Has the U.S. Government Betrayed Chen Guangcheng?

Wednesday, May 2, AD 2012

Matthew Archbold as well as the folks at Hot Air have done a fantastic job covering the story of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng.  Matt discussed this story a few days ago.

Chen Guancheng is a blind human rights activist who has protested his country’s forced abortions and sterilizations. After months of beatings at the hands of his guards, Chen pretended to be sick and laid up in bed. He and his wife studied the movements of the guards, according to ABC News. In the middle of the night, Guancheng slipped past nearly 100 guards stationed around his home and escaped into the night.

Matt detailed the U.S. government’s less than enthusiastic embrace of Chen, and today we have learned more troubling details that indicate that the administration has betrayed Chen.  Ed Morrissey relays this:

Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng says a U.S. official told him that Chinese authorities threatened to beat his wife to death had be not left the American Embassy.

Speaking by phone from his hospital room in Beijing on Wednesday night, a shaken Chen told The Associated Press that U.S. officials relayed the threat from the Chinese side.

Chen, who fled to the embassy six day ago, left under an agreement in which he would receive medical care, be reunited with his family and allowed to attend university in a safe place. He says he now fears for his safety and wants to leave.

Chen says that the U.S. government lied to him.

An American official denied that account. The official said Mr. Chen was told that his wife, Yuan Weijing, who had been brought to Beijing by the Chinese authorities while Mr. Chen was in the American Embassy, would not be allowed to remain in the capital unless Mr. Chen left the embassy to see her. She would be sent back to Mr. Chen’s home village in Shandong, where no one could guarantee her safety.

“At no time did any U.S. official speak to Chen about physical or legal threats to his wife and children. Nor did Chinese officials make any such threats to us,” Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokesperson, said in an e-mailed statement. “U.S. interlocutors did make clear that if Chen elected to stay in the Embassy, Chinese officials had indicated to us that his family would be returned to Shandong, and they would lose their opportunity to negotiate for reunification.”…

“At no point during his time in the Embassy did Chen ever request political asylum in the U.S.,” Ms. Nuland said. “At every opportunity, he expressed his desire to stay in China, reunify with his family, continue his education and work for reform in his country. All our diplomacy was directed at putting him in the best possible position to achieve his objectives.”

As Allahpundit says, this is a distinction without a difference.  One way or the other Chen was led to believe that his wife’s life was in danger, or at the very least was threatened with physical harm.  Either way, Chen was clearly upset.

“The embassy kept lobbying me to leave and promised to have people stay with me at the hospital,” he said. “But this afternoon, as soon as I checked into the hospital room, I noticed they were all gone.”

He said he was “very disappointed” in the U.S. government and felt “a little” that he had been lied to by the embassy.

At the hospital, where he was reunited with his family, he said he learned that his wife had been badly treated after his escape.

“She was tied to a chair by police for two days,” he said. “Then they carried thick sticks to our house, threatening to beat her to death. Now they have moved into the house. They eat at our table and use our stuff. Our house is teeming with security — on the roof and in the yard. They installed seven surveillance cameras inside the house and built electric fences around the yard.”

At this point it’s impossible to determine exactly what has happened, and whether or not the State Department and the Obama administration sold Chen out just to remain in China’s good graces.  One would like to think the best of this president and assume that he would not betray a heroic dissident in order to keep an evil,authoritarian government happy.  One would also have to be hopelessly naive to blindly make such an assumption.

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18 Responses to Has the U.S. Government Betrayed Chen Guangcheng?

  • Well, the ChiComs are one of the biggest owners of our national debt. Who
    pays the piper calls the tune– we’re going to have to learn to do what our
    overlords want…

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  • Well, you know, as Sec. Clinton said, we can’t let these human rights issues destroy our national security interests or financial interests or ENVIRONMENTAL interests……silly human rights.

  • That would be the second dissident asylum seeker betrayed this year.

    It’s fascinating: we won’t turn over Uighurs designated as enemy combatants because we are afraid for their welfare, but we’ll chuck back two men who share the values of this nation (albeit not the current occupants of Washington) without a second thought.

    Now I’m going to stop because otherwise I’m going to make several intemperate references to the sexual practices and dubious parentage of said occupants.

