Michael Schooyans, PHD, PhLD, STD, is a philosopher and theologian. He currently teaches political philosophy, social ethics and demographic politics at the University of Louvain in Belgium.
Everyone knows the common saying about execs population in poor countries. It is said that underdeveloped countries are poor because they have too many children. Were they to have fewer children, they would be in a position to give them better education, and they would enjoy a higher standard of living. Poor people, so it is said, don’t understand that excessive offspring are a decisive hindrance to their development. Therefore, they have to be ‘educated’ on the issue.
The people of the developed countries, on the other hand, are wise. They have a low fertility rate which favors and encourages the development of national wealth. The wise people of the developed countries say that poor people should evidence a similar wisdom by imitating rich societies. Poor countries should do this by reducing their birth and fertility rates. If persuasive campaigns fail to successfully ‘educate’ the poor countries to accept this concept, public authorities should have the right, even the obligation, of taking steps to force the poor to cut their birthrate. This public policy decision must be prioritized if living standards in underdeveloped countries are to be improved.
According to the 1992 World Population Data Sheet published by the Population Reference Bureau (PRE) in Washington, D.C., the average number of children born to women of fertile age — that is, the total fertility rate — is 6.1 children in Africa; 3.9 in Asia; and 3.4 in Latin America. A total fertility rate of 2.1 children is sufficient to ensure the maintenance of the population. It must be observed, however, that all of the developed countries have an average of less than 2.1 children per woman. The total fertility rate is 2.0 in the United States, 1.6 in Europe and, 1.5 in Japan.
It is evident that human society is facing two distinct demographic problems. On the one hand, the Third World has no problem in renewing its population, despite sustained high mortality rates, especially child and maternal mortality. On the other hand, the developed countries are below the level which is indispensable for the renewal of their populations. One fact must be emphasized, although it is generally hidden or ignored: The fertility rate of the Third World, which was 6.1 at the beginning of the Fifties, has been regularly decreasing since then, and is now below 4.0.
The second fact is that very different situations exist in the various countries. For example, Brazil — where I lived very happily for 10 years — is rich in natural resources. Some of these are among the most essential resources in the world. Brazil‘s demographic density is less than 18 inhabitants to the square kilometer. Yet it is, globally speaking, an ‘underdeveloped’ country. In contrast, my country Belgium — like Switzerland — has almost no natural resources but has a demographic density of 320 inhabitants per square kilometer. Yet, Belgium is considered a ‘developed’ country.
Such detail suggests that it is nonsense to assume there is a determinist relation between population and wealth. Thus F. Wertham — an American specialist in these matters — is right when he writes that “they are not poor because they are too many, but they are too many because they are poor.” By this paradoxical statement, the author means that poverty has its very source in the inability of men and nations to face and solve their problems of food, health, education, etc. Fortunately it is possible to intervene in situations of poverty, and improve, chiefly by means of education, the abilities of men to face the challenges that spring both from natural and social conditions.
This is confirmed by a world-famous American economist, Dr. Julian Simon. Dr. Simon has demonstrated what many previous authors have asserted — namely, that man is the ‘ultimate resource,’ and that man is able, through his initiative, liberty and intelligence, to increase the wealth that is at his disposal in the world.
In spite of this, we are now witnessing the dramatic spreading of so-called ‘development’ programs for the Third World. Within these programs demographic reduction is prioritized through contraceptive, sterilization and abortion campaigns.
Again, the Brazilian case is most significant. The Final Report of Parliament’s Commission of Inquiry about Sterilization states, “[C]onsidering the methods used by Brazilian women of fertility age, sterilization [has reached] 44 percent, it being the most common method [used].” In addition, according to the World Health Organization, Brazil is responsible for 10 percent of the abortions in the world, which means that six million abortions are performed each year in Brazil. Brazil provides a small example of what is occurring in other developing countries.
As we study these problems, it is quite apparent that such campaigns don’t aim at “helping” poor countries in their development, but aim instead at containing their population through the dynamic of demographic reduction.
The dynamic of population demographics is very simple to understand: Rich countries perceive population numbers in the Third World as a threat to their security. Public authorities of the rich countries, including the United States, therefore consider their “security needs” to be the foundation of their rights vis-a-vis Third World nations. With this motivation, they don’t hesitate to use some of the most activist international organizations to achieve their aim.
During the cold war, the First World developed a ‘National Security Doctrine.‘ This doctrine inspired, for almost 40 years, the foreign policies of the U.S. It has been welcomed, adopted and adapted in nearly all Latin American nations as well as in other countries outside the Western Hemisphere.
Now that the communist block has totally collapsed, the entire doctrine on national security needs to be reformulated. In this reformulation, one of the main assertions of the former doctrine must be refashioned, namely, that ‘contemporary war should incorporate total warfare. Currently, war has varying aspects: it is a political process, or an economic challenge, or a military engagement, or even a psychological and scientific issue. In the reformulation, taking into account the new world configuration, questions which must be asked include, “Which is the pre-eminent antagonism? Who are our potential or actual enemies? How do we prevent their emergence?” According to easily available documents, and articles published in the Washington Post after the decline of the Communist system, such questions are at the very heart of the North American government’s preoccupations. These preoccupations are also shared, at least to some extent, by other rich countries.
