UCL Professor Bill McGuire
The grisly streak of neo-Malthusianism that runs through the green movement reared its ugly head earlier this week when former United Nations contributing author and retired UCL Professor Bill McGuire tweeted that the only "realistic way" to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown was to cull the human population with a high fatality pandemic. The tweet was subsequently withdrawn by McGuire, "not because I regret it", but people took it the wrong way. McGuire is the alarmists' alarmist, suggesting for instance that human-caused climate change could lead to more earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The Daily Sceptic will not take his views the wrong way. They are an illuminating insight into environmental Malthusianism that does not get anything like the amount of publicity it deserves.

McGuire tweet
Every now and then Sir David Attenborough allows the genial TV presenter mask to slip to reveal a harder-edged Malthusian side. Speaking to BBC Breakfast in 2021, he suggested that the Earth would be better off without the human race, describing us as "intruders". In 2009, Attenborough became the patron of the Optimum Population Trust and told the Guardian: "I've never seen a problem that wouldn't be easier to solve with fewer people." In 2013, he made the appalling remark that it was "barmy" for the United Nations to send bags of flour to famine-stricken Ethiopia. Too little land, too many people, was his considered judgement.

Any consideration of the refusal of food aid these days brings to mind the 19th century Malthusian Sir Charles Trevelyan, the British civil servant during the Irish famines who saw the starvation as retribution on the local population for their moral failings and tendency to have numerous children. He is said to have seen the great loss of life as a regrettable but unavoidable consequence of reform and regeneration.

Anti-human sentiment is riven through much green thinking. In 2019, Anglia Ruskin University Professor Patricia MacCormack wrote a book suggesting humans were already enslaved to the point of "zombiedom" because of capitalism, and "phasing out reproduction is the only way to repair the damage done to the world". Green fanatics can be a joyless crowd - it is not enough to declare a climate crisis, now they want a 'nookie' emergency. As the economist and philosopher Robert Boulding once remarked: "Is there any more single-minded, simple pleasure than viewing with alarm? At times it is even better than sex."

But at least most of them - one must fervently pray - stop short of Clemson University Philosophy Professor Todd May, who has asked if human extinction would be a tragedy. He is of the considered opinion that it might be a good thing "for those of us who are currently here to end our lives in order to prevent further animal suffering". But he did accept that the policy would cause "significant suffering" among those who had much to lose by dying.

In an interesting paper published in 2022, the science historian Dr. Emily Klancher Merchant notes that environmental Malthusianism - the idea that human population growth is the primary driver of environmental harms and population control is a prerequisite to environmental protection - is experiencing a "resurgence". She notes the views of Philosophy Emeritus Professor Sarah Conly who contends that it is not only wrong to have more than one child in the current environmental climate, but humans do not even retain the right to do so. Biologist Dr. Colin Hickey says that the threats posed by climate change justify "population engineering", which he defines as the "intentional manipulation of the size and structure of human populations". Governments should act to enforce a one child policy.

It is not an exaggeration to state that at the core of the modern green movement is a visceral hatred of humanity. There are just too many people on the planet, why won't half of them just go away? The unnecessary Covid lockdowns were the ultimate luxury treat for many middle class fanatics - tons of social control, quiet streets, anyone not 'essential' locked away, plenty of food and drink in Waitrose. The American journalist H. L. Mencken defined Puritanism as the "haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy". Imposing collective lock-away misery on entire populations - let joy be unconfined.

Industrialisation over the last 200 years has brought enormous benefits to humankind and given many people a standard of living beyond the wildest dreams of their ancestors. Life in the 'natural' state is nasty, brutish and short, a fate still awaiting almost every species on Earth, except, at the moment, homo sapiens. The green movement is a rejection of enlightenment and progress. It seeks to impoverish populations with Net Zero fantasies backed by deceitful claims of climate collapse, mass extinctions and non-existent climate refugees. Any move to stop humans procreating children is evil personified. Actual triumphs of environmentalism such as the massive recent greening of the planet and the protection of wild spaces as countries become richer are ignored. We have seen many such destructive cults in the past - a drive to control other people whatever the cost - a cost not borne, of course, by the saviour class itself. A war on essential hydrocarbons is really an undeclared war on humanity and human development.

Treble pandemics all round.