Radiant Beams from the Gospel of Life

Chapter Nine: The Life Explosiion

What is termed, with negative nuances, as a "population explosion" has in reality detonated a beneficial "life explosion." We members of the affluent generation, who have been and nurtured during the population explosion, have been endowed with a cornucopia life's material blessings so plentiful as no past generations might even have dreamed of. And what the future promises is even greater abundance, especially if more of the national resources now devoted to weapons and war can be diverted to better food, housing, education, health care, and general domestic benefits. The chief task to make this possible is keeping of the peace and cooperation in international solidarity.

In the meantime, incredible as it would appear to a visitor from Mars, an army of media and propaganda mercenaries, flying the banner of "overpopulation," roughs up our prosperous world with its libidinous cultivation of anti-birth measures, and of killing and death. They seek to sterilize women and men, at least 200,000,000 of them, and so desiccate their springs of life; and to force-feed Pills and impose condoms to another 200,000,000 couples to stuff up their life conduits; and to legalize the killing of 50,000,000 unborn babies per year who somehow escape their barriers against life; and finally to expel the old and feeble from our garden of life in their sunset days by providing them with a drink of hemlock. They have declared jihad against life and ride roughshod over the world as though they were its owners.

Pope John Paul II rallies the saner part of humankind to an opposite movement, to adopt anew a "culture of life;" to generate a new appreciation for life, gift of God. Love life, have hope, look to God for inspiration: "The Lamb who was slain is alive ... He alone is master of all the events of history. He opens its `seals' (cf. Rv 5:1-10) and proclaims, in time and beyond, the power of life over death" (Evangelium Vitae #105). To the UN General Assembly he proclaimed:

We must not be afraid of the future. We must not be afraid of man... We have within us the capacities for wisdom and virtue. With these gifts, and with the help of God's grace, we can build in the next century and the next millennium a civilization worthy of the human person, a true culture of freedom. We can and must do so. And in doing so, we shall see that the tears of this century have prepared the ground for a new springtime of the human spirit (L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 11 October 1995, p. 10).

The culture of death is indeed deadly, like sarin gas. It operates on the slogan that birth control and killing of the unborn and aged is salvation. The idea that the world is overpopulated now, and that the bomb of imminent disaster is ticking, is for them an infallible dogma. The myth of overpopulation is simply taken for granted, stated Mr. Humberto Belli, Minister of Education in Nicaragua since 1990. No one at the United Nations Fund for Population Activities questions it. It is off limits for discussion:

First, there is an anti-population bias - a conviction that the biggest problem in Third World countries is population growth. That dogma isn't questioned ...

There is definitely an ideological front being promoted by the industrialized countries through UNFPA. There is now an unprecedented attempt to turn this approach into the prevailing ideology of all nations throughout the world... (Address at a conference sponsored by the Population Research Institute of HLI, New York, April 14-15, 1994; see The Cairo Examiner, Autumn 1994, pp. 15-17).

We Live Better Today Thanks to the "Population Explosion"

When I compare my living conditions today with that of 78 years ago when I was born in rural Westphalia, Iowa, the overwhelming conclusion is that material living conditions have improved. We traveled the two and a half miles to school and church by buggy, or we walked. Or we used a bob sled in winter. We covered our laps with an old buffalo hide blanket, which also kept the hair which the horses shed from off our clothes. And when we finally got a model T Ford, we cranked it by hand; or pushed it down hill to get it started; and pulled it out of the mud with horses when it got stuck during the spring thaw.

When neighboring Mary Lichteig was having a difficult birth during a winter blizzard, Doctor Bocken tried to get to her; farmers cut their fences to shuttle him through fields on a bob sled, because snow drifts had closed the roads. The rural telephone line was open to everybody as we listened to progress. He didn't make it and she died. There was no helicopter to bring the doctor there. And she had not checked into the hospital previously for an ultra-sound scan and prenatal care and therapy. My mother bore us ten children on her bed at home, without a Doctor Bocken to assist; grandmother was of help, and one of the neighbors knew enough about midwifery to assist, and to keep house for several weeks after delivery. Thank God, we were a robust clan, and got by somehow with minimal help from doctors and dentists, but that was not always good. My baby brother, who grew up to become Father Al, almost died before mom could take him by train to a distant hospital in Council Bluffs. And my sister who became Sister Irene, lost her hearing in one ear during childhood because of an infection treated too late.

