In 1962 Monsanto published a parody of Silent Spring called The Desolate Year where they imagined death and destruction from “the garrote of Nature” if the United States went without pesticides for a year.
Quietly, then, the desolate year began. Not many people seemed aware of danger. After all, in the winter, hardly a housefly was about. What could a few bugs do, here and there? How could the good life depend upon something so seemingly trivial as bug spray? Where were the bugs anyway? The bugs were everywhere. Unseen. Unheard. Unbelievably universal. Beneath the ground, beneath the waters, on and in limbs and twigs and stalks, under rocks, inside trees and animals and other insects — and, yes, inside man. …
the garrote of Nature rampant began to tighten … food and fur animals weren’t the only ones that died to the hum of insects that year. Man, too, sickened and he died
When the US banned the agricultural use of DDT in 1972, nothing of the sort happened. And banning the agricultural use of DDT
saved lives by slowing the development of resistance.
These little details aren’t going to bother John Berlau of the Monsanto-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute, who wrote his own book along similar lines to The Desolate Year. Here he is being interviewed by Robert Stacy McCain:
Q: You are very critical of Rachel Carson, author of “Silent Spring,” who is viewed as a hero by the environmentalist movement. Why?
A: For both her results and her intentions. The results are clear. Two million dying every year in Africa of malaria, a disease proven to be preventable by killing and repelling the mosquitoes that carry it with DDT. DDT wiped out malaria in much of the world, including the southern U.S. Carson vilified DDT based on distortion of facts known even then. For instance, she implied DDT was developed as poison gas, when history shows it was developed to protect our troops in World War II from typhus and malaria.
Berlau is lying. Here’s what Carson actually wrote about the development of DDT:
DDT (short for dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane) was first synthesized by a German Chemist in 1874, but its properties as an insecticide were not discovered until 1939. Almost immediately DDT was hailed as a means of stamping out insect-borne disease and winning the farmers’ war against crop destroyers overnight. The discoverer, Paul Muller of Switzerland, won the Nobel Prize.
… one of its first uses was the wartime dusting of many thousands of soldiers, refugees, and prisoners, to combat lice.
Although the content of the attacks on Carson haven’t really changed since 1962, these days the folks who pen them don’t work directly for Monsanto, instead working for front organisations like the CEI.