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)
Praise for The Life and Death of NSSM 200
“The Life and Death of NSSM 200 is a tour de force. It explains incisively, with extraordinary documentation, how the Vatican works, time after time, to torpedo its opposition in the realm of population policy…. The book is the scholarly equivalent of investigative journalism at its best, and performs an invaluable service for us all.”
—James H. Scheuer, U.S. Congressman, 1965-1994, New York
“… does a major service in calling attention to the strong link between world overpopulation and U.S. national security.”
—Edward O. Wilson, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
“This book gives extremely helpful background information about the hidden coordination of Vatican and American policy with regard to population growth and birth control. It is high time that certain problematic maneuvers of the Vatican are discussed in public.”
—Dr. Hans Küng, Catholic theologian
“… Stephen Mumford points out that you can’t have a foreign policy without a population policy. An engrossing book.”
—Richard D. Lamm, Former Governor of Colorado
“… a most important document. It is well worth reading.”
—Edgar Wayburn, M.D., Former President, Sierra Club
“… essential reading for every serious scholar and activist in world population matters—and all others interested in this subject, central to the survival of our environment and ourselves.”
—Philander P. Claxton, JR., First Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Population Matters, U.S. Department of State
“… illuminating disclosure of Vatican pressure on U.S. international population policy is a powerful message, not only for the American public but for the United Nations as well … must reading for all students of public policy.”
—Werner Fornos, President, The Population Institute, Washington, DC
“… makes for dismal but essential reading for every true patriot concerned about our democratic future and the global environment.”
—Reimert T. Ravenholt, Former Director, Office of Population, USAID, Department of State
“… the pope and the Catholic hierarchy are ‘the enemy’ of family planning and world population stabilization, and should be labeled and dealt with as such. Mumford is a forerunner.”
—Donald A. Collins, Pioneer Population Activist
“… a uniquely clear account of how the Vatican manipulated the American government…. Tragically, the relevance of this keen analysis grows with every new population-fueled horror.”
—Garrett Hardin, University of California, Santa Barbara
“In the long run the security of the United States cannot be divorced from the security of all nations. Nor can our security be measured solely in military terms…. The information in this book will be of enormous value …”
—Gene R. La Rocque, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.), President, Center for Defense Information, Washington, DC
“This is a dramatic exposé of the undermining of democratic institutions and political will, in the service of interests antithetical to U.S. population stabilization and the long-term survival of the nation.”
—Dr. Virginia Abernethy, Editor, Population and Environment, Vanderbilt University
“Every American should be concerned about this alarming cover-up and subversion of democratic decision-making.”
—Ruth Roemer, J.D., Past President, American Public Health Association
“… a consummate and engrossing study of how the Vatican has worked ceaselessly to negate U.S. population policy.”
—Larry Lader, Founding Chair, National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL)
The complete text of these and other comments may be found inside.
Excerpt from The Life and Death of NSSM 200
From Chapter 16: Things are Seldom What They Seem
Erosion of Confidence in Our Political System
The Pastoral Plan has had far-reaching effects on American political institutions, including the executive, legislative and judicial branches, which were specifically identified as targets in the plan. Organized as a result of the plan, there are thousands of Catholics working in national, state and local governments who are responsive to the leadership of the Vatican, some out of religious belief, others simply out of opportunism. Doubtless a majority of the Catholics in our governments are “Kennedy Catholics.” However, many are not and serve in the government to advance the interests of the Church. These Catholics have played havoc with American policy-making and the implementation of policy, especially in population growth control related matters. There are also opportunistic non-Catholics in our governments who serve the Vatican for personal gain or are zealots opposed to abortion and contribute to the Vatican effort.
Our government institutions are intended to protect or advance the interests of Americans. However, we have this highly organized group of Papal loyalists who do everything possible within the institutions that employ them to protect and advance Papal interests, at the expense of American interests. We have patriotic Americans pulling one way in their respective institutions in order to complete the assigned missions of their institutions. Then we have the papists pulling the other way. Some examples from Bernstein’s TIME magazine article will be presented later.
