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Let’s Stand Up to David Attenborough and the Neo-Malthusians Who Want to Control Our Lives

Matt Kilcoyne, The Telegraph
Sir David Attenborough at Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, London, United Kingdom - 09 Jul 2019 
Sir David Attenborough addresses the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, London, United Kingdom

Attenborough and his ilk give a reasonable veneer to authoritarian and impractical ideas

For someone who purports to be a national treasure, Sir David Attenborough’s select committee performance yesterday was more of a national disgrace. He should be applauded for educating millions about the natural world, yet he now wants to control our lives, cut down our choices, and shut us out from experiencing these same wonders.

The broadcaster said that he wants people to pay more for airfares – removing the newly found opportunity to travel from millions of lower income families – and warned that other parts of life would have to be cut back for environmental reasons too. When asked about the greater effects of his proposals on poorer families he coldly responded: “Yes. I’m afraid that is the case.”

Rather than a hero of the conservation movement or smooth-voiced demigod, we should see Attenborough as the fallible and clearly flappable man he is. Just because he can describe the world beautifully does not make him an expert on public policy. 

That has not stopped Attenborough from trying to control our lives, however. He is the patron of the 21st century Malthusian group Population Matters, who campaign for a lower world population. In the spirit of China’s one child policy, they want to halve the current birthrate, with a special emphasis on the developed world, while curtailing migration to keep those born in poverty in their place and not emitting much carbon. 

We have been here before. In 1798, English scholar Thomas Malthus claimed that population growth would soon trigger mass starvation. Since then, the global population has grown seven-fold, yet fewer people are malnourished than ever before. 

Just like Malthus, today’s apocalypse evangelists are deeply misguided. We’re not running out of the world’s resources. In fact, we have continuously developed technology to find more resources and use them more efficiently. Our market system helps us apportion cost to activity and, so as prices rise resources are put to their best use. 

Nor can Sir David decide what is good and what is evil. His diatribe sought to assign all of us in the West, and particularly Britain, the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, the ‘original sin’ of carbon emissions – a sin for which there can be no redemption. He overlooked the billions lifted out of abject poverty over the last two centuries, the development of new technologies that have made our lives easier or medicines that have doubled the length of our lives. 

Of course, Attenborough doesn’t believe what he says applies to him. When questioned about his own situation which involves considerably more flying than the average person, he simply described it as a “paradox”. It wasn’t of course. It was mere hypocrisy. This same hypocrisy was on view in the Noughties when Sting and Al Gore jetted around the world lecturing us about climate change. So too when Emma Thompson flew from LA to London to join Extinction Rebellion’s protests. Inevitably, there is one rule for the multimillionaires and another for the little people. 

They have developed ways of dismissing such concerns, however. In the case of Extinction Rebellion flights are allowed in crisis situations. With the Guardian and now the Government branding climate change an “emergency”, they can travel whenever and wherever they want while trying to permanently ground the rest of us. Sadly though, our political system, and the luvvie-Left media, does little to persuade Attenborough and his fellow evangelists to abandon their insulting, overblown language and illiberal policy recommendations. 

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