To speak frankly, this implies that we are witnessing a fantastic reformulation of the doctrine of Manifest Destiny (the doctrine postulating continued territorial expansion of the U.S. as its obvious destiny). At present, people of poor countries represent 80 percent of the world’s population. Instead of caring for their development, and instead of sharing with them knowledge and technology, rich nations consider that, due to their numbers, the poor countries are a major threat to their security. From the point of view of the rich, therefore, we are in a situation of war, even of total warfare. War may no longer exist between East and West, but it does exist between North and South.
In classical warfare, the main issue was military superiority. In other fields, however, where national security is concerned, it is generally deemed more suitable to use both psychological and scientific procedures. Psychological warfare uses psychological strategy to create a ‘demand’ for anti-fertility campaigns aimed at subjecting the potential ‘enemy’ to the will of others. The use of scientific means for these purposes causes the destruction of the poor population if its physical capacity of transmitting human life is targeted.
By such procedures, potential enemies are then simply eliminated from existence. For these ‘enemies,’ after psychological conditioning, sterility will be the rule. Sterility will be achieved through contraception, tubal ligation and vasectomy. Should the children of poor countries survive these preventative obstacles, they can always be killed in the mother’s womb.
Under this new form of total warfare, it is possible to reconsider the traditional definition of the term “frontier.” A fascination for the frontier has always existed in the United States. The frontier has been a constantly expanding horizon reached by explorers who intended to replace the native inhabitants, sometimes by killing them. This was done in order to transfer natural resources for the use of the ‘explorers,‘ which in their view, had not been exploited (developed?) properly by ‘indigenous‘ people.
One must conclude that present aggressions against human life are a key aspect of the geopolitical strategy of world domination. Imperialism today is not merely a political, economic, or military issue. While it is all of these things, today imperialism is more than ever a psychological and scientific issue. Today, the richest people of the world make use of much more discrete but efficient means of mass-destruction than nuclear armaments. Biology, medicine, demography and agronomy, and their respective technologies, are being used as weapons directed against the poor rather than against poverty.
The ideology of this new imperialism inspires the “New World Order.” According to this new “Ideology of Demographic Security,” men and women of poor countries are ‘educated’ to believe sterilization and abortion should be made available as their “new human right.” This neomalthusian thesis is a flat-out lie. The sole function of this lie is to hide the real truth that the primary aim of the rich is — following Malthus’ recommendation — to check the growth of the poor population. The world must protest energetically against this reformulation of Manifest Destiny, or Lebenstraurn, because it leads to totalitarian messianism!
We must remember that rich countries reduced their fertility, birth and mortality rates by improving their educational standards and by appropriate and effective legal, social engineering, not through the alteration of public laws in order to permit the unlimited manipulation of human society. Sponsored by rich nations, the mass-castration of the Third World reveals a radical denial of justice and solidarity.
What is now occurring is reminiscent of what happened two thousand years ago. At that time, a fairly tyrannical king was ruling, called Herod. He was quivering with fear for his own security. He was frightened because the astrologers from the East arrived in Jerusalem announcing the dawn of a new world. And so he resolved to kill the Prophet and all the newborn children under two years old. We are now confronted with the most cruel genocidal campaign in history. It is imperative that we denounce the Herods of our time.
Technology — the new totalitarianism
Based on the assumption that there are too many people on the earth — especially too many poor people — rich nations are implementing a global strategy to reduce the threat that, in their opinion, is represented by the growth of the Third World’s population.
International organizations working on behalf of the interests of the rich countries include the World Bank (the Bank), the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
In its Report on Development: (1991), the Bank explains that the main target to be aimed at, for the purposes of ‘development,’ is the organization of a free world market. Thus, it is supposed that public authorities must collaborate in the organization of the global market. The participation of poor countries in this world market, however, is conditioned on controlling their birth rates.
The UNFPA report for 1991 explains the method for setting up the world market. The method consists in containing the growth of poor populations. Details concerning this program can be found in the semiannual Inventory of Population Projects published by UNFPA.
WHO is the organization in charge of the scientific means of checking population growth. Besides the classical means, such as chemical contraceptives, intrauterine devices and sterilization, WHO supported the research that led to the production of the abortifacient drug, RU-486.
The document which most clearly reveals the intent of the ‘development’ effort is National Security Study Memo 200 (NSSM 200), also known as the Kissinger Report. The title of this document — which was completed in 1974 but not revealed until 1989 — is “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests.” The text of NSSM 200 states, “primary emphasis” should be directed toward population control in particular “key” countries. Among the countries targeted are India, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, ‘Thailand, Egypt and Colombia (101). The same document also recommends that the United States should support the U.N. agencies such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), WHO, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), etc., in their promotion of the “World Population Plan of Action” strategies. The report also describes the early relationship of the U.S. with UNFPA: “Through 1971, the U.S. has contributed approximately half of all the funds contributed to UNFPA” (165).
