By BRIAN CLOWES
Concern for our environment is the most altruistic of the several primary motivations which drive the activities of the population control movement. Unfortunately, the leaders of many population control groups think that the best way to preserve our natural surroundings is to decrease the number of people in the world by whatever means are available.
We have witnessed forced abortion and sterilization programs in China, Vietnam, Peru, and many other countries, partly in support of programs to preserve the environment. There have been vast numbers of women sterilized or fitted with IUDs without their knowledge or consent for the same reason. Animal rights activists and environmentalists have caused tens of millions of dollars of damage with arson and sabotage, and have tried to murder researchers and loggers with nail bombs and tree spikes. They have also published many “how-to” guides with titles like Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching; Setting Fires With Electrical Timers; How to Sink Whalers, Driftnetters, and Other Environmentally Destructive Ships; and even Killing People to Save the Animals and the Environment.
Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring is widely credited with launching the modern environmentalist movement. The book focused on documenting the detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment, with a particular emphasis on birds.
One of the deadliest impacts of this book was the banning of DDT, which was effectively used to hold down mosquito populations all over the world. This led to a dramatic increase in the incidence of malaria, typhus, and dysentery, resulting in tens of millions of additional deaths and unspeakable suffering, mostly among Africans. Despite this terrible tragedy and scant evidence that DDT causes harm to birds, most radical environmentalists today continue to lobby for the continued ban on the pesticide, essentially meaning that they hold bird eggs in higher esteem than the lives of poor Africans.
Six years later, in 1968, Zero Population Growth founder Paul Ehrlich kicked off the modern population control movement with his atrociously researched book The Population Bomb. He predicted that more than 90 percent of the population of the United States would die of starvation and radiation sickness by 1999 in an event he called the “Great Die-Off.” Every one of the other major predictions he made in his book did not even come close to being fulfilled.
Despite the glaring failings of Carson’s and Ehrlich’s books, population controllers found “cover” for their activities by claiming that they were acting in the best interests of the environment, and therefore humanity at large.
Many influential people began to advocate measures that completely disregarded the most basic of human rights. In 1969, Bernard Berelson, president of the Population Council, recommended punishment for large families and a widespread program of “involuntary fertility controls.” In the same year, Frederick S. Jaffe, vice president of Planned Parenthood-World Population, recommended that the United States government “Encourage increased homosexuality”; place “Fertility control agents in water suppl[ies]”; and “Require women to work and provide few child-care facilities.” He also suggested “Compulsory abortion of out-of-wedlock pregnancies”; “Compulsory sterilization of all who have two children,” and “Stock certificate-type permits for children.”
In his 1971 book The Case for Compulsory Birth Control, Professor Edgar Chasteen proposed a stringently enforced two-child law for the United States, with every child being immunized against fertility at the age of ten. Even the United States Postal Service jumped on the bandwagon, releasing an eight-cent stamp in 1972 showing a perfectly groomed white “gender-balanced” family joyously embarking on the wide and smooth road to the Brave New World. The USPS proudly declared: “The new stamp will serve as a reminder for all members of our society of the current world environmental situation and the need for planning to have a better America and a better world.”
It did not take long for these views to insinuate themselves into government agencies and documents. The 1972 Report of the Commission on Population Growth and the American Future (“The Rockefeller Report”) is larded with scores of statements and recommendations for holding down the population of the United States for the sake of the environment. The foundational document of the United States international population control program, the 1974 National Security Study Memorandum 200, echoes much of what the commission said.
Many influential people still hold these views. John P. Holdren, Obama’s “Science Czar,” has never formally repudiated the views he expressed in his book Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, which he coauthored with Paul and Anne Ehrlich in 1977. He called for seizure of all illegitimate children from their mothers, forced abortions and sterilizations for unmarried women, mandatory implantation of a reversible infertility drug in all adolescent children, a national two-child policy, and the addition of sterilizing agents to the water supplies of our nation (so long as they did not affect livestock or pets). Most appalling of all, Holdren and the Ehrlichs recommended a United Nations-run “Planetary Regime” that would control population by whatever means necessary.
Others recommended even more extreme measures. In 2006, Professor Eric R. Pianka of the University of Texas said that we should manufacture and then release the Ebola virus, thereby killing 90 percent of the world’s population in order to preserve the environment. (Later, when controversy ensued, Pianka claimed his comments were taken out of context.)
Pianka does not seem to care that Ebola sufferers die an agonizing death over several days as their internal organs slowly liquefy. He said: “We’ve got airborne 90 percent mortality in humans. Killing humans. Think about that….We’re no better than bacteria!…And the fossil fuels are running out, so I think we may have to cut back to two billion, which would be about one-third as many people….You know, the bird flu’s good, too. We need to sterilize everybody on the Earth.”
As always, we cannot eliminate a class of people until we dehumanize them. Hitler called the Jews “vermin,” racists called blacks “animals,” and pro-abortionists call preborn children “blobs.”
In order to eliminate large numbers of people in general, we now have to dehumanize — ourselves.
In 1966, the United States Department of State declared: “Mankind is the cancer of the planet.”
Since that time, hundreds of influential leaders have repeated this view until it has become a virtual mantra of the environmentalist movement. Some have suggested that we excise this “cancer” by whatever means are available. For example, Jacques Cousteau said that “our society…is a vicious circle that I compare to cancer….In order to stabilize world population we must eliminate 350,000 people a day.”
We must not make the mistake of dismissing these people as mere cranks. The first step toward implementing any idea, no matter how ridiculous it may seem at the time, is to talk about it. And talk about it. And talk about it. This leads first to outrage among the people, then irritation, and finally indifference as they become desensitized to the message. Twenty years ago, people laughed when radicals talked about homosexual “marriage,” but now it is being rammed down our throats while its opponents are being silenced, punished, and persecuted.
You can find bumper stickers online that say “Humans Are a Pestilence,” or which show the outlines of two people and say “Worst Species Ever.” This depressing worldview is in total opposition to the Christian view of Man, who is made in the image and likeness of God.
St. Paul wrote: “What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You did make him for a little while lower than the angels, you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet” (Heb. 2:6-8).
We must care for our natural surroundings without violating the rights of humanity. Evangelium Vitae says: “As one called to till and look after the garden of the world, man has a specific responsibility towards the environment in which he lives, towards the creation which God has put at the service of his personal dignity, of his life, not only for the present but also for future generations” (n. 42).
Losing sight of this balance means the inevitable proliferation of horrible human rights abuses all over the world.
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Next article: “Is the Earth Heating Up or Cooling Down?”
(Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 18 of The Facts of Life, “The International Abortion Situation,” e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)