A Malthusian Orientation
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A lone attendee, clad in a clean white robe resembling that of a Catholic friar, approaches a set of plain wooden doors; muffled voices echoing from behind it. The attendee turns the knob to open the door, revealing a large, unremarakble rectangular room. The floor consists of a dark green carpet, topped by two rows of several wooden pews, spanning the entire length of the room before reaching a large podium at the front of the room; the Church of Malthus logo is printed on its base.

The attendee drowns in the sea of white robes, made unremarkable by the bustling activity of young and old adherents alike. The sociable ramble their personal lives to one another while the introverts remain seated, their faces buried in their books. The room goes quiet as a lone door opens near the far left corner of the room. Out comes a tall, clean-shaven man, clad in a white robe adorned with a black and golden sash running across his torso.

The man raises a greeting hand to the silent congregation before turning to carefully close the door. He remains quiet as he proceeds up the podium, meticulously organizing a set of books in his hands. He clears his throat, turns his head upright, and produces a commanding voice.

Adherents, please be seated.

My name is Marcus O'Halloran, and I am a Grand Councilor of this cell of the Church of Malthus.

Before we proceed to the main topic of today, I would like to offer my utmost appreciation for our new members attending this session today. Given recent concerns about crackdowns by the Authority against one of our cells. I would like to explicitly warn our younger, more zealous members that we will not conduct any direct acts of retribution against their assets. You will not attack nor kill any Authority personnel, regardless of your motivations. We simply cannot jeopardize our current position in the geopolitical climate under the principle of an 'eye for an eye.' But, please keep in mind, I understand your point of view and would turn to such a solution if I was in your position.

Now, older members, please exercise a degree of patience as I enlighten new adherents who have recently completed their seminary study.

To my new members, I acknowledge that you are already familiar with what the Church of Malthus stands for, but I would like to offer my personal word. While we are widely regarded as a fringe community or a religious cult, disgraced and ridiculed by those few who are even aware of our existence, we should not allow such insults to weigh us down nor view them as personal attacks. People naturally fear the unknown, and we are not so ecumenical with our ideals as, say, the Roman Catholic Church.

To analyze this, we must compare ourselves to a typical religious establishment. We have only recently formed, and our current time of existence pales in comparison to that of an Abrahamic or East Asian religion. Many of my higher peers claim that Malthus is to be viewed as a prophet, or a messiah, or a figment of God himself. But I contest these ideas, and argue that we must look more to Malthus as a philosophical figure, rather than a religious body. I will not interfere in your personal beliefs if the ideals of my fellow clergymen resonate with you. Do not worry. I only ask that you remain receptive to my personal viewpoints and examine them alongside your own.

But I digress. Let us speak about Thomas Malthus briefly. Malthus hypothesized in his novel that humanity, if it was in a period of resource abundance, could double its population within a span of twenty five years, given the absence of unexpected demographic failures. There was a caveat to this: humanity could not sustain their grossly increased demand for resources and would eventually suffer as a result. Prices would flare up, naturally, by food providers to maintain a relatively stable revenue. But who is most likely to be unable to afford this? The lower classes. So what would happen? Hunger. Then starvation. Then famine. Then disease. Then death.

<Marcus' breath begins to wear out. He slowly reaches for a bottle of water on the podium floor and excuses himself for a brief drink before continuing.>

This is what Malthus called an over-reliance on "human misery" as a check on the population. Malthus argued that to avoid this, many measures could be taken up in order to prevent human misery, exclusively human misery, from coming into the picture. Please note, exclusively. Exclusively in the sense that we cannot permit war, famine, and disease to constitute the absolute methods to maintain the population. This will ultimately cause irreparable damage toward society and result in even greater, long term issues in the future. Malthus instead offers a side-by-side solution, coined as "preventative checks", that can be as something simple as advocating postponement of marriage, contraceptives, or celibacy.

These are the principles through which we seek to work. We prefer not to implement blunt, abrupt methods that compound into instantaneous loss of life and inadvertently result into unforeseen consequences that are ultimately counter-intuitive to the Church of Malthus. Instead, we turn to preventative checks. What preventative checks? Economics, religious outreach, and interest groups.

<Audible curiosity grows from the listeners, Marcus exhibits a surprised reaction from the reception. He immediately collects himself.>

We may utilize front companies to manipulate the markets, siphoning off a much needed investment in agriculture or medicine. We can select and establish companies within areas of high investment and pay off select influencers to develop consumer confidence through social media and news outlets. While we build on the foundation, we acquire sources of revenue that would be invested in other important sectors of the economy. When the time comes to pull the plug, our abrupt removal from the market will generate consequences identical to stagnation.

We may send adherents masquerading as missionaries of the many religions to areas of dense populations, mandating that it is God's will that the masses practice abstinence, and shun those who don't. This would be best accomplished in developing countries, where spiritual influence still maintains a stronger grip on the residents. I am specifically referring to Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. We may pose as Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, whatever religion predominates.

We may function as an interest group, amassing our wealth for the promotion of politicians to dictate the policy behind federal and state taxes, produce allocation, and individual subsidies. Raising the property tax in the ever-inflating economy would constrain aspiring parents to put off procreation and set their priorities more to seeing their individual needs met rather than raising a child. I myself have found this a very difficult decision to undertake. Children are the most precious things to come into this world, but it is necessary to accomplish in the long run if we are to alleviate the growing overpopulation.

