Thursday, December 10, 2009

More Liberal Craziness: Let's Copy China's 1 Kid Only Policy!

Diane Francis of the Financial Post is okay with big government. In fact, she thinks that the government should be telling all of us how many children we can have (one, in case your wondering). She claims that we're rapidly destroying the Earth and that the only solution is a major move by the governments of the world to stop people from having children.

She explains that if every female born now only had one child the Earth's population would drop to 5.5 billion by 2050. We would be down to 3.43 billion human by 2075. And the world would be... a much better place?

Here are a few highlights from her article:

The "inconvenient truth" overhanging the UN's Copenhagen conference is not that the climate is warming or cooling, but that humans are overpopulating the world.

A planetary law, such as China's one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate currently, which is one million births every four days.
Ironically, China, despite its dirty coal plants, is the world's leader in terms of fashioning policy to combat environmental degradation, thanks to its one-child-only edict.
China has proven that birth restriction is smart policy. Its middle class grows, all its citizens have housing, health care, education and food, and the one out of five human beings who live there are not overpopulating the planet.

So we should follow China's lead and we'll all be okay? That advice is... interesting.

Let's see how things are going a short distance from China, in Taiwan. According to Ms. Francis' standards Taiwan is doing great. They now have the lowest birth rate in the world. Are they celebrating this development? Let's see:

"'This is a tragic society,' Taiwan's Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang proclaimed in a Nov. 28 speech at the National Science and Technology Museum. He warned that if the island continues on this track, the population would experience a future labor shortage, and that the next generation of children would have significant difficulty covering the health costs of their aging parents. That intense financial pressure, he said, could raise the future suicide rate. The Education Minister, in a separate statement, predicted that one-third of Taiwan's colleges will close in just 12 years if the trend continues.

In a society where the cost of living is high, the notion that kids are an unwelcome burden - taboo in many cultures - has become an accepted idea. Take the title of a recent panel discussion put on by Taiwan's Human Social Sciences Foundation: 'Having Children! Does It Hurt That Much?' "The hurt," explains the foundation's president, Professor Liu Pei-yi, "refers to financial loss." In a research poll administered by Kun Shan University in 2007, students interviewed 100 residents of Taiwan between the ages of 20 and 40 about their own family plans. One-third didn't plan to have any children for fear of losing two precious things: money and freedom."

It seems that Taiwan isn't celebrating it's "ideal" birth rate (ideal according to Ms. Francis' article at least). They seem to think it's disastrous. The chief of Taiwan's Child Welfare Bureau is taking actions to try to raise the birth rate. They will be lowering housing prices for families with children, and are figuring out ways to help singles date and mate in an attempt to boost the birth rate. However when journalist Huang Shih-han explains the problem I can't help but think that the Taiwanese government may have it's hands full fixing it:

"I like reading and, well, you can't read if there are children wailing... I think our generation is more selfish. When you have children, you have to sacrifice a lot, and I don't want to do that."

It's true that having children does help some parents grow up and leave behind the ego centric years of youth (although the article I linked to is a great example of parents in my generation who just won't grow up).

In case you're wondering (or like me, are too young to remember) the population doomsayers are not new. Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich was saying the same thing back in 1968 (and look we're still here! The sky hasn't fallen!). He predicted disaster unless population growth was reduced to zero in America and suggested compulsory methods.

Unfortunately this sort of craziness doesn't seem to have a shelf life.

Thankfully most politicians have, up until this point, recognized that trying to enforce this sort of policy would be political suicide (if they bought into the shaky science in the first place). Let's hope that holds.


  1. Any of your readers who would like to know a LOT more on population/reproductive issues from a good Catholic perspective can read Darwin's meta-thread on this topic.

  2. China has one of the worst human rights records in the world. I would never idealize any of their policies.
    I read the article on parents making their kids into little "mini-mes" and never quite growing up. I had to laugh a little bit, because my last post was about my daughter wanting to be just like me, lol. I agree that there are many people who fit her description of hipster parents and it can seem quite silly from an outsider's viewpoint. However, we never really know what is going on with each family and why they might make the decisions to take their child to Mandarin class (cultural heritage?) or kiddie yoga (child obesity?), just to name a few of the examples that she gives. I also think that perhaps the author takes herself a little more seriously than she ought to in her article. For one thing she seems to have a thing against blogging mamas, versus those who scrapbook. Personally, I don't think I have the time, money, desire or knowledge to make scrapbooks, whereas on my blog I have community support and encouragement to write about the day-to-day accomplishments of my little girl, who will one day treasure the posts even when I am not there. Also, it is pretty normal for most parents to want their children to have the same values as them, so it makes sense that parents with more juvenile tastes would also try to pass that on to their children. So maybe because I blog, and drink soy chai lattes at Starbucks, the author would have thought I was a hipster mama. I guess there are worse things to be called. :)

  3. Hi Cliff-

    Thanks for the link! I'll check it out.

