Starvation is, of course, the main proof of overpopulation. The phenomenon is generally treated in the opposite direction - the population is considered normal but the food deficient. It is self-evident that if 1,000,000,000 people were suddenly to invade the United States they would die of starvation, for the land cannot yet produce enough food for that number, and it would be considered overpopulated. Yet it is difficult for people to understand that less degrees of overcrowding really exist. Consequently, all cases of starvation in certain districts of the world are rather looked upon as exceptional calamities, instead of a universal law of nature affecting every species of living thing. It is a bootless task to mention the details of the various famines, which have been reported in the last few years. Scarcely a month, or even a week, passes that we are not presented with instances in the daily press. It is so common, indeed, that but little attention is paid to the matter unless it becomes calamitous. It is sufficient to mention here that at the present time or within a few months or years, famines or partial famines have occurred in several parts of Russia, as many as 10,000,000 being unable to obtain proper food. Spain has suffered to a great extent, with great mortality - some of the people subsisting on roots - and in one province 1,000,000 people were affected. Reports have been received of similar conditions in parts of Mexico, which have been almost desolated. In the Northern parts of Japan, crop failures in 1905 brought 1,000,000 to starvation, so that aid was urgently needed to keep them alive. In Poland, recently, two bad harvests reduced a large number to the verge of distress. In 1904, several parts of Ireland were famished, and the accounts reminded one of the similar conditions of India. At the same time the missionaries in Macedonia reported that outside aid was necessary or the people in certain districts could not survive. The subject of famines will be discussed in a subsequent chapter, these few instances being mentioned here merely as proofs of universal overpopulation in every corner of the earth.
The proverbs of a people reflect the overcrowded condition of the masses. Thus, the four synoptic Gospels of our New Testament are the best proof we have of the meek and lowly condition of the mass of the Christians of the first century. It is the cry of crowded starving people - the burden of nearly every chapter is that of oppression of the poor by the rich: "Give us this day our daily bread," was a practical prayer - not the symbolical one of the fat Christian. "It is more blessed to give than to receive" could never have been thought out by the rich. The whole book appeals to those in want - "come unto me ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." It is remarkable, then, that the highest and best religion is itself an evidence of constant overpopulation.