The Life and Death of NSSM 200 The Life and Death of NSSM 200 - Index to Contents The Life and Death of NSSM 200 - Index of Contents Stephen Mumford Bio Index of Issues Comments from Reviewers


Chapter 17

HOW LONG can American liberties endure?
"Our liberties are safe until the memories and experiences of the past are blotted out and the Mayflower with its band of pilgrims forgotten; until our public school system has fallen into decay and the Nation into ignorance; until legislators have resigned their functions to ecclesiastical powers and their prerogatives to priests."325

-- President Woodrow Wilson

President Wilson's famous response to this question is haunting as we examine the life and death of NSSM 200. Regarding abortion, family planning and other population growth control related issues, the legislators have indeed "resigned their functions to ecclesiastical powers and their prerogatives to priests." We now face not only our greatest threat ever to American liberties but to our species as well. Our legislators have permitted ecclesiastical powers and priests to kill all significant initiatives to control unprecedented population growth, including the Rockefeller Commission and NSSM 200 initiatives.


This problem will not vanish in the present political climate; anarchy will become inevitable. Dealing with the conflict between U.S. security-survival interests and those of the Vatican security-survival interests is an essential first step in overcoming the world population problem. The Republican Party retained the HLA in its 1996 platform, in significant part due to the efforts of presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan and his followers, including the Christian Coalition. In a February 1996 fundraising letter, Buchanan's primary motivation is made evident: "I want to talk to you today simply and directly, from my heart, about what I believe is the most important issue facing America today. That issue is the sacredness of human life, and the moral imperative facing us to fight to protect it from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. A principal reason I'm running for president is to turn back the pro-abortion forces and keep the Republican Party firmly in the pro-life camp. And then I want to use the Presidency as a vital and powerful force to change what Pope John Paul II has so correctly called "the culture of death" that has arisen in America since 1973.

"On November 8, 1994, we made a tremendous start -- electing 5 new pro-life Senators and 44 new pro-life Representatives. Now for the first time in 40 years, both houses of Congress are controlled by the Republican Party -- a party solemnly sworn, in its platform, to a 100 percent pro-life position. If we elect a pro-life president in 1996, we can finally move forward to ending abortion in the United States."86a The stage will be set to achieve the Vatican's goal of an HLA in the U.S. Constitution. Buchanan suggests that the Republican Party has become the papal party.

Recall Bishop James McHugh's 1987 comment to Byrnes: "within twenty-four hours" of the court's action on Roe v. Wade in 1973, the bishops knew they would need to mount a political campaign in favor of a constitutional amendment prohibiting abortion. The Vatican has already seized control of the Republican Party. More on this later.

The predictions made and implied in the Rockefeller Commission and NSSM 200 reports are now coming to pass. In recent years we have seen Africa make significant strides toward returning to a pre-colonial stage. The inevitable population crash in Africa is now much more believable as a result of the images of starvation, disease and anarchy we see on our televisions almost daily.

These images have brought greater recognition that our present behavior is akin to mass madness -- promoted by the Vatican. There is much telltale evidence that the Roman Catholic Church is self-destructing as it labors to extend this insanity. Institutional credibility is plummeting just as predicted by the intellectual leadership of the Church 125 years ago.

The Vatican's success in blocking and silencing the Rockefeller Commission and NSSM 200 initiatives has been a remarkable achievement with dire probable consequences for all of us. But the Vatican itself has little hope of avoiding self-destruction. It has pinned its hope on passage of the HLA which is vital to the preservation of papal authority and maintenance of power. Ultimately, the Supreme Court would have to rule that human life begins at conception.

No doubt there is hope that the Papacy can survive a prolonged period of global anarchy. The Church has proved that it can survive anarchic conditions, has a history of promoting anarchy and has on occasion profited from anarchy. There is reason to believe that the Vatican has made its choice between more immediate self-destruction and risking survival over anarchy. It is apparent that the cost in human terms is not a factor in Vatican decision-making. Indeed, from the Vatican's perspective, promotion of worldwide anarchy is a reasonable strategy.

We have been paralyzed by a myth initiated nearly 20 years ago and successfully promoted by the bishops' Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: the myth is that the Religious Right is a Protestant movement led by Protestants. This has now been debunked by Catholics for a Free Choice.

For 25 years there have been demands from non-Catholics and liberal Catholics alike that the Vatican not be identified and attacked as the enemy of population growth control; and in turn the enemy of humanity. This claim that "liberal" Catholics should be left to deal with this problem has resulted in paralysis of the movement. Catholics for a Free Choice, the liberal Catholic organization, is a tiny voice compared to the deafening silence of tens of millions of "liberal" Catholics in this country who have not identified with an organization committed to dealing with this problem. Time has run out. Syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer had it right when she said the pope's policies are no longer merely the business of Catholics, since they can now lead to the death of us all.


