The myth of overpopulation

Disney screenshotThe discussions regarding life issues have quieted down recently, as the news is overtaken by the tragic situations in Egypt and Syria. However in my daily routine I have encountered several subtle instances that tell me the topic is still hot, but mostly surrounding our culture’s view of children in general.

Time Magazine recently published an article advocating the freedom and luxury of not having children, picturing on the front of the magazine a couple relaxing on the beach and sipping cocktails. Also, if you are an avid fan or follower of America’s Got Talent, you will have noticed that just a few weeks ago one of the judges made some seemingly harmless comment to a large family about using birth control. The comments may have been said in jest, but why were they funny, and not startling and rude to say to someone about their children? Because there is a culture-wide acceptance of the idea that sacrificing too much of one’s comfort, even for one’s family, is somehow unjust.

A friend happened to stumble upon this little video, and although old, it reveals a lot about this mentality, and the state of mind of many in our culture today:

This video honestly makes me sick. This “educational” propaganda is nothing more than a sly way to warp innocent minds into believing the latest load of fallacies concocted by successful marketing in order to sell a product. If the lie is appealing, people will soak it up like a dry sponge in water, letting it seep slowly into their understanding, shaping how they see the world.

The film’s take on achieving comfort and freedom in daily life is a bit like looking at something through the bottom of a glass bottle; the image is there, but it is distorted.

Man’s ascent into the sky at the beginning reeks of post-enlightenment ideologies, showing that it is man himself who is the center of the universe, and it is he, through his own abilities, who creates his own destiny. The obstacle to this ascent, slowing man down and keeping him from achieving his full potential, are “numbers,” which the film later translates into the family, who seem to burden man, and appear as more of a road-block in the way of happiness, rather than a path to it.

The juxtaposition of the happy family with three children, shown in warm colors living the American Dream against the family with seven or eight children, shown in cool, saddening colors struggling to make ends meet, reveals a subtle yet direct attack on children and family life.

With population growth set as an issue of global concern, the children in this film find themselves being pin-pointed as the problem and are set as the reason in which the family cannot be happy or successful, so the whole world would really be better off if they just didn’t exist. “Family planning” then comes in as the answer and ultimate solution to this “problem,” with doctors ready and waiting at the phones to provide the appropriate “means” by which families can plan their children, and save the planet from the myth of over-population.

Did the population have a drastic and sudden increase around the time this film was created? Yes, and the Baby Boom also happened to occur just a few year after the second world war, which, if one simply looks to history as an example, is completely normal in post-war society. There is often and even usually a spike in population after wars, however this specific spike also came during a time period which gave birth to feminist ideologies, the Birth Control pill, and the legalization of abortion. In short, this video is nothing more than empty propaganda designed to get ignorant minds to buy into the lie so that these same minds will then go and purchase the product which is given as the ultimate solution.

The problem with this idea is that it is a fallacy: the premise that you are unhappy because of a,b,c, and that children cause this unhappiness because of x,y,z so therefor you shouldn’t have as many, is an incorrect use of logic. There are many, many families who have seven or eight children (or more) who are perfectly happy, with all of their needs being met, even if they do operate on a tight budget. If a person begins to think according to a distorted logic, it is very easy to continue down that path.

Eventually, if one look’s out the bottom of that glass bottle often enough, the image will appear more and more normal, and soon the true, un-distorted image, begins to look abnormal; the truth become unrecognizable. People will gladly cling to what is comfortable and familiar, even while forsaking truth.

It is ideas such as the ones this video presents which have laid the foundation for the complete and utter lack of respect for the dignity of human life in the midst of our culture today: from the baby in the womb, to the elderly in the nursing home, to the child with Downs Syndrome or other genetic diseases, to the immigrant.

It is perhaps even because of this very same idea that we see Time Magazine publishing an article about the luxury of the “Childless Life.” Or we hear celebrity Howard Stern comment to a family of 12 children competing on America’s Got Talent about the need to use birth control, which is an openly “family-friendly” show.

Exactly which of those children is the inconvenience, and exactly what is the inconvenience of their existence? Is it simply the fact that they exist? What strong reason is there that this family should have used birth control?

None, other than a fabricated myth that too many children make the world a worse place.

The film, which portrays women with no voice of their own, never speaking up except through the husband in order to express worries about what people will think of them, makes the statement that if an idea is popular or socially acceptable, it is OK to follow, regardless of whether it is moral.

However, despite the myths, ideologies and cultural changes, the Church has not lost the recognition of the dignity of the human person and the value of every human life. This value comes not through our own reason or abilities, but is a God-given privilege that comes from being created in His image and likeness.

Because of this inherent dignity, a new life – no matter what number or what the circumstances – is always a reason to rejoice.