Ballade of Certain Demographers

This is just a bit of fun for lovers of doggerel. Normally we don’t publish doggerel, or even poetry for that matter, in MercatorNet, but the editor does not feel bound to follow the rules.

Ballade of Certain Demographers

Chapter 2 of Paul Ehrlich’s 1995 book about the coming crisis of widespread starvation, The Stork and the Plow, is entitled “The Only Animal That Practices Birth Control”.

The curve leaps up the coloured graph
In septicaemic veins of red
As forecasted by all the math
And what Professor Ehrlich said –
Of all the fauna from A to Z,
Raven, tiger, chimp or mole,
We stand alone: we’re specially bred –
Man’s unique trait is birth control.

Whilst inspecting the unknown species,
Blind demographers probe and jab it,
Ruffling ears and smelling faeces,
Disputing where it might inhabit.
At length the judgement: just a rabbit
With a philoprogenitive soul.
It lacks our contraceptive habit:
Man’s unique trait is birth control.

Prof. Ehrlich stands behind the dais,
Exhorting readers in accents shrill:
“The world is quaking on the abyss
Without the condom and the pill.”
Their frenzied cheering spreads a chill –
I’d rather have an immortal soul.
This latest wisdom makes me ill:
Man’s unique trait is birth control.

Dear Reader, In ages past, the truth was veiled
About the secrets of the soul
But now it’s everywhere retailed:
Man’s unique trait is birth control.


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