“Conventional people,” Bertrand Russell wrote, “are roused to fury by departures from convention, largely because they regard such departures as a criticism of themselves.”
A case in point is a recent blog entry in which populationist film maker Dave Gardner is personally offended by an article that doesn’t even mention him.
Gardner used to be a regular participant in discussions of population here on Climate & Capitalism. Every comment he submitted was published in full, and the debates, though vigorous, were all polite. But when others pointed out the reactionary implications of his support for population reduction and strict immigration limits, he stormed off in a huff.
His current fury has been roused by my recent article, The return of the population bombers. When I first saw his post, I hoped that he was initiating a debate the article’s central theme, the conservative impact of overpopulation ideology in the past and today. But unfortunately, he doesn’t deal with the substance of my article at all.
Instead he focuses on a few out-of-context sentences, words he seems to regard as personal attacks.
His response involves insisting that he is “a perfect example” of a populationist, and that those horrible sentences don’t describe him. To paraphrase: I don’t focus on population alone! I have never noticed any racism in populationist circles, and I don’t dislike foreigners! I’ve interviewed lots of experts and they agree with me. How dare Angus claim to see into my heart?
It’s all very solipsistic. Apart from the discussions he initiated on this website, I’ve never written about Gardner at all, much less claimed to see into his heart.
Nevertheless, he feels justified in calling me “prejudiced … intellectually lazy … possibly even deceptive and dishonest.” My motive? I am “jealous of the traction overpopulation is getting.” But fear not: only “the clueless” will be fooled by my fallacies.
Bertrand Russell might have been amused, but I suspect not. As furies go, this is pretty unimpressive stuff.
But don’t take my word for it. If you have time, read his article, and please let me know if you find anything it that hasn’t been answered many times over, in Climate & Capitalism or in Too Many People?