In Memoriam: Garrett And Jane Hardin


Peter Brimelow writes:
Occasionally, we at
VDARE.COM are accused of being too Christian, and
specifically too Roman Catholic. This is because of
the accident that the Catholic

members
of the immigration
reform coalition seem to be the most articulate about
their faith

in relation
to their nation:
the Protestants we`ve asked are apparently still
thinking. Tonight, we mourn the death of a coalition
member whose articulate humanism was

occasionally
used by
immigration enthusiasts to

smear
the whole reform
movement as atheistic and leftist:

Garrett Hardin
, the
polymathic ecologist and microbiologist. Hardin`s 1968
essay

The Tragedy Of The Commons

is regarded by economists as the classic demonstration
of the need for clearly defined property rights. Or,
he himself would add, enlightened government
intervention. Hardin`s
1974 essay

Lifeboat Ethics
  introduced an important
concept into the debate among those genuinely
perplexed by the competing moral claims of the
national family and the entire human race. Hardin`s
conclusion in both cases: cool rational
forethought was essential. In their eighties, faced
with deteriorating health, Hardin and his wife acted
unflinchingly on this profound belief. Garrett Hardin
was always cheerful. We will remember him that way.


[Previously by Linda Thom:

The U.S. Government Is Electing A New People
]

A week ago Sunday,

Garrett and Jane Hardin
committed suicide. I cried,
not for them but for me. Garrett and Jane got my
thinking straight on overpopulation. They lived what
they believed. I have never met such environmentally
conscious people.

Garrett and Jane lived simply. For example, they
collected rainwater for drinking. Jane gardened and
preserved and composted. Jane told me they didn`t
subscribe to the Los Angeles Times because it
generated too much waste advertising newsprint and the
Earth would be better if fewer people subscribed.

She knitted wool socks for Garrett and we shared
patterns. Jane believed in Garrett and she took care of
his many personal needs—he was crippled by polio as a
child—to allow him to

write and think
and influence thousands, including
me.

Since I was in the eighth grade, I have worried about
overpopulation. I read an article in Time
magazine about India`s population problem and the
efforts of the government to help people control family
size by instructing on the rhythm method. I wasn`t
exactly sure what that was but I was sure that keeping
babies from entering the world and then starving was the
right thing to do.

In college I majored in economics and heard that
nations should make huge capital investments in
infrastructure to reduce family size. According to

economic thinking,
when folks get money, they quit
having children. I couldn`t figure this out. Let`s see,
“Not tonight honey, they are building a dam on the
Nile, don`t you know.”
In my simple twenty-year-old
mind, people would have more children if they felt
prosperous and not fewer.

Despite my misgivings about this thinking, my heart
overwhelmed my mind and I felt that sending billions in
foreign aid to save the teeming masses would be the best
course. I moved to Santa Barbara where Garrett and Jane
lived. In the 1970s, I attended a lecture on
overpopulation by Garrett. Bam, pow, whap, no mercy for
the bleeding hearts. In a

crowded lifeboat
, taking on the drowning people in
the water will only result in death for all. If some in
the lifeboat feel guilty, then they should get out and
give their place to others. Those in the lifeboat who
wanted to live should not be compelled to commit
suicide.

The best way to redistribute wealth was not to drain
the rich nations to save the poor but rather to help
reduce the number of people in the next generation so
that fewer could have more. Numbers matter in an
environmentally finite world.

According to Garrett, overpopulation is cruel because
Mother Nature`s answer is brutal. People must work to
agree on a method of controlling their prolific ways. He
echoed the theme of Malthus that overpopulation leads to
death from starvation and disease or from conflict with
others fighting for survival. It`s nature`s way and the
proof is everywhere around us in the world.

Garrett`s views caused

consternation
among Christians, Liberals,
immigration-enthusiasts and just plain folks on the
street. But numbers matter. In our world, 5 billion
people could benefit economically by moving to America.
Four billion have lower incomes than our most numerous
immigrant groups, Mexicans. Three billion have
inadequate food. We cannot save the world by moving
millions to America and we will commit suicide if we
try.

Garrett administered tough love. I will miss both
Jane and Garrett because they loved life and never gave
up hope that folks would eventually get it right.


Linda Thom [email
her
] is a retiree who fled California three years
ago. She formerly worked as an officer for a major bank
and as a budget analyst for the County Administrator of
Santa Barbara.