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What’s Beneath the Surface?


Malthusianism – The philosophy driving change in the modern world?

Do you ever find yourself listening to the news, or reading the paper, and just asking yourself, “What on earth is going on in the world?”  Why are so many strange things happening?  I suppose the simple answer would be that we are living in the last days. We are.  But there is a concerted, global co-ordination of the ongoing attacks on life, liberty freedom of speech and personal and bodily autonomy.    


Look back over the past couple of years.  Look at how events seems to have been synchronised. The Covid pandemic,  a novel coronavirus, leaked from a Chinese lab, accidentally or deliberately – who knows? Leading to a simultaneous response right across the world, – 

  • Lockdowns, never heard of before, the stripping away of essential freedoms, hard won over many centuries, – meet outdoors, social distancing, masks, self-isolation, restrictive measures. People denied access to loved ones, even when they were sick, even when they were dying. (All over the world – at the same time – as if someone or something was co-ordinating it all).  
  • The control of the media, deplatforming any scientists, even eminent academic experts in the fields of epidemiology, public health policy, vaccines, anyone who disagreed with the orthodox narrative, silenced and discredited.  Labelling them as ‘Covid deniers…’  (All over the world – at the same time – as if someone or something was co-ordinating it all.) 
  • The worldwide rubbishing of existing prophylactic medications like Ivermectin and Hydroxychloiquine, and the early insistence that only vaccines could be effective in freeing us from this plague. (All over the world – at the same time – as if someone or something was co-ordinating it all.)
  • The crushing of dissent.  In New Zealand, in Australia, in Europe, and most noticeably in Canada, where a Prime Minister, with liberal credentials, jailed a pastor who refused to close his church when ordered to do so, and has kept him in solitary confinement, removed peaceful protesters from Ottawa, by brute force, has frozen bank accounts of anyone who offer financial support to the protesters, closed down businesses who served them – COFFEE – charged his own people with police on horseback, police with no identification numbers or names… (All over the world – at the same time – as if someone or something was co-ordinating it all.)
  • The introduction of vaccine passports, – the vilification of people who declined an untested medical procedure, labelling them as unclean, refuseniks, (a term from soviet Russia), ‘the unvaccinated’ – mandatory vaccination for travel, for employment, for leisure facilities… (All over the world – at the same time – as if someone or something was co-ordinating it all.)

And then, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, it was all over!  The media focus switched, like by magic, to something different, a new plague, it was like as if the white horse of pestilence had passed over us and the red horse of war had taken his place – and the narrative changed too, and all the media began to focus on government message about Putin, Russia, Ukraine, NATO.  People waving Ukrainian flags, even expressing a desire to go to Ukraine to fight the Russians, encouraged by the foolish woman who is supposed to be our Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss – sorry, did I mention ‘the government?’ It’s not just our government, it’s all over the world – at the same time – as if someone or something was co-ordinating it all.  Surely it’s only a matter of time before the black horse of famine rides out to inflict us – but more of that later…

Let’s look at the moral state of the globe. Why is our society changing so quickly, and who or what is behind it all?  In just a few decades, here in the UK, we have gone from being a conservative, god-fearing society to a pagan nation.  Think of the changes.  Homosexuality, once considered to be a shameful and dangerous practice, illegal, punishable in the courts, is now legal, and acceptable in society – we went for a walk with the grandchildren in Portstewart last summer, and as we walked down past the old town hall towards the promenade, two men – probably in their twenties, walked past holding hands and no-one batted an eyelid.  Did I say, legal and acceptable? That would be bad enough, but it is openly promoted in primary and secondary schools, it is not just tolerated in society, it is celebrated, – with their ‘pride’ marches – and it is being normalised, by legalised homosexual ‘marriage’ ceremonies. and any overly public critique of the LGBT agenda is likely to result in a court appearance.  The legalised murder of unborn children, once a shady backstreet profession, is now openly carried out by the NHS, and described as ‘healthcare.’  Men competing in women’s sports, ‘men’ having babies, five year-olds who are not allowed to decide what time they should go to bed at night, are being allowed to decide to dress as the opposite sex, and opt for hormone replacement therapy, which will stop their puberty, and in their teenage years, opt for surgical mutilation of their body parts and reproductive organs that can never be undone. 

