All of us who remember the 1970s and the birth of the “environmental movement” back then may recall the infamous Paul Erlich, a biologist who published the doomsayer book “The Population Bomb” in 1968. warned of the perils of overpopulation: mass starvation, societal upheaval, and environmental deterioration. Now about 91, he is again being showcased by the mainstream media and the so-called green movement.
His book and his passionate advocacy for massive government control were key to the establishment of the environmental movement which has done so much damage in the last 55 years. And every one of his claims has proven to be, not just wrong, but incredibly off-base. In 1968, the world had an estimated population of 3.6 billion. That population, instead of having “hundreds of millions” starve to death, and collapsing civilization, doubled in about 40 years.
Though people think that Erlich is a relic of the past, and his ideas have been discredited and done little or no harm to the world, that isn’t the case. Erlich’s influence on the planet and most people has been significant – and deadly.
In the last 15 or so years, world population has climbed still more, to 8 billion. More than a third of them, by the way, are in China and India. Those are two of the locations who at least tried to carry out what Erlich preached.
Read what he wrote back then:
Not only that, he advocated for a massive totalitarian government, featuring propaganda, censorship, and population police:
This man enjoyed a very lucrative and successful career as a professor at Stanford University in California. Mainstream media found him there to use as part of the fearmongering that the media start every year with:
Connor Boyack (the publisher of the Tuttle Twins books) shared this and asked “Why is 60 Minutes promoting this guy’s evil ideas today?”
I think Connor is asking a rhetorical question, of course. It isn’t hard to figure out why the powers-that-be are continuing to spread his claims. Although Erlich was quickly proven wrong, he did have a massive following and many did believe him and acted on that. Perhaps the prime example is the People’s Republic of China, where the various programs of Mao and his successors did indeed put people in prison (or just kill them) because they had too many children. (In 2013, China reported that it had murdered 336 million unborn children in the last forty years. Today it is estimated that China aborts 19 million children each year.) The States’ bloody record cannot compare. (Just 60 million or so since 1973.)
As part of the environist movement he helped develop, population growth in much of the developed world has dropped precipitously. Particularly when combined with socio-economic changes, not because of starvation and want, but because of prosperity. When you take away immigration, every part of Europe is now declining in population: they are not breeding!
That is not enough for Erlich, the Gaea-worshipers, and the regressives, of course. Even though they didn’t need the FCC to order them to do so, the media has indeed condemned large families, while at the same time strongly promoting birth control, homosexuality, and abortion. Erlich is not the only, or even primary, cause of the massive changes since 1968. But his influence is still strong. And his influence in the 1970s shaped the worldview of many people now in power today.
Yet all this does not seem to be doing anything about the growing world population, apparently.
And of all the nations of the world, it is the two that seem to be following his recommendations that are closest to collapse: China and Russia.
So Erlich has doubled down. He is actually claiming that 500-800 million people have died in the last half-century from starvation (due to overpopulation, just as he predicted). As with the numbers you hear from the hoplophobes and hoploclasts about gun violence, I suspect they are bogus. Yes, undoubtedly many people have died of starvation in the last half-century, but the fault lies with government, greed, and disruptions of society, not a lack of food production. (And the environists work against themselves, of course: looking at billions of tons of food and millions of acres of cropland diverted to produce fuel (biodiesel and ethanol) to reduce the use of evil fossil fuels.) Erlich at least seems to recognize this: we are accused of not sharing enough. (Does that sound like wealth redistribution to you?)
Like the liars about global warming, guns, and “the benefits of a planned political economy” we must not believe Erlich’s lies from a half-century ago or today. But we must also be prepared to answer them.