Let’s Get Small

Mark Tapson, a Hollywood-based writer and screenwriter, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He focuses on the politics of popular culture.


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The manmade global warming alarmists now suspect that all our efforts to reverse imminent planetary disaster may be inadequate and ultimately futile. Always thinking outside the box, they’re suggesting more radical sacrifices than simply upgrading light blubs and trading in gas-guzzlers for Priuses. Forget badgering people to be more energy-efficient, some global warming strategists are asking; why not genetically alter them to be so? “Let’s get small” doesn’t refer just to Steve Martin’s old comedy routine anymore; now it’s a call to bio-engineer smaller humans for a reduced carbon footprint.

In an online interview for The Atlantic, S. Matthew Liao, professor of philosophy and bioethics at New York University, expresses skepticism about the efficacy of our current attempts to mitigate climate change, and theorizes that “voluntary” human engineering is one possible solution. He is the principal author of the new paper “Human Engineering and Climate Change,” in the scholarly journal Ethics, Policy & Environment. In it, he and his co-authors propose possible bio-medical modifications to ensure that humans tread less heavily on Mother Gaia.

For example, Liao says, reducing our consumption of meat could have significant environmental benefits. One solution could be a pill that triggers mild nausea upon the ingestion of meat and ultimately creates in us an aversion to meat altogether. Other techniques are more complicated both medically and ethically; Liao and his cohorts even considered the possibility, for example, of giving humans “cat eyes”:

The reason is, cat eyes see nearly as well as human eyes during the day, but much better at night. We figured that if everyone had cat eyes, you wouldn’t need so much lighting, and so you could reduce global energy usage considerably.

Then there is the issue of our inconvenient physical size:

[The] larger a person is the more food and energy they are going to soak up over the course of a lifetime. There are also other, less obvious ways in which larger people consume more energy than smaller people – for example a car uses more fuel per mile to carry a heavier person, more fabric is needed to clothe larger people, and heavier people wear out shoes, carpets and furniture at a quicker rate than lighter people, and so on.

In order to reduce a person’s environmental footprint substantially, then, Liao and his partners theorize that parents might submit to genetic engineering or hormone therapy in order to give birth to smaller, “less resource-intensive” children. The authors believe that such human engineering solutions may actually be “liberty enhancing,” especially in contrast to “crude prescriptions” like China’s “one child” policy:

What we really care about is some kind of fixed allocation of greenhouse gas emissions per family. If that’s the case… human engineering could give families the choice between two medium sized children, or three small sized children. From our perspective that would be more liberty enhancing than a policy that says “you can only have one or two children.” A family might want a really good basketball player, and so they could use human engineering to have one really large child.

That’s the global warming community’s concept of “liberty-enhancing” – a population control policy that gives people the magnanimous option of three undersized children, two mediums, or one basketball player.

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  • http://NoPinchFor.com Larry

    The only group that I know of that is not decreasing in size is Muslims. I know the German and French birth rate is less than 2.1, which is the rate that is required to maintain a given population. So, are they suggesting that we just need to get Muslims to have fewer and smaller children in order to protect the environment? After all, most of the other groups will eventually disappear because of their low birth rate.

    • Chiggles

      But are they getting any shorter?

  • kafir4life

    We're going to engineer desirable traits genetically, and parents can get abortions on demand for reasons that may be considered personal. What will the liberals say when those methods are used to eliminate gay?

  • Eric G

    Professor Liao should be proud of North Korea, whose citizens are now on average several inches shorter than their South Korean counterparts. They use fewer resources daily and rarely eat meat. During routine famines, they creatively eat grass and tree bark, and have shorter lifespans than most countries in the world. Sounds like an environmental utopia for Professor Liao.

