Green Room

Big Money and the Culture of Death

posted at 8:49 am on July 16, 2009 by

This morning, I watched Michelle Malkin on Fox News talking about Obama’s “science czar” John Holdren, advocate of “compulsory abortion” and “involuntary fertility control” to deal with a non-existent overpopulation crisis.

Where did Holdren get his wacky ideas? His Ecoscience co-author Paul Ehrlich was the author of a notorious 1967 book, The Population Bomb, which promoted the overpopulation hysteria.

But where did Ehrlich get his wacky ideas? That story — and a lot more besides — is told in an excellent 2001 book by historian Donald L. Critchlow, Intended Consequences: Birth Control, Abortion, and the Federal Goverment in Modern America.

The population control movement, which generated the anti-baby hysteria that Ehrlich and Holdren promoted in their books, was largely the brainchild of John D. Rockefeller III. Rockefeller funded much of the movement himself and through a number of family trusts and foundations, and he encouraged other foundations (Ford, Scaife, Carnegie) to do the same.

Rockefeller promoted the population control movement through many means, but just to give you an example, between 1959 and 1964 one organization alone, the Population Council, got more than $5 million from the Rockefellers, $8.4 million from the Ford Foundation and $2.1 million from Scaife. So that’s $15 million in five years, back when a million dollars was a lot of money.

‘Babies: Threat Or Menace?’
One of the things that the population control movement did was to promote their agenda through the press, and by subsidizing writers with grant money. From page 54 of Critchlow’s book:

[T]o raise the public’s consciousness about the threat of overpopulation . . . the population movement undertook a concerted public relations campaign through a steady stream of books, pamphlets, and magazine and newspaper articles. This campaign was aided by the involvement of key publishers and editors who were actively involved in the movement, including George Hecht, editor of Parents Magazine. The drumbeat around the population crisis reached crescendo by the early 1960s. Readers of popular magazines were faced with a barrage of articles warning of an impending population crisis . . . Women readers were inundated with articles like “Are We Overworking the Stork?” (Parents Magazine, 1961), “Why Americans Must Limit Their Families” (Redbook, 1963), “Intelligent Woman’s Guide to the Population Explosion” (McCall’s, February 1965), “Overpopulation: Threat to Survival” (Parents Magazine, 1967) and “Population Increase: A Grave Threat to Every American Family” (Parents Magazine, 1969).

The point, you see, is that there was an organized propaganda campaign, funded and directed by big money. One of the most active promoters of this agenda was Hugh Moore, a millionaire who was a contributor to Planned Parenthood and who later founded his own organization, the Population Crisis Committee. In fact, the title of Ehrlich’s book, The Population Explosion, was borrowed from a pamphlet of the same name published by Moore in 1954. And Ehrlich’s book was then promoted by the Sierra Club, which had its own wealthy donors.

‘We’re the Smart Ones’
Big money continues to fund the Culture of Death. In 1999, I was the only reporter in the room when Ted Turner gave a speech at a conference of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association:

Mr. Turner, founder of CNN and now the vice chairman of Time-Warner Inc., also suggested that world population could be reduced by the adoption of an international “one-child policy.”…
The Atlanta-based billionaire and his wife, actress Jane Fonda, are active supporters of the United Nations Population Fund. In 1997, Mr. Turner pledged $1 billion to a new foundation to support U.N. efforts on population and the environment.
Though he fathered “five kids — boom, boom, boom — by the time I was 30,” Mr. Turner said, he now believes overpopulation is a major problem and suggested people should “promise to have no more than two children.”
Mr. Turner recalled a discussion many years ago with Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich, whose 1968 book “The Population Bomb” predicted that hundreds of millions of people would starve to death in the 1970s and ’80s as a result of global overpopulation. Mr. Turner said he asked Mr. Ehrlich and his wife, Anne, what the ideal world population would be.
“They told me about 2 billion,” Mr. Turner said. World population is now 5.9 billion, but the world could reduce its population to that ideal, Mr. Turner suggested. “We could do it in a very humane way,” he said, “if everybody adopted a one-child policy for 100 years.”….
“If you’re only going to have 10 rules, I don’t know if [prohibiting] adultery should be one of them.” Speaking of himself as a member of “the progressive movement,” Mr. Turner urged the NFPRHA audience to “give ’em hell” when seeking more government funds for population control.”People who think like us may be in the minority, but we’re the smart ones,” he said, and as a result should be able to defeat opponents he called “a whole bunch of dummies.”
Mr. Turner, whose net worth is more than $3.2 billion, got laughs with his responses during a question-and-answer session after his speech. . . .
Asked what he would say to Pope John Paul II, who opposes abortion and artificial contraception, Mr. Turner responded with an ethnic joke — “Ever seen a Polish mine detector?” — and then suggested the Pope should “get with it. Welcome to the 20th century.”

