Neo-Malthusianism: It's Adorable!

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Singapore has one of the most zealous pro-fertility agendas in the world, involving a state-run matchmaking service, cash bonuses for child production, and a PR campaign dubbed "Have Three or More, If You Can Afford It." A few decades back, of course, overpopulation seemed rather more pressing (See: Famine, 1975!), and the city-state was running a campaign called "Stop at Two." I've posted one of these over at my own blog, but here are a few more classic please-stop-breeding posters that the Singaporean government has archived online:

 

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  1. How about my favorite slogan “Sex with your spouse isn’t all that great.”

  2. At first glance I thought the top poster said “They more you have the less they give.”

    I think that would have been a more effective slogan.

  3. Have Three or More, If You Can Afford It.

    That’s my philosophy with regards to beer.

  4. They should have put grotesque pictures of stretchmarks on those posters. As I understand it, this is a serious concern.

  5. The population hysteria of the 60’s-70’s rather shows the danger in the hubris of current generations believing they can engineer the future. (Eugenics is another example.)

    Those who fall prey to such arrogance believe that they are protecting future generations but what they are really doing is locking them into choices made before they were born. They hem future generations in, cutting off their options.

    Something to think about in the case of environmental issues like global warming. We might not save anyone at all but rather trap those who live a century later with the concerns of today.

  6. Of the various things governments do to interfere with the lives of citizens, trying to control the number of children they have is one of the most horrifying. Obviously this is not as bad as China’s one child policy, but it is still really creepy.

  7. If you want more children, adopt a Chinese girl! Oh wait…

  8. The libertarian side of me finds the idea of controlling the number of children disgusting.

    But the kid in me thinks a lot of parents in this country are negligent morons that should be sterilized!

  9. As a father of six, I definitely endorse “the more, the merrier” view of parenthood. Our kids may have fewer material goods than some others, but they have more built-in social support. Blood is thicker than water, and have more siblings is thus ultimately a major social advantage.

  10. Don’t plan to catch up on your sex life after you retire. Life has a funny way of not waiting for some things.

  11. Singapore is a highly successful combination of market capitalism and authoritarian politics. It’s much better than the Chilean version.

  12. China used the same slogan as the Catholic Seminary: Stop after one boy.

  13. It’d be good to see some examples of the Singaporean government’s current efforts. I’d like to see the contrast.

  14. The libertarian in me frowns on forced sterilization…but thinks that maybe it would be okay to say that if you want more than a year of welfare payments, you should have to submit to sterilization.

  15. Russ2000,
    “The Galgameth vagina is six feet wide and lined with razor-sharp teeth! Do you REALLY expect us to have sex with them?”

  16. stuartl,

    You really thing trying to control the amount people reproduce is the most horrifying thing governments can do? Personally I don’t want anyone telling me what I can or can’t do period. That being said- being limited to 2 kids is very low on my list of things I don’t want the government telling me.

    Reminds me of an onion article “Miracle happens for the 98 billionth time!”

  17. Did they really think that a picture of two cute, smiling kids was going to convince anyone not to have more of the same?

  18. All governments and mass media should try to convince (not force) people to have few children. Too many children are born by chance and not by choice. Too many people are not informed about contraception.

    Visit http://www.rientrodolce.org and help our association.

  19. If you can’t feed them don’t breed them.

  20. I’m surprised my last post here hasn’t ignited a controversial debate.

  21. As anyone who actually has children knows – they are the greatest birth control device ever invented.

  22. StupendousMan

    Yes, controlling fertility is one of the most horrifying things. Note that I think controlling is far worse than encouraging.

    Possibly it is my Darwinist leanings, but much of what we are about is having fertile offspring. It is no coincidence that much of culture and politics focuses on sex, reproduction, and family. The state trying to interfere with something so close to the core of our being is about as bad as it gets.

  23. The real lesson here is that the people who are telling us that we MUST do things their way have NO CLUE.

    As the former father of 5 (relegated to the role of “child support provider”), when I’d run across Zero Population activists, I would let them rant and rave about how there are “too many people on this planet.” Then I would suggest that they could easily reduce the surplus population by one . . .

  24. “…interfere with something so close to the core of our being”

    I guess we have a different perspective. I like to think that we as humans strive to separate ourselves for our animalistic urges. I agree that reproduction is essential to the survival of our species(at least at our current tech level). I see it as a necessity but I certainly don’t see as the defining characteristic of our species.

  25. “I like to think that we as humans strive to separate ourselves for our animalistic urges.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “animalistic” urges. Most of our impulses, good and bad, exist in other social species. As an example, love of a child is every bit as animalistic as lust. Altruism is as animalistic as greed.

    I certainly don’t see as the defining characteristic of our species…

    I’ve been careful to say “one of” or “close to” not “the“. Is reproduction more central than having freedom of movement, speech, or property rights? The answer depends on the person, but for many the answer is yes. Under any circumstances it is an essential part of what we are.

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