Among the Intellectualoids
DANIEL J. FLYNN
New research on Mensa members claims demonstrably higher rates of mental illness among people with high IQs. One finds anecdotal support for the statistical evidence in a new article by a South African philosopher calling for the elimination of mankind.
Philosopher David Benatar argues in an article at Aeon called “Kids? Just Say No” that “coming into existence is always a serious harm. People should never, under any circumstance, procreate.”
Is it too cheap to insert a joke about the shame that the nonexistent Benatar could not first give this advice to his parents?
Parodying academic liberalism proves increasingly difficult as academic liberalism increasingly presents itself as a caricature of itself.
The bioethicist’s screed against the ethics of indulging biological impulses relies on the contention that reproduction condemns beings unable to give their consent to their existence to enduring a life that includes pain and always excludes the possibility of immortality. Apart from the presumptuousness involved in creating life without the permission of the created, the chair of the philosophy department of the University of Cape Town notes that since “every birth is a death in waiting” reproduction really represents a form of capital punishment.
The fact that humans inevitably cause harm to other humans and deaths in animals also serves as a support for his argument. He points to the existence of “chronic pain” and the absence of “chronic pleasure.” He opines that a lifespan of 90 years falls short of the ideal of 10,000 or 20,000 years. “If any other species caused as much damage as humans do,” the South African professor writes, “we would think it wrong to breed new members of that species.”
Strange that some of the same people who periodically attempt to drastically alter human behavior through extinction scare stories now say they welcome the apocalypse.
So much of academic liberalism strikes as reflexive alienation. Tellingly, this estrangement began with an alienation from the church and winds up here not considering that body’s wisdom on the value of human life or the possibility of an afterlife. Many of those fashionably alienated wear a hairshirt of the past sins, real and imagined, of their countrymen and seek to erase memorials to historical figures. When fanatics wage war against Western Civilization, this kneejerk response conditions the secularists to strangely side with religious zealots.
One senses that such people hate themselves more than their country or culture. One knows that one pining for human extinction, at some level, hates himself.
This academic apartness manifests itself in weird fashion choices (turtlenecks under sports jackets, winter clothes in spring), insider jargon (beware of people marking themselves as the other by using the phrase “the other”), and various gestures (the contemplative chin scratcher coming in as a favorite). People who separate themselves on a campus from the surrounding world perhaps cannot but develop peculiar folkways. But one gleans that academics set themselves not so much apart but above everyone else. They look down on us from below.
Benighted is the new enlightened. You are just too dumb to get it.
Professor Evil takes academic liberalism to its next logical illogical step. His predecessors inveighed against the dominant sex, race, nation, civilization, whatever. Now, Benatar and others call for not the “abolition of whiteness,” to borrow from one academic book title, or, in Mary Daly’s words, the “decontamination of the Earth” via “a drastic reduction of the population of males.” Benatar — no bigot he — wants to wipe us all out regardless of color, creed, or sex.
“The question is not whether humans will become extinct, but rather when they will,” Benatar insists. “If the anti-natalist arguments are correct, it would be better, all things being equal, if this happened sooner rather than later for, the sooner it happens, the more suffering and misfortune will be avoided.”