And not just moral changes.  Why is home heating oil and fuel rising so steeply in price, why are you paying so much for electricity? Of course the events in Ukraine have contributed greatly to that.  But before the Russian intervention there, prices were already rising, inflation was rampant. (All over the world – at the same time – as if someone or something was co-ordinating it all.)

Right – you know what I’m getting at when I ask “What on earth is going on?” Of course there are multiple organisations pushing these all agendas, but is there a single idea or worldview; a philosophy that underlies it all?  I believe that there is.  And to uncover that worldview we need to go back to the 18th century and meet a man called Rev Thomas Robert Malthus, a failed vicar, and later teacher of economics, whose ideas on world population, discredited by many at the time and even later, are influencing the direction of our present world.  Let’s start with he easy stuff and ask…

1. Who was Rev. T.R. Malthus?

Thomas Robert Malthus was born in 1766 near Dorking in Surrey.  He studied at Jesus College Cambridge, and was ordained to the Anglican ministry in 1797.But Malthus didn’t remain a minister in the church for very long.  He had a great interest in economics, – the study of finance and population, and how governments and businesses generated and spent money.  He collected data on population, births, marriages, deaths, and spent hours trying to figure out how wealth or poverty would affect people’s inclination to marry and have children.  It was a topic of conversation at the time, for parliament was debating the Poor Laws, – measures that would establish workhouses for the poor, places where people who were genuinely impoverished could find basic shelter and basic food, – very basic shelter and food, in return for their labour. Malthus opposed such measures, opposed any form of dole for the poor, believing that if they were without food it was their own fault, that they should have produced less children, or that they should ‘get on their bike’ to quote a later Tory minister and travel further afield to find work.  Providing ‘dole’ or a workhouse would hinder the mobility of labour.

In 1805 Malthus took up a post, as professor of history and political economics at Haileybury, a university established by the British East India Company.  He published a book, “Essays on the Principle of Population.”  The book’s main argument was that human population would always exceed the supply of food available.

So, what did Malthus believe about the human population of the world?  He taught that there was no possibility of human happiness lasting for ever, on this earth, or being available to every single person, for the population is always expanding, whereas the supply of food, worldwide, was always going to be limited.  Malthus wondered what factors would slow population growth.  He reasoned that the human population would only be controlled by

  • Human vice. (He was thinking about the bad things that people do, like wars…)
  • Human misery. (Referring to illness, pandemics, famine etc)
  • Moral restraint.  Malthus, of course, as a churchman, believed that temperance should be taught to the children, in schools and in the home, – that people should learn to restrain themselves – sexually, that sex before marriage is always wrong and even after marriage should be restricted to when it was necessary to procreate.  A man and woman should learn that sexual relationships resulted in babies, and too many babies were heard to feed, if not impossible, in some cases.

Modern economists regard Malthus as an economic pessimist.  He saw only death and doom and destruction, if we could not learn to control ourselves, and so control the population.  We would all, eventually, starve ourselves to death and extinction.  Now this is where Malthus dabbled a bit into behavioural science.  Malthus believed that faced with the prospect of an overpopulated world, and certain death, humans would change their behaviour, and that they could be incentivised to change their behaviour (instead of being ‘rewarded’ – as he saw it – for the bad behaviour).  In fact, he concluded, the very fact that mankind has survived at all, is because economic choices are at work, MUST be at work.  It is the job of an economist to study those incentives, and those choices and changes of behaviour, so that the population can be limited `and maintained at a sustainable level.

2. Modern Malthusianism – POPULATION ALARMISM.

Malthus has been sometimes misunderstood.  He saw population control is a natural result of factors outside the control of the individual.  Lack of resources, illness etc.  But in modern times, his ideas have been adopted by various lobbies, people who think population should be controlled by artificial means, either by force / force of legislation, or by coercion / psychological nudging.  Let’s think of some examples:-

