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--In Search of Utopia--
Return to Earth
“. . . AND GULLIVER RETURNS”
--In Search of Utopia--
BOOK 1--SMASHWORDS EDITION
RETURN TO EARTH
Lemuel Gulliver XVI as told to Jacqueline Slow
© 2008 ISBN 978-0-9823076-0-1
Dear friends—Obviously I wrote this series to be read from Book 1 to the end, but silly me! Readers often begin with what sounds interesting to them. This may leave them unaware of the characters, my friends and I. So let me introduce us. We were boyhood friends, as wild and as close as geese heading south for the winter. But our university educations split us philosophically like a drop of quicksilver hitting the floor. But like those balls of mercury, when brought together, they again become one. As have we.
Ray became a Catholic priest and moved far to the right of where our teenage liberalism had bound us. Ray calls himself a neo-conservative. We think he is a reactionary.
Lee slid to the left of our adolescent leanings, and somewhere along the line became an atheist. Lee is a lawyer.
Concannon, Con for short, retired from his very successful business. I guess his business experience moved him a bit to the right, to conservatism—a conservative just to the right of the middle.
Then there’s me. I think I’m pretty much a middle of the roader—except for my passion to save our planet by reducing our population before global warming, massive poverty and far-reaching famines decimate our humanity. Hope this introduction makes our discussions make a bit more sense
THE RETURN FROM SPACE
“5-4-3-2-1-Touch down! . . . and Gulliver returns. The greatest adventure in human history! Commander Lemuel Gulliver the 16th has completed the first journey around the solar system. Today, May 17, 2025 is a day that will be forever engraved in the minds of humanity.
“This is Chet Rowland of World News on the California desert where we have just witnessed the final leg of the greatest human adventure in history, even greater than that of his illustrious ancestor, Lemuel Gulliver the First. After 25 years in space, Lemuel Gulliver the 16th returns from his odyssey of exploring most of the solar system in search of possible homes for the millions or billions of earthlings who have overflowed our planet. Let me try to grab him on his way to de-briefing.
“Commander, let me just ask a couple of questions that the waiting world wants to know.”
-- Sure, but I only have a minute”
—“Have you found suitable potential homes for the excess world population?
—“Not at all. There are a few places on Mars and Venus that might be suitable for underground cities. But there is no place in our solar system as ‘people friendly’ as our own Earth.”
—“What made you volunteer for the trip and were you ever sorry that you did? And were you lonely?”
—“Like my famous ancestor, the first Gulliver, I lusted for adventure. But the adventure into the unknown world by his sailing ship 300 years ago could not have been as exciting as the lure of other worlds beyond our world. The thrill of space travel and being the first person to set foot on several planets gave me orgasmic thrills that will live with me every day of my life. And you ask was I lonely. Yes and no. I enjoy human companionship as the most soothing and stimulating salve to my soul. But I was not alone. I had with me Plato and Aristotle, Jesus and Mohammed, Lao Tzu and Confucius, Galileo and Copernicus, Freud and Bacon, Shakespeare and Milton. I was never alone. My 25 years in space gave me years of uninterrupted reading time to study the great books of our world. And that voyage into our intellectual cosmos was at least as exciting as my travel in space. It gave me both the hope of possible solutions to our planetary problems and a fear that human selfishness would continue to prevent them.
“Plato saw the selfishness of the family as preventing the best of societies. The Soviet Union’s failure to establish a Communist utopia hinged on a combination of human frailties—the economic selfishness of the masses, the power-mad leaders and the universal propensity to prepare for and recover from war. Plato’s city-state and Bacon’s island state were too small to be useful as models for today’s multi-billion population with space age communication, a global economy, and a myriad of religions and philosophies that divide our human brotherhood into millions of Cains and Abels. Still we should heed the advice of the king of New Atlantis and work to join humanity and policy together.
“Guided by the practice of the rulers of New Atlantis, voyagers would set out periodically to bring back the knowledge of other civilizations to make their own kingdom better. The arts and sciences, the inventions and manufactures, the books and instruments were shared—making every civilization richer. Because, after all, knowledge is power. Such a worldly endeavor appeals to me now. I think there is the possibility to save ourselves from ourselves.”
“What are your immediate plans now that you’ve rejoined humanity?”