    Maybe I need to vote for Romney after all.

  • And if Obama were to gain a second term Dale, imagine how much more “flexibility” he would have to betray this nation’s ideals, beliefs and interests. He is beginning to nudge James Buchanan for top spot on my presidential list of shame.

  • “One would like to think the best of this president . . .”

    One would like $2 steaks and for all teenagers to respect and heed thier parents’ wisdom. One would like self-mowing lawns and 200-mpg cars possessed with zip and style. One would like his wife to budget before she spends.

    And all of that is more likely than anything resembling “best” to ever be found in “this president.”

  • How can we assume that the US government just left Chen at the hospital? I mean maybe they went to get coffee er um some good Chinese food (they are in China after all) and maybe some escorts. I mean who knows!! We have to give them the benefit of the doubt. HATERS!!

  • “One would like his wife to budget before she spends.”

    You are a dreamer. 🙂

  • “You are a dreamer.”

    But I’m not the only one . . . and it was quite a list of fantasy wishes, wasn’t it?

  • Yes it was. I am going to use them elsewhere and claim credit.

  • Shaw thinks Chen would be “better off” in Chiner if Obama gets re-elected.

  • I came to this article out of concern for the “Blind (generic) Activist”. But, now I find I have to assure WK Aiken and Phillip:

    I, a wife, am responsible for the household budget and spend/save accordingly. (And, for the record, I learned how to budget from my Mom.) Still, the rest of your list would be great!

  • It shames me to say this, but perhaps Chen Guangcheng would have fared better if
    he’d fled to the Russian embassy. My God, where is this country going?

  • Thanks, Meli, for restoring my faith in the sanctity of marital bond and domestic responsibility. Were this not a public forum, I’d give you my home number so you might instruct my spouse as to the benefits of your approach. As it is, I shall simply shore up hope and renew my supplications to The Almighty that someday, before we go to our rocking chairs, this too shall have passed.

  • WK – at least post if you find that $2 steak!

  • I have a US $5 gold piece or a few silver dollars that can buy a side of beef.

  • (Is it just me, or does it seem that Nixon going to China was a very, very bad move?)

    Despicable. Both the Chinese government, and the Obama administration’s actions.

    It’s funny, but whenever I get into an argument a discussion about America’s relationship with China, they always claim that by buying Chinese goods and being friendly with China, we’re giving the Chinese people the means to live well so that they can afford to start thinking about freedom and human rights and then will encoruage their government to follow, etc.

    That tactic doesn’t seem to be working…

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Our Catholic Veep in Action

Monday, August 22, AD 2011

Oh Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe.  God love ya.

But as I was talking to some of your leaders, you share a similar concern here in China.  You have no safety net.  Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family.  The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people.  Not sustainable.

That’s right.  The Vice President of the United States of America, a good old Catholic, was speaking in China and couldn’t bring himself to criticize China’s one child policy.  No, he went so far as to say that he understands the policy.   This comes a mere few moments after he had expended some hot air about human rights.

 I recognize that many of you in this auditorium see our advocacy of human rights as at best an intrusion, and at worst an assault on your sovereignty.  I want to tell you directly that this is not our intention.  Yes, for Americans there is a significant moral component to our advocacy.  And we observed where we have failed, as well.  But it is who our people are.

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6 Responses to Our Catholic Veep in Action

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  • Now thats a profile in courage !!

    I’m sure he will receive a funeral for a saint like Ted Kennedy had…

  • Notice that religious freedom isn’t even mentioned.

    Our bishops were arrested and hauled off to God knows where, pretenders were put in their place, priests, Brothwre, and Sisters were deported from the country if foreign and sent back to their home states if Chinese, Catholic layity have had their houses burned, been assaulted and murdered, and it is still a crime to bring an un-censured bible into thw country. And our “Catholic” VP says exactly nothing about it.

    Remind me again why we call him Catholic when he is running for office.

  • I’m trying to understand why a statement like that wouldn’t trigger a process of formal excommunication.

  • Biden’s comments are nothing in comparison to Pelosi’s. So the better question is why the Church is so hesitant to state what seems to a layman to be true: that these folks have excommunicaed themselves.

  • I’m as puzzled as Pinky (above).

