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Population Control


Malthus is alive and well

BBC wildlife expert Chris Packham has warned the only way to protect the future of the planet is to curb population growth.

Chris is a presenter on Springwatch and therefore obviously an expert on the dangers of over-population. He warns that soon there will be 70 million people in the UK - and that's far too many or so he thinks.

Commenting on Chris's neo-malthusianism, Mimi, writing from somewhere in the East, probably East Grinstead, says:

"Quite true! How many people like the truth? I can see that a lot of us have common sense. That made my day!"

Well, we have got news for Mimi, and everyone else who commented on this Daily Mail piece, Mr Packham is not speaking some universal Truth that he discovered on a foraging trip in the New Forest.

Packham's argument runs as follows:

'We all eat food, breathe air and require space, and the more of us there are, the less of those commodities there are for other people and, of course, for the animals.'

He continues:

"The increase in population would be ‘catastrophic’ and put unsustainable pressure on housing, schools and hospitals as well as natural resources."

That's it, there's no more - Mr Packham's penetrative thinking seemed to have entered a bit of cul-de-sac - his only solution is to reverse - people must have fewer children.

Problem, people in the UK are having fewer children and this trend has been going on for some time. The fact, or truth is, that people are generally living longer and that's a bit of a problem. And fewer babies will make that problem worse.

However, the key problem to be addressed is the distribution of resources. Under the status quo, population increase will collide with diminishing resources. The solution is to question the status quo and address the issue of inequality in our society.

There's no shortage of space in the UK for 70 or 100 million people, there's also no shortage of air (yet). The argument that pressure from population increase leads to a lack of sustainable resources just lacks imagination.

Packham is not alone in espousing his loony tree hugging cant. Indeed he is merely riding on a rising tide of common sense that goes beyond population control and suggests that suicide is the only answer.

Brendan O’Neill, from Spiked magazine underlines how far the lunacy has gone:

"Card-carrying members of groups such as the Church of Euthanasia (which promotes suicide, abortion and sodomy as remedies for ‘humanity’s cancerous growth’) and the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (which says that ‘phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth’s biosphere to return to good health’)."

These lunatics are backed up by academics and their celebrity dinner party guests.

In sum: the neo-malthusian common sense (as well as the common sense of the Daily Mail readership) is that the construction of society is a natural phenomenon, determined without human agency. Therefore, the solution to life's ills demand a natural solution - a baby cull.

Thomas Malthus 1798 Essay on the Principle of Population