The Corner

Re: Nina Federoff

Andrew – First, my actual intention was less to imply something sinister than to say “here we go again” with a lot of Malthusian-population-bomb stuff.

That’s why I titled the post “here we go again.”

I think the idea that the world’s problems stem from the idea that, to borrow a phrase from P.J. O’Rourke, there are way too many of you, but just the right amount of me is a very old one. (Of course, there’s now a very healthy segment of the environmental left that says almost the opposite: there are too many of us — us being planet-warming, spiritually deracinated, imperialistic, capitalistic, Western White Folk.) The desire to see economic, political and social problems as symptoms of over-population, as you well know, led to some of the unlovelier aspects of the twentieth century. Of course overpopulation can be a problem, but only if you have the wrong policies. If you have the right policies, high birthrates are in fact a boon to the economy and society alike.

I think at least being attentive to these ideas as they become fashionable again in the corridors of power is worthwhile. So, even if I didn’t primarily intend to make Federoff’s comments sound sinister, I’m fine with the suggestion that they certainly have the potential to be sinister.

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