“we are saying poverty is not about money”

“One can be poor in spirituality, poor in ideas, poor in education, and in many other ways.”

Gems of wisdom.

Who is speaking with such bold clarity, and to whom? Nigerian Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, to a Vatican press briefing during a break in the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.

What he said is compelling.

We are confronted with some issues, and sometimes [they are] quite perplexing. We recently had a big conference on pro-life issues, and in that conference, we came out very clearly to ascertain the fact that life is sacred, marriage is scared, and the family has dignity.

We get international organizations, countries, and groups which like to entice us to deviate from our cultural practices, traditions, and even our religious beliefs. And this is because of their belief that their views should be our views. Their opinions and their concept of life should be ours.

We say, “No we have come of age.” Most countries in Africa are independent for 50, 60, 100 years. We should be allowed to think for ourselves. We should be able to define: What is marriage? What makes the family? When does life begin? We should have answers to those [questions].

We are wooed by economic things. We are told, “If you limit your population, we’re going to give you so much.” And we tell them, “Who tells you that our population is overgrown?” In the first place, children die — infant mortality — we die in inter-tribal wars, and diseases of all kinds. And yet, you come with money to say, “Decrease your population; we will give you economic help.”

Now you come to tell us about reproductive rights, and you give us condoms and artificial contraceptives. Those are not the things we want. We want food, we want education, we want good roads, regular light, and so on. Good health care.

We have been offered the wrong things, and we are expected to accept simply because they think we are poor. And we are saying poverty is not about money. One can be poor in spirituality, poor in ideas, poor in education, and in many other ways.

So we are not poor in that sense. We may be poor materially but we are not poor in every sense. So we say no to what we think is wrong. And time has gone when we would just follow without question. Now, we question. We evaluate. We decide. We ask questions. This is what we do in Africa now.

Reading that, I wanted to stand up and cheer. Where are we hearing such strong voices of clarity and conviction these days?

This is an important voice and message, and we need to pay it respectful attention. Note what Vatican analyst George Weigel said in this piece ahead of the Synod.

The collapse of marriage culture throughout the world is indisputable. More and more marriages end in divorce, even as increasing numbers of couples simply ignore marriage, cohabit, and procreate. The effort to redefine “marriage” as what we know it isn’t, and to enforce that redefinition by coercive state power, is well-advanced in the West. The contraceptive mentality has seriously damaged the marriage culture, as have well-intentioned but ultimately flawed efforts to make divorce easier. The sexual free-fire zone of the West is a place where young people find it very hard to commit to a lifelong relationship that inevitably involves sacrificing one’s “autonomy.” And just as the Christian understanding of marriage is beginning to gain traction in Africa, where it is experienced as a liberating dimension of the Gospel, European theologians from dying local churches are trying to empty marriage of its covenantal character, reducing it to another form of contract.

The Christian understanding of marriage, which is the understanding of a sacramental covenant between man and woman is “beginning to gain traction in Africa, where it it experienced as”…what?…liberating. Imagine that.

It’s time the West becomes aware of and comes to terms with what we – through any number of proxies – have been exporting to Africa and other developing countries.

This Washington Post interview with Bill Gates is revealing.

Ezra Klein: Your letter talks a lot about the myth that aid will just lead to new problems through overpopulation. I was a bit surprised to read you focusing on it. Are fears around overpopulation an impediment in your day-to-day work?

BG: It’s a huge impediment in convincing rich-world donors that they should feel good about these health improvements. Our foundation focused in the 1990s on reproductive health. We weren’t nearly as big then. But we wanted to make contraception available because we thought population growth would make everything so difficult, whether it’s the environment or feeding kids or stability. It was only when we found out about this phenomenal connection between improved health and reduced population growth that we felt: Great, let’s just make the foundation as big as possible to go after these health problems. Because before then the commonsense thing was more kids would make these problems less tractable.

