A bit of fascinating news, today: China has lifted its ‘one-child’ policy and will now, in its divine benevolence, allow its citizens to have two children.
In its own way, this move is an acknowledgement of one of the greatest government-perpetrated ideological blunders of the 20th century, right up there with the mass famines resulting from the Soviet ‘scientific’ policies such as those advocated by Lysenko. The Nazi T-4 project also comes to mind. That program led to the elimination of tens of thousands of disabled and mentally ill people “for their own good” and “in the name of public health” and culminated in the Holocaust itself (the technology perfected in the T4 project for mass extermination was used in the concentration camps).
All of these instances and many more serve as case studies into how well-intentioned government bureaucrats can, merely by paper-shuffling and attending international conferences, inflict untold harm on millions and millions of people. They should give us pause when contemplating the war our contemporary governments are gearing up for–the war on ‘climate change.’ When bureaucrats think they have ‘settled science’ on their side, there really are no lengths they are unwilling to go.
Which raises another important observation: without fail, and with few exceptions, these horrors were instigated by Western liberals and progressives, and applauded right up until that moment when it was no longer politically expedient to do so.
The story of China’s one-child policy amazingly hasn’t even yet risen to that level! Liberals still merely avert their eyes, rather than issue denunciations, even though it is a history of government thugs holding down women and forcibly aborting their unborn children, bulldozing homes of families who denied the policy, and so on, not to mention the cultural conditioning of the populace that led to hundreds of millions of abortions. Add to this the demographic nightmare that China inflicted upon itself, with there being a huge disproportion between males and females in the country, and the creation of ‘dying rooms‘ for the discreet elimination of unwanted children, and it becomes clear that a huge ‘mistake’ was made.
The irony is that China is now acknowledging this, if only by their actions, but Western liberals still handle the issue with kid gloves, or even go so far as to advocate for the same type of policy implemented on the entire world, rather than just China.
For example, VP Biden saying to the Chinese: “Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.”
China’s ‘one child’ policy can be traced back most directly to Malthus, who, in the early part of the 1800s argued that the world’s troubles were the result of competition for finite, scarce resources. This principle inspired Darwin, who in turn inspired countless more to begin thinking in terms of populations ‘improving’ or ‘deteriorating’, with the general conclusion being that degenerate and defective humans who would normally have died off due to natural selection were now ‘weighing down’ society. This bred the eugenics movement, which flourished in England and America and elsewhere. It fell out of favor due to the Nazi expression of eugenics, but since the ‘science’ was settled, only the application flawed, the eugenicists refashioned their enterprise in terms of ‘population control.’
The people who held these positions understood them to be pretty much interchangeable terms speaking to the same goals. (see this and this, for examples, and since many of my readers will object to the Darwinian reference, look at this).
Almost to a man, people who advocated for such measures were liberals, progressives, and/or secular humanists. They had and have an unshakeable faith in ‘Science’ and mankind’s capacity, through big government interventions, to apply ‘Science’ effectively and efficiently.
How does this all tie into the one child policy?
Well, in the late 1960s and 1970s, ‘population control’ transitioned from a mostly privately sponsored endeavor to a publicly financed one. Rather than only running parallel within individual countries, internationalists became involved. The United Nations, the IPPF, UNFPA, the World Bank, and so on, began throwing huge dollars at the ‘problem.’
One offshoot of these internationalists called themselves (and still call themselves) the Club of Rome. Their “Limits of Growth” document of 1972 was the most direct incipient cause of China’s one child policy.
The account of how that happened, and the various government agencies, both nationally and internationally, that were and are ‘working’ on that problem, pouring billions and billions of dollars into the effort, is told in this article by Robert Zubrin. You should read every word of that article, not just the section on China, because many of the charges I’ve made in this post and others on this blog are corroborated and illuminated by it. Zubrin’s Merchants of Despair is one of the finest discussions I know of that recounts the whole history of the population control movement more or less how I myself would tell it.
Here is an excerpt, though:
In June 1978, Song Jian, a top-level manager in charge of developing control systems for the Chinese guided-missile program, traveled to Helsinki for an international conference on control system theory and design. While in Finland, he picked up copies of The Limits to Growth and Blueprint for Survival — publications of the Club of Rome, a major source of Malthusian propaganda — and made the acquaintance of several Europeans who were promoting the reports’ method of using computerized “systems analysis” to predict and design the human future.
