Tuesday, November 10, 2009

An Honest Look at Birth Control



It may not make the papers, but there are dissenting voices when a United Nations committee pontificates about how to make the world a better place. We constantly hear the drumbeat of population control. Spero News reports as follows on the statement of the Vatican delegate to the United Nations on birth control.


"The great challenge to development is not the demographic explosion, but from irresponsible global and local economic policies": so says the Holy See's permanent observer to the UN, Msgr. Celestino Migliore. At the 64th UN General Assembly session in commemoration 15 years on from the Cairo Conference on Population and Development, Mgr. Migliore noted that "for nearly a century there have been attempts to tie [the problem of], the global population with food, energy, natural resources and environmental crisis. Instead, by contrast, it is now sufficiently demonstrated that human persons are the greatest resource in the world with their brilliance and ability to work together. "

Human potential is a critical variable in economic development. This is a truth that has been vindicated by recent history. The Congo is blessed with abundant natural resources. It is also as close as one can come to hell on earth. It is racked by inter ethnic warfare and tribal violence. The money from the gold and diamonds as well as other mineral wealth is seized by the greedy capitalists who only use it to accelerate the downward spiral of the nation.

Japan by contrast is a country that is poor in natural resources. Even rice, which is a national staple must be imported. Yet Japan is a prosperous country. It also has a culture which stresses cooperation. In Japanese, it is an insult to call someone an individualist. Putting collective welfare over that of the individual is a national virtue. When this national unity is for the national good, this emphasis on cooperation is a constructive force. During the war, it was an engine for Japanese militarism and racism, most grimly exemplified in the Rape of Nanking, in which hundreds of thousands were killed in the most awful manner possible. It seems that any virtue can be perverted to twisted ends.

What is the legacy of population control today? When I was a child, Irish and Italian families had a reputation for being larger than average, due to their religious dedication. Now both countries have a birth rate that is below replacement level. This means that an aging population has a shrinking number of people paying into the pension system. This is creating an actual financial crisis. The ability to do prenatal screening has resulted in a plague of sex selection through abortion in China and in India, which both have aggressive birth control policies.

Why could we not see these social trends before we started using entire societies as social laboratories? Would not simple arithmetic have revealed the perils of failing to reproduce ourselves as a species? The failures of population control and social engineering belong as much to capitalism as to communism. A nation's economy is meant to serve its people and not the other way around? In a very real sense, those who replenish the species and attempt to raise decent children are performing a service for the collective good. The earth has increased exponentially in population. The famines and turbulence we have experienced as a species are related not to increased population density but to dehumanisation of others, be it on class, national or ethnic basis.

These truths have been self evident. It has been mostly those governed by religious belief such as devout Catholics and orthodox Jews who have promoted high birth rates. It is time to take an intellectually honest look at population control and the superstitions of secular humanism. Free choice gives human beings the potential to be builders or destroyers. The sooner we face this inconvenient truth, the happier we will be.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

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