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There are lots of problems with how most of society treats transgendered people. Trying to sort out how best to rectify this has lead to many unproductive clashes. A major disagreement centres around whether biologically male transgendered people are actually women. My question to the BioMaleTrans is this: Why do you think you’re a woman?

I commonly see two answers to this question. The first of which is ‘I identify as a woman’. This doesn’t actually provide any information and is, therefore, not actually an answer. It is merely restating the original position that was being questioned in the first place. In this case, “I think I am” is perfectly synonymous to “I identify as”.

The second common answer is pretty much the same: ‘I feel like I’m a woman’. Still no new information, still synonymous with the original. Still not an answer.

So let’s get specific. Let’s do away with the vague, the obscure, and the etherial. Let’s dispose of brevity and confusion. Let’s look at some possible detailed answers as to why you think you are / feel you are / identify as a woman.

Do you like to wear skirts, dresses, and/or lingerie?
Well, that may be common in women, but it is in no way tied to them being women.
There are women who don’t like to wear any of those thing, but that does not mean they are somehow not women.
There are non-women who do like to wear some or all of those things, but that does not magically turn them into women.

Do you like having long hair and/or wearing make up.
Well, that may be common in women, but it is in no way tied to them being women.
There are women who don’t like either of those things, but that does not mean they are somehow not women.
There are non-women who do like both of those things, but that does not magically turn them into women.

Do you speak with what today’s society might consider a “feminine” lilt?
Well, that may be common in women, but it is in no way tied to them being women.
There are women who don’t speak with such a lilt, but that does not mean they are somehow not women.
There are non-women who do speak so, but that does not magically turn them into women.

Do you like the colour pink, romantic comedies, stuffed toys, spa days, looking at attractive men and/or any other thing that fits some version of the “feminine” stereotype?
Well, that may be common in women, but it is in no way tied to them being women.
There are women who don’t like any of these things, but that does not mean they are somehow not women.
There are non-women who do like many of these things, but that does not magically turn them into women.

Do you more easily connect with women than you do with men?
Well, that may be common in women, but it is in no way tied to them being women.
There are women who get along better with men, but that does not mean they are somehow not women.
There are non-women who get along better with women, but that does not magically turn them into women.

Do you express emotions in what much of our culture would call a “feminine” manner?
Well, that may be common in women, but it is in no way tied to them being women.
There are women who express their emotions in non “feminine” ways, but that does not mean they are somehow not women.
There are non-women who express themselves in all kinds of “feminine” ways, but that does not magically turn them into women.

Do you constantly get bullied, ostracized, and/or mistreated by entitled fuckwit men?
Well, that may be extremely common in women, but it is in no way tied to them being women.
There are a few women who aren’t consistently mistreated, but that does not mean they are somehow not women.
There are non-women who do suffer unimaginably because of these bastards, but that does not magically turn them into women.

Any reason, or combination of reasons, a BioMaleTrans could possibly give for ‘being a woman’ would necessarily be tied to a gender stereotype. That is, any claim of actually being a woman is inextricably rooted in harmful bullshit gender roles. There is only one valid claim to womanhood, and it is one that a BioMaleTrans is inherently excluded from: biology.

Welcome to part 5 of my in depth exposition on why I don’t want to have children.

I. Intro + Stage 1: Initial Shock

II. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part A

III. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part B

IV. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part C

V. Stage 3: The Rebuttal + Wrap up

We’ve done quite a lot to show that reproduction is a very bad idea. Despite all the reasons explored in Stage 2, parts A, B, and C, The Breeder is resilient. Privy to the other side of the coin, they are ready to share all the reasons I ought to be poppin’ out youngin’s. Let’s look at the most common of these in:

Stage 3: The Rebuttal

“You change when you have one / it’s different when it’s your own”

To my ear, this translates to, “if you let biology mess with you, biology will mess with you”. Oh boy! Hormones will make me lower my standards, scramble my values, but make me think I’m happy about it? I’ll pass, thanks. The effect is analogous to that of heroine. Before you have any, you can clearly see all the negatives. As soon as you try it yourself, though, your biology gets you hooked on it. From then on your happiness is dependant on keeping up your habit. It doesn’t matter how objectively anyone demonstrates how much the child/heroine is detrimental to your life, nothing can make you give it up.

“You’ll regret not breeding/You won’t be fulfilled until you do”

This is just another version of the very first initial reaction back in Stage 1. Like responsibility, fulfillment can be realized in a multitude of ways. Your zeal for this one source does not devalue all others. Check your arrogance and tunnel vision at the door.

“What if the love of your life wants to have children?”

By now it should be clear that there is a pretty big difference between how The Breeder and I see the world. Thus anyone who wants kids cannot possibly be the “love of my life”. The Breeder might insist, ‘but what if, otherwise, she is THE ONE?? You’d be giving up life long happiness just because you’re stubborn’. No. Caving to values I don’t share would be giving up life long happiness just to get a constant companion to accompany me in my poorer life. Further, the entire concept of‘The one’ is total bullshit. Relationships are built, not discovered. That is, success depends on partners finding someone who is more or less aligned with each other. Then, through work, communication, and experience, each grows into the little gaps that used to separate them. The One perfect match is a naive fairy tale. Time to grow up.

“What if your parents thought like you do? You wouldn’t be here.”

This is pretty ridiculous, but I hear it all the time. My knee jerk reaction is to point out that people benefit from the bad choices of others all the time. That in no way obliges you or makes it desirable to repeat those bad choices.

