C: Jay Cross / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Paul Ehrlich doubles down on his discredited prophesy of doom

Having invested in more than a century of mass murder, artificial famine, labour camps and denial of basic human freedoms made on the basis of the disastrously wrong “scientific” predictions of Karl Marx, one might have imagined that the Left would tend to shy clear of the Prophesy game.

Not so. Of course, the work shy Karl – who in the manner of a prototype NGO lifer lived off the recycled profits of the capitalist class – had little or no sympathy for the alleged victims of capitalism itself, including his house maid whom he impregnated and then abandoned.

The whole point of the exercise ,as quickly recognised by other déclassé hate-the-worlds like Lenin, Mao and Castro, was to have an excuse to force large numbers of people into state slavery so that they could enjoy the buzz of destroying their lives, literally in millions of cases. While they and their goons could not only have nice stuff, but justify it on the basis that even the bad parts were worth it because in the end everyone including the slaves would be having their best time.

Not so of course, as the state slaves of China and Cuba still know. But even those vile regimes no longer have the audacity to claim that “socialism” either works or that it has anything to do with improving people’s lives.  Socialism as an economic system was a total disaster, which is why most left wing parties like Sinn Féin have completely abandoned it. Unless of course you are of the belief that socialism has something to do with men wearing dresses and dodgy racial theories.

The Left does cling to catastrophism and so while the economic prophesy about “inevitable” pauperization and the collapse of capitalism has long since been debunked, that has been replaced by environmental catastrophism which for over half a century has occupied a central and growing focus for the Cassandras of the Left who need a new excuse to justify another totalitarian interlude.

One of the main prophets of this is Paul Ehrlich, author of several books which predicted that hundreds of millions of people would “inevitably” die as a consequence of over-population and climate change. His 1968 book The Population Bomb, while generally regarded as specious nonsense, occupies somewhat of the same place in the ideology of the new Left as the Communist Manifesto once did for the old strain.

Thus, devotees will admit that perhaps both Ehrlich and Marx over-simplified things, and maybe got their dates wrong, but that fundamentally they were correct and that bad stuff is still going to happen. But that the bad stuff can still have a good outcome if people surrender their freedom and agree to being enslaved in order to be guaranteed survival.

Despite the obvious failure of reality to coincide with his predictions, the new Left has still largely been prepared to allow Ehrlich make excuses, and to update them. On the 50th anniversary of The Population Bomb, The Guardian stressed how Ehrlich had incorporated the more traditional leftist demand for “an unprecedented redistribution of wealth” into his schema.

The bottom line of course remains that “everyone” will have to radically reduce their “overconsumption” of resources. The only possible appeal being the sort of “cut off your own nose to spite your face” resentment that might take pleasure in the fact that if your own life becomes a miserable drudge of corporate or state enslavement, that at least the lad who used to own the local plant hire business will be equally as miserable as yourself.  That does have traction and accounts for not an insignificant proportion of the electoral support for the Left.

Ehrlich’s attempt to make himself appear to be reasonable are undermined somewhat by his clinging to the idea that the “optimum” population of the planet is between 1.5 and 2 billion. Now, given that the current population of earth is around 8 billion, and that according to Ehrlich and other extremists we do not have much time left in which to save the planet, only some drastic and nasty measures could possibly bring about the desired optimum.

Ehrlich himself gave a not entirely ungleeful description of the totalitarian nightmare he wished to see brought into being. The actions and words of his disciples, many of them in far greater positions of power than Ehrlich could have imagined in 1970, and the fanaticism of the radical Left in favour of the destruction of individual liberty during the Covid hysteria, are evidence that we are not that far removed from such an ideology gaining even greater influence. Something that is not helped by the intellectual bankruptcy and surrender to all of this on what ought to be the side of freedom and tradition.


Bear in mind too, that Ehrlich in his desire to deny any racist implications of his prophesies, given that most of that 8 billion live in the “global south” and would presumably be in the front line of what would be a literal culling of the human population, let’s call it what it is, lends support to the clear intent of the Left, including in Ireland, to move huge numbers of them into the over-resourced and under-populated “global north.”

On a more optimistic note, the misconceived decision on the part of the CBS ’60 Minutes’ show to kick off 2023 with another proclamation of doom by Ehrlich went down badly. Not only were most callers and other commentators irate but Ehrlich’s bad record on forecasting the End Times was exposed again.

A popular tweet was a re-run of economist Thomas Sowell’s dismissal of Ehrlich some years ago while the Centre for Individual Freedom stated that “with the possible exception of Al Gore, Ehrlich is the most humiliatingly and repeatedly discredited environmental doomsayer in the world, with over five decades of predictions contradicted by actual events.”


Another tweeter pointed out the unhealthy political and financial nexus between the climate extremist Left and the class who you might imagine they are supposed to be fighting, rather than farmers and working people.


Ehrlich may be a buffoon but he was the original of the charlatans who are still telling you that cities are going to be submerged by melting polar tidal waves.  Which was supposed to happen around 1978.  Know them for what they are: Aspirant small town Lenin and Maos searching for a new way to take their hatred of humanity out on us.

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