  • Legislative and enforced control. The Chinese Communist Party introduced a ‘one child policy’ between 1980 and 2015 to curb the country’s growth by restricting many families to a single child. China had been concerned about excessive population growth in the 1970s, so the government raised the age of marriage, and demanded less children be born.  It was encouraged by pervasive campaigns of propaganda, and severe penalties, including forced use of contraception, abortions, and women made to undergo sterilisation. Families who violated the policy faced large fines and social demonisation in their communities.  The policy didn’t work.  In a deeply patriarchal society, families wanted male children, to work, contribute to the family, carry on the family line, and provide for parents in their old age.  The result was that baby girls were frequently unwanted and unloved.  Girls were a disappointment, and sometimes were abandoned to die, or given for adoption overseas, into whom knows what circumstances.  The Chinese population dropped dramatically, and at one point the drop in the up-coming labour force to keep the nation’s industries running became alarming.  The ‘one child’ policy was amended in the mid 80s when rural couples were permitted a second child, but only if the first one was a girl.  In 2015 the one child limits were increased across the population to two children, and in 2021 all limits were eventually removed.
  • Psychological nudging. Let’s look at some strange examples…
    • The nudge behind the introduction of ‘gay marriage.’ In UK introduced by a conservative PM, (globalist heir to Blair) David Cameron, – there was no mention of it in his election manifesto.  Yet it was relentlessly pushed through.  Every western country is pro gay marriage, and they will attempt to coerce third world countries to follow suit through sanctions, aid programmes etc etc.  Why?  Simple.  The theory goes that everyone needs someone to love, we crave lifelong companionship and commitment, but traditionally that has been found in Christian marriage – one man and one woman, and a family of 2.4 children.  But what if we could get people to love someone they couldn’t have children with? Like, two men or two women, what if we could encourage them, (homosexuality was regarded in earlier times as promiscuous) to remain faithful to each other?  What if we could tell them that homosexual promiscuity can lead to a dreadful disease, a plague that occurred in the 80’s, and that they’d really be better off on a one to one relationship?  THEN, we can make that more desirable for them by calling it ‘marriage’ and normalising and legalising it, – and we’ll have lots of nice, happy couples living together, loving each other, and – NO CHILDREN!  Now, do you think that’s far-fetched?  Here’s a quote from Brendan O’Neill: “Given the social hardships of our era, the benefits of homosexual marriage could be immeasurable.  Even America, though its population pales in comparison to that of other nations, is considered overpopulated because the amount of energy each of its citizens expends in a lifetime is enormous. Obviously homosexuals cannot, within the confines of a monogamous relationship, conceive offspring.’ So, legalising gay marriage would ‘indirectly limit population growth’. So, want to reduce the population?  Promote homosexual marriage!  
    • The abortion industry.  Why are western nations ruthlessly pushing for abortion?  Because people want sex without consequences, the abortionists push for their ‘healthcare’ – murdering babies in the womb – controlling population.  How was abortion legalised in NI?  
    • The climate change lobby.  The central thesis of this lobby is that we, human beings are draining the earth’s resources, we are a danger to the animal world, we have stripped the earth, and polluted it with industrialisation. So we must stop heating our homes with oil, we must stop driving cars we must stop eating meat, because cattle emit methane gas in their flatulence, and that damaged the ozone layer, and we’ll all burn up – or freeze to death…  We must aim for ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2030!  So, for example, 

In an article on the online magazine ‘Spiked’ the editor of that organ, Brendan O’Neill notes five examples of modern Malthusians:-