Best bumper-sticker ever

For any shining examples of happy parents with happy children who all make the world a better place by their very existence, I point once again to the survivor bias. I consider myself unimaginably fortunate and I am filled with gratitude for the people and circumstances that have saved me from countless terrors that plague so many people. There’s no reason to think any foray into the child-rearing world I undertake will go anywhere near as well.  And finally, the argument simply doesn’t follow. Let’s try the form with a substitution, say the first interracial couplings. ‘What if your parents went abroad for a mate instead of finding each other in their own country? You wouldn’t be here, thus it’s a bad idea’. Doesn’t sound so clever any more, does it? So much had to happen for me to be here, it would be impossible to respect and replicate all of it. Further, me being here isn’t that special. Sure, I personally think it’s pretty important, but I also recognize that that sentiment is quite heavily biased.

“Who will look after you when you’re old?”

The $250,000.00+ I saved by not procreating. Next?

“I think you’d make a great parent.”

And if you committed 20 years and $250k to scrubbing out portable toilets with your own toothbrush, I’m sure you’d get pretty good at that, too.

“You have no fitness, evolutionarily speaking.”

Yes, I’ve actually had someone say this to me. Why would anyone consider their own fitness from an evolutionary standpoint? One of the greatest side effects of the capacity for abstract thought that our species has developed is that we are now the orchestrators of meaning and purpose. Instead of being slaves to instinct, we have within us the potential to point our efforts in any direction, to any goal we deem worthy of our attention. There are no mosquitoes working on ways to reduce the spread of malaria, so as to treat their food sources more ethically. There are no angler fish fighting for the end of sex inequality. There are no stand up comedian squirrels. To reduce my ambitions to what my biology urges want from me is to deny my humanity. But on top of being misguided, this point is also uninformed. As a member of society I interact with a great many people. These interactions will leave impressions and influence future behaviour of those I encounter. Behavioural adaptation is just as key to evolution as its physical counterpart. If anything, it’s more important, as I will show in answering a related rebuttal:

“No one will carry on your name”

It amuses me when a group claiming moral superiority uses an appeal to vanity to justify their position. I can think of no greater example of hubris than the thought, “Humanity needs MY genetics, or the world is lost!” And it’s just so very stupid. Humans are all related and it doesn’t matter.

Milton Glaser poster

Like “races”, names are superficial and empty divisions. As a species, we get a common ancestor for all humanity every 2000 years or so. That is, a couple millennia ago there was a person that everyone alive today is related to. There is someone alive today that will be related to every single person alive in the year 4000 (assuming we last that long). On top of that, an individuals genetics is completely washed out of the gene pool in about 1000 years. For a species that’s around 300,000 years old, that’s a pretty quick reset rate. Thus, individually, you breeders will have about as much affect on future generations as I will. Or perhaps, as I go about my day trying to make the world a better place while you’re busy cleaning up poop, my life efforts will be more long lasting and beneficial to the species than yours will.

“If everyone followed your lead, humanity would end!”

This one overestimates my leadership to an embarrassing degree. It is never the case that everyone follows my lead. It doesn’t matter how often I’m right, or how much I support my position, people just don’t want to listen. Even if, somehow, this is the one time in my life I end up being a global trend setter, humanity will not be in danger. Biology will ensure there will still be accidental conceptions. The rare few people who actually should be parents and who want to be parents will still go ahead. The only possible result of my views being well received is that there are fewer humans born, especially fewer humans doomed to an existence of pain and misery. “Yeah, but what if??” Ok, fine. Humanity ceases to be. So what? It’s not like we’re the nicest species about. From a very interesting anti-natalism article, David Benatar writes, “If any other species caused as much damage as humans do, we would think it wrong to breed new members of that species”. Or, if you’re more inclined towards pop culture references

While this might be considered a bit pessimistic, the reasoning is fairly solid. The human race will eventually die out. The question of ‘when’ only really matters to whatever organisms that happen to continue to exist after our demise. From their point of view, would it be better if our inevitable extinction came sooner or later? And from our perspective, would we rather come to some abrupt horrific end, or gradually dwindle our population to zero? I’d say the latter sounds more pleasant by far.

Wrap Up

And there are the three stages dealt with. The Breeder’s grab bag of cookie cutter responses and anecdotal reasoning is nothing more than a flimsy veil, covering arrogance and insecurity. To the rare exceptions out there that actual do well at parenting and truly enjoy it, I must tip my hat. Their contributions to their children, and ultimately society as a whole, cannot be understated. But to The Breeder, I say this: those great parents are in the minority. Most people should never breed, especially if they must be coerced into doing so. The raising of children is just too critical a job to be placed in the hands of the inept. Forsake your romantic notions and myths surrounding procreation. At the very least, leave us non-breeders be while you mindlessly multiply us into oblivion.

Welcome to part 4 of my in depth exposition on why I don’t want to have children.

I. Intro + Stage 1: Initial Shock

II. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part A

III. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part B

IV. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part C

V. Stage 3: The Rebuttal + Wrap up

So far in Stage 2 we’ve looked at why I personally don’t want kids and why the world would be better off if I didn’t. Today, we will look at one last key figure. I am ashamed to say, although I’ve had this discussion regularly, I was about to overlook this entirely for this series. Many thanks to The Intransigent One for reminding me to write of the ones who suffer the most from our culture’s addiction to procreation: mothers.

