population (self) control" (I would phrase it in a much less scary way were I speaking in public) does not have to mean sterilization and malthusian genocide. It could mean widespread birth control, community provided care for elders so they would not be motivated to have lots of kids to serve as caretakers, emancipation from religious dogma, equal status and education for women, and at worst a slight social taboo against having more than three or so kids.

Khawaga thank you for actually getting at the problem and disagreeing with me in a productive way. I agree that the demographic transition will help the problem a lot. I sincerely hope all of what I'm saying is unnecessary and will happen organically. No, we probably won't face disaster automatically because of population growth and the earth can support a few more billion of us if it has to. What I'm saying is that it might be desirable for us to slowly lower the population both to preserve more natural environments and to make things easier for ourselves. A lower population would have a greater "margin of error" environmentally speaking. Maybe people of the future can all live profligate, wasteful lives with impunity cool. Since we can maintain the same level of food production with a lower population (since only a tiny minority of workers produces food for the whole world) we would also have a greater "margin of error" for times of famine. Not to say that famines now are caused by scarcity of food, by any means! But I can see a few reasons why it would be desirable if only because there would me more room for for beautiful forests and non-human animals.

LBird, I have already explained why I think your whole "humans are natural consciousness" thing is overly simplistic and fails to address my real concerns. It is true we are a part of nature, but our unique abilities have put us severely out of whack with the rest of it. And there is a difference between "nature destroying itself" in the sense of species dying out and being replaced by new ones over eons and that sort of thing and humanity actually causing destructive alterations in the actual weather and climatic environment in a few short centuries. Do you believe in global warming? Do you see that as a problem? Every animal has a "carrying capacity"; we can exceed ours by using technology of various kinds but that overshoot has consequences. Its a lot like overdrafting your bank account and getting slapped with fat fees a month later...

I'm disappointed you "don’t agree there is a ‘carrying capacity’". I thought you had retracted your position on the non-existence of natural limits and claimed it was just some sort of rhetorical device?

Finally, if you really have no problem with "forests cut down" and "rivers re-directed" if they don't have to be (and if we eased back on the breeding a slight bit they wouldn't have to be, as much) then maybe we do have serious philosophical differences.

PS: Are you really quoting Keynes here? Damn. Maybe "malthusian philosophy" still stalks the human race (not this human tho). To me, your posts prove that the christian philosophy of "go forth and multiply" and the early capitalist philosophy of unlimited environmental resources ripe for the taking by a conquering human race unhindered by "natural limits" also still stalk the earth. I do appreciate your change in tone, however, and your offering of a better explanation of what you mean.

tastybrain
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Sep 25 2011 07:40

Goddamnit I hope you're happy Yoda. You had better have read every last word of this thread angry

LBird
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Sep 25 2011 07:54
tastybrain wrote:
LBird, I have already explained why I think your whole "humans are natural consciousness" thing is overly simplistic and fails to address my real concerns. It is true we are a part of nature, but our unique abilities have put us severely out of whack with the rest of it.

tastybrain, the philosophical position one takes is the thing that determines one's 'real concerns', not the other way around.

I've tried to explain that philosophy comes before politics, or, to put it another way, ideology before practice.

So, methodologically, I disagree with you. You are incorrect to put 'practical concerns' before 'philosophical awareness'.

This is a philosophical issue. It isn't being addressed by you saying, in effect, ignore the theories, just solve the pratical issues.

This is a philosophical objection to your position, and must be addressed at the philosophical level, not the practical level.

A study of the philosophy of science and its method will show that the 'Red' method (philosophy which determines practice) is the correct one, rather than the 'Green' method (practice, from which emerges philosophy).

So, until you have discussed these philosophical issues, I'm concerned that you are unwittingly using the ideas of 'some defunct economist'.

As soon as you ask me a 'practical question', I know that the answer to this will follow, not precede the philosophical position that has been adopted (either consciously, like 'Reds', or unconsciously, like 'Greens'). I hope you accept my shorthand which is trying to capture two opposed philosophical positions.

tastybrain wrote:
Do you believe in global warming? Do you see that as a problem?

I'm forced to ask 'what sort of problem?', 'for whom?', 'caused by?', etc.

We will disagree on these 'practical' questions and answers because of our conflicting philosophical positions.

We must follow the scientific method, and address philosophy first, then move to practice.

tastybrain wrote:
Finally, if you really have no problem with "forests cut down" and "rivers re-directed" if they don't have to be (and if we eased back on the breeding a slight bit they wouldn't have to be, as much) then maybe we do have serious philosophical differences.

