By Vivian Zoakos | 2 November 1981
Executive Intelligence Review
This is the first part of a two-part interview with Stephen Mumford of the International Fertility Research Program in North Carolina, conducted on November 2, 1981 by the Executive Intelligence Review’s European Editor Vivian Zoakos. Read Part 2 “Stephen Mumford on the American Catholic Church” here.
Zoakos: I would like to begin by mentioning an article of yours in the Humanist some months back where you talk about the Augustinian tradition in the Catholic Church as being the source of problems in terms of how the Church deals with population issues. You also discuss how, given the national security problem that this represents for the United States, a schism is necessary, with the American Church taking the lead role in breaking away from the control of Rome. Could you comment further on this? Is the summary I gave correct?
Mumford: In the article, I point out that world population growth is a threat to the security of all nations, not just the United States. This is something that is often not remembered correctly. I think that we can go so far as to say that the security of all nations is threatened by world overpopulation, and in turn U.S. security is threatened. Otherwise your summary is correct.
Zoakos: Do you see such developments as the attacks on Cardinal Cody, for example, to be part of getting this schism going in the American Church?
Mumford: I really don’t think so. I think that the schism is developing as a result of Global 2000. I don’t think there’s any other activity coming under way that is leading more to a schism than the Church’s opposition to this Global 2000 Report.
Zoakos: When you say “the Church’s opposition,” I presume you mean Rome as opposed to the American Church?
Mumford: I mean the ultra-conservative leadership of the Church both in this country and in Rome. The Global 2000 Report is the single greatest threat to the conservative leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in this century and possibly in the Church’s history. The Church has gone to great lengths to make this report controversial, and if one examines the opposition to this report one finds that it’s almost entirely conservative Roman Catholic. There is little opposition coming from elsewhere.
Zoakos: I presume you are aware that my magazine and Mr. LaRouche, who is our founder, have also made very, very strong opposition campaigns against the Global 2000 Report. Are you aware of this?
Mumford: No, I’m not.
Zoakos: Have you ever read our magazine? It was my understanding that you did, or had at some point.
Mumford: I have read a few articles that were sent to me, but I haven’t followed the magazine.
Zoakos: Mr. LaRouche has written quite a number of articles, as have others of us, attacking the Global 2000 Report as a genocide report, and in fact defending the Church as being, as you correctly identify, one of the few institutions in the world which has similarly attacked this report. Do you agree with the label of genocide?
Mumford: No, I think the opposite is very much the case. There is a growing awareness that we are losing the race with food supplies and, as the difference between food-supply and demand increases then we are going to see—I do not believe it will be genocide—that it would be mass starvation certainly. I would never agree that the Global 2000 Report is working toward genocide.
Zoakos: When, in your Humanist article you talk about the necessity to overthrow the curia, how do you mean that exactly? How do you see that as coming about?
Mumford: I think that the American Church must break away from the Roman Church, and with this break will come a sharp decrease in power of the central Church. I see no other national Church with the potential strength to do that. In Mexico, for example, I do not think that the government is particularly strong enough to confront the Church on this issue. The United States could accomplish more in assisting Mexico by undertaking this confrontation and Mexico would reap enormous benefits. The Mexican government is not strong enough to confront the Church on the population issue, whereas the U.S. is strong enough to do so. If the American government chose to confront the Church on this issue, it could—and win—and the Mexican government would then be freer to implement effective population-control programs.
Zoakos: In your Humanist article you cite Father Francis X. Murphy, as your authority or your source of information on various of the issues that you discuss. I have read some of the writings of Father Murphy and, from what I have seen, he considers himself a Malthusian. Do you consider yourself a Malthusian?
Zoakos: Do you, as does Father Murphy, trace the roots of Malthusianism to the Italian Gianmaria Ortes?
Mumford: No. I think it’s simple common sense. Malthus just happened to be the first to have this common sense come forth in writing.
Zoakos: In our own intelligence work we have been able to trace back, in agreement with Father Murphy on this, that Malthus was plagiarizing Ortes. We have traced back the origins of these population-control ideas to Venetian intelligence in the Renaissance and post-Renaissance periods, and we see the population-control question as being of a piece with the political aims of Venetian intelligence at that time, and more recently also British intelligence and similar forces who are opposed to the Augustinian tradition that you cite in the Church, specifically because they are in opposition to anything that allows human beings to develop their mental capacities in a God-like fashion as Augustine says. In other words, you attack the Augustinian tradition in Catholicism—and would you agree with this—you are not merely addressing the population issue as such, but that the population issue is but one aspect of the broader considerations which have to do with the quality of mental development that Augustine calls for, and which the tradition that carries that on in the Church today calls for.
