Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
Rick Santorum and the men of the GOP rail on about Right-to-Life issues. It’s a Republican conundrum: Appeasing the Religious Right creates a nightmarish welfare state abhorrent to selfish Libertarian and fiscal conservatives that, unchecked, could bring about the devolution of mankind. Sounds too strong? Read on.
When you think, a scary word for imperious idiots like Rick Santorum, the whole “Right-to-life” process through, there shouldn’t be a fiscal Republican within miles of restructuring of reproductive rights.
The millenia-old rationales for religious prohibitions on birth control have more to do with generating more true believers, and able hands to work the fields, than they do with more heavenly pursuits. They do not function in a world that has increased lifespans, surgically narrowed wars, reduced famines, improved food production, and slowed the ravages of catastrophic diseases.
Political economist Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) projected that, if wars and pestilence didn’t get the human race, reducing those population controls would ultimately impact the food supply to the point that the human race devolved backwards in search of basic needs.
In the subsequent centuries, economists have extended that projection to include other finite resources that are the backbone of the developed world, from crude oil and electricity to rare earths used to make everything from TV sets to toasters.
Known commonly as the Malthusian Nightmare, unleashing the reproductive genie from the gene lamp, in which 9 of 10 child-bearing women usually keep it, would bring about an economic plague that only population-swollen China struggles with. It’s a world, 99%ers, where the 1% becomes the .005%, and gets richer.
You might think, in some dark way, that oppressing even larger numbers of people might be the libertarian appeal, but many Dead Billionaires Club members, including Jeremiah Millbank of the JM Foundation and the RJ Reynolds scions are connected to families who were big preachers of Eugenics, the forced sterilizations of poor women in this country that were their ticket to public assistance. Popularized in the 1920s by Malthus-phobes, eugenics were the groundwork of the Nazi’s “final solution.”
Want to feed yourself? Get sterilized.
Global warming is the other end-game that Malthus did not consider. As the population swells and the resources they consume deplete even more rapidly, scientists forecast the after-effects which the GOP dub “climate change” may solve the population problem by drowning hundreds of millions of us, burning us to a crisp with a compromised upper atmosphere, and making much of our best agricultural land unusable for millenia.
You would think that guys like Mitt Romney, who supposedly understand supply and demand, would get this.
Let’s say, though, that they can’t put another cork on the birth bottle. What might happen on the road to that future?
Abstinence? I think not. Some may try, but go to the diaper box there are going to be more babies. Hundreds of millions of them world-wide and a population pushing a billion here in decades.
Responsibility? In-your-bedroom fascists like the House Republican Teahadis could write up a law that says that the man who gets a woman pregnant has to marry her. Then father just takes off, or simply avoids their responsibility. Then there are those exceptions: What happens if a man gets three women pregnant on the same week? What do we throw at that? We jail them? Bring them back from another state to face their responsibility?
Watch the cost of our justice system skyrocket, for everything from prisons to law enforcement, and the backlog in family court, already bad, explode.
There would be a ton of single mothers out there. Sure the Religious Right also frowns upon this. They have no choice though, as you can’t legislate modular families.
Most single mothers take a lot longer to reach their full earning potential, if they ever get there. Many struggle to make it, often shifting the burden back on to families also struggling to make it. When they have no support mechanism, Republicans tell them to seek out the church, and charity.
Many, desperate for some relief, might. A lot of them, though, won’t be able to handle being moms, or won’t want to. They would abandon their children to adoption, or sell them to what is sure to be a growing slave trade to get a little money to eat and carry on. It happens in overcrowded population centers all over the world. Pushed to the same conditions of poverty, it would happen here.
Even assuming that the GOP could sell the highly unconstitutional concept of forcing people to seek out faith-based institutions to feed, clothe and shelter themselves, as the Bush Administration attempted, how would these religious organizations, which struggle to deal with a few million people, deal with ten, twenty, or even one hundred times the number of poor women and their off-spring who can’t care for themselves?
Intentionally creating single moms carries a staggering cost.
True, some jobs might come back. With a swelling U.S. workforce that would start to look like Bangladesh, and rapidly devolving middle class crashed into poverty, workers for manual labor tasks like factory jobs could be had on the cheap. If the single moms could find someplace to keep their kids long enough to work the low-wage hours. In some Chinese factories they have daycare, if you consider a room with a few toys and a couple of people herding kids daycare for people who put in 80 hour weeks for $.70/hr. That’s the kind of hours that Chinese workers were putting into building Etch-A-Sketches for American kids who live far better.
