Rachel Carson’s lethal claptrap 3

Google is celebrating the work of the environmmentalist Rachel Carson, who was born 107 years ago this month.

Yesterday Google disdained offering a special banner for Memorial Day.  Today they compound this insult with a banner marking the birthday of Rachel Carson, author of the deeply wrong Silent SpringFew books since Das Kapital have done more damage to humans than Silent Spring, and yet she —and her dreadful book — continue to be honored by the Left.

Henry I. Miller* and Gregory Conko* severely criticize Rachel Carson at Forbes:

We recently passed the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s best-selling book, Silent Spring. Widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement, it was an emotionally charged but deeply flawed denunciation of the widespread spraying of chemical pesticides for the control of insects. Today, the book is still revered by many, but its legacy is anything but positive.

As detailed by Roger Meiners and Andy Morriss in their scholarly yet very readable analysis, Silent Spring at 50: Reflections on an Environmental Classic, Carson … “encourages some of the most destructive strains within environmentalism: alarmism, technophobia, failure to consider the costs and benefits of alternatives, and the discounting of human well-being around the world”. 

Carson’s proselytizing and advocacy raised substantial anxiety about DDT and led to bans in most of the world and to restrictions on other chemical pesticides.  But the fears she raised were based on gross misrepresentations and scholarship so atrocious that, if Carson were an academic, she would be guilty of egregious academic misconduct.  Her observations about DDT have been condemned by many scientists.  In the words of Professor Robert H. White-Stevens, an agriculturist and biology professor at Rutgers University, “If man were to follow the teachings of Miss Carson, we would return to the Dark Ages, and the insects and diseases and vermin would once again inherit the earth.”

Even fellow environmentalists called her a liar, uninterested in the truth:

In 1992, San Jose State University entomologist J. Gordon Edwards, a long-time member of the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society and a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, offered a persuasive and comprehensive rebuttal of Silent Spring. As he explained in The Lies of Rachel Carson, a stunning, point by point refutation, “it simply dawned on me that that Rachel Carson was not interested in the truth about [pesticides] and that I was being duped along with millions of other Americans”.  He demolished Carson’s arguments and assertions, calling attention to critical omissions, faulty assumptions, and outright fabrications.  … [He wrote]:

This implication that DDT is horribly deadly is completely false.  Human volunteers have ingested as much as 35 milligrams of it a day for nearly two years and suffered no adverse effects.  Millions of people have lived with DDT intimately during the mosquito spray programs and nobody even got sick as a result.  The National Academy of Sciences concluded in 1965 that ‘in a little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million [human] deaths that would otherwise have been inevitable’.  The World Health Organization stated that DDT had ‘killed more insects and saved more people than any other substance’.

In addition, DDT was used with dramatic effect to shorten and prevent typhus epidemics during and after WWII when people were dusted with large amounts of it but suffered no ill effects, which is perhaps the most persuasive evidence that the chemical is harmless to humans.  The product was such a boon to public health that in 1948 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Dr. Paul Müller for his discovery of the “contact insecticidal action” of DDT.

It is extraordinary that anyone in the mainstream scientific community could continue to embrace the sentimental claptrap of Silent Spring, so we were surprised to see the commentary, In Retrospect: Silent Spring, in the scientific journal Nature in May by evolutionary biologist Rob Dunn.  Science is, after all, evidence-based, but Dunn’s puff piece is a flawed and repugnant whitewash of Carson’s failure to present actual evidence to support her assertions, and of the carnage that she caused.  It also demonstrates that Dunn knows little about the history or toxicology of DDT. …

Carson’s disingenuous proselytizing spurred public pressure to ban DDT in many countries, with disastrous consequences: a lack of effective control of mosquitoes that carry malaria and other diseases.  Malaria imposes huge costs on individuals, families and governments.  It inflicts a crushing economic burden on malaria-endemic countries and impedes their economic growth.  A study by the Harvard University Center for International Development estimated that a high incidence of malaria reduces economic growth by 1.3 percentage points each year.  Compounded over the four decades since the first bans of DDT, that lost growth has made some of the world’s poorest countries an astonishing 40 percent poorer than had there been more effective mosquito control. …

The legacy of Rachel Carson is that tens of millions of human lives – mostly children in poor, tropical countries – have been traded for the possibility of slightly improved fertility in raptors. 

