August 1, 2013


Books: Robert Zubrin's Merchants Of Despair Reveals Racism And Genocide Cloaked In Green Camouflage (Larry Bell, 7/31/13, Forbes)

If there is one person to be attributed the title "Father of Manipulated Gloom and Doom Environmental Fright", it must be Thomas Robert Malthus, a political economy professor at the British East India Company's East India College who lived from 1766-1834.  His "zero-sum-gain" population and resource theories have had tremendous influence on global agendas, policies and travesties which continue unabated today.

Malthus initiated an alarmist international movement with an unsigned pamphlet titled "An Essay on the Principle of Population"  that first appeared in London bookstores in 1798. The publication forecast a terrifying world future whereby the population would increase geometrically while agriculture necessary to sustain it would increase only arithmetically.

Malthus proclaimed as "incontrovertible truths" that because of the "fixity of land", growing families would overwhelm means to feed them. This circumstance would lead to "misery or vice"-some combination of disease, famine, foregone marriage, barbarianism and war that reduced population to a sustainable subsistence level. This, he argued, would be "decisive against the existence of a society, all the members of which should live in ease, happiness, and comparative leisure."

The remedies Malthus proposed to ensure lives of "ease, happiness and comparative leisure" were draconian to say the least. For example, he argued to condemn doctors who find cures in order to reduce population ...even encouraged efforts to keep wages low:

"We are bound in justice and honor to disclaim the right of the poor to support...[W]e should facilitate, instead of foolishly and vainly endeavouring to impede, the operations of nature in producing mortality; and if we dread the too frequent visitation of the horrid form of famine, we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction, which compel nature to use. Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits."

Malthus went on to propose: "In our towns we should make streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. In the country, we should build our villages near stagnant pools, and particularly encourage settlements in all marshy and unwholesome situations. But above all, we should reprobate specific remedies for ravaging diseases; and the benevolent, but much mistaken men, who have thought they were doing a service to mankind by projecting schemes for the total extirpation of particular disorders."

Even during his own time, his theories were used to justify regressive legislation against lower classes...influences that led to establishment of England's Poor Law Act of 1834 and which motivated the British government to refuse aid during the Irish Famine of 1846.

Yet also during Malthus's time, while England's population was growing, the food supply was actually growing even more rapidly. Studies were soon beginning to indicate an inverse relationship between wealth and population change, where wealthier regions had lower growth rates. Then with the birth of the European Industrial Revolution, living conditions for many improved dramatically, if not by standards approaching those we enjoy today.

Darwinism: Providing an Uncivilized Basis for Racism

Although Charles Darwin was a superb naturalist who certainly contributed much to our understanding of evolutionary principles, his influential 1871 book, The Descent of Man, presented a far different view of human racial equality than civil liberal- or conservative-minded people alike can countenance today. To wit, Chapter VI states:

"At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes...will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and the same ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla." 

Zubrin points out that while the concept of "survival of the fittest" did not originate with Darwin...being traceable back as far as Victorian philosopher Herbert Spencer's "struggle for existence". In any case, that survival struggle common to nature in general...and mankind  in particular...that Darwin  proposed, fit handily with  the idea of straining out "inferior" races in the face of limited resources based upon Malthusian theory. And whereas Malthusians could claim that population control through imperial rule was necessary as an unfortunate and unavoidable consequence of constraints of Earth's bounty, many Darwinians of the time saw such horrors as a blessing which would advance humanity by weeding out "unfit" individuals and races.

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Posted by at August 1, 2013 5:29 AM

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