    Hi Maria-

    The blogging part bothered me too. And I find myself falling somewhere in the middle on the classes (it seems trendy right now to slam them in magazines, and I'm seeing a lot about "pushing kids too hard" but when you spend 24 hours a day together you start looking for fun, stimulating things to do! So that bugged me too).

    I think the thing that stuck a cord with me was the examples of pot smoking parents that refuse to grow up. We have a whole group of them on our street (actually they're growers and it stinks for miles around this time of year because they're harvesting their pot) and it drives me crazy. They have kids Sadie's age (one mom flew down the our one lane dirt road backwards the other day with her toddler standing on the seat of the truck looking out the back window) and they were the parents that sprang to mind when I read the story. I guess I should be grateful that it's winter because they walk around naked during the summer (and while we live a good distance apart they come down in front of the river in front of our house to do it!). That failure to grow up was it what reminded me of! And they leave their beer bottles! What kind of hippies litter?!?! Although I think she probably meant it to apply to a lot more of us (I have two blogs!). Yikes!

  4. Wow. So many comments come to mind. It's late (for me), and I drank coffee on the drive home from taking Kay to her mom.

    I don't think you are "pushing kids too hard" as long as their activities/learning are/is age-appropriate. Also, lots of "free" play time to just be a kid.

    Paul needs to call the "Catholic Cavemen" out of their lair to clear out the dopers. Seriously though - I cringe to think of your family in that environment. Don't y'all have what they call a sheriff out there? Has not the law gone that far west already? Have you considered adding guns to your already well-stocked prayer arsenal? Really, I've read that growers are outfitted like militias. I do not like this. The sooner you are in Rome, the better!

  5. The parents who did drugs in front of their kids did really bother me a lot for a different reason. I had two foster daughters, siblings that came from such a background. Their parents doing drugs was the least of what they went through, the poor girls. You are definitely going to have to be careful around those neighbors and pray constantly to your guardian angel. Good thing there is some distance between you and them.
    When it comes to activities, I think we need to come to a better understanding of what is truly leisure and what is frenetic activity. I am reading "Leisure, the Basis of Culture" by Josef Pieper right now, which really gives a good understanding of how important leisure is in our lives, no matter how slow or busy we are in our external affairs. I am at a stage in my life where, living in a somewhat rural area and only having one child, life is lived much more slowly. I know that this will one day change with the addition of kids or as my child grows, but for now I simply learn to take so much joy and pleasure in everything I experience, no matter how small. Classes can be very enriching, both for the mother and the child and a great way to meet other people. At the same time, the best education happens at home because as mothers we know what is best for our children since we know them better than any teacher. So I think there simply needs to be some sort of balance.

  6. Hi Everyone-

    I don't know why this popped into my head, but there is a site where you can type in your blogs url and it will tell you if it's blocked in China. Both of mine are (and I have four friends who live there... I guess that means they can't read my blog!). I do think it's crazy that anyone would want to emulate them (the writer of the original piece was writing for a Canadian publication.

    We are glad that we have some distance between our neighbors and us (and a creek with a canyon filled with trees). I think they're at least a quarter of a mile away, through the forest, but that smell just travels when they're harvesting it or drying it or whatever it is they do around this time of year (we're at the end of the stinky season I think).

    We have a sheriff here, but they are so understaffed and underfunded that it's all they can do to handle the violent crimes and keep everything from exploding. We don't have a single incorporated town in the county. I've heard that if one of the towns was incorporated it would increase our funding, but pot production is such a major business around here that the proposal gets voted down every time.

    The other problem is that medicinal marajuana is legal in California and each county gets to say how much is legal to grow and to have. Our county supervisors approved a ridiculous amount and then later voted again (after we became the laughing stock of the state) and reduced it. It's still up there though. Our neighbors father is a doctor who frequently writes in the paper about how it should be totally legal, how it's from God and how he gives prescriptions for pretty much any condition from headaches to cramps to depression.

    My guess is that our neighbors ALL have prescriptions (at this point I really wouldn't be surprised if the toddlers had prescription notes just to up the amount they could legally grow). Kids having prescriptions has become a problem, from what I've heard, because you have 16 year old girls who have a prescription to smoke pot at school for their "cramps." It's all pretty ridiculous.

    The drug cartels are the really scary ones, but from what everyone says they are mostly in the southern part of the county. There aren't many people there. I spent the first seven years of my life in another pot growing county and we would hear horror stories there every few years about someone triggering a booby trap. That was just scary.

    We are well armed here (although everything is unloaded and up high because of the little ones), mostly because of the wildlife. We've lost too many animals to mountain lions over the years.

    Ah well, gotta love California. What's our great state going to come up with next.

    (and I totally agree with you Maria about balance and the importance of leisure. It's almost like the parenting magazines go from one extreme to another each year. We're in a rural area too and it's hard to picture the frantic pace of life in the city these days.)

  7. Well, this has calmed me down somewhat. :)


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!