This constant struggle erodes public confidence and trust in these institutions because most people are unaware of the conflict taking place between papists and patriotic Americans. For 19 years I have personally witnessed this conflict, particularly within institutions that are concerned with family planning, abortion and population growth control, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), the old Department of Health, Education and Welfare (DHEW), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Indeed, the patriots themselves are often not aware that they are involved in a conflict with the Catholic Church, which is represented by one or more of their co-workers. This constant tug-of-war is destroying the effectiveness of these institutions. Very few people recognize this serious problem—total gridlock on some issues is caused by it.
Some of the most competent people in America take positions in our government, elected and appointed officials and civil servants alike, only to leave prematurely out of disgust because they find themselves caught up in this tug-of-war, either knowingly or unknowingly, and are unable to efficiently perform the duties they were elected, appointed, or hired to do. Nothing has contributed more to the loss of the best and brightest from public service than the bishops’ agenda. Others do not seek public service because of cynicism developed as a result of their own observations of this tug-of-war.
The bishops have had no reservations about corrupting these institutions to advance Papal security interests. The intervention described in the Pastoral Plan is massive and far reaching, and efficiency has suffered significantly, affecting us all. From the bishops’ perspective, this is a small price to pay to save the Papacy from extinction.
One of the best examples is the presidency. When President Clinton was elected, it was clear from routinely reading an array of conservative Catholic periodicals during the course of the following year that conservative Catholics were in a state of shock. They simply could not believe this had happened.
Almost immediately, a multitude of stories began to appear in these periodicals which were obviously intended to undermine Clinton’s credibility. It soon became evident that conservative Catholics were going to do everything possible to insure that there would be no second term for President Clinton. No concern was shown for potentially lasting damage to the institution of the American presidency itself. Within days of Clinton’s election, open warfare was launched against the American presidency.
As soon as President Clinton took office, he was hounded by charges that were intended to embarrass him and to serve to weaken his ability to govern effectively. None of these charges, even if they were true, would result in his removal from office. However, they did serve to weaken Clinton’s credibility and capability to govern. The charges served to destroy faith in President Clinton and promote cynicism toward him.
Rush Limbaugh appeared out of nowhere. There is a never before witnessed steady attack from every direction—from the floor of the House, the floor of the Senate, from radio and television talk shows, and newspaper and magazine reporters and columnists. It is an ugly, bitter, brutal, vicious attack such as Americans have seldom if ever seen a sitting president endure before. The conservative Catholic press and conservative Catholic journalists led the charge and have been the most aggressive of all.
Not surprising, Clinton’s disapproval ratings have risen steadily and approximated 50 percent in mid-1994, the highest ever for a sitting president. This assault has been so intense and destructive, it is threatening to undermine the institution of the presidency itself. Cynicism toward our government has grown. Trust in our government has fallen.
Inevitably the President’s ability to govern has diminished. If he does not govern well, he will be defeated in the next election. The zealots who want Clinton out of office seem to have no concern about destruction of the institution of the presidency itself. Who are these zealots? Nearly all identify with the Religious Right. Exceptions are ambitious men like Robert Dole who hungers to be the next president. The Religious Right is the design of conservative Catholics who were activated by the Pastoral Plan to advance Papal security-survival interests.
The tug-of-war taking place in our governmental institutions remains mostly unseen by the public. When a battle is perceived, such as the highly visible “Whitewater Affair,” the underlying motivation is seldom understood. For example, on the August 8, 1994 “CBS Evening News,” Dan Rather, in a segment on Whitewater referred to “the anti-Clinton activists” and the “Get Clinton Movement.” However, no mention was made of the underlying motivation or engine of this movement. He makes no connection with the Religious Right or the Bishops’ Pastoral Plan. Though Rather made no attempt to explain what is really driving the anti-Clinton campaign, we are often misled in similar circumstances.
