It’s Not How Many Children We’re Having, But Who’s Having Them

Those of us who were confronted back in the 1960’s and 1970’s with books like Paul Erlich’s The Population Bomb have heard this whining before:

Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, says curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming. He says political leaders and green campaigners should stop dodging the issue of environmental harm caused by an expanding population.

A report by the commission, to be published next month, will say that governments must reduce population growth through better family planning.

“I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate,” Porritt said.

Since this is from the UK (the source of so much of the silliness in the world today,) it’s relevant that the birthrate in that country and the rest of the EU are below Porritt’s target.  That’s a fairly consistent trend in the developing world, the US being something of the outlier.  The birthrate that Erlich looked at years ago is, in every sense of the word, a thing of the past in the developing world.

The real source of angst for people like Porritt is that the people who are having all of these children he thinks are excess aren’t to his taste: they’re primarily religious people.  In the UK the first offenders to Porritt’s sensibilities are the Muslims, whose birthrate has let their Anglo-Saxon counterparts in the dirt.  Here the Muslims are doing their part, but Christians are taking up the slack.

The low birthrate in developing countries results in a redistribution of age that puts burdens on social systems, as people’s ability to live longer isn’t always matched by their desire to work longer.  (With current economic conditions, their need to has changed, but I digress…)  That difficulty can be worked through more easily when it’s in isolation, i.e., when everyone’s birthrate in the country drops together.  That’s the situation in Japan.  In Europe and the U.S., however, you have immigrants (and of course some of those whose ancestors came a long time ago) who haven’t “gotten with the program,” and that makes people like Porritt nervous.  So they cloak their cry to cut down the birthrate of those they don’t like in environmental terms (Margaret Sanger was more up front about her attitudes towards non-white births.)

IMHO, various factors at work are lowering the birthrate around the world.  We don’t need people like Erlich or Porritt to help out by using this issue to further their own racial, religious and ideological objectives.

One Reply to “It’s Not How Many Children We’re Having, But Who’s Having Them”

  1. Jenkins has likened the coming situation in parts of the UK to Lebanon, where you had a shrinking and emigrating Christian population and a poor Muslim population (who always feel like they are the victims and are looking for a scapegoat) engage in an urban civil war. I think that is a realistic picture of what we can expect in parts of the UK and France in the coming four or five decades.


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