Our Humanitarian Impulses


Last night, Fanny and Filoman Farquart came by for some cocktails.  We’d knocked back a few when Filoman recalled that our local tycoon, Bill Gates has been in the news of late.  Bill and his bride, have taken on the responsibility of saving the world.  Well, at least the African part of it.

“Boy, that Gates”, said Filoman, “He’s going over to Africa to give all the little shavers shots so they don’t die of the crud.  What a humanitarian”.

Scooping up more chips-and-dip, I replied, “Not so.  Just the opposite in fact.  Old Bill’s going to get bit by the Law of Unintended Consequences”.  Fanny gave me a quizzical look.

“Look here”, I went on.  “Africa is a pest hole if ever there was one.  Squalor, poverty and brutality on an unimaginable scale.  People settle disputes with machetes and AK-47s.  They mutilate each others’ genitles with gusto and relish.  The land is poor and water scarce.  And talk about pestilence.  A terrible place, a really terrible place.

“But the real ringer is family size; they breed like rabbits.  I’ve read that people have from eight-to-ten kids.  They do this because at least half die from some grody disease and the balance are put to work ASAP the better to support good old Mom and Dad.  Not a good system, but Africa staggers on.

“But it’s not only Africa.  There’s also Bangladesh.  And India.  And Pakistan.  Indonesia fits in there somewhere too.  And America, the way we’re going.

“Now comes Bill and Melinda.  By giving out vaccines, the survival rate for those humongous broods goes up from, say, four kids to eight.  That means in just one generation, those populations will double.  Double!  The land can’t support the population it already has, what will it do when the number doubles inside twenty years?  The people Bill saved from death by diarrhea today will die later on in wars fought for food and water, if they don’t die before then by starvation and thirst.

“In giving out all these medicines, Bill and Melinda are simply plowing the sea”.

Filoman looked aghast.  “Well,” he asked, “What do you think could be done?” (Ah, someone has asked for my opinion.)

So here goes.  First, I do commend Bill and Melinda for their work, but their work doesn’t go far enough; it is only one part of the equation.  Indeed, Bill and Melinda should insist some permanent (or at least semi-permanent) form of birth control be put in place before the shots are given.  Quick-and-easy tubal ligations or vasectomies are best.  They can be performed in the same clinics that give the shots but do require some period of recuperation.

And then there’s Sensa©!  Like the older Norplant, Sensa is a suite of thin, soft and flexible “sticks” impregnated with a female hormone the sticks secrete over a period of years.  They are implanted in the underside of a woman’s upper arm, so no recuperation needed.  Sensa can also be removed, restoring the lady to fertility.

But being saved from perpetual child-bearing may not be enough to turn a woman’s head so a suitable  emolument should be included.  About $200 US should do the trick.  As the  implant needs to be replaced every few years, Bill and Melinda will have to pop for another two hundred bucks later on.

If some form of long-term birth control is not part of our humanitarian programs, we simply can’t keep up.  We simply cannot grow enough food to feed the wretched refuse that burgeons across the globe.  And we certainly can’t take them in.

Bill and Melinda don’t have enough money to effectively promote third-world birth control.  Uncle Sam must get involved too and he must tie permanent, life-long birth control programs to any sort of aid.  If he doesn’t unimaginable horrors await.

-Merlin-

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