I don’t think people like to say out loud that we want to let these kids die because there are too many of them. But by choosing not to get into health in our early days I was a victim of the myth around overpopulation.

And here we are today:

An African archbishop attending the worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops frankly criticized Western attitudes toward his continent Wednesday, lambasting imposition of foreign cultures on African people.

Africans “have come of age,” said Nigerian Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama. “We should be allowed to think for ourselves.”

“We are wooed by economic things,” said Kaigama, who heads Nigeria’s Jos archdiocese. “We are told if you limit your population, we’re going to give you so much. And we tell them, ‘Who tells you that our population is overgrown?'”

Good. Question.

Overpopulation myths, pseudo-science and anti-humanism

That’s a lot to take on, especially about an establishment movement.

But I did a set of interviews with Dr. Robert Zubrin, author of Merchants of Despair on these topics right around Earth Day recently, and found he did just that, with thorough research and historic and scientific references. Which he pursues with passion not just to debunk myths, but to set the record straight on human flourishing  and ethical ecology. It’s stunning to learn the scope and depth and power of the misinformation.

Then, because of the Chen Guoncheng ordeal last week, I got human rights expert Steven Mosher on for a radio interview on the China one child policy and the back story behind it, because there are few experts in the world as knowledgable and experienced in documenting China’s population control as Mosher is.

Congressman Chris Smith gave me an update with astonishing background to the Chen story and the human rights violations record of the Chinese government, based partially but largely on falsified Western studies warning that population control was an urgent necessity to save the planet and its resources from a doomsday crisis.

There’s a crisis alright. But it’s in the human toll of these persistent myths based on the enduring eugenics movement. How can these atrocities continue, with widespread approval or at least acceptance, explicit or implicit, by governments and international organizations?

Through political power, says Zubrin, and the cult of antihumanism.

There is a single ideological current running through a seemingly disparate collection of noxious modern political and scientific movements, ranging from militarism, imperialism, racism, xenophobia, and radical environmentalism, to socialism, Nazism, and totalitarian communism. This is the ideology of antihumanism: the belief that the human race is a horde of vermin whose unconstrained aspirations and appetites endanger the natural order, and that tyrannical measures are necessary to constrain humanity.

Which brings the China one-child policy and Chen Guongcheng into the picture, but more on that in a bit…

The founding prophet of modern antihumanism is Thomas Malthus (1766-1834), who offered a pseudoscientific basis for the idea that human reproduction always outruns available resources. Following this pessimistic and inaccurate assessment of the capacity of human ingenuity to develop new resources, Malthus advocated oppressive policies that led to the starvation of millions in India and Ireland.

Zubrin’s book documents the horrors of how this played out in both lands, and it’s appalling. And totally unnecessary. Which should have been made clear long ago.

However…

While Malthus’s argument that human population growth invariably leads to famine and poverty is plainly at odds with the historical evidence, which shows global living standards rising with population growth, it nonetheless persisted and even gained strength among intellectuals and political leaders in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Its most pernicious manifestation in recent decades has been the doctrine of population control, famously advocated by ecologist Paul Ehrlich, whose bestselling 1968 antihumanist tract The Population Bomb has served as the bible of neo-Malthusianism. In this book, Ehrlich warned of overpopulation and advocated that the American government adopt stringent population control measures, both domestically and for the Third World countries that received American foreign aid. (Ehrlich, it should be noted, is the mentor of and frequent collaborator with John Holdren, President Obama’s science advisor.)

And so it continues.

In the next post.

 

On earth day

At its core, stewardship of the environment is an important ideal. At its extremes, it has become an anti-human ideology.

Dr. Robert Zubrin explains in detail with extensive references in his book Merchants of Despair. From the forward:

Antihumanism is not environmentalism, though it sometimes masquerades as such. Environmentalism, properly conceived, is an effort to apply practical solutions to real environmental problems, such as air and water pollution, for the purpose of making the world a better place for all humans to thrive in. Antihumanism, in contrast, rejects the goal of advancing the cause of mankind. Rather, it uses instances of inadvertent human damage to the environment as points of agitation to promote its fundamental thesis that human beings are pathogens whose activities need to be suppressed in order to protect a fixed ecological order with interests that stand above those of humanity.