The Vatican leadership recognizes that if there is to be effective leadership in population growth control, it must come from the U.S. For this reason, its attention, energy and resources are heavily focused on America and to a lesser extent on the UN system. The U.S. is the battleground for the Vatican. In turn, it is reasonable to say the world population problem is, first of all, an American problem because we must win this battle, long ago initiated by the Vatican, before we can get on with controlling population growth. Until we do, the movement will remain paralyzed.

In this battle, the Vatican has no qualms about destroying American institutions, including democracy itself. The liberties we hold dear have been rightly recognized as gravely threatening to the Papacy at least since the 1830s. One needs only to read the teachings of the popes themselves to prove this point. Pius IX's "Syllabus of Errors" may be the most forthright. All of these attacks on democracy remain current teachings. Recent publications of the Church, including conservative weekly newspapers, document that the most reactionary principles of the Catholic Church of the past 2 centuries are operative in America today among conservative Catholics. The admiration shown by John Paul II for Pius IX and his recent announcement of his planned assault on "modernism" is very telling. What the pope refers to as "modernism" includes the liberties of American democracy.

We have been deceived by the Vatican in its use of the terms "moral" and "morality." It was a mistake to let the Vatican define these terms. Its long-standing claim of providing "moral leadership" permitted Vatican involvement in this issue. The vested interests held by the Vatican in their definitions of these terms make them unsuitable for this role. They have defined these terms in ways that protect Papal security-survival interests. The moral position is to avoid the inevitable anarchy and population crash that will occur in the absence of population growth control foreseen by NSSM 200, using the most humanitarian means.


From the very beginning of Vatican opposition, the bishops have demanded that we all play by their rules and abide by their terms of the debate. This has given them an enormous advantage. They successfully argued that attacks on the pope, the Vatican and the Church regarding their behavior which allowed them to undermine the efforts of the population movement, were simply not permissible. This demand for silence imposed on the population movement and the press enabled the leadership of the Church to destroy major population growth control initiatives with almost no one being aware it. The bishops insisted that great care be taken by members of the movement not to offend them and their followers. And the bishops defined what was offensive. The movement meekly followed the bishops' rules. Had Americans been informed of the truth, we would not be in our present predicament.

The Vatican fully enjoys the liberties guaranteed in our Constitution, intended for our citizens. Thus Papal security interests are advanced at the expense of American citizens. The Vatican takes full advantage of the "Church's right to practice its good old American liberties of freedom of religion and freedom of speech," as David C. Carlin mockingly phrased it in his article, "Americanizing the anti-abortion argument," published in the Jesuit magazine, America.326 The Church has used these liberties extensively to achieve its political goals in America -- when they conflict with our country's. But should this be permitted? The Catholic Church does not represent Americans, not even Catholic Americans. It is concerned with papal interests in America -- papal security-survival interests -- often in direct conflict with U.S. security-survival interests and those of American Catholics. The Church can legitimately claim only the limited rights afforded to other foreign powers and institutions.

Vital to the Vatican efforts have been American priests and nuns. Their labors have made the successes of the Vatican possible. They necessarily support the pope in his crusade to save the Papacy from self-destruction, and thus have contributed significantly to our predicament. As the Church bears a heavy burden of responsibility for the chaos responsibly foreseen, to paraphrase Father McCormack, the priesthood too bears a heavy burden of responsibility.

There is little appreciation of the power, sophistication and motivation of the opponents to population growth control, even among the leaders of the population movement. The Church is a vastly superior force to any mounted against it since NSSM 200. The current collection of wrangling organizations in the population/family planning field is a manifestly inferior force. On the other hand, a fully committed U.S. Government, with an updated NSSM 200 as its blueprint, would be a formidable foe for the Vatican.

The leaders of the population movement (with the exception of Lader,327 Ravenholt[328] and a few others) have been essential to the Vatican-created illusion that the Church is not really thwarting population growth control and for this reason they have been most helpful to the Vatican. A disproportionate number of leaders in this movement are Roman Catholic, a fact not yet satisfactorily explained. Other leaders are non-Catholic but are opportunistic and protect the Church in part to insure that opportunities they would not otherwise have continue. Opportunities, for example, for funding from corporations or foundations which may have Catholics on their governing boards, or in key executive posts. Such individuals almost surely use contraceptives, probably do not oppose abortion, but don't want to cross up the Mother Church. They may not need to take any action at all to oppose funding of a population organization -- their non-Catholic associates defer to them out of what they consider personal courtesy or "good manners."

A few unsustained criticisms of the Church did surface as a result of the 1992 U.N. Conference in Rio de Janeiro on the environment and the 1994 U.N. ICPD in Cairo, but nothing came of them. Because these leaders oppose identification of their enemy, a necessary condition before a counter strategy can be formulated, these leaders have become part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Such self-censorship by both the population leadership, some of their funders, and the media appears to play a bigger role in protecting the Church from exposure of its efforts to undermine population growth control than outright overt intimidation -- but is just as effective. Had there been no self-censorship, it is highly unlikely that we would be faced with this predicament.