They are Life Threatening

I have never understood how a woman can look at someone going through a pregnancy, with all its aches, pains, discomforts, swelling, nausea, reduced mobility, exhaustion, hormonal imbalances, and think to themselves, “Now THAT is something I need to try”. And this is the best case scenario in a developed nation with some of the best medical care in the world. World wide, 830 women die every single day due to pregnancy or birthing complications. In Canada the maternal mortality rate is 7 deaths out of 100,000 births.

Even for those fortunate to live in a developed country and not die, things can, and often do, go wrong. From the CDC, common health issues of pregnancy include anemia (low red blood cell count), urinary tract infections, depression, hypertension, gestational diabetes, and obesity. It doesn’t stop there. Other health issues can include ectopic pregnancies (egg implanting in the fallopian tube) causing bleeding pain and dizziness; hyperemesis gravidarum – morning sickness that doesn’t go away resulting in weight loss, faintness, and dehydration; and placental abruption (separation from uterine wall) causing bleeding cramping and pain.  There are also a slew of infections to be on the watch for, including Bacterial vaginosis, Cytomegalovirus, Group B strep, Hep B, and Influenza. Each can pose serious risk to the mother and/or the unborn child.

And before you brush off that listing of depression, it is a leading cause of new mother fatalities, with violent suicides.

All that and we haven’t addressed the actual birthing process yet. It carries many risks of serious pain and injury which are often ignored or even unknown by  a lot of parents (I’m especially looking at you, fathers).  Let’s start by talking about labour pain.

You know what? No. Fuck that. Let’s start by watching some labour pain.

I told a bit of lie just now. That wasn’t true labour pain. The thing is, these guys were in control. The severity and duration of their pain was adjustable and avoidable. They could have opted out at any time. With a flick of a switch or a pulling of a plug, all their pain would immediately cease. Think of a time you endured pain because you wanted to prove a point. Contrast that with a time that you endured pain because there was absolutely nothing you could do about it. I can think of no way to precisely quantify that difference, but it’s huge. Recognize and respect that difference.

Oh hey, did you know there’s something called ‘eclampsia’? It’s a life threatening condition where high blood pressure causes pregnant women to get massive headaches, and get blurred or double vision. Or they could just suddenly go into seizures or a coma.
What’s that? You never heard of it? Neither had I until I was researching this piece. Just another horrifying thing that most people don’t know about going into pregnancy. Sure, it’s rare, but it still happens and an important thing to consider if one wants to make an informed decision about giving birth. There’s another thing that many people don’t think about, but this is far more common.

Tearing.

Or, iffin you wanna get all technical, Obstetric trauma: fourth-degree perineal lacerations; laceration of the cervix, vaginal wall or sulcus; injury to bladder or urethra; and repair of obstetric lacerations of the uterus, cervix, corpus uteri, bladder, urethra, rectum and sphincter.

It’s like this, but a little bit lower, if you know what I mean.

Now fellas, I really want you to think about this the next time you consider the ‘joys of fatherhood’. Imagine shoving a scalpel up your ass and slicing yourself open, sphincter to shaft.

That, my friends, would be the male equivalent of an episiotomy. It’s a procedure done in an effort to reduce the harmfulness of  obstetric trauma. Again, that’s cutting yourself from your stink-hole to your pee-pee in an attempt to REDUCE harm. It is even more unpleasant and insane than you imagine.

After you’re done cringing and have composed yourself, recognize that serious obstetric trauma is a reality for 16.9 out of every 100 mothers giving birth in Canada.  Probability wise, thats a little bit higher than a roll of a dice. Is that a chance you want to take? Is that a chance you want your significant other to take?

Such a serious injury does not go away quickly and can have some long term effects. For instance, postpartum urinary incontinence is fairly common yet rarely addressed.

Let’s sum up, shall we?

…except for one tiny little detail. Despite all the health issues that come with vaginal births, cesarians are far from desirable. The risks are as numerous as they are severe. There’s chance of infection (incision site, bladder, uterus), haemorrhage or extreme blood loss, injury to bowel or bladder, and scar adhesions. The list goes on, but you get the idea.

Now, this may be a bit presumptuous of me, but I feel that most people are at least amicable with those they are planning to have a child with. And if you care about someone, how can you want them to endure this kind of pain and take these kinds of risks? I wouldn’t even wish it upon an enemy.

And if all that wasn’t enough, it turns out that pregnant women are twice as likely to be murdered than not-pregnant women. This makes murder the leading cause of death for pregnant women. A societal fuck-you-cherry atop a biological shit-sundae women have to risk just by “playing their role” in biology’s plan for them.

I cannot fathom why anyone would voluntarily endure a pregnancy with all this physical and mental duress threatening their wellbeing. At the very least, I think we owe it to the future mothers of the world that information about these risks be more readily available, making their chances at an informed decision more likely.

They are Legion

I have one final reason to not have children before I move on to Stage 3. If I undergo a complete change in values and personality, as the Breeder often predicts I will, and suddenly have an uncontrollable urge to be a parent, there is still no reason to make my own. In fact there are millions of reasons not to. There are so many parentless, homeless children in the world all in desperate need of people to care for them. That is to say, there is already too much need for society to handle as it is. Why create more? It just further demonstrates how much the drive to be a parent is based on biological manipulations.

