October 12th 2013

  Buy Issue 2910

Articles from this issue:

ENVIRONMENT: IPCC report ignites new row over global warming

MARRIAGE: Same-sex marriage: is it harmless?

TASMANIA: Labor premier and Greens to legalise medicalised killing

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Tony Abbott's first major test: stopping the boats

EDITORIAL: The Abbott government gets down to work...

OPINION: Why Australia should acquire US-built nuclear submarines

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Challenges loom after Angela Merckel's election win

POPULATION: China may be too late to avert demographic disaster

POLITICAL IDEAS: Replacing agribusinesses with family farms

LIFE ISSUES: Culture of death and our missing moral compass

HISTORY: How King Alfred's reputation fell victim to political correctness

OPINION: David Marr and the white whale

CULTURE: How television can stupefy or stimulate our minds

BOOK REVIEW A rogues' gallery

BOOK REVIEW Intellectual rivals

Books promotion page

rogues' gallery

News Weekly, October 12, 2013

Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism

by Robert Zubrin

(New York: Encounter Books)
Hardcover: 328 pages
ISBN: 9781594034763
RRP: AUD$51.90


Reviewed by Jay Lehr


There have been many excellent books recounting how environmental zealots have worsened human welfare and the environment alike through wrongheaded thinking Few, however, meticulously present the philosophical inner workings of such wrong-headedness.

In his new book, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism, Robert Zubrin presents a must-read that explains why environmental activists believe and push such an anti-human agenda.

Zubrin gets right to the heart of the matter by noting that radical environmentalists believe humans are a cancer upon the earth. With such a worldview, it is impossible for them to practise good stewardship. After all, cancer cells can never be good stewards of the human body.

Zubrin probes and explains the ideology of anti-humanism, showing some of today’s most fashionable political and social ideas are essentially replays of earlier ideological fads that were used to justify oppression, tyranny and genocide.

It is said that those without a knowledge of history are condemned to repeat it — thus the importance of this book.

Zubrin says the effort to dissect this monster so that it can be understood and debunked is long overdue. He does exactly that with this elegantly referenced, scholarly work in which he traces the roots of anti-humanism from Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) on through Paul Ehrlich in recent years and Al Gore today.

Malthus argued that population growth is a blight on the earth and harms rather than benefits the human condition. In his 1879 book Progress and Poverty, Henry George outlined a better view of the human interaction with the environment, writing, “human beings are not simply the consumers of a pre-existing gift of nature; they are also the cultivators of the bounty on which they live”.

The 20th-century economist Julian Simon agreed, noting that the human mouth comes with a pair of hands and a brain. Simon observed that as the world’s population has increased, the standard of living has also increased and at an accelerating rate — facts which Zubrin illustrates graphically.

On the other hand, Malthusians Paul Ehrlich and President Obama’s science advisor John Holdren in 1971 jointly said mankind was “so many bacteria in a culture dish, doomed to quick extinction unless our appetites can be controlled by wise overlords wielding sterilants to curb our excessive multiplication”.

Their predictions of a catastrophic collapse of human well-being by the turn of the 21st century proved to be the exact opposite of what occurred.

Path to genocide

Zubrin’s brief chapter on Darwin will be very enlightening for the average reader. Most of us recognise Darwin’s contribution to the understanding of evolution of species but are unfamiliar with his dangerously wrong theory that societies advance entirely based on heredity. The theories presented in his flawed book The Descent of Man became the source of much anti-humanism over the years.

Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton, expanded upon Darwin’s bad ideas by developing the terrible theory of eugenics. According to eugenics, manipulation of the gene pool, often through harsh and barbaric methods, benefits human breeding and ultimately human evolution.

Such a theory casts leaders who attempt to breed “master races” as moral heroes rather than genocidal villains.

The story of eugenics in the United States through much of the 20th century will astound you. Zubrin shows how both Nazism and environmentalism sprang from the same seeds and were based in great part on the belief in eugenics.

Population control debunked

More than any writer before him, Zubrin clarifies the impetus behind every wrongheaded population control idea and anti-ethnic activity the United States has ever undergone. This includes the suppression of DDT even though it had all but wiped out malaria.

As enlightening as any segment of the book is Zubrin’s discussion of population control. Trends indicate the earth’s population will likely stop growing shortly after the year 2060. Yet anti-humanists continue to push for population control measures, arguing that we cannot afford to allow more humans to live on the planet.

China’s one-child-per-family requirement serves as a lurid example of the nauseating lengths to which population control advocates will go. Shamefully, mainstream environmental activists who claim to be liberal thinkers frequently praise China’s population control policies.

A more modern campaign to reduce population comes from the environmental organisations that make every effort to eliminate the use of genetically-modified grains, which offer the world abundant, safe and healthy food.

This situation is well described by Nigerian Minister of Agriculture Hassan Adamu. He says: “To deny desperate, hungry people the means to control their futures by presuming to know what is best for them is … paternalistic and morally wrong. We want to have the opportunity to save the lives of millions of people…. The harsh reality is that, without the help of agricultural biotechnology, many will not live.”

I believe that no one to date has so clearly explained the threat of the anti-human movement throughout history as Zubrin has done here. To read this book is to become a warrior on the side of humanity.

Jay Lehr, PhD, is an internationally renowned speaker, scientist and author. He is science director of the Chicago-based independent, non-profit organisation, the Heartland Institute. This book review is reprinted from the Heartlander Magazine.
URL: http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2012/01/06/explaining-myths-and-dangers-anti-humanism

Purchase this book at the bookshop:


Join email list

Join e-newsletter list

Your cart has 0 items

Subscribe to NewsWeekly

Research Papers

Trending articles

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Memo to Shorten, Wong: LGBTIs don't want it

COVER STORY Shorten takes low road to defeat marriage plebiscite

COVER STORY Reaper mows down first child in the Low Countries

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Kevin Andrews: defend marriage on principles

CANBERRA OBSERVED Coalition still gridlocked despite foreign success

ENVIRONMENT More pseudo science from climate

COVER STORY Bill Shorten imposes his political will on the nation

News and views from around the world

Menzies, myth and modern Australia (Jonathan Pincus)

China’s utterly disgraceful human-rights record

Japan’s cure for childlessness: a robot (Marcus Roberts)

SOGI laws: a subversive response to a non-existent problem (James Gottry)

Shakespeare, Cervantes and the romance of the real (R.V. Young)

That’s not funny: PC and humour (Anthony Sacramone)

Refugees celebrate capture of terror suspect

The Spectre of soft totalitarianism (Daniel Mahoney)

American dream more dead than you thought (Eric Levitz)

Think the world is overcrowded: These 10 maps show why you’re wrong (Max Galka)

© Copyright NewsWeekly.com.au 2011
Last Modified:
November 14, 2015, 11:18 am