This remains one of the monumental human tragedies of the last century.

* Henry I. Miller, a physician, is the Robert Wesson Fellow of Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at Stanford University’s Hoover institution; he was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology. Gregory Conko is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.

Environmentalism the supreme killer 31

Environmentalists “refuse to look at or admit the existence of the carnage they have created and continue to perpetuate worldwide.”

So writes Robert Zubrin in an article at PJ Media.

He contends that more people have died as a result of the environmental movement than at the hands of the most extreme mass-murdering dictators. In fact, he argues, millions of those deaths in the dictatorships have been caused, indirectly, by the environmental movement.

How good is his case?

Let’s look at the record.

Some of the worst atrocities can be laid at the feet of the population control ideologues such as Paul Ehrlich and his co-thinkers who argued — in direct contradiction to historical fact — that human well-being is inversely proportional to human numbers. As a result of their agitation, since 1966 U.S. foreign aid and World Bank loans to Third World countries have been made contingent upon those nations implementing population control programs. In consequence, over the past four decades, in scores of countries spanning the globe from India to Peru, tens of millions of women have been … subjected to involuntary sterilizations or abortions, often under very unsafe conditions, with innumerable victims suffering severe health effects or dying afterwards.

We are against foreign aid. But we are even more against the forced reduction of populations by “population control programs” including compulsory abortion and  sterilization.

Ehrlich also called for the United States to create a Bureau of Population and Environment which would have the power to issue or deny permits to Americans to have children. While rejected here, this idea was adopted by the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, who were convinced of the necessity of such measures by the writings of the Club of Rome* after these were plagiarized and republished in China under the name of one of its top officials. Thus was born China’s infamous “one-child policy,” which has involved not only hundreds of millions of involuntary abortions and forced sterilizations, but infanticide and the killing of “illegal children” on a mass scale.

There have been tens of millions of cases of murder-by-default: people being allowed to die by keeping from them a remedy for fatal disease:

The anti-technology wing of the antihuman movement also has its share of human extermination to account for. …

… by getting governments to ban the highly effective pesticide DDT – not always for scientific reasons, but precisely because it saves lives:

To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It has contributed to the great increase of agricultural productivity, while sparing countless humanity from a host of diseases, most notably perhaps, scrub typhus and malaria. Indeed, it is estimated that in little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable. But the role of DDT in saving half a billion lives did not positively impress everyone. On the contrary, as Alexander King, the co-founder of the Club of Rome put it in his 1990 biography, “my chief quarrel with DDT …  is that it has greatly added to the population problem.” …

Scientific arguments were also used, for instance that DDT endangered birds. To these lunatics (what else can one call them?), the preservation of bird life was more important than the preservation of human life.

Rachel Carson … in her 1962 book, Silent Spring, … made an eloquent case that DDT was endangering bird populations.

Which wasn’t even true:

This was false. In fact, by eliminating their insect parasites and infection agents, DDT was helping bird numbers to grow significantly. No matter. Using Carson’s book and even more wild writing by Ehrlich (who in a 1969 Ramparts article predicted that pesticides would cause all life in the Earth’s oceans to die by 1979), a massive propaganda campaign was launched [in the US] to ban DDT.

The EPA – not yet the storm-trooper arm of a dictatorial administration as it has now become – carried out an investigation into the effects of the pesticide:

In 1971, the newly formed Environmental Protection Agency responded by holding seven months of investigative hearings on the subject, gathering testimony from 125 witnesses. At the end of this process, Judge Edmund Sweeney issued his verdict: “The uses of DDT under the registration involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife. … DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man.”

