Monday, August 24, 2020

The Conquest of the World by the Jews

Frederick Millingen

During my research of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, I came across the name of an anti-semite known by quite a few names, among them, his birth name, Frederick Millingen, as well as many aliases, including Major Osman Bey and Major Vladimir Andrejevick; he was born in Istanbul in 1832, and for a brief period, he was an Ottoman officer, who, strangely enough, enlisted as a Union soldier, when he sailed to New York in 1865 to take part in the American Civil War, though he was too late to participate.

Millingen is now a very obscure figure in history, mostly known as a proponent for a global Jewish conspiracy before the Protocols were released in 1903. An author of several books, his most well-known work was his book on Jewry, The Conquest of the World by the Jews, written in 1873, a full 30 years before the Protocols. Though certainly the Jewish grip on power in the 19th century pales compared to the 20th century or the current era, his life was steeped in misfortune according to his memoirs, apparently even leading to his expulsion from multiple countries. 

As can be seen by the fact that I only linked to one Jewish website, there is very little information on Millingen in English. The best source would probably be his memoirs, but they have yet to be translated to English.

The Conquest of the World by the Jews is a short book, perhaps more accurately described as a pamphlet, of some 70 pages. It briefly describes the general demeanor of Jews with a few historical events and examples. It touches on their evolutionary path as a diaspora people, their representation in usury and money lending, the Rothschilds, their greater rise to power with further modernization, etc. It's a very broad overview that's somewhat limited on details. 

There are some novel ideas to be found in this text, and it has historical value as a precursor to the Protocols, so I will provide an overview of some of its core ideas, alongside commentary.

The Conquest of the World by the Jews

Millingen starts his text off by noting three principles--with the third one being of special relevance to the identity of the Jewish people--that of "the principle of material interests." He believes they were the first people to "discover that secret power," utilizing it expertly for the means of conquest. Their involvement with usury and finance is, of course, not a secret. The point made here is debatable, but in hindsight, seeing the successful political and social maneuvering by the Jews and their pillaging of wealth, it seems a reasonable assertion. They may not have been unique or the first in their mastery of this principle, but certainly they are now one of the great exemplars of it. There are also the principles of physical force and the theocratic principle that he lists. He will identify the Jews as having a split between the principles of physical force and material interests throughout their history, with that of material interests eventually winning. 

The author lists Jews as once being an Arab tribe, though the Jews eventually diverged from this group. Historically, it's hard to say where this divergence might have begun. The Old Testament is... a mixture of historical events and fables. There's no certainty that Abraham was a real person, and he might have just been a type of symbol—the first Hebrew patriarch, whose two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, represent the Israelites or Hebrews and Arabs, respectively. 

Its common knowledge that Jews and Arabs are both semitic people and closely related, even if the Jews have partially hijacked the word semitic with their absolute dominion over the word anti-semite. Not just the Mizrahi Jews, but also the Sephardic and Ashkenazi ones, are closely related to Arabs and share recent ancestors from the last few thousand years, as can be seen from DNA studies

Millingen seems to have admired the Arabs, stating that their unusual mental faculties "throw those of all other races in the shade." As both Arabs and Jews came from the same seed, they both possess these same faculties, but the Jews possessed other qualities which gave them certain advantages. "The Jew combines with a fiery temperament an obstinacy so inflexible that it may well be said: the Jew never gives, and knows neither forgetting nor forgiving." Arabs tend towards the more abstract and ideal, while Jews value more so the material and practical. The Arab can see the beauty in an object for nothing other than the sake of beauty, but the Jew always questions, how can I make this beautiful object useful to me? How can a profit be made? This was, first and foremost, the Jew's preoccupation. 

Rapacity and the "lust of gain" is what enraptures the Jew, placing the Jew in an everlasting antagonism with all gentiles of the world. Outlined is a conscious separation of the dual ideas of war and peace for the Arab, but there is no armistice for the Jew—life is an eternal struggle and competition among mankind. As the Jews see themselves as distinct from all other groups, and arguably superior and fit to rule over mankind (as can be seen by adherents to Judaism referring to gentiles as cattle and eventually slaves for Jewry), they shall wage war with them with no intermission in sight.

Lines are cited from Genesis to support the idea that Jews emigrated for the sake of plunder: first Canaan, then Egypt, where there was the famous exodus of the Jews, and following that, the land of the Philistines (especially of interest is Genesis 13:2, when Abraham enriches himself; Genesis 26:16 also indicates that the king of the Philistines, Abimelech, requested the Jews to leave, for they were too powerful, and Genesis 26:20-29 details some of the conflict between these two peoples and Abimelech's attempt to keep Isaac and his people from being a thorn in his side). The absolute plunder and draining of the resources from the Egyptians by Joseph can be read of in Genesis 47:14-18. One might call this "a good sense for business and a real go-getter attitude," much like you'd find with price gouging nowadays, but this kind of enrichment and exploitation of the people by the Jews is clearly what has led to so many societies despising the Jews and bringing about their subsequent expulsion. 

The Jews were persecuted according to their so-called history, but it begs the question of why they were persecuted. A people are rarely persecuted for no reason at all, and there's no reason to assume Jews did not attempt to subvert or rob Egyptian society, just as they do with America and other countries today. Though it should be noted that they were not strictly "Jews" in this time period (though from here on out, I will generally refer to any Hebrews, Israelites, etc, as Jews)—a word originating much later—but were ancestors, with many ethnic or racial groups today and in centuries past squabbling about the 12 tribes of Israel and claiming to be the "true Israelites" over the Jews. 

Most of these conflicts with the Jews didn't involve their employment of physical force or taking up arms, for they use their cunning to conquer people. The Jews have never been especially adept in war, and they've always remained a very tiny group, so they must exert power by more subtle means or by pitting multiple groups against each other (exceptions of a more militant form of conquest are with Canaan and the modern day state of Israel, but even then, they rely on others to do the bulk of fighting or providing them with protection), always remaining in the shadows and avoiding being identified as the "other" as much as they possibly can, until they could swindle people into accepting them into their societies unconditionally through ideas of liberalism.

He argues that the Jews used famines (such as the one in Canaan) in the lands they inhabited as an excuse to emigrate, before they engaged in their typical behavior in foreign lands amongst competing ethnic groups. Not only did they loot the coffers of these varied lands, but they did so with a sort of moral victory, wherein, they refer to their enemies as tyrants and persecutors. The actual history of what happened is not important for them. What is important is using this supposed history of persecution—little more than a will to power through victimhood—to maintain their stranglehold over gentiles. This is what Millingen refers to as the Jew's "true masterpiece of Machiavelism," embodying the "soul and spirit of Judaism." 

Mosaic Period

Millingen states that this period, the second dispensation, led to a renouncement of past Jewish principles, specifically the principle of material interests, as represented by the rejection of the golden calf, a symbol he views not just as a false idol, but the spirit of usury and a representations of the principle of material interests. Given that it's made of gold and is obviously an extravagant item, this is a perfectly reasonable interpretation of the meaning behind it. Is wealth and the pursuit of it not a sort of false god?