I think that about covers it. Some are powerful reasons why I personally would never want to reproduce. Some are excellent reasons I should not bear spawn even if I wanted to. Many are both – my case is iron clad. The Breeder, however, will not be dissuaded. Of course, the Breeder never tackles any of my objections head on. In the face of solid reasoning, there’s nothing for them to say. As denying isn’t an option, I’m met instead  with an attempt to devalue and deflect. It’s time to look at the other side of the coin. All my objections, *cough* while technically accurate*cough* don’t actually carry much weight when compared to all I would lose out on by not having children. Next time, I’ll look at the Breeder’s most common reasons I ought to reproduce in Stage 3: The Rebuttal.

Welcome to part 3 of my in depth exposition on why I don’t want to have children.

I. Intro + Stage 1: Initial Shock

II. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part A

III. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part B

IV. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part C

V. Stage 3: The Rebuttal + Wrap up

In part A of Stage 2 I discussed my personal reasons as to why I just don’t want to have kids of my own. Today’s post looks at the practice of breeding on a more global scale. With just a few considerations, it soon becomes clear that many others should be following my example.

They are Fragile

I have never understood how some people consider it a virtue when something is delicate. Delicate means structurally weak. Why on earth do people even bother making thin drinking vessels made of brittle glass when sturdy, droppable, hard plastic is an available alternative?
“Ooh, look how thin the stem is on this wine glass is!”
“Wow, that thing would probably shatter in a strong breeze.”
“You’re right. We had better buy a lot of them.”
On a related note, I am also clumsy. If it wasn’t for my martial arts training, providing some basic coordination and some toughness, I’m sure I would have killed myself a dozen times over by now. A newborn would not have any such training, severely reducing its chances of surviving my attempts at parenting. I have been handed an infant twice, once a sibling, once a nephew. They both happened exactly the same way and were both occasions of great terror and duress. Holding my breath, not blinking, I held it at arms length, my hands rigid, straining to ensure I could not possibly drop or crush them. An eternity passed in the 15 seconds it took for someone to relieve me of the infant. I was mocked, but I didn’t care. We both survived and that was all that mattered. “Oh, you’ll get used to it and you’ll learn. Don’t worry, there isn’t a ‘Self-Destruct’ button you could accidentally push.” They’re right, there isn’t a Self-Destruct button. It’s more like a Self-Destruct mine field. And getting used to it is the last thing I want to do. My guard would slowly be let down. I would begin to think that it’s all ok. Then, due to this relaxed vigilance, calamity will sneak through the cracks and then I’d suddenly be responsible for a newborn falling off the edge of a cliff. No thank you. And even despite all these worries, a floundering care taker is not a child’s only danger.

Canadian stats have 1-2 children in every 25 will be born with some kind of birth defect and 28 in every million it will be fatal. When I see stories of dedicated parents who give up their lives to look after their disabled child in the news or in my life, I do not feel inspired. I feel dread. Nature is so cruel, making these families either chose to abandon the child, which will result in grief, an even worse off child, and quite possibly social ostracization; or they can keep it and endure unimaginable stress and strain on their lives. The ones who make it might tell you that it was hard, but they found a way to make it work. First, red flags jump out and sirens wail, “Survivor bias, survivor bias!” Second, even if these “success” stories are the norm, they are no success to me. I do not want to so completely convolute my notions of a happy life and lower my standards to such a degree that they are no longer recognizable. “Oh, it will just take a shift in perspective”, says The Breeder, as if that somehow makes it a good thing. When faced with starvation, a shift in perspective on cannibalism may be required for your survival. While it is technically better than everyone in the dire situation dying, that does not make it a happy turn of events. Anyone with even the tiniest bit of sense can see that it’s a situation that ought to be avoided, whether or not there’s a lesser of multiple evils.

Not only do they break easy, the care with which the young must be cultivated is extraordinary. Failure to live up to this can result in disastrous consequences for both the parent and the child. There are so many horribly wrong ways to raise, educate, discipline, feed, house, entertain, and engage your child. And everyday, parents everywhere are finding new bad ways to do these things. Quite often the bad decisions are systemic, but sometimes it can be just one bad call. To be a parent is to accept the risk that, as you cannot be perfect, it is entirely possible that, despite all your best efforts, you will completely fuck up your child’s life. There are many days when I feel I shouldn’t trusted with my own well being, much less that of a defenceless child. Perhaps I’m being pessimistic/overly self-critical/paranoid, but even if the odds are of me doing irreparable damage to an innocent life are only 1% of what I imagine, they are still much too high to warrant me having a child.

E) They are Bad for the Environment

It’s fairly simple. Humans are causing climate change, procreation results in more humans, therefore having children harms the planet. Bearing spawn is placing one’s own self-indulgent conceit over the importance of the entire world. That’s right, I’m throwing that ‘being selfish’ charge right back in The Breeder’s face. Just how much do these little bundles of “joy” harm?Here is a link to an article that looks at a study which compares the efficacy of climate change reduction measures. It looks at recycling, efficient light bulbs, going carless, eating a plant based diet, flying less, and having one less child.

The one less child was so massive compared to everything else on the list that it required not only a break in the illustration, but an entirely new scale for the graph. Consider two hypothetical people. Person A flies regularly, drives a gas guzzling car, never recycles, and eats enough meat to make an American blush. Person B never flies, doesn’t even own a car, recycles everything, and is devoutly vegan. Based on that, Person B’s carbon footprint is substantially less than Person A’s. But if Person A remains childless while Person B sires just one offspring, suddenly Person A is doing about 10-15 times more for the environment than Person B. And if Person B has two kids…forget about it. But so strong is the Breeder’s hold on our cultural ethos that the value of not having kids was barely mentioned, despite it being a scale of magnitude more impactful than anything else on the list combined. This level of societal blindness is Bond-villain worthy, as it is truly destroying the planet.

