The Myth of Over-Population
Forty years ago Rousas J. Rushdoony wrote a booklet called “The Myth Of Over-Population.” It was greeted with coolnes or even disapproval in Calvinistic circles. Everyone ‘knew’ that the population of the world was expanding out of control.
Now a big cat has got out of the bag. The United Nations itself, which for decades has been parroting all the doom and gloom talk about population ‘explosion’ and has promoted population-control programmes throughout the world, especially in Asia and Latin America, is now warning that a serious crisis of under-population faces the human race.
The pro-life organisation Life writes that a report by the Population Division of the UN Secretariat called “Replacement Migration” admits that fertility rates of sixty-one nations have fallen so far below replacement levels that their populations are becoming dangerously unbalanced. Ageing workforces are already finding it difficult to sustain ageing populations – Japan’s pension programme, for instance, is already facing collapse – and within the next few decades an absolute population decline is predicted.
The report focused on eight countries in particular, including Italy, Japan, the UK and USA, and Russia, and predicts that Europe’s population will fall from 722 million to 600 million in the next decade, Japan’s by 20 million. Typically the average age of most societies will soon rise (Italy’s, for instance, from 41 to 49) and the percentage of people aged 65 and over will double.
The prolife movement world-wide has been warning of an imminent global demographic crisis for years. At the last LIFE National Conference, Rene Bel produced an account of what was happening: birth-rates collapsing in Europe (especially in Italy, Spain and Greece, and in former Communist countries) and throughout the industrialised countries, and crises looming in much of Black Africa, Asia and the Americas.
At last the United Nations is waking up to the facts. But they still have not grasped the full gravity of the situation. They do not yet admit that falling fertility rates are compounded by the scourge of AIDS, the new drug-resistant malaria, resurgent tuberculosis and other new viruses which antibiotics cannot control. They argue that massive migration will be needed to boost the workforces of, say, Europe (13 million immigrants required) or Japan (32 million required) over the next decades. But where will these come from? The traditional sources of immigrant labour are themselves being affected with demographic decline, including the AIDS pandemic. Massive immigration of the kind envisaged would, of course, create huge social and political problems – to add to the other stresses and strains, including generational conflict, which the ageing of populations and new demands on the young to support the elderly are already generating.
Most astonishing of all is this fact: that same United Nations which has at last begun to wake up to what prolifers have been telling them for yonks is the same United Nations which has been, and still is, promoting ruthless and relentless population control policies worldwide through its Fund for Population Activities (UNPPA) and the ghastly International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) which is the umbrella organisation for National Family Planning Associations.
Western Governments have been pouring money into these agencies (£17 million a year from the UK alone) which promote not only contraception, but abortion and sterilisation policies, often using bribery and force.
They have condoned, if not abetted, the one-child policy in China, which employs forcible abortion, fines and even house-burning against recalcitrant women. They have launched mass sterilisation and abortion programmes throughout Asia and Latin America. They are driven by a racist neo-colonialism. In other words, the crisis which the UN now reports is in large measure of its own making.
Having implicitly admitted that its policies have been misguided will it now shut down the UNFPA and the IPPF? Will it instead initiate a pro-natalist programme, which is the only way, in the long run, that the world demographic crisis can be tackled?
A few weeks ago many politicians and population ‘experts’ were wringing their hands at the news of the birth of the six billionth inhabitant of our’ planet. They used the occasion to repeat all the familiar tales about overpopulation, ‘unsustainable’ growth, etc., and the need to keep up all the population-control policies.
They must now change their tunes. We invite them to do so. For a start we have written to Ms Clare Short, our febrile minister for Overseas Development, suggesting that the £17 million of British taxpayers’ money which her department has been so generously donating to the UNFPA and IPPF should now be spent in supporting pregnant women in the Third World, on baby clothes and equipment – and on prolife pregnancy care services in the UK and elsewhere.
A favourable reply is not expected.
Living in the World 6 November 2020
This article is the contents of an address first given in February 2020 at the Westminster Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Newcastle, UK. * * * LIVING in the world. How are Christians to live in the world? The question can be answered in many ways. The topic is potentially vast in scope — that becomes more […]
When coming to consider plagues throughout history and some Christian responses, it is appropriate to begin with this extract from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer: O Almighty God, who in thy wrath did send a plague upon thine own people in the wilderness, for their obstinate rebellion against Moses and Aaron; and also, in […]