This is the third of a three-part series of articles exploring Obama administration science czar John P. Holdren’s self-acknowledged intellectual debt to geochemist and early ecological alarmist Harrison Brown. In the first part, WND reported Brown recommended pumping carbon dioxide into the global atmosphere in order to promote the food production needed to prevent starvation resulting from overpopulation. In the second part, WND examined Brown’s endorsement of eugenics as a recommended means of controlling overpopulation to prevent ecological disasters.
Geochemist Harrison Brown, a member of the Manhattan Project who supervised the production of plutonium, advocated world government in the 1950s to impose mandatory controls over population growth, carried out, if necessary, through sterilization and forced abortions.
White House science czar John Holdren openly acknowledges Brown’s writings influenced his decision to devote his career to the science of ecology.
Holdren has echoed Brown’s call for global government by advocating the United States should surrender sovereignty to a “Planetary Regime” armed with sufficient military power to enforce population limits on nations as a means of preventing a wide range of perceived dangers from global eco-disasters involving Earth’s natural resources, climate, atmosphere and oceans.
On page 260 of his 1954 book “The Challenge of Man’s Future,” Brown concluded “population stabilization and a world composed of completely independent sovereign states are incompatible.”
Writing that “population stabilization” is a goal “with which a world government must necessarily concern itself,” Brown advised that “maximum and permissible population levels” for all regions of the world could be calculated by world government authorities using the rule that “individual regions of the world should be self-sufficient both agriculturally and industrially.”
Brown even contemplates infanticide as a permissible solution to overpopulation in extreme situations, writing that “if we cared little for human emotions and were willing to introduce a procedure which most of us would consider to be reprehensible in the extreme, all excess children could be disposed of much as excess puppies and kittens are disposed of at the present time.”
That Brown considers such a reprehensible reality a possibility is made clear on page 261, when he writes: “And let us hope further that human beings will never again be forced to resort to infanticide in order to avoid excessive population pressure.”
‘Pulsating mass of maggots’
Imagining a world population growing out of control to as many as 200 billion people, Brown suggested on page 221 “a substantial fraction of humanity” was reproducing as if “it would not rest content until the earth is covered completely and to a considerable depth with a writhing mass of human beings, much as a dead cow is covered with a pulsating mass of maggots.”
Believing that there are “physical limitations of some sort which will determine the maximum number of human beings who can live on the earth’s surface,” Brown argued on page 236 that “there can be no escaping the fact that if starvation is to be eliminated, if the average child who is born is to stand a reasonable chance of living out the normal life span with which he is endowed at birth, family sizes must be limited.”
He continues to specify that the limitations in birth “must arise from the utilization of contraceptive techniques or abortions or a combination of the two practices.”
Brown openly endorsed putting morals aside.
“The conclusion is inescapable,” he continued on page 236. “We can avoid talking about it, moralists may try to convince us to the contrary, laws may be passed forbidding us to talk about it, fear of pressure groups may prevent political leaders from discussing the subject, but the conclusion cannot be denied on any rational basis.”
As far as Brown was concerned, government-mandated population control was necessary to prevent overpopulation.
“Either population-control measures must be both widely and wisely used, or we must reconcile ourselves to a world where starvation is everywhere, where life expectancy at birth is less than 30 years, where infants stand a better chance of dying than living during the first year following birth, where women are little more than machines for breeding, pumping child after child into an inhospitable world, spending the greater part of their adult lives in a state of pregnancy.”
Ultimately, Brown resolves preventing overpopulation justifies government limiting human freedom, at least with regard to reproduction.
On page 255, Brown announces “it is difficult to see how the achievement of stability and the maintenance of human liberty can be made compatible.”
How many births should be permitted?
On page 262, Brown proposes a rule government officials can utilize to mandate birth-control measures.
“Let us suppose that in a given year the birth rate exceeds the death rate by a certain amount, thus resulting in a population increase,” he postulates. “During the following year the number of permitted inseminations is decreased and the number of permitted abortions is increased, in such a way that the birth rate is lowered by the requisite amount.”
Next, Brown insists that in a year in which the death rate exceeds the birth rate, “the number of permitted inseminations would be increased while the number of abortions would be decreased.”
Brown formulates his rule as follows: “The number of abortions and artificial inseminations permitted in a given year would be determined completely by the difference between the number of deaths and the number of births in the year previous.”
Combining this rule with his desire to implement eugenics, Brown writes on the next page, “A broad eugenics program would have to be formulated which would aid in the establishment of policies that would encourage able and healthy persons to have several offspring and discourage the unfit from breeding at excessive rates.”
Brown openly acknowledged population control requires government limitation of human freedom.
“Precise control of population can never be made completely compatible with the concept of a free society; on the other hand, neither can the automobile, the machine gun, or the atomic bomb,” he wrote on pages 263-264.
“Whenever several persons live together in a small area, rules of behavior are necessary. Just as we have rules designed to keep us from killing one another with our automobiles, so there must be rules that keep us from killing one another with our fluctuating breeding habits and with our lack of attention to the soundness of our individual genetic stock.”
Holdren follows mentor’s lead
Holdren’s call for a planetary regime dates to the 1970s college textbook “Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment” that he co-authored with Malthusian population alarmist Paul R. Ehrlich and Ehrlich’s wife, Anne. The authors argued involuntary birth-control measures, including forced sterilization, may be necessary and morally acceptable under extreme conditions, such as widespread famine brought about by “climate change.”
Just as Brown had called for world government to control overpopulation to prevent eco-disasters, Holdren’s call for a planetary regime was similarly motivated by ecological concerns.
On page 943, the authors recommended the creation of a “Planetary Regime” created to act as an “international superagency for population, resources, and environment.”
Holdren clearly specified the Planetary Regime would be charged with global population control.
On page 943, Holdren continued: “The Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining the optimum population for the world and for each region and for arbitrating various countries’ shares within their regional limits. Control of population size might remain the responsibility of each government, but the Regime should have some power to enforce the agreed limits.”
Holdren credits Brown with inspiring him in high school.
Holdren openly acknowledges his intellectual debt to Brown’s 1954 book “The Challenge of Man’s Future.”
In 1986, Holdren co-edited a scientific reader, “Earth and the Human Future: Essays in Honor of Harrison Brown.”
In one of his introductory essays in the book, Holdren acknowledged he read Brown’s “The Challenge of Man’s Future” when he was in high school and that the book had a profound effect on his intellectual development.
Holdren acknowledged Brown’s book transformed his thinking about the world and “about the sort of career I wanted to pursue.”
As recently as 2007, Holdren gave a speech to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in which his last footnote included Brown as one of the “several late mentors” to whom Holdren was thankful for “insight and inspiration.”
In the first slide of this presentation, Holdren acknowledged, “My preoccupation with the great problems at the intersection of science and technology with the human condition – and with the interconnectedness of these problems with each other – began when I read ‘The Challenge of Man’s Future’ in high school. I later worked with Harrison Brown at Caltech.”