Brendan O'Neill, the editor of spiked, writes a furious and fascinating book review asserting that some neo-Malthsuian progressives are valorizing homosexuality as eco-friendly. Why? Because gays and lesbians are less likely to have children and children despoil Mother Earth. O'Neill notes that he had encountered this sentiment before in Anthony Burgess' dystopian novel, The Wanting Seed, in which the state harshly discriminates against heterosexual breeders and promotes homosexuality in a future overpopulated Britain. Now O'Neill argues that some anti-ferility elite opinion is beginning to advocate turning dystopian fiction into dystopian fact. As evidence, he cites Guardian columnist George Monbiot who wrote in response to a papal bull calling homosexuality unnatural and immoral:
Reproduction among prosperous people has a demonstrable impact on the welfare of others: thanks to the depletion of resources and the effects of climate change, every child born to the rich deprives children elsewhere of the means of survival. In a world of diminishing assets, being gay is arguably more moral than being straight.
O'Neill also goes after the more outlandish promoters of childfree lifestyles who argue that they are morally superior to breeders because of their eco-friendly choice not to have brats. Below is tidbit:
Burgess imagines a future England in which overpopulation is rife. There's a Ministry of Infertility that tries desperately to keep a check on the gibbering masses squeezed into skyscraper after skyscraper, and it does so by demonising heterosexuality—it's too fertile, too full of 'childbearing lust'—and actively promoting homosexuality.
It's a world where straights are discriminated against because there's nothing more disgusting and destructive than potential fertility, than a 'full womanly figure' or a man with 'paternity lust'; straights are passed over for jobs and promotion in favour of homos, giving rise to a situation where some straights go so far as to pretend they are gay, adopting the 'public skin of dandified epicene', as Burgess describes it, in a desperate bid to make it in the world. There's even a Homosex Institute, which runs night classes that turn people gay, all with the aim of reducing the 'aura of fertility' that hangs about society like a rank smell, as one official says. 'It's Sapiens to be Homo' is the slogan of Burgess's imagined world.
Now, nearly 50 years after Burgess's novel outraged literary critics (one said it was 'too offensive to finish') as well as campaigners for the decriminalisation of homosexual sex (who were disgusted that Burgess could write of a homosexual tyranny while it was still illegal in Britain for one man to have sex with another), some of the sentiments of that weird invented world, of that fertility-demonising futuristic nightmare, are leaking into mainstream public debate—to the extent that a writer can claim, without igniting controversy, that 'the benefits of homosexual marriage could be immeasurable' in terms of dealing with the 'social hardships' of overpopulation. No, heteros are not discriminated against in favour of gays; there's no Homosex Institute. But there is a creeping cultural validation of homosexuality in Malthusian terms, where the gay lifestyle is held up by some thinkers and activists as morally superior because it is less likely to produce offspring than the heterosexual lifestyle, in which every sexual encounter involves recklessly pointing a loaded gun of sperm at a willing and waiting target.
And this is not an isolated incident; Burgess is not the only imaginer of mad Malthusian worlds whose ideas have come to some kind of fruition. Such is the Malthusian tenor of our times, so deep-seated is the New Malthusian prejudice against fertility (the f-word of our era), and so widespread is the eco-view of human beings as little more than the hooverers-up of scarce resources, that bit by bit, unwittingly and unnoticed, some of the wackier authoritarian ideas of twentieth-century Malthus-infused literature are finding expression in our real world today.
O'Neill is not objecting to gay sex nor to choosing to have no children, but against polticizing those lifestyles as being morally superior on ecological grounds. The implied concern is that asserted moral superiority could be translated into coercive public policy. Still, it should be noted that the neo-Malthusians like Paul Ehrlich (The Population Bomb) have been agitating for totalitarian measures such as licensing reproduction for decades without any success in the West.
Go here to read O'Neill's full essay.