Although I have my doubts, the author believes there was an interim during the reign of the Kingdom of Judah, where this typically Jewish behavior fell into remission, again metastasizing once the kingdom collapsed, giving the Jews no recourse but to return to their old habits. Their pursuit of the principle of material interests brought about their desire for world conquest. It was with the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans in 70 CE that the principle of physical force became untenable, and the Jews solely concentrated on material interest as a means to power.

There are some interesting quotations in this section which lack a citation, so they seem to be a representation in dialogue of how the author believes Jews think based on his readings and possibly even experiences with Jews.
"What use is it to us," said they [the Jews], "to possess a country of our own, a kingdom, fortress and armies, which a single storm can destroy in a moment, making us the slaves of the conqueror?"

"No, the mosaic principle may appear beautiful, but it is only a chimera. Our riches and our power must not be concentrated at one point; they must be everywhere and nowhere, so that they cannot become the prey of our enemies. No country, no kingdom, must be our own, but we must try to possess ourselves of the riches of all the countries and all the empires of the world. Scattered over the whole face of the earth, we must possess no fixed habitation, but hurry towards those spots where the harvest is most bountiful. Only through the principle indicated by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and only in this manner, and will, the prophecies be fulfilled, which promises to the sons of Israel the conquest of the world."

These are very interesting quotes, but are they mere speculation? Was this really a choice by the Jews, or did they simply not have the requisite power to have their own country or kingdom? Was it that they knew they could not maintain it with their meager numbers and lack of a warlike constitution? Perhaps. Most any people who have the power to form a country or kingdom will do so, just as the Jews revived Israel in the 20th century once they had the power and support to bolster their ambitions. But these quotes, though perhaps ill-thought out in some manner, do carry many threads of the Jewish ethos. They have been a diaspora people for well over a thousand years, and the diaspora thrives even now that Israel is again a country, often supporting the Jewish state and funneling resources back to the homeland.

It is even the case that despite the obvious advantage for the Jews to have their own country, some of them were wary of the idea of a Jewish homeland. One such example would be a Jewish minister in the UK named Edwin Montagu, around the period that the Balfour Declaration was drafted, and even the American Jewish Committee was hesitant to support zionism until just before the creation of Israel. Support for zionism prior to 1948 was mixed for many Jews. Not because they were truly against it, but it was a matter of optics—they thought it might result in a new fervor of anti-semitism or accusations of dual loyalty; a Jewish state might also increase the chance of an expulsion of the diaspora. All Jews, pro-zionist, anti-zionist, or those who were more neutral towards the emerging movement, were concerned with one thing above all else: what is good for the Jews? All of these groups and people were generally pro-Jewish, but they had different strategies and perspectives on what was best for the Jewish people.

Furthermore, this is a belief of the author that was expressed during the 19th century, long before the state of Israel was erected, Herzl's promotion of zionism, the Balfour Declaration, WWI, etc, all of which he really couldn't have predicted. His quote is a very, very good depiction of Jewish internationalist sentiment, all around, however. Jews have long been a diaspora people, even before the fall of Jerusalem, and much of the early books in the OT corroborate this tendency. A partial outline of their scattering can be found here

The Middle Ages and Onward

With the decline of Roman rule and the invasion of the barbarians, this led to a period of greater decentralization, with many new nations and empires for the Jews to thrive within, heading to commercial centers of the cities and commonly engaging in usury. Speculation was far more of interest than agriculture or craftsmanship or anything that leads to production of a good. 

The author stresses the connectedness of these scattered Jewish people and their adherence to the principle of material interests, citing the stronger connection of modern Jews to each other compared to that of Christians, as well as a greater concordance in terms of religion, historical tradition, and race. 

Jewish solidarity is so great, that, if you attack one Jew in any particular place, all the Jews of the five continents arise as one man.

This statement might seem a bit exaggerated for the author's time, but it certainly rings true now, with the various Jewish interest groups and press in numerous countries clamoring about Jewish issues or anti-semitism abroad.

His example of this proclivity is Ulysses S. Grant's expulsion of the Jews from Paducah in 1862,  which was an order issued primarily due to alleged profiteering by Jews in the area. This was a domestic situation that wouldn't have been well-known internationally at the time, but the small body of Jews spread throughout the U.S. were infuriated by the issuing of General Order No. 11 that mandated Jewish evacuation from this one area. This is actually a rather minor event in U.S. history, but it's one that has Jews kvetching even now. Grant actually went on to appoint many Jews to his cabinet, as well as coming to the defense of foreign Jews in both Russia and Romania during his presidency—one can assume this was an attempt to court them because of their power or to appease the Jews for his prior "transgression."

Given that the Jews have long been a diaspora and have adapted to this lifestyle of internationalism and cosmopolitanism like no other people on earth, they are a sort of nation scattered amongst all nations. Therefore, they do not love the host nations they inhabit or the people within—they love and seek to ameliorate only their own nation within a nation. They are nomads. Free to roam from one country to another for their own gain, just as Rothschild's sons scattered to multiple nations to establish their central banks in the most prosperous countries of Europe. They're the human equivalent of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes migrating from one organism to the next for the sake of a meal—they're always symbiotic, often manipulating history and the media to give the impression they are engaged in mutualism, but in the longterm, it always turns out to be parasitism that they primarily engage in, though a small elite of gentiles are also benefitted at the expense of the majority.

This tendency only worsened with the ideas of thinkers like Voltaire and the spirit of liberalism and the enlightenment period. This led to a damaging tolerance of the parasitic Jewish people, increasing their power and influence. 

There's a lot of very general information that's reiterated a few times, but the author goes on to talk about the media and which magazines are either owned, influenced, or controlled by Jews. Among them he lists The London Times, Les Debats, I' Independance Belge, La Revue des deux Mondes, and the New York Tribune as being supported by Jews either by subscription or shares that are personally bought up. It's somewhat difficult to clarify the connection of the Jews to these papers without more extensive research.

Another kind of newspaper is the one that appears to be specific to a particular nationality, like Germany or France, but is in fact a Jewish controlled organ. His example is The (London) Daily Telegraph, a newspaper with a circulation of 100,000 at the time, of which the proprietor is a Jew who bought it for $20,000 (not sure about the actual value, but I assume he's giving the amount in UK currency of that time). Joseph Moses Levy indeed took over this paper, and he was also the proprietor of the The Sunday Times.

In France, a Baron Soubeyrand was a Jew who is claimed to have owned La Patrie and the Paris Journal, though it's difficult to find any information on the English side of the internet for this. In Vienna there is Neue Presse (this must be the Neue Freie Presse, which was owned by Max Friedländer, Adolf Werthner, and Michael Etienne; the first two are jewish, and the third is French. Moriz Benedikt, a longtime editor at the time, was also Jewish), Perseveranza in Italy, and the German Frankfurter Zeitung (Leopold Sonnemann). There are many modern parallels of media outlets that appear to be representative of "American" or "British" press, but our more of a Jewish organ, with an obvious example being The New York Times.

