The traffic gridlock as an estimated two million people tried to escape Hurricane Gustav made a powerful point: overpopulated America is the new normal—so that we no longer recognize the evidence in front of our eyes.
(Same for California's water rationing, which is forcing me and other Californians to buy expensive water-efficient appliances as I write).
A few decades ago, the USA had half the number of residents (i.e. 150 million in 1950 versus 305 million now). And evacuations were not a big deal. If a big storm was headed your way, you could easily hop in your car and dash off at the last minute.
No longer. These days, you have to leave 2-3 days before landfall to travel out of the threatened areas (hoping to find gasoline on the way), rent a motel for a few days or stay with friends/relatives before you repeat the process in the reverse direction.
Figure several days or perhaps a week of disruption if you are lucky and your home isn't badly damaged.
That's a lot of time and money. More people jammed into the region make a bad situation worse. But, typical of American governing class complacency, Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Marc Shepherd put an upbeat spin on Gustavian travel conditions: "We've planned this so that those traveling should be able to go at speeds of 15 to 20 miles per hour, instead of 5 miles per hour that has happened in the past." [In Houston, residents wait and watch, Houston Chronicle, August 31, 2008].
The late science writer Isaac Asimov remarked, "Democracy cannot survive overpopulation." Freedom, in the sense of moving about when and where one wants, can't survive it either.
The 2005 evacuation of Houston ahead of Hurricane Rita was a particularly ugly scene:
"As they joined a vast, traffic-snarled exodus from Houston and the upper Texas Gulf Coast, hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Hurricane Rita were stuck in their cars throughout much of Thursday, with many running out of gas and sweltering on roadsides in 100-degree heat as they waited for authorities to bring them gasoline…
"Houston's mayor acknowledged that the pre-hurricane evacuation preparations, which some Texas officials had been boasting about earlier this week, had gone awry, in part, because too many people attempted to flee the city at once." [Thousands Fleeing Rita Jam Roads From Coast Washington Post, Sept 23 , 2005].
Houston has experienced enormous growth, from 1.36 million in 1960 to 4.2 million in 2000. (Immigration-driven—of the latter number, over 26 percent speak Spanish at home.) It is the country's fourth-largest city. Its continued engorgement bodes poorly for future evacuations.
Hurricane Gustav blew in at a Category 2 rating, less deadly than Katrina. In addition, the various levels of government appear to have learned from their earlier bonehead mistakes.
Prevention is a fine concept. It assumes intelligence and foresight. As Enoch Powell observed in his great 1968 immigration speech: "The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils". That sentiment ought to be engraved over the marble doorway to Congress.
If only we could apply it to the immigration realm. But instead, Washington has pushed hard for its overpopulation-on-steroids policy through recent amnesty attempts.
As it happens, new numbers from the king cruncher has revealed Washington's automatic population machine to be much more severe than previously thought.
As Steve Camarota suggested in How Many Americans? [Washington Post, September 2, 2008], all the new stuff required to equip the additional residents is dizzying to contemplate.
"An increase of 135 million people by 2050 is equivalent to the entire populations of Mexico and Canada moving here. Assuming the same ratio of population to infrastructure that exists today, the United States would need to build and pay for 36,000 schools. We would need to develop enough land to accommodate 52 million new housing units, along with places for the people who lived in them to shop and work. We would also have to construct enough roads to handle 106 million more vehicles.
"Here's another mental exercise: imagine the entire population of WWII America—135 million in 1942—added to the current one in just over four decades. In numbers alone, this is a radical transformation, and entirely negative from an environmental perspective of conserving forests and farmland, as well as maintaining clean air and having enough water."
Of course, many of those new millions won't be anything like the "Great Generation"—remembered now for their heroism and sacrifice—but will be foreigners who only come for the money.
Unapologetic Hispanic invader Jorge Ramos has openly bragged, "Latinos are not only the largest minority right now, but eventually we will be the majority in the United States, and the process is well underway."
He's boasting about conquest—not about friendly assimilation to American culture and language.
The "diversity" ideology pitched by elites and the MSM was just a stalking horse for Mexicanization. So not only is our society becoming vastly more crowded and less free because of the "growth" which business worships, but we must share our disappearing space with people who don't like us or our values.
You might think that the most extreme transformation facing America in its entire history would have come up for discussion in the presidential campaign. Not so much. Both candidates want to avoid an issue they see as a loser—because they support the amnesty agenda but know that Americans, across the political spectrum, do not.
In politics, when elected officials have allowed a thorny problem to grow into a full-blown crisis, they often stop talking about it, and the press is generally happy to play along. The uninspired reports in the MSM about the revised Census projections had little follow-up to speak of.
America's overpopulated future is a train wreck we can see coming. But we can avoid it.
As citizens, we have a right and a duty to speak up about the sort of country we will bequeath to our grandchildren.
The new Census horror show makes it even more imperative: the number Zero must be placed on the public policy table.
Brenda Walker (email her) lives in Northern California and publishes two websites, LimitsToGrowth.org and ImmigrationsHumanCost.org. She misses the late Senator Gaylord Nelson's thoughtful questions about the environment, e.g. "With twice the population, will there be any wilderness left? Any quiet place? Any habitat for song birds? Waterfalls? Other wild creatures?"