Tag Archives: steven w. mosher

Papal visit to South Korea

Legate STEVEN MOSHER writes that abortion is out of control in North and South Korea . . . 

Steven W. Mosher

Steven W. Mosher

When Pope Francis landed in Seoul on Aug. 14, he was greeted by cheering crowds of jubilant Catholics — a fitting welcome from a country with Asia’s second largest Catholic population.

From across the border in North Korea, the Pope received a welcome of a different sort. As his plane touched down, Pyongyang defiantly fired no fewer than five short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan. It was a stark reminder that the North was still technically at war with the South — and that the North’s communist dictator, Kim Jong-un, perhaps objected to the Pope’s visit.

Catholicism has been all but extinguished in the officially atheistic North. Those who did not manage to flee during the Korean War ended up in a concentration camp. Of the estimated 40,000 Catholics in North Korea today, as many as half may be imprisoned. In a sense, the entire country is one large prison camp.

But the two Koreas, as different as they are in every other respect, have one thing in common: They both have high rates of abortion.

Some years ago I sent investigators to Pyongyang to gather information on North Korea’s abortion practices. They found that not only is abortion legal throughout pregnancy, but also that pregnancy itself is considered to be a crime under some circumstances. For example, if a women returning from China is discovered to be pregnant, she is taken in for an abortion. Why? Because the authorities assume the father is Chinese and are under orders that no “half-breeds” are to be born.

The Kim dynasty has long imposed other restrictions on pregnant women as well. Women living in the capital city of Pyongyang are banished to the countryside if they become pregnant. Things are even worse in North Korea’s vast network of concentration camps. Here, pregnancy is strictly forbidden. Pregnant women are forced to run around the camp — or beaten — until they miscarry. There are credible reports from defectors that women who somehow manage to give birth in the camps see their babies murdered before their eyes, and then the woman is executed.

Add to these atrocities the grinding poverty and periodic famines that are characteristic of communism, and it will come as no surprise to learn that North Korean women are averaging fewer than two children — not enough to maintain the current population over time.

I was taken aback to discover that the South Korean birth rate is even lower, and its abortion rate even higher, than the impoverished North. In fact, South Korea has one of the highest abortion rates, and one of the lowest birth rates, in the entire world.

Each year almost half of Korean children are aborted. There were an estimated 340,000 abortions in 2012, compared with only 440,000 live births. In all, perhaps 20 million children have been aborted over the last half-century, a huge death toll in a country which is only the size of Indiana. The total fertility rate has fallen to an anemic 1.25 children per woman.

How did South Korea, a country that, unlike the communist North, enjoys freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and freedom of speech wind up killing half its children? And why did a country with a booming economy and regular elections decide to commit a kind of collective suicide? (If you think that this is putting it too strongly, consider that South Korea is aging rapidly, its workforce is shrinking, and its population has started to decline.)

I can give you the answer in two words: population control. Back in the late 1960s, the U.S. pressured South Korea to reduce its birth rate on the grounds that it was “overpopulated.” Seoul went along with Washington’s demands and adopted a two-child policy.

Anti-child propaganda was introduced in the media and the schools. Couples with more than two children were publicly criticized, while government officials with more than two children lost their jobs. Abortion became the primary means of birth control, as couples sought to conform to the policy. The abortion holocaust had begun.

Today, a half-century later, most Koreans understand that the two-child policy was a tragic mistake. The government has not only abandoned the two-child policy, it is instead rewarding couples who have children. But abortion has become a way of life in Korea, and the birthrate continues to fall.

Pope Francis understands this as well. This is why he chose to visit a “Cemetery for Aborted Children” during his time in Korea, and to pray for the children to whom it is dedicated — tiny martyrs to a population control program gone mad.

STEVEN W. MOSHER is a member of Legatus’ Northern Virginia Chapter and the president of the Population Research Institute.

Too many customers?

Steve Mosher writes about the overpopulation myth, still popular in some circles . . .

