The battle of values gets more and more dissociated from the physical and biological universe- - - - - - - - -
By Nina Hjerpset-Østlie on March 17, 2009
The political debate unfolds itself in a universe increasingly remote from the physical and biological universe in which we live, writes Jens Lintrup, medical doctor, civil engineer (retired) and secretary of the Demographic Council and Society (DROS), in the Danish weekly edition of Berlingske Tidende.To noble, unselfish people the communist society must stand as an example well worth fighting for. In reality, however, it’s evident that the struggle for power in those communities favors the most cynical and ruthless people. Which is not strange at all. If the human brain had not evolved and tuned itself for gaining power within family and society the species of mankind would probably have vanished about three million years ago. In a capitalist society it’s hard to find bank executives who don’t identify their own, personal interests with the broader society’s interests.
This unfortunate trait of human nature has been countered by accepting universal human rights and democracy. So well in fact, that many people now think that one can construct a society founded upon legislation without taking the biological nature of mankind into account. An outstanding example here is the battle of values with regard to fugitives, where numerical considerations are deemed irrelevant.
Throughout the last 2,000 years the populations of the Middle East and North Africa grew very slowly in harmony with the economical development, but during the 100 years between 1950 and 2050 those populations are bound to increase eightfold. Although the birthrates have slowed down recently, it is not the case in the least developed regions such as the Gaza strip. The birthrates there have grown far beyond anything the society can sustain.Productivity in The Middle East and North Africa doesn’t have a chance to create jobs for all those young people. Regardless of oil revenues, unemployment will continue to rise and standards of living will deteriorate in the coming generations. The Muslim Brotherhood has no understanding of that and grabs every opportunity to incite political chaos and civil wars resulting in huge tsunamis of refugees.
On the other hand it appears that the populations of Western Europe will decrease with something like twenty percent during that same period. (1950-2050). Such is the tendency in the materialistic world in which Denmark and the rest of Western Europe live.
In 1950 there were almost three people in Western Europe compared to one in The Middle East and North Africa. In 2050 this relation will be reversed. Inevitably the overpopulation of The Middle East and North Africa will render life for those citizens so hopeless that they will spare no effort and take great risks in order to gain asylum in Western Europe. And with good reason.
Lintrup considers it unbelievable that some influential politicians in Denmark still label it paranoia when anyone fears a Muslim majority in Western Europe around 2050. Only ignorance about the upcoming demographic shift can explain an attitude like this, writes Lintrup:Considering the colossal shift in demography and, accordingly, the democratic balance of power between the two sides of the Mediterranean Sea it seems without reason to limit the debate on asylums to a debate on values. One must take the numbers into consideration.
During the preceding century Georg Brandes was an intellectual person with great influence upon humanistic ideology. But at the same time he was very realistic. He would probably be spinning in his grave, if he had to listen to all those well-meaning but naïve arguments about values nowadays spewing from the pulpit of Parliament.
Religious freedom is good, but mostly within the spiritual realm. Insofar as religious freedom limits the physical universe with regard to food, clothes, freedom of expression, and sexual behavior it’s a dubious blessing, prone to creating conflicts. The mullah-regime in Iran has restricted free schooling to the first two children in a family. That’s against human rights. It is discrimination against additional children. But if it spares the Iranians the misery of overpopulation so prevalent in Arab states, one could call it a blessing. Here, human rights work is a barrier to human welfare. What looks beautiful in the universe of spiritual values might manifest itself harmfully in the physical universe, when it comes to reality.
Indeed, it would be a blessing for society if we had a little less of a battle of values and a little more realism, opines Lintrup. But one cannot blame the politicians exclusively; they just want to get re-elected, and in that regard so-called values tend to count. Everyone has an opinion on values, but not necessarily an understanding of physical and biological realities. And here the media don’t honor their responsibility; they prefer to sell exciting stories that everybody can comprehend. Trends in underlying data might appear dusty and boring without any entertaining effect. Accordingly, they are without merit in the stream of daily news:Take Afghanistan. There politicians as well as the media talk about the Taleban threat. It’s entertaining on TV. In reality however, the threat from overpopulation is far more imminent. During the 100 years from 1950 to 2050 it looks like the Afghan population will increase from 8 million to more than 80 million. Presently it is already at 32 million. And yet, from the pulpit of the Danish Parliament they constantly underscore the importance of civilian aid alongside the military effort against the Taleban. That kind of talk must be considered as nothing but hot air as long as one does not include whether the rebuilding of that country aims at a state of 8 or 80 millions. It is no secret that the average birthrate for Afghan women still is as high as 6.5 — the highest outside Africa. But nobody talks about what can be done about that.
And one could blame university-employed scientists who know the demography of the Middle East for not objecting when politicians and the media flash their ignorance of this ongoing development. Basically, demography is a science of fundamental political importance, but has been relegated by the universities to a minor corner of geography.
In short, the problem of overpopulation doesn’t concern anyone as long as it isn’t a battle of values of interest to the people of Western Europe. No politician gets elected for taking on this battle. That is why it rests in silence among politicians and academicians. But the battle of values must be moved from the spiritual to the biological and physical universe, and preferably quickly, concludes Lintrup:Politicians might get so embedded in the remote universe of values, that their grip on material matters in the physical universe become unrealistic. Even our Minister for the Environment does not look ashamed when she organizes a ‘climate-summit’ focusing on material energy conservation, while ignoring the potential energy-saving brought by slowing down the increasing overpopulation. It is not even a part of the summit’s agenda. Every decade the growth of mankind far exceeds the present number of humans in Europe from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Range. How many decades can the globe’s environment sustain this? In this situation, will it be at all possible to save the globe without limiting the growth of populations, for example like the Mullahs’ measures in Iran? But what politician can get away with saying something like that?
If one feels comfortable in the physical and biological universe it is evident that mankind has reached a line where it must choose between growth in numbers and growth in welfare. The debate on values in the spiritual universe has not reached that line yet. May it do so soon!