Saturday, March 8, 2014

First They Came for the Broccoli

First they came for the broccoli.  ‘Broccoli uses too much water to grow!’ they said.  ‘If we stopped eating broccoli, just think of how many more people we could feed!’
Well, I never cared all that much for broccoli, so I stopped eating broccoli.  The water saved was used to feed ever more people, however, and still water was in short supply.

Then they came for the beef and chicken.  ‘Beef and chicken are inefficient uses of food!  Think of how many more people we can jam into the world if we cut out the middleman – so to speak – and just ate beans and rice!’  Well I missed my beef and chicken, but I still ate well enough, so I said nothing.  The water and resources saved, however were soon gobbled up by ever more people.

Then they came for the wine and beer.  ‘Turning grain into alcohol is inefficient!  We must ban beer and wine for the working classes and only let them eat beans and rice!’  Well I was sad about that – I liked my beer and wine – but I did not see what I could do about it, and I still had enough beans and rice.

But still the population was forced ever upwards – after all, without constant population growth we might run out of workers and then who would work the farms and we would all starve? 

Then they came for my beans and rice.  ‘Why should you eat when so many others are hungry?’ they said.  ‘You are old and less efficient than all these younger workers – you should starve to make room for newer and more profitable workers!’

And then I objected.  “Why should I give up everything just so that the rich can jam in ever more people?  And why is it that these rich people who have constantly pushed for ever more people, and who have constantly demanded that those of us who work for a living should give up everything of value to us, why do they themselves make no sacrifice?  The rich advocates of ‘efficiency’ eat broccoli, and beef and chicken and beer and wine in abundant quantities.  Where is the fairness in this?”

But at this point the world had been turned into an overpopulated hellhole and nobody cared what I thought and I died hungry and miserable.  The end.

The moral of the story is: eat your broccoli. 

Conserving resources only so the rich can grow the number of people will not save the world, it will only make you poorer and the rich richer.  And when some wealthy hypocrite – or their hired media and neoliberal economist whores – demand that you make do with less and less, insist that their wealthy masters set the example and start ‘conserving’ first.

Yes, let’s see the oh-so-noble Kennedys and Obamas and Clintons and Kochs and Gores and Bloombergs practice what they preach for the rest of us and live on subsistence diets in tiny unheated apartments, let them give up their jet travel and air conditioning and wine and heated swimming pools and – yes – even their broccoli. Good luck with that.  ‘Conservation’ is, of course, only for little people.

When you hear the word ‘conservation’, think poverty.  When you hear the word ‘efficiency’, think slave-labor camp.  It’s still not too late to turn things around, humans, but you must stop passively letting the terms of the debate be dictated to you. You are fighting on the terms of your enemies' choosing: and that's always bad choice.

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