July 25, 2007

Save a billion lives, get no respect...

"Norman Borlaug has saved more lives than any person currently living. Indeed, he may have saved more lives than anyone who has ever lived."

Naturally, Leftists and "Helpists" and Greens hate him, and hinder his work.

Do read this piece on Borlaug, The Most Important Person You’ve Never Heard Of, by Pejman Yousefzadeh. My dad, who was a horticulturist and farmer, knew about this stuff, and I remember him telling me when I was young that the starvation we heard about in various Third World countries could be avoided. I didn't quite get it then; the idea that the world's population was doomed to expand faster than the food supply was just too pervasive. I thought he was foolishly optimistic, but it was the simple truth.

Pejman includes a quote from an InstaPundit reader:

...It's not because he spent his life serving the poor, per se. Press accounts are filled with stories about those who serve the poor. It's that Mr. Borlaug didn't serve the poor by giving away other people's money, or by demanding that other people give away their money. He served the poor by DEVELOPING TECHNOLOGY, which in the view of the press is just as evil as making money, if for no other reason than someone makes money from the developed technology.

Think about it: You seldom see accolades afforded all the brilliant researchers at GE Medical Systems, Pfizer, Merck, Glaxo, Medtronic, or you name it, for precisely the same reason...

I think that's part of it. But I think it's more than that. Borlaug gets no credit, because he solved the problem. Journalists will laud you for helping the poor, as long as they stay poor! They love Mother Theresa, but she didn't upset the "natural order" of things. If she had found some way of lifting poor people into middle-class affluence, and they stated buying cars and computers and eating KFC, and imagining they were equals of the elitists in the helping bureaucracies, she would have been an object of scorn.

Posted by John Weidner at July 25, 2007 7:19 AM
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