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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

On the contraceptive mentality


A must reading for advocates of the RH Bill is an article by Nobel Prize winning economist George Akerlof which appeared in the quarterly journal of economics some time ago. In the said article, Akerlof explained that the discovery of the pill in the sixties spawned the sexual revolution of the sixties which brought in its wake a lot of serious social problems such as the decrease in marriage and married fatherhood. These findings, supported by empirical evidence, also showed that the contraceptive mentality produces a simultaneous rise in anti-social behaviour among single men such as drug abuse leading to arrests and incarceration.

With the reproductive technology adopted quickly from the sixties on and in a massive scale, marital and fertility patterns changed dramatically causing a decrease in marriages, a rise in poverty and social problems. In Akerlof’s findings supported by empirical data, there did exist a strong correlation between a contraceptive mentality, sexual revolution and social pathology – drug abuse and so on.

Indeed, Humanae Vitae, the papal encyclical some half a century ago which opposed artificial contraception, already warned about the evils of artificial family planning which by separating sex and procreation would deform relations between the sexes and open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards.

Proof of the pudding is in the eating and the daily reportage in media about marital breakups among the rich and famous, the celebrities and the notso- famous, even among our relatives and friends, speaks for itself.

Socio-biologist Lionel Tiger has linked contraception to the breakdown of families, female impoverishment, single motherhood and trouble between the sexes. He also established a causal link between contraception and abortion.

With effective contraception in the hands of women, Tiger predicts that there will even be more abortions. In short, he proclaims that there is a slippery slope between contraception and abortion once the contraceptive mentality sets in among women.

As empirical data continue to flow showing the correlation between the contraceptive mentality and social malaise, an equally impressive set of data has appeared, debunking the Malthusian population bogey much articulated in the past by such doomsday scenarios set up by Paul Ehrlicks “Population Bomb,” much quoted by pro-RH billers who talk about the population explosions and all that. To debunk all their claims, the latest word on population is offered by Columbia University historian Matthew Connelly in his late Magnum Opus entitled “Fatal Misconception: The Struggle To Control World Population.” In the said piece, Connelly demolishes all the myths about the so-called population science bandied about by anti-natalists. It is important to quote excerpts from the book:

“The great tragedy of population control, the fatal misconception was to think that one could know other people’s interest better than they knew themselves…the essence of population control…was to make rules for other people without having to answer for them. It appealed to people with power because with the spread of emancipatory movements, it began to appear easier and more profitable to control populations than to control territory. That is why opponents were essentially correct in viewing it as another chapter in the unfinished business of imperialism.”

Indeed, Humanae Vitae correctly pointed out the dangers that the government’s coercive and unrestrained usage of contraceptive technology which, as Connelly puts it, was not only failing to help people, it actually harmed them. As in the case of such countries as Japan, Singapore and those of western Europe which are now suffering from population imbalance, the so-called “grey dawn” where the old has suddenly outnumbered the young who now have to carry the heavy burden of providing for retirees and senior citizens through higher taxes and social security contributions, not to mention its impact on economic productivity.

The moral of the story is that in the end, he who tinkers with the laws of nature, whether it be in the area of environment or population, will surely pay for it soon enough! Our unsolicited advice to pro-RH billers is to be more circumspect and see the bigger and longer picture.

First of all, they must be humble enough to admit that there is no shortcut to a country’s development which is the result of a confluence of beneficial socio-political and economic factors which cannot be engendered by the mere distribution of latex products and chemical abortifacients.

The success stories of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) attests to this fact. Careful socio-economic planning, particularly the education of women, has been in the words of Nobel laureate Amartya Kumar Sen, a schoolmate in Cambridge, “the most effective weapon in reigning in population growth.”

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