These tugs-of-war are occurring also in our private institutions and international organizations—especially those related to population growth control—with many of the same negative consequences, undermining organizational commitment and effectiveness.
Disinformation Creates Wrong Perceptions
We are all exposed to a flow of information pointing toward the gravely threatening problem of overpopulation. But for over two decades now, surprisingly little concern for the gravity of the problem has been exhibited except by a small group of people in the field, and more recently by a growing number of environmentalists. Since the early 1970s, observers in the field have recognized that there is also a steady flow of disinformation. But they have had little reason to think that this flow is organized in any fashion, or organized and motivated by any particular institution. There are a number of individuals who have excelled in what could be called “disinformation enrichment.” Three in particular come to mind: Herman Kahn, Julian Simon and Ben Wattenberg. None of them had gained distinction in the field before suddenly finding themselves at the center of the world stage disputing the work of thousands of scientists who had collectively concluded that the world is in deep trouble because of its unprecedented and uncontrolled population growth.
Herman Kahn was the first of the three. I remember watching in the 1970s with amazement as he would offer one unsound argument after the other, outrightly ignoring all of the best data available. All along I wondered how it is possible that this man would be given this incredible world platform from which to speak. How could he be taken seriously by the media, when he was scoffed at by the world scientific community? He was almost completely alone. It just did not make sense.
Next, along came the publication of an article by Julian Simon titled “Resources, Population, Environment” in Science in 1980.*274 This article dismissed the idea that the world has a population problem. That this article could appear in the most prestigious scientific journal in America was astounding. This article had nothing to do with science and was based on fiction as much as fact; it was a dishonest attempt to undermine the argument that the world has a population problem. The article was met with disbelief in the scientific community.
Then, along came Simon with his book, The Ultimate Resource, in 1981.*275 Simon attempts to make the case that it is not possible to have overpopulation; that people are the ultimate resource, and the more the better. Simon is an economist. In this book, Simon intermingles fact with fantasy throughout and misrepresents his material as fact. It was one misrepresentation of reality after the other. Simon was ridiculed by the scientific community. I could not believe that Princeton University Press had published this book. How could Simon have possibly placed this book with this publisher? This was a very serious setback for the population growth control movement. Princeton University had put its prestige behind this intellectually dishonest treatment of the issue of population growth.
At this point it became clear to me that there had to be corruption involved in the publication of the Science article and of the book as well. To corrupt these institutions takes a lot of influence. Who has the motivation to corrupt in this way? The institution with the most to gain by publication of these fantasies is the Vatican. Is it capable of such corruption? Certainly, if the stakes are high enough, the history of the institution suggests that they will stop at nothing.
With the publication of his article in Science and his book, Simon found himself at the center of the world stage. His articles and his message began to appear everywhere in newspapers and magazines. For example, in June 1981, he published a lengthy article in the Atlantic Monthly magazine, with the theme that nature is boundless.*276 Then in August, 1981, he published another lengthy article in the Atlantic Monthly attempting to make the case: the more people the better.*277a He became a sought after public speaker and appeared often on television and radio.
No one had ever done so much to undermine public confidence in the argument advanced by the world’s scientists that humanity faces a serious overpopulation problem. Years of scientific education went down the tubes. Of course, we would all like to believe that overpopulation is not a serious problem. Simon’s position, the Vatican’s position, caught on like wildfire. Simon’s work and its apparent widespread acceptance by “scientists” caused great confusion which persists today.
Not enough people realized that Simon’s support came almost entirely from the religious right. Simon wrote his book while at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. While he was there, support of his work on his book came from the Heritage Foundation, a Vatican-leaning organization created in line with the bishops’ Pastoral Plan.
Simon was a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation when he headed a 21-member panel of “scientists” commissioned by Heritage to re-examine the 1980 Global 2000 report, which President Carter had ordered the State Department and Council on Environmental Quality to prepare, exploring probable changes in the world’s population, natural resources and environment through the end of the century. The report, issued after a year-long study, expressed deep concern about continued rapid global population growth and its contribution to the depletion of natural resources and destruction of the environment.
