Margaret Sanger and the Department of Disastrous Timing
In the late 1960s, when the left had an aneurism over the election of Richard Nixon, and doomsdayers such as Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren, who now serves as Mr. Obama's "Science" "Czar," began obsessing over overpopulation, their timing at least made a certain amount of sense. Much of the west was feeling relatively happy as the post-World War II boom trundled on; having only discovered mechanized flight 65 years prior, man was about to land on the moon, and the prospect of exploring other planets seemed likely on the horizon. (Perhaps even colonizing them, which would certainly have been one solution to overpopulation.)
But the immediate post-World War II years were nowhere near as happy; Britain maintained food rationing for nearly a decade after the war ended. Reconstruction in the shattered post-fascist continent of Europe was even more painful. Which would seem to be a rather unlikely time to discuss reducing the population even further, even for one of the most prominent eugenicists of the 20th century.
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As part of its mammoth collection of newsreels, the British Pathé organization has uploaded 85,000(!) clips to YouTube, running from 1896 to 1976. As Eric Owens of the Daily Caller notes, in one of those clips, “American birth control activist Margaret Sanger (here called Margaret Slee, which was her second husband’s name) sternly demands that the women of the world have ‘no more babies.’”
The snippet was filmed at the Dorchester Hotel in London. Sanger was the president of the America Planned Parenthood Federation at the time. That organization has since evolved into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a nonprofit organization that to this day advocates heavily for abortion.
Talk about disastrous timing: The above clip dates from 1947. Just two years prior, a minor event, the aforementioned World War II had been concluded, which Wikipedia notes killed 60 million people – while Wikipedia often plays fast and loose with facts, I think we can run with that estimate for the purposes of this blog post. And Margaret Sanger is calling for “no more babies” for a decade.
Madness. Or “Progressivism.” But I repeat myself.
Update: It wasn't just World War II that had thinned out mankind. "The world was certainly not overpopulated, not after the Soviet famine, not after the Nazis and the Holocaust," Bryan Preston adds at the PJ Tatler. And as Thomas Hine wrote in Populuxe, his terrific 1986 book on postwar American aesthetics, "The Decade of the Depression had produced the lowest American birthrate in the country's history and the smallest increase in absolute population since the decade of the Civil War. The first half of the 1940s, when so many men were at war, continued the slow population growth."
Sanger wanted to collapse those numbers even further. As Bryan notes, both Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton have proudly accepted awards named after Sanger, with Hillary adding, "I am really in awe of her."
It was necessary to depopulate the village that it takes, in order to save it.