—“Some might think that I would want to take a month on Tahiti and soak up some rays, but remember, I have been alone for 25 years. I want to jump into the chaos of civilization and visit some countries that interest me. Some countries have made effective strides in solving our universal problems. I have only been able to hear about the movements, both forward and backward, that nations have taken to grapple with humankind’s greatest problem—overpopulation. I want to see for myself. We’re choking ourselves with our wastes in the air, in the ground and in the seas. We live in fear of criminals, terrorists and warlords—warlords who have gained power through ballots or bullets. Utopia is a realizable dream, but will we decide to pursue it?”
—“With that whole solar system out there, isn’t there some possibility of finding a place for utopian settlements to be developed?”
—“No, not with our present technology—the possibility just isn’t there. We have found specks of water on our moon and on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons. But there is no way they could support life. Just imagine donning your bikini for some Saturnic summer sun with the temperature a balmy minus 201° Celsius, that’s minus 330° Fahrenheit. We have to solve our population problems here on earth. And we may already be too late!”
—“The world has been following your communiqués and there are many questions about your strong advocacy for licensing parents to have children as the only hope for humanity.”
—“When I left my beloved country on October 12, 1999 it was not significant that my voyage began on Columbus Day. What was significant was that it was the day that the six billionth baby was born on our planet. In Sarajevo, Bosnia. Kofi Anan, the Secretary General of the United Nations made the trip to the Balkans to celebrate, with trepidation. And the World Health Organization acknowledged it, with fear for the future. Planned Parenthood shuddered with anxiety and a renewed sense of panic. And the irreverently intelligent cried for the future of their children.
“The overpopulation of the earth with its attendant problems of insufficient clean air and water, of loss of soil and oxygen producing trees, the population induced weather changes, the skyrocketing costs of food and energy, and the rapid accumulation of waste made me eager to begin my voyage into the deepest regions of the solar system searching for a hospitable settlement site for those who wished to escape the ecological disaster which humankind has unthinkingly brought upon itself.
“Over half of the world’s population now live in cities. This has concentrated the poverty, the number of slums, and increased violence.(1) In five years, by 2030, five billion will live in the cities. Here in California our population will double to 60 million people in the first half of this century. Most of this growth occurs because of births in the cities, not because of migration. And few governments can provide clean water, sanitation and adequate housing, let alone education and health benefits for the poor.
“There are no easy solutions to the problems created by the continuous increases in the population. On the one hand some politicians and businessmen think that such increases are necessary. Younger workers must pay for the older citizens who retire earlier and live longer—and with those longer retirements more workers are necessary to pay their way because lawmakers did not require workers to contribute enough of their salaries to pay for their own retirements. Business, of course, is always looking to increase its consumer base. The obvious solution for this problem is to increase the death rate. But those of us who are alive don’t like that option. But you remember what the English philosopher Francis Bacon said, ‘He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator.’”
—“You mentioned business. It reminds us of what Confucius said, ‘The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.’ But what solutions do you have in mind?”
—“There is no single solution to the problems released by Pandora’s population box. To solve the problem of longer life spans and early retirements we just have to increase the length of the working life before we can allow one to retire. But there’s a lot more to the problem than just providing old age benefits. If it isn’t too late, we can follow the lead of those few countries that have licensed parents to have children. It seems that it is a major hope to bring the world back into ecological balance and guarantee that each child born will have every possibility to develop physically, mentally and emotionally and to achieve his or her greatest potential in a loving family. Only then can we reach the utopian goal that has been the dream of the philosophers and saints who have preceded us. Too many of us live with the hope that somebody else will do it. This guarantees that it won’t be done. We should heed Ben Franklin’s advice that ‘You may delay but time will not.’
“But I want to see how religions that are often violently competitive live in peace when I visit Muchinju. I want to look at how the United Colonies seem to have perverted the concepts of justice and democracy which have led them away from any utopian goals. I want to examine some countries that seem to be moving towards a utopia and some countries that seem to be moving away from such a goal. Are we to wait until God solves the problem or should we assume that God wants us to solve our own problems with our minds—that many believe are the image of God. I don’t think that God wants us to wait for another flood or another Sodom.
THE GOOD LIFE
“It’s not just a question of reducing population, but of eliminating misery and increasing the ‘the good life.’ Some people ask why some should be so poor while others are so rich. Did you know that the thousand richest people have more money than the two and a half million poorest people? Some ask for a more equitable distribution of the wealth—as Karl Marx suggested. The problem is that there isn’t as much money in the world as it appears. When I left, the world’s population of 6 billion had a world gross product of 21 trillion dollars annually. If all of the wealth produced in a year were distributed equally it would have left about $3500 for every person. That would be about the same as the average income in Poland or Venezuela but would have been considerably less than the poorest American state, Mississippi, with an average per capita income of $18,000 or rich Connecticut with an average income of $36,000. Of course countries such as Mozambique with its $94 per year income or India with $400 would have been much better off. But then by halfway through my trip the Indian economic miracle had increased by tenfold the Indian per capita income.
