Published July 21, 2009
How would you describe someone who has called for forced abortions? For mass sterilizations? For mandatory population controls? Would you call him a coercive eugenicist? Or would you go further, and call him some sort of nasty totalitarian?
Call him what you want, but the one thing you have to call John Holdren-- is that you have to call him Director of the Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) within the White House, where at least 62 people call him "boss." The post is sometimes known as the "Science Czar," which in Holdren's case is something of an understatement.
And we might ask: Do we really want someone who thinks there should be fewer people helping to decide the direction of American health care policy? If you were a patient-- and we all will be patients, sooner or later-- would you want him anywhere near the switch controlling your respirator?
That's right, there's a genuine big shot inside the White House who has advocated the sort of population-control policies that we associate with Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and power-drunk mad scientists in science-fiction movies. And President Obama appointed him, luring him away from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he was the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy (yes, that Teresa Heinz, aka Mrs. John Kerry); he was confirmed by his post by the unanimous consent of the U.S. Senate on March 19. As an aside, could we say, in retrospect, that Senators could have done a better job of vetting his nominee?
Holdren's OSTP has great influence within and without the federal government; here's the way the OSTP Web site describes the office and its powers:
"Congress established OSTP in 1976 with a broad mandate to advise the president and others within the Executive Office of the President on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs. The 1976 Act also authorizes OSTP to lead interagency efforts to develop and implement sound science and technology policies and budgets, and to work with the private sector, state and local governments, the science and higher education communities, and other nations toward this end."
OK, you might be saying to yourself: We know that the job of Science Adviser to the President is important, but where does all this abortion/sterilization/population stuff come from? It comes from a 1977 book called "Ecoscience," which Holdren co-authored with two like-minded allies, Paul and Anne Ehrlich. The Ehrlichs, husband and wife, are best know for an earlier book, The Population Bomb, which inaccurately predicted mass famine and planetary breakdown in the 1970s.
It must be noted that Holdren now disavows these words. But he seems only to have disavowed them after they were discovered and criticized; his praise for totalitarian methods of population control seem to have sat fine with him for 32 years. As I wrote earlier about Holdren, "It's reasonable to ask, and perhaps even accurate to surmise, that Holdren's recantation is less than sincere."
Looking ahead, the fear that many of us have is that the stealth element of the Obama health care plan is the sort of top-down rationing that much of the elite Green left has long supported. The sort of elitism displayed by Princeton "bioethicist" Peter Singer, who just published a piece for The New York Times Magazine entitled, "Why We Must Ration Health Care." Singer is not in the Obama administration, but many who are in the government now have advocated rationing in the past.
So when Singer declares, on behalf of his fellow "experts," that "We Must Ration Health Care," the rest of us might ask: Who is the "we"? Who will be making these life-and-death decisions? Will it be the likes of John Holdren? And what about all the others around him--do they think like him? Or even if they don't think like him, do they think that his eugenicist views are just something to think about, a plausible alternative, perhaps, to their own views?
There are plenty of reasons to not only oppose Obamacare, but to actually fear Obamacare. But perhaps the scariest reason of all can be summed up in two words: "John Holdren."