  • Schlomotion

    It is a shame that intellectual oligarchs casually announce their bright ideas to genetically manipulate human beings to make them smaller, weaker, and more docile, with less of a zest for life. These ideas naturally emanate from small docile people who work in cubicles and drive small cars already. It is equally shameful that these drones of Margaret Sanger are used by the Oil Lobby and the Israel Lobby to perpetuate the LIE that global temperatures have not risen as a result of the Industrial Revolution. The figure is approximately two degrees. Two is a small number as far as counting to a zillion goes, but it is a large number in terms of human life. Don't think so? Raise your body temperature from 98.6 to 100.6 and see if you feel like writing an essay .

    • UCSPanther

      What?

    • ronniedee

      Exactly what is your point? Are you against manipulating humans to better fit into the New World these elitists want? Are you against the Oil Lobby and the Israel lobby because they don’t believe the biggest LIE perpetrated on the World . . . ever?

      So, you are a believer in the Hockey Stick graph and the manipulation of weather data by norming the figures and arbitrarily inserting numbers for missing data, then destroying the ORIGINAL data so no REAL scientist can substantiate this THEORY!

      Just like all liberals, theory becomes fact based on flawed and missing data just because you say so. Anyone who disagrees with this stupidity hates Mother Earth, wants to see the polar bears and seals die and does not understand scientific inquiry . . . Twisted rhetoric does not make you correct, it just makes you out to be a liar.

      • Schlomotion

        Yes. I am in fact a firm believer in the thermometer and the direction of up generally pointing in an upward direction, while it's eternal opposite, down, tends to always extend in the other direction. I am OK with reading a graph and knowing an exponential growth curve when it's plotted on a chart using data gathered from thermometers over time.

        • Western Canadian

          No, you are a scientific illiterate who believes in sound bites, and is much to dense to actually comment with any understanding on the issue of changing climate. Yes, it is marginally warmer now than during the little ice age, but cooler than it was during the medieval climate optimum. Literally thousands of peer-reviewed papers confirm these prior global temperatures. You are a rather dim individual, or more accurately a dim member of an unthinking herd who has been encouraged to think that his endless ignorance makes him superior to the masses. You are pathetic.

          The raw data does not agree with your ignorance based claims, only after it has been manipulated by Hansen (1.5 million plus $), and his clones in England (make Hansen look like a piker. The same Hansen who has been falsifying the temp record in the US for the 1930s and other decades, is one of the ‘scientists’ that louts like you actually take seriously… You are beyond pathetic. No temperature increase since 1998, and small cooling since about 2005 is what has really happened.

          • Schlomotion

            This reminds me of people saying there is no recession, because of they myriad ways you can look at the stock wave. Yet, here we are.

  • pagegl

    Liao and his friends just need to tell the sun to cool it… climate change problem solved.

  • ronniedee

    When every human being is reduced to the size of midgets we will become food for all those wonderful creatures we reduced ourselves to save.

    Did it ever occur to these “typical liberal academics” that what they think is the “right thing” for people to do is not even close to what NORMAL average people KNOW is the “right thing” to do? Of course not . . .

    I have come to the conclusion that all liberals are Sociopaths and need some mind altering drugs to help them learn empathy toward their fellow humans; to stop the pathological lying; and to stop believing that they are the only ones who count and everyone else are “useful idiots” to get them what they want . . .

  • Rifleman

    "No Officer, I'm tall, I'm tall."

    "One day when I was REALLY small…"

    That headline really jumped out at me, lol.

  • Lady_Dr

    It should all be voluntary – that is if you truly believe in saving the planet by driving a smaller car, having no children, or having only small ones, etc., etc. – PLEASE, PLEASE just shut up and go for it. I'm so very happy that the libtards are not reproducing themselves biologically – now we need to tear down their madrasses.

  • citizen65

    Look at it this way. In two generations, we will breed out environmental wack jobs. The First generation will max out at 4 feet and be unable to find wives. Their parents, realizing they will never have grandchildren will donate to their children's desires to eliminate future insane ideas. Meanwhile, the original environmentalists will not be able to pass on their views to their progeny.