F) They are Going to Starve

Probably not any children I would hypothetically produce, as I happen to be one of the world’s fortunate: not destitute in an industrialized society. However, considered globally, this conclusion is inescapable. One of my favourite books is called “Ishmael”, written by Daniel Quinn. In it, the main characters address the fact that our “advanced” culture still has its myths and what many of those myths entail. The one that is relevant to this discussion is our myth concerning world hunger. Our culture tells us that we could solve the problem of hunger if only we could produce enough food and distribute it to those in need. We have everything from local drives to international organizations tirelessly working toward this end and they have been doing so for generations. Yet, somehow, our planet is still filled with starving people. Are all these caring, giving people completely inept? Are they really so incompetent that with all their numbers and donations that they still can’t make any progress? Not at all. Food production today is staggering compared to what was possible in the past. Food distribution is likewise occurring at an incredible rate. So what gives, Culture? You said that should solve everything. All it takes to unveil this myth of ours is some high school biology.
Ecosystems 101 shows us that increasing the food supply of any given species will increase its population. The population will continue to grow until it cannot be supported by the increased food supply. At that point, some of the population will starve. They will continue to starve and die off until they reach numbers that the food supply can support. This makes sense to most people and they easily see how it applies to all species. Except themselves. Culture tells us that we are exempt from these rules of nature, but the harsh truth is, we aren’t. With a global population of 5 billion, there were people starving. So, we made enough food for 5 billion. But this lead to the population growing to 6 billion, and people were starving. Then we made food for 6 billion, so the population grew to 7 billion, and people were starving. Now we’re making food for 7 billion and the population continues to rise, and people are still starving. Throw in some imperialism and global market capitalism to take the problem up a couple notches, and eternal population growth with millions starving is guaranteed. Of course, this cannot go on forever. This is a finite planet and there is only so much food we can produce. What are our options? We could stop trying to produce more food and stop distributing it to those in need. Hunger would then be more in line with all other species. In good years we would grow, in bad years we would die off a bit. This option is obviously less than ideal. Not only is it heartless, it fails original goal of eliminating hunger, and merely manages it. The other option is to stop our rampant breeding. Unlike the need for food, bearing offspring is not necessary for an individual’s survival. If, through birth control, we reduced our population down to a few billion, our current food production would be more than sufficient to feed everyone alive. This also applies to any other limited resource. As competition is reduced, scarcity diminishes. This will be difficult to achieve, considering the grip the Breeder has over the world. But I shall do my part and lead by example. Once enough people follow, we will save the world.
You’re welcome.

G) They are Doomed to Suffer

We are a biased and optimistic race, especially when our biology wants something from us. I already talked about mate selection, but the blinders get turned up to 11 when people think about the future for their offspring. They ignore rates of sexual abuse, mental illness, violent crime, or poverty, despite them having caused untold millions to suffer unimaginably. Any thoughtful person could be dissuaded from procreation just to avoid casting their offspring into a such cruel world. I won’t explain further, as I’m sure anyone who has read this far can fill details themselves. Instead, I will focus only on the big one.
Death.
100% of all people born will suffer from death. It is inescapable. Yet the Breeder doesn’t consider that they condemn every one of their precious progeny to death simply by birthing them. I’ve seen the quote “No parent should have to bury a child” echoed many places throughout art and pop culture, and it betrays this oversight. If it were conscious, this attitude could be expressed as, ‘I’m totally fine with you dying, as long as it happens after I’m no longer around to suffer the consequences myself.’ It wouldn’t surprise me if the parental desire to protect one’s offspring comes, at least partially, from a sense of guilt over the suffering and death they themselves have sentenced their child to endure.

Although I’ve held my position for almost my entire life, I have only just learned of the term ‘anti-natalism’ in doing research for this post. That research had me stumble upon a wonderful little narrative by The Prime Directive in a post entitled, “The joys of existence.” It’s a dialogue between a freshly formed embryo and its creators/soon-to-b parents. When you get a chance, definitely read the whole thing and check out more posts, but for now, here’s an excerpt that opens up the dialogue and relates well to this point on suffering:

parents: Congratulations, little boy or girl! You’re going to exist!
embryo: Oooh, what does that entail?
parents: So many things! You’re going to be sentient, first of all. You will experience pleasure and pain. You will feel a wide variety of emotions, some of which will be augmented by your human intelligence!
embryo: That sounds complicated.
parents: It will be! The human experience is such a complex one, due to our high intelligence combined with our primitive instincts! We are probably the only creatures on the planet that have existential woes!
embryo: …
parents: In fact, we’re creating you to help alleviate some of our existential woes! You will make us feel immortal and significant in the universe, even though we’re not. You will give us a illusory sense of purpose in life!
embryo: Gee, parents, I’m not sure I like the sound of existence.

Spoiler alert: the parents fail to convince the embryo that being born is a good idea.

So now we see that having a child is not a good idea for me, for the child, or for the world at large. In part C, we’ll look at how having a child is not a good idea for one more person. One who’s wellbeing gets far too often overlooked.

Welcome to part 2 of my in depth exposition on why I don’t want to have children.

