director of publications at the American Council on Science and Health, and editor of HealthFactsAndFears.com
The planet’s biggest underlying health problem is poverty in the developing world, with all its devastating side effects, from starvation and lack of medicine to a shortage of clean water - but the solution is not what most developed-world activists have in mind. The world’s poor desperately need capitalism, the real engine of progress. That means encouraging clearly defined, well-enforced property rights and getting rid of red-tape-spawning socialistic regimes as well as the NGOs who encourage them, and getting environmentalists out of the way of biotech and other agricultural innovations.
We should condemn bad ideas like ‘sustainable development’, which is a polite term for inefficient farming methods that kept humanity on the brink of starvation for about 10,000 years. Greens must be prevented from making another mistake like banning the pesticide DDT, which could have prevented some 2 million deaths per year from malarial mosquitoes over the past three decades.
Thinking that works in Marxist college classes and Clash-influenced song lyrics kills in the real world. Let’s hope ethical thought in the first quarter of the Twenty-First Century, informed by science and free-market economics, spells the (peaceful) end of the left and greens - before millions more innocents die.