A saver of mankind 8

Norman Borlaug saved uncountable human lives. Like the few others comparable to him, those who have given the world such gifts as vaccines and pesticides, he did it by means of science.

From Investor’s Business Daily:

Norman Borlaug has died at age 95… Borlaug did more for humanity than all of the government programs ever devised put together.

Borlaug was known as the father of the Green Revolution, but he was no environmentalist. Unlike the greens, he was actually concerned about the condition of man.

While misanthropes and neo-Malthusians were predicting mass starvation, Borlaug developed technologies that dramatically increased the yields of food crops and made them more resistant to disease. Between 1960 and 1990, the agronomist’s work was responsible for more than doubling world food production

So, for all his contributions, what did Borlaug reap? Anonymity. While he did win the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal — one of only five persons to have won all three — it was the Paul Ehrlichs and Lester Browns who won public notoriety for pessimistically predicting that food production would not be able to keep up with the growing global population.

The Ehrlichs and Browns were different from Borlaug in two important ways. First, they and their followers advocated policies based on radical social change that requires heavy government intervention into private affairs. Borlaug focused on science. Second, he was right; they were wrong.

Posted under Commentary, Science by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, September 15, 2009

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