Saturday, August 15, 2009

John Holdren, Science Czar

John Holdren is the director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, focusing on energy independence and global warming. Holdren has degrees from MIT and Stanford and won the unanimous approval in the Senate to be the president's chief science adviser, but some of his controversial early writings may have escaped the senators' notice.

"The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early socializing experiences and sufficient nourishing food during the crucial early years after birth, will ultimately develop into a human being," Holdren wrote in "Human Ecology," a 1973 textbook he co-authored with environmental activists Paul and Anne Ehrlich.

Holdren heralded a "tightly reasoned essay" by law professor Christopher Stone, who said, "I am quite seriously proposing that we give legal rights to forests, oceans, rivers and other so-called 'natural objects' in the environment -- indeed, to the natural environment as a whole." Holdren, writing in 1977's "Ecoscience," which was also co-authored with Paul and Anne Ehrlich, said the change would have "a most salubrious effect on the quality of the environment."

Holdren wrote that "it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society."
In a future society, "It would even be possible to require pregnant single women to marry or have abortions, perhaps as an alternative to placement for adoption, depending on the society," Holdren and his co-authors wrote.

To help achieve their goals, Holdren and the Ehrlichs formulated a "world government scheme" they called the Planetary Regime, which would administer the world's resources and human growth. They also discussed the development of an "armed international organization, a global analogue of a police force" to which nations would surrender part of their sovereignty.

"Adding a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods is a suggestion that seems to horrify people more than most proposals for involuntary fertility control. Indeed, this would pose some very difficult political, legal, and social questions, to say nothing of the technical problems," Holdren wrote in "Ecoscience."
"To be acceptable, such a substance would have to meet some rather stiff requirements: it must be uniformly effective, despite widely varying doses received by individuals, and despite varying degrees of fertility and sensitivity among individuals; it must be free of dangerous or unpleasant side effects; and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets, or livestock."

Holdren told the Associated Press in April that the U.S. will consider all options to stop global warming -- including an experimental scheme to shoot pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays and cool the earth, a last resort he hoped could be averted.
"We don't have the luxury of taking any approach off the table," he said, because global warming poses a threat akin to being "in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog."

Another "coercive fertility control" program floated by Holdren involved "the development of a long-term sterilizing capsule that could be implanted under the skin and removed when pregnancy is desired ... The capsule could be implanted at puberty and might be removable, with official permission, for a limited number of births."

During his confirmation hearing, Holdren was asked to clear up his 1986 prediction that global warming was going to kill about 1 billion people by 2020. "It is a possibility, and one we should work energetically to avoid," Holdren said, under pressure from Sen. David Vitter, R-La.

In 1973, Holdren and the Ehrlichs argued in "Human Ecology" that "a massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States."
Later in the '70s, as first reported by, he explained in "Ecoscience" that he meant a reduction in everything from nuclear arms and pesticides to giant automobiles and plastic wrappings.

Holdren's office issued a statement to denying that he has ever backed the controversial measures he discussed, and suggested reading more recent works authored solely by Holdren for a clearer picture of his beliefs.
"Dr. Holdren has stated flatly that he does not now support and has never supported compulsory abortions, compulsory sterilization, or other coercive approaches to limiting population growth," the statement said. "Straining to conclude otherwise from passages treating controversies of the day in a three-author, 30-year-old textbook is a mistake."

-Sources: Ap, FNC, Reuters

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