The apple falls not far from the tree: Prince William, son of Charles of the same title, albeit of a different region of England (Cambridge vs Wales), has come to the conclusion, just like dear old Dad, and, come to think of it, Dad before him (Philip, of Edinburgh), that there are there are ‘too many people’ in the world.
Ironically, William, along with his wife, Kate have been recently rebuked by a group calling itself ‘Having Kids’, which itself ironically advocates for smaller families; much smaller. It seems William and Kate have gone beyond the pale, well into the yesteryear barbarism of those Catholic Irish, for daring to have their third child.
I commend Will and Kate for their proclivity, already more than one child above the norm in Britain. But, William, it seems, is very concerned not about England, a small island country, but rather Africa, a vast continent, and wants to ensure that there is plenty of room for the poor animals, being squeezed out by all those humans and their unsightly, vast infrastructure.
This opinion that there just too many bothersome and unnecessary people seems to be a vice prone to the rich, and a paradoxical one. For here is a man who can wander, ride, prance and gallivant through hundreds of acres of some of the most prime and pastoral real estate in England and beyond, whether with wife and children in tow, or as a solitary bachelor (his ‘minders’ never that far away, of course). Yet his own mind is filled with images of cramped, over-filled cities; highways, roads and malls, rows upon rows of favelas, children running feral through the streets; women with shacks full of little ones, and not enough food; the myriads of idle men, and on it goes.
And then all those animals with nowhere to go.
Perhaps William thinks all should live like him, or sort of like him, with an acreage, a homestead, a job and gainful employment… well, we will hold that last one. Hence, he may think, if we but reduce the population, there will be more room, more jobs, more, well, more of everything…except people.
The fallacy in this kind of logic has been dispelled in the rich social doctrine of the Church, and elsewhere, little of which Prince William, along with the rest of our ‘elites’, has likely read, or even heard of. He seems blissfully ignorant that it is people who make the economy, as Western countries with dying demographic rates are discovering to their dismay: No people, and especially younger and more dynamic people, no commerce, no jobs, not much of anything, except retirement homes, hospitals and, when things get too crowded and expensive, shuffling all those useless eaters off their mortal coil by gentle, or not-so-gentle, euthanasia, as the case may be.
And there is plenty of room for people, far more than we could ever use in the foreseeable future. This Earth is a lot bigger than most people think, for our minds have this illusion of a small cramped planet based on the rapid rates at which we now travel. We fly over all those wide open spaces, that seem to just float by from the vantage of 35,000 feet.
When I ask students how long it would take to walk, say, from the town in which I live to Toronto (a 3.5 hour drive), I get all sorts of wild answers. The real one, for a fit individual used to tramping on two feet (now a rare trait) is about two weeks, so bring a tent, a sleeping bag and lots of food. That’s even longer than it would take to traverse William’s vast estates.
Africa is especially vast, with lots of room for humans and animals, a fact obscured in the usual Mercator projection used for world maps. When the three-dimensional spherical planet is projected onto a two-dimensional grid, something has to give, and here it is the relative size of the north and south: Regions around the equator seems far smaller than they really are. Try this fun drag-and-drop map exercise to see the real, veridical size of various nations.
Overpopulation, insofar as it exists, is an economic and local problem. Under regimes tending towards socialism, which includes most of the nations on this planet, for Russia has indeed spread her errors around the world, there ensues a concentration of wealth and power in urban centres, to which the disenfranchised poor flock, hoping for a few crumbs from their masters’ over-filled tables. Hence, the millions gathered around Mexico City, Rio, Calcutta…and Toronto won’t be far behind if things don’t change.
Yes, we must use resources prudently, but human reason and ingenuity, a spark of the very intelligence of God, far outpace the hand-to-mouth brutality of the apes. Paul Erlich’s 1968 apocalyptic The Population Bomb, predicting disaster for all and sundry, failed to explode, and we can now feed every person on the planet, and then some. Yet the mindset still persists.
As arrogant and ignorant as their views are, at least Princes Charles and William don’t advocate the more sinister proposed policies of massive, and enforced, reduction of the human population by as much as 95%. A cursory tour around the internet will provide much food for conspiracy theories, in which there are nuggets of truth, and cause for at least some concern. I would wonder whether one of these well-compensated comfortable professorial and political lemmings would be the first to jump off the cliff for the sake of ‘humanity’.
Contrary to the claims of such radicalists as Eric Pianka, who compares us to bacteria multiplying out of control on a planetary petri dish, I would retort most strenuously that Man is not a parasite, but the very image of God, the lord of creation, and that every human being, from conception to natural death, is to be welcomed as an infinite gift from God. In fact, the more the merrier.
To paraphrase our Saviour, the world was made for Man, not the other way around.