Without immediate and massive programs by governments of technologically advanced, affluent, nations, there will be more Haiti type tragedies in the not so distant future. Although a “government can do” attitude in the United States and American leadership will be essential to the success of staving off the untold disaster and suffering that is surely to occur, there is a growing movement that spreads hatred of government, isolationism, and perverted views of our form of government as set forth by the framers. This misguided political action is likely to lead to human suffering on a scale that is hard to imagine. Why do I say this?
The human population is approaching the planet’s carrying capacity. As I explain to groups to which I speak, paleontologists date the beginning of our species (Homo sapiens) at about 200,000 years ago. By 1950, the population of the planet had reached approximately 3.5 billion. By just 2010 – just 60 years later – the World population had doubled to 7 billion. It took 200,000 years to populate the planet with 3.5 billion Homo sapiens and just a little over a half Century to double that number. Although many European countries are actually aging and losing population, the poor and economically undeveloped countries – and there are many – have very high birth rates. To make matters worse, the poorest people of the World are migrating to crowded cities where they become victims of substandard dwellings, famine, and disease.
According to Edward O. Wilson, arguably the greatest biological scientist of our time, the earth’s carrying capacity for our specie will be reached at a population of 9 billion. We will soon be there. However, global capitalism as now practiced is further impoverishing poor populations and concentrating wealth and power in fewer and fewer individuals and corporations without regard for environmental consequences. The following facts will speak to the need for serious reform.
Although Haiti is said to be the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, its spirit crushing poverty, as bad as it is, is not as bad as many other countries – especially those countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In countries with the highest quality of life (i.e. European countries), female life expectancy is about 82 to 84 years and about 80 years for males. The infant mortality rate in these countries is usually around 3 per 1,000 live born babies.
Males in Haiti have an estimated life expectancy of 55 years with females doing slightly better. The infant mortality rate is 66 per 1000 live born babies. In Angola, the life expectancy for males is 39 years. The infant mortality is nearly 200 per 1000. Afghanistan is practically the same as Angola in terms of the health and well-being of the population.
Given the condition of the human community, libertarian arguments make no sense. More importantly, by reducing their argument to the wording of Article 10 of the U.S. Constitution they are engaging in meaningless nonsense. Article 10 is a one sentence statement: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Along with case law pertaining to the power of the National government, I wonder if anyone has ever told the rabid anti-government forces about Article 1, Section 8, which states that “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States….” I would also have to wonder if the designers and intellectual forces behind libertarian and tea bag movements want their followers to know about the Federalist Papers by Hamilton, Jay, and Madison, which are considered the definitive views of the framers’ intentions.
For the sake of debunking the anti-government claims of right wing libertarians, I will write more about the Federalist Papers in future blogs, suffice it to say now that the framers were in favor of a strong, effective National government to deal with powerful interests and factions (like the Koch family Kochtopus) and to attend to the what they called the “general welfare,” the “public interest,” and the “public good.” The general welfare of the United States depends upon how our government proceeds in its relations with the entire World. We have nothing to gain and so much to lose by neglecting and/or abusing impoverished populations.