The birth control solution. That’s the headline on an article espousing the view that the planet truly does have too many people, by a dude who writes for the New York Times. Not too shabby, you think, he must have something important to say. “All the news that’s fit to print,” so we’re told. Or, in this case, all the propaganda that’s fit to regurgitate.
It’s amazing to me that the overpopulation myth refuses to die. But instead of my personal rant, I’ll quote at great length from Unnatural Selection, the recent book about sex selection abortion, which touches on overpopulation in more than one spot. This particular quote is about Paul Ehrlich, the author of The Population Bomb, a widely discredited book about how the globe could not support so many people, debating one Ben Wattenberg, who called Ehrlich “a prophet of doom” on The Tonight Show back in 1970.
As The Tonight Show episode wore on, Wattenberg vainly tried to point out that Ehrlich’s predictions were off base. “Sooner or later,” he said, “you suffer a credibility gap.” But this did little to abate the audience enthusiasm. The crowd applauded wildly every time Ehrlich made a new point. To Wattenberg, meanwhile, audience members were cold, bordering on derisive. When the demographer suggested the U.S. could remain a nice place to live with 300 million people–a number we reached in 2006–they broke into peals of mocking laughter.
We should welcome the 8 billionth human whenever he/she comes.
(Also on this: “Contraceptives no more cause sex than umbrellas cause rain.” I could write an entire op-ed from the perspective of a young woman living in North America to highlight why and how that is false. Kristof can’t be expected to understand the mindset of a young woman today, but it would be nice if he at least tried.)by