In his latest, “Mouse Utopia and the Blackest Pill”, James Corbett takes aim at perhaps the most insidious propaganda narrative of all, and one that is very close to my heart: Overpopulation.
This has been a personal bugbear of mine since I grew old enough to detect subtext, but long before I could articulate exactly why: The pervasive and destructive idea that there are too many people.
A propaganda construct that seeks to create contempt for masses of ordinary people, whilst excusing hubristic and inhumane practices by institutions and elites.
These destructive belief systems have come to the fore during this “pandemic”, made obvious by the fevered gleeful enthusiasm with which so many took up the narrative. One UN representative claimed the coronavirus was Earth “sending us a message”.
Back in April, the South China Morning Post ran an article headlined:
Why Covid-19 is a human overpopulation problem – perhaps humans are the virus?
We’ve been told for nearly two centuries that the planet is overpopulated, it has never been true. The idea there are too many people (or soon will be) has been around since the world’s population was less than 1/10th of what it is now.
The crisis – Paul Ehrlich’s infamous “Population Bomb” – is yet to materialise, but since when did failed predictions deter apocalyptic doomsaying?
It’s not hard to see the appeal of the idea.
On an institutional level, overpopulation is a grand excuse. When Thomas Malthus predicted the overpopulation crisis in the early 19th century, and claimed that mass want was inevitable, he handed the ruling class a “get out of jail free” card.
As inequality spikes and living standards diminish anyone who campaigns for change, or protests outside the seats of power, can be told “it’s not our fault there is suffering! It’s not our fault there is poverty! It’s your fault, you’re reproducing too fast! There are simply too many people!”.
In that sense, it is a lie which protects the ruling class from the anger of those they control. But it serves another purpose too. On a personal level, “enlightened” members of the elite have always been keen to write-off huge swaths of the population as surplus to requirements.
The idea of overpopulation allows academics, royals and bankers – men and women who hold themselves above the common folk based on their brains, blood and gold – to preach mass-murder whilst hiding their misanthropic god-complexes behind concern for the “common man”, our “future children”, or “the environment”.
From this wellspring flows eugenics and “useless eaters” and all those evil ideas spread by technocrats and billionaires, who would never in a thousand years considers themselves part of this supposed surplus. People who convince the world they are “good” by camouflaging their insidious means behind supposedly beneficent ends.The Myth of Overpopulation