Skip to comments.Overpopulation scare a century old and without substance
Posted on 04/12/2011 11:40:05 PM PDT by TheDingoAteMyBaby
The notion that we are imperiled by the size of the human population has been around since Anglican priest Thomas Malthus first postulated it in the late 18th century. In regard to famine, immorality, war and human misery of all sorts, Malthus maintained that there is "one great cause," preventing "improvement of society," and that is "the constant tendency in all animated life to increase beyond the nourishment prepared for it." If the size of the human population were to go unchecked, Malthus' demographics suggested that people would soon outrun global food supplies. Yup, that tired notion has been around since the 18th century.
Some would suggest that mid-19th century Ireland presented a "laboratory" for the British Empire to experiment with Malthusian concepts. If there are supposedly too many people, some figure that it's OK to weed out the supposedly less desirable and promote the propagation of supposedly more desirable people. It has been said that food remained in British warehouses while the Irish suffered the Great Hunger!
In Ireland and in the other famines since Malthus' time, food experts remind us that the problem has NOT been insufficient food. As per economist Jacqueline R. Kasun, the problem is also NOT overpopulation. While we have enough food, the true problem of famine is inadequate food distribution, which is often linked to good old human selfishness.
For people who buy into the notion of overpopulation (and have you noticed that they often seem to be affluent people like Sir David Attenborough and Bill Gates?), the notion of eugenics can closely follow. Novelist and physician Michael Crichton explained how this notion became popular, more than 100 years ago:
"Imagine that there is a new scientific theory that warns of an impending crisis, and points to a way out. ... The theory of eugenics postulated a crisis of the gene pool leading to the deterioration of the human race ... even after the center of the eugenics effort moved to Germany, and involved the gassing of individuals from mental institutions, the Rockefeller Foundation continued to finance German research at a very high level. ... After World War II, nobody was a eugenicist, and nobody had ever been a eugenicist. ... Eugenics ceased to be a subject for college classrooms, although some argue that its ideas continue to have currency in disguised form."
I maintain that Bonnie Erbe's dopey tribute to Attenborough, "Meanwhile, population explosion ignored" (Courier Times, March 18) reveals "disguised form" eugenics. As Erbe herself notes, "Attenborough points out what I agree with him has become an 'absurd taboo' on speaking out publicly on human population growth and trying to do something about it."
Evidencing utter ignorance about population demographics (perhaps especially in the historically Catholic countries of Western Europe), Erbe joins Sir David in throwing in some anti-Catholicism for good measure: "Attenborough gets quickly to the point. He compares population growth rates in several developing nations and compares rates in Catholic versus non-Catholic nations and in Catholic countries fertility rates are almost twice as high as in non-Catholic countries."
Erbe parrots Attenborough's hateful bile, which is not even disguised! It would behoove Bonnie Erbe and Sir David to step out of their limos and visit a library.
They would benefit by opening a book once in a while, as there have been many notable ones - AFTER Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.
Joseph Tevington, Morrisville, is a member of Holy Trinity parish in Morrisville.
Silent Spring. Cold Spring Harbor. What’s with the name “Spring” and the Eugenists.
The Communist May Day perhaps?
Thomas Malthus, the original socialist.
Socialism has never been about equality, but controlling the masses. The elite in society want to ensure their elite lifestyle. If it means killing off the masses to do it, so be it.
Holdren and Ehrlich famously lost on all 5 public bets they made with a population economist, Julian Simon, on the growing scarcity of 5 minerals, minerals chosen by Ehrlich, Holdren, Harte, and one other Marxist whose name I don't recall. It was a book which showed the folly of the claim that we live in a world of diminishing natural resources. It sounds plausible, but isn't true. Human intelligence solves those problems, and always has. Ehrlich wouldn't talk about the loss until after Simon had died. Then he wrote a book about it, still claiming he was right. He, Holdren, and the others did pay up!
While Holdren is a confirmed Marxists, I don't know about Ehrlich's doctrinal views. What most characterizes these people is their lack of respect for the capabilities of others. They work to be in control because they really believe most are not bright enough to make good decisions. Besides which, there are far too many of the dumb ones!
“Overpopulation” keeps greedy leftist billionaires awake at night:
was there more to that story?
I was just catching up on my Malthus on Wikipedia.
Unless the Wiki was wrong, I was struck by Malthus’s belief that this was just a natural condition that is currently being remedied. It was just the natural order of things. It wasn’t a “crisis” the way people talk about it today. The population, then as now, was being held in check. Not by central planning, but by a wide assortment of things.
He was saying - “hey, utopian society builder who is worried about the underclass in 1790s England, here’s the deally, no matter what you do, no matter what perfect society with no poor people that you think you’re going to build, it’s not going to work.” There is a natural tendency for population growth to the point where death occurs from starvation, unless “checks” are in place. One thing to note is that starvation is not mass starvation necessarily. It’s just a barrier to utopian societies where there are no poor people.
