My attention was called recently to a Department of State position paper that said simply that “The U.S. does not endorse population ‘stabilization’ or ‘control.’ The ‘ideal’ family size should be determined by the desires of couples, not governments.” That is not just a major retrograde step; it is a particularly bad policy in the current and prospective state of the economy. The questions arise: how did the government get there? And what should be done about it?
In the 1970s, our government had a fleeting vision of the dangers of continuing growth on a finite planet. That vision was lost in the welter of competing goals and voices. Now, amid high unemployment and widespread disillusionment with government, our political leaders must veer sharply, acknowledge the validity of that discontent, and offer policies on population, immigration and trade that recognize growth as part of the problem, not the solution. If they don’t, some would-be leader will move in on them.