Before we had our own radio, we went to Uncle Frank who had one, to listen to the great bout between Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney. We did have a daily newspaper, delivered to the country mail box half a mile away; it was The Catholic Daily Tribune, whose four pages kept us in touch with the rest of the world. We played checkers and cards in the winter evenings, close to the stove which burnt wood and cobs, and sometimes coal; but the windows were always covered with a coat of ice in winter, our frozen breath. And that helped to keep the draft from blizzards out. The upstairs, our sleeping rooms, were not heated. The temperature might go down to below zero there. We would rush downstairs to dress near the stove which dad always lit for us. We practiced virtue by taking turns to pump water and carry it into the house; sallying out into the cold for this in winter tested this virtue.

Monday was wash day, done partly by machine, partly by scrub board, in an attached building. But the dog which powered the machine by tread mill would run away when he sensed the goings-on of Monday morning. So we got a single piston gasoline engine; to start it was tricky, especially in winter. Priming and cranking sometimes broke an arm when the explosion came late and backfired. Great was the day when our first Maytag came to simplify things, so that mom could finish the wash in half a day, and hang all the laundry out on the wires, anchored by clothes pins. They froze stiff in winter, but no matter; they would dry eventually.

Saturday was bath day; in the same annex, in a tub filled with water warmed in the reservoir of the wood stove. The privy was outside, furnished with a Sears and Roebuck catalogue; but we had some comfort with receptacles upstairs.

The cellar had shelves, lots of them, laden with the canning from the garden and orchard at which we had helped; and with meat from the home butchering. Twenty gallon jars held the sauerkraut we had tramped and salted down during the fall. And the potato bin held wagon loads of potatoes, which would grow long sprouts before during winter and spring.

Field word was done with the help of our fifteen horses. Not until I was in high school did a John Deere tractor put-put in our fields. When tractors replaced horses, production took a quantum leap. And we milked our dozen cows by hand, not with milking machines; and carried feed to cattle, hogs, and chickens during morning and evening chores, sometimes in mud that threatened to ooze in over our boots. We carried kerosene lanterns about the barns in the dark of winter mornings and evenings, and did our homework under kerosene lamps, later fitted with mantels for brighter light. Electric lights were installed in 1946 for the first time, after I was ordained priest.

Jet travel was not yet when I was young, but bi-planes would occasionally excite us as they hummed through the sky. We stopped all activities to watch an airplane pass overhead on these rare occasions. Once we were thrilled to see airplanes on the ground for the first time at an air show; light bi-planes offered rides, but we couldn't afford that. What was for us a colossal tri-motor monoplane wonder could be inspected; at the end we watched it lumber heavily down the gravel runway to finally lift into the sky, a thrill for us all.

Our world has changed so much since that time. Here in Japan I type with a Gateway 2000 and 5.0 Word Perfect, call to the USA with the one-touch telephone option, send and receive messages by fax and E-mail locally and internationally, and have access to internet if I want. I need no mud shoes or boots because there is no mud in Nagoya roads; we don't even need fly and mosquito screens because those creatures do not take well to city life; I make my own weather in the room with heater and air conditioning. The subway and bus are near by, and my privileged travel card for senior citizens zips me through the entrance gate free. Doctor and dentist are free unless I ask for extra's. We've come a long way in improving living conditions during my 78 years of life. And we should not forget that those same 78 years covered the span of time when the world's population had its maximum "explosion."

When I was born in 1917 the world had probably 1.8 billion people; by 1950 this had increased 2.516 despite the great depression of the 1940's and World War Two. Between 1950-1990 it had doubled to probably 5.3 billion. This doubling of world population during 40 years was accompanied by more than a doubling of available living resources. There is no evidence during this period of a general tendency of mankind to outgrow available resources. Quite to the contrary. In 1953 the Woytinsky's could write that "in the last 70 or 80 years the most prosperous nations of the world have been threatened more often by industrial and agricultural overproduction than by overpopulation" (Woytinsky, p. 242). Malthus, who had dogmatized that population growth tends to outrun the growth of production, had been a false prophet (see Woytinsky, loc. cit.). And we know today that production has outpaced population after 1953 even faster than before.

