“This is the doctrine of Malthus, applied to the whole animal and vegetable kingdoms.”,
The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin, Wordsworth classics of world literature, 1998, p. 5-6.
[Re-posted from The Old Site, original dd. 06-06-2009. Not only a simple one, a long one also. It’s also blunt in combining Malthus and multi-culturalism.]
A simple one. Malthus has gotten loads of bad press. If at all a connection is made between Malthus and Darwin, it’s mostly made under the heading ‘Social Darwinism’, which is meant insultingly as misapplied Darwinism and associated to extreme right political views. This annoys me. Or more accurately: infuriates me. But more importantly: it’s incorrect. And, most importantly: the error blocks us from an important insight.
First the error. Continue reading
” (..) but we have only to proceed in improving our civil polity, conferring the benefits of education upon all, (..) and we may be quite sure that the effect to which I look forward, and which can alone render these advantages permanent, will follow.” Malthus, An essay on the Principle of Population, Cambridge University Press 1992, p. 358.
“As long as the nations of Europe continue barbarous enough to purchase slaves in Africa, we may be quite sure that Africa will continue barbarous enough to supply them.” ibid., p. 364.
[Re-posted from The Old Site, original dd. 29-12-2008. Now ‘politically correct’ finally has come back to its natural home, the political right, it is time to reclaim the politically incorrect to its natural family: the emancipatory movement known as: the left.]
Before wandering off again on more analytical slumberings, there is something that I felt I needed to say on practical politics. There is, luckily, the irreversible evolution towards universal adoption (in public discourse at least) of universal human rights. But, unluckily enough, there’s a double problem of uncritical extension of these rights to include all benefits deemed acquired in the Western wellfare state, combined with a prohibitively impractical attitude towards their universal adoption in actual practice (‘Everything! Now!’). [This double problem allows those benefiting from a reactionary stance to call the progressive stance naive (and outright dangerous) and is hence a key obstacle to actual progress.]
“(..) and I thought that I should not do justice to the subject, and bring it fairly under discussion, if I refused to consider any of the consequences which appeared necessary to flow from it, whatever these consequences might be. By pursuing this plan, however, I am aware that I have opened a door to many objections and, probably, to much severity of criticism: but I console myself with the reflection that even the errors into which I may have fallen, by affording a handle to argument, and an additional excitement to examination, may be subservient to the important end, of bringing a subject so nearly connected with the happiness of society into more general notice.” Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, Cambridge University Press (1992) Preface, p.9.
[Re-posted from The Old Site, original dated 03-08-2008. I am happy to report that I have not changed opinion on it, at all. Even though I never meant it in the way that is of recent en vogue now people are looking for new apocalyptical scenario’s to get worked up about in order to be able to condemn the lifestyle of the many.]
It’s probably thé heresy against woolly thinking: “Charity increases misery.”, and, “Helping out is often just a matter of patronizing.” There is a necessary tendency to overpopulation, and overpopulation is always an issue of the poor. The poor stay poor because the rich need an excess of poverty. Just a couple of really inconvenient things in the line of – I do not claim they are Malthus’ point of view nor even that they can all be based on his findings – Malthus.