Thursday, February 2, 2012

An Argument in Favor of Zero Population Growth

Eugenics, Dysgenics and a Public Offer to Fund My Own Vasectomy


WARNING: The following post is 100 percent serious and not even remotely satirical in nature. I mean, not even.

At some point in your life, you’re guaranteed to hear some bleeding heart scream the phrase “the children are our future!” as a rebuttal to some political, social or ideological ill. In fact, the term “the children are our future” seems to have turned into the proxy answers of all proxy answers, that automatic, super-default rationale for putting the kibosh on any number of topics or proposals. The interesting thing I’ve noted is that, in today’s recession-ravaged America, we seem to completely overlook the fact that, in most instances, children are actually the reason most people in this country don’t have a future. Clearly, as a 21st century society, we have never really stopped thinking about the children: in fact, we’ve spent so much damn time thinking about them that it’s cost us our national exceptionalism in the process.

We’ve blamed pretty much everything from the economic downturn - everything, that is, except for the thing that’s UNQUESTIONABLY responsible for creating the most massive money vortex in our nation’s history. Has anybody stopped, taken a step back, and thought that maybe, just maybe, one of the reasons why we have such a financial dookie storm on our hands is because there’s just so many damn people in the U.S? Has that not crossed anyone’s mind, just a little, at all?

And in this instance, I’m not picking on any one minority. Super-Republicans like to blame our woes on illegal immigrants, but I think the finger of blame should be extended towards ALL ethnicities and races within the country, legal or otherwise.

In a nutshell: we’ve got way too many people here in the country, and everyday, we keep producing more and more unnecessary byproducts. More babies, more children, more people. That means less resources, less jobs, and less living space for everybody - which means even more monetary devaluation, which means even lower quality of life standards for us all.

In case you haven’t noticed, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means plenty of couples with already limited financial resources will most likely be humping up a storm, with a pretty good likelihood of some economically stressed eggs getting fertilized by some monetarily limited spermatozoon.  The end result will most likely be yet another snot-nosed, germ-infested rug rat entering the social system, when the last thing this country needs is more people waiting in line to suck non-existent money out of an already hemorrhaging economic vessel.

In other words? They hunched each other, and then nine months later, they find a way to hunch all of us, too.

A lot of people think I’m in the minority because I truly, genuinely have no desire whatsoever to bring another life into this world. The reality is, there are a ton of people out there that realize the perils and future ramifications of overpopulation, and they’re taking way bigger stands against the bane of procreation than guys like me have the huevos and love gravy to take.

Population control is one of the few absolutely verboten topics in American discourse. You can talk all you want about making babies, but you sure as hell better refrain from talking about limiting the number of babies that come into the world, and you better super-duper-not-even-think about talking about limiting the reproductive rights of certain people. Any - I mean any - indication of an individual being in favor of population control legislation means that person HAS to be, at best, an ideologically-driven (if not outright delusional) elitist, or at worst, a Hitler-loving eugenicist. Clearly, anyone in favor of breeding stipulations has to be a Nazi, amirite?

Look, I’m not a dystopian. I don’t think that it’s a moral imperative for us to “boost” the aggregate IQ of the nation via the same policies we had in place up until World War II. Hell, I really didn’t think “Idiocracy” was that great of a movie, either. That said, can we at least acknowledge the fact that a.) overpopulation is the root cause of most of our ongoing economic problems and b.) that a complete and utter lack of government oversight regarding reproductive rights may be a cause of our economic misfortunes?

...and their restaurant reviews were awesome, too.
You see, this is one of those discussions you can never really have in public, for two primary reasons. The first is, it’s almost guaranteed to be high jacked by anti-abortion proponents, who will quickly spin the debate into yet another rant about the “illegality” of Roe v. Wade. Secondly, even if people sort of agree with you that unregulated reproductive policies MAY have direct, negative social consequences, NOBODY is going to side with you because it’s all too easy for detractors to equate that belief with eugenics, which quickly spirals into a completely unrelated debate about racism.

To most people, the term “reproductive laws” sound both imposing and chilling. Not at all ironically, most of the people that tell you that the world isn’t suffering from overpopulation are most likely people that have never lived in areas of the world where overpopulation was a real issue, places like Calcutta and Jakarta where the surplus of people has resulted in both financial and biological disasters that are pretty much alien to U.S. citizens.