Also listed are some openly Jewish newspapers: Das Judenthum, Israelit, Israelitisch Bibliothek; Jewish Chronicle, Baltimore; Jewish Messenger, New Jersey; American Israelite, Cincinnati; Jewish Record, Philadelphia; San Francisco Hebrew, Occident Chicago; Independent Hebrew, New Jersey; and the Jewish Gazette. Though obviously this is a minuscule sampling. 


This text may have been eye-opening for the time (I can't really know until I unearth more books/pamphlets that preceded it and were sufficiently influential), but it's now rather quaint and pretty much all of the main points are addressed in any general anti-semitic or counter-semitic text. For those who already agree with the main points, it might help fine-tune their arguments a tad, but for one who has done much reading on the Jews, it will mostly seem like pretty standard information. 

In the context of the 19th century, this text was probably effective rhetoric to influence those who had negative dealings with Jews or were aware of a few of these trends, but I'm not sure there's enough rigorous detail to convince anyone who went into reading it without prior knowledge of the Jews. It's general enough that most people will probably dismiss it as a conspiracy theory regarding the Jews. 

However, the bulk of what is said ranges from mostly plausible to demonstrably true with even a cursory reading of history, along with a degree of critical thinking (and not the fake critical thinking pushed in university). It just so happens that the Jewish influence over history and media is so strong that most people aren't aware of these details without doing their own research, and all along the way, they see the messaging of "this is an anti-semitic conspiracy/canard." This results in cognitive dissonance engendered by liberalism that often leads to the individual dropping the inquiry altogether, because liberalism is predicated on anything equated with anti-semitism, racism, or all the other boutique -isms that leftists and Jews rally against, as being especially and uniquely evil.

For those looking for an introductory text on the subject, the best would probably be David Duke's Jewish Supremacism, Douglas Reed's Controversy of Zion (one issue some may have with this is it tends to have a scant number of citations, but most of the information is pretty easy to find, and it can be dated in some sense, like the adherence to the Khazar hypothesis), or the books of E. Michael Jones.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Hagazussa: A Heathen's Curse

Hagazussa (Old High German for witch) is a 2017 horror film—the directorial debut of Lukas Feigelfeld and co-produced between Germany and Austria. I'm not going to provide any additional informations about the furniture (actors) or other members of the crew, but feel free to check IMDB.

It's always somewhat difficult to know where to begin when discussing a film with such minimal plotting and a story so slimly skeletal as to be stripped of all its marrow—the nutrients of the individual bones long since boiled into the atmosphere. 

Sometimes the substance of a film or other work of art could be said to be found in its style—as could be shown with the colorful pulp of a Seijun Suzuki film.

 A Collage of stills from Seijun Suzuki's Tokyo Drifter (1966).

Unfortunately, this doesn't apply to Hagazussa. There's nothing compelling about the narrative, the characters, most of the imagery, or much of any real style to speak of. It's just a bland, uninventive retread on the persecuted and alienated medieval witch fiction piece. 

It's often mentioned alongside Robert Eggers The VVitch from 2015, which it bears some similarity to, but Hagazussa is much vaguer and features less character development/characterization or dialogue. 

Lukas Feigelfeld spoke of the comparisons between The VVitch and Hagazussa:
I am not sure that The Witch and Hagazussa aim in the same direction, when it comes to the depiction of a so-called witch. I also must add, that I had not seen Robert Eggers’s film until after Hagazussa was finished. In Hagazussa, it was important that the balance between reality and magic was very blurred and that in the end it is the story of a woman struggling with a mental disorder. Eggers’s film did the opposite, in portraying the “emancipated woman” again as a mystical and magical creature, which is a very male point of view. So-called witches in those times were, of course, just human; women who did not fit into the moral codex of those times. It was the church that twisted the perception and found ways of hunting down and mass murdering them as “enemies.”Nowadays, with a growing number of young women finding their empowerment within the witch metaphor, this can and should be used to emancipate yourself from these old values, ultimately from the prevailing patriarchy in the world. 
To begin with, this does a great deal to reveal the prosaic nature of the film. The balance between magic and reality are blurred, but ultimately it's obvious magic does not exist and this is meant to be a sad tale of a woman suffering from mental deterioration in a harsh and judgmental world. While this has the potential to be interesting if well-written or conceived in an artistic fashion, there's honestly nothing intriguing about a mental breakdown on its own. A mental breakdown is only worthwhile if the character has depth, and this one doesn't. There's also nothing truly fantastical to be found, as it's all explained away by the vagaries of the mind.

Also, what exactly is empowering about the witch metaphor as expressed in Feigelfeld's film? What, being a single mom and estranged from the rest of society, and exploring your sexuality on your own terms with your goat? Yeah, real empowering. The "prevailing patriarchy" in the world is what led to the technological advancements and the height of civilization. Patriarchy is a stabilizing force. Without patriarchy we'll quickly become (as if we haven't already) decadent, crumbling neoliberal societies, parasitized by greedy elites giving the country away and siphoning off all the wealth, while they live in their pristine gated communities. Frankly, I'd like to emancipate myself from the prevailing matriarchy in the world.

Hagazussa was described as a "medieval, feminized Eraserhead" by Sight and Sound—given that the latter film was conceived by director David Lynch as a response to his fear of becoming a father, and the former concerns an estranged woman who is shunned for being a witch, a heathen, and is also beset with the arduous task of single motherhood in a harsh hinterland—with a macabre climax not too dissimilar from the Lynch film in its content—it's a fairly apt description at a superficial level. 

Both films have "arty" pretensions, but only Lynch's film truly resembles an art film or has anything resembling the old magic craftsmanship of cinema—Hagazussa is what passes as an "art film" nowadays. It's slow, vague, foreign, and uses a language other than english, so it must be artful, profound, good, etc., or that seems to be the reasoning behind the internet fame of many of these soulless offerings. 

Yes, it's slow, reliant on atmosphere (though it fails even here at many points), and was probably constructed based on European art house films of yore, but this is laughable compared to the likes of giants of the "genre," like Andrei Tarkovsky or Michelangelo Antonioni. This is the same kind of film where criticism is likely to be met by diehard fans with such rejoinders as "Go watch your Michael Bay film with explosions" or "You just don't understand the seminal masterwork of auteur Lukas Feigelfeld."

The fanbase of Hagazussa.

In fact, let me quote some reviews from IMDB:

I would probably rate this film a 9, but gave it ten to help balance out the one star review by someone with no attention span or conception of how rating something works
To those people who gave this film low scores for whatever reasons, I can understand your frustration but then again I can not agree with your absolute lack of maturity.
Cinema will never amount to anything again if know-nothings put this on a pedestal as an example of an artistic or even good film. Hollywood's domestic influence (along with the bulk of television) has numbed the masses to such an extent that they can't even appreciate art of any kind in many cases, and the industry's global influence has slowly drained the life out of the once flourishing art cinema of the world.

