A friend of mine will often send me links to articles of mutual interest. Recently, she sent me one written by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. The line that stopped me cold was the following: “It has become crystal clear to me that we can’t make progress against global poverty unless we do more to reduce fertility.”
I am amazed that before dealing with a real and more dangerous threat to poverty, dictatorial governments, we’re going to go after people with large families. Because some standard of living isn’t being met, we resort to the easiest and more cowardly of solutions. Are you kidding me? Reducing fertility as the road to poverty reduction? How about dealing with the thugs in these countries that hold up charity shipments of food on the docks or take them for the stores houses of the ruling elites? How about the genocidal maniacs running local militias who terrorize populations with rapes and pillaging? No, bad idea. Let’s go out and find all the single mothers with large families and tie their tubes.
The NYT Key to Poverty = Reduce Fertility I’ve linked to a short video on their site where you can see his interview of a Haitian woman upon which, in part, he bases his lunacy. It amazes and scares me that we would believe the answer to poverty is reducing fertility. And how realistic is this? If we reduce fertility, then people can have unimpeded sex without the risk of pregnancy, which, I suppose is among the highest ethical goods of today. In fact, Kristof glowingly discusses President Obama’s opening up of funds for global family planning efforts (read: US subsidized abortions). It’s not hard to know what is really at stake here. Whereas, in the past, we used to highly regard temperance, restraint and self-control. Now, those things are only acceptable if promiscuity, choice and sexual freedom are allowed (although I’m not sure how that’s possible).
Any number of left- or right-wing websites that discuss poverty will attest to its complexity. Maybe Kristof doesn’t really believe that fertility is the key; I hope not. I’m not sure if fertility reduction has any place in these plans. What about the dead beats who find impregnating women a fun sport? They do so and, like the bum in the video, wish the woman who requests (rightly) to be supported that she’d “die.”
I think it is high cowardice that we’d target the women’s fertility as the answer and let the dead beat men go off scot free just to do it again.