    All I can figure is that U.S. bishops have a well-founded fear that Catholics will be targets of widespread violence, maybe even packed off to extermination camps, if they criticize the Democrat party or its quislings.

Global One Child Per Family Policy

Thursday, December 10, AD 2009

Diane Francis, a columnist with the Financial Post, a Canadian newspaper, has a column here calling for a global one child policy.

A planetary law, such as China’s one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate currently, which is one million births every four days.

The world’s other species, vegetation, resources, oceans, arable land, water supplies and atmosphere are being destroyed and pushed out of existence as a result of humanity’s soaring reproduction rate.

Ironically, China, despite its dirty coal plants, is the world’s leader in terms of fashioning policy to combat environmental degradation, thanks to its one-child-only edict.

The intelligence behind this is the following:

-If only one child per female was born as of now, the world’s population would drop from its current 6.5 billion to 5.5 billion by 2050, according to a study done for scientific academy Vienna Institute of Demography.

-By 2075, there would be 3.43 billion humans on the planet. This would have immediate positive effects on the world’s forests, other species, the oceans, atmospheric quality and living standards.

-Doing nothing, by contrast, will result in an unsustainable population of nine billion by 2050.

Although I think this proposal of Ms. Francis is both evil and insane, I do give her props for saying out loud what many environmental hysterics only hint at:  Man is the problem.  Eliminate as many humans as possible and the environment can by saved to be enjoyed by the anointed few like Ms. Francis.

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49 Responses to Global One Child Per Family Policy

  • Oh dear, where to start?

    Perhaps with the good news? I already have two kids and I’m hoping for more. In other words, my descendants will have more influence than those of Francis and the like-minded.

    Now the insanity.

    Why even allow one child? Some poster told me that two wasn’t an arbitrary number in a combox at the end of this post, because two is necessary for population replacement:
    http://vox-nova.com/2009/08/07/preliminary-ramblings-on-population-and-the-environment/
    But of course two is arbitrary, unless the goal is perfect replication of today’s population, and I’m not sure on who is pushing for that.
    Further to the point, allowing one child is also arbitrary. If you really want to stop human influence on the environment, allowing one child is non-sense.

    Another option make much more sense if Francis is really serious:
    The vast majority of people should have no children and select families should have several. There is nothing more inefficient, ecologically, than raising a single child. Families with several children use far less resources per child.

    You know what, that wouldn’t be fair. How about this? No one can have babies and raise them. The government can calculate how many people we’re going to need to keep this thing running (we’re going to need organ transplants you know, and nurses to care for us in our old age), clone them and raise them in huge, efficient, camps. Problem solved.

  • In the worldview of these maniacs, human beings are a virus, a disease, and need to be reduced or eliminated so that Mother Earth can heal.

    This is why the global warming issue is really starting to bother me. Regardless of whether or not it is a serious problem, it is clear that some of the same forces that support this population reduction ideology are also behind terrorizing us all into accepting that we must completely reorder the world economy to reduce CO2 emissions.

    I’ve already seen articles about how babies are bad for the environment from the stand point of “carbon foot prints” – every child makes global warming worse, apparently.

  • I take a small amount of comfort in the fact that even the commenters there think she’s loony.

  • Joe, not being a scientist it is difficult for me to have a truly informed view on global warming. That said, being human I’m prone to bias and I admit I’m biased toward skepticism precisely because the folks who are the most passionate alarmists seem almost uniformly to hold some variant of comical view you describe. They see the earth as a god-like living organism that is infected with the virus known as humanity, which virus would be largely benign but for capitalism and religion, which render it deadly and malignant. The treatment requires (i) marginalizing organized religion, (ii) reducing the virus count, and (iii) replacing free markets with government planning and control. And if we don’t start treatment immediately, we’re all gonna die.

    Somehow I just don’t think so.

  • But today’s lunacy is tomorrow’s policy, at least at the rate we are going.

    Our descendants may have more influence, but who is influencing our descendants? With academia and the media (both journalistic and entertainment, to the extent there is a differrence) overwhelmingly tilted towards Mz. Francis and her ilk, the odds do not look good.