Simon released the Heritage panel’s findings at the 1982 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, chalking up another remarkable Vatican accomplishment. In 1984, Simon teamed up with Herman Kahn to place a book with the scientific publisher, Basil Blackwell.*277b This 585-page book was devoted to refuting the Global 2000 report.
In March 1985, I received a telling letter from Roger Conner, Executive Director of the American Federation for Immigration Reform. It read:
Maybe the Heritage Foundation has finally gotten rid of Julian Simon after all. He has now started his own group, written up in the enclosed column.
Patrick Burns, our director of research and publications, has called the new group’s telephone number and discovered that it is housed in an exclusive girls’ finishing school financed by Opus Dei—an extremely right wing Catholic organization.
I doubt that we’ve heard the last of Julian.
To learn of Simon’s close ties to the Catholic Church did not surprise me. Let’s examine some of his own words. In a September 15, 1986 letter widely distributed to journalists, Simon introduces his new organization, the Committee on Population and Economy: “Next time you work on a story concerning population, please call Committee on Population and Economy to get our point of view.” In his “prospectus” he states, “The general purpose of the Committee on Population and Economy is to celebrate human life and its increase. We, plus the appended list of persons who have affiliated with us in some capacity—intend to promote belief in the value and sanctity of human life. And we hope to increase understanding that an additional human being tends to benefit rather than harm others economically.”
His “partial list of general goals” includes: “Educate the public to the good news that the physical limits of our environment are receding rather than advancing…. Publicize such scientific findings as those which indicate that in the long run, on average an additional human being increases the standard of living of other people rather than detracts from it, and that there is no connection between population growth or size or density and the propensity of countries toward war and violence. These findings contradict assertions without supporting evidence by the U.S. State Department and the CIA, assertions apparently made simply because they seem reasonable.” Perhaps Simon is referring to NSSM 200 here.
Simon lists “Some specific tactical objectives: Disseminate writings…. Provide an organizational address that the media can turn to when they seek a ‘contrasting’ viewpoint to the Population Crisis Committee, Population Institute … and so on. As with other issues, when a population news issue arises, newspaper reporters automatically turn to organizations who make that issue their business. In the absence of an organization that speaks in favor of human life and against a doomsday view of our future, the journalist is likely simply to resort to no one…. Offer an alternate source of information to the Population Resource Center which now ‘briefs’ government officials in a supposedly neutral fashion about population issues…. Comment … on bills now before the Congress that would mandate U.S. and world ‘population stabilization’ and that would create staffs and programs to achieve that end…. ‘Infiltrate’ church, environmental, and other groups that currently make pronouncements in favor of population control in order to provide another viewpoint.”
Apparently, Simon is referring to infiltration of Protestant churches, as such discussion is forbidden in the Catholic Church. He goes on to say, “The organization will use all available education means to promote its beliefs ….”
Simon lists specific planned activities: “Issue a series of articles, written for popular reading at the level of magazine articles or newspaper op-ed pieces, dealing with various aspects of our subject…. This series will be sent to our list of newspaper and television journalists who cover population and the environment, many of whom we believe to be interested and who may diffuse our message.” We must assume that he is referring to the Catholic journalists Pope John II referred to in addressing the International Catholic Press Union and the International Catholic Association for Radio and Television in his message, “Mass Media Need Catholic Presence,” referred to earlier.
He continues, “The environmentalist and population-control organizations have developed into an effective tool the letter-to-the-editor, wherever news stories appear. We wish to create a grass-roots organization with this as one of its central tasks, both in communities and on college campuses. The present state of public belief was largely created by a deluge of communications of all sorts over two decades. It will be easier for us than it was for them ….”
