In a laser-sharp column in the Corvallis, Oregon Gazette-Times, M. Boyd Wilcox presented readers with the harsh reality of hyper-population growth.
"Population growth dilutes our nation's democracy" brought a fresh understanding to Canada, Australia, Europe, and America's current dilemma. Each of those countries and areas explodes under endless immigration-driven population growth.
"On March 27, 1972, this nation was given the benefit of a thorough and compassionate effort that would greatly assist progress toward long-term security and sustainability," said Wilcox. "Tragically, the advice offered was ignored and we are still paying for this avoidance."
What, you ask, were those words of wisdom?
"No substantial benefits will result from further growth of the nation's population. We have not found any convincing economic argument for continued population growth the health of our country does not depend on it nor does the vitality of business nor the welfare of the average person and that the gradual stabilization of our population would contribute significantly to the nation's ability to solve its problems."
"Environmental and natural-resources issues are constantly in the news," said Wilcox. "Progress made seems to counterbalanced by reports of additional discoveries, such as endocrine disruptors in water, the loss of farmland (2.19 million acres annually), and urban sprawl; the continuous, seemingly intractable conflicts over saving tiny remnants of ancient forests; and the ongoing efforts to prevent the loss of endangered species.
"The struggle persists to define a truly sustainable relationship with the natural world."
Wilcox continued, "What about the man-made resources; the social-psychological-political glue that holds a nation and society together and allows it to cope? What about our most cherished operational myth, the one of democracy, the one we depend upon to assist solving our most difficult dilemmas?
"Alienation from the political process is at an all-time high. Voting in national elections has plummeted from 80 percent at the turn of the century to less than 50 percent today. A well-written letter to one's representative elicits a computerized form-letter reply designed for that 'category' of issue, with little personal attachment or acknowledgement of specific questions or ideas expressed by the constituent."
The higher our population, the lesser one individual means in the mix of our civilization.
Isaac Asimov said that democracy cannot survive overpopulation: "It's going to destroy it all. I use what I call my bathroom metaphor. If two people live in an apartment, and there are two bathrooms, then both have what I call freedom of the bathroom, go to the bathroom any time you want, and stay as long as you want to for whatever you need. And this to my way is ideal. And everyone believes in the freedom of the bathroom. It should be right there in the Constitution.
"But if you have 20 people in the apartment and two bathrooms, no matter how much every person believes in freedom of the bathroom, there is no such thing. You have to set up, you have to set up times for each person, you have to bang at the door, aren't you through yet, and so on. And in the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people onto the world, the value of life not only declines, but it disappears. It doesn't matter if someone dies."
Wilcox said, "The original ratio (in Congress) was 1-30,000. Not only has our nation's population increased over 270 times since the founding of the Republic. It would take 8,700 member of the U.S. House to restore that original ratio.
"How much more diluted can democracy get? Is there any credible argument that more people contribute to a workable democracy? If democracy is not working, what can we count on to solve our problems?
"It is time we revisited how population pressure affects overall quality of life in this country, including an investigation of forces that continue to push our population higher and higher. We need to get on with the business of establishing a National Population Policy designed to place the nation on the pathway to a stable population, at a level or range deemed sustainable for the long-term future."
Finally, "What will our future hold if we cannot gain the political will to do this," Wilcox said. "Will the already-attained size and complexity of our population prevent a consensus from being reached? Is it already too late?"