Billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money has been spent on population control programs around the world, according to Robert Zubrin, author of Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism.
Most of the funding has been indirect, through United Nations programs, but about $600 million worth was funded directly through USAID, a federal program aimed at helping the world's poor, Zubrin told The Christian Post.
Zubrin gave a presentation about his book Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. The book documents the origins and consequences of antihumanism, or the view that human beings are a detriment to the world and the planet would be better with fewer of them.
"There is no grand conspiracy here," Zubrin told his audience. Rather, antihumanist ideas have come in various forms, including both liberal and conservative ideologies. Antihumanist thought has infiltrated existing political movements, Zubrin argued, and made them worse, such as, communism, feminism and laissez-fair capitalism.
Zubrin begins his book with the two most influential founders of antihumanist thought -- Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) and Charles Darwin (1809-1882).
Malthus argued that human reproduction will always outpace human capacity to feed itself. His work was used by British leaders to justify mass starvation in India and Ireland.
Darwin demonstrated in Origin of the Species that species with genetic traits that give them the best chance of survival will be mostly likely to pass those traits on to successive generations. When he applied this "survival of the fittest" theory to the human species in The Descent of Man, Darwin concluded that the "civilized" races, which he equated with whites, would "exterminate and replace" the "savage" races, which he equated with "Negroes" and Australians.
One difficulty with applying "survival of the fittest" to people, Zubrin argued, is that, unlike other animals, humans can pass on acquired traits to successive generations. Human progress, therefore, comes about through human effort.
"Human progress is driven by life, not death," Zubrin said.
Zubrin documents how the thought of Malthus and Darwin became the justification for some of the most horrific acts of the previous century, such as the Eugenics Movement and the Holocaust. They also influenced, though, a number of other well-meaning movements, such as efforts to improve the environment and to alleviate poverty and hunger in developing nations.
Chapter 13 of his book documents the influence of antihumanist thought on global aid programs for the poor, such as the U.N. Fund for Population Activities, the World Bank, and USAID, beginning in the 1960s. Those funds have been used for forced sterilizations and forced abortions, often carried out by dictatorial regimes. Zubrin quotes the view of Betsy Hartmann, a pro-choice feminist and critic of population control. She pointed out that a woman's right to choose must include the option of having a child.
In many cases, the population control programs were driven by racism; they were used against a racial minority that elites deemed less desirable in India, Sri Lanka, Peru, Kosovo, China and South Africa.
USAID is no longer allowed to support coercive population control programs. In 1999, Congress passed the Tiahrt Amendment, named after the author, former Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.). The amendment prevents the use of quotas or incentives to encourage the use of family planning services.
USAID may have inadvertently, though, contributed to the AIDS crisis in Africa, Zubrin wrote. Over 140 million Depo-Provera kits have been sent to Africa through USAID between 1994 and 2006. Depo-Provera is a contraceptive drug delivered via injection. The needles in these kits have been used and reused for illicit drug use, thus helping to spread the disease among those users.
People who accept antihumanist beliefs, Zubrin argued, will be inclined toward greater government control necessary to constrain human behavior.
"That last bit accounts for the popularity of antihumanism," Zubrin said Thursday, "because this idea provides for tyranny or expansion of power by governments and therefore, people who espouse this ideology never lack for sponsors."
Zubrin is contributing editor to The New Atlantis, a fellow at the Center for Security Policy and president of Pioneer Astronautics, an aerospace engineering research and development firm.