Interlude: Sterilisation and Pro-Natalism

Day 42. 139 pages, 63,229 words.

Oh yeah, we’re doing this.

This morning I saw a delightful BBC article about a woman being abused because of her stance on breeding. Not that anyone being abused online is remotely newsworthy, but whatever. Apparently the UN is thinking about making online abuse classify as a war crime or something, so yeah, this is probably bad.

It did piss me off, though, because this is a pretty damn disgusting reason for verbally abusing someone. There aren’t many reasons I can think of that would qualify as “good” reasons, not if you want to consider yourself a rational and reasonable human being, and certainly not for the sort of verbal abuse we’re talking about here, and certainly not for suggestions of physical harm … but this is a crap reason among crap reasons. Let’s get that point out in the open right now.

You’re allowed to not breed. In fact, it goes beyond that. You don’t even need my approval, let alone my permission – my approval or disapproval is entirely irrelevant. I’m just giving it because this is my blog, and just in case anyone happened to be interested in knowing my opinion. I’m giving it for the same reason this debate exists at all – because human beings are pathologically incapable of staying out of each other’s shit, and I am unfortunately a human being. At least my weigh-in is along “do what you want” lines, instead of “do what I want.” I feel okay about that.

Let’s also get this point out in the open and squared away up-front. The human race isn’t going to become extinct for lack of breeding. In fact, we’re likely to become extinct for a whole lot of reasons. I won’t go so far as to say the opposite is the case, because overpopulation will probably ultimately cause an immense die-off but only to the natural balance-point again. Overpopulation itself will not cause extinction (the aforementioned other factors, some related to overpopulation, notwithstanding).

So no. People who breed are no more saving the planet than the people who aren’t breeding. Neither stance on its own is going to make any difference whatsoever. What’s the next argument? Oh right, non-breeders are selfish.

Fuck off and die in a fire. There you go.

I bred. I was the selfish one, not the non-breeders. I saw a world filled with humans having babies, most of them while starving, and I thought, “me too, except I’m going to be fat instead of starving.” I could have opted out, spent the past five years buying nappies and wet-wipes and baby food and milk formula and car-seats and all the rest, and sending it to poor families. I could have done that. It would have been wonderful. But I didn’t do that, because I suck. All I wanted to do was combine the fuck out of my genes and Mrs. Hatboy’s genes and send that shit into the future like a time capsule that started mouthing off at the age of three. That’s textbook selfish.

This isn’t to say all non-breeders are selfless and wonderful. A lot of them are just shits. This is true of every arbitrary demographic we create within our species for the purposes of alternately bitching about someone else and feeling good about ourselves. Because “being kind of a shit” is the human condition.

Yeah. You’re allowed to not breed. If you want to be sterilised, that’s your choice. Holy fucking shit, we’re arguing in a lot of places right now about whether your choice to die should be a legally-upheld right. How are we still arguing about your choice to breed? Fuck me.

Of course, this does open a can of worms. I remember reading a while ago about cosmetic amputation. What a bunch of psychotic tools. Amputate your heads, please. More recently, an unfortunate woman with some sort of body dysmorphia intentionally blinded herself. Should people have the right to do that shit to themselves if they want to, without at least some sort of attempted conversation about their mental health and whether, maybe, they might want to see shit or pick things up sometime in the future?

And don’t go telling me it’s different. Yes, being able to see stuff is pretty damn important, and having hands or legs is important too. But lacking those functionalities is no longer a death sentence. It’s not the end of your life. Sterilisation is the same. The ability to reproduce is a pretty important part of being an organism, but we like to think of ourselves as pretty special organisms, don’t we? It’s not a personal death sentence if you can’t do it, and it’s not a death sentence for the human race if your precious genes aren’t heading down the river. We’re good for genes, really, thanks. We gave at the office.

Sure, if you want to breed and you have that ability taken away, that’s tragic. Everyone feels differently about all of these things, depending on their upbringing and personal opinions. And there are lots of different cases, exceptions, and what-ifs. But bodily mutilation is bodily mutilation. And that phrase has negative connotations for a reason.

So.

Who’s breeding, and who’s not breeding?

Morons, the destitute, and the irredeemably selfish are breeding. Also, people who just want to have families because they love each other and want to make little versions of themselves to share the love. They’re breeding too, I guess.

Self-righteous arseholes, the destitute, and the obnoxiously socially-conscious aren’t breeding. Also, people who just want to do something else with their lives and don’t see how throwing a little version of themselves into the mix will add value to that. They’re not breeding either. A lot of the non-breeders in my circle are refusing to do so out of a conscious and intellectual choice – they don’t want to wreck up the place, they think there are already too many people, they don’t want to pass on crappy genes. All these reasons are perfectly valid – and again, it goes beyond that. They’re so perfectly valid, they don’t need my approval or permission[1].

