From 8,000,000,000 to Zero

Note: We’re moving along steadily in our end-of-year funding campaign, But I want to encourage in you all a greater sense of urgency. As David Warren wittily demonstrates in today’s column, “progressive modernity” is akin to an extinction event. And that calls for every ounce of effort we – and you – can make to slow it down, divert it, stop it, if possible. We don’t harangue here for donations, but if you’re a reader, you’re aware of the stakes. So do something about it.  Right now.  It’s easy.  Your support will have consequences for years to come for TCT, the Church, and the world. It’s simply the case that each and every one of us has been put in this time and place by God to make a difference – Robert Royal 

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is officially a thing, I learn from the usual reliable media sources. Its founder, Les Knight, advocates intelligent non-breeding.

While most World Economic Forum and environmental crusaders only want the world’s population to be reduced by seven billion or so, Mr. Knight would like to eliminate the whole amount.

Like many other progressive people, he likes to flatter the young for their intelligence and wisdom. By coincidence, they are also our largest potential breeding group. Mr. Knight’s TV presentation (on Fox this week) goes like this:

“My plan is for everyone to think before they procreate, and if people really think about it, think it all the way through, and have the wherewithal not to procreate, which is a really big problem all over the planet. . .44 percent of young people are saying ‘no I don’t think I wanna do that.’”

“Just because they’ve thought about it.”

Now, I doubt that 44 percent of the young have come to this decision, formally, but they seem to be not breeding, and thus giving encouragement to the extinguishers.

Elsewhere in demographic trends: the world’s population is reported to have hit eight billion. If this is true, the counters predict nine, and perhaps ten, then an accelerating drop. For the world seems to favor extinction, and in the absence of sufficient babies, the live population is aging very fast. This is happening even in remote villages.

Grand United Nations plans for sustainable development, family planning, and decarbonization, are the largest international bureaucracies devoted to the goal of population elimination. But what if people resumed having babies? Would that not change everything?

While men can have babies, according to progressive belief, I wonder if they will when their average age passes seventy. Whether women, once they have attained this average age, will also be getting pregnant, I have no opinion. I have learned not to comment on the female body.

For the next generation or so, the population will rise from cumulative habit, but then it will begin crashing – almost everywhere.

Through the decades that I have been following the numbers (as a journalist, not a scientist), I have noticed that the more authoritative ones go consistently over the top, exaggerating the speed of population growth. They are also inclined to overestimate the current population, thanks, I think, to political and ethnic pressures to drive the numbers, usually up.


Indonesia and Red China are, I would guess, two of the most guilty of this. The Chinese have quietly conceded that 100 million of their citizens don’t exist. The Indonesians have tried to reduce the proportion of Christians, Buddhists, and others, in the gentlest possible way, by creating millions of imaginary Muslims. Indeed, I am skeptical of the size of the Muslim population overall, and this makes me less alarmed about Islamization.

On the other hand, the population of Africa may be going up quicker, as the number-crunchers are beginning to admit. It is not that the Africans are more fecund, exactly, but that they instinctively form families. They have a greater resistance to modernity, and while the international population may soon stagnate, it will then grow in Africa as it shrinks everywhere.

The future of the human race may thus be “out of Africa,” just as it was (supposedly) in distant antiquity.

So this is, arguably, the best news for the survival of homo sapiens sapiens. Only we, the non-Africans, are likely to disappear, leaving the whole planet free for any African excess.

Elsewhere, the reasons for decline are not, over-simply, the declining need for children to support us in old age. This cliche has satisfied the curiosity of social scientists for too long. The reality is a complex of associations with increasing wealth, and technological improvements.

Common attitudes have become less and less religious, and people cease to be impressed by old-fashioned moral certainties. They have decided to afford not only material goods, but spiritual luxuries. Today, they can believe what they want, instead of having to limit themselves to the plausible.

With increasing per capita wealth (universally) comes increasing arrogance, pride, and smugness; spoilt children, narcissism, and so on: all the spiritual markers of modernity. This cannot be precisely measured, however – statistics are useless for intangibles, and so they aren’t even gathered.

The result can however be verified. Fewer children are proportionally hatched, and then fewer in each subsequent generation.

Not just the tiny flat Maldive Islands may disappear beneath the waves as a consequence of global warming. Vast Japan will become so many uninhabited mountains; though sufficiently tall to keep sticking out of the water.

Population decline is already advancing in other rich, over-developed nations. And where the population is still growing, in places like Canada, Germany, or the United States, it is because governments encourage immigrants to settle in numbers sufficient to pay the pensions of our retired. This is, in effect, the latest form of slavery.

Yet it makes perfect sense, in the longer term, because as the immigrant streams dry up, the pensioners will also have dessicated. Not since the dinosaurs have we had such a die-off.

Were it not for Ukraine, I might think we had already reached the point where we couldn’t have wars anymore. There are recruitment issues in all the world’s great armies. But Mr. Knight can be pleased that euthanasia, suicide, and drug deaths are flourishing, especially among young males, now that they are no longer needed as soldiers.

Extinction follows from minute, but aggregate, changes in perception. Previously, for the majority, the desire to live was even larger than the desire to conserve coal or diamonds. Surprisingly, we didn’t need reasons to persist. Typically, we tried to live as long as possible. God, too, was generally perceived to be alive, and “an influencer” in human life.

Who’d have guessed that progressive modernity would be our extinction event?

*Image: Rain (La Pluie) by Vincent van Gogh, 1889 [Philadelphia Museum of Art]

You may also enjoy some of our most popular columns from the last dozen years:

Howard Kainz’s How It all Ends: Muslim and Christian Versions

Francis J. Beckwith’s Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?

David Warren is a former editor of the Idler magazine and columnist in Canadian newspapers. He has extensive experience in the Near and Far East. His blog, Essays in Idleness, is now to be found at: