“Meaning makes a great many things endurable – perhaps everything.”Carl Gustav Jung, “Memories, Dreams, & Reflections,” 1961.
I’m dreadfully sorry about what happened. And here I go, hiding behind the passive voice, like Nixon: “Mistakes were made”. Let me start again: I’m dreadfully sorry for what I did, and for what I didn’t do. I had a responsibility, and I neglected it. Perhaps my neglect cost you your life; perhaps you would have been killed anyway, and I changed nothing by sitting on my hands. I will never know. It’s still no excuse; it’s like throwing one’s hands up and refusing to perform CPR on a stricken man, and declaring “it could very well be pointless to help this man – for all we know, a grand piano could fall on his head tomorrow, so what’s the use?”.
I’ve always been a loudmouth; the sort of person who tries to say the cleverest thing in any situation–not necessarily the most productive or most responsible thing. That’s no excuse either, but it is an explanation–and, I hope, an explanation which will help address the problem. I found myself in a situation with the potential to turn violent – the violence wouldn’t be aimed at me, but at you. Did I attempt to de-escalate the situation, to diffuse the tension, to reduce the probability of violence?
I could have used physical force in an effort to save you; that would have put me in danger.
I didn’t do so.
I could have used language in an effort to save you; that would not have put me in danger.
I didn’t do that, either.
I chose a third path: to speak like an insufferable smartass and escalate the already-tense situation; to speak in such a way that made violence inevitable, that made your death inevitable. I valued my own arrogance and wit over your salvation; I valued money over your life. Even worse, I pledged and gave payment in support of violence. It didn’t cost me much; pocket change, really. Within an order of magnitude of the value of those thirty pieces of silver. Follow the money, and you’ll find the blood. It’s always that way, isn’t it?
I could tell ten thousand stories about what happened, but this one is simple and true: If I had stood up for you, you might be alive today. I didn’t. You aren’t. I left a carnation for you. You can’t tell from the photograph, so I will tell you:
It was red.
Perhaps it’s useless to ask for forgiveness. My tears and nightmares won’t bring you back. “Killer feels super-duper sorry and awakes soaked in sweat from nightmares” – that may be true, but it’s hardly endearing. Nevertheless, I’ll ask. Forgive me.
In grief I dedicate this writing to you. IN MEMORIAM.
I have a name, but you can call me “Monday”.
No death threats; no personal attacks; no spam, please. Let’s be civil, like it was in the Old Days, before Endless September. We can chat and disagree; that’s fine. Let’s just try to find common ground. This is not about money.
Message To Those Of All Faiths, And To Those Of None:
The vast majority of opposition to contraception–and a moderate majority of opposition to abortion–has come from religious groups. Indeed, by far the most famous resource on anti-contraception is Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, as delivered in encyclical at Saint Peter’s Cathedral on 1968-07-15. I have chosen to create a resource exposing the immense harms of contraception and abortion without relying on religious arguments, for the following reasons:
- Independence of Religious Belief: By eliminating the use of contraceptives and the practice of abortion, we will directly give billions of unique humans a chance at life. This task is too important to be undertaken only by those of religious faith. There are many logical arguments to be made against contraception and abortion; by relying on logical reasoning, I am constructing arguments that do not rely on faith in God or adherence to any particular religious practice. Acceptance of my arguments relies only on a belief that human life has value, and this belief is far more universal than any specific pattern of worship or any religious text. My arguments cannot be dismissed with commentary along the lines of “Well, that’s what you think, but I don’t believe in [God/Gods/Goddesses/etc.] and I don’t subscribe to your sect of [Christianity/Islam/Judaism/etc.], so none of that applies to me”. Anyone who (a) values his or her own life; (b) values the lives of others; and (c) is a former fetus, and before that, a sperm and egg, can accept the arguments I have laid out.
- The Fall Of Faith: Religious affiliation is on the decline throughout the Western world, and in many nations, atheism (if considered a religion) is the most rapidly-growing affiliation. I do not wish to comment on this change, nor to argue whether the rise or fall of any particular religion is desirable or undesirable, nor to debate the merits of countless mergings and schisms. However, an argument that does not rely on religious arguments is immune against the rise of atheism and agnosticism, and therefore I have constructed such an argument.
- The Leaning Of The Book: Within Christian traditions, opposition to contraception was near-universal before the 1920s. Before the 20th century, Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Christians were united in opposition to contraception. This began to change in the 20th century, with widespread acceptance of contraception among non-evangelical Protestants and some minimal level of acceptance (or at least tolerance) among the Orthodox. Therefore, an argument against contraception which relies on allegiance to a particular religious movement risks being demolished if the movement in question changes its teachings. By constructing an argument without religious foundations, I have avoided the risk that my argument be demolished if a particular religious group undergoes schism, or “changes its mind”, or similar. It is dangerous to assume that religious practice is beyond the influence of culture and technology; such forces have caused many religious movements to waver and lean.
