Wednesday, May 02, 2012

and counting

monday evening can’t be both honest and polite about paul ehrlich
Paul Ehrlich has not merely been wrong in his long career as a “population expert”: he has been demonstrably, repeatedly, spectacularly wrong about almost everything...

Ehrlich is most famous as the author of the Population Bomb, a book of almost sublime evil and stupidity. He dusted off the creaky old theories of Thomas Malthus... and gave them a healthy coating of panic that drove the great overpopulation scares that still swirl through intellectual circles.

According to the Population Bomb and Ehrlich’s subsequent work, we should all be dead right now. His book began with the infamous sentence, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.”

Except that never happened. Not in the 1970s … not ever. The localized (not global) famines were not caused by a collapse of the food supply, but by political instability.

He insisted that the global death rate would skyrocket. It’s fallen.

He swore that India could never feed 200 million people. It feeds over a billion.

He suggested or supported all kinds of draconian solutions to this imaginary problem, including putting birth control in the water supply, forced abortions, coercive sterilization, forcibly starving countries who refused to implement radical population controls, punitive taxes on people who have children and on childcare products, and good old fashioned jack-booted totalitarianism in order to “fix” the problem of global famine from overpopulation... And yet this utter sham of a man made a career as a public intellectual while being... spectacularly wrong while offering objectively evil solutions to imaginary problems. The stunning thing is that he’s still talking, and people are – inexplicably – (quoting him) in major newspapers...

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