Wednesday, May 31, 2006

ZPG A Boon or a Curse?

When I was in school there was poster available called "Overpopulation" which showed a landscape in which literally every square yard had nude human in it. (I have tried to find an image on the web, but so far have failed.) It was drilled into us that we were going to continue to populate until there was no room anywhere. Star Trek, the Original Series, touched on it with its episode Mark of Gideon. There was a disturbing dystopian novel, The World Inside, by Robert Silverberg which showed an overcrowded world where both birth control and chastity were illegal. (The book was considered marginally pornographic when it was written but is tame by today's standards; it is also a book that I, and others who have read it, found to be a very disturbing book and more than one person wishes they had never read it.) The dangers of Overpopulation were drilled into us.

Things have changed since then and now people are concerned about a lack of children being born in many nations. Many European nations have negative birth rates and it is beginning to concern thinking people. Russia is actually taking steps to encourage childbirth. China's One-Child Policy is a malthusian sucess and an economic disaster waiting to destroy that rising nation.

Some leftists have noted that Fundamentalist Christians have more children than they do, and if they pass that faith onto their children and secure it through home or religious schooling, that would lead to them having more children themselves while the "responsible" leftists have fewer children, it will result in an even more religious dominated America within a couple of generations. That does not exactly work into their plans but encouraging more births also goes against the grain of what they believe.

(The fertility rate of Islam is well noted and needs no comment).

Don Feder, a columnist for FrontPage Magazine also comments on this and he has more interesting observations. He points out that Pope Benedict (please note Mr. Feder is a Jew) calls the problems that lead to Negative Population Growth as "eclipse of love" and "materialistic visions of the universe, of life and human fulfillment" . He also quotes an American Economist Robert J. Samuelson saying "Europe as we know it is going out of business. Talk of a united Europe challenging America is a fantasy. It’s hard to be a great power if your population’s shriveling,"

I am kind of a centrist on this issue. I believe that we do need to be responsible in the number of children we bear, but I also believe that we need to give birth to enough children to sustain our society, culture and economy and that every segment of the population should maintain its numbers. There is danger in going too far in either direction. A few decades ago we may have been having too many children and now we are not having enough.

Having never, to my knowledge anyway, fathered any children I cannot be too harsh on those who have never had any children, but I sometimes do feel unfulfilled when I see people I went to school with playing with their grandchildren. I also feel that I failed to fulfill my obligation to the human race in this manner, but at this point all I can do is encourage others not to repeat my mistake.


Blogger Gayle said...

I think a lot of people (too many) have children who shouldn't, because they know nothing about children or raising children, and many who would make good parents don't or can't have children, and it is something that can't be rectified because we cannot, as a society, dictate who can have children and who cannot.

But your post makes a good point, ie., if your population growth sinks too much you can do yourself in. I don't think the liberals will suffer that fate, however; they push abortions off on the poor, but I don't believe the elites practice it themselves.

T'is a thought-provoking post, Shoprat.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

Very interesting thoughts SR. Strange how things have changed from worry about overpopulation, to who's going to be in the work force to pay for taking care of the elderly. Here in America, immigration (a touchy subject) has eased that concern some. I've been looking around a bit lately, wondering about the guys/gals my age that never married or had kids. Even with raising mine practically alone and in harsh circumstances, I'm very glad I made the choice to be a parent. Oh, and heh, it's not too late for you. Age doesn't matter as much with guys. ;-)

7:14 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

gayle, Conservative Christians do have more children per family then "enlightened liberals". They have few abortions because they are more careful with contraceptives. The poor who receive abortions are not exactly conservative Christians.

LP Age doesn't matter in the same way, but it does matter.

9:52 PM  
Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy said...

What a profound (and I'm sure difficult to write) post.

Europeans are in worse shape than this country for low birthrates of the majority (at the moment) population.

It is going to get interesting in the next decade or so...

10:07 PM  
Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy said...

CAn you make the (tentative) midwest blogmeet?

10:09 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

CUG, at this time I would probably have to say No if it is in the immediate future. With enough warning I might be able to. It depends on when and where.

11:08 PM  

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