National Courage


World Population – Source:

Reading time – 2:10 – Viewing time – 5:29  .  .  . 

When there were just one billion people (about 1804), this planet was able to tolerate a lot of abuse in various forms of pollution, including fouling of lakes and rivers, putting toxic gasses into the air and dumping nasty materials into the ground. The ratio of humans to planet was just too great for us to have lasting, significant impact.

As we now approach eight billion people, the ratio is vastly different and human impact on the Earth is both obvious and threatening. That leaves us just two options for actions to save ourselves from substantial danger.

First, we can take steps to reduce the pollution that we create and perhaps even reverse some of it. That will take a united and sustained global effort if we are to avert wars over fresh water and food. It is hoped that such an effort has been started with the accords developed at the Paris Climate Conference in December, 2015, attended by 195 nations. The fundamental agreement is that each nation is to devise its own plan. What is needed, of course, is for all to follow through both with plans and with actions.

The second thing we can do is to cause world population to stabilize and then decrease, because obviously, with fewer people we will have a reduced impact on the planet. Accomplishing that is the trick.

Jonathan Swift offered us direction on that with his 1729 offering to ease the burden of the poor in Ireland by selling their children as food, this in his powerful work, A Modest Proposal. What could be simpler and have the twofer advantage of both decreasing the population and helping with food shortages?

With that clear and compelling logic in mind, I suggest that we are already on a similar journey and offer these examples:

Let’s face the facts.

We stubbornly refuse to change our lifestyle habits and that’s good, because that helps to solve our population problem.

Interestingly, there are now more homicides by firearms each year than deaths due to car crashes. Part of that is due to the safety systems now built into our cars, like seat belts, air bags, ABS brakes, traction control and newer features like frontal crash protection. There is even some braniac’s invention of a system to keep your car in its lane, even when you’re distracted by texting something that’s so important that it can’t wait for you to stop the car.

Unfortunately, all of those automobile safety features run counter to our desired reduction of the population, so some serious consideration should be given to abandoning all of them and bringing back the days when holiday weekends were marked by tallying the hundreds of fatal car crashes across the nation.

For the gun part of this issue, it’s time to stop pretending that background checks, fingerprint ID and trigger locks are good things. It’s time for a national return to both open and concealed carry, with all adult citizens being required to carry a loaded gun. That will bring us back to the days of the Old West and we will be able to settle our differences quickly and help to reduce over-population and pollution all at the same time.

As for the suicides of military veterans, we may have to become better at this, as there are roughly 21.8 million vets in America, so the 22 suicides per day probably won’t have sufficient impact to make a dent on our over-population problem. Perhaps we can entirely eliminate PTSD treatment for returning vets and also string out medical attention for war-related injuries even longer.

Source: “NIH Research Funding Rebounds in President’s FY 2016 Budget”, by, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Finally, and perhaps obviously, it’s time to end our mania over disease treatment and prevention. Infectious diseases have the same potential today to solve a great many of our population challenges as they did during the bubonic plague in medieval Europe and the influenza epidemic in the early 20th century. Sadly, we have recently taken a step in a counterproductive direction.

As you can see from the dashed light blue line on the chart on the right, we have wisely been reducing funding  for the National Institutes of Health for 13 years. Just this year, though, in a wrong-headed move, the President increased funding just slightly. That will have the long term effect of increasing our population and pollution problems. What could he have been thinking?

Clearly, there are things we can do to increase our death rate and achieve our goals. All we need is our national gift for innovation and the courage to rededicate ourselves to continue on our path.


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe.  Thanks!  JA

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5 Responses to National Courage
  1. Allan Shuman Reply

    My friends, you are thinking too small. The obvious answer: Elect Donald Trump. And enact his solutions to international conflicts: Then we can do away with silly notions like nuclear nonproliferation. Let’s get into the conflict(s) in real, meaningful ways. If you want to reduce the population, reduce the population!!!! Stop pussyfooting. Of coursse, what to do with that pesky lingering cloud might be an issue for those of us who remain.

  2. David Houle Reply

    Thanks for speaking out. I think there will be massive civil and not civil disobedience if the choice is Hillary versus either Trump or Cruz. Between now and 2020 there will be massive protests across the country. Simply put, the story of 2016 is that the rules of two private entities, the Democratic and Republican parties control the American democracy. And of course those that pay them. I wish Bernie was a better debater. Simply state that the time of the Clinton style Democratic party is out of date and she is no longer relevant. It is SO hard to ever imagine voting for her. “Her” is the only reason, as a man with her record would have no chance whatsoever. Ugh!

    What I truly love is the deep Karma the Republican party is facing. It takes a con man to reveal a con. Trump followers are the victims of the 30 year con of the Republican Party on the American people that trickle down economics works and create jobs. They did what they were supposed to do, they played by the rules, then the company sent their jobs overseas, left them with houses underwater and medical bills they couldn’t pay.

    Bernie Sanders, and the upheavals that are coming is the Karma of the Clinton version of the Democratic party deciding to sleep with corporations and deregulate banking.

    At least Trump is riding the wave to destroy the Republican party. I love that! Go Donald! Stick it to them. Not that I could vote for him.

    Something is going on and the two parties and the ‘mainstream’ media don’t know what it is. Do they Mr. Jones!

  3. dominick Reply

    A sound and well thought out plan Jack!

    Our two corporate-funded private political parties appear to be on the right track to implement your proposals. The Republican Party is currently taking the lead, while the Democratic Party makes sure there are no roadblocks to impede progress…unless they are offered enough donations to switch roles and guarantee the job eventually gets done.

  4. Dan Wallace Reply

    Jack, here’s a number that will scare you. It comes from Jared Diamond in his book “Collapse.”

    People in the “developed world” (read “us and the Europeans”) consume resources at roughly 9x the rate of people in the “less developed world” (read “poor folks”). With the exception of a few places where entering the modern age is viewed as immoral, those less developed folks are doing everything they can to catch up to us (c.f. China). When they do (and they will), and when the earth’s population tops out at 9 billion, which is where, according to Diamond, scientists who know these things tell us it will, the effective rate of resource consumption will be that of a population 72 billion people consuming resources at today’s average rate.

    Wishing us all good luck with that!

  5. Frank Levy Reply

    Here are a couple of things that can be added to your list of to do’s to reduce the world’s population:

    Make the death penalty applicable to more crimes, like minor drug possession, and drunk driving.

    Stop allowing long and drawn out appeals for those sentenced to death for crimes they committed

    Further reduce, or end altogether, all food assistance programs for the poor. Death from starvation is slow and unpleasant to watch but we could put starving people in camps so we would not have to see them starve

    End all government health insurance programs – Medicaid, Medicare, and the ACA. This would prevent the poor and elderly from getting the healthcare they need and would hasten their death from less acute diseases and ensure they live shorter and more painful lives

    Make it a crime, punishable by death, for religious groups and houses of worship to have programs that feed and educate the poor and homeless

    Make homelessness a crime punishable by death

    Require all youth, men and women, of every nation, over 18, to serve in the military. We know that governments hate to see resources go to waste, and larger military resources would make it easier to go to war and thus kill off more young people of child-bearing age

    I am sure, given some more time, and a few stiff drinks, together, we can come up with additional ideas for reducing the world’s population