The other night, I was watching a 1995-era History Channel show on the Nuremberg Trials — it was a classic case of clicking ’round the Roku box to see what was “new” at Netflix. I put “new” in quotation marks since so much of what’s available there in streaming format unfortunately consists of flotsam and jetsam I had either watched a decade or two ago, and/or shows I probably wouldn’t give the time of day to, except that the novelty of streaming video via the Internet still hasn’t worn off.
The History Channel show on the Nuremberg Trials mentioned in passing the Morgenthau Plan, a scheme for postwar Germany that was viciously punitive, if understandably so, and crafted by Henry Morgenthau, Jr., FDR’s Treasury secretary, around 1944. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:
The Morgenthau Plan, proposed by United States Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., advocated that the Allied occupation of Germany following World War II include measures to eliminate Germany’s ability to wage war.
- In the original proposal this was to be achieved in three main steps.
- Germany was to be partitioned into two independent states.
- Germany’s main centers of mining and industry, including the Saar area, the Ruhr area and Upper Silesia were to be internationalized or annexed by neighboring nations.
- All heavy industry was to be dismantled or otherwise destroyed.
At the Second Quebec Conference on September 16, 1944, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Henry Morgenthau, Jr. persuaded the initially very reluctant British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to agree to the plan, likely using a $6 billion Lend Lease agreement to do so. Churchill chose however to narrow the scope of Morgenthau’s proposal by drafting a new version of the memorandum, which ended up being the version signed by the two statesmen.
The memorandum concluded “is looking forward to converting Germany into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in its character.”
As that Wikipedia page goes on to note, cooler heads eventually prevailed after the war. Otherwise, just as East Germany traded one totalitarian regime for another, West Germany would have traded the nightmare of Hitler’s scorched earth policy when he knew the war was lost for the Allies’ own scorched earth policy afterwards. Wikipedia quotes former president Herbert Hoover, who reminded advocates of the Morgenthau Plan in 1947 that “There is the illusion that the New Germany left after the annexations can be reduced to a ‘pastoral state’. It cannot be done unless we exterminate or move 25,000,000 people out of it.” West Germany would go on to become an industrial powerhouse, albeit one with a US military base located within it, just in case…
And while the Morgenthau Plan is now merely a footnote in history, ever since the late ’60s and early 1970s, the desire for punitive reprimitivization on a global scale has become all the rage amongst the wackier elements of the environmental left, including the fellow recently spotlighted by John Aziz at the Zero Hedge econo-blog, whom Aziz dubs “The Face of Genocidal Eco-Fascism”:
This is Finnish writer Pentti Linkola — a man who demands that the human population reduce its size to around 500 million and abandon modern technology and the pursuit of economic growth — in his own words.
He likens Earth today to an overflowing lifeboat:
What to do, when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and there is only one lifeboat? When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship’s axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides.
He sees America as the root of the problem:
The United States symbolises the worst ideologies in the world: growth and freedom.
He unapologetically advocates bloodthirsty dictatorship:
Any dictatorship would be better than modern democracy. There cannot be so incompetent a dictator that he would show more stupidity than a majority of the people. The best dictatorship would be one where lots of heads would roll and where government would prevent any economical growth.
We will have to learn from the history of revolutionary movements — the national socialists, the Finnish Stalinists, from the many stages of the Russian revolution, from the methods of the Red Brigades — and forget our narcissistic selves.
A fundamental, devastating error is to set up a political system based on desire. Society and life have been organized on the basis of what an individual wants, not on what is good for him or her.
Or to put it a bit more articulately, “The ecochondriacs mean it: This’d be a pretty nice planet if we didn’t live here,” Mark Steyn wrote a few years ago, a quote we referenced back in 2008 rounding up additional examples of what James Taranto dubbed a few years later, “Green Supremacism.”
Linking to the above post at Zero Hedge, Glenn Reynolds responded this past Friday:
As Bob Zubrin has pointed out, such sentiments, if usually a bit less bluntly stated, are driving environmental policy nowadays. It’s Himmler in a green shirt. These are not nice people who want good things for everyone. These are evil people who hanker after mass death.
Still, it’s educational to hear things like this: “The United States symbolises the worst ideologies in the world: growth and freedom.”
If you like growth and freedom, these people are your enemies. Remember that and treat them accordingly.
Responding to Linkola’s manifesto, John Aziz writes at Zero Hedge (and I urge you to read his whole post), “My suggestion for all such thinkers is that if they want to reduce the global population they should measure up to their words and go first.”