(This is a follow-up to my first post on the subejct.)
I was in the process of addressing this comment by a population control advocate:
Though nine billion is only a projected figure, based on assumptions about birth and death rates that may or may not be accurate between now and 2050, it is most often accepted as a fait accompli. That leads us, then, not to ask questions about whether we should intervene in that growth somehow, stop it, or even reverse it, but rather to focus on questions about how we are going to provide for it. Rather than ask why we want or need another 2.1 billion humans on the planet, researchers focus almost exclusively on how we are going to provide those additional people with safe drinking water, food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and other needs, even though billions already do without some or all of those things.
I promised to note “two things” about this argument, but only noted one: that there’s no evidence that more people means more poverty and starvation, andthere’s ample evidence that they do not. My second point involves the poster’s use of the word “we”, as in “rather than ask why we want or need another 2.1 billion humans”. Now “we” and its sidekick “us” have caused controversy before. In Ayn Rand’s novel Anthem, the totalitarian bad guys ban first-person singular pronouns and require the use of plurals instead, thus displaying their collectivist tendencies. The heroic good guy eventually rediscovers the power of “I”.
That’s absurd, of course. There’s nothing intrinsically evil about first-person plural pronouns. Sometimes human beings make decisions as groups, and in such cases “we” is perfectly appropriate. The American people will elect a President this November. It’s quite all right to say that we will elect a President. When my family decides to go to Florida on vacation, it “we” who make the decision.
Those are instances in which a group makes a decision, and it’s a decision that must be made as a group. Other decisions are not made by groups, however. The decision about how many human beings should inhabit earth is not a group decision. If my wife and I choose to have children, no one else gets any say in the matter. Likewise we get no say in the decision of whether or not anyone else has children. As far as populating the earth is concerned, there is no “we” involved, save the two-person we’s known as couples. There is certainly no global “we” who makes a global decision about what the population of earth will be. Anyone should be able to see easily that in this case, treating all these individual decisions as if they were a single decision made together would be a gateway to authoritarianism and tyranny. China’s One-Child Policy testifies to that clearly enough.