- The Wandering Follower: In the same sense that a given religious movement can waver in its policy on contraception and abortion, so can a given individual waver in his or her following of religious doctrine. Many persons who consider themselves adherents of an unambiguously anti-contraception faith do nonetheless use contraception, breaking the explicit rules of their chosen religion. Even abortion is not entirely uncommon among those whose faiths equate it to murder. These are far from the only ways that “adherents” to a given religion violate the principles of that same religion. If such people will not follow the teachings of their religion–a religion which they ostensibly accept–then, perhaps, they can be convinced by secular logic.
- Church & State: Proponents of contraception and abortion often point to religious activism as an explicit reason to keep abortion/contraception legal, or as an explicit reason to force taxpayers to support abortion and/or contraception. These proponents point to the principle of “separation of Church and State” (enshrined, in one way or another, in the constitutions of most Western and many non-Western nations). The gist of their argument is as follows: Restrictions on contraception/abortion are unconstitutional because such restrictions would represent the imposition of religious law, or the forcing of specific religious beliefs on citizens who may not hold such beliefs. It is my position that the fact that a particular law or policy is congruent with some religious belief is not an argument for enacting it (I uphold the principle of separation of Church and State). At the same time, the fact that a particular law or policy is congruent with some religious tradition isn’t an argument against it, either. For example, every major religion (from Christianity to Judaism to Islam to Hinduism to Sikhism to Jainism) prohibits murder of innocents, as well as rape, theft, etc. The argument “We can’t ban abortion – that’s forcing Christian beliefs on everyone, and a violation of the separation of Church and State!” is exactly equivalent to the argument “We can’t ban murder – that’s forcing Hindu beliefs on everyone, and a violation of the separation of Church and State!”. Similarly, the argument “We can’t allow companies to opt out of providing insurance funding for copay-free contraceptives – that’s forcing Catholic beliefs on others!” is equivalent to “We can’t make rape illegal – that’s forcing Jewish beliefs on others!”, or “We can’t make financial fraud illegal – that’s forcing Muslim beliefs on others!”. The fact that a religious group supports some legislative change is not a reason to make that change–but it isn’t a reason to not make that change, either. By creating an argument founded on logical and near-universal principles (the “Golden Rule” and the value of human life), I hope that my argument will be resistant to such attacks.
- Anti-Religion: In much of the Western world, there exists open contempt and hostility towards organized religion. Regardless of your faith or lack thereof, I suggest listening to speeches by preachers from diverse backgrounds – from Latter-Day Saints (“Mormons”) to Muslims. In such speeches, especially those given to youth, there is a major concern that religion in general is under cultural, legal, and demographic attack. Voices which demonize one (or more, or all) religions are both loud and prevalent, charging that religion is: a relic of the past; scientifically unreasonable; racist/sexist/patriarchal/homophobic/otherwise discriminatory; “backwards”; regressive; prudish; etc. Such critics of religion will similarly attack any idea which is supported by religious arguments. For this reason, I have written a resource which does not rest on religious principles.
I do not wish to comment further on religious matters, nor do I wish to discuss my own faith (or lack thereof)–this is wholly irrelevant to my argument. Religious matters are extremely contentious, and it is best to take on no more than one exceedingly-contentious issue in a single resource. I am both uninterested in discussing, and unqualified to discuss, religious topics in detail. This isn’t a resource designed to convince anyone of what God or Gods (if any) he or she should worship; nor does it seek to answer other contentious questions (what politicians should be elected, what forms of government are superior to others, what immigration policies should be enacted, what decisions should be made in international affairs, how one should manage one’s finances, how a toilet-paper roll should be hung, etc.). It is a resource laying out why the use of contraception and abortion eliminate unthinkable numbers of potential human lives. If you abstain from contraception and abortion–and in turn, grant future people a right to life–then I applaud you, and I don’t care if you’re an Atheist, Agnostic, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or think the Earth is held up on the back of a turtle. Do not take actions to eliminate potential future people from the flow of history, and I don’t give a damn if you insist that it’s turtles all the way down.
Message to the Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL):
I am aware that the ADL strongly opposes comparisons made between abortion/contraception and the Holocaust. Indeed, the ADL doesn’t like comparisons between this genocide and much of anything. The ADL’s standpoint is that such comparisons dilute or minimize the serious of the Holocaust for political gain, or for rhetorical advantage. Please understand that I’m making no attempt to diminish the Holocaust, nor to treat the Holocaust as anything less than the catastrophic genocide and great crime which it indeed was. It is precisely because the Holocaust was such a great crime, that I use it as a sort of “measuring-stick” to evaluate other great crimes. Nor, for that matter, do I seek to diminish the seriousness of other crimes (for example, the 9/11 attacks or the Christchurch massacre) by comparing the number of people missing from the Earth as a result of these attacks with the number missing as the result of contraception and abortion.