I. Intro + Stage 1: Initial Shock

II. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part A

III. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part B

IV. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part C

V. Stage 3: The Rebuttal + Wrap up

In our look at Stage 1, I dismantled a number of reactionary outbursts I commonly encounter when first telling someone I don’t want children. Now we move on to:

Stage 2: The Demand For Answers

Somewhere in their psyche, The Breeder knows that their initial dismissal is not sufficient to explain this aberration before them. Best case scenario, they recognize that us non-breeders don’t deserve the negative labels they reflexively threw on us. In any case, this oddity demands further understanding. How could it be that anyone could go through life not wanting kids? It’s unfathomable! “Tell me,” The Breeder cries, “tell me why you THINK you don’t want children. Perhaps if I get to the root of this delusion, I can educate you and bring you back to the path of reproductive righteousness.” Ok, no one has actually said these exact words to me, and sometimes the person is genuinely curious. However, the power The Breeder has over our culture is immense, and I feel this kind of intention quite often. Regardless of their personal level of self-righteousness, I am almost always asked why.

At this point I usually pause.

I think The Breeder, primed by their initial shock reaction, often takes this to mean that I haven’t thought this through or I’m not certain in this conviction, or some such weakness in my position. This is not the case. I pause because I don’t know where to begin. There are just so many reasons not to bear children. So many, in fact, I’ve divided this stage into three sections. During actual conversation, social conventions coerce much filtering and omitting, but not today. Unreservedly and with filters down, here I will lay them all out: great and small, these are the reasons I never want to reproduce. Now, in part 1, lets look at my purely personal reasons to just say no.

Babies Are Ugly, They Stink, And They Don’t Shut Up

As you might imagine, I don’t usually open with this one. However, it is the most basic and simple of my reasons, so for the purposes of this post, it makes sense to address this first. Now I’m well aware that The Breeder is oft to say things like ’Your newborn is so cuuuuuute’, or ‘it’s absolutely precious/darling’ (in the interest of civil discourse, we can pretend for the moment that I’m using the pronoun ‘it’ purely in the interest of sex neutrality) or ‘Isn’t it a beautiful baby?’.

No. It isn’t.

Babies are unnerving, preformed skin sacks filled with lumpy mush. Their heads are disproportionally large, their eyes bulge, and it creeps me out. “But that’s what a developing baby is SUPPOSED to look like” cries out The Breeder. Well, no kidding. I know that. But just because nature is designed a certain way does not necessarily make it good or beautiful.

 

Here is a picture of a mother centipede guarding its young. That’s what it’s supposed to look like.  Is it cute? Is it beautiful? Hell no! It is the stuff of nightmares. And so it is with babies. *shudders* So why do so many otherwise reasonable people gush over such obviously hideous creatures? I believe it to be a combination of things.

First, there is simply massive social pressure. The Breeder is everywhere continually gushing that babies are cute and precious and lovely and wonderful and overflowing with such adorableness that everyone simply must feel the same compulsion to hug them forever and ever and ever. To deny this when confronted with an ugly baby would amount to denying a huge chunk of our cultural ethos. Any dissenting viewpoint is immediately punished. Cognitive dissonance kicks in and people make themselves believe that the baby is cute.

Second, such an obvious lie needs help. Evolution predisposes us to be affectionate and forgiving to our young. It could be no other way, otherwise no one would bother and the species would die out. In short, biology messes with us to serve its own ends. Consider a related subject, sexual attraction. Whether it be due to libido, desperation, or pubescent hormonal onslaught, there are countless people right now wanting to get it on with less than suitable mates. Not looking for Mr/Mrs Right, but Mr/Mrs Right Now. We all know this can lead to disastrous life consequences, but sometimes people just cannot ignore biology. They find the closest willing partner and go at it. Kudos to those who make it through and/or avoid all these bad choices, but a quick survey of society will find many who are currently being duped. With case after case of bad hook ups ending horribly, one might wonder why it is that biology would drive us to such actions. The answer is simple. Your biology doesn’t give a damn about your ambitions, your desires, your life plan, or your happiness. All it cares about is that you pass on your genes. Gotta replicate that DNA and keep the chain a goin’. So, sure, that dude may have herpes and it may well be that he would never help raise a kid. But, his sperm is healthy so according to biology, he’s good enough. And sure, that woman might make you miserable for the rest of your life, but she’s willing to accept your seed, so biology says this union is A-OK! For a fortunate few, some are able to keep biology in check just enough to fulfill biological urges while also selecting a partner that has a good chance of making our lives easier and happier instead of harder and sadder. That is, success stories are in spite of biology, not because of it. Biology messes with us. The more we recognize this, the more likely we are to spot its deceptions, the more likely we can assess things objectively, the more we’re able to direct our lives towards things that actually make us happy. When we fail at this, we eat the fatty sugary treat, we skronk the attractive yet otherwise useless/harmful lust-generator, and we’re duped into thinking newborns are cute.

Anyway, about two years in, infants start to actually look like humanoids and could potentially be considered ‘not hideous’, if you’re lucky. But if you recall the title of this section, a child’s vicious assault on our senses is not limited to the visual. Oh no, there are much worse and longer lasting evils. Let us now move on to the putrescent olfactory barrage with which spawn assail their parents.

Poop. Somedays answering the question ‘Why no kids?’ is as easy as that one word. Or I could choose one of any number of expressions that take on a horrifically literal meaning when applied to infant rearing.
I can’t believe the shit that parents have to put up with.
I don’t have time for this shit.
This shit stinks!
Shitshitshitshitshitshitshit!

