Have you noticed that the fully discredited warnings about runaway human population from the 1960s is making a comeback in today's leftist media? For more than 20 years, it was widely predicted and believed that millions of people around the world would starve to death and suffer other catastrophes if immediate steps were not taken to severely limit the number of babies produced by the human family.
I was in graduate school when Dr. Ehrlich and his ilk had their heyday, and I was taken in by the nonsense. Let me tell you how.
The year was 1968, and I was shopping for a Christmas gift that I hoped my godly father would enjoy. He was an avid reader, and I was searching for a book that would interest him. I settled on a runaway best-seller titled, The Population Bomb, by Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich.1 Everyone seemed to be talking about his thesis.
The theme of this alarming publication was that there were far too many people in the world, and the problem was getting worse by the second. Ehrlich projected global disaster by 1975, involving worldwide disease and human beings overrunning the earth like rats in a subway. He warned his readers that one billion people could starve to death in the 1980s. The only thing that might save us, Ehrlich said, was immediate population control to prevent what he referred to as "a dying planet."2
I made the mistake of not reading the book before I gave it to my dad. I proudly wrapped it in festive paper and put it under the "tree" to be opened on Christmas morning. When my father tore the paper off the package, his countenance fell. He thumbed through the pages for a few seconds and then abruptly handed the book back to me.
"I can't accept this," he said.
The Population Bomb was one of only two gifts I gave my dad that he refused to accept. He didn't explain his irritation, but clearly I had struck a nerve. Now I know that he was deeply concerned at that time about the approaching support for legalized abortion on demand. The Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court was handed down five years later, and my father had seen it coming. When he talked about the prospect of killing countless babies in the sixties and seventies, big tears filled his eyes and ran down his cheeks.
"Population control" for my dad, and now for me, meant the murder of unborn babies—over sixty-four million to date in the United States alone3—along with the horrors of infanticide and euthanasia. It also meant governmental policies to limit procreation, such as China's "one child per family" decree.4 It imposed forced abortion on vulnerable women. As a result, millions of baby girls in China were left to die in ditches or dumps, or were drowned in stagnant waters. Others starved to death, with no compassion or care.5 Why would Chinese couples inflict such sordid cruelties on their own children? It is because, in that country, families that could have only one child insisted that it be male.6 So much for women's rights.
There have been other tragic consequences of population control. One of them was the development of a wretched organization known as Planned Parenthood. They have murdered babies wantonly for decades.7 More recently, their executives have begun selling body parts for profit, including "harvested" brains, hearts and other organs of tiny victims. Some of these babies were still alive while being cut to pieces. It is a modern-day atrocity.8
When the American people learned of this outrage in 2015, they first gasped and then yawned. Under the leadership of then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Senate, they led their colleagues to continue granting 500 million dollars per year to Planned Parenthood.9 This funding grew to 600 million dollars in 2022, and the heinous killing continues.10 Where is our country's moral outcry over this slaughter?
Well, fifty-five years have come and gone since Paul Ehrlich made his case for population control. What has been the consequence? In short, he turned out to be wrong—dead wrong.11 12 Americans are starting to realize, perhaps for the first time, that we are facing a demographic nightmare. Our problem is not too many people. It is a falling birthrate that threatens the very existence of our nation. There are more single women today than those who are married,13 and the birthrate—while currently plateaued—has declined dramatically in the last fifteen years.14
Given this history, let's get back to the renewal of anxiety over so-called human overpopulation. Even in the face of Ehrlich's gross errors and his "scientific" miscalculations, he was recently featured on the 60 Minutes television show, repeating his erroneous forecasting. The Left never, ever apologizes or explains. They just wait a few years and restate their mistakes, believing no one will remember.
Fortunately, some respected commentators were not sucked in this time. Jordan Peterson, noted psychologist and author, tweeted: "Paul Ehrlich has been famously wrong about everything he predicted for six decades"15—to which Twitter boss Elon Musk replied: "His Population Bomb book might be the most damaging anti-human thing ever written."16
Ehrlich's response was, "If I'm always wrong, so is science, since my work is always peer-reviewed, including the Population Bomb, and I've gotten virtually every scientific honor. Sure, I've made some mistakes, but no basic ones."17 Apparently, he doesn't think his gross inaccuracy of predicting the catastrophic death of four billion people, including 65 million Americans, between 1980 and 1989 (it didn't happen), is too big of an error. Perhaps Mr. Ehrlich needs to find a better peer-review network.