  • I have a more simple solution: if everyone who was truly alarmed about AGW would just personally stop emitting CO2 for about thirty minutes, think how much progress we would make! I think Al Gore should lead by example here.

  • One child per family will end up being a statistical result only. See, if carbon credits are a good idea, why not kiddie credits. Families who have dough can buy kiddie credits from families who need dough. This will help insure that kiddies end up in wealthier families that can afford to give them the high standard of living they deserve. Some kooks have already thought of this — count on it — but are waiting until society is “enlightened” enough to be receptive to it.

  • Not well thought out, to say the least.

    The idea of human beings as a plague or infestation is not unknown in science fiction. But the notion that nine billion people on the planet is unsustainable is also fiction.

    Which isn’t to say that politics doesn’t muck up the distribution of food and other resources. That’s plenty hard stuff to work on right there.

  • Thank God me and the husband are breeding like Catholic rabbits!! Have one 13-month old and twins on the way at the end of January. Guess we’d better keep going before the Earth Worshippers have their way!!!

  • P.S. what kills me is that these anti-human dirtbags will be whining and moaning when they grow old and grey and realize there aren’t enough tax-payers to support them in their old age! Then they’ll probably think twice about, “There are too many people!”

  • Congrats Coffee Catholic! As the father of twins, there is nothing like them to add zest to a house!

  • I’d be inclined to take her seriously if I were into gaia worship. But alas I’m not, so… meh.

  • if carbon credits are a good idea, why not kiddie credits. Families who have dough can buy kiddie credits from families who need dough.

    They thought of that already.

  • To be clear: I would never morally condone what I am about to say. Yet what strikes me as odd is that the people who call for mass population reduction because of “overpopulation” don’t…I don’t know…sacrifice themselves. There’s this group called the Voluntary Human Extinction movement and conveniently its originators have yet to voluntarily remove themselves while advocating others to do so.

  • Well, to be fair, I think you’re supposed to get yourself sterilized before signing up as a member of the voluntary extinction group. Apparently, wiping out humanity is important enough one should not have children (with the comfortable side effect that one can spend all one’s time and money on oneself and not have to support any dependants) but not actually urgent enough that one should hurry things along by actually hurting yourself.

  • I’m curious at the justification of these iniatives b/c it would avoid wars over scarce resources. Aren’t wars, from a perspective that doesn’t really value human life, just as if not a more effective means of population control? The bloodier the war, the more the population is in check.

    I just wish these kinds of proponents would be consistent with their logic, so that they could see for themselves how irrational it truly is.

  • Eric, they don’t off themselves because they’re the wise and enlightened ones. Gaia needs them to inform other people that they’re unnecessary wastes of space.

    “There’s just enough of me and way too much of you.”

  • As was basically said by another commenter, “Today’s insanity is tomorrow’s public policy.”

    China will increasingly be seen as setting the standard for all to follow. Soon every nation will be encouraged to fall in line and push for population control.

    Think it can’t happen here? Take a gander at the emissions goals to be reached in this country by 2050. They’re nothing but hogwash UNLESS efforts to “go green” are coupled with formal population control policies.

    Those policies won’t be limited to abortion. Citing “quality of life” issues we can expect a fevered push for euthanasia of the less than desirable in our society.

    It’ll be almost inevitable unless a complete turnaround is effected in the present cultural mindset.

  • This author is a day late and more than a few dollars short when it comes to the Chinese policy. I believe China has of late decided to ease up on the one-child policy in certain areas of the country because of the disastrous social problems it has caused, including but not limited to:

    1. An extreme gender imbalance (men greatly outnumber women);
    2. The disappearance of extended families (if everyone is an only child, that eliminates not only siblings but aunts, uncles, and cousins, and forces one young or middle-aged adult to be responsible for the care of both parents and all four grandparents);
    3. The “little emperor” syndrome of spoiled children and teens who grow up never having to share anything;
    4. The social instability that is likely to result from large numbers of young men being unable to marry and spending their lives as “lone wolves”.

    Other points overlooked by the global population control pushers:

    1. The main reason world population doubled in the last 50 years was NOT because birth rates went up, but because death rates went down due to sanitation, vaccinations, and improved medical care. As demographer Steven Mosher puts it, “People didn’t start breeding like rabbits — they STOPPED dying like flies.”

