From Fatherland to Mother Earth

On the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception in December of 2009, while Christians were preparing for the arrival of the baby Jesus, the well-known journalist Diane Francis presented a Herod-like plan to combat what she refers to as "environmental degradation" and the "disastrous global birthrate". Writing for Canada's Financial Post, Ms. Francis urged adoption of "a planetary law, such as China's one-child policy, [as] the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate".

She alluded to an assortment of developing catastrophes which, if they are to be avoided, require the imposition of such a policy: "The world's other species, vegetation, resources, oceans, arable land, water supplies and atmosphere are being destroyed and pushed out of existence as a result of humanity's soaring reproduction rate." While it is difficult to believe that the Pacific Ocean will be "pushed out of existence," it is even more difficult to believe that the Muslim nations will meekly acquiesce in a one-child policy. A writer for the American Spectator puts the matter more pointedly: "Muslim nations would send the U. N. child police home in a body bag, probably headless."

Ms. Francis laments the prospect that elephants will "disappear for good". She does not, however, bemoan the fact that under the strict application of her policy, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts would disappear for good. She does not indicate whether her policy should be imposed on elephants or on other species.

It is all so "simple", she writes, as she claims that "China has proven that birth restriction is smart policy". She conveniently neglects to mention the severe sex imbalance the Chinese policy has produced, together with the forced abortions, sterilizations, infanticide, and the deadly discrimination against females. "China's One-Child Policy," states one journalist who is less than enamoured of Ms. Francis, "causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on earth". Diane Francis is simply not paying attention to the glaring facts, and boldly invites others to share her shortsightedness. Myopia loves company.

What is "simple" is the lady's mindset. Human beings are not numbers. The mere reduction of the number of human beings on the planet does not guarantee a better world. It is instructive to recall that Cain slew Abel not because of the pressures of over-population, but because of personal envy. All the wars in human history took place when there were fewer people and less pollution than there is now. Human beings are highly individualized persons who interact with each other and are capable of applying ethical solutions to planetary problems. Arithmetic is simple; human beings, though they can be simplistic, are also surprisingly resourceful and unpredictable.

Ms. Francis predicts disaster for the human race. But she does not point out that if her one-child policy is successfully implemented, there will come a time (since many people will be childless either by choice or circumstance) when no human beings at all will populate the planet. Then, presumably, the planet will be "saved," though it will be a salvation enjoyed neither by the planet nor anyone else.

Diane Francis is assuredly not alone in her views. She is part of a large and influential coterie of environmentalists who do not hesitate to put governmental coercion ahead of fundamental human rights (though they speak sentimentally about "animal rights"). Looking at the situation from the perspective of modern history, Jon Ferry, writing for The Province (Vancouver), has this to say: "And it's sad how, in a couple of generations, we've gone from a Nazi-era fascination with eugenics and the selective breeding of humans to a guilt-ridden preoccupation with population control to appease Mother Earth."

The cults of "Fatherland" and "Mother Earth" are both emphatically pagan. Both negate any notion of Divine Providence. Hence, given the terrifying void they create and the inevitable state of panic that that void evokes, it is not surprising that their advocates resort to schemes of violence. The pantheistic worship of Gaia, so trendy among environmental extremists who elevate ecology into a pseudo-religion, directs attention away from human rights and social justice, and focuses, irrationally, on a mythology centring on Mother Earth, something that is neither humane nor responsive.

The Judaeo-Christian tradition recognizes the primary significance of the relationship between Divine Providence and responsible stewardship. The failure to recognize the former necessarily invites panic. Since stewardship no longer has its natural counterpart, everything depends on man. The resulting panic leads to wild predictions and desperate governmental strategies. Paganism, in the name of Fatherland or Mother Earth, cannot provide adequate solutions for global problems. Justice is not a dispensable frivolity. It is not to be compromised, just as human dignity is not to be compromised. A godless world is a world in panic. Diane Francis's One-Child policy, with all its absurdity, is a logical consequence of the loss of a One-God theology.