[1] Well, okay … the overpopulation thing is a bit dubious to me. The global population is still going to skyrocket no matter how many first world intellectuals sterilise themselves. What’s happening there, on a micro-scale, is a missed opportunity for natural selection to get an injection of smart-genes-plus-smart-genes. But whatever.

Would I prefer it if the smart people were breeding instead of the eejits? Of course I would. There are physiological and genetic markers – in hormone-gland balances and brain chemistry and synaptic configurations, and all sorts of other shit I know diddly-squat about – that mean a certain amount of potential for intelligence can be passed down through heredity. Yes, I’m pretty sure natural selection can theoretically be set to “smart”. However, I’ll settle for those non-breeding smart people getting into positions of power and authority or at least helping to educate the next generation. Our genes, ultimately, are important only on an animal-directive level. It doesn’t matter which humans survive to the next millennium, as long as some of us do. Right now I have my doubts as to whether any of us will, but in order to have any sort of chance, we need to improve. And evolution is too slow. It can’t keep up with our industrious self-destructiveness.

And smart people teaching young people, genetic potential and synaptic pathways be damned, is a way more effective method of improving the species, faster, than just wishfully fucking ourselves smart. Granted, it’s not as fun, but I have faith in the smart people to do what’s not fun. They’ll complain about it of course, but screw it. They’re smart people. They complain all the time anyway.

You want to use contribution to the betterment of humanity as a reason for not breeding? Fine. You’d better do something to contribute to the betterment of humanity, though. Because just “not breeding” isn’t going to cut it. If you’re not going to do anything else, then stop abusing the “contribution to the betterment of humanity” reason. Better people than you are using that reason. Just go back to the “because fuck you, I don’t want to have kids” reason. That reason is perfectly valid. And I will admire you all the more for being up-front about it.

Education and learned behaviour is as much a legacy as brown hair or the ability to grow non-polyp cancer in your butthole[2]. We’ve gone as far as physical, genetic evolution will take us.

[2] Seriously, guys. Worst X-Man power ever.

Well, okay, that’s something of an exaggeration. Of course evolution hasn’t stopped. It’s just that our social and cultural development has begun moving so fast, evolution might as well be at a standstill as far as its ability to practically enhance the quality of our existence goes. Even our technology has outstripped it – literally, we’re at a point where we are more likely to alter our genetic code technologically than to wait for selective breeding and environment to do it for us.

And let’s face it, the environmental shit we’re facing now, evolution isn’t going to have time to adapt to that shit. Evolution’s “slow but steady wins the race” deal might just work out for the next species to come along in our wake, but it’s not going to help us. Our bodies are still voting yea or nay on the fucking appendix while our lungs are trying to find some way for us to dig oxygen out of smog. Genetic alteration is starting to look like the way to go, isn’t it?

Or, you know, getting rid of the smog. Over to you, smart people. Please help us before we breed you out of existence.

Well, that’s just about my full and unabridged opinion on the matter of breeders vs. non-breeders. Except – oh yeah, just typing the previous sentence reminded me of one thing that I find really annoying.

It’s not breeders vs. non-breeders! THAT SHIT IS HAPPENING COMPLETELY INSIDE YOUR DUMBARSE HEEEEEEADS!

See, what I disapprove of most about (some) non-breeders is their habit of couching their belief as an indictment of breeders. This is entirely natural and even makes sense[3], because many breeders do the same thing to non-breeders. This post, and the article that inspired it, is about exactly that.

[3] You know, in an eye-for-an-eye sort of way that most of them pretend to be above doing. But whatever, whiners.

It’s also the human condition, of course, to take one’s own belief as a baseline and then uphold it by tearing down opposing beliefs instead of simply being content with the rectitude of one’s own stance. Like I say, we’re a shitty, shitty species.

I usually laugh at the Oatmeal, for example, but his piece on breeders vs. non-breeders is classic bullshit, and I get it waved in my face by non-breeders who should know better far too often[4]. I’m sure Oatmeal Guy has encountered morons who gave him the inspiration for that comic, but it’s still bullshit. It doesn’t help that he also does a lot of pointless shit about cats vs. babies. Yeah, they’re funny and they’re clearly intended that way, so I don’t get mad about it. Oatmeal Guy does a lot of funny stuff and he’s obviously not going to appeal to everybody, all the time.

[4] I don’t care, of course. It’s just mildly irritating and disappointing when I see apparently smart people not using the one attribute they think makes them so special.