    2. The so-called “replacement level” fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman is merely a statistical average for developed countries in which the vast majority of children can expect to live to adulthood. In less developed countries where infant and child mortality is higher, a “replacement level” birth rate would have to be higher. A couple in Haiti or Bangladesh, for example, might have to have 5 or 6 children in order to insure that at least 2 of them survive to adulthood.

    3. To maintain a replacement level of 2.1 or 2.0 children per woman, some couples will have to have larger families in order to compensate for those who have only one child or none at all (often through no choice or fault of their own).

    4. One does NOT raise the standard of living in a less developed country by forcibly lowering the birth rate. Rather, the birth rate will drop “naturally” as standards of living rise and education and employment opportunities open up for women, which prompts them to postpone marriage and childbearing. To try to bring the birth rate down first is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse.

    5. Many countries, most notably Japan, Russia, and most of Western Europe, are facing an imminent UNDER population problem because their birthrates have been well below replacement level for decades. Some governments have tried, with varying degrees of success, to encourage childbearing through “baby bonuses”.

    6. Many experts such as Mosher believe world population will peak at 8 to 9 million later this century and then begin to decline on its own, purely from the demographic “momentum” of birth rates that are currently in decline over most of the world. Mosher states categorically that world population will NEVER double again since birth rates are dropping and life expectancies are not increasing nearly as fast as they were earlier this century (in some areas such as Russia and sub-Saharan Africa, life expectancy is actually dropping due to AIDS and other factors).

  • Oops, I meant to say that world population would peak at 8 to 9 BILLION.

  • Bravo Elaine, informative and succinct, always a potent combination!

  • “Thank God me and the husband are breeding like Catholic rabbits!!”

    Don’t forget adoption. Over 120,000 kids available today. You don’t need to give birth to expand your family, and adopted kids benefit from having a ready family!

  • Well said, Elaine. This brings to mind something I found on here at one point before. I’m sure the Doomslayer is twitching out there…

  • Nice touch Elaine,
    One addition to the disappearance of the extended family: not only do some kids grow up as ‘little emperors,’ but most kids grow up never having seen parenting in action. Most of us learned something about parenting from watching our parents with our youngest siblings, or our oldest siblings with our nieces and nephews, or our aunts and uncles with our younger cousins. All of that is eliminated when extended families disappear. To learn everything you know about parenting by observing only how your parents worked with you can be a serious disadvantage.

  • When so-called “science” comes with a set of talking points and a ready-made statist political agenda, one would be an irrational fool NOT to be skeptical of the so-called “science”.

  • Ah, let’s pick the most extreme views on how to deal with human induced climate change in order to generate more suspicion of the reasonable efforts to reduce our impact on the environment.

    Here’s the real question: Can 9 billion people sustain the level of consumption of resources currently enjoyed in the U.S.?

  • Brian,

    To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t know because I don’t know who I should trust or why I ought to trust them. Credentials just don’t seem to cut it for me anymore, since people with letters after their names can be found on both sides.

    Who do you trust and why?

  • “Ah, let’s pick the most extreme views on how to deal with human induced climate change in order to generate more suspicion of the reasonable efforts to reduce our impact on the environment.”

    This is my post Brian and I posted it as an extreme example of an all too common anti-human mindset among extreme environmentalists.

    I’ll ask you a question: Which is more important, restoring the environment or economic development to lift more of humanity out of poverty? Personally I think we can do both, and without losing our humanity in the process.

  • The notion of an imminent and disastrous worldwide population explosion requiring strict limitations on childbearing is — literally — as outdated as leisure suits, disco, and the notion of an imminent and disastrous new Ice Age (which was all the rage among climate scientists in the 70s). Birthrates have been falling rapidly all over the world — in less developed countries as well — for the past 20 to 30 years.

    The “unsustainable” 9 billion population Ms. Francis says will occur by 2050 if we “do nothing” is, according to Steven Mosher and many others, EXACTLY the point at which global population will peak and then begin to drop if we “do nothing” to change current birth rates.

  • From what I’m aware of the earth can easily sustain 9 billion and even 18 billion people without batting an eye.

    We are nowhere near reaching capacity on this blue planet, so any, ANY environmentalist or eugenicist that wants to control population control is battier than the climate change crowd.

