I think that Ray Percival’s article, “Malthus and His Ghost: When He Formulated His Theory, Malthus Ignored the Ingenuity of Man” (August. 18), in which he attempts to silence the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus and his pro-population-control fanatics, the neo-Malthusians is a work of art.
Paul Ehrlich and the other nay-sayers portray man as a gluttonous consumer. Yet, by default, every healthy human being is born with two hands every stomach comes with two hands attached. As Ray Percival asserts, by producing more than he consumes man has worked his way up from the near-universal poverty that was his fate two centuries ago. In my opinion, only one argument in Percival’s article needs to be revised.
In his dismissal of Ehrlich’s simple-minded declaration that “more people = more famine,” he suggests that there have been “at most 15 million famine deaths” in this century. In fact, there has been nearly twice that in China alone. Most of which occurred from 1959 to 1962, following the Great Leap Forward, a campaign undertaken by the Chinese communists between 1958 and early 1960 to organize its vast population, especially in large-scale rural communes, to address China’s industrial and agricultural problems.
It was the scheming of men, not the impulses of nature that led to mass starvation after the Great Leap Forward. This, of course, is a familiar story, told in the Ukrainian famine, the Cambodian famine. We live in an age in which governments, more specifically one-party Communalist régimes, deliberately cause famines. Percival’s optimism about the ability of free human populations to feed them could not be more accurate: it takes significant malicious geniuses to create economic systems and policies which render people incapable of providing for their basic needs.
The population-control advocates have come to treat their body of belief more like a religious system than a scientific theory. It is impossible to convince anyone operating within neo-Malthusian constraints of its falsity by rational or pragmatic argument otherwise. They are intensely hardened in their narrow-mindedness by the abundance of funds to which they have access, since they have managed to convince many governments and foundations that they hold the key to mankind’s success as a species: reducing the numbers of living, breathing and loving human beings.
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