  1. Unreconstructed Malthusians.  Posh people who have rather outdated views on other races, and perhaps the lower classes of society, all merrily breeding away with careless abandon, – a form of snobbery.   
  2. Celebrity Malthusians.  Have you noticed that most of these ‘celebrities’ are not overly bright?  People who do voice-overs on nature programmes, speaking of the human race as a ‘plague’ or a ‘cancer on the planet.’
  3. Psycho Malthusians.  There is actually, somewhere, a ‘Church of Euthanasia’ and a ‘Voluntary Extinction Movement!’  O’Neill quotes psychologist Sue Blackmore, who said on the super-respectable BBC Radio 3 show Nightwaves: ‘For the planet’s sake, I hope we have bird flu or some other thing that will reduce the population, because otherwise we’re doomed.’  He suggests that if you meet one of these people you should invite them to go first!  Thinking back to my introduction, and that comment about the ‘black horse of famine’ – I wonder how long before we see food shortages…. The first ‘wave’ of Covid in 2020 removed 45K people from the UK population, according to the Office for National Statistics (end of May 2020) and that more than 4 in 5 of those people were aged 70 or over.  The war in Ukraine will further excite these psycho-Malthusians, but Ukraine is one of the bread baskets of the world, as is Russia, and Russia is also a major energy supplier.  War and sanctions will disrupt both those markets and they will feed off of each other, the food supply chain needs fuel – obviously.  The Malthusian world leaders in high places must be wetting themselves with excitement.
  4. Feminist Malthusians. Feminism used to be about women’s rights – sadly now it’s all about abortion, what they call, ‘health care.’  But they have that now.  There’s nothing more for them to fight for… except, that if we can abort more babies, we’ll have less kids breathing in precious oxygen, and worse still breathing out carbon dioxide.  Yes, abortion is all about saving the planet! Here’s another quote from O’Neill, quoting an Op-Ed in an American magazine, “An American feminist says: ‘To understand that a tiny embryo must sometimes be sacrificed for the greater good of the human species is the moral high ground that we stand on today. – so its sacrifice the baby or the planet gets it.
  5. Green Malthusians.Like other followers of Malthus, they do believe the central tenets of the religion, – that the planet’s resources are being sapped away by too many human beings.  But the real problem, is too many big fat westerners, eating too many Big Macs, and driving around in petrol guzzling cars, using up earth’s resources. They need curbed.  You’ll recognise them, for they use phrases like, “the ‘wrecking of Earth’s life-support systems’ where Malthus preferred to say it would lead to ‘hunger and disease.”  Think the Green Party…

 Now, to be fair, his list of Malthusian categories has been criticised on-line.  But at least it gives us an idea of who the modern followers of the Malthusian cult are – you can put the names into the categories!  Let’s do something more constructive.  Let’s see the biblical response to population problems:-

3. The Biblical Answer.

Now, we’ve seen that the Population Control Movement – the Malthusian Cult – influences a lot of what’s happening in the world today. But is there a biblical worldview? Well, like everything concerning God’s created world, the answers are in Genesis.

  • Humanity has a special status.  We are made in the image of God! Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  We are not a plague on the planet, or a cancer, eating into the planet’s resources.  We are God’s special creation, the pinnacle of his creation.  John Piper notes that we are unique among creation, for Mankind is the final creation; and only man is stated as being in the image of God, Only humanity is given dominion over all the earth and prior to the creation of man alone was there divine counsel; and only man is explicitly stated as being created male and female.  As the population of the earth reaches 8 billion people, every single one of those people are endued with that special status.  Baby number 8BN will not be a burden, he or she will be an individual soul, a soul that will live somewhere in eternity, a soul that has been created with the capacity and purpose, to have fellowship with God, and to bring glory to God in their individual life. Every life matters, every baby matters, to God, after all, every sparrow matters!

Part of our special God-given status is the ingenuity of man.  Like our creator, we have a unique creative ability, that other created beings do not have.  When Malthus was writing his famous book on population, he didn’t know what lay just around the corner.  He looked at his time, his world, and he counted mouths verses potatoes!  What he didn’t take into effect was that within a few years the God-given ingenuity of mankind would invent pesticides and fertilisers, so that crops would fail less often, then tractors would replace horses, and productivity would increase.  The industrial revolution would bring work to hundreds of thousands of people…. Those mouths could be fed, simply through the ingenuity of man, the thinking capacity that is given by God to his special creation. 

