A couple of items came across my bow in the last week that present an interesting one-two punch.
First came news that former vice president, and current high priest of Gaia, Al Gore, has advocated population control as a means to protect the planet.
From the article:
“One of the things we could do about it is to change the technologies, to put out less of this pollution, to stabilize the population, and one of the principle ways of doing that is to empower and educate girls and women,” Gore said. “You have to have ubiquitous availability of fertility management so women can choose how many children have, the spacing of the children.
“You have to lift child survival rates so that parents feel comfortable having small families and most important — you have to educate girls and empower women,” he said. “And that’s the most powerful leveraging factor, and when that happens, then the population begins to stabilize and societies begin to make better choices and more balanced choices.”
Of course, the problems with his thinking are manifold.
First, most of the developed world is already reproducing below reproduction rate. I’m not sure how much more “stabilized” he wants us to get. We already are not reproducing at a rate sufficient to replenish the existing population. And the parts of the world that are reproducing above reproduction rate are not the ones he sees as the problem.
Second, and this is where the second item that crossed my bow comes in, Ross Douthat wrote a sobering piece in the New York Times opinion pages on the 160 million missing women. In short: there are 160 million fewer women in the world due largely to abortion, and Western support for abortion practices in places like China, India, Africa, and pretty much everywhere else. Fewer women necessarily means fewer babies.
So really, Mr. Gore is already getting his way.
Which makes me scratch my head moreso than I usually do when Mr. Gore speaks. He claims that the solution is “education and empowerment of women.” But women (men too, for that matter) have never been as educated and empowered as they are in this epoch of history. This condition does not extend the world over, of course, but with advances in technology that allow sex selection in utero in more and more parts of the world, women are sometimes forced to abort a daughter by a controlling family—or the government in places with a one-child policy—and some women are too-frequently choosing to have a son rather than a daughter of their own free will. Sons bring higher social status in some places, so who wants a daughter?
It could be that Al was just scoring political points by talking about security for our children and the future security of the planet—the sorts of things that women worry about far more than men—while pitching it in terms of women’s empowerment and education—the sorts of things the women mortally concerned about rising ocean levels want to hear anyhow.
Update: Within seconds of me posting this piece, @NewAdvent shared a link:
Hard to empower and educate girls when we’re aborting and mutilating them. But hey: at least it will “stabilize the population,” eh, Mr. Gore?