From ‘The Oatmeal’

As far as bodily substances go, there is nothing more disgusting than fecal matter. Our bodies, built to endure generations of scarcity, use up ever molecule of food that it can. It greedily holds on to every molecule of fat, sugar, and protein to use someday, somehow. Poop is what is left when every good and useful thing is sucked out of our nutrients. It is toxic, disease carrying, foul, odorous waste. And for the first few years of a child’s life, the parent must gather, clean up after, and dispose of piles and piles of this vile excreta.

But that doesn’t last forever, only about as long as the ugliness, right? Wrong! Yes, they will potty train, but then they just move on to Stink Stage 2: Dirty. Young children play in anything and everything and have a strong aversion to bathing. While this is the least nasally offensive of the stink stages, it is the most labour intensive. Mess after mess after mess will have to be cleaned. The second a parent tries to take a break, the stench grows and neighbours start to wonder why you aren’t taking better care of your children. After many years of diligently cleaning the little muck-magnets, they finally grow out of jumping into every mud puddle they come across. Just in time for Stink Stage 3: BO. Bodies are going through changes, hygiene regimens need updating, and kids are slow to keep up. This pungent stage is accentuated by sports activities and the inability to do laundry. A perfect storm of perpetual mephitis. The Breeder holds out, thinking that soon (please! soon) their child will learn how to cope with this pestilence of body odour. This hope is in vain, as evident by Stink Stage 4: Chemical Warfare. Whether it be body sprays, colognes, or perfumes, the teenager answer to BO is often to take a quick swim through a gallon of masking agent. As they walk by, the gas cloud is so thick, you almost have to chew the air instead of breath it. While not nearly as vile as the previous stages, the Chemical Warfare stage poses the greatest physical threat to your health. Once the sprays get to critical volume (and they will), the effects on your respiratory system can be crippling. It isn’t until the kid is ready to leave that some of them manage to smell like sensible human being. However, there are many who are not this fortunate, where the child gets stuck at one of the previous Stink Stages and they go off into the world to subject the world to their offensive stench.

Noise follows a similar pattern of trading one headache in for another. It starts with the screaming and crying, day and night, robbing The Breeder of much needed sleep. As it grows, the screaming and crying reduces slightly, but only to make room for all the whining. Whining continues to take over the audio landscape, growing until the crying and screaming disappear entirely. Except, of course, the (hopefully) occasional tantrum where the ungrateful teen goes on about how “I hate you! You don’t understand anything! I wish you were dead! You can’t tell me what to do! I didn’t ASK to be born! AHHHH!” and you realize just how little the child has progressed from infancy.

They are Expensive

I don’t get the spending habits of many people in our commercial society. The need to constantly acquire ’stuff’ makes no sense to me. Personal debt is a monumental problem and many who suffer the worst from this problem seem to be the most blind to it. I have a pretty simple rule that serves me fairly well. If I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it. And I know I’m in no financial situation to handle raising a child. The expense is mind-boggling. Spawn need to be fed and clothed. Like, every single day! That adds up. Then there are the toys, the babysitters, the daycares, the diapers, the cribs, the car seats, the camps, the sports equipment, the piano lessons, the replacing of all your stuff that they will destroy, the dental braces, the glasses and contact lenses, the blu-ray of the most annoying child songs on the planet on repeat, the replacing of all the other people’s stuff they will destroy, the gas to get them to all these costly activities. The list just grows. And so does the child, making each item on that list more costly each and every year. Recent estimates put the cost of raising a child to 18 years old at $250,000. You might be thinking, “Gee, that sounds like a lot”, but you’d be wrong. It isn’t ‘a lot’. It is a gargantuan, astronomical, and unfathomably large sum of money. A quarter MILLION dollars. There are parents all over the place who cannot afford a family, yet they breed anyway. Again, the results are apparent to anyone who looks. So many children growing up in poverty is no way have a happy society.

They are Annoying

Of course, there’s the easy examples. There are legions of parents all at the edge of their patience at any given moment. Dealing with misbehaving and acting up rugrats is both infuriating and exhausting. The Breeder doesn’t even try to deny this one. I’ve heard, time and time again, the totally not-serious (but kinda is), definitely joking (sorta) exasperated outbursts of parents wanting to kill their kids. As it’s a given, I should be able to leave it at that. I shouldn’t have to mention it at all, except that The Breeder has a near Orwellian ability to instantly forget this. Masters of Double Think, they switch from tearing out their own hair in aggravated frustration to revering their brood with enamoured awe in an instant.

But it doesn’t stop there. Even when children are being good, doing what they’re supposed to do, they can be incredibly irritating. Playing children are noisy, unskilled, and require much assistance. Inquisitive children are slow, easily distracted, and pestering. And there’s nothing to be done. Indeed, the proper thing to do is to encourage this type of behaviour. It is better for everyone if they do as much of these things as they can. But to actually endure the process can be beyond aggravating. This is definitely one of the many situations where being an uncle or an aunt is far superior to being a parent. In small doses, when the right mood hits, it can almost be fun to experience a happy child doing happy child things. But it doesn’t take long for it to wear thin. In this instance, I feel parental pride is a defence mechanism. By celebrating every little bit of progress, The Breeder can be distracted from how loud and tedious it all is. How else could they endure?

The Breeder might, upon hearing these first reasons, jump back to some of those initial reactions and think once more that I’m being selfish. However, this presumes that bearing children and enduring all these negatives is somehow a social good. In part B, we will look at how this simply isn’t the case.

Being anti-woo and anti-religion, there are a plethora of conversations that I have over and over again. No, just because he/she/it is invisible does not make appeal to authority valid. Yes, you have to back up your claims with empirical evidence. No, your personal experience doesn’t count. Yes, billions of people can be wrong.

