Note: **This thread is not about the question of whether the earth is *actually *“overpopulated” by humans. **For the purposes of this thread, treat overpopulation or otherwise a population in the midst of a “survival crisis” as a hypothetical.
My tentative view, which I think is reasonable, is that it is not *intrinsically *evil. However, I very much dislike the idea because I regard any need for population control as a symptom of a lack of trust in Divine Providence (practical atheism + secular humanism) coupled with misuse of natural resources and poor lifestyle choices.
Anyways, first order of business is a working definition of population control. I will give my own definition (feel free to refine it as you deem appropriate).
Def: Population Control: A social initiative operating on macro-scale that aims at steering the population toward growth or diminution.
I provide a broad definition so that the definition does not of itself favor contraception or any kind of social Darwinism. It is neutral as to methods employed and particular reasons or motives.
The main idea here is that population control is a top-down or public objective that solicits the the cooperation of private individuals.
With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time…
If therefore there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife, or from external circumstances, the Church teaches that married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which We have just explained. (*Humanae Vitae *10,16)
I figured that if population control is permissible on a micro-scale (i.e. in the family) then on account of the same principle – prudent discernment for the sake of responsible parenthood – it is permissible on a macro-scale, which is to say, for civil authorities directing society (prudent discernment for the sake of the responsible care of a community). Provided that the procreative freedom of families is not in any way limited or compromised, since this freedom is proper to marriage.
What do you think?