As for the film itself, it's billed first and foremost as a horror film, largely because of its dark subject matter and gruesomeness, but I often forgot it was a horror film while watching (like many films of this nature, Feigelfeld doesn't necessarily see it as a horror film, nor was that his intent when making it). It's a dark psychological character study of a rather dull, lonely, and estranged woman—perhaps more accurately described as a study of how the pampered modern woman would view 15th century Germany (or any similar pre-liberalized western society) through the lens of feminism, along with the hysterical fear of patriarchy, religion, and motherhood that such perspectives denounce.

Sorry, but I always liked stories about witches for weird and fantastical imagery and maybe even some spookiness—not boring feminist dishwasher cinema about how bleak life was several centuries ago. The only reason witches preoccupy the minds of people these days is to wax endlessly about how oppressed women were and still are (aside from taking extra jabs at religion). Indeed, they're still oppressed in the most destructively liberal societies, even the ones with female presidents/PMs and 50/50 representation in the highest political offices. And given how embarrassingly liberal society has become with women sharing the pants, it begs the question as to whether more "oppression" isn't a good thing.

Still from Russian film Viy (1967)—a good film about witches.

Hagazussa is divided into four sections: Shadow, Horn, Blood, and Fire.

An example of the landscape shots often used. This one is more pleasing than most of them, though it's better balanced in the trailer because of the inclusion of text in the upper right third of the image.

Shadow marks the beginning of the film, with the young girl, Albrun, who wanders through the wintry forest with her mother. The only explicit folklore to be featured in the film is delivered in one of only a few dozen lines by an old peasant who sounds like he's gargling gravel—he warns them, saying they should get home because it's almost dark, it's the twelfth night, and to be careful not to let Perchta (a goddess in Alpine paganism who appears on the twelfth day of Christmas) get them. The geezer seems to be the only truly benign male character to interact with Albrun and her mother, but he's never seen again. 

They're visited in the night by three peculiarly dressed men, their identities concealed behind masks and bulky pelts. The masks seem to be meant to represent Perchta.

A Perchta mask.

"You should be burned down, you witches. We'll get you," one man says, while mother and daughter huddle together in fear inside their shack. Incase you didn't get the message, the visual metaphor of the black cat is included. 

Perhaps it's just my copy, but this is a good example of how murky many of the shots are, though this is compositionally one of the most tolerable interior shots in the film.

The mother soon becomes ill and local Christians pay a visit. The sight of black boils on her body suggests the black plague (perhaps something else), and the mother's condition deteriorates further from that point on. 

This is a film partially concerning the interactions between Christianity and paganism or other outsiders or heathens (although these accounts tend to be quite romantic in fiction, featuring many reactionary pagans who go against the grain or worship another religion in secret, pagan beliefs and practices often continued on independent of religious worship and didn't necessarily constitute a separate religion in this sense—there doesn't seem to be any indication that those who clung to pagan superstitions were anything like the cunning Jewish conversos). Christians are, as usual, unequivocally presented as villains, though their role is largely a minor one, relegated to being a persecutory force looming in the background.

Jewish and liberal propaganda always conspires to make the European especially ashamed of his heritage, and given one of the later lines concerning the Jews, the director, Lukas Feigelfeld left me wondering how much of this negative portrayal might be a product of Feigelfeld being a Jew himself, lashing out against Christianity and Europe's once robust ethnocentrism. Though his name sounds Jewish to me, Alfred Rosenberg, a gentile, also has what one would expect to be a Jewish surname, so it's best to be careful when making these assumptions. Feigel seems to be exclusively an Ashkenazi/Yiddish name, and Feigelfeld yields no results from Ancestry, while -feld is commonly found at the end of Jewish surnames. However, with Feigelfeld's professed SJWisms, as represented by his staunch feminism and his denouncement of "white supremacy" in his upcoming work, and his name, I think it's safe to say that he is a Jew, and Jewishness or non-Jewishness should always be taken into account when evaluating artwork. 

Albrun's mother is driven mad by the disease, grunting like an animal and behaving in a bizarre manner. At one point she beckons her daughter into the bed and gathers Albrun's menstrual blood onto her fingers, smearing it onto the young girl's face, that is, when the loony isn't sniffing and licking it off her fingers. Albrun's menarche is revealed earlier in the film, but she hides any evidence of the stain and clearly is alarmed or ashamed by the discovery, not understanding it. 

This scene alludes to some of the other perverse "sensualism" that will appear later in the film. 

The segment ends with Albrun tracking her mother, now deceased, to a swamp. Perhaps notable are the two snakes undulating across the body—the same imagery occurs later with an older Albrun, and it could relate to either the story in Genesis, given the inclusion of christianity; generalized phallic imagery—not a surprise with how much sexuality, or a lack of it, plays in the film; or maybe even in relation to some folkloric aspect. Other similar imagery is an apple offered by Swinda to Albrun, and later an apple the former bites into during the rape scene.

Horn starts with a mature Albrun sulkily looking around, milling about with her goats, performing chores, and attending to her crying baby girl. The goats and baby are her only company, and she's a single mother, much like her dead mother was, only her child is much younger. It's spring, and the cyclical nature of the film is quite pronounced.

The villagers keep their distance from her, and their unkindness is portrayed through the cruel comments of a few youths, who call her an ugly witch. Her only contact with the village seems to be the occasional trading of items, such as goat milk and cheese for supplies. Just as with her mother, the father of her child is unclear. The ambiguity seems partly to imply a demonic source seeded her womb in a few parts of the film, leading to many questions about her own birth and that of her mother and other ancestors.

She meets Swinda in this segment, who becomes her female companion, visiting her several times. Very awkward conversations.

Also important is a scene taking place in an ominous church decorated with skulls and vertebrae, and easily the most wondrous location—with the same priest who visited her ill mother. His appearance doesn't last long, but it further develops the role of the in-group of the villagers/christians and the out-group of... well, Albrun and her daughter, and people who are similarly heathens or non-Christians or suspected to be witches. The priest is meant to spread the faith to people like Albrun in the far reaches of the countryside, but she seems at odds with Christianity and the community, is unwilling to assimilate, and remains mute the entire time. He reflects that her path is one of "suffering and pain," and her secluded way of life has already led many believers (Christians) to touch the darkness. To strengthen the faith of a community requires the cleansing of all sacrilege, and as he makes this clear, he hands Albrun the skull of her mother—the temples adorned with floral paintings.

What exactly Albrun is meant to do with the skull is unclear to me, and I don't know the meaning of the floral painting on her mother's skull. The most I can surmise is that it is a way to distinguish her skull from others who were perhaps not immersed in sacrilege or defined as a heathen. Therefore, her skull has no place in the ossuary (the ornate designs, such as what you can find here, seem to have been a result of a lack of room in the cemetery in most cases). 

Icky sensuality returns in full force when Albrun caresses the fur of her goat as she milks it, squirting it all over her dirty hands, and like the scene with the mother, those nasty fingers explore her mouth. The sound design consists of heavy, slow breathing—rather meditative sounding and distorted. I'm convinced that if the main character were a male than this would have gone in an even creepier direction, and it already looks like her other hand is going under her clothes and to the nether regions. 

