In sp!ked, Patrick Hayes points out the odd way that Malthusians and xenophobic far-right political groups converge:
For greens, the ends will always justify the means when it comes to saving the planet. In the UK, they have opportunistically latched themselves on to left-wing movements to try to gain purchase with a broader public. But, as Swiss campaign group Ecology and Population (EcoPop) has demonstrated, in an attempt to pursue their Malthusian goals, greens can be equally happy tapping into the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the far right.
In a stunt last week, members of EcoPop carried dozens of cardboard boxes into the Swiss chancellery which contained 120,700 certified signatures calling for immigration into Switzerland to be capped at 0.2 per cent of the resident population. Under Swiss law, this means that a referendum will now be held on the proposal. Such a move trumps even the efforts of the far-right Swiss People’s Party, which has long lobbied for greater immigration controls.
But these greens aren’t mobilising for an immigration clampdown with banners claiming ‘keep the darkies out’ as right-wing groups have done in the past. Nor are they using dodgy, discredited scientific arguments to justify racial superiority, wielding books like Madison Grant’s The Passing of The Great Race for evidence.
No, instead EcoPop delivers its demands for immigration curbs carrying a banner asking: ‘How many people can the Earth tolerate?’ The group’s members use the (equally dodgy and discredited) Malthusian science of population growth and babble on about our ‘finite planet’. And they have reportedly been strongly influenced by the theories of US Malthusian Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb.
EcoPop bends over backwards to claim that it is not singling out particular races when advocating its policies. According to the BBC, it claims to be ‘opposed to all forms of xenophobia and racism’. But, the group says, ‘Switzerland must limit immigration to avoid urbanisation and to preserve agricultural land’.
You could almost believe that EcoPop is just a bunch of backward-thinking NIMBYish Luddites wanting to stop a flood of immigrants from destroying what it sees as a rural idyll — until you see what the group has tacked on to its proposed referendum for immigration caps. EcoPop slipped an additional clause into the referendum calling for a tenth of all foreign aid to be used ‘for birth-control measures abroad’. (It’s highly questionable how many people would have signed a petition for that alone.)
So it’s not enough to keep foreigners out of Switzerland, then, it’s also necessary to keep them from breeding too much in their own countries as well. And the fact that most of the aid will go towards stopping poor black and brown families from breeding too much suggests that if they’re not intentionally being racist, then EcoPop’s members should really think very hard about how they come across.