  • World population is expected to rise until 2050 and then level off. It has fallen in India as living standards rise. The real problem we are facing is not the prospect of 9 billion people who all live like Americans, but that all Western countries (with the exception of the US) are reproducing at below replacement levels. Europe as a whole is at 1.38, Canada is at 1.48, Russia and Spain are in the demographic “death spiral” – 1.1, or half replacement rate. And,…,the same people who are most concerned about “overpopulation” tend to be the same people who like cradle to grave social programs. How, exactly, will that work when you have far more graves than cradles?

    What about the Third World, you ask? Well, as was discovered with crop yields 40 years ago, our technological capacity outstrips our growth rate by a significant margin. But, gee, once again, the greenies fret about “frankenfood” – which has done a lot more to feed Africans than Bob Geldof has.

  • “I’ll ask you a question: Which is more important, restoring the environment or economic development to lift more of humanity out of poverty? Personally I think we can do both, and without losing our humanity in the process.”

    It seems that we can do both because it is not a question of either/ or. Restoring the environment helps humanity, because humanity is part of, and depends on, the environment. Surely there is nothing extreme or “new agey” about that. Even those who highlight species and ecosystem loss tend to do so from the perspective that this would be a bad thing for humanity.

    What may seem to be beneficial for the development of humanity might indeed have unintended side effects that actually increase poverty and depersonalization. Remember that the Church was wary of industrial progress in the 19th century, not because it was anti- human, but because it had a broader view of what constituted progress.

  • Certain church leaders were wary of industrialization and they were wrong. Broader prosperity and increased life expectancy were great goods. The past in certain eras has many advantages over the present, but for the great mass of humanity life truly was, in Hobbes’ phrase, “nasty, brutish and short” compared to ours, until the great transformation wrought by the Industrial Revolution.

  • Don,

    I want to respectfully disagree with your assessment here. I do not believe the Papacy was wrong to be wary of the Industrial Revolution – there were often terrible abuses of workers and their rights, and the whole revolution was only made possible after a few centuries of political revolution against the Church, the confiscation of her property and the ruination of her ability to care for the poor.

    The Church did not and does not totally reject industrialization. All of the Popes recognized the potential benefits, but they insisted that the system of industrial capitalism be reformed and modified to respect the rights and dignity of the workers. They were not wrong to note it as a problem, and they were not wrong to demand that society address it.

    As Pius XI wrote, industrialization could have taken a better path that did not involve usurping the Church, displacing the peasantry, and abusing the workers. Thanks to the intervention of the Church, among other groups, many of the worst excesses have been remedied – but I think it is wrong to assume that they would have been without that intervention.

  • I will not deny the terrible abuses Joe, but I think industrialization was an absolutely crucial process for the well being of the great mass of the population. I think industrialization had very little to do with attacks on the Church and everything to do with human inventiveness combined with economic and political freedom. It was a process that was building for centuries and I only regret that the process wasn’t quicker. I would have died at 5 without penicillin. My father would never have walked but for advances in surgery a few decades before his birth. My mother would have been denied 12 years of her life but for the cancer treatments available in 1972. My wife and my twins would have died but for safe c-sections. We take for granted advances that our ancestors would have viewed as miracles and I am very grateful for them.

  • “To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t know because I don’t know who I should trust or why I ought to trust them. Credentials just don’t seem to cut it for me anymore, since people with letters after their names can be found on both sides.

    Who do you trust and why?”

    Trust? I tend to avoid reading with a hermeneutic of suspicion, unless I have a very good reason to do so. I just don’t have enough evidence that there is some massive conspiracy in the scientific world to over exaggerate the science on the large impact we have on the environment. In much of the scientific literature that I read, even from writers who have different politics than myself, I find very little “hard” science that cannot be interpreted in a Catholic light. To give a broad example, I see a confirmation of the Church’s critique of the modern industrial world in our recent discoveries concerning human induced climate change.

  • Another factor overlooked by population controllers: one of the most effective methods of spacing births practiced throughout human history has been the “ecological” breastfeeding of infants and toddlers for the first 2-3 years of their lives, a practice which is difficult for many modern women to adopt for various reasons.

