Thank you for Tyler Hayden’s informative and chilling investigative reporting on the hate group Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). I did not know that Garrett Hardin’s old racist fringe group lives on, and right here in our town, with a budget exceeding a million dollars a year. As is the case with many extreme right-wing groups (including those opposing immigrants, people of color, and abortion rights), they have learned to adopt a language of tolerance and/or equality, while continuing to pursue racist and/or misogynist policies. It would have been interesting to hear their comment on the terror that undocumented people in our own community are now facing, under Trump/Bannon’s unleashing of massive ICE raids.

The defense of CAPS’s executive director against the charge that they are a hate group is pathetic. For example, they laud their founder Garrett Hardin’s key article as “the most highly cited’ in the history of science.” That article has in fact been widely cited — often as an example of ideology parading as science. (I’ve cited it that way myself.) Hardin faced opposition for his thinly veiled racist views throughout his career; decades ago, when he was giving at talk at the University of Michigan, population studies and economics graduate students there (myself among them) organized a widely attended symposium on the real drivers of population growth, whether from birth rates or immigration: inequality.

Santa Barbara is home to a number of extreme right-wing groups posing as something else — not only CAPS, but also “fake clinics” that provide pregnant young women with “alternative fact,” i.e., lies, in the attempt to stop them from having abortions. At this moment in history, it is more important than ever to expose these groups. Thank you, Independent.


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