POPULATION: by Bill MuehlenbergNews Weekly
Anti-natalism rears its ugly head again
, April 30, 2011
Big families always used to be seen as a good thing — even a blessing. But increasingly population-controllers are telling us that they are a bad thing — even a curse. And the voices in the West calling for radical curtailment of family size certainly remind us of places like China, where rhetoric has become harsh reality.
What is the difference between Dick Smith demanding that all Australian families be limited to no more than two children (Brisbane Courier-Mail, March 31), and China demanding that families have no more than one child? Not much actually.
Australian businessman Dick Smith is willing to double the Chinese quota, but otherwise he pretty much shares Beijing’s worldview.
Both look at children as a drawback instead of an advantage. Both want to radically cut population figures, and both are willing to use radical measures to accomplish this.
It is true that Smith would claim he is just promoting a voluntary scheme, whereas in China this is state-enforced policy. However, history shows us that many so-called voluntary measures soon become coercive, with the heavy hand of the law ensuring compliance. What may begin with good intentions and without statist coercion usually does not stay that way.
Soon we end up with the nightmare that is now China, with its forced abortion and sterilisation to keep families down to just one child. Of course, all sorts of problems abound here, including the huge gender imbalance. With only one child allowed, most parents for various reasons prefer having a boy.
So girls are being aborted in huge numbers, and there is now a massive gender imbalance in the nation. This is leading to an increased incidence in such things as sexual slavery, prostitution and other social problems. This has been documented many times before, both in News Weekly and elsewhere.
But the horror stories keep pouring forth from China. The horrendous acts of barbarism and coercion by the state apparatchiks jealous to enforce these misguided policies continue unabated. Consider just one of the more recent stories to emerge from this nightmarish land.
Reggie Littlejohn of the Women’s Rights Without Frontiers organisation recounts the following story: “On March 21, 2011, family planning officials entered the home of Xu Shuaishuai to seize his sister for a forced sterilisation. Unable to find her, they beat Xu’s father. When Xu defended his father, one of the family planning officials stabbed him twice in the heart with a long knife. Xu died on the way to the hospital.
“This murder is a shocking and extreme example of how coercive family planning presses fear into the hearts of the Chinese people every day. Women who become pregnant without a birth permit — illegally pregnant — are terrified of discovery and forced abortion. Fathers feel helpless to protect their wives and children. Paid informants — friends, neighbours, co-workers — tear down trust in Chinese society. Family members are detained and tortured.
“The one-child policy, moreover, is causing a demographic disaster for China. Due to the traditional preference for boys, girls are disproportionately aborted. This ‘gendercide’ has given rise to a critical gender imbalance: there are now an estimated 37 million more men than women in China. This gender imbalance is a driving force behind sexual slavery, not only in China but in the surrounding countries as well.
“How does this affect us? We (the people of the United States, England and other nations) are helping finance the infrastructure used in coercive family planning in China. The international community funds the United Nations Family Planning Fund (UNFPA), as well as the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International. These organisations are operative ‘abortion-providers’ in China. How many of these abortions are forced?
“In 2008, then [US] Secretary of State Colin Powell found that UNFPA was complicit in coercive family planning in China. The IPPF website openly declares, ‘The China Family Planning Association (CFPA) plays a very important role in China’s family planning program. It supports the present family-planning policy of the government, which is appropriate for the present national situation …’ The website for Marie Stopes International, lists as ‘major partners’ the family planning commissions of several provinces in China.
“Why are we financing the infrastructure of forced abortion in China with taxpayer money?” (ChristianNewsWire.com, April 6).
A very good question indeed. Quite heartening in this regard is the number of Republican presidential hopefuls in the US who have declared that, if elected, they will move to halt government funding of Planned Parenthood.
I would like to see some Australian politicians pledging to do the same. They need to see the bigger picture here, and the negative repercussions of such beliefs. Indeed, as Australian political commentator Paul McCormack reminds us, this is really a battle about two different worldviews, and two different ways of looking at humanity.
He has written recently: “There is a war going on in this nation essentially between two groups, and my contention is that it is centred on a difference of opinion towards a single idea, and that so many policy positions and disagreements stem from this difference. The difference is this: one group sees humanity as a problem; the other group sees humanity as a solution.
“People who subscribe to the first school of thought argue that we need a carbon tax because they believe that humanity is causing the planet to warm. More generally, the consequence of this train of thought leads to positions that are anti-growth, meaning that little or no growth in the population is a favourable outcome.
“If you are opposed to a larger population, who is your natural target? Families, of course, though not just any families. To oppose families holus bolus would be a tactical disaster (politically) for the low-growth environmentalists. For this reason the war is being waged against big families.”
He continues, “It is also the case that if you view humanity as a problem, you will likely end up in a position whereby you support a political movement that seeks to exert as much control over humanity as possible. And what political movements have at their core the total control of humanity by an omnipotent state? Socialism, and its twin brother, communism.
“Remember that Joseph Stalin famously remarked, ‘A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.’ It stands to reason that if you see humanity as a problem, then the death of people is an unfortunate but necessary outcome, and control of the population becomes the foremost priority.”
He concludes, “Large families are not a burden to society; they are a blessing for society, and a government that encourages large families is taking the path of life and growth instead of the path of death and decay. The path that is taken with larger families is the one preferred by those who view humanity in a positive light and, in so doing, look to the future with hope and confidence.” (Menzies House, April 5).
Quite so. I for one would be interested in asking Dick Smith (and others like him) if he has more than one brother or sister. If so, it needs to be pointed out to these folks that it is a good thing that their parents did not subscribe to the foolish and despotic ideas of the anti-natalists. If they did, they might not be around today.
Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures on ethics and philosophy. His website CultureWatch is at: www.billmuehlenberg.com
Vikki Campion, “Dick Smith calls for two-children limit on families”, Courier-Mail (Brisbane), March 31, 2011.
Reggie Littlejohn, “China: family planning official stabs man to death”, ChristianNewsWire.com, April 6, 2011.
Paul McCormack, “Dick Smith and the war against large families”, Menzies House, April 5, 2011.