    Historic studies of birth records going back to the Renaissance, and of certain ethnic and cultural groups such as the Amish and Hutterites, show that on average, a woman who married in her early 20s, breastfed all her children on demand as long as necessary, and practiced no other form of birth control would give birth to about 6 to 8 children in her lifetime, with the last birth occurring around age 40. Now, back when average life expectancy was in the mid-40s and nearly every family lost several children to disease, famine, etc. this was pretty close to a “replacement level” of fertility.

    When bottlefeeding became the preferred “scientific” and “sanitary” method of infant nourishment in the early to mid 20th century — and was heavily promoted in Third World countries — the result was that many women began getting pregnant every year, instead of every 2 to 3 years, and birth rates did begin to exceed replacement levels. In ancient and medieval times, women who gave birth to extremely large families of 15, 20 or more children, spaced only a year apart (sometimes less), tended to be noble or wealthy women with the means to hire wet nurses.

    The decline of breastfeeding and the resultant closer spacing of births probably fed a popular belief that without effective artificial contraception, women would be “doomed” to constant pregnancies and childbirths with little or no time to recover between them. Meanwhile, the discoveries that made natural family planning possible (e.g. the timing and signs of ovulation) didn’t occur until the late 1920s and it took several decades for doctors, etc. to get with the program (and some still haven’t).

  • “I will not deny the terrible abuses Joe, but I think industrialization was an absolutely crucial process for the well being of the great mass of the population.”

    But here’s the thing: most environmentalists, in my estimation, are not Luddites. Just as the Popes were critical of the narrow and exploitative way industrialization was carried out, and not of industrialization itself, so are most environmentalists critical of where certain industries are at today, considering what we know about climate change.

  • Brian,

    I think you’re setting up a false dichotomy. It isn’t “either trust what scientists say completely” or “scientists are involved in a massive conspiracy” – though I do believe the leaked e-mails are evidence of corruption on the part of some scientists, evidence that they are doing exactly that – exaggerating.

    What I mean is, what is it that causes you to trust what some scientists say and disregard what others say? Is it really as simple as the majority overrules the minority? Is it not true that in the history of science a minority that has gone against the prevailing wisdom has turned out to be correct in the long run? How are you so certain that isn’t the case now?

    I don’t believe the consensus really exists. The more digging I do, the more scientists, including real bona fide climate scientists, who say Co2 is not a deadly pollutant, but is actually good for the atmosphere, that temperatures are rising but at the same rate since before industrialization – a planetary recovery from the mini Ice age.

    We have two camps of scientists, both consisting of professionals with letters after their names, saying very different things. We also have a pretty deep political agenda accompanying the AGW scientists, though of course everyone accuses the skeptics of being hired by “big oil” – conspiracy theory for conspiracy theory.

    There IS evidence of collusion to hide unfavorable evidence, the destruction of data, even concerns that information might be accessed through the Freedom of Information Act. To me that sounds like evidence. Regardless, I believe that what is happening is that a correlation is being presented to us as a cause in order to push an agenda that would otherwise be extremely unpopular.

    Don,

    I don’t disagree that those are all wonderful things. My only concern is for an uncritical approach to industrialization that accepts all of its negative and sometimes evil consequences as collateral damage. I’ll say again that I do not believe the Church opposed industrialization, but she was highly critical of it and sought to put it on the right path. I think that was the right thing to do.

  • Let me just say that I am open to persuasion, but I am deeply concerned that what ought to be a scientific debate has turned so ridiculously ugly.

    People who believe global warming is a serious crisis are so fanatically intolerant of skeptics that no serious public debate has been allowed to take place. A theory that is secure, is sound, is supported by evidence, HAS NO NEED TO FEAR DEBATE. The excuse that the problem is too urgent for discussion is the rational of tyrants and oppressors.

    Because the vast majority of us are not scientists, it is all the more reason we ought to have access to both camps, to the “alarmists” and the “skeptics” or “deniers”. I want to hear a climatologist who accepts the mainstream narrative debunk the skeptics case point by point in a way I can understand. And if they say that they are above this, that they don’t have to do it, that we should trust them even without debate, well, how can a reasonable person accept that?