Tragically, once a people group steps away from a God-driven moral understanding of the sanctity of human life and the institution of the family, life itself becomes superfluous. Abortion, contraception, and surgical alternatives have allowed couples to opt out of parenting if they choose. Children are perceived by many young couples as being too expensive, burdensome, time-consuming, and often stressful to rear.18 Other young adults elect not to bear children because they cherish their freedom, independence, and personal fulfillment.19 They have a right not to bear children, of course, but serious consequences emerge when unfruitfulness is chosen by a majority of couples. A nation can reach a tipping point from which it cannot recover. It is called the "point of no return," and many nations are dangerously close to it. Some have already gone over the cliff and don't know it yet.20
Here's how demographics work. Historically, children and young adults have greatly outnumbered the elderly. Those of a marriageable age have produced a vigorous birthrate for 300 years, which continually swelled the size of the population. On the other hand, most humans had a short life span and were dying faster than babies were born. Thus, the population has been depicted as a pyramid, with the young being represented across its broad base, and fewer older individuals nestled at the pinnacle. Now we're witnessing what is called an "inversion of the pyramid," where there are many more older people at the bottom, and a smaller number of younger people and babies at the top of the pyramid.
A falling birthrate is occurring throughout Europe, parts of Asia, in Central and South America, and elsewhere. This inversion is a worldwide phenomenon.21
The Russian government, in a desperate attempt to repopulate their nation, is offering a hero's medal and $16,000 to women who have 10 kids.22 Japan's birthrate has fallen so dramatically that the Japanese population has the oldest average age on earth. It is literally self-destructing. "Twenty years from now, we'll be looking at a shortfall of 2 million care providers for the elderly," predicts professor Masahiro Yamada of Chuo University.23 Last year, more diapers were bought and used by aging Japanese citizens than were purchased for babies.24 China is not producing enough females for Chinese males to marry. As of 2021, China had a huge overall sex imbalance of around 30 million more men than women.25 France, Germany, Spain and other European countries are also experiencing dramatically low birthrates.26
If the human population continues to wither, it will have shocking implications economically, politically, culturally, socially, and spiritually. Indeed, it will affect every dimension of life. Medical plans will fail. Pensions will not be sustainable, creating chaos within the culture. Social unrest is occurring regularly in France as President Emmanuel Macron seeks to raise the retirement age.27
When calculations were made upon which Social Security was created, the numbers appeared to "work" because the young and healthy were always expected to outnumber those who were old and sick.28 Now, as our nation's seniors face discrimination in their health care, we run the risk of devaluing our elderly.29
As the trend continues, human life will become cheap, euthanasia will be commonplace—as it already is in Canada—30, and infanticide will be acceptable and considered moral. Don't believe me? It's already legal in California.31
It comes down to this: a society with a serious decline in its birthrate will eventually become a world without springtime or regeneration. The laughter and exuberance of the youth will be an echo from the past. The result will be a self-absorbed culture of old, tired, dying individuals. Despite this growing concern, political correctness and population control continue to flourish. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said recently during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on May 10, 2022, "access to reproductive health care including abortion helped lead to increased labor force participation. It enabled many women to finish school. That increased their earning potential. It allowed women to plan and balance their families and careers."32 She just doesn't get it.
My dad put it this way. He said today's women consider their decision not to become mothers as an inalienable right, and, of course, it is. But if they all exercised that right for a short period of time, it would mean a quick end to the human race. Those who choose not to have children are moving the culture toward extinction.
