Date: June 12, 2019 07:26AM
Mormonism will mess with your mind...https://bycommonconsent.com/2019/03/28/this-is-the-real-solution-to-climate-change-babies/
By now you have no doubt seen clips of a smirking Senator Lee of Utah pull America’s leg with his take-down of the Green New Deal from the floor of the “world’s greatest deliberative body.” This was, after all, two news cycles ago. But because I’m a day late and a dollar short by nature, I’m just now getting around to soliciting your views on his solution to climate change:
This is the real solution to climate change: babies. Climate change is an engineering problem—not social engineering but the real kind. It’s a challenge of creativity, ingenuity and, most of all, technological innovation. And problems of human imagination are not solved by more laws. They’re solved by more humans. More people mean bigger markets for more innovation. More babies will mean forward-looking adults, the sort we need to tackle long term, large-scale problems.
American babies in particular are likely going to be wealthier, better educated and more conservation-minded than children raised in still industrializing countries.
(The transcription is my own; if you find any mistakes, feel free to keep them.)
While not explicitly religious, this moment of American exceptionalism in Lee’s presentation strikes me as at least in tune with the notion of America as a promised land that I am sure most members of the church will be familiar with. It’s no accident that the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ occurred in and proceeded from North America; as we teach our missionaries to teach others, “Joseph Smith lived in the United States, which was perhaps the only country to enjoy religious freedom at the time.” In light of the global civilizing mission American Mormons have been engaged in ever since, it is no surprise that an American Mormon would believe—and have the audacity to express out loud—that the solution to an intractable global problem will be raised in an American home. (On this note, see also this excerpt from a missionary memoir reviewed today on this very website: “We meet together in our little bubble and convince ourselves that we alone can save lost humanity.”)
In making his case, the only authority cited by the honorable senator from the great state of Utah was an economist rather than, say, a prophet—”By having more children, you’re making your nation more populous, thus boosting its capacity to solve climate change”—but I can’t help but feel that his religious upbringing was showing as Mike wrapped up his 14-minute presentation in a rare display of sincerity:
The courage needed to solve climate change is nothing compared with the courage needed to start a family…. The true heroes of this story…are moms and dads…little boys and girls…. The planet doesn’t need for us to think globally and act locally as much as it needs us to think family and act personally.
The solution to climate change is … the serious business of human flourishing. The solution to so many of our problems, at all times and in all places, is to fall in love, get married and have some kids.
Now, I come from a family slightly larger than the one Brother Lee grew up in. I’m not going to claim that this experience gives me any special insights, but at the same time, I’ve gotta say—I have no idea what he’s talking about. I mean, kids aren’t a Blue Oyster Cult record—scaling up the advantages of more babies is anything but straightforward. Big families are undoubtedly good for some things—family reunions, for example, are a lot of fun—and not so good for others—like, say, making difficult decisions about how to care for dying parents. And along with a big family comes a big footprint and scarcity for all involved. (Go on, ask me how often I got a new pair of shoes growing up.) Since when was more automatically better? My peers from smaller families whose parents worked in the same fields as my parents had opportunities I didn’t, and small countries like Austria manage to flourish while larger countries like Afghanistan flounder.