George C. Leef - May 1, 2009
You have probably never heard of Dr. Reimert Ravenholt, but he was one of the most influential people of the 20th century. More than anyone else, Ravenholt was responsible for putting together the worldwide network of population-control programs and agencies. Appointed in 1966 to be the first director of the Office of Population in the United States Agency for International Development, Ravenholt was an arch-Malthusian who saw human fertility as a looming planetary disaster. Backed by a large supply of federal tax dollars, he zealously went about promoting contraception, sterilization, and abortion as the cure for the “plague” of too many children.
The result of Ravenholt’s global crusade against human fertility (which almost always proceeds under such euphemisms as “family planning” or “reproductive health”) has been what Steven Mosher calls in his book Population Control the “white pestilence” — that is, a dearth of children in the population. Mosher, president of Population Research Institute, argues strongly that the Malthusian worry that people would breed themselves into disaster was always wrong, but we do face, if not a disaster, at least severe socioeconomic problems from the fact that in many countries the fertility rate has been below the population-replacement rate for decades.