The Population Problem

We are repeatedly told that there are too many people on this planet.  In fact, some individuals such as David Attenborough have gone so far as to characterize humans as being a “plague” upon the earth (Read Reformed Nazarene’s response to Mr. Attenborough’s comments here).

The solution, we are told, is to reduce the global population — at practically any cost.  As a result, abortion “rights” are pushed around the world as a means of preventing people from being born, and there is also a growing callousness toward the sick and elderly in many societies (see, for instance, Let elderly people ‘hurry up and die’, says Japanese minister from The Guardian).

And yet, what if the overpopulation hype is based on false assumptions?  What if this is actually the case?:

See also:

And this:  Interview: Jonathan Last on America’s Looming Demographic Crisis (with Transcript) from Ed Driscoll

Is the earth really unable to sustain the current global population or – gasp! – possibly even more people?  When overpopulation advocates point to all of the starving people in Africa, do they ever mention that almost half of the world’s food is actually being thrown away?

And while we are being told that there are “too many people,” consider the following headlines:

Schools have been competing for students for years as birth rates decline. The ongoing dispute between teachers and the Ontario government, over a controversial piece of legislation that dictated the terms of education-sector contracts, has heightened recruitment efforts by creating a new distinction between Ontario’s four types of school boards – those that have extracurriculars and those that don’t.

Last makes two central claims. First, he argues that declining birthrates are longstanding. At one time, most places in the world had total fertility rates of well over five children born to the average woman, but that rate has been in almost inexorable decline for hundreds of years. In part this long-term trend is due to the salutary decline in infant mortality, but Last’s second claim is that the trend has now moved way beyond that…

Declining populations are at the root of many of our policy and social problems, Last shows…Either benefits will be trimmed, or the young will have to pay an even higher portion of their income to fund their older relatives…

Initial findings on efforts across the Western world to raise birthrates suggest that there is little we can do to move the needle. The most promising developments in this respect are connecting fecundity with the revitalization of faithful religious practice, as seen in Last’s fascinating discussion of the former Soviet land of Georgia.

In truth, every country has a lower fertility rate than it used to; and in most of the developed world we’ve stopped procreating well enough to maintain replacement rates of population.

The cultural, financial, and political consequences of this unprecedented phenomenon are more profound than you might imagine—think: sclerotic, dying civilizations—and they’re laid out with precision in Jonathan V. Last’s terrific new book, What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster.

Clearly there is some cognitive dissonance going on here.  The “experts” say there are too many people while the headlines tell us that we face economic and social disaster if people don’t start having more babies.

Even if people start to believe the headlines, however, the difficulty is in convincing them that children are worth having.   There is a generation of women in the West who now believe they are “too clever to have children”:

‘You can be too intelligent to have children,’ she says. ‘To reach your full intellectual potential you need to be childless. If you are a thinking woman it’s more sensible not to become a parent.’

Read more:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2236467/The-women-think-theyre-clever-babies-Theyre-educated-dynamic-careers–believe-motherhood-beneath-them.html.

These brilliant women believe themselves to be “too smart” to train up the minds, morals, and manners of the next generation.  They are also “too clever” too pass on their genes despite the following from the same article:

But, as therapist Marisa Peer says, the women who believe they are too clever for children will cost future generations dearly. ‘Recent studies show intellect is passed on through females not males. So for very bright women not to pass on those genes is a great shame.’

Too “clever,” indeed.  It kind of reminds one of Romans 1:22:  “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…”  One wonders what the women in the above article would think of this woman, an obviously intelligent corporate lawyer.

Even if women don’t think they are too smart to procreate, however, many are not willing to have children due to the costs and burdens they perceive that children bring:

It’s difficult to know where to begin addressing this viewpoint. I don’t disagree for a moment that parenting, the way the secular world sees it, is problematic. Many mothers are motivated by the culture’s values and half kill themselves in giving their child everything that kids are supposed to get now, whether it’s umpteen extracurricular activities, the latest technology, the best clothes, etc. In addition, mothers are supposed to be successful in outside careers, keep a beautiful home, and on top of that, look “hot” at whatever age they are. No exceptions allowed. It’s a recipe for insanity. I agree.

Read the complete response to the world’s perceptions here:  http://ingridschlueter.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/response-to-a-feminist-author/

Another author also summarizes the situation well:

No wonder our nation is on the edge of a cultural cliff. Nobody in the last generation (or the current one) seems to believe that raising the next generation is a very important task. Certainly not worth doing as a full-time job. Any fool can watch kids all day. Women who are worth anything at all really ought to be getting better jobs than just motherhood—executive positions, or pushing papers, or ringing up produce. Anything, absolutely anything, makes more sense than just raising a bunch of children.

Read the rest:  http://getalonghome.com/2012/08/working-life/

At base, this is a worldview issue.  Trying to convince people to embrace a culture of life and self-sacrifice (at least to some extent) is not so easy when these same people are completely absorbed by their own personal ambitions and desires (although here is one possible appeal to selfishness:  Women’s long life linked to children – lots of them from the Sydney Morning Herald).

As Christians, we need to continue to testify to the world that children truly are blessings and not burdens.  Here is a heart-warming testimony from one Christian woman who was initially given grief from her in-laws for having children:

Those same babies that my dear mother-in-law was so unhappy to learn I was expecting, were the very ones who drove her to the store, to the bank, to the pharmacy, to doctor appointments and hair appointments these last years.  They also mowed her lawn, planted flowers, killed various pests for her (including setting mouse traps and catching and disposing of mice!), hung pictures for her, mopped her floors, helped her up when she fell . . . and even discovered her when she had breathed her last.  And those babies that came on down the line, they were the ones who ministered cheer to her daily with their irresistibly cute antics, their childish stories, and their unconditional love.   They may have seemed like a burden to her in the beginning, but they were a blessing to her in the end!!

Read the rest:  http://www.yestheyareallours.com/2010/10/children-blessing-or-burden.html

I hope one day I can say the same sorts of things about how my children blessed their relatives in their final years.  In the meantime, here is one article to encourage those who are facing hostility for having children:

~ Psalm 127:3-5:  Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate~

2 thoughts on “The Population Problem

  1. The Master's Slave says:

    Goodness sakes, you’ve been busy. Will get back to you in a year or so after I have read and watched all of this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s