This statement is most telling. For some who have closely followed letters-to-the-editor and op-ed columns in several different newspapers for the last decade or two, it has been evident that an organized campaign advancing the Papal position on population and abortion has been underway for a long time. Simon refers to that highly successful campaign here. Unfortunately, most readers are occasional readers and have not recognized this fact.
Simon continues, “Yet a large volume of material will be necessary to establish the legitimacy of our message … as well as to hammer home our message to the public at large. A speakers’ bureau may also be part of such a grass-roots organization…. We will also maintain a list of high-level scholarly speakers whom we can recommend to the media when they seek interviews on television and radio for the press.”
The language used by Simon identifies his employer. His repeated use of the term, “value and sanctity of human life,” is rather suggestive. However, more conclusive evidence is evident in his list of persons he says “have indicated their desire to be associated with the project.” This list includes Judie Brown of the American Life League, as well as representatives of the American Enterprise Institute, The Rockford Institute, The Cato Institute, and The Heritage Foundation—all of which are identified with the Religious Right and emerged in response to the Pastoral Plan—and Georgetown University.
The highly sophisticated and prolific propaganda machine created by the bishops, which includes Simon’s organization, has been effective in creating illusions which serve to counter the realities we all see with our own eyes. These realities would, in the absence of Vatican inspired propaganda, be used to make decisions to support a more effective response to the overpopulation threat to American and world security. Today, the pope is winning this war because the massive propaganda efforts on his behalf have confused the American people. Such propaganda has killed the American political will to confront the population problem. But, given the stakes for the Vatican, we should not be surprised.
With propaganda machinery in place, the Vatican set out to create many wrong perceptions, serving to undermine the scientific consensus that world overpopulation is a grave problem for the U.S. These wrong perceptions and illusions, of course, serve as obstacles to a constructive response. Why? The constructive responses almost always include controls on population growth and immigration, threatening Vatican survival.
*274 Simon JL. “Resources, population, environment: an oversupply of false bad news.” Science, 208(4451) June 1980, p. 1431.
*275 Simon JL. The Ultimate Resource. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1981.
*276 Simon JL. “The scarcity of raw materials: a challenge to the conventional wisdom.” Atlantic Monthly. June 1981, p. 33.
*277a Simon JL. “World population growth: an anti-doomsday view.” Atlantic Monthly, August 1981, p. 70.
*277b Simon JL. The resourceful earth: a response to Global 2000. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1984.
Dr. Stephen Mumford is the founder and President of the 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. In 1981, he received the Margaret Mead Leadership Prize in Population and Ecology. He has been recognised for his work in advancing the cause of reproductive rights by the Feminist Caucus of the American Humanist Association, 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. He has written extensively on the pivotal role of the Catholic hierarchy in thwarting efforts to tackle the world’s burgeoning population.
In 1974, President Richard Nixon requested the authoritative interagency study that came to be known as NSSM 200 (National Security Study Memorandum 200). The NSSM 200 report states: “There is a major risk of severe damage [from continued rapid population growth] to world economic, political, and ecological systems and, as these systems begin to fail, to our humanitarian values.” However, the implementation of NSSM 200 recommendations that were already approved by President Ford was blocked by the swift action of the Vatican. As CIA Director, George H.W. Bush was in the position most concerned with such a grave threat to the United States and global security. Just days after leaving his post at the agency, he told Dr. Mumford, author of Population Growth Control (1977), “I agree with everything you are saying here,” referring to the book, “and I can assure you the folks at the CIA agree with you too.”
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 Population Growth Control: The Next Move is America’s (New York: Philosophical Library, 1977), 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).
As president of the Center for Research on Population and Security, Dr. Mumford continues his work of more than four decades as lead scientist in the development and evaluation of contraception methods and advancing the cause of reproductive rights. Collaborating with health providers and scientists in more than 20 countries, his office is in North Carolina where he makes his home. His wife of 40 years, a Chinese immigrant and leading cancer researcher, focuses much of her investigation on environmental cancers affecting large populations of poor women.
Vatican control of World Health Organization population policy: An interview with Milton P. Siegel
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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