Just pretend this is a goat you're dating instead of an alpaca. Sexy!

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), Swinda interrupts Albrun before things can get too raunchy, and this seems to be the point that Swinda comes to resent Albrun, when she sees the skull, her stare lingering upon it for a very long take. 

Goats are associated with witchcraft—Baphomet, for example, so it's no surprise she is a goat herder; the sexual imagery associated with the goat perhaps reinforces the suggestion of her coupling with a demonic entity, and when she masturbates in bed at night, there is a cutaway to the skull of a goat.

Swinda's lines, delivered with a smug expression upon her horsey face, in one scene are meant to trigger the right-think of the carefully honed modern sensibilities (most of the more florid reviewers make sure to affirm their virtuous right-think)—those repulsed by any form of discrimination, racism, and, most of all, the dreaded, EVIL of anti-semitism, when she says, "We really do have a nice spot here in our mountains," and "We don't have to be afraid here." 

What would they have to be afraid of? "Of those who don't carry the light of God in their hearts," echoing a line of the priest from before. People such as "the Jews and the heathens." "They come at night and like animals they take you." "And a few months later you bear a child like that." Meaning Albrun's child, or even Albrun herself. So another potential source of her child, other than a supernatural source, is a sacrilegious non-Christian, worst of all, a subversive Jew!

This xenophobia or persecutory outlook is no doubt the main thrust of the film as can be emphasized in Feigelfeld's words:
As I started to work on the subject of witches, it became quickly clear that it is the story of women, throughout the ages, being tormented by men, religion, and society.
The prosecution of people, especially women, who think or believe differently, is still even a very important topic in today’s society. I worked a lot on finding a delicate understanding for this kind of suffering, working very closely with the main actress (Aleksandra Cwen) on creating a strong picture of what kind of woman Albrun was, as well as with the cinematographer (Mariel Baqueiro.) Of course the fact that I am a male director is something that can never be forgotten in this process. It was a big aim for me to try to break away from the classic male (outlook) on the witch topic, like the “evil woman,” but instead, to depict a woman, whom is struggling with her own place in society, but ultimately finding it with herself and nature.
Although Albrun never says no or has much of a reaction during the rape scene (other than the actress trying to make her eyes bulge out of their sockets), this is probably meant to depict her powerlessness. Whatever. As is usual, Albrun just sits there and takes it and never reflects.

Her betrayal by Swinda, the rape, and the gory massacre of the goats (her one source of income and sexy time ^_~), leads to her descent into madness, like her mother—except not quite. The mother seemed normal enough until the disease progressed, and there isn't the same kind of causal factor for Albrun.

Most interestingly of all is her killing of a rat in her home. Rats were notorious plague spreaders. She drops it in the river (presumably the water supply for the village), then she squats down and urinates on it (???). Albrun ultimately either becomes a plague spreader or engages in actions that could contribute to a plague being spread. But that's okay, she was pushed to the brink by the villagers. If it's ever found that Jews actually did poison wells and other such nefarious activities, I'm sure we can excuse it without question because of how many countries they were kicked out of and the holocaust.

Blood begins with a cart rolling into frame with several bodies. One is a woman, possibly Swinda, and it's implied, though not confirmed, that the rat Albrun dropped in the river was a possible cause of their death. Since they are dumped in a circle of torches and are clearly meant to be burned, this is a sign that they died of the plague or some other infectious disease.

The next 30-40 minutes continues with Albrun wandering around the fairly atmospheric mossy greenery of the forest, without any dialogue, and a few inexplicable, hallucinatory events occurring, which apparently are meant to be supplemented by her eating a squirming mushroom, devoured with a hint of the erstwhile sensuality that's nearly dried up—and a nice skull embedded in moss and fungi that brings to mind the goat skull in the cabin.

Just as she found her mother in the swamp for the pivotal scene of Shadow, so too occurs the most harrowing and impactful scene in Blood, wading into the murk of the swamp with her child, committing infanticide. Why she does it isn't explained, because only the Christians have clear reasoning or openly express themselves. She is simply mad, one must suppose. 

The scenes shot in the water are vibrant with abstract color and texture, and the fluid becomes saturated with a bloody red, what looks like veins, and some amorphous thing begins to throb, it evokes the birthing of an organism or even the mixing of varied ingredients in a witch's cauldron, as is employed in the final segment.

Finally, we have Fire. The moon is full and studded with clouds. A snake weaves its way across Albrun's bed as she sleeps, coiling itself around her neck. Herbs are suspended in darkness and moss and lichen encrust the walls and water drips through the cracks. Candles provide an eerie warmth as the empty sockets of her mother's skull stare back at her. 

The dead baby is in her arms, and she looks down at the boiling cauldron, just as she did the pond in the swamp that previous day.

For some reason she boils and devours her baby, then upchucks pancake batter (This movie has a decent amount of emesis; it's not particularly pleasant to look at).

The only elements of the film that could be interpreted as explicitly supernatural would be the reappearance of her cackling mother and the ending, but this is probably chalked up to, again, mental illness—especially given the occasionally shaky camera, the discordant sound design, and the weird color shifts.

The movie ends with Albrun collapsed over onto a hill for quite a while, then in the long shot, you can see her body spontaneously combust into flames for some reason.

It doesn't get much bigger than that. Kind of humdrum after The Wickerman and Midsommar. Meh.


What does the ending mean? My first thought was "Who cares?"

To reinforce many of the points I've made throughout, and to offer an explanation for the ending, I will provide a quote from an interview with the director Lukas Feigelfeld:
Repressed sexuality was a key element in the prosecution of women (and still is). There is a book, released by the Catholic Church, called Der Hexenhammer (also known as Malleus Maleficarum). It explains in detail what makes a woman a witch and was widely used to trial women and kill them. There are some key points, one of them being the act of sex with the devil. This was often described as a woman having sex with some sort of invisible demon. Ultimately, this can be interpreted as a woman masturbating by herself and being burned alive for it. So sexuality was something very dangerous for women back then. As Albrun does not fit in this picture, it was important to show her as a sexual person. She has her own sexuality, without a man, by herself, surrounded by nature, that is absolutely sexual already. Later on in the film, this sexuality is, again, taken from her by the disgusting act of Swinda and the farmer.
Since there is no man around to explain her baby, superstitious thought might lead some to believe her child was the spawn of a demon. Though the more obvious explanation is probably one of the villagers, which is perhaps partly the purpose of the rape scene with the farmer (an inversion of the idea Swinda expresses, that a Jew or heathen will take a woman in the night). And all of this explains the holocaust (Oy vey) at the end.

She has her own sexuality and don't need no man! She can use her fingers and also her goat! Let's not also forget the phallic trees and the mushroom she pops into her mouth! I'm not exactly sure how Swinda and the farmer took her sexuality away. Does he mean when they deprived her of the goat? Because the rape doesn't really take her sexuality away, and it's implied this wasn't the first time, anyway (I'll bet in Feigelfeld's mind the baby was originally conceived through rape by another villager). I'd hate to have a gander at Feigelfeld's hard drive.

