The Case for the Status Quo
I like kids. They’re really great. I have one. And obviously, humans need to keep having some children every generation; failure to do this will result in our species’ extinction, and that would obviously be bad.
There is no shortage of humans, however. There are over seven billion of us, and there are more today than yesterday. That mass of humanity has put a strain on our planet; quite aside from the obvious dangers presented by global warming, we’re running out of raw materials we use to keep our society going.
Stabilizing the population is, long-term, a good idea. Fewer people use fewer resources. There are more resources available for each person left to use. Yes, we still need children — and given how many people keep having kids, I suspect we’ll have enough.
Of course, that doesn’t mean those kids will be the “right” kind of kids. The subtext to the Douthat argument is always that the “right” kind of children — American children, preferably white — are not being born fast enough. If you hold to views of races as distinct, separate and different, this is a problem, but it’s primarily your problem.
We don’t live in the past. An ever-increasing population is no longer necessary to spur growth. We have made tremendous strides in automation, amazing advances in computing. More importantly, by freeing women to be the important part of society they always should have been, we’ve dramatically increased the number of people able to work to make the world a better place, without dramatically increasing the population.
We’ve managed to do all this without draconian measures, such as China’s disastrous, oppressive one-child policy. Instead, we’ve done it by increasing the ability of women to make decisions for themselves. If we drop the birth rate to zero, then yes, we’ll need to worry about it. Until then, I’m pretty comfortable with a population that is growing just fast enough to keep up.
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