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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Who wrote that headline? 

Warning - this post goes all over the place. Fasten your seat belts now.

Reuters writer Ben Blanchard wrote a story that begins as follows:

BEIJING (Reuters) - Humans are stripping nature at an unprecedented rate and will need two planets' worth of natural resources every year by 2050 on current trends, the WWF conservation group said on Tuesday.

Populations of many species, from fish to mammals, had fallen by about a third from 1970 to 2003 largely because of human threats such as pollution, clearing of forests and overfishing, the group also said in a two-yearly report.

By the time I read the story on Yahoo, the following headline had been attached to the story:

Humans living far beyond planet's means: WWF

When I first read that headline, I began thinking that "humans living far beyond" refers to humans living too long. Then, when I noticed that the article was datedlined Beijing, the solution became obvious. Humans shouldn't live too long. Sounds like a solution, doesn't it?

Obviously, Beijing has already made wonderful progress on ensuring that humans aren't born in the first place (emphasis mine):

China.org.cn: Although the Population and Family Planning Law was formally implemented on September 1 [2002], family planning has actually been practiced as a basic policy of the nation for more than 20 years, proving highly effective. What was the central government’s original intention in creating such a law?

Zhao [Bingli, vice minister of the State Family Planning Commission]: Family planning affects all households since each person and each family must contend with the issue. Such a broad action needs a law to standardize its implementation. For example, what exactly are the people's rights and responsibilities in family planning? And what responsibilities should the government undertake in the process of implementing the law? All these aspects should be standardized by an act of law.

Actually, the government considered and discussed the legislation on family planning 20 years ago. Deng Xiaoping promoted the idea of family planning legislation as early as 1979. Chen Yun, another late Chinese leader, was also active. But conditions were not ripe at that time. The final promulgation and implementation of the Population and Family Planning Law was due to three factors: the central government attached a great deal of importance to the work; after years of implementing the basic policy it is now widely supported by the people; and a set of successive experiences have been formed which suit the country's current situation and modern economic and social development....

China.org.cn: Thirty years have passed since China introduced family planning policy. What is the country's population situation like today?

Zhao: After 30 years of efforts, exponential population growth has been effectively controlled, and some 300 million births have been prevented. Under undeveloped economic circumstances and in a relatively short period of time, the country has realized a remarkably low birth rate.

However, taking care of things at the beginning of life only addresses part of the WWF-identified problem. Despite the efforts of many, including Dr. Jack Kevorkian, humans are still just living too danged long. But "The Militant" disagrees:

A chorus of capitalist politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, is warning that the Social Security system will become bankrupt in the coming years because of the growing numbers of older workers. Seventy-seven million “baby boomers” are approaching retirement by the end of the decade, and young workers will bear an undue burden caused by older generations, they argue.

The old myth of overpopulation, of too many babies, is being replaced by the new myth of “too many old people.”

In the name of “saving” Social Security, some in ruling-class circles, such as Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan, have proposed raising the retirement age. Others, such as President George Bush, play on workers’ insecurity about the future in proposing individual retirement accounts, which they claim would give people more control over their own retirement money. But such “savings” can evaporate during a sharp financial crisis.

Democratic presidential contender John Kerry, like Bush, disingenuously declares that he would not cut current Social Security benefits. But Kerry has not rejected the proposal—designed to pit younger against older workers—to cut benefits for those who will retire in the coming decades.

The renewed assault on Social Security builds on an earlier attack that the Clinton administration launched in 1996 with virtually no opposition: the elimination of “welfare as we know it.” Abolishing Aid to Families with Dependent Children was the biggest single success of the U.S. rulers in beginning to erode the federal social security system, a conquest won by working people through the struggles that built the industrial unions in the 1930s and substantially expanded through the mass civil rights movement of the 1960s. Shortly before the end of his term, Clinton bragged that 8 million people had been slashed from state welfare rolls. It was the first time an entire category of working people was eliminated from such a social entitlement....

The capitalists view it as a “problem” that we are living longer. In the 1930s, life expectancy was below 65, so the government did not expect to have to pay more than a few years of Social Security benefits. Their hope is that after having squeezed as much labor out of us as possible for 50 or so years, we will die quickly and stop cutting into their profit margins.

The assault on the social wage is accompanied by a propaganda campaign to convince people that the conditions faced by the elderly are not a concern of younger or middle-aged workers. This is one of the various ways they try to tear up our class solidarity.

But there are plenty of non-militants that disagree. Take Baroness Mary Warnock:

A prominent British lawmaker has triggered an outcry by implying that elderly and very ill people should not only have the right, but the obligation to kill themselves rather than become a nuisance. The furor erupted as British lawmakers prepared to vote on a bill that critics worry could be used to sanction the killing of patients in a vegetative state.

