I’m quite sure I was 16 when I started to become aware of the overpopulation problem, which means I’ve been increasingly concerned about it and increasingly adamant about the need to solve it by restricting births any means necessary for half my life at this point. However, until recently I was only specifically advocating drastically limiting the number of births, first by only allowing a certain percentage of people to have children, then by having a certain fixed number of breeding licenses available each year, determined according to the number of deaths in the previous year, in order to meet the yearly population reduction target, and even more recently by having scientists determine the minimum number of births needed to avoid a genetic bottleneck for the human race and only allowing that many and no more.
There were, of course, problems with those approaches. The percentage one didn’t actually allow the progress to the population target to be tracked year after year and was likely to still allow too many births, while at the same time allowing for potential wild variations in the number of births per year, likely to cause problems for infrastructure and services. The fixed number according to the previous year’s deaths one solved those problems, but made it so those who for various reasons desire more births at all costs would see immediate benefits from increased mortality, which clashed with my desired approach of drastically reducing population without killing people or allowing them to die unnecessarily due to lack of access to needed resources or services. And the minimum necessary to avoid a genetic bottleneck one largely sorted that out as well, but made genetic diversity the only real criterion for selection, whether the traits are good or bad.
Between the three, the fixed number according to the previous year’s deaths approach is probably still the most appropriate, coupled with a system ensuring that efforts to reduce mortality will continue to be made and perhaps also with a certain cap which would ensure no benefits for pronatalists in case there will nevertheless be any increases in mortality. And this is also the most appropriate because, unlike the minimum necessary to avoid a genetic bottleneck approach, it’d definitely allow proper criteria for selection that could truly bring evolution back into the game, preserving diversity but not also negative aspects, clearly aiming to objectively improve the human race.
Now that I got to the issue of objectively improving the human race, that in itself leads to a particularly difficult problem, namely what those objective criteria may be, who will decide that and who will judge the applicants for a breeding license according to them. Considering certain ghosts from the past, the human race as a whole is likely even less willing to even discuss such matters than population control simply in terms of numbers, the general view being that the concept itself is necessarily evil or, at the very least, that it will unavoidably be misused in a similar or even worse manner despite any potential positive applications it may in itself have.
Needless to say, I completely disagree with that view and say that objective criteria can indeed be found, likely starting from proven resistance to various serious diseases, and obviously also no above average predisposition to any diseases or malformations, and then continuing with exhibiting extraordinary mental or physical abilities which are likely to be at least in large part genetically transmitted. And, while at first I was saying this would imply carefully analyzing the applicants’ family trees, developments in genetics make such analyses increasingly exact and less likely to rely on the subjective judgment of people, which will be replaced to an ever greater extent by hard data and computers.
Still, while I will always firmly state that there’s nothing inherently wrong or evil in the concept itself, I must admit a great risk of misuse does remain even under the best scenarios, humans being humans. And not only that, but coming up with such a system, ironing out the many kinks it’s certain to have at first and applying and enforcing it worldwide will take time, making a rapid switch to it impossible. And we definitely can no longer afford to allow things to continue as they are until something like this will be ready for implementation, especially since it’s obvious that the situation will worsen significantly if people will know breeding will be restricted several years before it’ll actually happen, not only because more will rush to have children during that time but also because the efforts will be hindered at every step by pronatalists.
Well, I can now say that shouldn’t be a problem anymore. The silver lining of how bad the situation is, considering the current population, the numbers which live in poverty and therefore need to be able to consume much more than they currently do, and the continued lack of any relevant efforts in the direction of actual population control done correctly, is that there’s simply no more room for any breeding if we’re to have any chance of getting back down to any even remotely acceptable population levels within any reasonable amount of time. All those discussions about who should be allowed to have children are no longer a relevant matter at the present time simply because the only answer that still makes any sense is that nobody should be having children right now and likely for decades to come.
Since the limitation tends to be the fertility of women, the human race will continue quite fine and completely naturally if such a moratorium will last 30 or 35 years, and perhaps even 40 years. With no more births for 30 years, there will be almost a billion women under 45, about two thirds of them under 40, when breeding will be allowed again, so even if only a small part of them will be allowed to have one child each at that time, the human race has no risk of going extinct. And, of course, genetic material can be preserved and children can be created artificially, which will only get easier with future developments, so even if the moratorium will last for a century or, depending on how much life will be extended by then, even more, it still seems unlikely that a new generation won’t be born when the time will be right and enough problems will be solved. In some ways, it may even be better to wait until the vast majority of those alive right now will die of natural causes, leaving a relatively small number to guide that new generation through its early years and then offering it a more or less fresh start, assuming they’ll learn the right lessons from the mistakes of the past.
But not even the amount of time such a moratorium should last is something which needs to be discussed at the moment, because it isn’t only a necessary measure in order to solve overpopulation without increasing mortality and also offer the time needed to implement a fair and objective system of selecting those who’ll eventually be allowed to breed again, but also a huge opportunity to fix the world, by which I mean both the environment and human society. When it comes to the environment, we have a lot of damage to fix, and we definitely also need to accept the responsibility for the well-being of the other species we share this planet with that comes with our position as the ones who can shape this world according to our will. As for human society, we must create one where all bar those proven guilty of serious crimes are guaranteed a decent standard of living as a basic right and also have enough true reasons for happiness to more than make up for any pain, suffering and sadness, be it caused by negative events that can’t be prevented or inherent to being alive as a thinking, feeling being.
Many social systems will get a break once existing children will become adults and no others will take their place, and the population dropping as fast as it possibly can without an increase in mortality will reduce the pressure on both the environment and human society, allowing changes and improvements which would be extraordinarily difficult or completely impossible otherwise. In other words, we have much to do and a moratorium on breeding will offer the opportunity to do it while also providing an incentive to get to work as soon and as hard as possible. It’ll be completely up to us, and anyone who actually wants the human race to continue to exist on this planet, as well as those who are young now and for some reason want children of their own, will need to make every effort to bring about those changes in the least amount of time. Under such a scenario, if we eventually will go extinct, it’ll only be because we didn’t deserve to remain on this world, since it’s no longer a matter of lacking the knowledge or the technology, but only one of lacking the will to do what’s right. And that’s inexcusable.