The Industrial Revolution Increased Labor Efficiency, the Medical and Hygiene Revolution Increased Longevity

We have paved roads, and cars, and interstate expressways, and bullet trains and supersonic planes today, replacing dirt roads with horse and buggy; and electric lights and household appliances, frigidaires with freezers, hot and cold water, indoor baths and toilets, food in abundance, enriched with vitamins; supermarkets are next door, and drive-in banks; the mail is delivered daily, and so are newspapers, some times with morning and evening edition; high rises provide comfortable and efficient office space, and a choice of restaurants and shopping malls; and homes and apartments with built in furnishings can be purchased on long term payment plans; school class rooms are well equipped and comfortably air-conditioned; hospitals are sparkling clean, and equipped with the latest life-saving devices in Intensive Care Units; ultrasound and brain scans help with the diagnosis; by-pass heart surgery is routine; and we have swimming pools, astrodomes, football stadiums, horse races, car races and chaperoned marathons; tours by air, sea, and bus are advertised at bargain prices and tourism is a major world industry; and we can own video camera's, color TV sets with remote control, electric dishwashers and laundering machines and indoor dryers; and vacuum cleaners, electric tooth brushes, and calculators and modems for internet, and shoes that breath as you walk; and diet foods to control over-nutrition - all of which were quite unknown to the estimated 945 million people who lived in the year 1800. They scrambled for food which was scarce, whereas today we typically watch our overly rich diet to reduce weight.

In the USA in 1830, 70.5 percent of the labor force were engaged in farm occupation, leaving only 29.5 percent free for doing other work. That is, seven out of ten workers used pitchforks, milked cows, and plowed fields to put food on the table, whereas only three out of ten built roads and houses, made garments, printed newspapers, mined coal, made cement, were doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, police, soldiers, factory hands, priests and religious. That was in 1830, 165 years ago. They did not enjoy the wealth of materials and conveniences that we have today, because the main labor force was incarcerated in a relentless and daily struggle to obtain enough food for the table.

Whereas by 1990 a mere 2.2 percent of the USA labor force were farm laborers who raised enough food for Americans plus a surplus for export; and 97.8 percent were now off the farms working to raise our living standards in a hundred ways. (Source: USA Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census). The 1,226,000 farm laborers (1989; 955,000 men, 270,000 women) supply food for the table for a quarter billion Americans, one worker for over 200 eaters. In addition, USA farmers export food to the rest of the world, as much as the market will take. All this in the Great Plains and rolling prairies were scarcely 10 million Indians (high estimate) managed to live only 300 years ago, raising corn and squash, hunting turkeys, rabbits and buffaloes; and living in lean-to's and tepees without our accustomed protection from wind and cold, and surely minus our heaped up tables of food on Thanksgiving Day. They survived with difficulty, suffering high infant and child mortality, subject to hunger in winter, victims of periodic drought and of lightning induced prairie fires. We 260,000,000 Americans today enjoy a veritable "life explosion," an affluence never dreamed of by the impoverished 10,000,000 who lived here before the "population explosion" occurred. The great population explosion of the USA occasioned a parallel explosion of affluent living.

I had occasion to ponder this and more in the summer of 1993, when visiting a nation which has not even caught up yet with the amenities which I enjoyed in my youth in Iowa. We were in Africa, and drove via Land Rover jeep from Paramiho in western Tanzania to Dar Es Salam on the east coast - some 600 kilometers. Father Julian Kangalawe, prefect of the major seminary at the Benedictine complex in Paramiho, eased the jeep out of the monastery grounds in the early morning and soon we were in vast Africa, with the vault of stars overhead and no other lights in sight. The Benedictines had developed a Shangri La east of Lake Tanganyika near Songeya during more than half a century, which has a large hospital complex, a nurse school, technical training school, printing press, brick production facilities, dam with hydro-electric power, clean water, flower gardens, a soaring brick church building with pipe organ, convenient guest rooms with screens on the windows and water faucets for hot and cold showers, a major seminary filled to capacity with over 150 candidates for the priesthood. But when we crossed the creek which marked the border of this island furnished and equipped to make life convenient and productive, we entered into a vast Africa which still awaits such development.

During the 600 kilometer ride we didn't have to stop at red lights, which don't exist. There is no need for them, except in the terminal city Dar Es Salaam. And I remember no railroad crossings. There is one railway, however, from Dar Es Salaam to Lake Victoria in the North, and another to skirt Lake Tanganyika further south; and that's it! Our two lane asphalt strip of road, one of the two east-west national highways, connected all the larger towns which were not many. Mostly we drove on for miles and miles through sparsely settled wilderness, grass lands and bush country. We encountered little auto traffic, but near the towns and villages people walked alongside the road carrying burdens on head or arms, or on bicycles.

We drove through the national game preserve near Korogoro, an expanse of rich grassland as flat as a billiard table, stretching for many miles all the way to the mountains on the horizon. Elephants lumbered there, and elegant giraffes, and zebras always in the company of wildebeests. Fr. Julian told us that we don't see lions, but that some lions probably see us. That evening I asked our host at a hostel why this good land is not cultivated. She said that she grew up near the border of the game preserve, and remembers the fear she had of attack by marauders at night, or of elephants trampling over the village and its gardens by day. She surmised that humans in the past had not succeeded in claiming the land from the animals, and that is why is was not settled by people. Today it has been set aside from human habitation as a game preserve.

Father Julian our driver winked at me along the way, as we swept past the vast grasslands, or as we descended down the spectacular tree-lined gorge of the Great Ruaha River: "Overpopulation, don't you see?" he kept smirking. And Father Matthew Habiger, OSB, riding on the hard seat in the back, remarked about the jingoistic propaganda which chants that Tanzania is overpopulated and needs a program to promote birth control. What is needed is MORE people to fill and subdue this part of the earth; to build roads, cultivate fields, construct irrigation networks, tame the animals - to raise living levels at least to the standard of the Benedictine Shangri La in Paramiho. Dar Es Salaam, largest city of Tanzania with 1.5 million people, is quite modern, of course, providing a vision of what can be done in the future in the rest of the country, with its 364,879 square miles and 30 million people with a $235 average per capita income; with but 10 percent of its labor force engaged in industry and commerce.

As Father Habiger and myself flew back from Dar Es Salaam to Nairobi, with the matchless Kilimanjaro to our left rising majestically above the clouds, we spoke about our experiences. How can anyone in his right mind believe that Tanzania is over-populated? What Tanzania really needs is a population explosion of young and capable, healthy and industrious citizens, who will develop the great and sleeping resources of that nation. And yet the official dogma blared night and day on Tanzania radio and featured in the newspapers is that birth control is the panacea for the nation. Fr. Julian grimaced that 47 million condoms were stashed in containers at a Dar Es Salaam pier, paid for by USA tax payers, to help Tanzanians solve their supposed overpopulation problem. Fr. Julian Kangalawe wrote from Paramiho in the meantime:

We are alarmed at the neck-break speed of the anti-life drive in this country. Sterilization vasectomy, contraceptives, condoms, Norpants - all being pushed under very high pressure, aided by the USAID/UNICEF etc. All radio programs are bombarding the people, brainwashing the masses. It is good that we do our part through the pulpit and other media... (Private correspondence, August 8, 1994).

UN World Population Conferences have been progressively hi-jacked by Planned Parenthood, who make it their business to douse parenthood. Having myself attended the previous three World Population Conferences which took place before Cairo, at Belgrade in 1965, at Bucharest in 1974, and Mexico City in 1984, I have experienced how the science of demography is muted by volcanic hot blasts from Planned Parenthood claiming overpopulation. For example, during the first three days at Belgrade in 1965 we were exposed to a firestorm of sheer unmitigated propaganda blasted at us by Planned Parenthood. When this noisy group gratefully departed, the Conference settled down to serious business. Solid scientific papers were then delivered, which have been published in five printed volumes of the proceedings.

The horizon-spanning research of Simon Kuznetts made known at this Belgrade Congress in 1965, indicated that a so-called inevitable braking of economic growth due to rapid demographic increase was not at all reflected in the economic swings of the nations as a whole in past history. This impressive paper by the Harvard professor of economics, and subsequent works of a similar nature, effectively refute in academic circles the notion that population growth competes against economic development. No respectable scientist makes this simplistic claim today, unless he hedges it in with qualifying modifiers. But Planned Parenthood blasts on with its propaganda as though they had learned nothing between Belgrade in 1965 and now, when the world has more people and better living standards.

The 1974 Conference at Bucharest, unfortunately, gave impetus to UNFPA funding and to a world de-population plan. The UNFPA and Planned Parenthood have become the hired shotguns to force the policy upon economically dependent and vulnerable populations. In the 1984 Conference at Mexico City, the USA reined in one part of the stampeding Plan by insisting that abortion should never "be promoted as a method of family planning." The Conference accepted this article, but it was like a fish bone lodged in the throat of opponents.

The planners who wrote the preparatory draft of the 1994 Plan for the Cairo Conference, sought to reverse the Mexico City anti-abortion article adopted in 1984; they also proposed massive contraception programs, and subtly maneuvered to discredit the traditional family and to favor loose sexual morality; the draft droned on wearily about ways to reduce population, unable to escape the confining bars of this ideological prison. A strong counter-drive by the Vatican, supported by some Muslim and Catholic nations, diffused the radical anti-baby provisions and overtones of the draft Plan somewhat, and rescued the provision that abortion is not to be promoted for family planning. An AP news release stated that:

In a key concession to the Vatican, the compromise restores language from the 1984 population conference that abortion should never be promoted as a method of family planning... Put on the defensive by Vatican accusations that the United States wants to spread its pro-choice policies, U.S. Vice President Al Gore insisted repeatedly during his conference visit that America did not endorse abortion as a method of birth control (Mainichi Daily News, 9 Sept. 1994).