But dedicated environmentalists are never put off by facts:

No matter. EPA administrator William Ruckelshaus (who would later go on to be a board member of the Draper Fund, a leading population control group), chose to overrule Sweeney and ban the use of DDT in the United States.

Subsequently, the U.S. Agency for International Development adopted regulations preventing it from funding international projects that used DDT. Together with similar decisions enacted in Europe, this effectively banned the use of DDT in many Third World countries. By some estimates, the malaria death toll in Africa alone resulting from these restrictions has exceeded 100 million people, with 3 million additional deaths added to the toll every year.

The harm done by the EPA, itself a creation of the environmental movement, has not been limited to stopping DDT. It is no coincidence that U.S. oil production, which had been growing at a rate of 3 percent per year through the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, peaked in 1971, immediately after the EPA’s creation, and has been declining ever since. In 1971, the U.S. produced 9.6 million barrels of oil per day (mpd). Today we are down to 5.6 mpd. Had we continued without environmentalist interference with our previous 3 percent per year growth in the period since — as the rest of the non-OPEC world actually did — we would today be producing 35 mpd, and the world economy would not be groaning under the extremely regressive tax represented by $100 per barrel oil prices. The environmentalist campaign against nuclear power has made its promise for plentiful, cheap electricity impossible as well.

The genocidal effect of such support for energy price-rigging should not be underestimated. Increasing the price of energy increases the price of all other products. It is one thing to pay $100 per barrel for oil in a nation like the USA which has an average income of $45,000 per year. It is quite another to pay it in a Third World country with an average income of $1500 per year. An oil price stiff enough to cause recession in the advanced sector can cause mass starvation among the world’s poor.

While we think the phrase “genocidal effect” is not well chosen, we follow Dr. Zubrin’s argument.

Again, the evil that he accuses environmentalists of is choosing not to allow the saving of lives that could be saved: 

European greens also have much horror to account for, notably through their campaign against genetically modified crops. Hundreds of millions of people in the Third World today suffer from nutritional deficiencies resulting from their cereal-dominated diets. This can now readily be rectified by employing genetically enhanced plants, such as golden rice, which is rich in vitamin A. Other genetically modified crops offer protection against iron or other vitamin deficiency diseases, dramatically increased yields, self-fertilization, and drought or insect resistance. But as a result of political pressure from the green parties, the European Union has banned the import of crops from countries that employ such strains, thereby blackmailing many governments into forbidding their use. In consequence, millions of people are being unnecessarily blinded, crippled, starved, or killed every year.

Taken together, these campaigns to deny billions of people the means to a decent existence have racked up a death toll exceeding that achieved by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or any of the other tyrants whose crimes fill the sordid pages of human history.

*And here is a very important footnote that explains how and why environmentalists decided to exploit pollution, global warming, and famine in order to make a case for global unification [ie for world government] as long as the earth is peopled, but also against the human race, which they perceive as the planet’s enemy. What their ultimate aim is –  whether absolute power over the human species or its total annihilation – is not clear. Is preservation of the environment the pretext for, or the goal of world government? Perhaps they are not sure themselves.

From Wikipedia:

The Club of Rome raised considerable public attention with its report Limits to Growth … It predicted that economic growth could not continue indefinitely because of the limited availability of natural resources, particularly oil. …

Mankind at the Turning Point was accepted as the official Second Report to the Club of Rome in 1974. … [It claimed] that many of the factors [affecting the environment] were within human control and therefore that environmental and economic catastrophe were preventable or avoidable. …

In 1993, the Club published The First Global Revolution. According to this book, divided nations require common enemies to unite them, “either a real one or else one invented for the purpose.” Because of the sudden absence of traditional enemies, “new enemies must be identified. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. … All these dangers [to the planet] are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”

The Greens spread misery around the world – and smile. 6

You have seen them at street corners in towns all over America, men and women with clipboards, always smiling, asking you in a  friendly tone to sign something that promotes the objectives of the environmental movement. They often set out stalls, or wear T-shirts, with signs announcing that they serve Greenpeace. That smile of theirs is the smug smirk of those who believe they have seen the light and feel nothing but pity for the rest of us who haven’t. Christians of all stripes wear it; as does the Dalai Lama and a multitude of others who manage to combine God-bothering with Marxism; and Democratic Party spokesmen on television news; and Al Gore.