<Marcus begins to raise his voice, accentuating his already stern attitude.>

But regardless, I will not stand by and allow today's children to be victims of the catastrophic results of human misery and end up hollow and emaciated. Children need to be raised strong, well-fed, and sheltered in a home untouched by war and famine. These preventative checks will allow parents to procreate at a later time when the population size is maintained and there are enough resources for all to use without concern of depletion. If there is to be such an event involving human misery, let it be one where children are least present and affected. The survivors will then produce children that may live their lives unhindered by such things.

And what comes from this new society that arises from our efforts? A superior society. A society that does not invest in random cruelties of the world to trim down the population, a society that is not affected by war and famine on a daily basis, a society that practices procreation responsibly. With these three principles, humans can evolve a step beyond their current path, and reign in fit, healthy offspring that inherit these ideals. These are only the first steps, though, humans have a much larger path to adopt once they have achieved said principles.

Increased longevity, lesser prevalence of illnesses, improved behavioral habits. These will all come in time where humanity learns and adapts from these principles. With this greater vitality, breeding will occur at a gradual, normal rate that can be accommodated by the world, regardless of the time frame. Could it be a path to a perfect world, as well as the perfect human? Potentially, but there is work to be done first.

So you see, we have the tools to make subtle change, yet we neglect subtlety.

<A small eruption of laughter occurs from select listeners.>

And while these events are transpiring? Where is our cell? We are unseen. We are indiscriminate. The Authority will not immediately turn to us, point the finger, and state "you are responsible for this!" They will believe it to simply be a symptom of an apathetic world; such is life. Their intelligence network is vast, make no mistake, but they do not concern themselves with the continuously shifting geopolitical environment as much as they do with the outwardly strange. We will merely act as a cog, rather than a wedge jamming the machine.

I may become too idealistic in this, and I do apologize, but this could have been achieved long ago. But why wasn't it? The over-reliance and zealous belief in the positive checks so popular in our Church. When a geneticist, Dr. Linemann, had argued that radical change to prove the dictations of Malthus was necessary to achieve our goals, his sect had prioritized militarism and direct action. What happened? His attempt to seize one of Monsanto's most prominent research and development facilties was quickly uncovered by the Authority. He was too careless in his transactions during events leading up to the siege that it eventually led them right to his cell's doorstep! Everyone was killed, and Dr. Linemann was detained.

And so you see, Malthus' prediction in regards to the over-reliance on human misery had been proven correct. As a result of their blind faith, the attempt to beget change was thwarted, and humanity proceeded, unaware of what had nearly transpired. An unforeseen consequence.

Make no mistake, I am no advocate of pacifism either. If the Authority, or any organization, attacks you, you have an absolute right to defend yourself; I expect no martyrdom. But you will not lay a hand on the Authority, for the sake of assuring that our principles be achieved. Now, I would like to-

"But why not conduct these methods while also staging overt attacks?"

A good question. The Authority does not know, or is largely negligent, of our cell's existence. I will not risk compromising our secrecy, and the safety of you all, to please the radical desires of some. I also will not attribute our violent actions to others for the sake of "cover" or dissimulation; I honor my fellow clergymen and do not throw them to the wolves when we are to blame. As for our confidentiality, I assure you that my associates are less than willing to cooperate with other organizations.

"Excuse me, councilor. But do you support the Authority?"

I respect the Authority and its goals. They too, like us, are aiming for the betterment of humanity, but it is of a different fa-

<Marcus is interrupted by loud disagreement in select listeners. A tense atmosphere begins developing between adherents.>

"So you are sympathetic to their cause? Do you not remember how we, despite a sect, are part of the Church of Malthus, and that the Authority is our sworn enemy? And that they exterminated hundreds of our affilia-"

"Let him speak!"

"But he's right. Why would you let this heresy pro-"

"Don't shout the councilor down!"

"Will you people just remain quiet and let the councilor explain him-"

Enough. You. Young man. Like so many other zealots, you hear, but you do not listen. If we are to succeed in stopping an impending crisis that will make all prior famines pale in comparison, we must not allow ourselves to become entangled in a petty armed conflict with an anomalous organization. Too many sects have taken to this path, and in turn lost the principles that defined them as adherents to the Church of Malthus. I have given my explanation, and my reasoning. If you wish to continue discussing dialectic, then I openly invite you to my study to contest this.

<A dead silence persists in the listeners.>

"But what happens now, councilor?"

Well, you may consider the introductory session concluded, then. But the time is fast approaching where we must utilize these preventative checks, and it will be a long, meticulous journey. Many will perceive us as cruel or perhaps outright genocidal; it is understandable because the majority do not grasp our ideals or philosophy. What we must hope for, is that humanity may continue to thrive as it always has. It cannot expect to do so with an ever-growing populous that perceives the Earth as a limitless expanse, which will continue to accommodate them.

<Marcus procures a small towel to wipe his forehead.>

Now, to my dictation.

The topic of today's discussion has already been spoiled. We will examine a case-by-case basis regarding three key events involving the observed effects of the preventative checks. We will first examine the event regarding sixteen Nepalese villages and their demographics, before and after our intervention. Then I will explain our temporary affiliation and subsequent manipulation of the Colombo syndicate in relation to the Gambino crime family. Lastly, we will look at projected demographics pertaining to a potential recession occurring in the future…

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