In another interview, Feifelfeld comments on the use of title cards (Blood, Horn, etc.):
...The titles roughly refer to an underline understanding, from a more Pagan origin, on what is happening in the story. There is no particular back story, but these elements are a very present part of the nature-focused folklore of the region.It was important to me to display them in the Latin alphabet, as well as in Pagan runes. It is used to underline the balance between the old nature focused believes of Albrun, compared to the christianisation by the catholic church and their moral dogmas, which they put on Albrun, like they did with the prosecution of witches back in those times. I like to see the chapter-titles as elements, like the ingredients of a witches broth, that will ultimately safe Albrun from her torment.
His comment here makes the cauldron scene even more questionable. The titles represent elements—the ingredients of a witch's broth that will absolve her from sorrow? So is that represented by her dead baby brew that she ate? Was having a baby so tormenting for her poor soul? Are we supposed to reflect on how much of a shame it was that they didn't have Planned Parenthood back then, so she could abort it and have more autonomy and be sexually liberated? In the end, I don't know or care—I'm just spitballing here.

To begin with, I don't mind not understanding every detail of a film. It can be ambiguous. But it at least needs to evoke emotion or interesting ideas, so the piecing together of the meaning, which may never come to fruition, will at least be rewarding and worthwhile.

But is there anything particularly moving about this bumpkin's decline or anything that happened? There's no love between her and her daughter—she's just an obligation. When she drowns the child, it's probably about what everyone expected, and it's not at all shocking. And yet we're supposed to sympathize with the weird-looking main character (we are given some of Feigelfeld's comments) because of CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION? The bullying she received from the townspeople is, of course, not fair. But in the end, she deserved to be persecuted and proved the priest right, whatever the circumstances. Her burning by the end is justice. Usually they at least try to make the character who is persecuted not so vile. The idea, of course, is that society corrupted her to become so vile. 

After researching about old pagan beliefs and folklore about witches, that were supposed to roam the mountain woods in those times, my interest was to develop a character that these folk tales would have branded as a witch, but to dig deeper into her psyche and see her as the traumatized, mistreated and finally delusional person that society constructed. As well as to understand what utterly evil things people were lead to do while suffering from psychosis in the Middle Ages and being surrounded by superstition and religious prosecution. The film tries to depict a very personal and empathetic mental image of a nightmarish and sick mind.
Yes, yes, people of that time period didn't understand mental illness and many problems arose from this. Basically bad things happened to her and, WHOOPS, there's psychosis (which magically explains everything), and she's drowning her child. I'm sure that was the leading cause of infanticide back in the day... the development of her supposed psychosis is unclear because she's such a simplistic character who you can only understand from facial expressions. There's no insight into her state of mind at all. With all the feminist claptrap he spouts and their love of abortion, I'm more inclined to think devouring the baby was meant to be a liberating and justified act, and she would have gotten away with it if not for those pesky Christians and their hankering for barbecue!

As for other features of the film, the acting is not compelling and barely deserves a mention. You could have got any lot of weird looking people and told them to stare bleakly into the camera.

The sound design and score are generally fine and fit the movie well enough. The drone music just sounds like the same note on a cello played over and over, and a bit more range might be nice, but it works better than many other elements.

The OST cover—songs performed by MMMD.

While a few images are relatively striking, the cinematography is bland as a whole, despite receiving frequent applause from reviews. Since when is shooting pretty landscapes equivalent to good cinematography? Lighting, framing, etc., is also very important. While some of the interior scenes look alright, lit by firelight, many of the scenes are flatly lit and lack depth, good chiaroscuro, or are just visually uninteresting or under lit. The opening winter shots probably hold up the best because of the stark white of the surroundings provide a lot more contrast with the dark clothing, the trees, and the shadows. Characters are routinely shot in closeups and medium shots that linger, but these are very plain shots without any imagination. One would expect a medieval film to look grimier, with motes regularly circulating, fog-drenched forests (the climax of the rape scene has fog and some of the long shots of landscapes have fog rolling in, but the fog is rarely used to shape the light), more dramatic light, etc. Many shots are poorly balanced and foreground imagery is rarely made use of. There's also very minimal camera movement or even anything moving in the frame in many cases, increasing the appearance of a flat image.

I understand this is a student film, but even the lowest budget of shorts can shape the light in a more interesting manner or frame the scenes more creatively. Just look at photographers who wait for the perfect lighting in their image—that kind of attention to detail is often lacking in modern filmmaking.

For better examples of medieval imagery, look no further than Jerzy Kawalerowicz's Mother Joan of the Angels, the films of Frantisek Vlacil, such as Marketa Lazarova and Valley of the Bees, Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev, Bergman's Seventh Seal and Virgin Spring, or the superb production design of Alexei German's Hard to Be a God. All of these capture a tremendous medieval atmosphere that put Hagazussa to shame—all are exceptionally shot, better crafted, and conceptually more ambitious and meaningful. Of course, it's unfair to compare these films made by professionals to what essentially is just a student film, but the bar has already been set, and this travesty isn't even close.

That's about it for Hagazussa (More like Gagazussa—seriously, this movie is gross). Feigelfeld also has another film in the works:
I am currently finishing a new script that will probably be realized in the next year or so. It deals with the overwhelming atmosphere of violence and uncertainty of current times, with the rise of white supremacy and the polarization of society. It will be quite a disturbing experience to watch.
I bet it will, you nose ring-wearing sissy. What are you, a bull, waiting to be led around by the nose?

What even is "white supremacy?" Whether the white race is inferior, equal, or superior to other groups is irrelevant to whether or not they decide or desire to have homogenous white communities (or even countries) or not. This homogeneity was the norm in the past, and is preferable to anyone with sanity.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Environment: Early Anthropogenic Climate Change Developments and Population Control

The bolded phrase was originally used on an Earth Day poster for environmental awareness and it has sometimes been used in reference to global warming/anthropogenic climate change.

Global warming refers to the longterm rise in the average temperature of the earth's climate as a result of excess CO2 produced by the burning of fossil fuels—that is, a product of man's influence. Eventually climate change (rather informal phrasing seeing as climate change encompasses both non-human causes and human interference, thus, anthropogenic should be added) became the main term and has sometimes been used interchangeably with global warming. There seem to be a myriad of reasons as to why climate change became the dominant term, which is summarized here, though the exact impetus to change the name remains unclear.

Climate change—specifically of the anthropogenic nature—has been viewed as one of the foremost problems in recent years, with millennials referring to it as "the most serious issue affecting the world today." In this particular Global Shapers survey, 48.8% of participants concurred that climate change was the most pressing concern, above economic inequality, unemployment, poverty, war, government corruption, etc—all very real problems affecting the polity. 78.1% said they would be willing to change their lifestyle to protect the environment.