  • Humanity is to populate the earth!  What does the bible say about Population Control? To be honest? NOTHING AT ALL!  In fact the opposite is the case. Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.  Genesis 9:7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.,  We are told that we are to populate the earth, not depopulate it.  You can hear the Malthusians screaming!  In the 70’s a friend of ours got married, and he felt that he needed some help with his new married state.  How to be a good husband, and prospective father.  So, of course he went to his local Christian bookshop, and they recommended a cassette tape, by an American speaker, one Tony Campolo, a man whose associations were somewhat dubious – but he was a baptist, so that’s ok…. And he was speaking on ‘The Christian Family.’  My friend, after listening to the tape was so impressed that he decided to pass it on to me!  In it Campolo mentioned this verse from Genesis 1:28, and said that God’s command to populate the world was given in the context of an empty world.  It doesn’t apply today, for, “Wait for it – the world has been POPULATED!”  Campolo, preaching Malthusianism and Christians cheering it as good advice for families!  Let’s see then – is the world overpopulated?  One website states that “At the time of this writing, there are approximately 7.1 billion people in the world. That’s a lot of people, but to put that number in perspective, there are about 7.5 trillion square feet of land in the state of Texas, in the United States, alone. This means that, theoretically, every person in the world could fit in the state of Texas, and each person would have 1,056 square feet of living space—4,224 square feet for a family of four!”   Some population experts, are actually claiming that we are not producing enough babies!  Every 80 year old person needs 7 people of working age to provide enough fiscal resource to enable him/her to live in relative comfort.  That is, enough workers to pay taxes to support an 80 year old person’s medical needs, pension etc.  At present rates of population decline, that will be impossible.  China discovered this,. My point is that God is always right, and that Genesis is not frozen somewhere in the past – we are to populate the world.  The psalmist has a better view of families and children than Campolo had, when he wrote, in Psalm 27:3–5 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: And the fruit of the womb is his reward.  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; So are children of the youth. 5  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: They shall not be ashamed, But they |shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
  • The world is our oyster!  God created this world, and all its abundance, for us! To feed us! Genesis 1:29 29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.  
    • We draw from it.  The point of this world is to feed all of mankind.  There’s plenty of food, plenty of capacity, plenty of resources, and plenty of people who are clever enough to make the best of it.  We are to feed upon the resources of this world.   And not just plants either, Genesis 9:3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.  But…
    • We care for it.  There is a responsibility placed upon us.  We are not given the world to plunder it, or to rape it’s resources for personal greed, like many of these multinational companies do.  Last year, 2021, when we were struggling with Covid restrictions, with rising costs of living, with higher taxes, the giant Shell Oil Company announced that its profits had soared.  LONDON, Feb 3, 2022 (Reuters) – Shell again boosted its dividend and share repurchases on Thursday after fourth quarter profits hit their highest in eight years, fuelled by higher oil and gas prices and strong gas trading performance.  Mankind’s responsibility is to farm the earth sensibly, and care and responsibility.  Genesis 2:15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.  But won’t the food run out!  No, because…
  • God is our provider! The Lord who created this world is also sustaining it!  2 Corinthians 9:10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;  It is God who makes the grass grow, and this world will yield enough food for all of us, as long as it pleases the Lord, until such times as it is His will that it should come to an end.  Genesis 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.  You will often hear the ‘climate change’ lobbyists giving dire warnings about the future, – what will happen to the planet if we don’t cut our carbon emissions, use less fossil fuels, stop eating meat etc etc,  Greta Thunberg, the Doom Goblin herself, wrote, “You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to. And the saddest thing is that most children are not even aware of the fate that awaits us. We will not understand it until it’s too late. And yet we are the lucky ones. Those who will be affected the hardest are already suffering the consequences. But their voices are not heard.  ― Greta Thunberg, No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference But Jesus, who made this world and who holds it in his hands, told us not to worry about the food supply! Matthew 6:25-34 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?   Don’t worry about a thing!  34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
  • What is the problem with population?  You know the answer to that question.  It is sin.  Again the answer is in Genesis, where Adam, given free will by God, determined to disobey God.  It was that sin, that rebellion against his creator that brought plague and sickness and natural disaster into this world, and the greed and wickedness of mankind today is the result of that.  It is sin that needs dealt with, and because of that major problem, God gave his own sinless Son, so that the rebellion between God and man could be brought to an end. It is salvation in Christ that mankind needs, not population control.  Because sin is the problem, Jesus will return to judge the world, to gather his people from this world and to judge those who are still in rebellion against God.  On that day, there will be a total destruction of this sin-stricken world, and a new earth, a new heaven will be the outcome.  So, Paul, in Romans… 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.  Romans 8:20-23

So, what was wrong with Malthus and his theories? Perhaps he simply left God out of his sums and equations!  

© Bob McEvoy, March 2022

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