People like Turner think they’re “the smart ones,” and love to recite environmental nonsense, global warming idiocies and pro-choice talking points as if these were indisputable facts. The neo-Malthusian agenda (which I discussed in “Forbidding To Marry” in April) is advanced by people who don’t even realize they’re advancing an agenda at all.

“It’s science!” these people declare, dismissuing skeptics as “ignorant,” when in fact the real ignorance is on their part — environmentalists and pro-choicers often don’t know the real history of their own movement. A half-century ago, in Up From Liberalism, William F. Buckley Jr. wrote:

In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion. This man is outraged by the suggestion that he is the flesh-and-blood tribute to the success of his indoctrinators . . .

It’s even more true than ever.

(Cross-posted from The Other McCain.)

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The point, you see, is that there was an organized propaganda campaign, funded and directed by big money.

In some other previous post, on a topic similar, I asked who paid for the commercials for planned parenthood and zpg that I was inundated with as a child in the 60’s. You’ve provided some answers – thank you for that. I’m more than 50 years now and I still clearly recall receiving the message on the TV and taking it as a fact. Talk about organized propaganda – I still clearly remember it!

ericdijon on July 16, 2009 at 8:33 PM

God told us to go forth and multiply not limit children to one. Did Ted gather his 5 together and tell them that he should have stopped at one? Did he ask for volunteers to leave? Oh, wait, I forgot that doesn’t apply to ‘them’ only to ‘us’.

Kissmygrits on July 17, 2009 at 7:57 AM

I’m more than 50 years now and I still clearly recall receiving the message on the TV and taking it as a fact.

Oh, absolutely. I distinctly remember being at a swimming pool in LaGrange, Georgia (where my grandmother lived) and hearing a commercial for Zero Population Growth on somebody’s portable radio. And I was like, “Huh?”

Thirty-five or 40 years ago, that message was everywhere. Paul Ehrlich was a frequent guest with Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show.” So, why don’t you hear that message so frequently and explicitly anymore?

1. IT WORKED — By 1976, the U.S. total fertility rate had fallen to about 1.7 and not all the pro-life activism in the past three decades has made a dent in the Culture of Death. The recent rise in the U.S. TFR to 2.05 is entirely due to the influx of tens of millions of higher-fertility by immigrants. Among U.S.-born non-Hispanics, any recent statistical upward trend in TFR is (a) minor and (b) mostly a function of marginal factors like deperate pre-menopausal IVF efforts by Baby Boom women.

2. CULTURAL MOMENTUM — The elite Malthusians spent tens of millions on their anti-baby propaganda campaign over the course of several decades. They especially targeted influential “opinion leaders” like journalists, politicians and academics, so as to create a ripple effect. Once babyphobia entrenched itself in conventional wisdom — “Well, everybody knows [insert anti-natalist talking point] . . .” — there was no need for continuing the propaganda campaign, at least with the saturation intensity tthat the ZPG/PP campaign manifested in the 1960s and ’70s.

Generally speaking, the more elite someone’s education level nowadays — the higher their ranking in their high-school class, the higher the average SAT score at their college, the more years they spent pursuing postgraduate education — the less likely they are either (a) to have a child before age 30, or (b) to have more than two children in their lifetimes.

I talk to smart young people all the time in D.C., folks whose incomes at age 25 are greater than my own. They will swear up and down that they can’t afford to get married or have children, and look at me like I’m crazy for thinking otherwise. And whatever you do, don’t try to tell them they’ve been indoctrinated with this counterfactual belief.

The weird thing is, there’s no difference in this regard between secular liberals and most young people who claim to be “conservative” Christians. Sigh.

The Other McCain on July 18, 2009 at 2:58 PM

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