Tuesday, September 30, 2008

[ochlocracy] and the teeming masses

Teeming humanity at peak hour

This is far worse than the Tube stations and buses during peak hours:

At least 100 devotees have been killed in a stampede at a Hindu temple in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan. Officials said at least 100 more were injured in the incident at the Chamunda Devi temple in the city of Jodhpur. A wall near the temple is said to have collapsed, causing panic among thousands of gathered devotees.

It's terrible but equally terrible is the crush of humanity itself, which is increasingly causing an apocalyptic scenario for all.

It is no accident that travelling first class, owning villas and property in Switzerland, having a retreat - all of these are a reaction against excessive population crush. The dole queues, the teeming masses in the street - these are the province of the common man, of which I am one.

Every one of us wants to be treated as special, to have our opinions heard, to be someone - this is what blogs are all about, after all. We recoil from the idea of being a dot in the human landscape, such as in China, India or Africa. Masses are all around us but are still that short distance away to be comfortable. For how long?

What differentiates us from those at the top with the space to think is that we might have thought of the things below but would hardly consider implementing them. Firstly, Robert McNamara, of the World Bank, Oct. 2, 1979:

"There are only two possible ways in which a world of 10 billion people can be averted. Either the current birth rates must come down more quickly or the current death rates must go up. There is no other way. There are, of course, many ways in which the death rates can go up. In a thermonuclear age, war can accomplish it very quickly and decisively.

Famine and disease are nature’s ancient checks on population growth, and neither one has disappeared from the scene…. To put it simply: Excessive population growth is the greatest single obstacle to the economic and social advancement of most of the societies in the developing world.”

Thomas Ferguson, State Department Office of Population Affairs, Latin American Desk, February 1981 interview:

“There is a single theme behind all our work–we must reduce population levels. Either governments do it our way, through nice clean methods, or they will get the kinds of mess that we have in El Salvador, or in Iran or in Beirut. Population is a political problem. Once population is out of control, it requires authoritarian government, even fascism, to reduce it….

To really reduce population, quickly, you have to pull all the males into the fighting and you have to kill significant numbers of fertile age females…. “The quickest way to reduce population is through famine, like in Africa, or through disease like the Black Death….”

... and Prince Phillip:

“You cannot keep a bigger flock of sheep than you are capable of feeding. In other words conservation may involve culling in order to keep a balance between the relative numbers in each species within any particular habitat. I realize this is a very touchy subject, but the fact remains that mankind is part of the living world…. Every new acre brought into cultivation means another acre denied to wild species.”

Naturally, this blog does not concur with the Club of Rome, who stated, in 1991, in The First Global Revolution:

"The real enemy, then, is humanity itself."

The enemy is certainly population numbers but the people themselves, as they exist today, need charitable feelings above all else, otherwise we ourselves descend to the bestial. The greatest obstacle to ZPG is that whilst the west might embrace it from an intellectual standpoint, the high birthrate societies show no sign of doing that.

So where does that then leave the McNamara Doctrine, which is working towards population reduction and survival of the species? Is it the fear of unsustainable levels or more a fear that they cannot be controlled?

Every State [and many of us too e.g. football mobs], fears the crowd, fears that it will turn into a mob and mob rule is ochlocracy, a particular concern in Imperial Rome, for example, in the time of Commodus:

The tumult became a regular engagement and threatened a general massacre. The Praetorians at length gave way, oppressed with numbers ...

If we, quite logically, as human beings, with some degree of compassion, react with horror to what the elite have put into words, if we however, are feeling quite oppressed by sheer numbers, then what do we offer as a viable alternative to solve this dilemma?


Colin Campbell said...

Ochlocracy sounds like the study of Scottish culture.

I can remember feeling stupid asking someone who had a bag from the Institute of Tribology some social anthropology questions. He was a mechanical engineer.

James Higham said...

By the way, is the solution to raise the quality of life of the economically lowest, high population producing peoples in order to, over one gneration or two, sociologically reduce the number of kids they have?

TBRRob said...

The key is Britains population. We can't do much about the rest of the world.

Wolfie said...

That approach James, only works in certain cultures and principally requires the emancipation but yet at the same time to make infantile the females. They are the key to the population dilemma, that is why rape has been so commonly part of warfare.


At the risk of sounding like a'snob', I don't think this theory of population control is a horrific elitism but FACT.
In every species nature usually culls to keep the balance between numbers it can sustain and available resources.
Why should humans be any different?
Given 99% of people need to be culled-just look at the sphere for examples- I don't see a problem, as long as I am not part of the 99%. :)

Gracchi said...

Aren't you conflating two things- sorry but I'm slightly confused. On the one hand you have the concern with the mob. ON the other hand you ahve the concern that resources are finite and we are approaching the limits of what we can consume. I'm not sure I see why those are logically connected- one seems to be a political judgement (are mobs or large collections of people good or bad?) the other a scientific and economic (what kind of resources are there, what does the average person need and when will we run out).

What's the connection?

Sean Jeating said...

Be fruitful, and multiply ... :)

James Higham said...

Thanks all. The simplest way to put it, Tiberius, is that it is not as black and white as you see it. There are things to be balanced and weighed against one another in any viable solution.