Part of my problem is that any objection to those “jokes”, from a parent, will automatically be taken as a pro-natal backlash. Of course I feel that way about the comics. I’m a breeder, right?

Fuck off. Die. Fire.

Another part of my problem is that the comics are self-evidently speaking from a position of massive bias (which is fine, because you’re allowed to have a bias and being a non-breeder is perfectly alright), and ignorance about raising children (which is not fine, because talking about things you’re ignorant of is a sign that you are a tool).

I guess what I’m saying, obnoxious non-breeders, is the same thing I would say – futilely, but this is my blog – to the obnoxious breeders: Shut your dillweed mouth about things that don’t concern you. Have the confidence in your philosophical position to simply uphold it without attacking others.

Take the high ground you fucking love so much.

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8 Responses to Interlude: Sterilisation and Pro-Natalism

  1. dreameling says:

    Weirdly, I’m like 100% calibrated with that. (Well, maybe not with the die-fire-agression, but that could just be because I’m feeling sort of mellow from slight fever and drugs.) I got nothing to add, and I don’t really disagree at all with any of your points (but it was a long post, so I may have missed a few details). In fact, I think the attitude of “be confident in your own philosophy for its own merits and let others have their shit” pretty much applies to (or should apply to) everything. Don’t define yourself in antagonistic/hateful opposition to something else — especially if that something else has no impact on how you get to live your life.

    Good post, dude.

    • stchucky says:

      In fact, I think the attitude of “be confident in your own philosophy for its own merits and let others have their shit” pretty much applies to (or should apply to) everything. Don’t define yourself in antagonistic/hateful opposition to something else — especially if that something else has no impact on how you get to live your life.

      Absolutely agreed. Obviously.

      I don’t think my attitude has changed all that much since becoming a parent. I found the automatic assumption of greater wisdom and right-to-opinion in parents to be annoying then and I find it annoying now. I likewise found self-righteous non-breeders and their insecure criticism of parents, dressed up as rational justifications for not breeding, to be annoying then and I find them annoying now.

      Good post, dude.

      Appreciated! It just sort of happened. Lord knows the stories all over the news lately have made me want to rant, but this seemed like the one least likely to drain my will to live.

      • dreameling says:

        Absolutely agreed. Obviously.

        Well, I did basically just rephrase what you said.

        I found the automatic assumption of greater wisdom and right-to-opinion in parents to be annoying then and I find it annoying now.

        Ditto. Now I’m just waiting how long it will be until my daughter finds that annoying in me.

        I likewise found self-righteous non-breeders and their insecure criticism of parents, dressed up as rational justifications for not breeding, to be annoying then and I find them annoying now.

        Ditto. For my part, I just hope I wasn’t like that when I was still a non-breeder. I may have been a little, but only when confronted about not having children yet (parents again).

        Related: I do think we need to allow (at least some) non-breeders a little leeway, though. For some, their self-righteousness is less about insecurity in their own philosophy and (much) more about a pre-emptive response to an expected backslash from the society of breeders around them. The societal pressure to breed can be overwhelming.

      • stchucky says:

        Of course. Like I said in the post, I give a partial pass because the non-breeders are generally the underdogs in a pro-natal culture. You don’t just switch off all those millions of years of programming.

        “This is entirely natural and even makes sense[3], because many breeders do the same thing to non-breeders. This post, and the article that inspired it, is about exactly that.

        “[3] You know, in an eye-for-an-eye sort of way that most of them pretend to be above doing. But whatever, whiners.”

      • dreameling says:

        So I basically just rephrased you again? I did say that I may have missed some of the details!

        Still, we are clearly so calibrated on this. For whatever it’s worth.

      • stchucky says:

        Still worth reiterating that they get that partial pass for the shit breeders give them. We’re so privileged.

        And my post was generally just shouting at everybody, so.

  2. aaronthepatriot says:

    Well there was only one thing you said in here I disagree with. Well, you didn’t exactly say it, because you were being so open-minded and kumbayah-ing all over the place that you didn’t take any side, LOL, but I have an issue with the self-mutilaters. And my issue is this: see, we have welfare and other social support systems for the disabled. When you blind yourself, or saw off an arm or leg, or whatever crazy shit your fucked up brain is telling you to do, you become a burden on my society. I’m fine with the burdens chance and poor circumstance have given us. I’m not ok with people intentionally making themselves into burdens.

    Fair?

    • stchucky says:

      Quite fair. I hadn’t really thought about the medical and social-security repercussions. They seem minimal for people getting sterilised, as opposed to the amputee freaks.

      Of course, there’s always some burden on the medicare system. Especially for those who might change their minds, then get all unhappy when they can’t get reversals. This would be a truly tiny minority, though, I’d think.

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