However, there is one topic over which I’ve had to defend my position more times than in all those woo and religious debates combined. I’ve had my views on this topic attacked, ridiculed, and/or dismissed by friends, family, teachers, acquaintances, and strangers alike. It doesn’t seem to matter about their national, cultural, socio-economic, or educational background. People of all sorts are eager to get in line to tell me I’m wrong. Note, I did not say my views were actually addressed by anyone, but more on that later. The point is, I’ve had to repeat myself quite a bit and it’s high time I had a resource to shoo all the naysayers to. So here it is, my most contentious, controversial, and debate inspiring position:

I don’t want to have children.

This really should be of no concern or interest to anyone outside my closest of circles. However, people are usually quite good at interfering with things that are none of their business, and The Breeder is by no means an exception. I repeatedly find myself up against a barrage of criticism and sometimes even hostility in my dealings with The Breeder. These uncalled for throw-downs usually follow three stages, each of which has their own series of common arguments. Of course, depending on who I happen to be talking to, some of these arguments will end up in different stages. And of course, there are variations in attitude, civility, willingness to listen to me, etc. But there is an undeniable and eerily strong pull to the mean when dealing with The Breeder. Society has given everyone the same grab-bag of prepackaged pro-procreation propaganda which most accept without question. As predictably as The Believer will throw out talk of “first causes” and “sources of morality”, The Breeder will devoutly spew out the same arguments from that grab-bag repeatedly, bleating out The Breeder’s maxims over and over again. Each individual will have their own spin, their own prioritisation of arguments, but the core remains the same. Read the rest of this entry »

Hard hitting social commentary to resume soon on DWR. Today, I have a bit of personal fluff that I hope will bring a smile to your day. TL;DR version provided at the end if you’re pressed for time. Just scroll all the way down.

I do not do well with real world objects or processes. My skill with a hammer was once likened to lightning. I never strike the same place twice. With supportive feed back like that (thanks, Dad), it should be no surprise that I do most of my tinkering in the virtual world. In the synthetic land of 1s and 0s, mistakes are a Ctrl-Z away from being completely erased from history.

Recently I’ve had two such interests cross paths: photoshop and web coding. I have spent a great deal of time looking up manuals and tutorials online on these two subjects. In both fields, there are usually a thousand and one ways to get a particular result. The trick is finding a method that is effective, efficient, and caters to your style of doing things. So while I wouldn’t say I’m particularly good at either photoshop or coding, what I have gotten fairly good at is finding the bits and pieces I need on the internet, then combining them to achieve my tinkering goals. My Google-Fu is strong (if I do say so myself).

Throughout my many photoshopping adventures, I have, from time to time, played with geometric shapes, patterns, and psuedo-fractals (check my profile photo). As these shapes are not representing anything, the choice for colours is wide open. This makes things quite difficult for me, as I’m horrible at deriving colour schemes.

“You better marry someone who can dress you, because you don’t know a thing about colour”
-My first web design instructor

While I have many techniques for checking my colour choices, there is one relevant today. I will put a hue adjustment layer on top of my project and slide it slowly around the 360 degrees of the colour wheel until I find a spot I like. On numerous occasions I’ve thought that the shifting colour was more impressive than any one spot on the wheel. I will just play with slider, going back and forth, watching the colours shift into each other. Depending on the project, these colour shifts can be very exciting or quite soothing.

Previously, I played with the idea of taking a number of stills at incremental hue settings and then making an animated GIF out of them. However, GIF files only have 256 colours and the results were less than impressive. On top of that, the process was painfully slow and arduous. After three or four attempts, I gave up on the notion and it disappeared in the lonely wasteland that is the graveyard for broken dreams and abandoned whims. Two recent discoveries brought it back.

First, I learned that it is possible to write scripts for photoshop. While the program comes with a number of actions and the ability to create your own, sometimes a project needs a more custom-fit solution. It turns out that one of the languages you can use for this is javascript, a language I am familiar with because of the web work I’ve done. Further, there is a script reader you can attach to photoshop that will log the script involved in every PS action you take. You can then use that log to inform your scripts. The potential is immense.

Second, I learned about APNGs. I was reading up on reducing web site load times and this article said that you should compress all images, as any file made in photoshop is unnecessarily large. I tested a few online compressors out and indeed, the there was a lot of file shrinking possible. One of these compressors had a new feature. They compressed not just JPGs and PNGs, but also APNGs. Their example blew my mind. It was animated PNG of a panda waving, smoother and clearer than any gif I had ever seen.

It just so happened that these new-to-me things were fresh in my mind when I was using my colour wheel check on a project and it all clicked together. After a little trial and error, I had written a script that would adjust the hue by 5 degrees, save a numbered PNG to a folder on my desktop, then repeat until it went all the way around the colour wheel. I found a couple online APNG assemblers, uploaded my stills, downloaded the animation, and put it through the compressor. Now, I’m not about to pay for the pro service, so I was only able to use one quarter of my stills. This makes the result not nearly as smooth as I’d like, but I’m still pretty happy with it.

So now, after much too much ado, I present a fractal colour morph built on script and Google-Fu, created by yours truly.

For the adventurous among you, I have a second example. With some images, this shifting colour can give the illusion of movement. Warning: The linked animation is big (5MB) and is not recommended for viewers who aren’t comfortable with flashing lights. If you’re cool with that, enjoy some psychedelic splendour.

TL;DR Lookie! Colours!

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