Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus 1766-1834
by Richard E. Noble
Malthus goes down in History as one of the World’s greatest thinkers, for writing what I think he considered, the biggest spoof that he had yet concocted, in order to perplex the ‘pointy heads’ of his day. He presents his essay suggesting to his intellectual adversaries (Godwin, Condorcet and others) that far be it for him to point out what is right before their eyes, but in the spirit of objectivity, maybe they are not quite so blind as he is just dumb. He goes on to explain that if one wishes to contend that mankind is turning into an Ostrich, reasonable proof should be established corresponding to the notion. Show me some humans with beaks, long necks, and some feathers, says he. It isn’t quite enough to simply keep burying your own head into the ground.
This bit of sarcasm from his “Essay on the Principle of Population”, which he had published anonymously at first, is in response to Mister William Godwin’s (1756-1836) “An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice”. In his Enquiry, Mr. Godwin, basically blames all of the problems in the world onto the WWaspp’s or the WWaspc’s... Wealthy, White, Anglo Saxon Patriotic Protestants or Catholics. Godwin is not quite so specific, but I’m sure Mr. Malthus took the whole thing personally. Godwin basically contends that the reason all is not right with the world, is because of Society and its institutions. But have no fear, all will eventually come round by the natural processes of debate, discussion and enlightenment which will eventually result in the disappearance of all governments, the collapse of all religious Tom Foolery, the end to War and pestilence, and the realization on the part of the wealthy that they have too much and should share it with their unfortunate neighbors. So there you go.
Malthus suggests a different proposition. Did you ever think, he suggests and I paraphrase, that the reason that the few have so much and the many so little is that every time Mrs. Many bends over in her garden to plant another row of peas, Mr. Many plants his own seed, thus making Mrs. Many, two Many once again. The perpetuation of this type behavior leads to too many Manyes, and too few peas which then leads to war, famine, pestilence, disease, and mass production (I just threw in that last one, sorry). It is not Society, Government, God, Religion, or even the uneven distribution of wealth. It is simply too many Manyes and too few peas. It is not God, Government, Greed or Goodies. It is excessive ouuu, ouuu, ouuu, ouuu. . . .ahhhhhhhhh. Knock off some
of the ou-ing and ah-ing and do a little more weeding and all will once again be right with the world. God has a plan. He not only said go out and populate, He said go out and CULTIVATE too. Malthus was a Minister, you know.
Well, lots of people begin reading Malthus’s essay. Even some smart people read it, like Darwin and some other scientists, and they aren’t laughing. Malthus finds out about this and takes his essay home and reads it aloud in front of a mirror. This ain’t bad, he says to himself. So, at the next publication, he not only adds to it, but signs his name on it.
The end result of all of this is that the Prime Minister, a guy named Billy Pitt, cancels his ‘Aid to the Poor Bill’ and closes down all the soup kitchens around town. And now, instead of putting a dollar into the poor box, everybody drops in a condom.