A letter in THE TIMES (Saturday August 28) notes a forecast that the population of Africa (the world’s second largest continent) will increase by 1.1 billion in the next thirty years and argues that what is needed to save humanity is less of us.
However, since the days of Malthus, his disciples have concentrated their attention not on those they considered their peers, but those they deemed beneath them socially and racially. Marie Stopes and Margaret Sanger were as racist as any slave trader. They did not support women’s right to reproduce yet they are honoured as if they were benefactors. Amongst those hated by Stopes were the Catholic Irish, yet not one Irish feminist objects to a clinic named in her honour standing in Belfast.
Malthusian missionaries from Europe and the United States have bribed impoverished Indians with cheap transistor radios to have vasectomies. Millionaire Prescott Bush, father and grandfather of Presidents, was a leading light in the US Birth Control League and Planned Parenthood. Control of poor and disadvantaged humanity was a passion for such privileged philanthropists.
The late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, praised by people who know better, was a genocidal murderer in his heart. He was not jesting when he declared that if he could be reincarnated he would wish to return as a virus to wipe enough of us out to make the world fit for wildlife. It is hard not to consider David Attenborough a soulmate of the Duke as he describes us humans as a plague on the earth. At 95 years old he is no more willing than the Duke was to quit the planet for its greater good.
China’s enforced One Child per family rule has proven a disaster. It may well have arisen from a harangue by Aneurin Bevan when the Briton met Chou En Lai in about 1950. Chou En Lai seems to me to have been one of the most self- effacing and civilised statesmen of the past century, but not everyone is perfect. Bevan, whose great achievement was the NHS, was the lover of Jennie Lee. Lee declared that if she got pregnant she would betake herself to Switzerland for an abortion.
She said she had £100. That would probably be about £10,000 today. Abortion in Switzerland was legal. But not free. Women in Switzeland were not free either. It was many decades before they were allowed to vote.
By the way, the letter in THE TIMES was by Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe, a Labour Peer and Trade Unionist. Letters by other Malthusiats followed on August 31st.