PROCREATION, CHILD BIRTH, AND CLIMATE CHANGE
REV. PHILIP MEYER, PASTOR EMERITUS
Climate change has been front and center during these weeks at the end of September. There is a young Swedish girl who has become the poster child of climate change protest even though a majority of Swedes do not really accept climate change. Even fewer Norwegians accept it. Perhaps living in the far North has imprinted reality on these so-called socialist states. Here in the U.S. students have been let out of school to protest climate change. Yeah, go outside and shake your fist at the weather! That’ll fix it.
Bernie Sanders has echoed Ocasio-Cortez that couples should not procreate because having children will make climate change worse. By having fewer children born, so the reasoning goes, we can save the planet. Hypothetically. We have the repeated echoes of Thomas Malthus, born 1766—died 1834. He was deeply influenced by the skeptic David Hume and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Malthus was an English clergyman. Basically, Malthus said that population increased at a geometric rate while the food supply increased at an arithmetic rate. In short, the world would run out of food before it ran out of people. But his theories proved to be completely false because new discoveries in agriculture and the industrial age made it possible to feed ever increasing numbers of people. The climate also warmed a bit.
Malthusianism was dug up from its scientific grave by Paul R. Ehrlich, a population biologist in the mid 1960s. His book, The Population Bomb, was probably read by every college student, including yours truly. We experienced a climate hysteria of our own in those days because paralleling Ehrlich’s book were dire warnings that we were about to enter an Ice Age. Lower food production would bring on world-wide starvation. In order to fend off this crisis the world’s population would need to be controlled.
Headlines erupted. “New Ice Age Coming Fast.” Most predicted the world would never get to the 21st century. Throw in a few other scary theories such as the “ozone hole” and “acid rain” killing everything and we had a full-fledged catastrophe on our hands.
So here we are in 2019 and are being told to curtail our birthrate. Of interest is the fact that a declining birth rate has led to a decline in school funding. Our own Vigo County School Corporation has lamented the shortfall of over $1 million plus because of 176 fewer students. No study has been done to assess how many abortions can be attributed to Vigo County, however. Yet, the population increase must be kept under control if the planet is to survive. We can’t have it both ways. Enough students and enough money or not enough students and not enough money to continue as we have. So do we build new schools or close them? Lay off teachers or hire them? There just aren’t enough children to keep things going as we wish.
Into this conundrum come presidential candidates speaking in favor of a single payer health care system. Bernie Sanders has championed “free” childbirth benefits for all.
Most of the presidential candidates have come out in favor of a single payer health care system, a term that I find very ironic. One of the reports on which he based his conclusions said that the average cost of child birth in the US is $32,000. That’s too much, so he proposes making it “free.” We’ve already reached a shortfall of children to support the aging population. I remember when there were 32 people paying into Social Security for every one taking out. Now it’s down to 7-1 or less.
Here’s where the irony comes in. If child birth is free, then where is the incentive to not have children? According to Sanders’ own statements the system he advocates would encourage population growth because people will realize that it’s “free.”
But wouldn’t that completely undo the solution to the climate crisis by increasing the population when Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers are saying that the population must be reduced? In a kind of evil genius way, he has provided Planned Parenthood a never-ending supply of clients.
So it seems that advocating for free child birth runs counter to what the climate change people are advocating. It could be an end game but I doubt it. I don’t think any of them are that logical.
But this is what is called being “hoisted by one’s own petard.”