Much hilarity and brilliant analysis have been made about Prince Harry’s comments in the September issue of British Vogue, which was guest-edited by his wife Meghan Markle, in an interview he did with primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall. When a member of the British Royal Family—who’s not expected to voice political opinions—dives in headfirst by placing himself firmly on the woke left with his take on the idea of unconscious bias, and alluding to the idea that most—or all?—people are racist, it does raise eyebrows.
Harry, the rebellious second-born child, who’s obviously not just smitten with Meghan’s personality but her liberal views as well, said:
“It’s the same as unconscious bias—something which so many people don’t understand, why they feel the way they do. Despite the fact that if you go up to someone and say, ‘What you’ve just said, or the way that you’ve behaved, is racist.’ I’m not saying that you’re a racist, I’m just saying that your unconscious bias is proving that, because of the way you were brought up, the environment you’ve been brought up in, suggests that you have this point of view—unconscious point of view—where naturally you will look at someone in a different way. And that is the point at which people start to have to understand.”
Douglas Murray responded in his brilliant article titled “Meghan and Harry are playing a dangerous game” that there are of course many natural biases that people possess—nobody would claim that humans are immune to the culture they live in. But Harry wasn’t talking about the bias to favour attractive people for jobs or life partners, or how women have a bias towards choosing financially well-to-do men—Meghan, who edited the September issue, could be an example of that (although Harry may also possess other good qualities, and Vogue may have let her edit the magazine even she didn’t look as glamorous). No, he elegantly skipped those, it was the bias that he had overcome, by marrying a bi-racial woman (Meghan’s mother is African-American), that he wanted to show up as an example of how modern, tolerant, unbiased an all-round GOOD person he is.
The rest of the interview, in a highly political issue of Vogue that features New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern and (yet another) fawning portrait of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, mostly reads like a textbook exercise in saying all the right things about the environment and conservation. Most of it is well-trodden ground which everyone can agree with, lest they are a die-hard capitalist with no regard for future generations. As such, it’s not the most exciting or surprising interview, although Goodall, who is well known for her work on chimpanzees, is no doubt an inspirational character with many achievements under her belt.
But then Harry reveals his politically correct attitude to children among the millennials. “Two, maximum!” is his stance on how many offspring he wants to have. Why would Harry signal his own personal virtue in deciding to only have two children? He is yet again imposing his own views – tied in with his woke politics—onto the British public, whom he is to serve, not be a moral leader of—and we get the sense that Harry thinks he knows best, just as he does on the other subjects he’s talking about.
It could well be that the readers of Vogue are of the exact same ilk, but he should have been aware that the interview would be read by more than Vogue’s usual demographics. There’s something very tedious about a highly privileged Prince, paid for by the taxpayers, telling people how to best lead their lives. It’s moralism on a par with that of the aforementioned vegan, non-flying world traveller Greta Thunberg, who happened to be able to catch a ride on the yacht belonging to the Grimaldi family of Monaco because she wanted to travel to the US without flying, and it’s an elitist form of virtue signalling that brags rather than makes any real difference, whether we are talking about climate change or simply conserving the earth’s resources.
In fact, Harry may even be wrong. His green guilt may be heartfelt, but is his and Meghan’s choice to limit themselves to two offspring anything to be so pious about? In the UK, and most of Europe, the number of children per woman has slumped to 1.7. Around 20% of human beings don’t have children, so logically, if each family limits itself to two kids, then the world population is certain to decline. Although, if we take Harry’s words seriously, that may not be such a bad thing.
Harry seems to take the view that humans are mainly a source of evil— even teaching children to hate: “You can only be taught to hate” he claims (as if negative emotions are solely a result of nurture rather than nature), being “good at destruction” and claiming that humans are selfish: “We are the one species on this planet that seems to think that this place belongs to us, and only us.” He is of course entitled to his view, but it’s a rather gloomy and sad one for a young, privileged man, and shows a disdain for humanity. And the result of a declining population doesn’t spell good news for those who are left.
Population growth is a motor of economic growth. If Harry and Meghan get their way, economies are set to decline. This has the cost of putting greater pressure on younger generations to pay for the care of older generations. If we look to Japan, this has been the story there, and it’s not good news for the younger generation Harry says he cares so much about. The Japanese government has had to increase the pension age, and people have been driven into poverty. Similar labour shortages in countries like Austria, Germany, Sweden and Spain will depress the European Union’s economic growth by 0.4% from 2000 to 2025, and thereafter increasing to 0.9%, according to the OECD.
Harry’s statement is part of a wider sentiment that claims humans are a cancer on the planet. This anti-humanism is exemplified by the “BirthStrikers” – the women who refuse to have children until climate change is stopped—and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the rising star of the US Democrats, who pondered whether it was “OK to still have children?” It is also echoed by the UN, whose Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services released a report that linked population growth and planetary disaster, and Paul Ehrlich, a Stanford University biologist who has been warning of the dangers of overpopulation since he wrote his bestseller The Population Bomb in 1968. His original view was that the earth could only sustain 500 million people, a figure that was surpassed a long time ago. Despite his failed predictions, people still take his message seriously.
Not all environmentalists take this dim view of procreation, however. According to Chelsea Follett, writing in Quillette, the so-called Enlightenment Environmentalists, most notably Dr. Steven Pinker, recognize that humans are capable of creating resources rather than just depleting them. Innovations such as nuclear power can reduce emissions, and food resources can and have increased thanks to new technology. And to paraphrase Jordan Peterson: it isn’t obvious that having fewer people will produce smarter solutions—on the contrary; more brains help our chances of coming up with more sustainable solutions.
If Prince Harry and Meghan, whose stance feminism and other social issues are well known by now—wish to continue to impose their sanctimonious, liberal views, it’s a break with royal tradition that could ultimately sow discontent about the monarchy altogether. If unelected representatives, paid for by the British citizens of all political persuasions, have a role to play, it is surely not to further their personal views, but to act as unifiers in a world that could do with a little less politicization and polarization. Ironically, those who will agree the most with the young couple’s politics will be those who oppose the monarchy altogether. It may be wise for Meghan and Harry to show a little more appreciation for their privileges before lecturing to the people they are meant to represent.