“Still there are more than a billion people living on less than $300 per year. With over a billion people being chronically malnourished or dying from starvation, we have a long way to go to increase the standard of living for most of our human brothers and sisters. Then there are the problems of food costs that are emptying the rice bowls of the impoverished.
“There are a couple of problems however. In a democratic world would the people of Connecticut vote for reducing their incomes by 90%. Another factor is that if the money were taken out of the hands of the governments and industries there would be no money for development, unless the recipients of the $3,500 either decided to give some money to the government for development or decided to invest in the stock market. And how many stock brokers will have the train fare to make their daily commute from Connecticut to New York while earning only $3,500 a year?
“If our life values were in our heads and our hearts rather than in our wallets perhaps we wouldn’t mind sharing everything. But having the rich nations adopt the collective generosity of the Salvation Army, Mother Theresa, Albert Schweitzer—or even Robin Hood—is a bit too much to expect when the media tell us that more is better, and keeping is better than giving.
“When I left for outer space many of the ‘haves’ lived in apparent luxury, while the “have-nots” lived hungry, in filth and squalor. Today, to my amazement, some of the former prosperous nations are poorer while some of the former third world nations have gained great economic advantages. The keys to both paths have been the approaches each country has taken to control or foster their national birth rates. The most startling and yet enlightening changes have occurred through various methods of decreasing populations. Especially for those countries that are now licensing parenting.
“And what about health care. Socialized medicine sounded like a good idea. The British National Health Service has over a million people waiting for hospital admission. While its stated objective is to have no one waiting more than 6 months for an operation nor more than 3 months for an outpatient surgery appointment, those dreams become more remote as the population increases—and ages. Even in rich Norway, a country with no national debt and a huge oil income, the main hospital of its capital city finds people bedded in the halls, set off from the passers-by by screens. And with the exception of the newer additions, few rooms have televisions to help patients while away the painful hours. Operations, if not emergencies, are often scheduled rather far in the future, but if the Norwegian surgeons don’t get around to you, you will probably be sent to another country for the surgery.
THE NOT SO GOOD LIFE FOR TOO MANY CHILDREN
“But the major problems I see relate to a large part of the world’s children. Perhaps I am a romantic, but when I hear of infants being raped in Africa, I cry. Whether it is the superstition that sex with a virgin will cure one’s AIDS or whether it is merely a sexual attack by a deranged coward—it should not happen. South Africa has the highest AIDS rate in the world. By 2025 AIDS had killed over 40 million Africans. The number of children orphaned by HIV is an international tragedy.
“And what of the many thousands of children, both boys and girls, who are the unwilling participants in the child sex trade—pawns of the pedophiles in hotel rooms or in the available pornographic media. No mature adult could bring himself to think or do such unseemly acts. Yet there are many supposedly upright citizens who revel in this sickly game. Should any child be subjected to the cruelty of such sadistic mentally ill adults? Then there are numerous societies that allow slavery of one sort or another, such as the Haitian children whose parents farm them out on that anti-slavery island, or the African children who are sold outright as slaves.
“Just look at Cambodia as an example of how HIV/AIDS has cursed the population of children. While over 150,000 orphans of AIDS afflicted parents will test positive for the disease, another 100,000 AIDS orphaned children will not test positive. What kind of a life is it when the parents have died and there are no orphanages to take in these waifs? Even if this poor country could build and staff one orphanage a day it could not take care of the avalanche of parentless children.
“But it is not only the poor children who are endangered by overpopulation. As advanced countries expand their atomic power generating capabilities they build the nuclear targets for suicidal terrorist fanatics to attack. Rather than blowing up a 12 passenger bus or a high rise building, the nuclear fallout of a blown reactor can kill or maim millions—millions of young and old, good and bad, religious and non-religious. Look at the ‘crack’ and alcohol syndrome children of addicted parents. Rich or poor, child abuse is a continual reminder of the plight of unwanted children.
“You may be familiar with the U.S. Center for Disease Control study in 2008. In studying 900,000 infants during their first year of life they found that one in 43 infants suffered serious abuse or neglect, a third of them during their first week of life. And one in 180 were killed. The physical abuse included beating, kicking, biting, burning and shaking; neglect included abandonment, maternal drug use or failing to meet basic needs like housing, food and clothing. The results were similar to a Canadian study.