We have posted many articles about the harm that the environmental movement does. See, for instance, The evil that Greenpeace does, January16, 2010; The vast left-wing conspiracy, January 18, 2010; The blind cruelty of Greenpeace, January 20, 2010; and Green roots: the origins of ecology, January 22, 2010.

It is a message that needs repeating.

Daniel Greenfield writes, at his website Sultan Knish, on How Environmentalists Cause War and Repression. Here’s part of what he says:

No other group has done as much to keep America dependent on foreign oil as the environmentalists have. After leading successful campaigns against nuclear power and domestic drilling, the green movement may lecture on “oil wars”, but it is responsible for most of them.

The math of it is very simple. Resource shortages are a major cause of conflict. And environmentalists have dedicated themselves to creating resource shortages in prosperous nations. Their campaigns against nuclear, domestic oil and coal production have been big on self-righteousness and short on consequences. And the consequences are that their scaremongering has not only cost millions of American jobs, it has forced us to keep sending money to Muslim oil states who use that money for domestic repression and international terrorism.

The environmentalists have done the same thing in Europe and Asia, turning formerly moribund Communist powers, Russia and China, into energy and manufacturing superpowers. By making it more expensive and in some cases impossible to conduct manufacturing and energy production at home, they exported Western industries to the East, and enabled the transformation of struggling tyrannies into international superpowers. …

When the question arises, who killed the pro-democracy movement in China– it wasn’t the tanks, but their enablers, the liberals whose regulation and exploitation had made America into an uncomfortable place to do business. Those companies went elsewhere and the money they brought, propped up the Chinese Communist party. …

In Germany, the Greens have succeeded in their campaign against the domestic nuclear industry. What is the net result of this? It further degrades Europe’s energy capabilities and moves it into Putin’s orbit. That empowers Russia to begin another campaign of conquest aimed at its former republics. That is what a “Green” victory really looks like. People freezing in their homes while a dictatorship sends its tanks and infantry on a new campaign of terror.

The environmental movement is not interested in cheap energy. If solar power provided energy cheaply, the greens would be marching against it. Any technology that provides cheap power is their enemy.

The mandate of the environmental movement is artificial scarcity. But artificial scarcity doesn’t exist in a global economy. If you raise the price of energy production, resource mining or manufacturing, it will move abroad to less regulated countries. The price will still go up and there will be other long term consequences, but people will still find a way to get what they need. Like the rest of the left, the green movement has never learned that people will act in their own interests, rather than in thrall to their dogma. That if they can’t get it legally, they will get it illegally. …

The left has created … the slave labor that makes the products which they deplore. It is responsible for all of it and it should take ownership of it. …

The environmental movement’s manifest hypocrisy is that it causes the very things that it deplores. Its campaign against the nuclear industry has sent billions overseas to countries which are developing their own nuclear weapons and intend to use them. By shutting down nuclear plants in America, [the movement]  has made it much more likely that nuclear bombs will be detonated in America.

It destroyed American industry in the name of worker protection and pollution, and sent the factories to countries where workers have no rights and the pollution looks like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie. And reduced those former workers to the point where they have no choice but to buy those same slave labor products at a non-union store with the profits going to China’s war machine. …

These are all victories for the environmental movements and defeats for anyone with any sanity or sense. But the environmental movement refuses to acknowledge the consequences of its actions. Instead it champions further domestic and international repression. Like every tyrannical ideology it knows only one solution to every problem, more laws, more chains, more investigations and prison cells for anyone who disobeys.

Repression and propaganda is the environmental movement’s solution to everything. Its imperative is to destroy, impoverish, oppress and intimidate. It spreads hopeless misery around the world, with a smile. The countless victims of Rachel Carson’s malaria [hers because she got DDT banned – JB] or the prisoners of the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] go unnoticed as the latest children’s propaganda cartoon is rolled out. Its implicit message is always that there is a war on between the environmentalists and the people who just want to live their own lives.

