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The Malthusian Infection Part 1

The other day I read and posted on my Facebook page an article by the economist Mark J. Perry which had a chart (below) which showed the worlds extreme poverty rate had dropped by 80% over the past thirty years.

I noted that this fact has not been widely publicized because to do so would inevitably lead to an explanation of how this miracle occurred, capitalism. As Perry explained in his article there is little doubt that the spread of more free market principles is the reason for this sudden and wholly beneficial transformation of the world.

Then I came across this blog post from Walter Russel Meade, the title of which explains the post GMO Fight Exposes Green Hypocrisy, GMO being Genetically Modified Organism, the not so new wave in agriculture. In the post Meade, one of the great common sense intellectuals of our times, makes the following observation:
What the planet and the people who live on it badly need is a pro-environment, pro-people movement that actually cares about scientific evidence. Unfortunately that’s not what we’ve got...
The reason for this of course is that the environmental movement is controlled by the left. The same holds true for why the global reduction in poverty is the "hidden miracle" of our times. The global media as a general rule is primarily populated and run by left leaning individuals who have a certain bias against free market capitalism and will seek, again as a general rule, to marginalize it.

 The left obviously sees capitalism as anti-environment which is a fallacy of the highest order and one of the greatest of the countless lies the left propagates in order to sustain itself. But the bigger question which these two connected stories bring together; is the left, as an ideology, now anti-people?

Back in the sixties a man who is still little known began what truly was the "green revolution." His name was Norman Borlaug a n American biologist that among other achievements and accolades is known as "the man who saved a billion lives."

Here is a portion of the biography of this remarkable man's contribution to the world from Wikipedia:

Borlaug received his B.Sc. Biology 1937 and Ph.D. in plant pathology and genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1942. He took up an agricultural research position in Mexico, where he developed semi-dwarf, high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties.

During the mid-20th century, Borlaug led the introduction of these high-yielding varieties combined with modern agricultural production techniques to Mexico, Pakistan, and India. As a result, Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963. Between 1965 and 1970, wheat yields nearly doubled in Pakistan and India, greatly improving the food security in those nations.[9] These collective increases in yield have been labeled the Green Revolution, and Borlaug is often credited with saving over a billion people worldwide from starvation.[10] He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply.

Later in his life, he helped apply these methods of increasing food production to Asia and Africa....
Not mentioned in that brief summary but can be found in his Nobel Biography is the fact that all of that research and all of those life saving programs were not the result of some US Government program but were in fact the product of a private institution set up and sponsored by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. And we all know where that money came from, right?

But the reason I mention Borlaug other than the fact that he is perhaps the least appreciated American in history, is that what Borlaug did was destroy in advance what was to become an article of faith on the left with the publication in 1968 of The Population Bomb. Again from Wikipedia:
The Population Bomb is a best-selling book written by Stanford University Professor Paul R. Ehrlich and his wife, Anne Ehrlich (who was uncredited), in 1968.[1][2] It warned of the mass starvation of humans in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation, as well as other major societal upheavals, and advocated immediate action to limit population growth. Fears of a "population explosion" were widespread in the 1950s and 60s, but the book and its author brought the idea to an even wider audience.
It is indeed ironic that while one segment of academia using theoretical science was predicting and promoting the idea of worldwide starvation, another branch of academia using applied science was solving the problem. While the theoretician is spreading fear onto the masses, a "doer" using the charitable contributions of two of histories most successful capitalist, is out saving the masses. Some things never change.

The true tragedy of this though is that the man who in many ways "saved the world" is barely known while the theoretician Ehrlich's influence has infected academia, science and indeed the so called intelligentsia for a generation.

Not that it was anything new, what Ehrlich and his followers promoted was just the Malthusian theory.  A theory based on the works of the Reverend Thomas Malthus in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries which warned that increasing population would outpace resources, particularly food, leading to mass starvation and global instability.

Of course Malthus' concerns were made mute by advances in agriculture technology in the nineteenth century such as more advanced plows, better planting practices etc. just as Ehrlich's Population Bomb has bombed due to the work of Borlaug and others.

But Ehrlich's and Malthus apocalyptic views live on in the hearts and minds of the left. Indeed it is this permeating belief  in an out of control humanity unable to sustain itself while reeking havoc on and raping the virgin Mother Earth which in many ways is the very foundation of leftist political theology.  Or at the very least one of its primary justifications for its existence.

It is indeed ironic that the political philosophy which has the gall to call itself progressive is in fact the very political philosophy that ignores the historical record of the progress of man when formulating their agendas. This I contend is in large part due to this Malthusian infection which the left either can not or will not shake from its ideological DNA.

This infection, this idea that mankind is racing towards societal and ecological disaster is in fact the left's Achilles Heel. In many ways large and small it will be its undoing because you can not be the champion of the people while being the the party which promotes anti-people policies, like abortion for one.

 I will explain in detail in Part 2.

1 comment:

  1. Great read Jer. I look forward to part two. I dont have a problem with GMO food except when they mix animal/insect/with plant. Otherwise its no different than what man has done as long as we have been farming.