The People-Haters Are At It Again

In the UK he is a household name. He has done a beautiful series of documentaries for BBC on the world’s wildlife. He was even knighted by the Queen.

And he is a bona-fide, certified, take-no-prisoners people hater.

The hater in question, Sir David Attenborough, made the news last week by comparing the human race (that is, you and me) to a plague on the planet. Going even further, he predicted that disaster would befall us within the next half-century unless something is done to stop our reckless reproduction.

Or, as he told the Radio Times, “It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change. It’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.”

One would think that the geriatric broadcaster, who is 86 years old, would be putting his earthly affairs in order instead of imagining distant catastrophes caused by faceless hordes, but perhaps this is what gets him out of bed every morning.

As for me, neither climate change nor population growth keeps me up at night. In fact, the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, recently leaked to the press, reveals that for two decades global warming has been consistently overestimated.

Not only that, the report also indicates that solar activity plays alarger role in global warming than previously thought. If the sun is putting out more heat, there is not much we can do about it.

Attenborough, like many population control enthusiasts, reserves particular rancor for Africans. “We keep putting on programs about famine in Ethiopia – that [overpopulation] is what’s happening. Too many people there. They can’t support themselves – and it’s not an inhuman thing to say. It’s the case.”

You would think that, as a maker of documentaries, Sir David would do his homework. But he gets the situation in Ethiopia all wrong. What really happened is that the Marxists who run the country—the Derg, as they are called—destroyed its agricultural economy by herding farmers into huge and unproductive state farms, by forbidding them to trade in grain, and by restricting seasonal labor movements. Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians starved to death as a result of these misguided policies.

The Derg, quite naturally, are not about to admit that the famines are their fault. Though economically illiterate, they do not lack a certain political savvy. So they have seized upon the convenient Western theory of overpopulation to explain away their failures. And Attenborough, like many Western observers, has fallen for their self-serving disinformation campaign.

It fits in all too neatly with his worldview, which is that we are a “plague“ on the planet. He is, after all, a patron of an anti-people group called Population Matters, which pushes population control programs around the world.

“Until humanity manages to sort itself out and get a coordinated view about the planet, it’s going to get worse and worse,” Attenborough says.

What he means, of course, is that he wants the UN Population Fund and Western governments to intensify their current war against people, especially against Africans, to stop them from having babies.

How about promoting freedom instead?

Steve Mosher is the president of Population Research Institute.