Mumford: I really have no problem with that. My concern is the attitudes toward procreation that St. Augustine talks of, and we find ourselves today in a situation very different from Augustine’s time where death control is a fact of life. We have made great strides in death control and this is creating an imbalance. We either address birth control or we are headed toward mass suicide, and the Global 2000 Report points this out very clearly. Let me ask, have you read Volume II of the Global 2000 Report?
Zoakos: I’ve read summaries.
Mumford: I tell you, summaries are not adequate. I really think that if you take the time to read Volume II you would be just about as convinced as I am. It’s a very convincing document, and one thing that becomes clear in reading the Global 2000 Report is that Mother Nature has a considerable overkill capacity, and even if one-fifth of the projections in the Global 2000 Report are realized, then the world will have committed mass suicide. There are five times as many projections in there than one would have to consider in order to arrive at the logical conclusion that we are headed on a suicide course. If even one-fifth of these projections are realized then civilization as we know it today will have ended. There will be no more churches, no more Catholic Church.
Zoakos: What about the view, though, that has been expressed in some of the Papal encyclicals, the latest being the Laborem Exercens of John Paul II, where science is identified as a means through which man can overcome these kinds of obstacles? This encyclical, by the way, is one which from the very beginning places itself very much in the tradition of Humanae Vitae on the question of birth control and population matters.
Mumford: It still doesn’t bring us to where we have to get to in order to address this enormous problem of population growth outstripping food supplies. Earlier you talked about the schismatic movement, and I think that the greatest single factor in the schismatic movement is the attack on the Global 2000 Report by the conservative leadership of the Church. Again, this attack is promoting the schism more than any other activity. More Catholics are intellectually honest, and these honest people are reading this Volume II and saying it certainly appears that the planet is on a suicide course, and they’re asking themselves a valid question: how can we afford to take the risk? What if we later found out the report is right? Intellectually honest Catholics recognize this and the conservative leadership is driving the vast majority of Catholics to this schism. I really don’t see the leadership changing its course. This is the problem of believing in infallibility and I think the claim of infallibility is the ultimate exercise in intellectual dishonesty.
Zoakos: Yes, I read the article of Dr. Hans Küng to this effect, the article for which he was proscribed from teaching. Did you see that article?
Mumford: No, I didn’t.
Zoakos: He makes the identical argument in one of the two articles for which his teaching rights were forbidden by the Church. This was an introduction to a book on the 1871 Vatican I council, for which Dr. Küng wrote the introduction, where he makes the point that the reason the infallibility doctrine has to be gone after is specifically because, without hitting the infallibility doctrine, the population-control question could not be touched; because so long as the Pope is infallible, then what he says on issues of population control has to be taken as the word of God, so to speak.
Mumford: Well, I’ve gone at it from obviously a different angle, and I’ve arrived at the same conclusion as Hans Küng. How do you feel about the claim to infallibility?
Zoakos: Well, you, not I, are being interviewed here. But I’ll tell you that the way we see the infallibility question is from a very practical standpoint at this point; that whatever the correctness or incorrectness of having passed the infallibility doctrine at that council, the more interesting question is why it is being attacked now. I think that one of the useful things which Küng does in that piece of his is to identify the fact that the attack on the infallibility doctrine has nothing to do with questions of real intellectual honesty and concern, but with a tactical move to attack that doctrine as the wall that stands in the way of being able to go after the population question in the Church.
Mumford: I have given this a lot of thought from another direction: the denial of reality. I have worked recently in Africa and South America, and I lived in Asia back in the early 1970s. In the early 1970s I had been exposed to no statistics on population growth, but just by making my own observations in Asian countries this thought of overpopulation as being suicidal came home very clear to me, and I think that the claim of infallibility can possibly lead to denial of reality and I think it was a tragic mistake of Vatican I to have passed this.
Zoakos: What would you think of the types of comments which we have received from the population-control bureau in the State Department where they told us that the civil war in El Salvador is an excellent example of the kinds of things which can be gotten under way to execute the Global 2000 Report? That the creation of civil war is itself a method for implementing the Global 2000 Report?
Mumford: Well, I think you really need to read Volume II. This is not consistent with what I am seeing in the Global 2000 Report. I think the Global 2000 Report is projecting a lot of social and political stress if this rapid population growth continues, and it makes this as an observation. The events which we are seeing in El Salvador now have taken place in the absence of the Global 2000 Report. Iran is very similar to El Salvador in this respect, and yet Iran took place before the Global 2000 Report appeared. So I would not agree that El Salvador is the execution of the Global 2000 Report.
