Paul B. Farrell: Pope Francis’s No. 1 flaw: He loves kissing babies
Yes, the ever-charming, super-popular Pope Francis really isn’t perfect; he often admits errors. But he does have one big flaw, a really big flaw: He loves babies … like any successful politician, he’s a natural, loves shmoozing crowds, loves kissing babies, posing for photo-ops, selfies, he loves it, yes he’s a politician.
That’s a flaw? Kissing babies? Yes, here’s why …
Background first: Earlier this year while on one of his many world tours, Pope Francis confirmed church doctrine on family planning … comments like … children are a “blessing from God” … having a baby is “never a mistake” … but families don’t need to “breed like rabbits” … and while “praising big families” before a crowd in St. Peters Square, Francis said that having more kids may not be a “responsible choice” … instead he encouraged “responsible parenthood.” … on the other hand, couples deciding to have no kids are making a selfish choice … back and forth.
“During an in-flight news conference on his return to Rome from the Philippines,” reports the Religion News Service, Francis was asked about his strong defense of traditional families and the ban on birth control … he answered by again urging parents to have children, adding: Ignore “those who say overpopulation is the source of the world’s problems.”
Why? Pope Francis believes the “root of all social ills” is actually capitalism: You should “reject markets and speculation, attack the structural causes of inequality.” Otherwise we “will never solve the world’s problems.” But this conflict exposes Pope Francis’s biggest flaw, a bias quietly denied, his dilemma between global warming and overpopulation:
- 1. Global warming — overheating past point-of-no-return. On one hand, the Pope Francis is clearly the world’s undisputed No. 1 Climate Warrior when he published his historic climate-change encyclical, “Laudato Si,” a manifesto and battle cry call for a global mass revolution against the conspiracy of Big Oil capitalists and their GOP climate-science deniers who are at war with the UN’s worldwide efforts to deal with global warming because it will reduce corporate profits.
- 2. Overpopulation — billions at war, self-destructing. On the other hand, overpopulation is a killer problem facing all concerned, especially UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, China’s President Xi Jinping and President Obama, all of whom are on the same page as Pope Francis when it comes to controlling climate warming. Why? Global population was only one billion in 1800 … doubled from 1.7 billion to 3.5 billion between the Great Depression in 1930 and the Great Society in 1965 … then accelerated, doubling again to today’s 7.3 billion … demographers now predict the planet will add another 3 billion, rocketing to 10 billion by 2050.
Now here’s how the two merge into one ticking time bomb: “What really counts,” says anthropologist Jared Diamond in “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed,” is not the number of people, but “their impact on the environment.”
First World developed nations “consume 32 times more resources such as fossil fuels, and put out 32 times more waste, than do the inhabitants of the Third World.” But as the race to 2050 rages, more and more “low-impact people are becoming high-impact people” demanding “First World living standards.”
But unfortunately, if all nations consumed resources at the same rate as Americans, we’d need six Earths just to survive today! Worse for America, as we grow from 300 million to 400 million in 2050, the rest of the world will be turning into a 9 billion bubble, with over 1.4 billion each in China and India. We’re outnumbered. The time bomb keeps tick-tick-ticking.
Morality of living on an overcrowded, dying planet
Pope Francis’s double bind is rushing at us rapidly: natural resources are being used up, making it physically impossible to feed 10 billion people in 2050, warns Jeremy Grantham, investment manager for $ 120 billion as well as funder of the Research Center on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics.
Philanthropist Bill Gates has warned that if our planet is to survive we must forget 10 billion and cap population at just 8 billion people. Jeffrey Sachs is less hopeful than Gates, warning that the maximum the planet can support is only 5 billion. Sachs is Director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, author of “Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowed Planet,” and a key adviser to the UN secretary general.
Assuming Sachs is right, how can we possibly cap population at 5 billion? How? Just eliminate two billion already alive, living on Earth? Or how can we reverse trends already in motion to add three billion more? Not easy. History warns reducing population usually means brutal wars, pandemics, starvation, natural climate disasters. And who triggers the “kill switch?”
Yes, sometime in the near term, maybe 2020 when the next president faces reelection, the destructive forces of global warming — rising temperatures, resource wars, massive human migrations, depleting fossil fuels, increasing food shortages, mega forest fires, droughts, rising sea levels, extreme water shortages, you name it — will be so painfully obvious that not only Pope Francis, but even Exxon Mobil’s CEO Rex Tillerson and the Koch billionaires will finally cry uncle. Yes, soon the entire energy industry will be forced to surrender and submit to reasonable controls on energy pollution, including carbon emission taxation and regulations.
Same goes for Pope Francis and his dangerous ban on contraception because it accelerates overpopulation. Even his scientists know adding more babies increases global warming. But can Pope Francis reverse the ban and slow global warming?
And will Big Oil capitalists wake up in time, before we all overheat?
In “Collapse” Diamond also explained some crucial climate-change lessons that were never learned till too late by two million people living in the Mayan cities long ago: Diamond warns, in many societies throughout history, “the elite made decisions that were good for themselves in the short run and ruined themselves and societies in the long run.” The Mayans collapsed “because of a combination of climate change, drought, water-management problems, soil erosion, deforestation.”
Mayan kings “managed to insulate themselves from the consequences of their actions.” They saw forests “being chopped down.” But “the kings didn’t recognize that they were making a mess until it was too late, when the commoners rose in revolt. … Similarly, in the United States at present, the policies being pursued by too many wealthy people and decision makers are ones that — as in the case of the Mayan kings — preserve their interests in the short run but are disastrous in the long run.”
The cycle continues, the same classic drama is again unfolding, will continue until this fragile house of cards, our home, Planet Earth, keeps pushing past the point of no return, overheating, till it’s too late for myopic capitalists to wake up and stop the madness.