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Taylor Lewis

Opinion, ,

Experts: Too many African babies, must resort to population control

Taylor Lewis

June 28, 2018 (American Thinker) – Africa's burgeoning birth rate is expected to touch off more migration to its northern continental neighbor, as globalization and rising global temperatures both push desperate people to a place less ravished by crime and intolerable clime. European countries, in turn, have revolted against current migration trends and their expected increase by electing populist leaders who promise to stem the flow of foreigners to their land.

Out of this demographic upheaval, three policy experts want to revive an unfashionable doctrine: top-down population control.

Frances Kissling, president of the Center for Health, Ethics, and Social Policy; Jotham Musinguzi, director general of Uganda's National Population Council; and Peter Singer, famed promoter of eugenics and infanticide, teamed up in The Washington Post to endorse an "ethical" means for hindering Africa's robust fertility rate. Citing Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb, they readily acknowledge the taboo nature of considering population control as a humane device.

But Africa's population growth can't be denied, nor can Europe's slow suicide, with its birth rate falling below replacement level. So, bucking conventional wisdom, they grasp firmly the discomfiting notion of widespread population restriction, attempting to break the informal prohibition on even discussing the topic.

Their icebreaker statistic: 26 African countries are expected to double their population by 2050. More so, by 2100, "Angola, Burundi, Niger, Somalia, Tanzania and Zambia are expected to have five times as many people as they do today."

It would be wise to consider what effect such an enormous population explosion will cause on global resources, particularly the laundry list of rights that the United Nations attests belong to all people. The trio's solution isn't all that radical once you get over the queasy idea of deliberate population curtailment: increase access to contraceptives and abortion. In other words, a Malthus-inspired abortion-on-demand initiative.

"We should not shy away from discussing what actions are ethically permissible to facilitate a stable level of population growth, nor should we leave this discussion in the hands of the affluent," they write, imploring others from outside the upper strata of the world's developed nations to take part in the dialogue. "The conversation about ethics, population and reproduction needs to shift from the perspective of white donor countries to the places and people most affected by poverty, climate change and environmental degradation."

This is a curious proposition. It is only decadent societies that entertain the idea of curbing population growth. Poor but growing nations rely on high fertility rates to combat high levels of infant mortality. The few exceptions are communist countries like China, where central planning absorbs all facets of private life.

It's no coincidence that the one-child policy – the quintessential model of population control – originated in Red China. As Robert Nisbet wrote in The Quest for Community, thinking in terms of "the masses" is not something a free people does. "The masses are fundamental to the establishment of a totalitarian society," he observed. It is the totalitarian impulse that inspires the notion that reproduction must be controlled.

Similarly, population control advocates often make their case by atomizing individuals down to lifeless statistics. Rather than real flesh-and-blood people with hopes, dreams, desires, and fears, they become integers of utility, slaves to the god of gross domestic product. In what is the most vivid argument ever lodged against population control, L. Brent Bozell condemned the "sin of head counts" in the New York Times back in 1971. He starts by describing an impoverished boy in Bombay whose "stomach is swollen," with only a single rag hanging "about his loins." To God, he is loved as anyone else. But to social demographers, he is a net loss. Bozell writes:

There is a greater supply of him than there is demand. He disturbs the ecological balance. He is socially inconvenient. The demographic mind eyes him and observes it would be better had his father been sterilized, or his mother aborted him – or, better still, had he never been conceived.

The devaluing of human life in the future leads to the devaluing of human life in the present. And there is a difference between a personal decision to put off having children and a national campaign to delay procreation or discourage it completely. The former is an ineradicable part of spousal relations; the latter is license for a small band of bureaucrats to make that choice on behalf of millions.

Here's a simple idea on how best to combat Africa's explosive increase in births: control borders, not population. Better police the Mediterranean Sea for migrant flotillas. Apply strict criteria for those seeking asylum. Send migrants home who don't qualify for sanctuary.

That doesn't mean we turn a blind eye to Africa's expected birth trends. Food and medical aid should still be provided. Missionaries should continue to bring the Christian word to the continent. Philanthropists and charitable corporations should continue to finance new endeavors, providing a path to a legal livelihood for many who want to escape poverty.

Surely, those are a more moral means to enable prosperity than devising and implementing a plan to de-incentivize the creation of human life. Africa's fecundity doesn't have to mean the future foretold in Camp of the Saints.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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