Thomas Malthus, the most destructive Englishman who ever lived?
I suppose words like “destructive” or “evil” are necessarily contested terms. Jack the Ripper is supposed to have killed five people – maybe a few more. Thomas Malthus may have been more remotely responsible for the deaths of many millions. But if you were to meet Thomas Malthus in a narrow deserted street on a dark night, he wouldn’t hurt you -whereas Jack the Ripper probably would.
If they were assembling a list of the top ten most destructive Englishmen who ever lived (assuming they haven’t already – they assemble top ten lists of everything else), I would personally do my darndest to ensure that Thomas Malthus’ name appeared upon it. The most destructive humans all kill with pens rather than swords, and Malthus’ Essay on Population (1798) is destructive because it has reconciled powerful people to the mass destruction of their fellow creatures. Widely discredited, it remains credited…
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