Roy Beck's famous immigration Gumballs presentation eloquently demonstrates that if all the people in the world who would like to come to America actually do—currently an estimated 80 million—we would be absolutely overwhelmed.
But 80 million is only slightly more than the net (births over deaths) number of humans added to the world population every year. And some experts very plausibly argue that the planet can't sustain over the next 100 years the number of humans already alive—nearly 7 billion. At the current rate, several billion more will be added in the next decades.
One proponent of the need for a drastic and rapid lowering of world population is Dr. Jack Alpert, a Stanford educator. His website offers a comprehensive seminar on this issue. Try tapping into his web site as Alpert outlines a course of action that must be followed if humanity expects to survive the 21st century. You may visit Dr. Alpert at www.skil.org and view his video here.
We who favor real immigration reform—which is not now even being intelligently discussed by our top elected leaders—continue to ponder strategies to counter the business, religious and ethnic advocacy groups constantly working for Open Borders
However, behind the present immigration debate there lurks urgent questions about mounting world population growth, which brought world population from under two billion in 1890 to its present level. Like a tsunami, unseen by those in its path until it is too late, this wave of people threatens everyone on the planet.
I am reminded of the famous Edgar Allen Poe 1845 allegorical short story The Masque of the Red Death, which tells about a disease known as the Red Death which plagues a fictional country and causes its victims to die quickly and gruesomely.
To escape its spread, the ruling Prince, Prospero, (as in prosperity?) decides to retreat into his palace, locking the gates and throwing a fancy masquerade ball, highlighted in various rooms by fabulous colors. The seventh palace room is black with red windows. It contains an ebony clock that rings each hour, loud and most distracting, causing all to stop, before resuming their revelry.
Does this remind us today of the massive traumas of hunger and chaos experienced already by over a billion people? Look around the world and you can see, among the few, a level of lavish life style, seldom if ever enjoyed in human history. Food, health care, housing, you name it! And this applies to the many, not the few, in the USA and many developed nations. Do we Americans see those TV pictures of starving people living in conditions which we find horrible? Yet we turn off our TVs and move on without much further thought? Build up more armaments and more overseas base?
The prince's guests avoid this ominous black and red room. They find the other gorgeous rooms seemingly filled with dreams, allowing them maximum pleasure.
Then a new guest appears, dressed more ghoulishly than his counterparts. His mask looks like the face of a corpse, his garments resemble a funeral shroud, and his face reveals spots of blood suggesting that he is a victim of the Red Death.
Prospero becomes angry that someone with so little humor and levity would join his party. The other guests, however, are so afraid of this masked man that they fail to prevent him from walking through each room. Prospero finally catches up to the new guest in the black-and-red room. As soon as he confronts the figure, Prospero dies.
When other party-goers enter the room to attack the cloaked man, they find that there is nobody beneath the costume. Everyone then dies, for the Red Death has infiltrated the castle.
Similarly, the significance of unsustainable population growth is pooh-poohed by many observers. They say we will be protected by the endless growth of more food supplies, the emergence of technologies that will allow limitless expansion of human numbers—ultimately, by our world class military. But, say most of this school, if deaths are needed these will occur among the poor and weak. So not to worry—the strong will be left. Hey, just a bit of evolution, right?
Wrong. Ultimately, depending on just how this human tsunami plays out, much of the world's civilizing elements will be wiped away, as our environment gets further ravaged, food supplies dwindle, and burgeoning numbers bring the kind of civil breakdowns now so prevalent in many of the world's poorer countries.
Yes, U.S. immigration policy remains urgently in need of real reform. But even the best reform will not solve the ultimate problem now gaining hurricane force.
Technology, military power, nothing will stop some ugly form of disaster unless we quickly see a major reduction in world human numbers.
Experts argue constantly about what the sustainable number is. The certain answer: much lower than it is now. Dr. Albert's number: 100 million.
What's your optimum number—and how do you support it?
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.