    What I see happening is very ugly, very troubling. I don’t care if the world is going to blow up in a year, before we agree to massive carbon taxes and a reordering of whole economies, to major political and cultural changes, we need to have a much more open debate than we have had thus far. The smearing of the skeptics is what makes me more skeptical than anything else. Copenhagen should have been a debate, the UN should allow debate, these scientists should be debating before the entire world for a week, a month, for at least as much time as we spend on murder trials and kidnapping fiascos and the Tiger Woods scandal.

    It all reinforces the sense that an agenda is being pushed on us. I don’t like it, and I will remain skeptical.

  • Joe,

    I don’t think consensus means majority, or that climate science is somehow split between camps of skeptics and proponents of human induced climate change. There are a wide range of ideas that attempt to explain data. There are many open questions, and of course everything is open to question. The peer review process, or, to put it differently, the scrutiny all theories face over time by other scientists, is how I would distinguish between good science and bad science. By good science, I wouldn’t say completely reliable, just more reliable than ideas that haven’t withstood or faced the same process. And while our understanding of climate change is always developing, and there are alot of differences over the particulars, there do seem to be some basic ideas that have withstood the test of time, namely, that rising CO2 in the atmosphere has contributed to global warming and that the reduction of CO2 emissions will have an effect on future temperature rises.

    Keep in mind that the stolen emails are, in fact, private emails that have been selected out of their original context. I’m not sure its appropriate to judge the content given how they were unethically and selectively required.

    With that said, I think there is something to the call for more open peer- reviewed journal process, which had already begun in certain quarters, although it also had its drawbacks.

    As to the “hockey stick” controversy, let me just say that there is a big difference between the controversy and what skeptics have made of the controversy, which reveals the difference between science and ideology. Check independent temp. data from boreholes, stalagmites, glaciers that together confirm an unprecedented rise in in recent decades.

  • “Let me just say that I am open to persuasion, but I am deeply concerned that what ought to be a scientific debate has turned so ridiculously ugly.”

    I would say that if anything is ugly, it is the politics or ideology creeping into the science. A good example is the dispute between Michael Mann and Stephen McIntyre over the now infamous “hockey stick graph”. The dispute was over technical aspects of methodology, not over the credibility of any theories of climate change. But since it was made into a dispute over climate change, it has become politicized.

  • Joe,

    You want to have a public “debate”, and that’s exactly what I’d like to avoid – although I guess it’s too late for that. You see we didn’t have a debate before we signed the Montreal Protocol. Most people didn’t know it happened. Nations just went ahead and took the recommendation of sound science and regulated the heck out of CFCs. Most current research has shown that if nations hadn’t acted a decisively back then, we’d be in trouble today. It was a non- partisan issue back then and it should be that way today.

  • “I want to hear a climatologist who accepts the mainstream narrative debunk the skeptics case point by point in a way I can understand.”

    That’s like reading an introduction to Catholicism that starts with areas of disagreement with Protestants. Better, in my view, to read a good book that gives a comprehensive overview of how climate science has developed. Tim Flannery’s The Weather Makers is a good start. Then hold up the arguments of the skeptics and see if they “debunk” human induced global warming.

  • Brian,

    I respectfully disagree. What the UN and major governments are proposing are drastic changes to our society, and these are not to be undertaken lightly. A debate is wholly appropriate on such major matters in a democratic society.

    As for the rest, I am not convinced that Co2 being a dangerous, toxic pollutant as recently declared by the EPA has or will “stand the test of time.” I am not convinced that the skeptic’s argument about the rate of change remaining constant before and after the Industrial Revolution has been sufficiently engaged or debunked. If they are right, we are about to make a major mistake.

  • I wonder why no one has brought up the fact that Diane Francis has TWO CHILDREN!

  • Well thank you Rocky for bringing it up. What she proposes is obviously meant for people not as enlightened as she is, rather like Gore preaching about carbon foot prints as he jets around the world and maintains a huge mansion. Now there is a word for that type of behavior and it begins with an H. The word of course is hilarious!

  • For more information about the death of the Hockey stick graph, consult Steve McIntyre’s blog(climate audit). This graph has been thoroughly discredited and, anyway, most IPCC scientist agree that the purported AGW theory does not rise or fall on it.