“To avoid this cruelty should prospective parents be required to take a course in infant care in order to be licensed? Or do you think this cruelty to infants should be allowed to continue? Or possibly the drug addicted parents found in the study should not have been allowed to parent until they were clean? Should society do something to save that one in 180 who was born then killed? Children have been abused so much throughout history and throughout the present day world. I don’t think it’s right. I think something should be done about it. The only solution I can come up with is some kind of educational and licensing program.
“Then there are the centuries-old traditions of marrying children. While it is often against the law, it is tradition. Mali and Bangladesh are among the worst offenders. The girls are deprived of an opportunity for education and the chance to make their own life choices.
OLDER NATURAL METHODS OF POPULATION CONTROL
“It all relates to too many people and to too few good parents. The older methods that have historically controlled population have been reduced. Wars are so horrible that countries now occasionally try to avoid them. Infanticide is becoming less and less common. Legal abortion, while much safer today than in the past and safer than childbirth, often has strong antagonists. Famines still come and go but don’t kill enough people to make much of a difference to the exploding population. A million deaths here or there doesn’t dent the billions who roam our overcrowded home. And the advances of medicine have increased life-spans by eliminating or reducing the microbial scourges of the past, such as smallpox. And while AIDS has eliminated a large number of the population, it still hasn’t taken the comparable toll that the Black Death did in Europe centuries ago.
“Still, disease and famine have been only temporary respites in the damming of the timeless flow of the geometrical increases in people’s progeny. Laws and customs have to be changed. We need more than natural disasters to cope with the calamity that is already here. But there aren’t enough earthquakes and tsunamis so we need intelligent action and we need it now.
“Population control is not a novel approach in either the animal or the human kingdoms. Lemmings take their fatal leaps to oblivion. Humans have practiced contraception, abortion, infanticide and suicide for millennia. Whether it was the Spartans of ancient Greece exposing their babies on the hill letting the elements determine which were the strong and which should die, or the African tribes that take the newborn of every young father into the jungle to be eaten by the animals.
FROM THE PAST AND INTO THE FUTURE
”In the period starting a few years before I left and continuing during the twenty years of my voyage, many nations had intelligently come to grips with their major problem and had—through intimidation and reward, through law and ideal, and through education and science—begun to slow the raging river of ever increasing births and to turn back the tide before humanity was wiped out by its own reproductive thoughtlessness. “It is not as if the creative handling of one’s population is new. In the voyage of Gulliver the First he encountered the Houynmnnms, those very intelligent equine-like creatures who limited every family to two children, one male and one female. They also had worked to select the breeding so that their nation could continue its high level of existence. They even traded children among families so that a better balance could be achieved for their race and their nation. And now there are some signs that such intelligence occasionally works on our planet.
“I hope that I will learn something on my planned visits around the world, then I’ll be
able to actively advocate for the plans that seem to be essential for the intelligent and joyous survival of the human race.
THE OVERPOPULATION PROBLEM HAS NO POSITIVE SOLUTIONS
“It took over 50,000 years for the Earth’s population to reach one billion people. That was as recently as 1804. In 123 years, in 1927, it added its next billion. Then in only 33 years, in 1960, it reached 3 billion. In only 14 more years there was another billion. It reached five billion in 1987, just 13 years, then 12 more years to reach 6 billion. But then things started to slow a bit. It took a whopping 14 years to reach 7 billion. It looks like it will take 15 years for the next billion, and we will reach 9 billion before the century’s midpoint. The number of people added to the world from now until 2050 is about the same number that lived on the planet in 1950. I have heard academic projections of America having a billion people in 80 years and India reaching 2 billion in 60 years.(1a) I don’t believe it will be that bad, but there are warnings that the infrastructures of the countries must be upgraded beginning now. There seems to be no end to the dire projections of world population. And nobody suggests limiting the population, only providing for it—and we can’t provide for those we have now.
“Treating AIDS victims with anti-retroviral drugs has reduced the number of expected deaths by over 30 million. This keeps the victims reproducing longer. Conquering other diseases also extends life spans and enlarges reproductive windows. Poor countries like Afghanistan, Burundi, Congo, Liberia, Niger, East Timor and Uganda are projected to triple their populations by mid-century. Thank goodness for the nearly 50 countries that are reducing their native populations. Countries like Japan, Germany, Italy and South Korea would lose population if they didn’t take in immigrants from poorer countries.
