Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This one's not gonna win me any friends

I'm sure I would be going to hell for the following, if I, you know, believed in hell and all.

I was watching "17 Kids and Counting" the other night (I know! I KNOW!), and some of the weirdos Duggars went to Guatemala or some other godforsaken country to bring supplies to the poor people, and, I'm sure, dose them up with some good old-time religion while they were in neighborhood.

And I got thinking about how when governments are unable/unwilling to help their own poor people, it is often individuals who step up to the plate. Which got me thinking about the Gates Foundation, which is, among other things, providing the funds to vaccinate millions of children in Africa.

But then I got thinking, "Well yeah, that's great and all, but if they all get vaccinated, that means they're going to live longer (duh), and who the hell is going to feed all these people?" I mean, lots of poor countries are already vastly overpopulated with starving people, and if we add millions more people who previously would have died from now-preventable diseases to the mix, isn't that just going to create a whole nother problem?

So THEN I got thinking, "Well, what are you going to do - withhold the vaccines so that they'll die and not increase the surplus population?" , and, "Aren't epidemics of malaria, etc., nature's way of controlling excess population?", and, "Why vaccinate people so they can live even longer lives of abject poverty?"

I don't know. But it makes me uneasy to think this way.


Danger said...

If we don't help, they'll never escape from poverty. When I used to have money, I'd donate to Planned Parenthood and Heifer Int'l so once people stopped dying they had a lifestyle to look forward to.

Exador said...

The greatest population explosions are always in third world countries that are recently introduced to modern medicine.

I'm with you all the way. This has been my philsophy for some time. There's only so much air and water on the planet. If somebody dies halfway around the world, that leaves more for me and mine.

rockygrace said...

Danger, you're right. And Exador, you're right, too, in your usual blunt way :) ... the flip side, of course, is that YOUR death leaves more for somebody else.

I guess what I keep circling back to, in my inarticulate, half-thought-out manner, is, as Exador says .... aren't natural resources limited? Can the planet really support an infinite number of people? I mean, even stepped-up agricultural practices can only produce so much food ..... unless "modern technology" somehow figures something out ..... oh lord, now I'm thinking about Soylent Green ....

kitkat said...

There will always be an odd man out. Even if we vaccinate everybody, they'll die of something else. If we find a cure for that, people will die from something else. Even if everybody's completely healthy and there are no diseases, there will still be limited natural resources (especially the way we're living now). I suppose the goal as individuals is to avoid being that odd man out, the one who slips through and dies.

It's a little paradoxical, though. It seems counter intuitive to help other people live longer because, as we've said, one less person on the planet is more for me. However, if enough people are suffering, you get things like drug wars and genocide, which can have serious implications on our individual worlds, thus threatening our own survival. So, in order for me to survive, sometimes it's in my best interest to help someone else.

rockygrace said...

So it would seem that what we need is less people, but healthy people.

Free birth control for everybody!

Exador said...

...quietly slipped into the water supply.

Danger said...

You could think of it as insurance: we help people and they don't grow up to be terrorists trying to take away our resources.

Exador said...

The annual aid to Egypt will be cut to $1.5 billion this year, down from $1.7 billion in 2008, America in Arabic reported. However, the report said cutbacks in foreign aid to Cairo would not be subtracted from the money allocated for defense, which amounts to $1.3 billion.

We give them that EVERY YEAR.

And they just LOOOOOOVVVVEEEE America over in Egypt.


Since 1993, Palestinians have received more than $2.2 billion in U.S. economic assistance via USAID projects - more than from any other donor country.

So you keep holding on to that dream that if we're just nice to people, they'll love us back.