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Environmentalism's Malaria Holocaust*


George Reisman**

(January 11, 1997)

The New York Times of January 8 carried a front-page story headlined "Malaria Makes a Comeback, And is More Deadly Than Ever." The story went on to explain that last year malaria killed between 1 and 3 million people in the world, mainly in the so-called third-world countries. It described the terrible suffering of parents who have lost small children to the disease and who live in chronic fear that their surviving children will also be killed by the disease. Children are among the worst victims of malaria: over the last decade, the story reports, about ten times as many of them have been killed as in all the wars in that period taken together.

Near the beginning of the continuation page, the story contains this extremely significant paragraph, whose importance is thereafter totally ignored:

"In the 1950's, experts were optimistic that malaria could be wiped out, and for a time DDT and other insecticides led to a sharp reduction of mosquitoes and of the disease. But the use of DDT and similar chemicals was sharply curtailed because of their dreadful environmental effects, and partly as a result malaria began a long upswing around the world in the 1960's and 70's."

What possible "dreadful effects" could DDT have that outweigh the needless deaths and untold suffering and grief of millions upon millions of people over the years? The thinning of birds' eggshells? The environmentalists have never proved even such trivial claims. They succeeded in stopping the use of DDT on the basis of rigged "experiments" and irrational fears. (See the essays on DDT in Jay H. Lehr, ed., Rational Readings on Environmental Concerns. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992. See also pp. 5-7 of the pamphlet Environmentalism Versus Man by Richard F. Sanford, which is available from TJS, as described in our catalog.)

The malaria epidemic is the result of the vicious, antihuman philosophy of environmentalism. Environmentalism regards wild speculation as the equivalent of scientific proof, and the "environment"--from California condors and spotted owls to rock formations and jungles--as intrinsically valuable and fully on a par with the value of human life.

In the instance of the banning and continued prohibition of DDT and the consequent return of malaria as a leading killer of human beings, the environmentalists demonstrate their indifference to the value of human life.

(For further discussion of environmentalism, see, in addition to the references above, the index entry "Ecology movement" in my newly published book Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics.)

*Copyright © 1997 by George Reisman. All rights reserved.

**George Reisman, Ph.D., is professor of Economics at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management and is the author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books, 1996). 

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