Who’s afraid of billions of people?
Brendan O’Neill - 9 July 2009
It is UN World Population Day on Saturday 11 July, when various United Nations bodies will try to convince us that population growth is the cause of much of the planet’s economic and environmental crises. Here, we publish an edited version of a speech given by spiked editor Brendan O’Neill in London on 3 July, in which he argued against all attempts to curb human numbers.
Today, I want to argue that there should be absolutely no limits on population growth and no attempt whatsoever to cajole, coerce or convince people into having fewer children. I hope that in my lifetime the human population on Earth will reach the tens of billions, and it will not be a problem if, in the future, it rises to hundreds of billions.
The reason I say this is because our attitudes to the population level fundamentally reflect our attitudes to human ingenuity. The population debate is frequently dressed up in demographic and scientific clothing, but really it is a political issue, reflecting different political attitudes. Where you stand on population today tells us a lot about where you stand on the idea of progress, of civilisation, and of humanity itself.