EDITORIAL: Carl Djerassi, creator of the Pill, is a 'mad' scientist
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Carl Djerassi, one of the contributors to the creation of the birth control pill, recently wrote a commentary that took many in the pro-life movement by surprise.
In a Dec. 13 column, in the context of pushing for increased immigration, he wrote a number of statements that decried the meager birth rate in Austria, as well as other European countries -- and tied it to the detachment of intercourse from procreation [a sexual revolution he helped launch] -- and referred to the resulting population decline as a "horror scenario."
Arguing that the anti-immigrant climate in Austria was harmful to immediately addressing the impact of the ebb in childbirths, he said, "My contribution is to help wake these people up."
"I would like to begin with the realistic fact that in the future no connection will exist between sexuality and reproduction. Consider that this separation [between sexuality and reproduction] already is the case in Catholic Austria, a country with an average of 1.4 children per family. Most Austrians enjoy sexual intercourse without wanting to conceive a child."
This was his lead into the calamity he painted with words.
"A country needs about 2.1 children per family in order maintain the status quo demographically," he said. "It is clear that with 1.4 children per family, the population in this country [Austria] will shrink in this century."
Djerassi described this increasing inversion of the population (more 65 year olds than 15 year olds) as a "giant head on very thin legs" which will lead to complicated economic, political and social consequences ... and he wrote with a sense of urgency about it.
"If one wants to think about a solution or at least a slowing down of this process, as in dealing with the climate change problem," he offered, "one must begin now and not wait."
"The solution is obvious: Either the majority of [young Austrian couples] decide immediately to have at least three children per family (which is hardly probable), or one increases the immigration of young people able to work from other countries who are ready to assimilate themselves culturally within a generation."
Pro-lifers were astonished and news groups published headlines noting with shock Djerassi's dramatic lament about this demographic catastrophe that he helped to create. Conservatives from all corners hailed his apparent concern about what his invention had wrought on humanity.
But in a Jan. 27 response (that is just now circulating to any degree), Djerassi was mad. He rejected most accounts about his Der Standard commentary, calling them "absurd."
"People don't have smaller families because of the availability of birth control, but for personal, economic, cultural and other reasons, of which the changes in the status and lifestyles of women during the last 50 years is the most important."
But if the public accepts his claim that he did not mean to express remorse for the part his invention has played in the decline of the native populations in Europe, then his adamant stance on immigration as a solution takes on a particularly sinister tone.
"All three lands [Nigeria, India, Brazil] have many universities with many young people who are interested in a migration to Europe" he wrote.
"How it would be," he wrote, "if an Austrian organization, like German Goethe-Institute, [established itself] in some of the most important university towns ... with a main focus on intensive [German] language teaching?"
Djerassi would have Austria invest millions to teach German to other races and other ethnicities in other lands in order to attract them as replacements for Austrians who were never born -- instead of alerting Austrians to the peril of their present path.
He dismisses as not realistic the rational response -- change Austrians' behavior -- and offers instead social experimentation.
Indeed, what he proposes -- a switch from native peoples of Austrian descent, to young university graduates, immigrants, from India, Nigeria and Brazil -- seems eerily like a corollary (in reverse perhaps) to The Solution offered by another Austrian nearly seven decades ago.
Think about it: He is content that a birthrate of 1.4 children per couple eventually will lead to the extinction of a whole people group, rather than suggest a change to the sexual revolution he helped launch.
It's not hard to see his real purpose is to preserve The Pill. Indeed, it's Frankenstein-esque: Let the creation live without regard to the monstrous deeds it might have done.
Djerassi is angry that readers interpreted his first commentary as him lamenting that The Pill had caused Austria's population decline. Sadly, reading his original comments in light of his second column, it's apparent he's not just angry, he's mad.
Will Hall is executive editor of Baptist Press.