That article in the Mainichi was optimistic. The anti-birth and pro-abortion coterie is not about to give up on its campaign to legalize abortion worldwide; this group with a mind-set against birth had migrated from Belgrade in 1965, to Bucharest in 1974, to Mexico City in 1984, to Cairo in 1994, and to the Fourth World Conference on Women at Beijing in 1995; after merely changing conference sites, the Apparat impulsively put the needle back into the groove of the turntable record to replay at each next conference the Plan for Population and Development originally propagated at Bucharest in 1974; which is essentially a REQUIEM FOR DEATH, a thoroughly anti-life, anti-motherhood expression of the culture of death, with a few flowery expressions to comfort the living.

Population Growth is Not Bad for Humanity

As early as 1962 the paper of Professor Simon Kuznetts of Harvard University indicating that rapid population growth is characteristically a twin brother of rapid economic development stirred the participants of the Asian Population Conference conducted in New Delhi. The fact is, he stated, that historically the high rates of per capita product growth characterizing modern economic development initially appeared, not because of population growth decline, but in conjunction with high rates of population growth. Both - the high per capita product and high population growth rates - were manifestations of the same underlying process: the application of new scientific methods and knowledge generally to problems of economic and social organization. The discussion leader drew the conclusion that one must question the assumption that a high rate of population growth is a major deterrent to economic growth and development. (From the writer's notes taken at the conference.)

In fact, a very rapid population growth is a factor which we should normally expect to find in a nation which successfully triggers economic take-off and then follows up with a powerful and prolonged drive to finally achieve economic maturity. The population of the USA increased 25 times over during the 300-year transition from the hunter-gatherer and subsistence agriculture economies to its present hi-tech super-economy. The contribution to the work force made by the many large families in the USA during that time, and by the millions of immigrants eager to work, powered the economy to ever higher levels of productivity.

In much the same way, young populations of developing countries are a natural mix for the expected national economic developments. It is not difficult for us to understand why a healthy, well nourished, disciplined, eager young labor force in newly developing economies, is just what is needed for industrialization. The older generation of laborers may be inhibited by tribal taboos from making technical innovations; very likely they are weakened because of poor nutrition, by seasonal attacks of malaria, by gastro-intestinal parasites, and other debilitating diseases. Their technical know-how may be limited to primitive methods of slash and burn, of laborious manual cultivation by means of stick and hoe. 70%-85% of the labor force may be engaged in just producing enough food, fiber, and shelter to remain alive.

All that can change swiftly today, when the younger generation can enjoy better health, eat better, go to school, learn new methods, and soon out-produce their parents by a ratio of twenty to one in output. Logically, the stronger and more numerous the new labor force is, the better are the national prospects for rapidly improving the economy, other things being proper. But - and this is essential - good government is needed, and proper education of the young. When free enterprise motivates people to work hard, to invest, to innovate, to migrate, to use their potential to the full, humans do make enormous progress in social well-being and rising levels of the good life.

The rapid increase of a healthy young population is the nation's best asset, and provides exactly that driving force needed to propel the new national economy. Eventually rural economies improve in feed-back from urban productivity, and a mere 15% of the labor force suffices to produce the food, fiber, and essential shelter. 85% of the labor force, which has typically migrated from rural areas to urban, switches from work in the agricultural and extractive industries to build needed roads, lines of communication, factories; to operate hospitals, schools, postal services, printing enterprises, banks; to engage in broadcasting, sports, entertainment, do research, and engage in cultural pursuits.

Temporary Demographic Growth and Economic Development are Strong Partners

A bird's eye view of the world economic conditions and levels of material living indicates gradual improvement all around. Although famines and malnutrition are still major problems in many parts of the world, and wars are a horror, nutritional levels as a whole are improving, and so are conditions of health and human comfort. Food production has been increasing quite consistently at a rate faster than population growth in recent decades, and promises to do the same in the future. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization announced, on November 12, 1993, that developing countries, for the most part, are steadily improving their nutritional situation and "world per capita food supplies are today some 18 percent above what they were 30 years ago" (AFP-Jiji). Despite all the warnings of the media that the world is going from bad to worse because of rapid population growth, the data tell quite another story. The world is going from bad to better as far as food and daily life advantages are concerned; and this is happening during the world's period of most rapid population growth; a population growth which is seen as a temporary demographic spurt registered while people live longer because of better health and nutrition while the transition from rural subsistence to a technological economy is in progress.

Next Page: Chapter 10: Future World Population
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12