Health derangement syndrome 1

If starving isn’t unhealthy, what does the word ‘unhealthy’ mean?

There are powerful persons who believe with fanatical conviction that (other) people should starve to death rather than eat something ‘unhealthy’.

As a result, millions are deprived of food.

Even Bill Gates protests about this state of affairs. We say ‘even Bill Gates’, because he usually goes along with the thinking of those who believe in government control of individual lives, aka socialists. (See in the quotation below a list of lefty organizations he supports.)  He doesn’t seem to realize that he is one of the greatest benefactors of mankind ever, through supplying billions of people with something they want: the products of Microsoft, which are put to trillions of productive uses throughout the world. Doing so –  as a model capitalist – has rightfully made him rich, and he has no moral obligation to redistribute his wealth in a secondary and much feebler attempt to do good. But he apparently thinks there is, perhaps out of some unwarranted feeling of guilt.

Whatever prompts him, he has undertaken to alleviate the chronic hunger of whole populations in Africa. And he has run into an impediment: the adoption, by stupid African rulers, of two Western ‘progressive’ notions: that people must be made to eat healthy food, and that genetically modified foods are unhealthy.

This article is from FrontPageMag:

The left-of-center philanthropist says starving Africans should be allowed to eat genetically modified foods.

Bill Gates took on the Famine Lobby while addressing a forum on the world food supply in Iowa. Speaking at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Gates took aim at the chorus of environmental leftists and organic food advocates who believe Africans should starve rather than eat genetically modified (GM) foods. “Some voices are instantly hostile to any emphasis on productivity. They act as if there is no emergency, even though in the poorest, hungriest places on earth, population is growing faster than productivity,” he said.

The opposition is significant, because Gates is left-of-center himself. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with assets of $29 billion as of 2005, has focused on the “population” side of the “problem” in the past, sending billions of dollars in grants to such pro-abortion groups as Planned Parenthood; Population Action International, Population Services International, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, and the Population Resource Center. Gates has also financed such organizations as the [Soros supported] Tides Center, the Tides Foundation, the National Council of La Raza, and has supported a gun control initiative in Washington state.

However, Gates announced he will issue a $120 million grant to increase food productivity in sub-Saharan Africa through the planting of genetically modified seeds. In Des Moines, Gates cited a Stanford study from 2008 concluding African farmers will lose one-quarter of their productivity within 20 years if they continue to plant the same strains of corn. However, “If the seeds perform well, African farmers can expect to produce two-million more tons of maize in a year of moderate drought.” Radio Iowa reports Gates has “committed more than a billion dollars” in all.

In proposing this initiative, he is standing up to the Green Left, which has long favored environmental “purity” [over] human well-being. Greenpeace cooked up the term “Frankenfood” to demonize genetically modified foods a decade ago. …

Dire predictions aside, GM foods not only potentially increase food production but have replaced the need to spray crops with chemical pesticides, which sickened or killed Africans. Those farmers who spray can now streamline the process, saving them much time and money. The modified crops are more resistant to cold, drought, herbicides, pests, and disease. They also supplied nutritional gaps in the consumption patterns of the poor. For instance, so-called “golden rice” spliced Vitamin A into rice, which could stave off blindness among the world’s poor who eat little more than rice. …

Greenpeace has long claimed GM foods increase allergies; however, the World Health Organization – hardly a corporate, capitalist shill – concluded, “No allergic effects have been found relative to GM foods currently on the market.” Although six EU nations ban GM foods, Jaap Satter, a senior policy adviser at the Dutch Agriculture Ministry, has said, “You cannot say anymore that there is a scientific reason to be against genetic modification.” The National Research Council summed up the situation: “no conceptual distinction exists between generic modification of plants and microorganisms by classical methods or by molecular techniques that modify DNA and transfer genes.”

