“The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death.”
That was Paul Ehrlich’s prediction in 1968. He was wrong then, and he’s still wrong now, as he touts his new paper warning that a cocktail of population growth, global warming, and starvation will lead to worldwide collapse of civilization unless severe measures are taken to reduce population around the globe. Ehrlich is a Stanford professor and the author of the 1968 book The Population Bomb.
Only the dates have changed in his predictions from his original book. The new paper, published by London’s Royal Society on January 9, warns of imminent mass death from calamities such as “sea-level rise, crop failures and violent storms”—yet the author says reducing the population is the key to preventing this population reduction.
Needless to say, his earlier predictions did not come true. But now he is back in the news for his latest doomsday prophecy, and more importantly, his proposed cure: We must “reduce the human population size” through providing “all sexually active human beings with modern contraception and backup abortion”— at taxpayer expense.
Much like his original predictions, the media are taking Ehrlich seriously. The Huffington Post frames his proposal for worldwide birth control and abortion as “timely”:
Wondering how to save the world? A Stanford University husband and wife team of population biologists has a suggestion: Empower women everywhere. Pretty revolutionary stuff, eh? According to Anne Ehrlich, senior research scientist, and Paul Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies and senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, giving women more power means lower population growth, which means less stress on resources. In light of the fact that we’re approaching a global population of 9 billion, their recommendations seem quite timely.
“Nobody, in my view, has the right to have 12 children or even three unless the second pregnancy is twins,” Ehrlich said in an interview with The Raw Story, a left-leaning website.
This is the same Paul Ehrlich who, with his colleagues (including John Holdren, who now works as President Obama’s science and technology advisor), lost a widely publicized bet with the late free-market economist and author Julian Simon.
Simon was skeptical of The Population Bomb’s predictions that world starvation and resource shortages would doom mankind in the ’70s and ’80s. Confident that market-driven technological advances would increase the number of resources available through efficiency and new finds faster than humans could consume them, he challenged Ehrlich to a wager: Pick any five resources over any period of time longer than a year, and they will be cheaper at the end of the period than at the beginning.
In 1980, Ehrlich picked chromium, copper, nickel, tin, and tungsten and bet they would cost more at the end of the decade. According to Wired magazine, “Between 1980 and 1990, the world’s population grew by more than 800 million, the largest increase in one decade in all of history. But by September 1990, without a single exception, the price of each of Ehrlich’s selected metals had fallen, and in some cases had dropped through the floor.”
But that does not matter to Ehrlich, who now contends, “[I]t’s crystal clear if we keep the populations of the rich growing, then the poor aren’t going to have a chance, and eventually, the descendants of the rich aren’t going to have a chance.”
As hundreds of thousands of pro-life activists remember the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the 55 million babies aborted in the United States, it is unbelievably sad that people are joining Ehrlich’s chorus. Earlier this week, the famed British documentarian Sir David Attenborough launched into the following tirade:
We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us…
Little does it matter to people like Ehrlich and Attenborough that population control has usually been deeply rooted in eugenics, a science attempting to reduce “undesirable” populations, as Daniel Patrick Moloney has documented.
Nor does it seem to matter that attempts at population control have only resulted in outcomes such as China’s oppressive and coercive one-child policy, which, coupled with a cultural preference for boys, is not only decimating the country’s demographics, but causing the sex-selective abortion of millions of baby girls.
Fortunately, pro-life advocates succeeded yesterday in halting the Obama Administration’s attempt to include abortion in the list of rights protected by the United Nations. This week, we can hope they will continue to make progress toward protecting lives in the United States.