AOC and Others: Locked in a Discredited 18th Century Theory

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – Caricature by DonkeyHotey, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.  How dare you!

So said certified Swedish little brat, Greta Thunberg, who is living in her own little fantasy world of global destruction.  In fact, she is just the latest incarnation in a long line of doomsday prophets when it comes to population and climate change.

In 2019, over 11,000 scientists signed a letter in the publication Bioscience asserting that the world’s population must be “stabilized, and gradually reduced.”  Enter New York City horse-face Congresscritter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who has questioned the morality of having children.  Now, this writer considers it a net plus to humanity if she foregoes having children, but to impose that on the rest of the world is a bridge too far.

Whether Thunberg, AOC, and others realize it or not, they are simply the current-day heirs to the now largely discredited philosophical musings of Thomas Malthus in the 18th century.  He predicted that as the human population increased, famine and environmental destruction would be the ultimate result.  What he failed to see is the actual reality.  As population increased, so too did livestock and crop production.  In fact, food production has outpaced population increases over the past two centuries.  If anything, we may have too much food.  In fact, it is called “waste.”

We have heard these dire warnings before.  In 1968, ecologist Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb in which he predicted that by 1989, millions upon millions would perish because of famine.  His proposed solutions were taxes on diapers, subsidizing vasectomies, and even spiking food supplies with sterilization drugs that could be overcome by holding a lottery to see who gets the antidote.  One supposes people like Hitler would have been proud of such ideas.  Another ecologist, also in 1968- Garrett Hardin- compared human births to the breeding of cattle and called it “intolerable.”  Unfortunately for the world, Hardin’s and Erhlich’s parents did not think the same way.

Instead, we have immutable facts.  In the 50 years since these dire predictions, calories available per capita have increased in virtually every region of the world.  Where they have increased the greatest is in developed, capitalist countries since capitalism- not socialism and not population control- has created the means to increase food production through better technology and techniques.

A perfect example is the musings of Karen Pitts of the Sierra Club.  She states that on the current direction of population growth, we cannot sustain the dietary needs of the approximate 11 billion humans expected by the year 2100.  The International Food Policy Research Institute predicts that within the next 30 years, food production will have to increase 70% to meet demand.  What they do not tell you is that the technology and techniques already exist to meet those goals.  One agronomist predicts that if all farmers became as efficient as US corn farmers, over 10 billion humans could be fed on half the land currently cultivated.

Today’s adherents of Malthusian economics are concerned about the disruptive effects of climate change.  David Attenborough, who has a tendency to stage frightful events in his documentaries, has called humanity “a plague upon the earth.”

Today’s Malthusians have the equation half-assed backwards.  When a poor, under-developed society becomes more wealthy, they dedicate more resources into environmental concerns through the best method known- technology.  Until that day arrives, however, fossil fuels are the means to achieve national prosperity in the short term.  Unfortunately, the Malthusians and environmentalists are also against the ultimate technology to decrease greenhouse gases and provide reliable energy- nuclear.

Hence, we have this view best expressed by Leftist loons like Naomi Klein who believes that the health of the planet and capitalism are at war.  Once again, she has it backwards.  She proposes some version of communitarian socialism.  Unfortunately for her, such a system would create the actual conditions for Malthus to be confirmed.  Thunberg, Ehrlich and Klein would like us to return to the halcyon days of 18th century living.  As for this writer, I’ll encourage breeding.