Fascinated by the possibilities, Song returned to China and republished the Club’s analysis under his own name (without attribution), establishing his reputation for brilliant and original thinking. Indeed, while Club of Rome computer projections of impending resource shortages, graphs showing the shortening of population-increase times, and discussions of “carrying capacities,” “natural limits,” mass extinctions, and the isolated “spaceship Earth” were all clichés in the West by 1978, in China they were fresh and striking ideas. In no time at all, Song became a scientific superstar. Seizing the moment to grasp for greater power and importance, he pulled together an elite group of mathematicians from within his department, and with the help of a powerful computer to provide the necessary special effects, issued the profoundly calculated judgment that China’s “correct” population size was 650 to 700 million people — which is to say some 280 to 330 million less than its actual 1978 population. Song’s analysis quickly found favor at top levels of the Chinese Communist Party because it purported to prove that the reason for China’s continued poverty was not thirty years of disastrous misrule, but the very existence of the Chinese people. (To make the utter falsity of Song’s argument clear, it is sufficient to note that in 1980, neighboring South Korea, with four times China’s population density, had a per capita gross national product seven times greater.) Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping and his fellows in the Central Committee were also very impressed by the pseudo-scientific computer babble Song used to dress up his theory — which, unlike its Club of Rome source documents in the West, ran unopposed in the state-controlled Chinese technical and popular media.
Song proposed that China’s rulers set a limit of one child per family, effective immediately.
Zubrin’s book also treats National Security Study Memorandum 200, which is a little known document generated at Nixon’s direction and produced by Henry Kissinger. Gerald Ford ordered that the memo be made national policy. Carter probably followed suit. The memo remained secret until about 1989, when it was flushed out into the open. Stunningly, this US policy effectively called for the depopulation of the earth… beginning with thirteen countries… and stating plainly that we should advocate for nothing around the globe that America is not willing to do to itself.
(I have begun compiling my research on NSSM-200 and posting it on this webpage: http://nssm200.com/) The Nixon-Ford endorsement of these plans represent some of the few exceptions to the rule that liberals and progressives are the ones that spearhead such things. But then, Nixon and Ford alike seemed to have the same ‘affinity’ for ‘big government’ solutions. That is to say, they may have been Republicans, but they were hardly ‘limited government’ advocates!
The bottom line here is that the failure of China’s one child policy is really representative of the failure of countless ideologues whose guiding principles, ethical viewpoints, and ‘scientific’ conclusions fueled China’s policy in the first place. These ideologues also set the direction for public policy in countless other countries, and of course internationally as well.
While many of these ideologues have died and cannot see their failures, many of them are alive and well, and still very much in power. (eg., John Holdren)
I led off with the examples of the T4 project and the starvation of millions of people in the Soviet bloc in connection to China’s failed ‘family planning’ program because there are some other things they have in common that are instructive.
It is a historical fact that the Nazis and Communists borrowed heavily for ‘progressive’ viewpoints that circulated in the West. Indeed, American progressives at the time were jealous of the Germans and Russians. They all had the same ideas, you see, but only in those countries could they actually be implemented.
For example, in 1934, a prominent American public official named Joseph Dejarnette, lamented, “The Germans are beating us at our own game.”
And famed geneticist and fervent eugenicist (pardon the redundancy) H.J. Muller believed that the ‘nature vs nurture’ element confounded all attempts to implement eugenics proposals, because unless everyone was in the same environment, one could never tell if it was ‘nature’ that was really winning out; only in Soviet Russia did he perceive that there was a chance that a level playing field could be established–so to Soviet Russia he went. And from which he would flee for his life, after he fell out of favor. He landed in the United States, the only place safe from the effects of his own proposals.
Many would consider it an accident of history that these ideas happened to manifest so horribly in Germany, Russia, and China. The reason things went so poorly in those places, they might say, was due to cultural realities on the ground, there. Certainly, cultural components shaped how these policies unfolded, but this ignores the most important truth of all: it was only in these countries that the governments had free rein to implement the policies.
To put it differently, liberals often behave as though they could really perfect society, if only the reactionaries, religionists, and traditionalists would get out of the way. But in each of these three cases, there was nothing to stand in the way of their policies being implemented. Not only was it the case that a perfect society was NOT created, but the exact opposite occurred.
Blood was spilled on an epic scale, people were subjective to horrific abuses, and they never did solve the problem(s) they set out to solve! They always made matters worse!
As we ponder the end of China’s ‘one child’ policy, we would do well to remember that it is rooted in certain principles and policy ideas that were common in the past, and common today, too, even here in the West. But we should also bear in mind that the ‘one child’ policy was a real world test of liberal policies, free of the obstacles raised by grumpy white Christian males vying for inclusion on the Southern Poverty Law’s domestic terrorism list. Like all other real world tests of liberal policies that proceeded unhindered by such opposition, the one child policy failed, and failed miserably.
Keep this in mind as liberals in the West patiently strip away every meaningful check and balance. Like a dog that returns to its vomit, they will not be able to resist trying out their ideas yet again. It will be ‘for our own good’ and ‘in the name of public health’ but it would be madness to believe, really, that the actual effect will be at all different than their previous attempts.
Climate change is the area where this is most likely to be explored in the near future. The first and second amendments our latter-day HJ Mullers’ salvation.