attitude to birth control, the deliberate attempt by Catholics to stop the opening of birth control clinics in this country and to prevent the teaching of such things to the teeming millions of the over-populated countries of Asia are the best possible proof that the Church is inhuman, anti-social and reactionary.
"To put such teachings into practice in these days, when disease is being conquered and the expectation of life is being constantly raised. is to condemn the human race to ultimate starvation."
How often Catholics have been told something like that by sincerely troubled people as well as by their more tette, opponents!
Now all that nonsense has been knocked sky-high, not by some anti-social, unscientific, obscurantist reactionary, but by someone whom even our most puzzled or bitter opponents cannot charge with such things, for he belongs to the type to whom they are accustomed to listen. He is a scientist and, I imagine, an agnostic, He is Josue de Castro. of the Institute of Nutrition, University of Brazil, and chairman of the Execiirive of the World Food and Agriculture Organisation, whose book Geography of Hunger (Gollancz, 18s.) is published this week.
Through this book, which is the result of years of scientific research and practical activity. he makes our neo•Malthusians appear as people who have failed to keep abreast of modern thought—in short as reactionaries by their own definition.
THE teeming millions, he demon strates, are not undernourished, because there are so many of them. There are so many of them because they are undernourished, It is not a problem of controlling birth but of ending hunger,
And hunger, he shows, is not a problem of nature, of the earth's inability to support its populations; it is a social, man-made problem.
Hunger and famine, says this world authority, do not result from any natural law. As yet man has not cultivated and put to use an eighth of the earth's natural possibilities.
unger always implies society's guilt — and two-thirds of the world's population live in a permanent state of hunger today. Ours. therefore, is a terribly guilty society.
BuT to return to this question of the connection between undernourishment and overpopulation : There is, the author shows, a direct connection between nutrition and reproduction, as one would expect, hut it is the exact opposite of what one would expect.
The reprodoctive capacity of wellnourished people is relatively low, that of undernourished ones is high. Give a population more eggs. milk and " good red meat " and its reproduction rate drops. Cut out the proteins and it rises.
This, incidentally, clears up one mystery for me right away, for I never could understand why it was that the population of yeoman England was so relatively low, and yet shot up when the people who had once lived on the good things of the soil crowded together at the time of the industrial revolution, in great squalid cities, where they existed at semi-starvation level.
In other words, a country which uses its God-given, natural resources aright will have no problem of overpopulation, for the size of the population, when its diet is sound, will adjust itself by natural (i.e., Godgiven) means.
Birth control propaganda is therefore not only sinful and immoral— which is a language not everyone understands today—it is reactionary and inhuman. It amounts in effect to propasanda for the perpetuation of hunger.
The author's case is hacked up with a mass of statistics and examples which are both fascinating and challenging, too, for if social factors rather than natural factors are responsible for the hunger which exists on so vast a scale today and which brings preventable suffering and early death to millions, then the responsibility is ours—and all the more so if we as Catholics take up our stand against those who find it easier (and more profitable) to take contraceptives than food to the hungry millions.
The purpose of the book is to show the extent of the world's hunger and how it can he dealt with. This it does in convincing manner. And not only is it convincing, it is highly readable, too, as I have proved, for I read this book on hunger whilst I was nauseated by the very sight of food and was being made to exist on steamed fish, eaten horizontally.
SOME weeks ago I wrote in our news pages that Russia's latest definition of aggression at the United Nations was, in fact, the One adopted by the Warsaw "Peace" Congress, but conveniently expanded in such a way as to brand Britain and the U.S. as aggressors.
Now an indignant Communist has written the sent his letter by registered post to make certain I got it) to say that the " new" definition is really the one that Litvinoff put for
ward in 1933. This, he suggests. demonstrates the " straightforwardness and consistency of Soviet diploinecy."
In face it demonstrates sotrietbing
quite different. The Litvinoff line was pursued only after years of refusal by Russia to have anything to do with the League of Nations and represented a spectacular policy switch (Lenin regarded the League as a "thieves kitchen"). For years the Litvinoff line was aimed at Nazi Germany, then it (and Litvinoff) was dropped when it suited Russia's purpose to conclude a pact with Hitler instead, In due course a shortened version of the "definition" was brought out of cold storage to be used against Britain and America. who have taken the place of the Nazis in Communist propaganda. Now it has been expanded again to further "prove" that it is we who are the warmongers. Straightforward? No. Consistent? Yes, consistently aimed at aiding Communist expansion and defeating all those who might stand in its way. But why plead straightforwardness when Lenin urged his followers to use " zig-zags" A nd " subterfuges"?