Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro reacted to “60 Minutes” hosting Stanford University biology professor Paul Ehrlich to discuss purported risks of overpopulation, even though his body of work has been repeatedly proven wrong over the past half-century.
Ehrlich, a Stanford University professor emeritus, wrote a book in 1968 called “The Population Bomb” which predicted “hundreds of millions of people will starve to death” in the 1970s and 1980s. During his appearance on “60 Minutes,” he likewise claimed that “humanity is not sustainable” and said “five more Earths” are necessary to support “our lifestyle.”
During a segment of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” the host observed that modern Westerners who reject the role of God and traditional values from their lives subscribe to climate alarmism as a sort of “bizarre paganism.” Ehrlich has suggested mandatory population decrease policies such as assembling a blacklist of individuals and institutions “impeding population control,” offering “responsibility prizes” for childless marriages while taxing parents for having children, and a “luxury tax” on items such as diapers and cribs.
“There’s this great cosmic force out there that will avenge itself upon you because you are living too well,” commented Shapiro, who noted that figures such as climate activist Greta Thunberg have become “icons of religious leadership” under the system.
The predictions made by Ehrlich led in part to billions of dollars of spending to combat overpopulation through entities such as the United Nations Population Fund. In some parts of the world, women were forcibly sterilized. The late Julian Simon, who served as an economics and business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, made a bet with Ehrlich that he could create any hypothetical basket of resources that would become cheaper over time. Ehrlich lost the bet because, according to Shapiro, “people are innately creative and innovative, and therefore people will be able to innovate their way” out of scarcity.
Shapiro noted that the show decided to host Ehrlich because he encourages people to support the “socialistic redistribution programs” favored by leftists.
“What he said was completely and utterly debunked,” Shapiro remarked. “When you are a doomsayer, when you are doing jeremiads on national television about how the world is about to collapse unless you do the socialistic and anti-tradition things we want you to do, you become very popular with the group that is kind of socialistic and doesn’t like tradition that much.”
The ideology advanced by Ehrlich is similar to those once pushed by nineteenth-century British philosopher Thomas Malthus, who theorized that the nation’s birthrate would outstrip its ability to grow food and thereby induce mass starvation. His theories, which were also completely disproven, would later influence China’s infamous One Child Policy.
Even as many leading economies grapple with demographic collapse, millions are convinced that bearing children would be irresponsible given the carbon emissions produced by additional human beings. An investor note from analysts at Morgan Stanley published two years ago said that the “movement to not have children owing to fears over climate change is growing and impacting fertility rates quicker than any preceding trend in the field of fertility decline.” Thousands of young people around the world have endorsed the “No Future Pledge,” which encourages them to opt out of reproduction in the interest of protecting the environment.