It’s that inverted order of things that’s causing controversy in the scientific and academic community. And in the culture. And Zubrin challenges it in his ideological throwdown.

Antihumanism has recently enormously expanded its influence by raising hysteria about global warming. This phenomenon, by lengthening the growing season and increasing rainfall and the availability of atmospheric carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, has actually significantly enhanced the abundance of nature, to the benefit of both agriculture and the wild biosphere alike.

 What?

Nevertheless, according to antihumanism, punitive measures, especially harmful to the world’s poor, are required to suppress mankind’s activity and economic growth in order to deal with this putative threat.

However…

That antihumanism should propose such global oppression as a response to an improvement in the Earth’s climate should not be surprising, since…similar vicious antihuman solutions to fictitious problems have been repeatedly advocated and implemented by antihumanism’s followers for two centuries–that is, since long before global warming was an issue at all.

And Zubrin says it has a brutal history. Which continues to play out with a lot of social compliance these days under the guise of good and noble causes.

Jarring. Stewardship of the environment is a good and noble cause. However, he warns,

some of today’s most fashionable political and social ideas are essentially replays of earlier ideological fads that have been continually used over the last two centuries to motivate and justify oppression, tyranny, and genocide.

And this nuclear engineer and contributor to The New Atlantis pulls together all these ideas and misdeeds and morphed sensibilities into a book that intends to stop or slow history from repeating itself, and eliminating the humans from the story.

While disputes about overpopulation, racial equality, pesticides, resource limites, nuclear power, biotechnology, and global warming may appear to be about different subjects, they are ultimately but different faces of the same conflict: a fundamental debate over the worth of humankind.

It is a debate we need to win.

And that’s just in the preface.

I interviewed Dr. Zubrin last week before I even knew we were headed into Earth Day weekend (it didn’t get a lot of press this year, with all the political scandals and controversies brewing). A scientist who was listening on radio wrote me a grateful, detailed email commenting on the excesses Zubrin has long written about and the need to dispute false claims. A women who identified herself as ‘a radical environmentalist who happens to be pro-life’ also wrote me, asking for a clear treatment of the issues.

We clearly need to have this discussion. Dr. Zubrin is coming back to continue the conversation. His book has 49 pages of footnotes, and interesting chapters on population control and “pseudo-science.” I’m still wading through it.

Meanwhile, the Population Research Institute has been airing some provocative work  on the myth of overpopulation

And this time last year

‘Unfounded population fears’

The myth of overpopulation has been widely debunked for a while now. So did activists who based their global ‘reproductive health’ efforts shift attention to real human needs? No. They changed the language and spun it.

It’s a new messaging campaign, says C-Fam.

The pro-abortion UN Population Fund launched the 7 Billion Actions campaign this week on World Population Day with many new corporate and social media partners.

The new campaign is notable for its more optimistic tone and its dramatic shift in how the agency approaches population issues.  A major theme of the campaign is that 7 billion people present not only a challenge, but also an opportunity, particularly for “investing” in sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents. This reflects a wider movement of major population groups away from dire predictions and coercive measures towards language promoting empowerment and choice.

The Poulation Research Intitute knows all about that, in its different ramificaitons.

Overpopulation is a myth. This myth has caused human rights abuses around the world, forced population control, denied medicines to the poor, and targeted attacks on ethnic minorities and women.

So what are some of these groups at the UN up to now, the ones who claim there’s a war on women?

There’s this radical feminist agenda.

Then there’s this radical youth sexual rights aganda.

And this one on a UN agency pushing for abortion as a “human rights.”

Times like this, it feels like we’re living in an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ saga.