"I couldn't bear hanging on and being such a burden on people," said Baroness Mary Warnock, an 80-year-old medical ethicist, philosopher and member of the upper House of Lords, in a weekend newspaper interview.

"In other contexts, sacrificing oneself for one's family would be considered good," she told the Sunday Times. "I don't see what is so horrible about the motive of not wanting to be an increasing nuisance."

"If I went into a nursing home, it would be a terrible waste of money that my family could use far better," Warnock added.

Later in the interview she said: "I am not ashamed to say some lives are more worth living than others," before conceding that "if someone else decides your life is not worth living, that is very dangerous."

And this unmilitant idea from avant.net:

Look for the exciting new campaign, crossing political, social, and psychological folkways, in this innovative new ideology. Appropriately, the Kill Old People campaign, (KOP), is about changing society's archtypes on the nature of the aging process and social standards associated with it. The antinomy of our troubled society is poignant in the dying misery found in the retirment communities, creating a mis-allocation of resources to fund the dying members of society so that the process can be a torturous one.

Bluegalaxy talked about a writing assignment:

This assignment we had to write why we should kill everyone when they turn seventy. Obviously, he had a warped sense of humor. I guess I did too.

Perhaps Winston heard another person from the same class:

Last night I heard, for the first time I am aware of, someone publicly promte killing old people to balance the budget.

..I don't think I got the guy's name, but I do remember part of his shtick...

.."Old people are too damn expensive to keep alive!! I don't want to give half my salary to keep useless old people alive!!!

..How long does the government say we should live? 75? Is that about it? OK, the next time I see some old man or woman shuffling across the crosswalk...I run over him/her!! If they're over 75...I get a pass. If they are say, 72...then I get a credit!!! You just collect those credits for long enough and they add up. Imagine you have a glovebox full of credits and your 17 year old tells you to STUFF IT!!! when you tell him to cut the grass. Normaly, you couldn't kill him and get away with it. But with enough credits ...you could!!"...

And the people laughed. But they didn't laugh in the Netherlands:

The Dutch have already progressed quite far down the slope that the opponents of euthanasia fear. It is estimated that at least twice as many people are now polished off by their doctors in Holland as are admitted to in the official figures; and most of the 'extras' are killed not because they want to die, but because their doctor (or legatee) wants them to die. Many old people in Holland are now afraid to go to their doctor in case they are (to use the term invented in Argentina during the Dirty War there) `suicided'.

Moreover, doctors have already killed people in Holland who were depressed or who merely feared that they would become disabled. It is as if the death-- dealing doctors are looking for new fields to conquer, as a prop to their own selfimportance. Who, after all, can be more important than a person with a licence to kill?

We may be sure also that the proponents of euthanasia will not rest on their laurels: they will want euthanasia to become a human right, like that of freedom of speech or assembly. In other words, doctors will not merely be permitted to kill their patients; they will be bound, legally, to do so. Any doctor who failed in this regard would face disciplinary action. Already Dutch doctors who are opposed to euthanasia have been informally penalised.

But you know that you've hit a hot button when the fascist label is attached:

"Nazi legislation and Hitler's ideas are reemerging in Europe via Dutch euthanasia laws and the debate on how to kill ill children." ... Carlo Giovanardi. Italian Parliamentary Affairs minister, March 2006.

Well, this wasn't written by a militant, nor was it written by a fascist:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

Carrie Gordon Earll, at Focus on the Family, answers a question about assisted suicide:

Q. Is there an example of assisted suicide in the Bible?

A. There is an account of reported voluntary euthanasia (in which one person asks another to kill them, ostensibly in order to alleviate the first person’s suffering) involving King Saul and an Amalekite (2 Samuel 1:1-16). The unnamed Amalekite tells King David that he killed Saul at Saul’s request, as Saul was wounded in battle. David’s response is to kill the Amalekite for touching God’s anointed. If euthanasia were a beneficial practice, David would have rewarded the Amalekite, not sentenced him to death.

But are we practicing other forms of assisted suicide? Ponder that question in light of what Pacific Views says:

"Gluttony — Wasting of food, either through overindulgence in food, drink or intoxicants, misplaced desire for food for its sensuality, or withholding food from the needy ("excessive love of pleasure" was Dante's rendering)."

Yes, we have a country that does indeed overindulge, but what I found interesting about this definition is that is goes right to the heart of another area where we are failing if we are truly to be an example of a “Christian nation”. We are miserly when it comes to sharing food with others that are poor in this country. And as our "faith-based" government cuts food stamps for the poor while giving tax breaks for the extremely wealthy, it is clear that this sin is another real problem for this government.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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