If I didn't know better, I'd file the recent statements of Sir David Attenborough and Paul Ehrlich under, "What Were They Thinking?"
But I already know what they were thinking. The trouble is that there is something dreadfully wrong with their thinking. I'm referring to extremist, misanthropic comments that Attenborough and Ehrlich recently made about one of their pet causes: the alleged crisis of overpopulation.
"We are a plague on the earth," Attenborough declaimed in a Radio Times interview. "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, and the natural world is doing it for us right now."
"Giving people the right to have as many people, as many children that they want is, I think, a bad idea," Ehrlich opined in an interview with the weblog Raw Story. "Nobody, in my view, has the right to have 12 children or even three unless the second pregnancy is twins."
Ehrlich's comments were occasioned by a paper he and his wife, Anne, have co-written, "Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?" which was published in the Jan. 9 Proceedings of the Royal Society.
The Ehrlichs agree with Attenborough that if we don't take immediate measures to limit the numbers of children being born, Mother Nature will do it for us.
Never mind the fact that the Western world has been working overtime for decades spreading abortion, contraception, pornography and divorce to limit its own population growth and the population growth for other nations as well.
Never mind the fact that the West's most pressing demographic problem isn't rising population but a demographic winter of shrinking, aging populations unable to generate or sustain economic prosperity and cultural development or to keep social welfare entitlements from imploding.
Never mind the fact that Paul Ehrlich has been beating the "Population Bomb" drum for more than 40 years, warning of the collapse of global civilization and worldwide famine like a postmodern Chicken Little.
They've only been wrong about, oh, pretty much everything for decades.
Never mind the fact that every man, woman and child on earth could very comfortably fit into an area the size of Texas. (Yes, the Earth is big.)
Never mind the fact that the amount of food the U.S. must throw away could feed the whole world.
Never mind the fact that the Green Revolution in agriculture has drastically reduced the amount of land needed to grow food, so that we actually have many more places to grow food than we would need if only we had a means of distributing the food to the places where it is needed.
Page 2 of 2 - No, just ignore all of that, and repeat after me: "We are a plague on the earth. We are a plague on the earth. We must limit our population growth."
A big problem here isn't just that Attenborough and the Ehrlichs are Overpopulation Crisis true believers. It's that they seriously want our birth rates to be much lower than current levels, which in most cases is below replacement level.
However, as ethicist Wesley J. Smith has said, "Radical depopulation of the kind for which Attenborough and Population Matters (formerly Optimum Population Trust) yearn, isn't going to come about via sex education, birth control, or other ‘noncoercive' methods. Heck, look at China's brutally tyrannical one child policy, which has only slowed the rate of population growth, not actually reduced the numbers. To really get the job done would require genocidal means, which I am sure Attenborough would never consider or support.
"But," Smith adds, "I worry that less genteel others might not be so hesitant."
The logical implications and tendencies of depopulationist ideology are unthinkably horrible. God help us if any additional governments besides China impose their murderous policies.