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Ed Driscoll

‘I’ve Never Cried Because of a Science Report Before’

September 29th, 2013 - 2:57 pm

Actually, since the mid-to-late-1960, and long after Carter’s malaise speech, an increasing number on the left have existed in a sort of permanent malaise. Liberalism, as it called itself back then, entered the 1960s a confident ideology, believing that no problem was unsolvable. However, the one-two punch of not being able to process the cause of JFK’s assassination, and his successor LBJ attempting to tackle every American dilemma simultaneously, created a crisis of confidence that the left has never fully recovered from. Having given up on making America better, the left’s diminished élan manifested itself in two ways, which often overlap.

It gave rise to the punitive left, which sees America as the locus of evil in the world, and therefore wishes to diminish its power, both globally and domestically, and belittle its exceptionalism. (See also: Barack Obama.) But it also gave rise to those with a much more fatalistic outlook.

During the first Earth Day in 1970, all sorts of doomsday rhetoric was in the air promising the demise of man from anywhere from five years in the future to the end of the 20th century; this post at the I Hate the Media blog collates the nuttiest of them. In his classic 1976 essay, “The Intelligent Co-ed’s Guide to America,” Tom Wolfe mentioned sharing the podium at a college lecture on the topic of “The United States in the Year 2000,” with a speaker who was convinced that the world would be uninhabitable by the year 2000 because of aerosol spray use. And in order to put their doomsday prophesies into wide circulation, a number of Hollywood films were released during the early 1970s that used science fiction to illustrate the horrors to come: the famine and overpopulation of Soylent Green, the dehumanization of THX-1138, the population control of Logan’s Run, the deforestation depicted in Silent Running, and Rollerball, a corporatist warning of the scariest 21st century scenario of all: James Caan on roller-skates.

Back then, the big fear was global cooling; today it’s global warming – and occasionally, some of the same “scientists” have been spotted frightening audiences about both calamities — but the mindset is the same, as Josiah Neeley writes at the Federalist on “Malthus at the Movies”:

Where is Hollywood getting this stuff? The answer, improbably enough, is that they are getting it from the 18th Century Anglican Priest and economist Thomas Malthus. In his 1798 work An Essay on the Principle of Population, Malthus argued that, if left to its own devices, human population growth would outstrip improvements in agricultural productivity, leading inevitably to war, famine, pestilence, and death.

History has not been kind to Rev. Malthus’ arguments. Shortly after the book first appeared, the Industrial Revolution began and living standards began rapidly increasing even as the world’s population exploded. And while there were periodic warnings that we were about to run out of coal, or oil, or some other vital resource, these predictions were largely ignored, and ultimately proved false.

Starting in the mid-1960s, Malthusian fears began a strange rebirth. In his 1968 book, The Population Bomb, Paul Ehrlich relied on Malthus’ theories to argue that overpopulation would inevitably lead to disaster. “The battle to feed all of humanity is over,” Ehrlich wrote. “In the 1970′s the world will undergo famines–hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” The situation was so dire Ehrlich even went so far as to say that “[i]f I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” This, mind you, in a work that was purportedly non-fiction, not science fiction.

Ehrlich wasn’t alone. In 1972 the prestigious Club of Rome published The Limits to Growth, a report predicting that the world would run out of various commodities within 40 years. Ehrlich was a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show,” where he propounded his theories to a sympathetic Johnny Carson. Political figures as diverse as Richard Nixon and Martin Luther King, Jr. began to speak about the “population problem.” Even the normally clear-headed Alexander Solzhenitsyn uncritically accepted the Club of Rome’s predictions in his 1974 open letter to the Soviet leadership.

It was only natural that these dire predictions would start to work their way into film.

For those true believers who share the fatalism of Eric Holthaus, who’ve bought into the doomsday rhetoric, and yet have actually had children, a post in June at the Maggie’s Farm blog explored what they tell their kids about the horrible future and doomed planet into which they’ve been brought into. Picture Sarah Connor in Terminator 2 telling her son about the doomsday to come in just a few years when Skynet becomes self-aware, and you get the gist of it.

But such apocalyptic beliefs have been a staple of the left since the mid-1960s. Who knew just how old gray Chicken Little would become believing that world’s end was imminent? It’s this close. I can feel it. I know it’s going to happen. Any…day…now.

Update: “Time to Get Your Hockey Stick Tied,” quips Mark Steyn. “Eschewing procreation in order to spread their message only through conversion? Well, it worked for the Shakers…”

Heh, indeed.™

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Top Rated Comments   
I have been praying that the leftie warmists would demonstrate their committment to lowering carbon footprints by voluntarily removing themselves from the gene pool immediately - thereby saving us all.

