The Aliens In Your Head

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Christopher Hayes profiles ophthalmologist John Tanton, the man behind anti-immigration groups Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), NumbersUSA, and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and helps the rest of us make the connection between Mexican au pair and imminent apocalypse :

Sitting at his desk during one of our interviews, [Tanton] reaches into a drawer, withdraws an electric metronome and flicks it on. As the device pulses at 135 beats per minute, he explains that each beat is a new birth (at the 1969 rate), and each new birth requires resources: food, clothing, education. It's a trick he used when he gave talks on population in the '70s, and it's effective. His voice barely rises over the percussive onslaught, and after just 30 seconds you want to yell: "Make it stop!"

You get the sense that Tanton hears that beat inside his head all the time.

Tanton has clearly spent a lot of time crafting that mad-scientist persona and devising the sort of complex, sophisticated reforms we've come to expect from his movement. Like that really big fence.

NEXT: Underground Chemistry

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  1. From the title, I thought this was going to be a story about David Icke.

  2. He?s a self-described progressive, ex-Sierra Club member, Planned Parenthood supporter and harsh critic of neoclassical economists.

    Further proof that the worst bigots in the world are liberals.

  3. fwiw, people who are against ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION are not “anti-immigration”

  4. Any economic/political system that views newborns and other children as national burdens rather than assets is dead wrong.

  5. whit,

    With a stroke of the pen they become legal. Are you opposed to that?

  6. Any economic/political system that views newborns and other children as national burdens rather than assets is dead wrong.

    Comment by: happyjuggler0 at May 31, 2006 12:56 AM

    Just offhand I can think of one or two that views them as assets: ever hear of Communism or Slavery? Those systems were always looking for “assets”.

    Speaking just for me, I ain’t anybody’s fucking “asset” or national resource. I’d just as soon not be a damned tax slave either. I am not the means to the ends of others.

  7. Isn’t every baby born also potentially someone who will create resources, either by physical or mental labour? Won’t some turn out to be inventors, scientists, or entrepreneurs?

  8. While Tanton’s right on the basic point that there is no such thing as unlimited growth in a limited world, getting to being anti-immigration from there is a stretch. Of all the nations in the world, the United States is the one that could support the most population growth given it’s immense natural resources.

    Like that really big fence.

    I believe the proper nomenclature is “The Great Wall of Texas.”

  9. I ain’t anybody’s fucking “asset” or national resource. I’d just as soon not be a damned tax slave either. I am not the means to the ends of others.

    If you have a productive job you are indeed a means to the ends of others. You produce goods or services that others “end” up with.

    If you are an employer you are an even bigger resource, but given your attitude I bet you aren’t an employer. Most employers are all too aware of how much of a resource they are for giving people jobs.

    It is only under a system of government redistribution that people are viewed as national burdens. Either that or royal government fuck ups like under Mao where millions of people starved because of a horrible economic system that clobbered production of food, (amongst other production as well of course).

    Lowdog caught the spirit of my post.

  10. interesting piece — what a nutcase.

  11. happyjuggler0,

    Apparently you did not catch the spirit of MY post. I’m well aware of the principles of capitalism and the free market…the idea of free trade of one’s productivity for that of another. In that sense, yes, one can be a means to the ends of others.
    The point that I was making, however, is that people have a right to exist for their own sakes; they don’t have to justify their lives by how valuable an asset they are to others or whether they are a means to the ends of others. They have every right to live, even if they don’t create jobs or produce any more than they consume. The thinking of people as “assets” or wealth is the hallmark of every bloody dictatorship and totalitarian regime that ever existed. Assets, means, wealth…these are all forms of property. Property implies ownership. Ownership of property that consists of people implies slaves or subjects.
    My attitude? Well, I’ve always been told that I have an “attitude” problem. But no, I don’t own or run a business that has employees; although I do employ people every time I hire or pay someone to do something. I also help create jobs every time that I buy a product. But that isn’t why I buy the product, nor do I pay someone for his labor for his sake or to keep him employed. I’d bet that most other people don’t either.
    In sum, yeah, I might be an “asset” or a means to someone’s end,…but not unless I want to be, nor until I am well paid for it. Guess I’m just selfish, huh?
    I’m reminded of Ambrose Bierce’s definition of Selfishness as “lack of regard for the selfishness of others”.

  12. Isn’t every baby born also potentially someone who will create resources, either by physical or mental labour? Won’t some turn out to be inventors, scientists, or entrepreneurs?

    Comment by: Lowdog at May 31, 2006 01:36 AM

    Yes, that’s true, Lowdog. It is also just as true that every baby born is potentially someone who will grow up to be a thug, a thief, a rapist, or a murderer. So what?! Potentiality (a word?) is not actuality. In the real world one had better be more concerned with what is rather than only with what might be.

  13. interesting piece — what a nutcase.

    Comment by: spur at May 31, 2006 03:12 AM

    I read the article, as well; the guy didn’t strike me as being a nutcase. He certainly isn’t any more fanatical than some of his opponents on the other side,…the Southern Poverty Law Center being one among several. Those guys see racism as a motivation of everyone who disagrees with them about ANY thing. It is odd that they never seem to be concerned with the racist motivations of anyone but caucasians.

  14. spur,

    If you were refering to the piece in the link that Akira posted, concerning David Icke, yeah, HE definitely is a nutcase. I was refering to the article about John Tanton.

  15. fwiw, people who are against ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION are not “anti-immigration”

    Since immigration law is so totally capricious and arbitrary, a statement such as this lacks meaning.

    You might as well pass a law prohibiting some classes of people for breathing and then complain about “illegal breathers”.

  16. It is odd that [SPLC] never seem to be concerned with the racist motivations of anyone but caucasians.

    Well, they do have the word “Southern” in their name. I’m going out on a limb here and saying that the big issue with race in the South isn’t marauding bands of Korean supremacists.

  17. “It is also just as true that every baby born is potentially someone who will grow up to be a thug, a thief, a rapist, or a murderer.”

    Or worse, a politician!

  18. I would counter Tanton with:
    – the “death” metronome (1 tick per death: slower than the “birth” metronome, yes, but recduces the effect of his stunt)
    – the “no-offspring” metronome (1 tick for each person that does not produce 1.0 offspring, reducing the net population of this country/planet)

    – a big fat brick across his head, with the words “None of your fucking business how many kids I have” written on it. In small print on the other side: “Disclaimer: If you can’t feed ’em, don’t breed ’em.”

  19. You’re going to run a piece on the nutjob that runs aztlan.net next, right?

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