The Behavioral Sink
Way back when, in the middle of the 20th
Century, people weren't worried about Global Warming. In
fact, the big bugaboo at that time was Global Cooling!
Just twenty thousand years earlier, much of what would become
the USA was under a two mile thick glacier. Imagine ten
thousand feet of ice and snow covering everything from NY to LA.
Scientists of the day said it could, and probably would, happen
sooner rather that later. And for good measure, they
predicted a World Famine by 1975.
This latter catastrophe would be the
inevitable result of yet another bit of bad luck...Population
Growth. Back in the Nineteenth Century, English cleric
Thomas Malthus noticed that while the number of people kept
increasing geometrically, food production could only increase
arithmetically. Twentieth Century author Paul Ehrlich
picked up on the idea and wrote: The Population Bomb.
As you can see, scary forecasts have a
habit of coming and going but a rapidly accelerating population
is no forecast. It's right here and it's right now.
If you haven't been keeping track, the number of Americans has
more than doubled from 150 million in 1950 to over 300 million
today. Now ask yourself, is there any problem we have
today that wouldn't be improved if half the population didn't
wake up tomorrow? This may be why, on some level, we
always seem to be flirting with yet another war.
Wondering how people were going to react
to a Soylent Green level of crowding, psychologists in the
1960's created what they called: The Behavioral Sink experiment.
They took several breeding pairs of rats, enclosed them in a
large barn that was well supplied with food and water and
allowed them to reproduce. What do you suppose happened?
At first, the colony of rats did just
fine. They ate and reproduced. But then they started to get a
little crowded. Individuals wandered into each other's space and
fights began breaking out. In time, gangs formed and the
occasional tiff turned into something more like organized
warfare. Pregnant mothers aborted their fetuses while many of
those who delivered simply abandoned their young. A small number
of “King” rats, as the researchers called them, set up kingdoms
complete with a harem and a band of soldiers to defend their
territory. Stress levels were so high that many individuals just
curled up and died. Others lost their minds, some running in
circles; some chewing off their limbs. And even though there was
no famine or drought, pollution eventually took its toll
resulting in wide-scale death and disease.
Look At It This Way
When a Presidential candidate runs on
the slogan “Make America Great Again” it’s pretty obvious that
changes have taken place and that they haven’t been for the
better. Today we see boarder conflicts and uncontrolled
migration along with terror attacks, drug addictions, gang
violence, government corruption and world-wide pollution on an
unprecedented scale. In short, we see all the evidence of a
behavioral sink. So while we hear about changing weather
patterns, that’s merely a result. The root cause is a far more
difficult problem to solve: Too Many People.