Put another way, the women of the world will remain fertile for about 26 years from any given time. (That represents all females from about age 14 to 40.) Every year that goes by in which women do not give birth results in a significant decrease in overall procreation, as a percentage of women without children enter menopause. After 15 years of fertility, the girls who were 14 when the doomsday clock began ticking would be 29, and only 11 years of fertility would remain until it's "game over" and "lights out."33
Bearing and raising children is a God-given privilege, which can quickly be snuffed out by those who exercise their inclination not to become parents. Of course, many women don't have the opportunity to bear children because they remain single or are infertile or married to men who can't sire children. In short, the world's fertility rate is a fragile and brief experience, which, in many countries, is on the decline.34
This must be the reason why the Creator ordered Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." (Genesis 1:28)
In the first two chapters of Genesis, God gave us the institutions of marriage and the family. Apart from the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, I am convinced that the family unit is one of the most powerful and influential forces in our world. Our Lord does some of His greatest work through the family relationships that He has designed. It's not too late for politicians to once again cherish and nourish families. They should be honored as our greatest natural resource because they are.35 Their taxes should be lowered to reduce the confiscatory taxes and tariffs imposed today. The rest of us should pause to thank the moms and dads in the marketplace who are sacrificing to replenish the earth. Children are God's blessings to us and our link to the future.
I can't tell you how strongly I feel about this international development. It is why Kurt Bruner and I co-wrote a trilogy of novels depicting what life will be like in 2042 if present trends continue. The three books are titled Fatherless, Childless, and Godless. They present a fictional account of what current demographic, sociological, and cultural trends portend. But they also celebrate God's design for families, which retain His resilient beauty and redemptive power that the most ardent forces of hell cannot destroy. I hope you will get copies of these books and read them.
If you agree with the perspectives like the one shared here, and if you appreciate what you hear during our daily broadcasts along with the many resources we offer through our websites, apps and social media, I ask you to please consider supporting the ministry work of JDFI. You may be exposed to ideas and concepts that are rarely discussed elsewhere. Everything expressed herein is rooted in biblical teachings, and it will always stay that way.
God's blessings to you.
"In those wondrous far-off days, the women shall adopt a craze to dress like men and trousers wear, cut off their lovely locks of hair. Then love shall die and marriage cease, and nations wane as babes decrease."
Mother Shipton got it right.
1 Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Population_Bomb
2 Mann, Charles C. (January 2018) The Book That Incited a Worldwide Fear of Overpopulation, Smithsonian Magazine, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/book-incited-worldwide-fear-overpopulation-180967499/
4 Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-child_policy
5 Reuters Staff (March 30, 2010) China uproar over dead babies dumped near river, Reuters, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-babies/china-uproar-over-dead-babies-dumped-near-river-idINTRE62U0AT20100331
6 Joyce, Tom (December 6, 2022) China paying the price for its failed anti-human one-child policy, Washington Examiner, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/restoring-america/fairness-justice/china-paying-price-for-failed-anti-human-one-child-policy
7 Israel, Melanie (September 26, 2022) Planned Parenthood’s Overdue Annual Report Is Finally Out. Here’s What You Should Know, The Heritage Foundation, https://www.heritage.org/life/commentary/planned-parenthoods-overdue-annual-report-finally-out-heres-what-you-should-know
8 Lowry, Rich (July 15, 2015) The Grotesque Business of Planned Parenthood, Politico Magazine, https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/07/the-grotesque-business-of-planned-parenthood-120192/
9 Nothstine, Ray (December 17, 2015) Planned Parenthood Declares Victory, Praises Fully Funded Budget Deal, The Christian Post, https://www.christianpost.com/news/planned-parenthood-victory-budget-deal-152796/
10 DeSanctis, Alexandra (April 27, 2022) Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Need Government Funding, National Review, https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/planned-parenthood-doesnt-need-government-funding/
11 Clark, Ross (March 23, 2018) The left’s prophet of doom is still wrong, The Spectator, https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-left-s-prophet-of-doom-is-still-wrong/