What we are now witnessing is the emergence of ‘the new world order,’ the main lines of which were already defined by Mr. Zbigniew Brzezinski in America at the Technetronic Era, published in 1969. What is new since then is the strong and unilateral emphasis on population issues, and on the benefit that would accrue to the United States through the use of the United Nations for its own interests.
What is occurring is the birth of new totalitarianism. This does not originate in a perversion of socialism, as occurred with Communism, but in a perversion of the liberal tradition. Central to this perversion is the refusal of the richest countries in the world to accept any restrictions on their freedom of action. In contrast to this arch refusal, restrictions are to be exercised by public authorities on the rest of the world‘s people. In fact, the true function of public authorities is the regulation of the use of freedom for the common good rather than for the exclusively rich. What is happening now, however, is that both the national governments of poor countries and the international agencies are being manipulated on behalf of the most powerful nations.
This misconception of human freedom, conceived as unlimited, total and unconditional, results in a peculiar combination of anarchy and hedonism. It becomes anarchy in the sense that superiority of power becomes the foundation of law. Might makes right! There is no longer any place for natural human rights which have existed prior to the formation of political society. As Solzhenitzyn said, morals are totally swallowed up by positive law. That is why the contempt for human life produces a perversion of democracy in our societies. Instead of conceiving democracy as a society based upon respect for the equal dignity of all human beings, democracy is conceived as a society ruled by the force and power of an arithmetical majority. The great Tocqueville already foresaw this danger of tyranny on the part of the majority.
This misconception of human freedom results in an individualistic and utilitarian idea of sexuality. The so-called right to the greatest individual satisfaction induces horrible consequences. Indeed, it is widely confirmed that the total separation between reproduction and pleasure opens the door to free love — “l’amour libre” — and thus to the destruction of the family. In addition to the ‘good’ that is sought in sexual relations there is the hedonistic satisfaction of ‘pleasure.’ The “evil” that must be avoided at any price is a child.
Human freedom without moral law leads to unchecked power, one of the main characteristics of totalitarianism. This totalitarianism typically applies malthusian ideas. For Malthus, nature makes its selections. Interference in the natural process of selection — for example, helping the poor — proceeds against the “moral law” of nature, which requires that the strongest and fittest survive, and that the weakest be eliminated.
According to Galton (1822–191 l) natural selection is insufficient. Nature’s selection process must be helped by all the means of the biomedical sciences. Thus, “selection” becomes artificial, voluntarist and systematic. The influence of Galton, as the father of eugenics, now dominates contemporary thinking. In this view, those who are less gifted are required, with their poor generic patrimony, to be dissuaded from procreating for the advantage of mankind.
Galton’s ideology creates a secondary effect. Since the value of humans depend on the worth of their generic patrimony, it follows that the transformation of the social environment for the betterment of humanity becomes relatively unimportant. This fatalism is very widespread today; it is used to ‘justify’ the status quo in poor countries; it paralyzes any effort to stimulate economic progress; it hinders any form of social mobility. While these ideas were first used to justify insurmountable differences between individuals, they are now used — as was done by Spencer — to justify insurmountable differences among human societies.
When a democratic state uses population control technologies to eliminate particular populations it has already been transformed from a democracy to a totalitarian state. The control of these technologies and the selection of subjects remain in the hands of those who wield political and economic power. Technological control and subject selection, in turn, are dependent on the exercise of government power to penetrate and intervene in the personal and intimate relationships of its citizens. The politics of population control remains the same whether methods are directed through ‘target selection’ or ‘goal selection} Technological manipulation through national and international governing groups becomes a power exercise over the existence (or nonexistence) of individuals and groups of human beings. Such an exercise of power, whether national or international, reveals a strong totalitarian thrust which is incompatible with democratic principle.
What can we do to react? First of all, we must educate people about these practices. Ignorance is the worst form of slavery. Second, we must protest energetically against these non-democratic abuses of power at all levels, both nationally and internationally. Agencies such as the UNFPA should be closed! They are violating their mandate. The U.N. is an international organization, not a supranational one. It wasn‘t entrusted with a mandate to dictate conduct openly or deceitfully, to sovereign states, couples or individuals. No rich nation has the right to manipulate international institutions, using them as a tool for international policy, and going through them to inflict measures that are an insult to basic human rights on poor countries.
Third, we must give priority to the family for it is in the family that human beings are both welcomed and protected. It is in the family that humans grow as persons, discover their liberty, are recognized by their parents, brothers and sisters, and discover the centrality of God in their beings.
Within this framework we must also reassert the specific dignity of woman. It is the woman who welcomes new life; it is the woman who contains in her person the ability to probe and understand the needs and capacities of those around her, and to transform them, and herself, in ways which allow the realization of true human development both within the home and within the community; it is the woman who provides human society with its very foundation; it is the woman who fully recognizes the inalienable dignity of the weakest human being; and it is she who proposes to all society the need to recognize the full dignity of even the most vulnerable of its human members.