Some environmentalists seem concerned the foods will be too successful at feeding the poor. Al Gore has worried, “The most lasting impact of biotechnology on the food supply may come not from something going wrong, but from all going right…we’re far more likely to accidentally drown ourselves in a sea of excess grain.” Given the environmentalist movement’s hatred of population – best exemplified by Obama Science Czar John Holdren’s justification of compulsory abortion in the United States – this may be the real locus of their disdain.

So deep is the Green Left’s hatred of GM foods that even an organization Gates founded has given genetically modified food a chilly reception. “The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa was established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” and the Rockefeller Foundation in 2006 “with the objective of improving agriculture in Africa.” However, its leader, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, vowed in 2007: “We in the alliance will not incorporate GMOs [genetically modified organisms] in our programmes. We shall work with farmers using traditional seeds.”

The scare tactics and shunning of American and Euro-socialist leftists is theoretical and faulty – but their mania has reaped a deadly harvest among the world’s most vulnerable people.

In 2002, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa refused to accept tons of U.S. food aid for his starving nation, because the aid contained genetically modified food (maize, specifically). “Simply because my people are hungry, that is no justification to give them poison, to give them food that is intrinsically dangerous to their health,” he said. The deluded president continued, “I will not allow Zambians to be turned into guinea pigs no matter the levels of hunger in the country.”

The levels of hunger were staggering. Nearly one-third of Zambia’s 10 million people faced famine. Some 14 million Africans faced starvation region-wide. Nonetheless, the president privately upbraided officials in the UN World Food Programme for distributing GM foods, which fed 125,000 people in five camps. The WFP reported some impoverished Zambians “resorted to eating little more than twigs and ash from the fire in a brown soupy concoction.” Desperate, rural villagers broke into the palace where the stockpiles were rotting and stole 2,000 bags of maize.

In response, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in 2002, signed a “statement of solidarity” with Zambia. Charlie Kronick of Greenpeace went further, alleging the humanitarian aid constituted a sick capitalist ploy. “There is a constant drip of pressure from the U.S. government and biotech industry to make sure Africa is softened up for GM,” he theorized. “Europe is closed to them and they need a market for it.”

Others offered more than ideological support. Zimbabwe joined the boycott, preventing GM grain’s importation. Angola followed suit in 2004. Lesotho and Mozambique milled all such grain so it would not be planted and “infect” other crops.

Not all were limited to the EU and Africa. In 2004, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez passed “possibly…the most sweeping restrictions on transgenic crops in the western hemisphere.”

At home, the opposition has been remarkably well-heeled. National Review’s Deroy Murdock found:

In 2001, the 30 leading anti-biotech groups…spent $341.4 million, including Greenpeace USA’s expenditure of $23,748,737, Environmental Defense’s $38,794,150 and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s $41,625,882. Between 1996 and 2001, this crusade’s lavish underwriters included the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($11,906,500), the Ford Foundation ($39,978,020) and the Pew Charitable Trusts ($130,996,900).

It also included a large portion of the organic food market. Somehow, this story of an industry trying to spike a competitor did not make MSNBC or the pages of Mother Jones.

Whatever the dangers, the prohibition of GM foods is a moral issue. As Velasio De Paolis of the Pontifical Urban University has said, it is “easy to say no to GM food if your stomach is full.” However misled he is on other issues, Bill Gates deserves credit for standing up against the Green Left on this point.

But on another, closely related, issue he has so far failed to take the right stand:

The question remains, will he do so on the issue that seems closest to his heart: the eradication of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa? In a recent speech on the topic Gates admitted, “two tools helped to bring the death rate down: One was killing the mosquitoes with DDT.” Before Rachel Carson’s crusade – based entirely on scientific theories that never panned out – DDT use had nearly eradicated malaria. Now, according to one report, “there are approximately 350 to 500 millions cases of malaria, killing close to one million people” annually. “Every day, malaria takes the lives of 2,000 children in Africa alone.” Yet instead of backing DDT use, Gates has sought to find a vaccine.

If Gates truly wants to put the well-being of Africans above political correctness, DDT is the best place to start.