You’ve probably heard that all seven billion of the world’s inhabitants could technically live in Rhode Island. Granted, it is true that every single person on the planet could live on a piece of real estate the size of Rhode Island, but that’s all we’d be able to do - just live. Imagine living in a world in which you were rounded up asses to elbows with seven billion people. What do you think sanitation and traffic would be like? Where would everybody live, and work? Where would the food come from? How do you maintain law and order when you can’t scratch the back of your neck without clipping some dude in the jaw with your knuckles? The reality is, millions upon millions of people in the slums of China, India and Southeast Asia live in conditions that are pretty much equivalent to the scenario we talked about above. No potable water, absolutely decimated economies, the total erosion of an effectual police force, completely non-navigable city streets, and health standards that would make you puke up your last three chalupas just thinking about them. Of course overpopulation isn’t a realistic, cataclysmic issue - most likely because none of us live in areas where it’s reached cataclysmic proportions.

Since 1970, the U.S. population jumped from 200 million to 300 million people, with the total population leaping by 50 million since just 1990. Now, I’m no sociologist, but I’m pretty damn sure that adding 33 percent more people to the officially counted population (which is always lower than it actually is) in 40 years has had to have had just a little influence on the job market, and product pricing, and the crime level, and the burden on our nation’s entitlement programs. If these trends continue, by  2040, we could already top the 400 million mark, which would happily complement a good twenty percent of the population that would be over the current retirement age.

Paul Ehrlich wrote a book in the 1970s called “The Population Bomb,” which predicted a modern world in which overpopulation would result in the deaths of billions of people. Of course, it became customary to laugh at his unfulfilled prophecies, even though several organizations have said that damn near as many people as Ehrlich predicted have starved to death since. The reality is, as natural resources go down and human populations go up (and this is an equation that really cannot be inverted), there simply has to be a tipping point where the masses outweigh our necessities: in other words, the afore-mentioned population bomb HAS to detonate, and odds are, it’ll happen at some point in our lifetimes.

Pictured: Thomas Malthus, or a really, really pretentious Photoshop of Jeff Bridges.
We all know (even if we don’t want to accept) that population is directly proportional to economic stagnation, diminishing of resources and a laundry list of other social setbacks. The thing is, even though we have the ability to stop these inevitable problems in their tracks, we’ve made the issue so taboo that we can’t even mull the issue as a legitimate topic of discourse. Shit, why not make it illegal for people that are incapable of raising children - due to mental or financial deficiencies - to, you know, raise children that they would either neglect, abuse or turn into malformed social products? We already give the state the ability to take children away from unfit parents, so why don’t we take it to the next logical level and just make it so these people wouldn’t be allowed to have children in the first place?

You have to have a state-sanctioned ID to own a firearm, drive an automobile, and in most states, go fishing. If we require state consent to rent a carpet shampooer or sell distilled beverages, then why the hell don’t we require state consent for people to have children, which become direct burdens on the social system we already inhabit?

Of course, we live in a social climate were that kind of thinking is just oh-so un-American. No matter how stupid and abusive and irresponsible and reckless a person is, we acknowledge their unwritten right to reproduce, even if there’s no way in a thousand hells they could ever raise a child without the state’s interference. We’re an environment where reproductive rights are so cherished that we turn families with enough children to field a soccer team into celebrities - quite obviously, contemporary American culture is all about them some Duggars, and not Tommy Malthus.

The thing is, despite the fact that we’re living in a sexual renaissance where birth-control is more affordable than most cold medicine, we still have that everybody-has-the-right-to-reproduce-mentality entrenched so firmly in her collective consciousness that it seems as if zero population growth is an illusion on par with  a balanced federal budget. Oh, and for all of you whiners that think limiting the reproductive rights of ALL citizens is a violation of your non-existent natural rights or something, remember that “zero population growth” just means that people can only have two children per functioning birth canal, thusly balancing the population out to consistent levels. Because this stuff HAS to be restated over and over again, endorsing zero population growth policies is NOT the same thing as endorsing an across-the-board ban on childbearing.

As you can clearly see, we're sort of doomed.

I, for one, am totally in favor of state-sponsored sterilization, however. As with just about every state-sanctioned body out there, I doubt they’ll make the right call in every conceivable situation, but for the most part, I think it’s pretty easy to spot who’s capable of independently raising a child and who isn’t. And to hush up all you detractors that say I’m promoting some form of genetic elitism or something, you know what? I would nominate myself for the very first sterilization procedure. If the elimination of my possibility to reproduce would result in a national movement that led to governmental restrictions on reproduction rights, then I would gleefully drop trou and take a snip or two for team humanity. As a matter of fact, this promise of mine holds true for all private investors, too - you foot the bill for my vasectomy, and I’ll take you up on your offer.

Hey, I’m serious about all this birth control stuff, folks. That’s because - unlike all of those thoughtless parents in America - I really, truly care about the well-being of our future as a nation.

Lest we forget: human life is one of the most preventable sexually transmitted diseases out there.

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