You're getting there, mate!

tastybrain wrote:
I do appreciate your change in tone, however, and your offering of a better explanation of what you mean.

And I, in turn, appreciate your change in effort to read, however, and your starting to comprehend the offered explanations!

mons
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Sep 25 2011 12:15

LBird,

Quote:
the philosophical position one takes is the thing that determines one's 'real concerns', not the other way around...
So, methodologically, I disagree with you. You are incorrect to put 'practical concerns' before 'philosophical awareness'.

Tastybrain just outlined their philosophical difference with you.
Whereas you think humans are part of nature and consequently can do whatever, tastybrain believes,

Quote:
It is true we are a part of nature, but our unique abilities have put us severely out of whack with the rest of it. And there is a difference between "nature destroying itself" in the sense of species dying out and being replaced by new ones over eons and that sort of thing and humanity actually causing destructive alterations in the actual weather and climatic environment in a few short centuries.

That is a philosophical difference, if that's the way you want to see it.

Of course humans are part of nature in one sense; unless you believe in the supernatural that's pretty difficult to argue with! But it's possible to draw a distinction between the potential effects humans can have on the rest of nature, and the effects other animals and things can have. We have a unique potential to cause immense destruction. That's not to endorse population control, I don't know enough about science to judge how many people could fit on the earth but don't think it'll be that significant a problem.

Also, you've got to acknowledge there is a 'carrying capacity' to the ecosystem, however big that capacity is? For one thing, earth is a finite size and there is a limit on how many can physically fit on it! If you do agree with that, albeit unrealistic, example then surely the difference is only qualitative?

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Auld-bod
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Sep 25 2011 12:21

LBird’s position (as I understand it) is basically sound: humans are part of nature and as it’s conscious expression can solve the problems of nature. Unfortunately this point of view is at times expressed in an evangelical way and contains a number of exaggerated assertions. The technological power that humans have developed is impressive however under capitalism it is wrecking havoc upon most/all humans and the rest of the planet. With a change in human relations, ‘free communism’, technology can be used for the common good.

That nature, even without obvious human intervention, damages the environment (at least in terms of human survival) is not really relevant to the discussion.

I agree with LBird that population is not a problem. Though to state that ‘more’ people will supply ‘more ability to think’, without any concession to the context in which this thinking will be done is unhelpful. A de-contextualised ‘more the merrier’ assertion is to crush a good position under the weight of hyperbole (imo). The addition of more (or less) people is surely irrelevant to the central idea that in a free communist society humanity will be able to self regulate itself for the reasons given in numerous posts above.

If the said society proves incapable of this self-regulation and creates scarcity then, unlikely as I find this scenario, the conditions would be set for a return to some sort of barbarism. LBird thinks this matter is of fundamental importance, I suspect that on the important fundamentals, there is no more than the thickness of a cigarette paper between your positions.

LBird
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Sep 25 2011 12:47

All right, I'll let it drop now.

I've tried, and it looks like I'm outvoted. I know when I'm beaten

But I must point out that earlier (hundreds of posts ago?), I predicted that if I gave way on the 'theoretical limits' argument for the sake of finding some common ground (remember, the double-decker London bus stuff?), even though at that time everyone seemed to agree that they were hypothetical limits which could be ignored for the sake of the discussion, that they would return eventually.

Sure enough, we're back to the irrelevent 'carrying capacity' debate.

Ever felt like you were going around in circles?

'Thickness of a cigarette paper', eh?

Oh dear...

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Tojiah
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Sep 25 2011 14:42

LBird: A cancerous growth is a part of your body. But it will kill your body if you do not excise it. Your "philosophical difference" is merely an inability to deal with the reality of which Nature has now through us become conscious - that Nature is not completely plastic, subject to the whims of God and now Man. It doesn't matter if we are separate from Nature or are Nature's consciousness. If we are Nature's consciousness, We still need to be worried about Our health, not just grow uncontrollably. The philosophical problem you have is that you hold to a form of social solipsism, borne of Gilded Age capitalism, and refuse to see any other view as Communist, and therefore legitimate. That is not a position that allows any kind of fruitful interaction with other people, as this whole discussion has repeatedly demonstrated.

LBird
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Sep 25 2011 14:55
Tojiah wrote:
The philosophical problem you have is that you hold to a form of social solipsism, borne of Gilded Age capitalism, and refuse to see any other view as Communist, and therefore legitimate.

Thanks for your philosophical contribution, Tojiah.