Think the Earth is finite? Think again
When modern Malthusians insist that resources are finite, they only expose their historical illiteracy, misanthropy and social pessimism.
Brendan O’Neill - 8 November 2010
On 30 October, spiked editor Brendan O’Neill debated Roger Martin, chairman of the Optimum Population Trust, at the Battle of Ideas in London. O’Neill’s speech is published below.
The main Malthusian idea I think we should challenge is the idea that resources are finite. The idea that the Earth itself is finite. The idea that we live on a finite planet and therefore we can only have a certain number of people, living in a certain number of homes, eating a certain amount of food.
Because it seems to me that the population-control lobby’s obsession with finiteness really exposes what it is all about. It reveals the historical illiteracy and the social pessimism that underpin the pseudo-scientific movement of Malthusianism. The Malthusians’ focus on finiteness explains firstly why they are always wrong about everything; secondly why they are so misanthropic; and thirdly why they put forward such illiberal proposals, dressed up, of course, in the language of ‘female empowerment’.