Thursday, June 13, 2013

The right to keep and bear children

In 1968, an ecologist named Garrett Hardin wrote an article for Science magazine titled “The Tragedy of the Commons”. A utilitarian and Malthusian, Hardin argued that the modern welfare state made it possible for people to gain the advantages of large families while socializing their costs. Therefore, the solution to overpopulation must be based in part on “relinquishing the freedom to breed”.

Forty-five years later, Peter Singer — also a utilitarian and Malthusian — essentially repeated the “tragedy of the commons” argument at the Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur. Ironically, given his hero status among progressives and the venue at which he was speaking, Singer began to speak of “reproductive rights” as though they would very soon be a thing of the past and that the nations would soon need to force contraception and abortion upon the unwilling.

It’s possible of course, that we give women reproductive choices, that we meet the unmet need for contraception but that we find that the number of children that women choose to have is still such that population continues to rise in a way that causes environmental problems. … [We] need to consider whether we can talk about trying to reduce population growth and whether that’s compatible with the very reasonable concerns people have about women’s right to control their life decisions and their reproduction.

 If it weren’t for his invocation of climate change, Singer’s faith in the population bomb would make him look like the last man on earth still concerned about the Y2K demon. In fact, to certain of the attendees, Singer appeared to embody the old colonial fear of brown people. Said Kavita Ramdas of the Ford Foundation in New Delhi, “We have been there before. ... We have seen forced sterilizations. We have seen the fears that the West has of brown people overrunning the world. We are tired of being slaves to colonial masters.”

Read the rest at Catholic Stand!