Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Should We Be Concerned about the Population of the United States?

            Liberal environmentalists have long stated that there are too many people living in America. In an article posted at The Daily Signal, Dennis Prager shared statements from liberals about the American population. 

Back in 1973, John P. Holdren authored an essay published by the California Institute of Technology’s Population Program. At the time, Holdren, who has a doctorate in physics from Stanford, was a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He would later become the director of former President Barack Obama’s White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

In his 1973 essay, Holdren argued that America was already overpopulated.

“Is even the present U.S. population of 210 million too large?” Holdren asked rhetorically.

“I will argue here,” he said, “that 210 million now is too many and 280 million in 2040 is likely to be much too many; that, accordingly, a continued decline in fertility to well below replacement should be encouraged, with the aim of achieving ZPG (zero population growth) before the year 2000 and a gradually declining population for some time thereafter; and that redirecting economic growth and technological change not stopping either is an essential concomitant to but not a substitute for these demographic goals.”

            Prager quoted Holdren as saying that 210 million people in America were too many. Holdren wanted zero population growth (ZPG) by the year 2000. America did not meet his goal by 2000, but we did meet it in 2021. According to Prager, the Census Bureau estimated that there were 331,501,080 people living in the United States as of July 1, 2020. One year later, their estimate was 331, 893,745. “That was an increase of only 392,665 – or 0.1% - “the lowest annual rate of population growth ‘since the nation’s founding.’”

            Prager put this information in perspective by stating that “the 392,665 increase in the number of people living in the United States between July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021 was less than half the 862,320 unborn babies the Guttmacher Institute stated in its own latest estimate were aborted in 2017.”

            Liberal environmentalists should be “happy” because America has nearly reached their goal of zero population growth. However, they are not happy yet. Holdren and others believe that “Resources and energy must be diverted from frivolous and wasteful uses in overdeveloped countries to filling the genuine needs of underdeveloped countries.” Their statement continued, “Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being.”

            Prager quoted a Census Bureau statement explaining that the population growth has been declining for years “because of lower birth rates and decreasing net international migration, all while mortality rates are rising due to the aging of the nation’s population.” The press release continued by explaining that the slower population growth between July 2020 and July 2021 “can be attributed to decreased net international migration, decreased fertility, and increased mortality due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.” In other words, fewer people immigrated, fewer babies were born, and more old people died.

            This explanation draws questions: How did the “net international migration” decrease when more than one million people came into our nation illegally from January to July 2021? If liberals are so concerned about the population of the United States, why are they inviting millions of people to come to our nation illegally? Prager asked an important question about conditions in America:

Did the quality of life in America generally decline between 1973 and 2021, while, according to Census Bureau estimates, the population was rising by 56.6% from 211,908,788 to 331,893,745?

The median household income in 1973 was $54,893 in constant 2020 dollars, according to the Bureau. By 2020, even as the pandemic was raging, it had risen to $67,521, a 23% increase.

What if, in order to keep the population in check, the Americans who invented COVID-19 vaccines had never been born?

Human beings are not a liability for this planet that God gave us. They are the reason it exists. And when they are allowed to live in freedom, they make life better, not worse, for the generations that follow them.

            Since God should be the ultimate judge about all things, we should know what He has to say about America and the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness sought for by its Founders. First, we should look to see what God says about life: “Thou shalt not kill” – meaning that we should not commit murder (Exodus 20:13).

            Next, what did God say about America? There are multiple sources saying that America is a land that “is choice above all other lands” (1 Nephi 13:30; 2 Nephi 1:5) or “is choice above all the lands of the earth” (Ether 1:42) or “choice above all lands” (Ether 10:28) or “a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord” (Ether 13:2).

            Last, what did God say about the Constitution that guarantees “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as outlined in the Declaration of Independence? This is what Jesus Christ told the Prophet Joseph Smith about the Constitution.

77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood. (Doctrine and Covenants 101:77-80).

            We have established that murder is wrong; therefore, we know that abortion is not an acceptable way to control the population. We know that America is founded on “choice” land and that the Constitution was written by “wise men … raised up” by God for that purpose.

The bit of information still needed to understand the population problem is found in Doctrine and Covenants 104:17: “For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.” This scripture should reassure all people who are concerned about the earth’s population exceeding its resources. The Lord has “prepared all things” needed by mankind to succeed.

The problem is not limited resources. The problem is selfishness and mankind’s unwillingness to share the abundance provided by the earth with the poor and needy living among us. The Lord taught this principle in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (see Luke 16:19-31). He indicated that rich people who will not share their abundance with the poor will suffer the pains of hell in the world to come. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave further counsel on this topic.

We control the disposition of our means and resources, but we account to God for this stewardship over earthly things. It is gratifying to witness your generosity as you contribute to fast offerings and humanitarian projects. Over the years, the suffering of millions has been alleviated, and countless others have been enabled to help themselves through the generosity of the Saints. Nevertheless, as we pursue the cause of Zion, each of us should prayerfully consider whether we are doing what we should and all that we should in the Lord’s eyes with respect to the poor and the needy.

We might ask ourselves, living as many of us do in societies that worship possessions and pleasures, whether we are remaining aloof from covetousness and the lust to acquire more and more of this world’s goods. Materialism is just one more manifestation of the idolatry and pride that characterize Babylon. Perhaps we can learn to be content with what is sufficient for our needs (“Come to Zion,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 39).

            According to the Lord’s counsel, given through His prophets, we have no need to worry about the population of the United States. This means that we should not be killing our unborn babies to control the population. It also means that America was established in a land that is “choice above all other lands” with enough resources to care for all Americans – rich and poor.

            Since each of us can control only ourselves, our only concern should be the condition of our individual hearts. Are we sufficiently unselfish to give of our surplus to help the poor and needy around us? We should not need government to take resources from the rich to distribute to the poor. We can take this action by ourselves. If we genuinely care for the poor and needy among us, we will share of our surplus voluntarily – as many people already do.

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