Population Control Nonsense

Multi-billionaire, Ted Turner, Jane Fonda's husband, told last week's 27th annual meeting of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NEPRHA), "We have to defeat those congressmen and senators who are standing in the way of progress. We've got to win the next election." Ted Turner, founder of CNN and vice chairman of Time-Warner, Inc., was sounding the alarm that something must be done about overpopulation. This father of five said we could achieve the "ideal" world population of two billion people, as opposed to today's six billion, "if everybody adopted a one-child policy for 100 years." How did Mr. Turner arrive at the ideal population? He learned it from his mentor Professor Paul Erlich, author of the 1968 best-seller, "The Population Bomb." In that book, Erlich predicted major food shortages in the U.S. and by "the 1970s. . . hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death." Erlich forecasted the starvation of 65 million Americans between 1980 and 1989, and by 1999 the U.S. population would have declined to 22.6 million. Professor Erlich saw England in more desperate situation, saying, "If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000."

Idiots like Erlich and organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the State Department's Agency for International Development (AID) and NEPRHA constantly sound nonsense warnings about how overpopulation produces disaster and poverty. There is absolutely no relationship between high populations, disaster and poverty. Population control idiots might consider Zaire's meager population density of 39 people per square mile to be ideal while Hong Kong's population density of 247,501 people per square mile is problematic. Hong Kong is 6,000 times more crowded than Zaire. Yet Hong Kong's per capita income is $8,260 while Zaire, the world's poorest country, has a per capital income of less than $200.

Planet Earth is loaded with room. We could put the world's entire population into the United States. Doing so would make our population density 1,531 people per square mile. That's a far lower population density than what now exists in New York (11,440), Los Angeles (9,126) and Houston (7,512). The entire U.S. population could move to Texas and each family of four would enjoy 2.9 acres of land. If the entire world's population moved to Texas, California, Colorado and Alaska, each family of four would enjoy nine-tenths of an acre of land.

So-called overpopulation problems are really a result of socialistic government practices that reduce the capacity of people to educate, clothe, house and feed themselves. Poor countries are rife with agricultural restrictions controls, export and import controls, restrictive licensing, price controls, not to mention gross human rights abuses that encourage their most productive people to emigrate. The most promising anti-poverty tool for poor people and poor countries is personal liberty.

But let's get back to the population control gang and ask: suppose the rest of us don't feel like adopting a one-child policy, then what? The elite's answer will be to use brute government force, like China does, to impose a one-child policy. You say, "Williams, what would make you say that? Just ask who are the heroes of America's liberals, including Ted Turner's wife, Jane Fonda? They are some of history's most despicable blood thirsty tyrants like Mao Zedong, Lenin, Stalin and Castro. Don't forget that it was the 1960s campus liberals who marched around singing the praises of Mao, Lenin and Ho Chi Min. The difference between now and then is that many of these liberals have moved up to become congressmen, senators, presidents, college professors and government workers.

Walter E. Williams


February 19, 1999

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