According to Pew's global surveys, a median 54% across the nations surveyed say it is a very serious problem, while 85% say it is at least a somewhat serious problem. 

The bulk of democratic candidates for 2020 were also keen to promote 100% clean energy and zero emissions by such and such date.

There's also a supposed scientific consensus bandied about in the media and an enormous advertisement and propaganda campaign to support the establishment's view, for example:

But an analysis of the history and politics behind anthropogenic climate change (ACC) certainly provides the skeptical mind with some doubt about the veracity of the assertions made by climate alarmists. This is meant to be a multi-part analysis that looks at the different people and organizations promoting ACC and the development and presentation of those ideas; I'm intending to avoid delving into the science much at all for this article and subsequent articles—the reason being is that I wish to focus on events that have happened, which we can all agree upon, rather than fixate on the numerous interpretations of data. 

Although I will briefly touch on some early developments in the ACC debate, the majority of this article will concern population control, resource scarcity, and the catastrophic predictions of Paul Ehrlich, who was an important influence on the ACC movement. 

Neo-Malthusianism, Paul Ehrlich, and The Population Bomb

Though 1798 may seem an unlikely place to start when addressing ACC, Thomas Malthus's An Essay on the Principles of Population is a highly influential text that left a mark on those concerned with population control, which is one of the primary concerns embedded in much of the discourse of modern day environmentalists.

Malthus theorized that as the population continued to grow, it would outpace the food supply and many would starve as a result, but this didn't adequately take into consideration the possibilities of technological innovations and agricultural techniques and knowledge (such as Norman Borlaug's work with wheat) that would eventually occur, as well as the observable trend of today where the most developed countries are having much fewer children compared to the least developed. 

In his own words:
We will suppose the means of subsistence in any country just equal to the easy support of its inhabitants. The constant effort towards population... increases the number of people before the means of subsistence are increased. The food therefore which before supported seven millions, must now be divided among seven millions and a half or eight millions. The poor consequently must live much worse, and many of them be reduced to severe distress. The number of labourers also being above the proportion of the work in the market, the price of labour must tend toward a decrease; while the price of provisions would at the same time tend to rise. The labourer therefore must work harder to earn the same as he did before. During this season of distress, the discouragements to marriage, and the difficulty of rearing a family are so great, that population is at a stand. In the mean time the cheapness of labour, the plenty of labourers, and the necessity of an increased industry amongst them, encourage cultivators to employ more labour upon their land; to turn up fresh soil, and to manure and improve more completely what is already in tillage; till ultimately the means of subsistence become in the same proportion to the population as at the period from which we set out. The situation of the labourer being then again tolerably comfortable, the restraints to population are in some degree loosened; and the same retrograde and progressive movements with respect to happiness are repeated. [1]
He was an influence on Wallace and Darwin's theories about evolution, for they derived that Malthus's observations concerning the arithmetic nature of food surpluses and the geometric nature of population growth led to ideas about natural selection and the competition for resources; social Darwinism and the eugenics movement also drew from his work. This quote is an interesting summation of Malthus's thought:
Malthus was a political economist who was concerned about, what he saw as, the decline of living conditions in nineteenth century England. He blamed this decline on three elements: The overproduction of young; the inability of resources to keep up with the rising human population; and the irresponsibility of the lower classes. To combat this, Malthus suggested the family size of the lower class ought to be regulated such that poor families do not produce more children than they can support. 
Of course, where this differs from the modern environmentalist movement is they aren't concerned merely with lower class families producing more children than they can support, but even the middle and upper classes are encouraged to have fewer kids so as to reduce their carbon footprint. And notably many affluent world leaders are having very few children, which was not the case in the past (likely due to anti-natalist propaganda and the prevalence of birth control). 

Ironically, the same people who are usually in agreement with standard environmentalist rhetoric are also very pro-immigration, a practice which takes people from often developing countries that have a low amount of carbon emissions and then transplanting them to a developed country with a significantly higher amount of carbon emissions per capita. If having fewer children is beneficial to reduce the "foremost problem" of ACC the world faces today, one would also assume the same applies to immigration, especially when many of these first generation immigrants tend to have more kids than the general population. 

But the same wealthy oligarchs, elites, and Jews who are pushing their own environmental agenda are also doing the same for immigration, because this increases their profits, and immigrant labor not only depreciates wages, but immigrants are less likely to negotiate for better wages, resulting in even greater profits for capitalists at the expense of the host population. 

Neo-Malthusians emerged in the following years, though their concerns were not always with poverty per se as Malthus had been, but with limiting and controlling population growth, even through means that the Reverend Malthus would not likely have approved of, such as contraception.

One of the most influential texts on the topic was the Jewish biologist Paul R. Ehrlich's The Population Bomb from 1968. This more dramatic and salable title, an alteration of the publishers, heavily emphasized population growth in particular, but was originally given the broader title Population, Resources, and Environment. Initially, the book was not recognized, nor was it particularly groundbreaking or a pioneering work, yet in time, it would sell millions of copies and provoke heated commentary. There was nothing exceptional about Ehrlich's book that wasn't already circulating in environmentalist circles, and one author asserts that its eventual fame was a result of the primacy it placed upon emotion and the alarmist tone percolating through every passage. [2] Theory is all well and good for academic circles, but emotional appeal is often a necessity to galvanize the masses. 

It was hastily produced—apparently written in just three weeks based on Ehrlich's lecture notes, at the urging of David Brower, executive director of the Sierra Club at the time, in hopes that it would, rather naively, influence the 1968 presidential election—and apocalyptic in tone from its very first sentence, as can be seen in the prologue of the book: "The battle to feed all of humanity is over," continuing with “hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death,” and “nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.” Mass starvation was proposed to be inevitable unless the growth of the human population stagnated. 

Ehrlich was so convinced of the premise of his book that he advocated the U.S. de-develop as an example for the rest of the world, as well as mass sterilization, and temporary sterilants in food and water supplies. Redistributing the wealth of nations was in the cards, too. For a list of articles concerning Ehrlich and things he has said in the past, Climatedepot is a good start. In his eyes, women being allowed to have as many children as they wanted was equivalent to letting people “throw as much of their garbage into their neighbor’s backyard as they want.” To delve further into similar ideas Ehrlich has, there is the 1977 book Ecoscience, co-written with John Holdren, who became Obama's Science Czar—samples can be found here.

These ideas didn't just remain theory, but were also put to action in the 1970s—there was such fear concerning overpopulation and depleted resources that the World Bank, the Swedish International Development Authority, and the UN Population Fund loaned India tens of millions of dollars with the expectation that they'd conduct large-scale sterilization efforts, though they began as voluntary procedures, they soon became compulsory, peaking with 6 million sterilized in a single year. In 1979, China was also influenced by The Limits to Growth (this book and the Club of Rome, the organization who commissioned the work, will be covered in an upcoming article), and implemented their one-child policy.

Ehrlich tirelessly promoted The Population Bomb, and his first big break was being invited onto NBC's "Tonight Show" in February 1970, appearing again just before the first Earth Day.

