One of the most ominous and discreditable symptoms of the want of candour in present-day sociology is the deliberate neglect of the population question. It is, or should be, transparently clear that, if the state is resolved on, humanitarian grounds to inhibit the operation of natural selection some rational regulation of population, both as regards quantity and quality is imperatively necessary. There is no self-acting adjustment, apart from starvation, of numbers to the means of subsistence. If all natural checks are removed, a population in advance of the optimum number will be produced, and maintained at the cost of a reduction in the standard of living. When this pressure begins to be felt, that section of the population which is capable of reflection and which has a standard of living that may be lost, will voluntarily restrict its numbers, even to the point of failing to replace deaths by an equivalent number of new births; while the underworld, which always exists in every civilised society – the failure and misfits and derelicts, moral and physical – will exercise no restraint, and will be a constantly increasing drain upon the national resources. The population will, thus, be recruited, in a very undue proportion, by those strata of society which do not possess the qualities of useful citizens.
The importance of the problem would seem to be sufficiently obvious. But politicians know that the subject is unpopular. The unborn have no votes. Employers are like a surplus of labour, which can be drawn upon when trade is good. Militarists want as much food for power as they can get. Revolutionists instinctively oppose any real remedy for social evils; they know that every unwanted child is a potential insurgent. All three can appeal to a quasi-religious prejudice, resting apparently on the ancient theory of natural rights, which were supposed to include the right of unlimited procreation. This objection is now chiefly urged by celibate or childless priests; but it is held with such fanatical vehemence that the fear of losing the votes which they control is a welcome excuse for the baser sort of politicians to shelve the subject as inopportune. The Socialist calculation is probably erroneous; for experience has shown that it is aspiration, not desperation that makes revolutions.
One of the greatest drawbacks in the present social system is indifference to the population question. In case, the government resolves to handle the problem, attention has to be paid to both the quantity and quality side of the question. If no restraint is exercised on natural production, starvation is inevitable; and the standard of living of the high class is likely to be affected. It is true that the higher strata of society can forego production event to the extent of the number of deaths but the lower class cannot be educated so far and the population is likely to inflate by poor influx. In spite of the importance of the problem politicians, employers, military men, revolutionists and socialists do not pay any heed to the problem in their selfish interest.
Title: The Population Question
The first step is for us to realise that a city need not be a frustrater of life; it can be, among other things, a mechanism for enhancing life, for producing possibilities of living which are not to be realised except through cities. But, for that to happen, deliberate and drastic planning is needed. Towns, as much as animals, must have their systems of organs. Those for transport and circulation are an obvious example. What we need now are organ-systems for recreation, leisure, culture, community expression. This means smoke-prevention, abundance of open space, easy access to unspoilt Nature, beauty in parks and in fine buildings, gymnasia and swimming baths and recreation-grounds in plenty, central spaces for celebrations and demonstrations, halls for citizens’ meetings, concert halls and theatres and cinemas that belong to the city. And the buildings must not be built anyhow or dumped down anywhere; both they and their groupings should mean something important to the people of the place.
Read More: COMMENTARY ON CSS ENGLISH ESSAY PAPER 2018
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