What the world needs now: kids

  • May 16, 2024

Worried about climate change? Hold onto your hat for demographic winter.

Wall Street Journal report this week makes a compelling case that the world is at a population tipping point. It will make virtually inevitable an unprecedented collapse backwards in human numbers.

Under the headline “Suddenly there aren’t enough babies. The whole word is alarmed,” the WSJ reportage is not the bell-clanging, click bait, panic jolt readers might expect and easily dismiss.

Reporters Greg Ip and Janet Adamy showcase a meticulous dive into the state of global demography. The result is as chilling as a January deep freeze in Ottawa or Ulan Bator. Read this to make your blood run cold:

  • India has surpassed China as the world’s most populous country but even it is now below fertility replacement 
  • Estimates of reported births worldwide are typically 10 to 20 per cent below UN projected fertility rates
  • The U.S. census bureau has revised America’s long run fertility rate downward to 1.5 
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, almost 25 per cent of women of reproductive age are on contraception, up from 17 per cent a decade ago
  • Nothing governments have done to date shows any signs of saving us from stumbling into the population bomb crater 

“The demographic winter is coming,” the article quotes University of Pennsylvania demographic economist Jesús Fernández-Villaverde.

Think again if your immediate thought is: “Good, that means fewer annoying people crowding public transit, and it will spare us the surplus population of broken-hearted Leaf fans when their heroes blow a 4-1 playoff lead.” The downside of peak population is deadly serious economically and socially. It is already changing, at a deep structural level, our understanding of human purpose. 

The Journal cites one high income couple who made the managerial parental choice to have only a lone child. When their son now expresses a desire for brothers or sisters, the parents take him to vacation destinations that have “a kids club…so (he) can play with others his age.”

The implications should produce more goose bumps than an R.L. Stine book club. What kind of children will emerge in a world of pseudo-siblings available for a price? Where will the wisdom of children be found? In AI avatars? That’s a promising habitat for humanity, isn’t it?

“Once a low fertility cycle kicks in, it effectively resets a society’s norms and is therefore hard to break,” Ip and Adamy write. 

They quote Richard Jackson, president of the non-profit Global Aging Institute: “The fewer children you see your colleagues and peers and neighbours having, it changes the whole social climate.”

Such social climate change is more ominous than the physical climate change we’re fixed on. Even “the world is on fire” green town criers acknowledge that rising temperatures can be countered if action is prudent and prompt. Once humanity latches on to the misbegotten belief that children are unnecessary, it seals its fate. 

“If you’re a government official or manager of a big corporation, you should not worry over questions of salary now, but that in 20 years you will have no customers, no clients, no applicants,” says Kuniko Inoguchi, appointed as Japan’s first minister of gender equality and birthrate when that country awoke to its depopulation catastrophe ahead.

What’s galling for Catholics is that Holy Mother Church has warned for more than 50 years that the contraceptive mentality, bred out of discredited 18th century Malthusian dogma, would bring exactly such consequences. Catholic teaching maintains such a mentality makes normal destructively abnormal dehumanization. How? By the abolition of love. Let us never forget the words of Benedict XVI in Deus Caritas Est: “Whoever wants to eliminate love is preparing to eliminate man as such.” 

For its labour and pains, the Church has been mocked as locked in the obscurantism of celibate men and told to get with “the times” or shut its mouth and its doors. Should we, as Catholics, hold our breath for a retraction, an apology even, now that we’re proved existentially right? Probably not, eh?

Yet Canadian Catholics can press our federal government to cease spending $700 million a year to spread anti-fertility colonialism around the world like bad seeds. Through a dizzying array of pro-contraception, pro-abortion, anti-child, and so-called maternal health initiatives (whose whole purpose is negation of maternity) Global Affairs Canada promotes, especially to poorer countries, the opposite of what the world needs now: children. 

Imagine: a world without children thanks in part to cold-hearted Canada. That’s worth working up a sweat about.

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