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Ed Driscoll

Mark Versus The Malthusians

October 18th, 2006 - 1:39 am

Austin Bay, whose “Blog Week In Review” podcast I produce, has a great review of Mark Steyn’s new book, America Alone, over at Town Hall.com:

Mark Steyn notes in his new book, “America Alone” (Regnery Publishing), “The end of the world’s nighness isn’t something you’d want to set your watch by. ”

Steyn provides a collection of the dire predictions made by “Chicken Little’s eminent successors.”

Steyn’s list includes:

– 1968, in “The Population Bomb,” distinguished scientist Paul Ehrlich declared, “In the 1970s the world will undergo famines — hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.”

– 1972, in “The Limits to Growth,” the Club of Rome announced that the world would run out of gold by 1981, of mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead and gas by 1993.

– 1976, Lowell Ponte published a huge bestseller called “The Cooling: Has the New Ice Age Already Begun? Can We Survive?”

– 1977, Jimmy Carter confidently predicted that “we could use up all of the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.”

“None of these things occurred,” Steyn writes. “Contrary to the doom-mongers’ predictions, millions didn’t starve.”

Steyn, however, isn’t against gloomy prognostications, per se. In fact, “America Alone” is a doom book of a peculiar sort — it’s insistently witty and trenchantly written. Both are achievements, given the core subject matter: American demographic success and vitality (fecundity, folks) compared to the demographic decline of other democracies and modern, industrialized nations.

That’s a topic that Steyn explores further on his own Website, in a timely excerpt from his new book, and if you haven’t listened to it yet, click here for my own interview with Steyn over at TCS Daily.

Incidentally, this week’s “Blog Week In Review” will have an interview with the author of another important book on the War On Terror, whose theme has a decidedly different slant than Steyn’s. Watch for details here and the Pajamas mothersite.