On February 11, 2013, the Denver Post ran a guest commentary of great clinical interest. In the piece in question, Colorado State University philosophy professor Philip Cafaro advanced the argument that immigration needs to be sharply cut, because otherwise people from Third World nations will come to the United States and become prosperous, thereby adding to global warming.
Cafaro says “And make no mistake: Immigrants are not coming to the United States to remain poor,” warns the philosopher. “Those hundreds of millions of new citizens will want to live as well and consume energy at the same rates as other Americans. . . . What climate change mitigation measures . . . could possibly equal the increased greenhouse gas emissions we would lock in by adding 145 million more new citizens to our population?”
Robert Zubrin notes that according to Cafaro’s liberal argument, the wretched of the Earth must be kept poor wherever they reside, because otherwise they will ruin the weather for the rest of us. Following this logic, the United States should adopt the role of the world’s oppressor, enforcing the continuation of poverty around the globe.
The argument has always been the same:
1. There isn’t enough of x to go around.
2. Therefore human numbers, activities, or liberties must be severely constrained.
3. Those of us enlightened by wisdom must be empowered to do the constraining.
4. And having obtained such power, let’s make the best of it and stick it to those we despise anyway.
All these cases were frauds. Ireland never lacked the capacity to feed its people. During the entire “great famine,” the island continued to produce massive amounts of beef and grain. The Irish just couldn’t afford to buy any of it due to the enforcement of rack-renting, high taxation, and suppression of manufactures. Germany never needed additional living space. It has a bigger population now than it did under the Third Reich, on much less land, yet it has a far higher living standard. Hitler just used the Lebensraum imperative as an excuse for genocide. Contrary to Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich, the world was not overpopulated in 1967. In fact, since that time, as world population has doubled, average GDP per capita has nearly tripled. Yet, unfortunately, that did not stop population-control advocates from obtaining billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money to help Third World regimes stop reproduction among their poor, in general, and despised national minorities, in particular. And there is certainly no moral case for limiting carbon emissions.