Friday, January 1, 2010
Fatal Misconception by Mathew Connelly
Disaster scenarios such as this have been quite popular over the decades. Fairfield Osborn's "Our Plundered Planet" and William Vogt's "Road To Survival", both published in 1948, drew very similar conclusions. Then there was Paul Ehlrics "The Population Bomb", a link to which has just been removed from PBS NewsHour's website! They all pointed to tangible signs that time was already running out, including deforestation, desertification and extinction of wildlife:' man as a geological force that is ruining his only home. They also warned about a decline in the "quality" of populations, a "biological erosion" of the human race.
World-wide, Americans gained the reputation of being obsessed with attacking population problems, and especially those of colored people. Eugenics remained a credible science long after the full extent of Nazis Germany's efforts in the 30's became well known, although those following the religion of pop. control were often quite careful to keep their true feelings private.
However,womens' access to education and paid work seems to the primary factor in reducing fertility rates worldwide.
The great tragedy of India and China was that under the rubric of population control millions of men and women were variously coerced into all sorts of sterilization programs, including the 'one-child" program and both illegal and legal abortions, which caused untold suffering and countless deaths, deaths of living people who deserved and had every reason to consciously expect that they would be treated like human beings instead of cattle, real people instead of pieces on a chessboards to be pushed back and forth on the "playboard of life" by their supposed superiors.
In these campaigns, conducted chiefly by first world NGO's, Planned Parenthood International and agencies of the U.N. basic maternal and infant health care were largely ignored.
Well, these groups have now learned their lesson.They found out that the only way to successfully address concerns about population growth is through reproductive freedom, maternal and infant health care systems, improving the general not just the reproductive education of women and providing them greater opportunities for paid employment.
It is not surprising that the greatest progress in combating the scourge of AIDS has occurred in precisely the same way: programs for developing comprehensive health care programs for a wide range of conditions and diseases and improve the general education and economic opportunity structure for people instead of focusing exclusively on AIDS prevention.
"The battle to feed all of humanity is over" Paul Ehrlich declared in his 1968 bestseller, "The Population Bomb". "In the 1970's the world will undergo famines- hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now."
This is what president Johnson had to say on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the United Nations:
"Let us in all lands- including this land- face forthrightly the multiplying problems of our multiplying populations and seek the answers to this most profound challenge to the future of all the world. Let us act on the fact that less than five dollars invested in population control is worth a hundred dollars invested in economic growth."
And Johnson was a man of action, he withheld food aid to starving people in India until the government agreed to widespread sterilization and IUD insertion programs, voluntarily accepted by millions of people because the few dollars they received in recompense was the only means they had to AVOID starvation, well before studies of such programs confirmed their utility and in the face of reports of serious medical consequences following.
As Margaret Sanger wrote as early as 1925:
" the millions upon millions of dollars which are now expended in the care and maintenance of those who in all good kindness should never have been brought into this world were converted to a system of bonuses to unfit parents, paying them to refrain from further parenting, and continuing to pay them while they controlled their procreative faculties, this would not only be a profitable investment, but the salvation of American civilization."
Back to the 60's scientists and activists worldwide agreed that high fertility was to be treated as a disease, and that birth control for nations made individuals expendable. Hasty and incomplete safety testing, the determination to "forge ahead" of health services, the insistence on setting targets and the idea of paying for performance and penalizing resistance all derived from a general consensus.
The scientists and experts also made a "killing" of their own as budgets for population control expanded through-out the globe, jet-setting about the world with their families and assistants, attending innumerable banquets and living in mansions attended by servants to meet their every need.
Meanwhile 100's of thousands suffered, many died, and fertility rates would have continued to soar but for improvements in the education and wages of women.