Kaarlo Pentti Linkola (born December 7, 1932) is a radical Finnish deep ecologist, polemicist and fisherman. He has written widely about his ideas and in Finland is a prominent, and highly controversial, thinker. Linkola was a year-round fisherman from 1959 to 1995. He has fished on Keitele, Päijänne, Gulf of Finland and from 1978 he fishes on Vanajavesi.
Linkola blames humans for the continuous degradation of the environment. He promotes rapid population decline in order to combat the problems commonly attributed to overpopulation. He is also strongly in favour of deindustrialization and opposes democracy, which he calls the “Religion of Death,” believing it to be an agent of wasteful capitalism and consumerism. He considers the proponents of economic growth to be ignorant of the destructive effects which free market policies have had on the biosphere over the past two centuries.
As a philosopher, Linkola can be described as a biocentric empiricist. He demands that man return to a smaller ecological niche and abandon modern technology and what he describes as the almost-religious pursuit of economic growth. Linkola considers human population growth the biggest threat to life on Earth, and believes the mass extinction of organisms is “the most wretched of all current trends.”
Linkola’s first political publication was the pamphlet Isänmaan ja ihmisen puolesta (For Fatherland and Man) (1960), in which he spoke strongly for pacifism and encouraged conscientious objection. In contrast, in 2002 he derided those he considers to be “sanctimonious in their opposition to violence,” when the earth is suffering from severe human overpopulation. Linkola’s metaphor for the quandary is as follows:
What to do, when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and only one lifeboat, with room for only ten people, has been launched? When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship’s axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides of the boat.
He advocates eugenics, genocide, and abortion as possible means to combat overpopulation. He describes the Stalinist and Nazi massacres as “massive depopulation operations,” but ones which have “not overturned our ethical norms”. He has suggested that “the great inhabited centres of the globe” should be attacked with “limited” nuclear strikes or with “bacteriological or chemical” agents by “some trans-national body like the UN or by some small group equipped with sophisticated technology and bearing responsibility for the whole world.” Linkola has described humans as “the cancer of the earth”, and he desires that the human population “be reduced to about ten percent of what it is now.” Linkola also insists that the problem is not just the “inflation of human life, but its ever-increasing, mindless over-valuation.”
Linkola has also written glowingly of the September 11 attacks as those who died, in his view, represented the “wealthy” and “environmentally damaging and world–devouring portion of mankind,” but noted that “never before have foreign casualties elicited such great sympathy, never before has so much attention been paid to the suffering of families,” given that “only a couple thousand people died.” He contends it was “little more than a brawl if compared to other events in the recent history of mankind,” such as the bombings of Dresden and Hamburg, the siege of Leningrad, or the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.
In May 1994, Linkola was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal Europe. He said he was for a radical reduction in the world population and was quoted as saying about a future world war, “If there were a button I could press, I would sacrifice myself without hesitating, if it meant millions of people would die.”
Linkola often expresses his admiration for forests and nature in general. He is known for his deep love of birds. He considers education to be the “most precious aspect of society,” and advocates for universities to be maintained regardless of the cost. In a 2004 interview given at the international bookfair at Turku, Linkola describes the origins of his bitterness towards humankind. In his essay Women as Protectors of Life, he opines that the “soul of a man, beneath its rough surface, is paradoxically more sensitive, fragile and weak than that of a woman.”
In 1995, Linkola founded the Finnish Nature Heritage Foundation (Luonnonperintösäätiö). It concentrates on preserving the few ancient forests still left in southern Finland and other nature conservation. The forests are donated to the foundation.
“The composition of the Greens seems to be the same as that of the population in general — mainly pieces of drifting wood, people who never think.”
“A minority can never have any other effective means to influence the course of matters but through the use of violence.”
“Any dictatorship would be better than modern democracy. There cannot be so incompetent dictator, that he would show more stupidity than a majority of the people. Best dictatorship would be one where lots of heads would roll and government would prevent any economical growth.”
“The most central and irrational faith among people is the faith in technology and economical growth. Its priests believe until their death that material prosperity bring enjoyment and happiness – even though all the proofs in history have shown that only lack and attempt cause a life worth living, that the material prosperity doesn’t bring anything else than despair. These priests believe in technology still when they choke in their gas masks.”
“That there are billions of people over 60kg weight on this planet is recklessness.”
“Alternative movements and groups are a welcome relief and a present for the society of economic growth.”
“We will have to…learn from the history of revolutionary movements — the national socialists, the Finnish Stalinists, from the many stages of the Russian revolution, from the methods of the Red Brigades — and forget our narcissistic selves.”
“Everything we have developed over the last 100 years should be destroyed.”
“A fundamental, devastating error is to set up a political system based on desire. Society and life are been organized on basis of what an individual wants, not on what is good for him or her…Just as only one out of 100,000 has the talent to be an engineer or an acrobat, only a few are those truly capable of managing the matters of a nation or mankind as a whole…In this time and this part of the World we are headlessly hanging on democracy and parliamentary system, even though these are the most mindless and desperate experiments of the mankind…In democratic coutries the destruction of nature and sum of ecological disasters has accumulated most…Our only hope lies in strong central government and uncompromizing control of the individual citizen.”
“If the present amount of Earths population is preserved and is reduced only by the means of birth control, then:
- Birthgiving must be licenced. To enhance population quality, genetically or socially unfit homes will be denied offspring, so that several birth licences can be allowed to families of quality.
- Energy production must be drastically reduced. Electricity is allowed only for the most necessary lighting and communications.
- Food: Hunting must be made more efficient. Human diet will include rats and invertebrate animals. Agriculture moves to small un-mechanized units. All human manure is used as fertilizer.
- Traffic is mostly done with bicycles and rowing boats. Private cars are confiscated. Long-distance travel is done with sparse mass transport. Trees will be planted on most roads.
- Foreign affairs: All mass immigration and most of import-export trade must stop. Cross-border travel is allowed only for small numbers of diplomats and correspondents.
- Business will mostly end. Manufacture is allowed only for well argumented needs. All major manufacturing capacity is state owned. Products will be durable and last for generations.
- Science and schooling: Education will concentrate on practical skills. All competition is rooted out. Technological research is reduced to extreme minimum. But every child will learn how to clean a fish in a way that only the big shiny bones are left over.”
Linkola is one of the few voices who advocates:
- No immigration
- Downsize population
- Kill defectives
- Stop rampant technology
In the eyes of the most credible sources, planet Earth can sustain a half-billion humans without any sizable destruction of our habitat, or any loss in species or stability of our ecosystem. Any numbers higher than that, no matter how much they recycle, will cause environmental chaos. The modern leftist-tinged environmental movement is terrified of telling anyone that they cannot breed and keep buying whatever strikes their fancy, but someone must do this in the future. The sooner we do it, the fewer people in the future will be left without a means of sustenance and thus require termination.
As Linkola himself has said, “We still have a chance to be cruel. But if we are not cruel today, all is lost.”
» Pentti Linkola.