The other day, I watched a fascinating exchange between Laura Ingraham and Diane Francis, a Canadian journalist who advocated population control by referring to China as having had some success with their one-child policy. Although Ms. Francis, a self-professed feminist, conceded that she wasn’t particularly crazy about Communist dictatorships and their methods, some serious action needed to be taken in order to stem population growth, or else at some point in the not so far future global competition over basic resources like food, water, and energy would become so fierce that World War II will look like a dorm room pillow fight by comparison. (My analogy, but it captures the gist of her analysis.)
Needless to say, Laura Ingraham, being a card-carrying Christian conservative, blew her top at the notion of any kind of policy aimed at reducing birth rates, citing that any such policies would be impossible to enforce without draconian methods akin to those employed in China. For instance, we’d have to tell women how many children they could have, and this would never fly in this country.
Probably true. Hard to imagine to impose a one-child policy in the United States without kicking off a civil war that would make the Civil War (capitalized) look, well, like a dorm room pillow fight by comparison. After all, this is a Christian country, and one of the tenets of Christianity is that God creates every human life for a reason, and it is a mortal sin to interfere with the process. Hence no abortion, and, ideally, no birth control either. Certainly no one-child policy. Be fruitful and multiply.
(Besides, the U.S. population only went from roughly 25 million 100 years ago to 300 million today. Why worry about overpopulation here?)
When my grandfather was born, world population stood at two billion. Now we’re at over six billion, which means that the total number of people tripled within one decade. This circumstance alone, of course, is more frightening than terrorism and global warming combined to the power of googol. What are we going to do? Build a second floor onto our planet so half of the people can live upstairs? And then, as needed, simply add floors? Or pump air into the center of the earth in hopes it’ll inflate like a balloon? Order planet enlargement pills from some Canadian online pharmacy?
As the old saying goes, if you don’t change course, you’ll end up exactly where you’re headed. No way mankind will survive yet another tripling or even a doubling of its population, but that’s exactly where we’re headed. And the funny thing is, everybody knows it. It’s like staring at a category 5000 hurricane that’s coming right at you and hoping it’ll miraculously swerve left or right before blasting you and your town up into the stratosphere.
A high-school teacher of mine once presented the following image:
Imagine a glass jar with bacteria. These bacteria will continue to multiply, and once there are too many, they’ll all die off.
Simple as that. Dial M for multiplying ourselves into distinction.
So here’s the dilemma: on the one hand, we can’t just sit there and proliferate until we become too many and die off, all the while knowing perfectly well where we’re headed; yet on the other hand, it seems to be impossible to even mention a reduction in birth rates as a desirable goal without (a) the right becoming apoplectic with rage over such fascist and sacrilegious “anti-life” attitude, and (b) economists gently reminding us that we need an ever increasing supply of young people in order to support an aging population in terms of social security payments and the like.
Looks like we’re screwed. Clearly, overpopulation will do us all in. But if you dare say so, Laura Ingraham and her crew will bite your head off.
So what’s your solution to population growth, Ms. Ingraham, other than clutching that golden cross around your neck and ridiculing those who are at least trying to find one? Do you have one and you just didn’t get to share it with us because you were too busy talking over Ms. Francis?
Quite frankly, I don’t have a workable solution, either. Emphasis on workable. However, acknowledging that the problem exists may be a first step towards solving it. But one can’t get some folks to even do that lest they may incur God’s wrath for being anti-life, apparently not realizing–or refusing to realize–that by far the biggest threat to human life is creating too much of it.