“In the 1990’s it began to become evident to the more economically advanced countries of the western world that several factors were making it impossible to care for their citizens from cradle to grave. Earlier retirement in many countries opened jobs for younger workers—who paid the taxes necessary for the pensions of their elders. Longer life spans aided by advances in medical science and governmental or private health plans increased the need for more tax money to fund the health needs of those retirees. Jobs became more scarce as machines did the work of the unskilled and some of the skilled workers. Machines cut the wheat, picked the grapes, and built the cars and houses.
“Even skilled workers were needed less. Computers replaced accountants and many researchers. They calculated complicated medical operations while robots performed them. Were it not for the aging populations with their increased illnesses, many doctors and nurses would have been societally superfluous.
“Fewer people were needed to do the work of the advanced societies, but even though the birth rates per woman had fallen in most advanced countries, the longer lived citizenry more than made up for it in the burgeoning population.
“It seems that each modern decade has its special problems. The 40s required the surrender of the German and Japanese aggressors. The 50s were quiet, but the times pushed the productive citizens toward more monetary goals while the taxes rose to take care of the education of the war babies. The 60s saw an increase in the cold war between the East and the West as it ushered in the self-centered times of the hippies—and sex and drugs became major avenues towards reducing the psychic pain of the earlier decades. The 70s recognized the problems of pollutions and the rape of the environment. Since the 80s the upheavals of Communist governments in the East allowed the western people to rest a little easier but the violent fanaticism of religious zealots endangered many countries. Crime families disrupted the cities and youth gangs terrorized neighborhoods. The 21st century began with violent selfishness, nurtured by Hollywood, bringing out the worst in human emotions and behaviors.
“It became more evident that the major cause of our greatest earthly problems was rooted in our excess of population. But more than just too many people, there were too many unloved people—people born without the expected parental legacies of tenderness and caring. The poorest children among us were starved for food, but so often the children of the rich were starved for love and humanity—in an unethical uncaring society. It was evident that we not only had to reduce the gross numbers of babies being born, but we had to do our best to make certain that those who were born had the opportunity to grow into functional, loving, humanitarian citizens of the world.
“But more, the modern level of technology requires a more intelligent citizen to provide for the needs of the world’s society. Shades of Hitler? No, because we have to recognize that intelligent and moral people come in every color and in every religious persuasion. Hitler was looking for perfection in only a small part of humanity—his Aryan ideal. So the ingredients in any eugenic approach to improving our collective lot would obviously come from every corner of our globe and every segment of humanity.
“In today’s society there is no longer a need for chambermaids. Hotel rooms, just as private houses, clean themselves electro-magnetically at the touch of a button. Robots prepare the meals that the few executive chefs plan and input into their computers. Modern society does not need the drones required in the Middle Ages to till the soil and construct the cathedrals. It needs only highly skilled architects to plan those cathedrals. It needs the truly creative artists, the master musicians, the computer engineering geniuses—and it needs thinkers to help put it all together. But the common women and men, the blue collar workers are extremely worried. They think the government should provide for them, to place them in jobs they can perform. But the jobs they could perform have gone the way of the village blacksmith and the firemen who shoveled coal into the bellies of the puffer bellied steam engines. Intelligent people with high level educations are needed as technology fuels economic globalization.
“If Nietzsche were alive today he might say “I told you so.” Plato might see his Republic unfolding with human intelligence as its soul. And Aristotle would marvel that a just society might really be possible.
“Well Chet, you know that the major purpose of my voyage was to find planets or moons that we could inhabit. I found none. Years ago it was suggested that the maximum number of people that the planet could support was about 2 billion. How do we handle the plethora of people and how do we develop a universal good life with no poverty, no wars, no ecological problems.
“A few people are trying to educate the literate people about the problems. I have to join the fray If people merely hope that the problems of overpopulation, global warming and unloved children will somehow just go away—it will never happen. Merely hoping or wishing that the problems will go away will guarantee that nothing will happen. Remember that Ben Franklin said that ‘He who lives on hope will die fasting’ because ‘You may delay but time will not.’
“You well know that the idea of controlling population is not new. My ancestor’s biographer, the Reverend Jonathan Swift, made “a modest proposal” in the early 1700s. His idea was to prevent the children of the poor people of Ireland from being a burden to their parents or their country. He suggested that eating the little rascals would be a double blessing—healthy protein for the adults and fewer waifs on the streets. It would keep their mothers from begging for food for them and allow the ladies to work at more appropriate jobs.”
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