Churches would have to increase fees, tithes, whatever, to levels that would drive membership from the church, or bankrupt them. So the only way to pay for all of the aid would fall back upon the care provider of last resort: The government.
The Far Right’s über-bogeyman, that nasty socialist State, would have to take over the care of a lot of these children that their intolerance of reproductive rights have brought into the population. Billions-upon-billions of dollars would be siphoned out of the Treasury to nearly decade after decade of care, education, etc.
It would be a welfare state the likes of which no world government has ever seen. It would create a collapse far more epic than the Roman empire, or any of the Fox News histrionics about the debt ceiling last summer.
Oh, and if you think that the house you live in, that fat pad in your bank account, and the fancy car that you drive insulate you or your grand, great-grand or great-greats, think again.
On the track proposed by the Republican Religious Zombies, the slide for all but a handful of wealthy families is pretty much assured.
Right now we’re experiencing a “boomlet” in population in the elementary years that’s an aftermath of the “baby boom” of post World War II. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 78.5M people were in school in 2010:
With only 37M of college age or approaching, schools of “higher learning” are getting staggering application numbers: Boston University: 45,000, UCLA: 61,000. All for 4000 to 8,000 places. Small colleges that never had wait lists are lining people up. Community colleges are filling up with students who would have been university bound with B+ averages that won’t get them into a school of higher learning now. The trend will only get worse when the boomlet of WWII great grandchildren, that 41.7M students, hits.
Now imagine what would happen when the number of children seeking higher education out of our system doubles, triples, quintuples, not just for a few years, but permanently?
Colleges would only be for an upper fraction of students. You can have all of the money in the world, but your precious pea who is academically average is now a taxing turnip with a 3.1, heading down the road of devolution.
Double or triple our student population and the badly under-funded public schools that can barely handle the class loads that they have now would be equally overwhelmed. Home school them, as Rick Santorum does with his kids? With single moms working one or two jobs that’s not going to fly. You might use the Internet to teach, but the quality of education for all would suffer, to day nothing of the socialization of latch-key children glued to a computer all day.
The less educated a population, the more it devolves. Malthus 1, Right-to-Lifers 0.
That many more citizens enjoying their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness also puts more demand into the supply chain for everything from fuel to food to housing.
Enjoy your steak at $5.99/lb. Right-to-Lifers? It might be harder to do when it’s $57.99/lb. When you put millions more hungry mouths down on the planet, though, they have to eat.
Not possible? Anyone remember the .50 cent cheeseburger of the 1960s. It costs between a McDonalds subsidized $1.00 and $15.00 today with the average going around $5.00. A gallon of milk is $3.69, subsidized by markets’ shifting of mark-ups to other items. Unsubsidized as is it would be $5.39 or more. A gallon of gas is unsubsidized and getting mighty close to the milk price.
Retirement? With millions of people unable to care for themselves, someone has to. Perhaps not. It may be fiscally impossible for society to care for the elderly. Then you end up with dystopic extremes of a Logan’s Run the 1967 novel where they install eugenics machines for population control. At a set age, people voluntarily walk in and incinerate themselves to maintain the balance.
Sadly, unless we would return to women the right to control when they choose to be pregnant, or if they want that at all, there would be no stopping it.
Legally, should the Religious whack-jobs get their way, they will face the constitutional consequences: If a society is allowed to dictate the terms of the conception of a human being, and hamper the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, then that same society becomes fully responsible for that life . If you legislate life, you become obligated to insure its rights to life, liberty, and its pursuit of happiness under that same legal system.
The Chinese don’t know what to do with a billion poor hungry rurals. No matter how much “prosperity” they can report on paper, it never trickles down beyond the fraction of 1% of the top Communist Party members and the billionaires they co-opt into the party.
Hey, that’s not unlike what Mr. Santorum, Mr. Romney and Mr. Gingrich are proposing with such radicalization of fiscal and social policy in diametrically opposite directions.
They talk about not being China. Yet by their policies, they almost assure that we will be, and that this country will be doomed to devolution when the numbers just add up beyond capacity. It’s the Republican policy conundrum which they refuse to address.
Think of the ride waits with your grandkids at Disneyworld, assuming you could afford the $35K a night for a room.
My shiny two.