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Weapon of Misinstruction

Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb
by Allan Carlson

The Population Bomb, Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich’s Malthusian classic, appeared in May 1968, just two months before Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae. The two documents seem far apart. The former argues that a mounting gap between human numbers and food “will continue to its logical conclusion: mass starvation.” The latter builds on Paul VI’s 1965 appeal to the United Nations, asking that nations “strive to multiply bread so that it suffices for the tables of mankind, and not, rather, favor an artificial control of birth . . . in order to diminish the number of guests at the table of life.”

Catholic Obsession

Yet they are closely intertwined. The prophetic message of Humanae Vitae, particularly its . . .

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Allan C. Carlson is the John Howard Distinguished Senior Fellow at the International Organization for the Family. His most recent book is Family Cycles: Strength, Decline & Renewal in American Domestic Life, 1630-2000 (Transaction, 2016). He and his wife have four grown children and nine grandchildren. A "cradle Lutheran," he worships in a congregation of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. He is a senior editor for Touchstone.

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