They’re Back: As Gas Prices Soar, The Population Controllers Once Again Blame People

Recent crises have reenergized the population control movement. Worried about food shortages?  Reduce the number of babies born, its advocates argue.  Concerned about global warming?  Contracept or sterilize more women.  Want to bring down gas prices?  Promote abortion around the globe.  As “Going Green” columnist Bryan Walsh puts it in the latest issue of Time magazine (June 2, 2008), “Population is the essential multiplier for any number of human ills.”

Not so long ago, the population controllers would have been embarrassed to openly promote such ideas.  After all, they have cried wolf so many times that most sensible people have stopped listening.  The movement’s leading prophet of doom and gloom, Paul Ehrlich, has been repeatedly and utterly wrong.  His 1968 jeremiad, The Population Bomb, warned that, with the earth approaching its carrying capacity, hundreds of millions of people would starve to death in the 1970s.  Instead, the estimated 6.66 billion people alive today live longer, eat better, and have higher living standards than ever before.  Even Walsh has to admit that the “green revolution has vastly increased food production, while [Western trade and investment] have helped lift hundreds of millions in the developing world out of poverty.”       

Another reason for their self-conscious silence was the massive human rights abuses that occurred in forced-pace programs.  Supported, encouraged, and funded by Western governments, developing world dictatorships embarked upon programs that mandated contraception, sterilization, and even abortion for millions of women.  China’s notorious one-child per couple policy is only the best known of dozens of programs that have violated the right of couples to determine for themselves the number and spacing of their children.

060508_lead_new.jpgNow, however, the population-control minded environmentalists are back, and in full cry.  Walsh, for example, blames the sudden spike in food and fuel prices on too many people, arguing that “if we can’t curb carbon emissions in a world of 6.8 billion [these guys always exaggerate the numbers], it may be impossible to do when there are 9 billion of us.”  Leaving aside the question of whether we should control carbon dioxide — a trace gas on which all life on earth depends — blaming global warming on too many babies is the twisted logic of a profoundly misanthropic mind.  How much carbon dioxide we produce is a result of how much fossil fuel we burn, not how many children are born.  Nuclear power, for example, produces zero carbon dioxide.

Repeating the mistakes of his mentors in the population control movement, many of Walsh’s assertions are simply wrong.  For example, his claim that “while population growth has slowed drastically in many countries in Western Europe and in Japan, where women are having fewer and fewer babies, it’s still rising in much of the developing world” is demographic nonsense.  Birthrates are falling everywhere, not just in “Western Europe and Japan.”  Europe as a whole — not just “Western Europe” — is losing population from year to year.  Latin America is not far behind, and even Asia is averaging only 2.4 children per woman — and falling.  The only region that still enjoys robust fertility is sub-Saharan Africa, most of whose countries, however, are plagued with HIV/AIDS, which is reducing population growth.  Population growth everywhere is slowing, not rising, and the population of the world will probably peak before mid-century.  In other words, what we are seeing is not a population bomb, but a population bust, with serious consequences for the whole realm of human endeavors.               

Despite all this, Walsh and other like-minded environmentalists are determined to ratchet the birth rate down further, but how?  He gently reproves “state-mandated birth control” as “essentially unfair.”  Unfair?!?  The Indonesian women who a few years ago were rounded up at gunpoint and sterilized might have difficulty with that weak characterization, not to mention the millions of Chinese women who are forcibly aborted each year.

Leaving that point aside, Walsh argues that “the key to limiting population growth… is to give control over procreation to women.”  This assumes that women in the developing world are eager to follow their “sisters” in Hollywood and Manhattan down the road to “liberation” from childbearing (and from marriage, for that matter.)  In fact, many women in the developing world (and in the U.S. as well) express a desire for more children than they are able to have, not fewer.  And, as far as their health needs are concerned, they want access to clean drinking water, medicine and nutritional supplements, not handouts of birth control pills.  Does Walsh truly believe that woman in the developing world will be rioting on the docks if they don’t receive their monthly shipments of contraceptives from the U.S.?  

Meeting the real health needs of women in the developing world would mean funding primary health care for women and their families.  Instead, the controllers ignore the views of women, view their fertility as a threat, and act to neutralize that perceived threat by disabling their reproductive systems.  To paraphrase feminist Angela Franks, if women’s fertility is causing social, economic, environmental, or health problems, as the controllers believe, and if women refuse to acknowledge this reality, it is for the greater good that they be persuaded, or compelled, or forced to stop having children.  Kingsley Davis and other population alarmists have long said that it is necessary, in the interest of reducing population growth, to make it less pleasant for women to do what so many of them enjoy doing, namely, raising children.[i]

Still, population control organizations find it highly inconvenient that their programs are not greeted with joy by their “targets,” and they go to great lengths to disguise or explain away this fact.  Overseas, they work overtime to create the impression of robust popular and government support for their anti-natal programs, recruiting local surrogates, suborning government ministries of health and education, launching media blitzes, and sponsoring contraceptive giveaways.  This façade falls away in discussions with donors, in which they arrogantly suggest that the women’s reluctance to contracept comes about because they either don’t know their own minds, or because they simply don’t know what’s good for them (or their country, or the environment, etc.).  To the American public, they sell a different line, that women overseas have an urgent, pressing “unmet need” for contraceptives. 

