Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Should Drug Addicts Be Sterilized?

Philanthropic v Eco-Antinatalism

I've been reading over Filrabat's delightful series on antinatalism this morning. It's quite a treat, both thoughtful and compelling. He has a section in there dealing with so-called ecological antinatalism, outlining the differences between that mode of reasoning and the one explicated by proponents of philanthropic antinatalism. He makes a lot of good points. I can't say I disagree with a one of them.

Having said that, I feel the need to emphasize that from the angle of practical application, philanthropic and eco-antinatalists are on exactly the same page i.e. the voluntary extinction of the human race through non-procreation. Though there's something to be said for philosophical purity, I also recognize that both sides are motivated by empathetic concerns. And even though I'll readily admit that eco-antinatalism is ultimately grounded in what I feel to be a romanticist's fallacy- as if nature somehow becomes divine when divorced from human nature- still, our differences fall outside the scope of our shared concern, which is that humans should stop breeding.

The only reason I bring this up is because I think it's important to recognize that folks coming from different pre-suppositional bases can be moved toward common goals. If someone in the New Age bookstore is persuaded to remain childless for the sake of 'Mother Gaea', I may be intellectually put off, but in the end a node of suffering goes unmanifested, and a life is saved. It would be the same if a fundamentalist Christian were talked out of having a child because of the risk of eternal damnation. Of course, I would love it if everybody saw things my way, and for the same reasons, but until that day when pure enlightenment rains down upon all of humanity, I'm willing to settle for what I can get :)

On the other hand, if you're one of those antinatalists motivated purely by misanthropy, you're one sick puppy, and I hereby revoke your membership! :O

Commenter Modern Man Said:

I made the mistake of staring at a pregnant woman today; the resulting existential dread was unbearable.

During my approximately three mile commute to work, rarely a day goes by when I don't see at least a small handful of very young women pushing baby strollers. Ofttimes, these are double and triple deckers, with more in tow! My general reaction is one of nausea. In fact, I'm feeling a bit of that now just writing about it. I suppose this is the existential dread Modern Man is referring to. It's not only the knowing, but the understanding that these parents are utterly oblivious to the horrible futures some of these children will face.

I was out walking the dog late last night. Somewhere nearby a window was open, and I could hear the lyrics of a rap 'song' repeated ad nauseam-

I wanna make love to you.
I wanna make love to you.
I wanna make love to you...

Chanting along was the voice of what I imagined to be a girl somewhere in her mid-teens-

I wanna make love to you.
I wanna make love to you.
I wanna make love to you...

Over and over again, in an abstracted monotone reminiscent of a chantey sung by zombies during their evening repast of human fricassee (dem bones, dem bones, dem huuuuman bones). It gave me the shivers, because I knew she would indeed be making love, again and again and with different partners, most likely popping out babies like watermelon seeds. Naturally I'm generalizing, but in my neighborhood the odds are on my side. Procreation is commonly a mindless endeavor around these parts; outwardly discouraged at times, but tacitly supported in ten thousand ways by society at large. I have no hopes for directly reaching any of these people. My ideas are foreign and hostile, and will find no purchase in a lower working-class culture where almost all energies are invested in scraping out a living, with a little left over for cheap recreation ala baby making. It's discouraging.

I suppose antinatalism could rightly be termed 'elitist' in the derogatory sense of the word. Who am I to tell people what to do with their own bodies? In the final analysis, is this philosophy simply the other side of the authoritarian coin already occupied by the anti-abortion movement? I don't believe it is, but I can certainly appreciate the defensive posturing of those who are afraid I want to 'violate' their rights as citizens. And to be perfectly honest, I would violate those rights if I had a realistic opportunity of doing so. In my eyes, I'm saving lives, pure and simple. I guess that makes me an ideologue. Hopefully, not a blind one.

Of course, some cogent arguments from the other side might someday prove me wrong. I've yet to see any of those, though I'm still waiting.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Voice Out of the Past

Almost exactly a year ago, and after years of searching, I managed to find an old friend through Facebook. He moved into our house as a renter after my parents' divorce. He's actually mentioned briefly in my book. We lived recklessly together for a time, and/but eventually wound up living in the same religious cult for many years.

Funny, after finding him we didn't really communicate much after the initial contact. He sent me an email Christmas card to which I didn't reciprocate, and that was about it until a couple of days ago, when I got a message that started like this-

Thought I'd say hi. Your daughters are doing really well, congrats.:) I had a heart ablation procedure last weekend, so I'm indigent for sure now. I remember asking the doc to not let me wake up.

After relating some of my own recent trials and travails- including a rather nasty upcoming one, I'm afraid- he returned with this-

Life is definitely not kind as we would like. The Buddhists got it right, in NW timberland lingo, "Life's a shit sandwich and then you die." The Buddha called it suffering. Anyway, if you make it this way, there will always be a place for you in my home. Don't forget to occasionally use the public libraries to maintain online communication. An iPod touch for $150 will keep you connected with everyone; that's pretty important. Please keep in touch. Don't fade on us. :)

I may immediately file a bankruptcy when the bills have come in. Been there. Done it.

Love from your friend

It's hard to write beyond this point. How do I express the hatred I feel for an impulse that creates a person like this? This guy and I go way back, into our teens. We've suffered emotional and physical violence together, as well as inflicting it upon each other on occasion. We've loved, and lost, and lost again. I feel him falling away between my fingers, along with everything else; as I am falling away through others' fingers. Loss, loss, loss. It's the way of things.

Anyway, this and Shadow's thoughtful missive have me feeling a bit maudlin, and Seinfeld's almost on, so I guess that's it for tonight. I really need to write some poetry, but I don't seem to have it in me these days, if I ever did. Anyway, blessings to Rich, and to you all. See y'all on the flip side.

P.S. Don't be concerned about that 'nasty upcoming' part. I'm always overly dramatic when I'm feeling maudlin; comes with the territory :)