Steven W. Mosher

Warren Buffet apparently thinks you can have too many customers. Several years ago, I went toe-to-toe with Buffet — and won. The occasion was the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. I had introduced a resolution designed to stop company funds from being spent on population control and abortion campaigns.

Buffet, you see, was convinced that there were too many people on the planet and, as the company’s majority shareholder, he was using company money to try and reduce their number. Buffet is not a religious man, so I made the argument in economic terms that any businessman could understand. The Omaha Civic Auditorium was packed with over 10,000 shareholders when I arrived, many of whom Buffet had made wealthy over the years. I was a little nervous about how they would respond to my suggestion to end their chairman’s private war on people. I needn’t have worried.

I told them how the Population Research Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the case for people as the ultimate resource. “The population bomb was one of the myths of the 20th century,” I said. “Our long-term problem is not going to be too many people but too few people.

“It should be self-evident that Berkshire-Hathaway, like the economy as a whole, is dependent upon people,” I explained. “It’s people who produce the products and services of the various companies we own, and it’s people who buy them. Now you may think that there is a superabundance of people and that we’ll never run short, but this is not true. Europe and Japan are literally dying, filling more coffins than cradles each year.

“Charitable contributions to simple-minded population control programs are not ‘investing in humanity’s future.’ They are compromising humanity’s future, and putting a roadblock in the way of future economic growth. There is no ‘global share buyback’ in store for those who fund population control programs, because such programs will rob the world of future consumers and producers and threaten to shrink the economic pie.”

I had won over the crowd, which erupted in sustained applause. But Buffet cast the deciding vote, and my resolution went down to defeat. Still, I count it a victory because not long afterward Berkshire Hathaway announced that the chairman would henceforth be donating his own money, rather than the company’s, to his favorite causes in the future. Buffet, along with other true believers in the overpopulation myth, remains convinced that population growth is the root of all our problems. Is there overcrowding and air pollution? Blame it on too many people. Are there food shortages and urban poverty? Again, blame it on too many people. In their dismal calculus, more people equal less prosperity. The world, in their view, is simply too crowded; their solution to its real and imaginary woes never varies: reduce the birth rate.

In fact, population growth has been the primary driver of progress throughout human history. While it’s true that a growing population leads to shortages of certain raw materials, goods and services, these will always prove temporary in a free market economy. Innovators will come forward to extract more raw materials or find cheaper substitutes, while entrepreneurs will find ways to produce more goods at lower costs and to distribute them more efficiently to the public. At the end of this creative process — if it’s not interrupted — you will have more goods available at lower prices precisely because you have more people.

Dying populations have the opposite effect. Japan has been languishing under a demographic recession since the 1990s and the government has run up the national debt to 200% of GDP, while deflation is eroding the value of real estate, stocks and other forms of property. There are simply too few customers for all of the goods and services that Japan is producing.

Europe, too, is looking less attractive to investors because populations are dying there as well. Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy because it has fallen over a demographic cliff.

There is an old book, written in the 1920s by an American businessman, called 400 Million Customers. The author saw China then, as many people still do today, as a huge, untapped market. Ironically, the Beijing regime was bragging recently about having reduced China’s population growth by 400 million over the last 30 years. Let’s leave aside the fact that these numbers were achieved by forced abortions, sterilizations and a massive contraceptive campaign.

Think about China’s astonishing economic performance (its annual GDP growth over the past three decades is close to 10%) once the Communist Party stopped trying to control all economic activity. Think of the tremendous work ethic of the Chinese people and their dedication to educating their children. Think of the labor shortages that are now cropping up across the country because of the cruel knives that have taken the lives several hundred million unborn children in recent decades.

Think on these things, and then ask yourself: Is China really better off because it has eliminated 400 million of the most intelligent, hard working, and entrepreneurially minded peoples the world has ever seen? Has China’s Communist leadership lost its collective mind? They have eliminated 400 million customers.

Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of “Population Control: Real Costs and Illusory Benefits.”