Zoakos: But if I may interrupt, I was not stating what I did as a matter of our personal feelings on the matter, but as quotes from the people whose job it is to implement the Global 2000 Report, by the people who wrote the Global 2000 Report.
Mumford: At this point it’s nobody’s job to implement the Global 2000 Report. There’s been no action taken. I would seriously question any type of information like that which you might have received.
Zoakos: You cite the Iran situation and the fact that the Global 2000 Report had not yet been produced at that time. But do you really consider that to be so important? After all, the machinery which originated with William Draper and evolved in the State Department into the apparatus that eventually produced the Global 2000 Report was, of course, already in place, and had been since the Kennedy period. So whether this particular report had been produced or not is something I would not consider to be at all decisive.
Mumford: Let me say this: In the early 1970s, I prepared a book that I completed in late 1975 called Population Growth Control: The Next Move is America’s published by the Philosophical Library in New York City, and in this book I make the case that world population growth is a serious national-security threat. This is one of its two themes. And I had absolutely no contact with any organization or group; I merely remembered my experiences in Asia, gathered data on what was going on around me, and I came to the same conclusions that the Global 2000 Report came to. This was published in 1977, but I finished it by 1975, and I can assure you I had no contact with any organized group at all.
I was at that time sort of isolated in Houston, Texas, and not traveling anywhere. I was a student at the time. I think that the conclusion that the Global 2000 Report comes to could be arrived at by any scholar who takes a good, close look at where mankind is heading. I don’t think that any one organization or any group of organizations exists who masterminded the thing, because I, as one human being, have arrived at that point without any assistance from anybody.
Zoakos: Well, one of the things minimally that can be said is that there is a point of view which allows one to come to those kinds of conclusions in the first place. That is the point of view which says that science has limitations, the point of view that the Club of Rome has done so much to publicize. Science has limitations and thus cannot be developed to the point where these food problems and resource-limitation problems you mention can be solved. Whether or not it is the case, as you say, that independent researchers have come to the same conclusions by doing their independent work and unconnected to one another, nevertheless we find an absolute identity of views from the standpoint of premises from which all these investigations have been conducted.
Mumford: I have a great deal of hope and admiration for science and am myself a scientist. Yet I see that science is not solving the problems and for a number of reasons, one being that it takes time and we have run out of time. We cannot deny that 30 million children are starving to death each year, of a famine of massive proportions—but a dispersed famine, and we are not seeing it because it is dispersed pretty much around the world, excluding Europe and North America at this point. Population growth is taking place so fast that science cannot keep up with it, and had this growth occurred over a couple of centuries rather than a few decades, I believe science could have provided [an answer]. But the problem is that it is exceedingly fast growth, beyond imagination even a couple of centuries ago, and I think herein lies the problem. Science is not capable of expanding food production, and housing, and other necessary elements for human survival to grow at a fast enough pace to accommodate the new members to the world’s population each day.
Dr. Stephen Mumford is the founder and President of the North Carolina-based Center for Research on Population and Security. He has his doctorate in Public Health. His principal research interest has been the relationship between world population growth and national and global security. He has been called to provide expert testimony before the U.S. Congress on the implications of world population growth.
Dr. Mumford has decades of international experience in fertility research where he is widely published, and has addressed conferences worldwide on new contraceptive technologies and the stresses to the security of families, societies and nations that are created by continued uncontrolled population growth. Using church policy documents and writings of the Vatican elite, he has introduced research showing the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church as the principal power behind efforts to block the availability of contraceptive services worldwide.
In addition to his books on biomedical and social aspects of family planning, as well as scientific articles in more than a score of journals, Dr. Mumford’s major works include American Democracy and the Vatican: Population Growth and National Security (Amherst, New York: Humanist Press, 1984), The Pope and the New Apocalypse: The Holy War Against Family Planning (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina: Center for Research on Population and Security, 1986), and The Life and Death of NSSM 200: How the Destruction of Political Will Doomed a U.S. Population Policy (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina: Center for Research on Population and Security, 1996).
The Life and Death of NSSM 200: How the Destruction of Political Will Doomed a U.S. Population Policy
By Stephen D. Mumford, DrPH
Paperback Publisher: Center for Research on Population and Security (October 1996)
Kindle Publisher: Church and State Press (February 6, 2015)
During the formative years of the World Health Organization (WHO), broad consensus existed among United Nations member countries that overpopulation is a grave public health threat and would be a major cause of preventable death not too far in the future. One of the founding fathers of the WHO, the late Milton P. Siegel, speaks to Dr. Mumford in 1992. He explains how the Vatican successfully stymied the incorporation of family planning and birth control into official WHO policy. This video is available for public viewing for the first time. Read the full transcript of the interview here.
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