But they're far too self absorbed. ;-)
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I plan on ending my airline use as well. My date will be December 14, 2016, when I turn 65 and the FAA says I must retire as an airline pilot with somewhere around 35000 hours of carbon footprint aloft.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have no problems with lefties sterilizing themselves. I just wish they did it before the abortion.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (63)
All Comments   (63)
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my best friend's step-sister makes $89 an hour on the computer. She has been unemployed for 5 months but last month her pay was $13439 just working on the computer for a few hours. ........> www.jobs60.ℂom
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
If this Holthaus fellow would give himself a massive, bowel-draining enema and follow up with a self-performed Frontal Lobotomy, I would pay to see these things occur. Doubtless others would, as well.
...and then I would donate all the pay per view revenue to Make-A-Wish and send deserving youngsters [on planes] to places of their choice.
So finally, this mental jerk-off would be doing something useful, after all......
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Everybody can earn 150$+ daily... You can earn from 4000-9000 a month or even more if you work as a full time job...It's easy, just follow instructions on this page, read it carefully from start to finish... It's a flexible job but a good earning opportunity.. go to this site home tab for more detail ..... ddp.net/47m
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Everybody can earn 150$+ daily... You can earn from 4000-9000 a month or even more if you work as a full time job...It's easy, just follow instructions on this page, read it carefully from start to finish... It's a flexible job but a good earning opportunity.. go to this site home tab for more detail ..... W­W­W.D­a­y­3­5.ℂℴ­M
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Everybody can earn 150$+ daily... You can earn from 4000-9000 a month or even more if you work as a full time job...It's easy, just follow instructions on this page, read it carefully from start to finish... It's a flexible job but a good earning opportunity.. go to this site home tab for more detail ..... W­W­W.D­a­y­3­5.C­O­M
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I see natural selection is not entirely out of vogue...
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Eric Holthaus, do you know what would help Mother Earth heal even better, if you killed yourself. Just think of all the CO2 that wouldn't get created if you no longer needed to heat your house, cool your house, heat your water, cook your food, refrigerate your food, drive your car, light your house, operate your electrical appliances, etc... not to speak of all the CO2 you emit 24/7 with each breath. So, do Gaia a favor and kill yourself.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well Eric might be phonier than a three dollar bill, but so are you, and the rest of pajama media.

Because what I see first, before the story even loads, is an advert for the Ganggreen in Sacramento, which offers the proceeds of Jerry Brown's fossil fuel user fees as a premium to socialism loving millionaire property owners. You know, the type that kickback give generously to the demo party of California.
Why would you want to have any part in that?

Flyboy might be crying about this report because he just hired on as a weatherman on a start up version of crowd sourced weather reporting in hunt of the Great Warmin. I know I'd be crying to my wife if that happened to me.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's called, "Taking Their Money And Laughing All The Way To The Bank".
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Money soaked in the blood of eagles.

Hey. It's a good gig if you can get it
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
The answer to Malthus flew yesterday. Elon Musk has already reduced the cost to Low Earth Orbit from the $10k/lb of the Space Shuttle down to $2k/lb. With yesterday's very successful flight of the Falcon 9 version 1.1, Spacex has proven the technology to cut that cost in half. If they succeed in returning just the first stage boosters from the planned Falcon Heavy (3 F9v1.1s), they can reduce costs to $500/lb. Space - where unlimited free energy, unlimited free resources and no gravity, beckon life to flower and spread off this little blue ball. Malthus be damned.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Meanwhile, in the real world, some people have noticed that Malthus has long ago been proven completely wrong, as have all past promises of free, unlimited resources and energy.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am all for 'Global Warming' enthusiasts to getting neutered and spayed.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Someone should take up a collection for this purpose.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wonder how many drinks Mr. Hothouse had in the airport lounge before he burst into tears and started tweeting his wife.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here's a movie plot:

A serial killer decides to take all these "eliminationists" seriously, and starts knocking them off.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was a kid when the Club of Rome report, based on a (gasp!) Computer Model(!) came out. I put it to my Dad (a physical scientist, you know, the type who actually uses math) and he taught me the phrase "garbage in, garbage out".

PS - Logan's Run was a pretty good book made into a silly movie. It was based on the assumption that the baby boom (which had started petering out) would continue, and the overwhelming majority of the worlds' people would be under 21, which then was the voting age.

I do recall that era also produced an Conservative TV movie where a couple was escaping the evil PopCon (Population Control) Bureau. I've never been able to locate it.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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