Rushing to the front of the race for the prize of Most Vomit-Inducing Environmental Initiative Ever Devised, the UK's Optimum Population Trust -- which counts such grandees as David Attenborough and Jonathon Porritt among its supporters -- has just launched PopOffsets. This quirkily named campaign is actually deeply sinister: It invites well-off Westerners to offset their carbon emissions by paying for poor people in the Third World to stop procreating.When Jill at Pundit and Pundette brought Brendan O’Neill's item to my attention, I was moved to remark:
In short, if you feel bad about your CO2-emitting jaunt to Barbados, or the new Ferrari you just splurged on, then simply give some money to a charity which helps to "convince" Third World women not to have children, and -- presto! -- the carbon saved by having one less black child in the world will put your guilt-ridden mind at rest.
The Optimum Population Trust is a creepy Malthusian outfit made up of Lords, Ladies, and Sirs who all believe that the world's problems are caused by "too many people." It recently carried out a cost-benefit analysis of the best way to tackle global warming and "discovered" (I prefer the word "decided") that every £4 spent on contraception saves one ton of CO2 from being added to the environment, whereas you would need to spend £8 on tree-planting, £15 on wind power, £31 on solar energy, and £56 on hybrid vehicle technology to realize the same carbon savings.
What makes such idiocy as "population offsets" fashionable among the bien pensant sophisticates is their conceited belief that they possess a monopoly on good intentions, and that good intentions are all that matter. That nonsensical belief was thoroughly debunked by Thomas Sowell's The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy.You can read the whole thing. I conclude by observing how elitists try to get away with sloppy thinking by stigmatizing their critics with labels like "anti-intellectual."
Once you understand the nature of this fallacy -- "Good intentions toward Group X will result in policy beneficial to Group X" -- you gain a certain contempt for the way liberals habitually celebrate their own good intentions by accusing conservatives of mala fides. In terms of public policy, it matters not a whit whether you love Africans, hate Africans or don't have an opinion about Africans; the test is whether they are actually benefitted by your policy. . . .
That method of argument-by-accusation should always arouse suspicion: What are they trying to hide? And the suspicion is compounded when the global-warming fearmongers require 140 private planes and 1,200 limousines to carry them to the "Climate Summit."
Coincidentally -- speaking of green lies -- Andrew Breitbart today found himself accused of murderous malice by . . . Charles Johnson. Laura W. at AOSHQ has more mendaciousness by Mad King Charles.