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Yes, Repudiate Malthus

by | Apr 19, 2016

By Wesley J. Smith

principleofpopulationScientific American has actually published a column that supports a proper morality. And by Michael Shermer, no less!

Shermer identifies Malthusianism as one of the most destructive forces ever to infect science. From, “Why Malthus is Still Wrong”:

On the negative side of the ledger are the policies derived from the belief in the inevitability of a Malthusian collapse. “The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race.”

Malthus gloomily predicted. His scenario influenced policy makers to embrace social Darwinism and eugenics, resulting in draconian measures to restrict particular populations’ family size, including forced sterilizations.

Shermer accepts the revisionist history of eugenics that reveals that it was not “conservative” at all :

We think of eugenics and forced sterilization as a right-wing Nazi program implemented in 1930s Germany. Yet as Princeton University economist Thomas Leonard documents in his book Illiberal Reformers (Princeton University Press, 2016) and former New York Times editor Adam Cohen reminds us in his book Imbeciles (Penguin, 2016), eugenics fever swept America in the early 20th century, culminating in the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, in which the justices legalized sterilization of “undesirable” citizens. The court included prominent progressives Louis Brandeis and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., the latter of whom famously ruled, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” The result: sterilization of some 70,000 Americans.

Indeed, eugenics was an actively progressive political and social movement, supported enthusiastically by the likes of Margaret Sanger, George Bernard Shaw, and Helen Keller (!!!), funded bounteously by progressive foundations such as the Carnegie Institute. It was opposed by the dreaded Catholic Church.

Shermer identifies the best way to protect against over population:

The solution to overpopulation is not to force people to have fewer children. China’s one-child policy showed the futility of that experiment. It is to raise the poorest nations out of poverty through democratic governance, free trade, access to birth control, and the education and economic empowerment of women.

But the people Shermer hangs out with work at cross purposes with that agenda. They would rather control economies centrally and tilt ideologically against global warming, and for those reasons pursue policies that keep the destitute areas of the world mired in poverty.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Wesley’s fine blog.

Categories: Overpopulation