I hear your point, albeit I would have a hard time agreeing with it, but that’s not necessarily relevant, Tim. I most emphatically agree we could all have fewer children, however here’s another way of seeing that (and please keep in mind here I chose not to have any in part, back when I was fertile, I supported and still support no pop growth).
A while back I saw a comment about Third World communities made by American man. He made a sweeping judgment that “they should all refrain or use birth control.” That’s easy for someone in the First World to say, especially since this guy had clearly not bothered to leave the comfortable confines of his home town and be in the much larger world. Cultural considerations weigh heavily everywhere, and having large families is in part a way of celebrating life. It’s also a way of continuing your line, and in certain extremely poor communities, many kids die young, so you keep having them hoping that someone will survive. Where there is little education- and Tim, let’s call it what it is, when WOMEN are uneducated, there is less understanding about the impact of too many kids. Educate women, and they often have fewer children. That’s very easy to research. They inherently understand what happens to their worlds when there are too many of us. In cultures (say, in South Africa, where I have traveled four times so far) the prejudice against condoms is widespread, virulent and compounded by hatred and distrust of whites. The belief is that white people brought HIV and the witch doctors in many areas teach that raping an old woman or a very young child will cure it. Ignorance kills. Distrust — for very good reason in this case — kills. I could give you a raft of other examples but you get my drift.
This is a hugely complex issue, emotional, ego-based, fear-based, there are a million million factors. However with any life form, survival and reproduction are the two biggest drivers. Where cultures eschew condoms they will continue to breed. Where men have a greater investment in sowing their seeds as opposed to responsible sex, we will continue to breed. Where cultures refuse to educate women, they will breed. Here in this country we have educated women and they still breed. Then we have the arrogance to dictate to poorer countries that they shouldn’t (this isn’t directed at you, Tim, this is a general statement). Simply telling people they should stop is like flipping the bird at a tsunami wave. Just look at the billions that are spent on fertility just in America. When people want kids, and they do, and it’s enormously selfish to my mind given where we are today in the world, they will find a way. People will pay for a transplanted uterus to bring another squalling child into the world. I am not a fan of children, let me be very clear. I prefer animals. However, it’s not my right to dictate to another culture, or to anyone in our own, to back it off. That is not my right. Nor, do I think, it’s anyone else’s right to dictate to anyone else what they should do with their genitals. We can educate. Inform. After that we can hope for better choices. But that’s just my take. Thanks for your comments.