Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Tell me Sir David who are you going to kill first?


It seems that (at least according to George Monbiot*) the sainted David Attenborough has been peddling his eugenicist message again:

On the Today programme on Wednesday, Sir David Attenborough named the rising human population as the first of the factors causing the loss of the UK's wildlife. 

We know that Sir David believes in a mythical thing called 'optimum population':

On joining the Optimum Population Trust, Sir David said growth in human numbers was "frightening".

Sir David has been increasingly vocal about the need to reduce the number of people on Earth to protect wildlife. 

What interests me (leaving aside that the current population projections for the world suggest stabilisation by the middle of this century and decline thereafter) is who Sir David wants to kill off.

Is he proposing to sterilise less productive members of society - cripples, people without university degrees, members of parliament? Or are we to expect a sort of Logan's Run:

"The seeds of the Little War were planted in a restless summer during the mid-1960s, with sit-ins and student demonstrations as youth tested its strength. By the early 1970s over 75 percent of the people living on Earth were under 21 years of age. The population continued to climb—and with it the youth percentage..."

Perhaps 21 is too young to pop us off, maybe thirty as in the film or perhaps a more modest 45!  Or will we have be some dystopic variant on the National Lottery - with the prize being sterilisation or even death.

The truth is that Attenborough is perhaps the last of a dinosaur generation - the inheritor of the authoritarian state direction (I hesitate to give it its real name) that so appealed to Keynes, to Beatrice and Sidney Webb, and to that self-indulgent English elite: Shaw, Wells, Tawney, Foot. These people, for all their supposed socialism, saw a load of little peons to be herded about, organised, hectored, lectured and patronised. And if needs be, neutered.

So given it isn't gorillas Sir David plans on killing, who is it?


*Can I point out that Monbiot's article is (as usual) a pile of factually incorrect dribble


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