Although these ideas seem to have almost risen from the ether if one is to peruse popular retellings of the nascent phase of the movement, The Population Bomb can be seen, as author Daniel B. Luten phrases it, a text "climaxing and in a sense terminating the debate of the 1950s and 1960s." [3] Erhlich was influenced by Fairfield Osborn's Our Plundered Planet and William Vogt's Road to Survival, both published in 1948. [4]

Historian Samual P. Hays commented on the transition and resurgence of neo-Malthusianism in American society, and of Osborn and Vogt's influence:
But on the whole the atmosphere of the years since World War II has shifted, I believe, from optimism to a guarded pessimism. We think less of possibilities and more of limits; we think less in terms of human betterment, and more in terms of human survival. The unlimited horizons of technology are less often in our minds today than the compulsive use of technology in a race toward world suicide. This new emphasis appeared soon after World War II in two popular books, William Vogt’s Road to Survival and Fairfield Osborn’s Our Plundered Planet, both of them infused with Malthusian pessimism, both emphasizing the enormous problem of population growth and the world’s limited food supply. Both warned that technology was not enough; resources were not unlimited; the pressure of population itself must be reduced. The increasing emphasis on national security augmented this sense of the limits, rather than of the opportunities of resources, of the need to husband rather than to develop, of the need to stockpile and save. [5]
Phrases such as "population bomb" and "population explosion" were first used in 1954 by Hugh Everett Moore in a twenty-two page pamphlet titled "The Population Bomb!" By 1967, the pamphlet was on its 13th edition with a print run of nearly a million and a half copies. To give examples of how widespread it was in certain circles: several authors borrowed the title in their own writings, including the Commissioner of the United States Bureau of Reclamation Michael W. Straus; a chemistry professor from Stanford, J. Murray Luck; and the director of the Population Reference Bureau Report, Robert C. Cook—as well as on the cover page of a 1960 issue of Time magazine. [6]

Earth Day

The environmentalist movement marshaled its strength together even further in response to some of the actual environmental problems of the day (as opposed to the wildly exaggerated, or in many cases, false claims of Ehrlich).

On June 22, 1969, the Cuyahoga River on the southern shores of Lake Erie caught on fire as chemicals, oil, and other industrial materials that had oozed into the river somehow ignited. Just a few months before, on January 28, 1969, an oil rig leaked millions of gallons of oil off the coast of Santa Barbara. That same year, reports surfaced that our national symbol, the bald eagle, was rapidly declining as a species due to the chemical DDT, while around the world, whales were being hunted nearly to extinction. 
The aforementioned issues resulted in senator Gaylord Nelson founding Earth Day—a feature of which were demonstrations described as "a national teach-in on the environment," drawing in 10% of the U.S. population in the process. Soon after, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was founded and the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts were passed. 

Here are several more quotes to represent a bit of the zeitgeist of the 1970s, derived from Reason:

Harvard Biologist George Wald:
“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
Chief Organizer for Earth Day, Denis Hayes: 
"It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”
Washington University Biologist Barry Commoner:
“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.”
Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich:
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100–200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years. … Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born. … [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.
North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter:
“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions …. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
Life magazine:
“In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.”
Ecologist Kenneth Watt:
"We have about five more years at the outside to do something," and "At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable. … By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate … that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any. … The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age."
These quotes are all doomsday scenarios, speaking of famines, population decline, and the end of the world. Of course, none of this really came to fruition. There was certainly poverty and people going hungry throughout the world in those times, and these conditions persist today, but we are not experiencing mass starvation. There have been a number of famines in recent years in Africa, but these are poor countries, rife with conflict and political instability. The incident rate of famines have actually decreased over the years. 

Contrary to the proposed Malthusian trap of centuries past, the next thirty years, agricultural production outpaced the more than doubled population growth. Malnourishment still is a problem in many countries, but there is enough food produced globally for everyone to be satiated, so a variety of other factors are responsible for their hunger.

And while pollution levels are not always great, there isn't an all-consuming smog blocking out the sun as one quote predicted, and pollutants in the air have dropped since the 1970s, not only in the U.S., but globally.

This is not to say there isn't some truth to be found in Ehrlich's book or in the reasoning of the neo-Malthusians. Even if many resources are in great abundance, they are obviously not unlimited, and endless population growth does have its demerits. Just as child birth might be promoted by the state (though in all honesty it often isn't in the west), in some circumstances it may be prudent to limit child birth.

Global Cooling or Global Warming?

The last quote by Watt, in particular, is interesting as it mentions an ice age rather than the global warming hysteria that predominated in later years.

He wasn't the only one. It entered the mainstream as early as 1958 when Betty Friedan wrote on the subject in Harper's Magazine. And there are several other articles from the 1970s that are detailed here, along with other catastrophic scares that never amounted to anything. These predictions of an ice age were largely the result, it would seem, of putting too much stock in cycles of dropping temperature.

In a January 26, 1970 report from Newsweek, the predictions by some scientists were described as such:
"This theory assumes that the earth's cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun's heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born."
However, the ice age hypothesis was included for the sake of balance, and predictions proposed by the greenhouse theorists seemed to be regarded more favorably:
"The greenhouse theorists contend the world is threatened with a rise in average temperature, which if it reached 4 or 5 degrees, could melt the polar ice caps, raise sea level by as much as 300 feet and cause a worldwide flood,"
Everyone realizes how incorrect Watt's predictions were, but this latter hypothesis quickly became embraced as global warming, eventually rebranded as ACC.

The switch from hypotheses about an ice age to global warming seems to have fully materialized by 1988, when James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Space Institute gave testimony that he had detected global warming, before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

In subsequent articles, I plan to cover the OECD and the Club of Rome, organizations equally concerned with population control and resource scarcity, and following that, I'll delve into the history of ACC more closely. 


[1]: Thomas Robert Malthus, An Essay on the Principles of Population as it Affects the Future Improvement of Society (London: J. Johnson, 1798), p. 29-31.

[2]: Charles T. Rubin, The Green Crusade: Rethinking the Roots of Environmentalism (Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1994), p. 79.

[3]: Daniel B. Luten, Progress Against Growth: Daniel B. Luten on the American Landscape, (New York: The Guilford Press, 1986), p. 308.

[4]: Pierre Desrochers and Christine Hoffbauer, "The Post War Intellectual Roots of the Population Bomb. Fairfield Osborn’s ‘Our Plundered Planet’ and William Vogt’s ‘Road to Survival’ in Retrospect," in The Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 1, No. 3 (2009), p. 38-39; of course, there are numerous authors entertaining some of the same ideas between the time of Malthus and Vogt and Osborn, many of which are briefly mentioned on p. 42. 

[5]: Samuel P. Hays, "The Mythology of Conservation," as quoted in Henry Jarrett, Perspectives On Conservation: Essays on America's Natural Resources (RFF Press, 2011), p. 41-42.

[6]: Desrochers and Hoffbauer, Vo1. 1, p. 38.