Jerry Bowyer: The True Meaning Of A Christmas Carol

“If they would rather die they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

With that quote, Ebenezer Scrooge makes perfectly clear the true political message of “A Christmas Carol.” Dickens was writing amidst a wave of hysteria about population growth, triggered shortly before by Thomas Malthus, who argued that reproduction would exceed growth in food.

Scrooge was both anti-procreation and anti-marriage. He fell out with his nephew Fred simply because the latter decided to marry. When the ghost of Christmas present said that he had more than 1,800 brothers, Scrooge lamented that this would be a large family to provide for.

Of course Scrooge and Malthus turned out to be wrong and nephew Fred and Christmas Present turned out to be right. In 1800 there were roughly 1 billion people on planet earth, now there are almost 7 billion.

So, this Christmas season when your friends try to use a Christmas Carol as a club against capitalism, tell them the true meaning of a Christmas Carol, that there is no such thing as surplus people.