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Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  84 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
There was a time when humanity looked in the mirror and saw something precious, worth protecting and fighting for—indeed, worth liberating. But now, we are beset on all sides by propaganda promoting a radically different viewpoint. According to this idea, human beings are a cancer upon the Earth, a horde of vermin whose aspirations and appetites are endangering the natural ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Encounter Books (first published October 25th 2011)
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Bradley Jarvis
May 04, 2012 Bradley Jarvis rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in different points of view.
"Merchants of Despair" is sure to insult, anger, or disgust a large number of people (myself included) who consider themselves champions of human activity that minimizes harm to life – and humanity itself - by limiting growth in both numbers and maximum personal power.

Author Robert Zubrin, who I personally got to know as an activist promoting the settlement of space beginning with Mars (before I became convinced that limits were necessary), believes in the enabling of unfettered creativity, who
John Godier
Jul 18, 2013 John Godier rated it it was amazing
Dr. Zubrin gives us, in no uncertain terms, an expose of the antihumanist movement and the damage it continues to cause on a global scale. Much of the cynicism and lack of will to promote human achievement that is present in our world today stems from this ideology in whole or in part, made particularly bad now through its infection of the pop culture.

Everywhere one looks we see dystopian books and films presenting a bleak outlook for humanity. One needs Prozac to read half of what comes from s
Tracy Black
Jul 02, 2012 Tracy Black rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
First thing I'd like to say is that Zubrin is one of my favorite authors. IMO, The Case for Mars and Entering Space are two of the greatest space advocacy books ever written. Second, I agree with the basic premise of this book, that we are not at all like yeast in a bottle,and that as our population increases, our quality of life improves and we use resources more efficiently. I think the human species is pretty awesome, and hate hearing it described as a cancer on the planet.

So I was very excit
Patrick Ritchie
Aug 23, 2012 Patrick Ritchie rated it it was amazing
This is a very important book.

It makes a very good companion to Peter Diamandis's Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

Where Abundance examines the incredible progress of humanity and shows us we can expect even greater things in the future, Merchants of Despair shows us the dark side of our past when we have let ourselves be led astray by doomsayers such a Malthus, Ehlrich and Holdren.

Zubrin chronicles the suffering imposed on humanity by the Malthusians and convincingly argues the fa
Apr 17, 2013 Bill rated it it was amazing
The author shows how an antipathy to population growth has led opinion leaders to promote policies that endanger human lives while claiming to promote conservation and environmental protection. As a result, millions of young women in India have undergone dangerous sterilization procedures without adequate concern for their health and safety. (There are current lawsuits being pursued against this grisly practice.) Hundreds of millions have died from malaria as a direct result of the banning of DD ...more
Jun 11, 2014 Kenneth rated it it was ok
I wanted to expose myself to some bracing contrarianism against the scientific consensus about climate change and pessimistic futurism, but I have to say I just couldn't get into this book, even to engage with a good debate. The author's positions seem to be based more on his animus against progressivism than on an even-handed consideration of the evidence, and his line of argument is tendentious and reactionary. After a couple of chapters, I concluded I had better uses for my time. Sorry I flak ...more
R.P. Nettelhorst
Feb 15, 2013 R.P. Nettelhorst rated it it was amazing
Excellent book; together with The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley and Abundance by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, this book serves as a corrective to the pessimism so prevalent in the thinking of so many. The world is not getting worse and worse; it is getting better, and could be even more wonderful in the future.

This is a book that everyone should read.
Garret Seinen
Sep 02, 2012 Garret Seinen rated it it was amazing
Without a doubt, the first book I've read in a long while that I had a hard time putting down. The way he ties the environmental movement to the failed eugenics movement brilliantly documents the actions of generation of manipulative individual who hate human beings. Well worth a read.
I can not praise this book enough! It is the most important, life changing book I have ever read with the exception of religious texts. Everyone must read this book!!! Even if you never read non-fiction this should be your one exception.
Nov 19, 2012 Philski rated it it was amazing
Excellent book linking "anti-humanist" movements from the eugenics movements of the 1800-1900's to the current organic and global warming movements. Including some key players who link these various movements.
Edward Podritske
Robert Zubrin brings together in a single articulate volume the similarities among Malthusian theories, the eugenics and population control movements, Nazi Holocaust, environmentalist crusades, biotechnology fear-mongering, global warming alarm and the assault on fossil fuels.

He describes the purveyors of these hideous ideas and their apparently irrational followers in his subtitle as the "Fatal Cult of Antihumanism". In the context of the human species the common theme of all the activists, pol
Dec 23, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
I learned a lot from this book about the environmental movement's eugenics/Nazi origins. This is not well known but was not terribly surprising to me either, once the evolutionary process of the anti human movement was described in the book. Zubrin is not always philosophically consistent, as evidenced by his identifying some of the more traditional leftist causes as positive, rather than coercive. He also appears to be in favor of ethanol as a fuel additive/replacement and insinuates that high ...more
Sep 10, 2013 Quinndara rated it it was amazing
Eye opening, informative book that details the history and development of Eugenics in America and Europe and how Malthusian concepts underlie population control and the environmental movement. It is well documented and references pan out.
Jul 06, 2012 Nancy added it
Very well cited read! Pulls together important info that is beyond politics!
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