If we continue on our present course, American democracy will be increasingly in jeopardy. We all recognize that democracy is an inefficient form of government -- slow-moving, lots of false starts, hard choice issues avoided as long as possible -- to name just a few reasons. Slack in the system is essential. Overpopulation is taking the slack out of the system -- slack -- a luxury a country like China no longer has. Quicker responses to changing and newly identified threats will require a more authoritarian system -- an arrangement for America that the Vatican would welcome. Restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of the press, in particular, would meet known preferences of popes going back to the 1830s.

If we continue as we are now, anarchy will be inevitable, a conclusion reached by the NSSM 200 researchers. Though there is reason to believe the Vatican may be able to survive under the conditions found in anarchy, American democracy will not. In place of anarchy many Americans would be sorely tempted to exchange most of the freedoms they enjoy today -- of mind and movement, speech and vocation -- for the security that an authoritarian government would offer.

The Protestant denominations and their ecumenical movement have let us down. Their insistence that the Catholic Church not be confronted concerning its blatant undemocratic involvement in American political affairs lest the ecumenical movement be undermined, will almost surely come back to haunt them. For more than 150 years, the Protestant churches played a vital role in keeping the Catholic Church in check with respect to involvement in national political affairs. Then it dropped its guard, and opportunism appears to have played an important role in this. In any case, as the role that religion has played in our failure to confront this grave national and global security threat becomes better understood, the importance of religion in American daily life will inevitably diminish. Credibility of Protestant institutions as positive forces in America will follow that of the Catholic Church -- and sink.

The leadership of the population movement must consider the ethics of continuing to withhold information on the Vatican's successful efforts to undermine all population growth control initiatives. The NSSM 200 Report is one of the most important documents on this subject ever written. I first published an article on NSSM 200 and its fate more than four years ago in The Human Quest329 and distributed it widely in the population field. I distributed this and subsequent articles published in The Social Contract330 and Free Inquiry[331] to many members of the media. Not one population movement leader has published a word on NSSM 200 or its fate. NSSM 200 definitively shows that world overpopulation is a grave threat to U.S. and global security and that the only significant institutional opposition to controlling population growth is the Vatican. To withhold this information from their adherents is simply unethical.


As Professor Abernathy recently reminded us, every nation has the sovereign right to pursue a course leading to its own survival. Each American is morally obligated to act for, and avoid acting against, the best interests of our country and fellow citizens. As she said: "This is patriotism." Members of the population leadership in the U.S., as well as members of the media who have censored, even self-censored, this vitally important story, have acted in an unpatriotic manner.

Abernathy has correctly identified overpopulation as the most important women's issue. Weld makes a compelling case that the Vatican has hyjacked the international feminist movement, undermining its credibility. The aggressive, vocal minority of feminists opposed to family planning and abortion is using the movement to advance the papal agenda, at great expense to the interests of women everywhere. They insist that overpopulation should never be the motivation for the provision of family planning services and that the importance of family planning and abortion to the advancement of women is overrated. This conflict, which has never been acknowledged, must be addressed by mainstream feminists. Otherwise, this very small minority of women will continue to be very destructive, much to the delight of the Vatican.

Probably the Vatican is lying in wait for this attack, with plans to use it to rally its troops for its holy war against American Democracy which has been underway at least since the Pastoral Plan was implemented in 1975. Until now, clerics have been the main combatants, though lay support is significant at an estimated 200,000 strong. The clerics' hired help is also significant. If they rally sufficient numbers, then the civil war that President Grant predicted may be inevitable for the very reason that he made his prediction. But we can no longer remain paralyzed by this concern that the attack will rally the Vatican troops. We must get on with it, and attacking our enemy is now a necessity. At present we are not merely at a standstill. We are losing ground.

If we are going to succeed with population growth control, Vatican influence must be neutralized. The most promising approach is to undermine papal authority. There are many steps which can be taken to achieve this goal. This will involve large scale but justified public criticism of the Vatican, the likes of which have not been seen before. Our approach should be to simply disseminate honest and truthful information critical of the Vatican. As long as we have a democracy in place, dissemination of this information should be sufficient to accomplish our goal.

We must be on guard and quick to identify Vatican activities that are designed to promote Vatican interests over U.S. interests. A good example is its initiative, evident for three years, to undermine any chances that President Clinton may have for a two-term Presidency. The propaganda campaign by conservative Catholics to undermine Clinton is vicious and unrelenting.

There is no escape from what seems to be a most unhappy truth. Only if the truth is recognized can we do anything about it. Denying the truth destroys the possibility for effective action. Failure to decide what we should do merely decides by default. These are all commonly recognized truisms that certainly apply here. We must publicly identify the enemy of population growth control and attack the enemy with sufficient force to neutralize it.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

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