Save the World, Have a Baby!The Common Sense Approach to Social Security Reform

I’ve never told a senior citizen to have more babies. I’m afraid she might think I’m a bit naïve or out of touch. But today I’m willing to take the risk. Have more babies, America — anyone who can (warning: some restrictions apply). And if you can’t, whisper in someone else’s ear who can. Our future depends on it. Here’s why:

This past weekend — Saturday, February 25th at 7:16 p.m. ET, to be exact — world population hit a staggering 6.5 billion. Since the beginning of the 20th century, we have seen growth of 3.5 times and a doubling since 1960. On average, 4.4 people are born every second.

Most news outlets reported, like I just did, that the news was staggering, but few dared to say why we should be surprised. The numbers were low — too low! Dr. Paul Ehrlich would agree with me, but for all the wrong reasons. In 1968 he wrote the best-selling book, “The Population Bomb,” in which he predicted that hundreds of millions of people would die of starvation because food supply would fail to keep up with a world population growth that was spinning out of control. In later publications he claimed that his calculations had been too conservative, and that widespread famine would soon claim the lives of a billion or more. Since then, death from famine has declined and food supply has increased. Technology, the fruit of human life and ingenuity, is to be thanked.

An Ideology That Doesn’t Want to Die

We know that the population bomb has been defused. Let’s move on. There’s no need to beat a dead horse. Or is there? I would love to move on, but the ideology behind the bomb threat didn’t die with the horse. It’s still kicking. What was the ideology? To be fair, let’s hear from Dr. Ehrlich himself.

• “Actually, the problem is that there are too many rich people….” (Associated Press, April 6, 1990)

• “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun” (American Spectator, September 6, 1962)

• “We’ve already had too much economic growth in the United States. Economic growth in rich countries like ours is the disease, not the cure” (quoted by Dixy Lee Ray in her 1990 book “Trashing the Planet”)

The logic of this living ideology, taught in different forms, and by many people, goes something like this (note the jumble of truth and lies):

1) Individual wealth is equal to greed
2) Greed is the cause of the poverty of the masses
3) Limit the number of individuals (rich and poor) and you will limit the amount of greed
4) People are bad for an otherwise good planet

The only true statement of the four listed above is number two. Yes, greed is the cause of the poverty of the masses. But the answer is not population control. It is increasing the number of people, rich and poor, willing to fix the problem of personal, institutional, and governmental greed.

My Own Problems Are Big Enough

“Life in America is pretty good. The world is a mess, I admit, but I’ve got no time or energy to be jumping into phone booths to play global superman. My own problems are big enough.”

This reaction is understandable, but not reasonable, because this problem is already ours. President Bush spent a good portion of last year selling to Congress (through the surrogate Middle-American voter) his plan for Social Security Reform. In the State of the Union address he admitted that his pitch had failed to convince. Half the room clapped with glee. The president’s proposal for urgent action is based on predictions that today’s 30 year old worker will face a 27% benefit cut when he or she reaches normal retirement age. That’s nothing to cheer about.

Last February, a new-generation scientist named Shripad Tuljaurkar crunched some numbers for us. Citing increased life expectancy (now at 77.6 years) and a 2.08 children-per-woman birth rate, 20% of Americans will be over 65 years of age in the year 2026. Ironically, Professor Tuljaurkar is working to promote baby-having at the same institution from which Dr. Ehrlich labored to halt it. My guess is that Stanford University won’t be touting this form of self-cancelling social activism in its Spring newsletter to alumni and potential donors.

What Can I Do?

Many readers of this blog and viewers of FOX News Channel wrote to me after reading or hearing my recent commentary on the travesty waiting to happen if the U.N. approves the proposal for “reforming” the Human Rights Commission this Thursday. The most common response was, “What can I do?”

The long-term answer to both the chaos in the United Nations and the pending population implosion in the United States and Europe, with all of its economic consequences, including the demise of Social Security, is not one you’ll hear in President Bush's plan, or in any president’s plan. It is this: increase the number of people, rich or poor, willing to fix the problem of personal, institutional, and governmental greed.

We can do this either by changing the hearts of the living or by bringing to life and educating in love, new and fresh faces. We need to do both.

So, for those who can, have a baby. For those who can’t, whisper in someone else’s ear who can. You will add to the workforce that will pay your Social Security benefits, but most importantly, you will give to the world the human intelligence, ingenuity, and love — that just might save us from our own greed.

Oh yeah, the restrictions. Here’s one: teach him or her to love.

I look forward to hearing what you think.

God bless, Father Jonathan

This article is part of a regular blog hosted by Father Jonathan Morris on His updates are posted on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Write to him with your opinions or questions at