July 14, 2007

The New Malthusians

Frank Furedi at Spiked Online takes on the modern day population control zealots, "... today’s Malthusians...harbour a powerful sense of loathing against the human species itself. Is it any surprise, then, that some of them actually celebrate non-existence?" More excerpts:

Where in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Malthusians warned that population growth threatened people with starvation, today’s Malthusians denounce people for threatening the planet by consuming too much. As a result, contemporary Malthusianism has an unusually strident and misanthrophic streak.

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Over the past two centuries, a bewildering array of problems has been blamed on population growth. At various times, famine, poverty, the failure of Third World economies, instability, revolution, the spread of communism and the subordinate position of women have been linked to population growth (8). The approach of the population growth lobby is devastatingly simple: they take a problem and argue that it would diminish in intensity if there were fewer people. Such simplistic methodology is even used to account for the emergence of new forms of terrorism today.

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You don’t have to be a sophisticated student of global politics to see through the simplistic and opportunistic arguments on security put forward by the new Malthusians. But then, the success of Malthusianism has never been down to the rigour or eloquence of its ideas. Rather, the success of Malthusian ideas depends on the strength of cultural pessimism at any given time. And today it is the loss of faith in the human potential, a fatalistic view of the future, which has rejuvenated the population-control crusade.

So powerful is cultural pessimism today that even the special quality of human life is now called into question. Today, pollution is seen as the principal feature and consequence of human existence. Indeed, today’s neo-Malthusian thinking is far more dismal and misanthropic than the original version. For all his intellectual pessimism and lack of imagination, Thomas Malthus possessed a far more robust belief in humanity than do his contemporary followers.

(via aldaily.com)

Doom-mongering for fun and profit. Hey, it works for Al Gore.

Posted by dan at July 14, 2007 10:20 PM