Walsh is ultimately not concerned about women at all, as his last paragraph reveals.  If Americans don’t influence their government to push contraception, he writes, “they may find out very soon just what the limits of the earth are.  It’s not just feminism to support population control — it’s environmentalism.”

He sounds a little bit like Paul Ehrlich after all, doesn’t he? 

Steven W. Mosher


Steven W. Mosher is the President of Population Research Institute and an internationally recognized authority on China and population issues, as well as an acclaimed author, speaker. He has worked tirelessly since 1979 to fight coercive population control programs and has helped hundreds of thousands of women and families worldwide over the years.

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  • Grace Harman

    Contraceptives are the root of the problem, not its solution. (AIDS, HPV. and other s.t.d.s are at epidemic levels due to promiscuity.) Margaret Sanger targeted Blacks, “Browns” and Orientals for elimination. These groupss are the ones still trying to grow. Europe, Russia and Japan are ALL rapidly losing population, and The problem of energy has nothing to do with population. Temperatures were 2 degrees higher around 1900 than in the 40’s. There were very few cars and several billion less people in 1900. Ice ages were interspersed with even tropical temperatures when there were NO people. Sun spots and solar flares have more influence on temperatures perhaps?
    We’re killing our future and trying to fight God. The environmentalists and population controlers are wrong – dead wrong.

  • gk

    You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. Thank God our wonderful brothers and sisters in 3rd world countries do not trust “our” western “love” of contraception.

    Prayers for the overly confused contraception pushers. Sex and love to them is about violence and control (even if it might be pleasurable in some ways). Sex should be seen and is about understanding of the beauty of a woman’s natural cycle, self control (through the grace of Christ), receptivity, awe and enjoyment. It is a gift from God, entrusted to us, even though we have fallen natures. God still trusts us, even if we do not trust ourselves.

    When love comes to town I’m gonna catch that train. Christ has told us:
    “And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Lk 12:29-30

  • speedmaster
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  • shockman

    We live in the age of information! And, as such, we no longer have to believe these woefully uninformed and uneducated people! It is our responsibility to seek and if possible find the truth. But before doing so, are you willing to accept the truth? If you are take the time to find the following:

    1. The War Against Population: The Economics and Ideology of World Population Control (Paperback)by Jacqueline Kasun (Author)
    # Paperback: 309 pages
    # Publisher: Ignatius Press; Rev Upd Su edition (November 2, 1999)
    # Language: English
    # ISBN-10: 0898707129
    # ISBN-13: 978-0898707120SBN-13: 978-0898707120

    2. State of Fear by Michael Crichton (Author)
    # Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
    # Publisher: Avon (October 25, 2005)
    # Language: English
    # ISBN-10: 0061015733
    # ISBN-13: 978-0061015731

    3. Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family

    “Of all of the causes we have in the world today, many of which particularly capture the time and space of the media and academia, it is singularly peculiar that the disintegration of an institution as important as the human family should want for attention. Perhaps it is because the family is made up of individual people, and we have become a society obsessed with a focus on the self. Be that as it may, we have ignored this institution to our great detriment. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights got it right when it declared that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society”. Implicit in this inclusion in an international founding document declaring universal human rights, is the recognition that stable society’s very survival rests on the strength of this fundamental group unit.

    The years have not been kind to this most important institution – the family, particularly the last four decades. Worldwide, families have broken down at a historically unprecedented pace. There are certainly records of how now-extinct societies have experienced similar declines before their demise, but what we now face is unique in that it has a global spread. This has ominous portent.

    The family’s importance to basic social structures has perhaps been more explored and discussed than its importance to other aspects of our world, and certainly deserves continued study. What is probably less obvious, and therefore less examined, is the family’s impact on such things as the rule of law, democratic structures, societal and even technological advancement, education, successful commerce and economic structures. Society depends on these in order to remain stable and the family’s impact on them is profound.

    When the great social experiments of the 1960’s were launched, and when concern over a “population bomb” loomed large, we did not have the social science and economic studies we have available to us today. So the world embarked unknowingly on a self-destructive course.

    Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family seeks to reawaken society to the importance of the stable, intact family, and engender a discussion and greater focus in the media, in academia, in the halls of policy makers, in religious circles, in the committees of civil society and in households around the world. Our hope is that all of these circles will bring to bear on the problems facing the family the tremendous contributions each can uniquely make. In this way, we hope to avert the storm that is now most surely coming on.”

    Good Luck Hunting for the Truth and God Bless,

    Father Benjamin D. Shockey

  • Susan45

    Well, look at it this way, maybe the contraceptors will contracept themselves right out of existence. Then in a few decades when the population is down, as it is already headed in that direction, and China doesn’t have enough women to replace themselves they’ll start singing a different tune.

  • bevrios

    I am # 10 in my family….thank GOD….My husband is #13 THANK GOD….God
    is the only one to give and take life. Contraception is a SIN…God knows how many people are here. I am glad these folks who support control, don’t control who gets into heaven….I was told you MUST believe in procreation to get into heaven’s gates….My grandfather had 17 kids….I LOVELIFE….I love JESUS…
    Dear Lord, Please forgive the ignorant who think life is not important. Each of us has a path, and may they find theirs…obviously is is not LOVING YOU….

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