My goal is to point out that the mass elimination of human life is bad; I’m not trying to stir up competition between tragedies, or create a contest in which we argue about which atrocity is worst. I ask for you to remain calm in these matters, and to continue to fight Holocaust ignorance and denial with the mountains of incontrovertible evidence regarding this atrocity against Jewish people and against humanity.
It is my position that, in the context of the Holocaust (as with all things), providing correct information and educating others on the events of history is a more effective strategy than stifling the speech of others.
Message To My Critics:
You aren’t really “my” critics; your hate isn’t directed at me. Some of it is, perhaps–in the same sense that a firefighter battling an inferno may incidentally water a nearby lawn. Yet we don’t consider firefighters to be in the business of watering lawns. If you engage in the use of contraception or abortion, it isn’t me that you hate. You aren’t doing this to spite me. Rather, these sorts of actions reflect hatred directed elsewhere. What does it mean, then, for someone to promote or use contraception or abortion? Several things:
- You hate your woman – you are saying to her: “You aren’t worthy to bear my children; I don’t want to commit to you and support you through pregnancy and birth and motherhood; I’d rather keep my options open and spend my money on myself, rather than new life; I’m too lazy to work to support you and grow our family.”
- You hate your man – you are saying to him: “You aren’t good enough to be the father of my children; I won’t tolerate disruption to my own life in order to create life with you; I’d rather focus on my own needs than the continuation of your one-hundred-and-sixty-thousand-year genetic heritage.”
- You hate your ancestors – you are saying to them: “You lived under the iron natural law that sex leads to procreation, and you structured your lives around it; because of that, and only because of that, I am alive. The women among you carried and raised children through flood and drought, though famine and plague; they plowed the fields in heat and in frost with the last of their strength so that their children might eat. The men among you died at the tips of countless spears and arrows as they fought for the land their children needed to live; they died with the teeth and tusks of countless beasts embedded in their bodies as they hunted for the food their children needed to survive. As I stand upon a mountain of sacrifices made by my ancestors, living in the wealthiest and most prosperous age the Earth has ever known, I shall use the latest in technology to sterilize myself, to separate the joys of sex from the responsibilities of childbearing, behaving in such a way that–if my ancestors had so behaved–I would never have drawn a single breath. You, my ancestors, suffered immensely to bring me into the world–but I will actively avoid passing the favor forward to a future generation.”
- You hate your race, your ethnicity, your language, and your religion – you are saying to anyone who shares your ancestry, faith, or tongue: “In the grand competition of evolution, where survival is the only victory and death is the only failure, I will neglect my responsibility to contribute to the perpetuation of my people; I will take specific steps to minimize the number of living people who are like us, and push my people–be they defined by ancestry, language, culture, or belief–one step closer to decline and extinction. I will bring us closer to the day when my language is forgotten, my culture lost, my race decimated, my faith but a footnote in a history book.”
- You hate yourself – you are saying to yourself: “In one thousand years, the greatest impact I will have on the world will be through my descendants–this is true of nearly all people. There are, perhaps, some exceptional individuals–world leaders, great scientists and inventors, for example–whose impact on the world through work or political action is greater than the collective impact that their children, and children’s children, have had. But such people are very few, and I am almost certainly not among them. In the grand scheme of history, from past to present to future, I can never do anything more influential than bring people into the world, for if I have several children, and each of them have several, then after multiple generations, literally millions of people may be alive because of me. Indeed, nearly every living European can trace his or her lineage to a single person living roughly 600 years ago. That man or woman’s choice to have children was necessary to the existence of virtually every European alive today. I hate myself with such vitriol that I will use contraception to eliminate or reduce the number of my descendants, so as to curtail my own genetic legacy and reduce or eliminate my impact on the world. I so hate myself that I will deny countless future people the chance at life, because those future people–each inheriting a bit of my own DNA–would themselves carry part of me within them. I shall wipe such people from the flow of history for the crime of being like me.”
I can’t stop you. Neuter and spay yourself as we castrate horses and sterilize dogs, if you wish. Poison your body with chemicals to disrupt your fertility, if you wish. Contaminate your insides with foreign objects to prevent the creation of human life, if you wish. Mutilate the unborn within your wombs and dispose of their bodies as medical waste, if you wish. But know this:
In the past, when that iron natural law held–when sex naturally led to reproduction–the selfish survived and passed on their genes: the selfish wished to enjoy sex without taking responsibility for its natural consequence (as they still do), but had no technological means to break the natural law. Now, with such means available, evolution can truly act against the selfish and wicked, thinning their ranks with each passing generation. In the past, sex drive was all that was needed to pass on one’s genes, and so the lineages of the selfish and wicked lived on.
No more. Your lineage is ending. One hundred and sixty thousand years: an unbroken chain stretching back to the Serengeti of Africa, surviving countless wars and famines, enduring frost and heat, withstanding drought and flood, only to be riven by your own selfishness.
Evolution plays the long game, my friend.