Fewer People Won’t Make the World a Better Place

In a recent interview, Britain’s Prince Harry stated forcefully that he and his wife plan to have no more than two children, claiming that having an excessive number would be irresponsible given the dangers of climate change. While this sentiment is becoming increasingly common in some circles, Jeff Jacoby argues that it is morally and logically incoherent:

It is an inescapable fact of life that to be born is to suffer, to struggle, and to stumble. There has never been an age in which that wasn’t true, and people in most ages have contended with far more daunting fates than a warmer climate: war, famine, slavery, poverty, plague. Not having children may spare theoretical offspring from inheriting a world with terrible problems. But it also denies the world the ultimate resource for fixing those problems: human intelligence, imagination, and grit.

The Talmud records that when the enslavement of the Hebrews in ancient Egypt grew unbearable, Hebrew leaders advised couples to stop having babies; why raise more children to face a life of slavery? Eventually one of those leaders was persuaded he was wrong, and that childrearing should go on even in the teeth of murderous oppression. So he and his wife had another baby. That baby, named Moses, became the liberator who led his people to freedom.

Every time parents bring children into a world where things have gone horribly wrong, they improve the odds that there will be someone to help set things right. . . . The number of human beings has nearly quadrupled over the past century, and mankind is flourishing as never before. People live longer, healthier, and more comfortable lives. They are better fed, better housed, and better clothed. . . . Thanks to advances made possible by human innovation, insight, and effort, fearful threats have been quelled and deadly diseases cured.

Parenthood isn’t for everyone. But the human race needs more people, just as it always has. If you’re alarmed by the state of the world, bring more children into it. There’s no telling how humanity may be blessed tomorrow from the babies you raise today.

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Read more at Boston Globe

More about: Children, Environmentalism, Global Warming, Talmud

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy