Then again, it’s one thing to be a bumbling soothsayer and it’s quite another to underestimate the resourcefulness of mankind enough to ponder how “population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution . . .,” as Holdren did in “Ecoscience” in 1977.

The book, in fact, is sprinkled with comparable statements that passively discuss how coercive population control methods might rescue the world from … well, humans.

When I called Holdren’s office, I was told that the czar “does not now and never has been an advocate of compulsory abortions or other repressive measures to limit fertility.”

If that is so, I wondered, why is his name on a textbook that brought up such policy? Did he not write that part? Did he change his mind? Was it theoretical?

No straightforward answer was forthcoming.