Right now, and there has always been, someone starving somewhere. It’s not a crisis. It’s a natural condition.
But the Leftists are saying it’s a crisis. Social Conservatives might note that Malthus recognized “vice”
as one of the things that served as a “check”. Poverty was seen as a beneficial check.
Some, such as William Farr and Karl Marx, argued that Malthus did not fully recognize the human capacity to increase food supply.
So, Marx was arguing with Malthus, huh?
I know it’s Wikipedia, but it’s unlikely to be completely off the mark, right? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Robert_Malthus
It’s just interesting that he sounds like a Conservative, not a sky is falling Liberal which is what many think he is, because the Leftists have twisted his meanings. The one line takeaway from Malthus is
There will be too much Overpopulation and Everyone will Starve to death.
Which isn’t what he said. If you make everyone equal, everyone starves at once I think is what he was saying.
No matter what you do, someones gonna starve, or die in a war, or a dui crash (vices), if you want to remove these checks, you’re gonna face real problems. But if you don’t worry too much about war, or poverty, everything will be fine. The virtuous will thrive and those with vices will fail, and that’s ok.
Seriously, check this out.
Malthus was ANTI SOCIALIST.
He argued that no matter what you do, there will always be starvation.
He did not argue that unless we do something, there will be starvation.
He thought that poverty was ok, because instead of socialism, when everyone dies at the same time, the lazy and stupid people died.
Many here would vote for him.
Social Engineering Is Doomed To Failure. That’s what Malthus was all about. Not Crisis! Let’s Socially Engineer!
But people think the opposite
Malthus argued that two types of checks hold population within resource limits: positive checks, which raise the death rate; and preventive ones, which lower the birth rate. The positive checks include hunger, disease and war; the preventive checks, abortion, birth control, prostitution, postponement of marriage and celibacy. Regarding possibilities for freeing man from these limits, Malthus argued against a variety of imaginable solutions.
Malthus thought these things were good, because keeping things within resource limits is good, because if you don’t, then there’s starvation.
Liberals call it the Malthus Problem, or something like that. They want some sort of socially engineered society, which is actually going to be miserable, but they know that without major population control, their schemes will fail, because the natural order without things like war, poverty, etc, there would be mass famine. Social Engineering to get rid of war and poverty fails because of the Malthus problem.
Marx repeated the lie, adding that Malthus had taken the vow of celibacy, and called him “superficial”, “a professional plagiarist”, “the agent of the landed aristocracy”, “a paid advocate” and “the principal enemy of the people.”
In the Marxist tradition, Lenin sharply criticized Malthusian theory and its neo-Malthusian version, calling it a “reactionary doctrine” and “an attempt on the part of bourgeois ideologists to exonerate capitalism and to prove the inevitability of privation and misery for the working class under any social system”.
For the last couple of hundred years, western science and technology have done a spectacular job of boosting productivity and expanding our carrying capacity at a pace far exceeding population growth. How long this can continue, no one knows. At some point, there is presumably an absolute limit. The doom and gloomers see this limit just around the next corner. They've been crying wolf for so long that they've made themselves look foolish, but that doesn't mean the wolf isn't out there somewhere.
The interesting thing now is that every developed society is experiencing plummeting birth rates and the prospect of population decline, apart from immigration. The reasons are familiar enough: years of additional schooling; delays in family formation; the emancipation of women and their incorporation into the labor force; declines in infant mortality; and the much higher costs of raising children in middle and upper-middle class splendor in modern technological society. It may turn out that we have permanently outrun Malthus, and that prosperity is the reason. That would be good news if it happens.
Malthus does not argue that this catastrope is going to happen.
He says that without checks, it’ll happen. And poor people are a check. DWI deaths are a check. Wars are a check.
Checks are like bad things that are actually good because although they might be sad because people are dying, them dying then keeps everyone from starving.
The neo Malthusians seem to ignore the checks, and focus on Malthus’s population science.
Malthus was against Marx and Lenin, believing that because we get starvation without checks, we should be building a system with checks, instead of a system without, because if for some reason the checks were gone, that’s when you get the starvation. Abortion is on his list of checks, and there are tons of checks in place.
Malthus was also wrong about population. Rich people, not poor people, tend to have fewer kids. I guess the idea there is that rick people are more likely to have their kids survive. Poor people have to worry about their kids surviving, many didn’t, so they had more. He assumed that the richest person in the world would have a million kids if he could support them. It might’ve worked that way then, but it just doesn’t work that way now.
One very simple observation that the left ignores and it will be catastrophic. the Social Engineering using 'preventive checks' can only work with governments that have this in place. Those that don't will continue to grow to their own limits. Then they will flood those countries that doesn't have sustained populations.
In my book Social Engineering is Social suicide.
But that prosperity can not last if we continue shifting debt instead of wealth to as yet unborn generations.