Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Cheer up, and count your chickens


THE Western world seems to be in the grip of a doleful belief that time is running out for life on earth: that humans have over-used the earth’s abundance, have out-bred its capacity to support us and that extinction looms, sooner rather than later. This stems from a belief that matter and energy in the universe are inexorably degrading and that the general trend is toward death and disorder. This process has come to be called ‘entropy’.

There is a simple antidote to the prevailing gloom. Get yourself a few hens and a cockerel. For a cockerel will give you fertile eggs which when hatched under a broody hen will give you chicks. And chicks are the quintessence of new life which comes from the inexhaustible richness of endless renewal that is the true principle that governs the universe.

One of my hens went broody in late August and so, on September 1, I let her sit on half a dozen hatching eggs. For the first two days she didn’t settle and I feared she’d let them go cold. But exactly on time, during the 21st day of sitting, she hatched four chicks. From the moment it breaks out of the shell, a chick is fully autonomous. Apart from needing a bit of maternal warmth and protection from predators during the first few weeks of its life, a chick can eat and drink just like an adult fowl. It scratches in the soil for things to eat and can run surprisingly quickly back to the hen when she calls it to her to escape danger.

I challenge anybody who has nurtured a hen through the whole process not to acknowledge her chicks’ hatching into the world to be a miracle – a part of the endless creation that goes on all around us every moment of every day.

This is God’s answer to the evil that is always present in the darkest part of the world and which, at intervals over the centuries, rears its ugly head. In 1798, when the Reverend Thomas Malthus wrote his ‘Essay on the Principle of Population’, he thought humanity would outstrip its capacity to feed itself. At the time there were about a billion people on the planet. There are now about eight billion and most of them aren’t starving – or at least not from lack of land to grow food. Famine is largely caused by wars, human wickedness and civil disorder.

The modern manifestation of entropy is more than a form of neo-Malthusianism. It no longer claims our population will grow to the point where we can’t feed ourselves. History has shown that’s not true. What we are being conditioned to believe now is that we don’t deserve to feed ourselves. We are just another animal that is a curse upon the earth and must be culled because our activities are depleting its bounty and causing ‘climate change’ which is destroying the planet.

This is repeated ad nauseam by a host of ‘conservationists’, such as Jane Goodall, who seems to prefer chimpanzees to people, chick-sniffer Chris Packham and the whispering Malthusian-in-chief David Attenborough. We get an even more extreme flavour of humanity-hating godlessness from an American organisation I came across recently, founded in Portland, Oregon, called ‘Stop Having Kids’. They are anti-life, promote abortion up to and beyond birth, and even infanticide. They think ‘it’s best and most considerate for humans to not come into existence’. They believe having children is selfish, ‘unethical and irrational’. ‘For those who . . . desire to care for life . . . already existing life that’s in need (humans, other animals, and nature) should be the priority, as well as the norm.’ Somewhat paradoxically, they claim that eradicating humans from the earth will cure the defects inherent in humanity.

They rightly identify that humans are flawed and sinful, but ignore the miracle of life and are clearly in open rebellion against God. Their arid joyless cult of death inverts good and evil and elevates self-obsession into a virtue, the end of which is the extinction of humanity and the eradication of love. This wicked nonsense has, not surprisingly, infected many – maybe a majority – of modern people. Having become embedded in our subconscious, it is being used to control and destroy to the extent that people apparently willingly submit to dreadful restrictions and privations to ‘save the planet’.

But I’m sure that those promulgating these falsehoods will not prevail. My broody hen’s hatching and maternal care for her chicks is testament to this. The tenderness with which she calls them to bed as the light fades down a darkening autumn afternoon and their burrowing under her feathers to nestle warm during the cooling nights, gives the lie to those who would deny that bringing new life into the world is anything but a joy. 

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Philip Walling
Philip Walling
Philip Walling has written the Sunday Times bestseller Counting Sheep and Till the Cows Come Home.

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