Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Thomas Robert Malthus would have disagreed. The philosophical forerunner to Darwin, Malthus argued that there are limited resources, and competition for them is intense. When there are too many people competing for those resources, you have war, famine and a continual threat to civilization itself.
For Malthus, the pie is only so big: We must reduce the number of people who want a share of it.
Christianity embodies another solution: Make a bigger pie.
In Christianity, God takes a few loaves and feeds thousands with them. Entrance to heaven is not contingent on space available. Jesus came that we would have life, and life to the fullest. Not just for some, but all.
None of what follows is an argument for Christian indifference to the plight of other people. However, Christians should not advocate “solutions” that repress human liberty, dignity and freedom. For some reason, all of the Malthusian’s solutions do just that.
They believe that in order to solve the world’s problems, we must reduce the number of people in it. If we cannot do that, they argue, we should be content with a tiny-yet-equal share of the pie. Abundance, if there is any, should be delivered to Benevolent Government Administrators to be redistributed “fairly” and “equally” to all. Extreme measures may be necessary.
Consider “bioethicist” Jacob Appel, who, in calling for mandatory genetic screening, said:
The most obvious advantage of mandatory screening is that it will reduce the long-term suffering of the children who are spared disease. At the same time, preventing future cancers will certainly save tax dollars. These savings could be redirected toward researching new therapies and providing quality care for current patients.
Appel assumes that one cannot simply increase the amount of money for research without taking it from another part of the pie. Usually associated with this mindset are perverse notions of compassion. Note Appel’s concept of sparing children from disease: Prevent them from coming into existence in the first place!
The Christian has another idea: FIND A CURE FOR THE DISEASE!
Writing decades ago, author Madeleine L’Engle already detected such thinking. In her 1962 children’s story, “A Wrinkle in Time,” she narrates an encounter with IT, the source of equality and supreme fairness:
“Who’s this IT?” Meg asked.
“All in good time,” Charles Wallace said. “You’re not ready for IT yet. First of all I will tell you something about this beautiful, enlightened planet of Camazotz. …
“Perhaps you do not realize that on Camazotz we have conquered all illness, all deformity. … We let no one suffer. It is so much kinder simply to annihilate anyone who is ill. Nobody has weeks and weeks of runny noses and sore throats. Rather than endure such discomfort they are simply put to sleep.” (emphasis mine)
The Malthusian way to solve human problems is to eliminate humans.
One of the Malthusians of their era was Paul R. Ehrlich. Writing in 1962, he bemoaned:
The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate. …
And what did he think needed to be done? In a mid-1970s textbook called “Ecoscience,” which he co-wrote with current Obama science czar John Holdren, they argued that the over-population “crisis” may require compulsory abortion and mass sterilizations through the water supply. And worse!
While these two were advocating for damnable tyranny under the banner of “the most good for the most people,” Norman Borlaug was developing agricultural innovations to deal with the crisis:
He … transformed agriculture through high-yield crop varieties and other innovations, helping to more than double world food production between 1960 and 1990. Many experts credit [him] with averting global famine during the second half of the 20th century and saving perhaps 1 billion lives. (emphasis mine)
It is astonishing how the Malthusian Mind so quickly leaps to solutions that envision population control rather than innovation. Consider a recent manifestation in an article titled “The Poop on Population.” The author laments the fact that:
Every year 250,000 trees and 3.5 billion gallons of oil go into keeping the bottoms of American babies dry and happy. That amounts to 3.5 million tons of diapers headed for landfills. …
Perhaps there is a legitimate problem in here. Does she suggest research and development to resolve it? Not on your life. Instead, she proposes “a reduction in the number of babies produced.” To most minds, leaping from diapers to population control is quite a jump. In true Malthusian form, the author describes this as a “modest proposal.”
In earlier decades, the crisis demanding strict population control was a putative global food crisis. Today, the crisis is so-called “climate change.” While lip service is given to innovation, global warming alarmists posit that the real problem is the “carbon footprint” of all these people, and the real solution is reducing their number. As just one example, Jonathan Porritt, the chair of the Sustainable Development Commission in England, urged that families be limited to just two children in order to “save the planet.”
As usual, abortion is the favored way to achieve this goal.
Malthusian thinking permeates virtually every social issue on the table today: climate change, abortion and even health care. But how many of these issues are actually products of the Malthusian mind? Just as the “Jewish Problem” pondered by the Nazis wasn’t a problem at all, perhaps the same is true of other “problems” pushed at us today. It is at least worth considering even before we feel compelled to provide our own solutions. Why should we accept uncritically “problems” when they may be derived from false premises?
That is, of course, what IT wants you to do.