The United Nations celebrated the birth of Baby 7 Billion on Monday, but they didn’t really mean it. The balloons, the cake – all suspect. After all, they celebrated Baby 7 Billion’s birth on the scariest day of the year, Halloween. Coincidence? Maybe they didn’t know. Halloween is not on the official U.N. calendar. But they certainly acted scared, like Baby 7 Billion was more of a trick than a treat.
In truth, no one can really say which child puts the human population at 7 billion. So in typical U. N. fashion, several leaders around the world chose their own. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon bemoaned the birth, in any event. He grumped, “Plenty of food, but one billion people go hungry. Lavish lifestyles for a few, but poverty for too many others.” Poor Baby 7 Billion, causing global hunger and poverty, and on her first day, too.
Please note how arbitrary all this is. In addition to the absurdity of their being several Baby 7 Billions, the U. S. Census Bureau, at least as authoritative as U. N. numbers crunchers, says Baby 7 Billion has yet to be born, that he won’t arrive until sometime in March. And only a few weeks ago it was the reported the United Nations had not yet determined the country Baby 7 Billion would be born in. Get that? The U. N. had to decide.
It designated the Philippines as the site of Baby 7 Billion’s birth. Quite a lot of symbolism and overt political pressure went into that choice. The Philippines has the fifty-fourth highest birthrate in the world. The fertility rate in the Philippines is on a ski-slope slide from 6.5 births per woman in 1968 to just over 3 today. Even so, this remains one of the highest in the world and the U. N. cannot let that stand.
The Philippines is the scene of much Sturm und Drang from population controllers and sexual revolutionaries. There has been a decades-long battle to undermine traditional sexual morality. The U. N. and her allied NGOs are working very hard to pass a “reproductive health” bill that the Church has so far successfully fought off. Oh yes, the Church holds much sway there, with the bishops quite active and assertive; and the faith is practiced quite faithfully by the faithful.
Baby 7 Billion didn’t even cooperate with the U. N. She came a few hours early, before the much-heralded day had actually dawned, but the U. N. scored it close enough.
Dr. Eric Tayag of the Philippines’ Department of Health griped like he was Ban Ki-moon. He said, “We should really focus on the question of whether there will be food, clean water, shelter, education, and a decent life for every child. If the answer is no, it would be better for people to look at easing this population explosion.” So much pressure on Baby 7 Billion!
#7 Billion: Danica May Camacho
Tayag wasn’t the only minister of health complaining about Baby 7 Billion. The health minister of India said Baby 7 Billion was “not a matter of joy but of worry. We shouldn’t be celebrating. For us a matter of joy will be when the population stabilizes.”
Newspapers all over the world worried for weeks about the impending doom of Baby 7 Billion.
In the Financial Times, U. N. Population Fund Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin warned that, “the parts of the world that account for less than one-fifth of global economic output will see 73 percent of the world’s expected population increase by 2050.” Joel Cohen, the head of the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University and Columbia University wrote in the New York Times, “For some in the West, the greatest challenge — because it is the least visible — is to shake off, at last, the view that large and growing numbers of people represent power and prosperity.”
The population control paladins therefore both despised and needed Baby 7 Billion in order to scare the world back into population control mode. Things have gone both good and bad for them in recent years. The global fertility rate continues to slide. Even the U. N. predicts global population will peak in a few years and then begin to slide. Some countries, like Russia, are actually losing population. The U. N. predicts every country in the world will soon be below replacement levels of fertility. You would think they would declare victory and move on.
The bad news for them is that the world is awakening to the impending crisis of aging that threatens economies and social welfare systems all over the world. Demographic winter has grabbed the spotlight from the population bomb and this has some in the U. N. deeply worried.
The double bad news is the huge cohort of under-twenty-five’s that now populates the globe. The baby-boomer’s babies are now of child-bearing age and the U. N. is intent on their not reproducing. Baby 7 Billion is, therefore, a warning.
The thing about the world is that it is a remarkably empty planet. Fly almost anywhere in the world at night and look down. Almost total blackness everywhere you look, even in heavily populated Europe. There’s plenty of room for many more of us. Somehow though, Baby 7 Billion and all the babies to follow have sent many grown adults into flat out panic.
There is a real warning to Baby 7 Billion, though. The U. N. folks say they care, but do they really? Back in 1999, then Secretary General Kofi Annan held up Adnan Mevic two days after he was born in a Sarajevo hospital and named him Baby 6 Billion. This week his mom said that they never heard from the UN again, “not even a birthday card.”
Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washinton, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-FAM.
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