12 Bradley Jr., Robert (November 1, 2010) Halloween Hangover: Ehrlich, Holdren, Hansen Unretracted, MasterResource, https://www.masterresource.org/holdren-john/halloween-hangover/
13 Duffin, Erin (September 30, 2022) Marital status of the United States population in 2021, by sex, Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/242030/marital-status-of-the-us-population-by-sex/
14 U.S. Fertility Rates 1950-2023, Macrotrends, https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/united-states/fertility-rate
17 Whitlock, Scott (January 4, 2023) Twitter eviscerates doomsday biologist who claims he’s been mostly right: ‘Famously wrong,’ ‘doom-monger,’ Fox News, https://www.foxnews.com/media/twitter-eviscerates-doomsday-biologist-claims-been-mostly-right-laughably-false-scaremongering
18 Misra, Tanvi (September 24, 2014) Not Married? The Odds That You Never Will Be Are Higher Than Ever, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-09-24/not-married-the-odds-that-you-never-will-be-are-higher-than-ever
19 Wang, Wendy & Parker, Kim (September 24, 2014) Record Share of Americans Have Never Married, Pew Research Center, https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2014/09/24/record-share-of-americans-have-never-married/
20 Xu, Aurora (May 11, 2013) The Coming Population Crash: Investigating the Aftermath of a Population Implosion, Yale Scientific, https://www.yalescientific.org/2013/05/the-coming-population-crash-investigating-the-aftermath-of-a-population-implosion/
21 Cave, Damien & Bubola, Emma & Sang-Hun, Choe (May 22, 2021) Long Slide Looms for World Population, With Sweeping Ramifications, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/22/world/global-population-shrinking.html
22 Reid, Jenni (August 18, 2022) Russia is offering a hero’s medal and $16,000 to women who have 10 kids, CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/18/russia-offers-mother-heroine-medal-and-16800-for-having-10-children.html
23 Japan Today Staff (July 17, 2022) Depopulation a surefire formula for national ruin, Japan Today, https://japantoday.com/category/features/kuchikomi/depopulation-a-surefire-formula-for-national-ruin
24 SkyQuest Technology Consulting Pvt. Ltd. (August 24, 2022) Adult Diapers Market to Hit Sales of $52.53 Billion By 2028 | 38.97 billion Adult Diapers Were Sold in 2021, GlobeNewswire, https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2022/08/24/2503986/0/en/Adult-Diapers-Market-to-Hit-Sales-of-52-53-Billion-By-2028-38-97-billion-Adult-Diapers-Were-Sold-in-2021-SkyQuest.html
25 Silver, Laura & Huang, Christine (December 5, 2022) Key facts about China’s declining population, Pew Research Center, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/12/05/key-facts-about-chinas-declining-population/
26 Cave, Damien & Bubola, Emma & Sang-Hun, Choe (May 22, 2021) Long Slide Looms for World Population, With Sweeping Ramifications, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/22/world/global-population-shrinking.html
27 Scotto Di Santolo, Allesandra (January 4, 2023) Macron told to 'prepare for conflict' as French unions rebel against pension reform, Express, https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1716958/emmanuel-macron-france-pension-reforms-protest-retirement-age
28 Peter G. Peterson Foundation (November 22, 2022) HOW DOES THE AGING OF THE POPULATION AFFECT OUR FISCAL HEALTH?, Peter G. Peterson Foundation, https://www.pgpf.org/blog/2022/12/how-does-the-aging-of-the-population-affect-our-fiscal-health
29 Elwell, Valerie (March 8, 2022) Fighting ageism in healthcare, UCI Health, https://www.ucihealth.org/blog/2022/03/combatting-ageism-in-healthcare
30 Shackford, Scott (September 7, 2022) Some Canadian Health Care Patients Say They're Being Encouraged To Just Die Already, Reason, https://reason.com/2022/09/07/some-canadian-health-care-patients-say-theyre-being-encouraged-to-just-die-already/
31 Monaghan, John (October 20, 2022) ACLJ Files Legal Demands of California Legislature Over New Law Which Could Effectively Legalize Infanticide, ACLJ, https://aclj.org/pro-life/aclj-files-legal-demands-of-california-legislature-over-new-law-which-could-effectively-legalize-infanticide
32 Ewall-Wice, Sarah (May 10, 2022) Eliminating abortion access would have a damaging effect on the economy, Yellen says, CBS News, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/eliminating-abortion-access-would-have-a-damaging-effect-on-the-economy-yellen-says/
33 Hewlett, Sylvia Ann (April 2002) Executive Women and the Myth of Having It All, Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2002/04/executive-women-and-the-myth-of-having-it-all
34 Mohler Jr., R. Albert (December 30, 2005) The Empty Cradle—Falling Birth Rates and the Human Future, The Christian Post, https://www.christianpost.com/news/the-empty-cradle-151-falling-birth-rates-and-the-human-future.html
35 Teetsel, Eric & Walker, Andrew T. (June 9, 2015) The Value of Children: Economics, Faith, and the Problem of Underpopulation, The Witherspoon Institute, https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/06/15131/
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