Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

The long, deadly, anti-human shadow of Malthusian thinking. A 200 year trail of evil.

In my reading and thinking over the years, I have learned anytime Malthusian ideas surface in a discussion those ideas will inevitably be wrong. More often than not, they are immoral as well.

After considering Matt Ridley’s discussion of The Long Shadow of Malthus, I now realize that Malthusian ideas are often evil as well.

This post is a review of Prof. Ridley’s published article. If you want a longer version that shows in more detail the suffering, misery, and needless deaths caused by followers of Malthus, check out chapter 11 of his book, The Evolution of Everything.

The core of this school of thought holds that the planet will not be able to sustain whatever growth in population is taking place at the moment. As a result, it is mandatory that us bright people (that’s you and me) limit the increasing population of those people. As the professor says:

It centres on the question of how to control human population growth and it answers that question by saying we must be cruel to be kind, that ends justify means. It is still around today; and it could not be more wrong.

Thomas Malthus wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798.

The consequences of his ideas were extended until they

…inadvertently gave birth to a series of heartless policies — the poor laws, the British government’s approach to famine in Ireland and India, social Darwinism, eugenics, the Holocaust, India’s forced sterilisations and China’s one-child policy.

Check out the article for the long shadow.

Here are a few shameful examples of the harm and suffering intentionally created by Malthusian disciples:

  • Britain’s Poor Law of 1834 – Law limited charity because giving poor people too much aid would merely encourage them to breed.
  • Irish potato famine – A senior treasury official said the famine turned out to be an “effective mechanism for reducing surplus population.”
  • 1877 India famine – The ruling Viceroy stopped multiple private relief efforts. The British did not attempt to reduce suffering during the famine which killed 10 million people. Extra assistance would have only fed that “Indian population … tendency to increase more rapidly than the food it raises from the soil.”
  • Charles Darwin’s 1871 book The Descent of Man lamented that asylums and doctors merely keep the “imbecile, the maimed and the sick” alive which would merely continue the undesirable condition of having “the weak members of civilized species propagate their kind.”

Notice how the hate is growing? Can you see the foundation which was set down for later efforts to take active measures to get rid of those people?

The eugenicists carried forward from there. Two names I recognized are George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells.  Prof. Ridley points out that soon…

It became politically incorrect in elite circles in Britain, France and the United States not to urge eugenic policies. To be against eugenics was to be uncaring about the future of the human race.

The article traces this thinking directly from Darwin to one of his followers, and then to common acceptance and then to the Nuremberg laws, then the Wansee conference, and finally the Third Reich’s elimination of undesirables. Malthusian followers at that point descended into pure unadulterated evil.

In terms of eugenics, we were much more civilized and restrained here in the States. The article said California was in the lead for controlling who could reproduce. Prof. Ridley gives California the shameful credit:

By the time eugenic laws {in the United States} were struck down in the early 1970s, some 63,000 Americans had been forcibly sterilised and many more persuaded to accept voluntary sterility. By 1933 California had forcibly sterilised more people than all other states combined.

Those laws were only struck down in the 1970s!

The U.S. took decades of effort to get to the point where the Nazis were before the war, when they were sterilizing 5,000 people each month back in 1934. That is 60,000 sterilizations in Germany during just one year but only 63,000 over several decades in the US. The American eugenists were so inefficient. (Yes, I am being sarcastic. I use sarcasm only because a stream of obscenities would be really impolite.)

The eugenics movement lost credibility after the world found out the Nazis took their beliefs to the logical conclusion. Article points out the followers of Malthusian thinking had to change their phrasing and presentation after WWII. Didn’t change their thinking or attitude, just their wording and presentation.

Check out the article to see how Prof. Ridley traces the long shadow through post-World War II thought:

  • William Vogt, 1948, Road to Survival
  • Grandson of Charles Darwin, 1952, The Million Years
  • Julian Huxley, 1962 – (He wanted to take small steps towards massive sterilization because the big steps he preferred would have been rejected, according to the article.)
  • Paul Ehrlich, 1968, The Population Bomb – (He thought food aid to India should be conditioned on the government implementing widespread forced sterilization.)
  • Club of Rome, The Limits to Growth, also A Blueprint for Survival
  • China’s one child policy, which included forced sterilization, forced placement of IUDs, and forced abortions.
  • United Nations Secretary General in 1983 expressed appreciation for China exerting the effort necessary to successfully implement widespread population control.
  • United Nations Family Planning Agency in 1991 saying China should be proud of their population control program and should share their program with other countries.

His column is an extract from his newest book, The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Merge.

In a twitter question, Prof. Ridley was asked if Margaret Sanger was mentioned in the book. He said yes.

Good. She certainly belongs in that list of infamy.

In chapter 11, the professor quoted her explaining why she set up the “Negro project.” I won’t quote her because her bigotry and blind hatred is so disgusting. Suffice it to say she really, really wanted to reduce the population of living African-Americans. Yes, she is the founder of the organization that is leading provider of abortions in the black and brown community, so her vision is alive.

Here is how Prof. Ridley calls this history of misanthropy (defined as hatred, dislike, or distrust of humankind):

… wrong pragmatically as well as morally.

I disagree. It is not just ‘wrong.’

I call this willful, bloody, body-strewn 217 year trail of suffering and starvation what it really is: evil.

To have such hatred of humans that one wants to starve people by preventing food aid, or sterilize minorities & the differently-abled so they don’t ‘breed’, or kill ‘undesirables’ in an oven just to get rid of them, or hope a famine will save you the effort, is nothing other than evil.

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