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Feminism is the greatest threat to mankind
Musk, pronatalist propaganda, and the fight for women's bodies
Wildfires, drought, food insecurity, tribal warfare, mass extinction. The impact of mankind's extractive and exploitative economic system has tipped seven out of nine planetary boundaries over the edge resulting in the biophysical chaos we refer to as “climate change”. Such chaos is driving geopolitical tension, economic precarity, material scarcity and apocalyptic forecasts. We live in a world of cognitive dissonance, where the UN Secretary General calls on humanity to heed “our final warning” whilst governments continue to subsidise the industries directly causing global heating.
But never mind all that—do you know that the biggest threat we face is actually feminism?
The Dangers of Liberation
Long have bands of men wished to control women’s bodies, through marriage, religion, pseudo-science and violence. This spirit of the malignant patriarch also acts upon mother earth, splitting open her depths to drill into her core, no matter the consequences for life itself who depends on her hospitality. That women’s rights should once again be under attack in this time of extreme violence against nature herself seems no surprise, revealing a pathology of uninhibited contempt which sees certain individuals behave with entitlement to bend the world to their will.
As neo-fascist Republicans simultaneously deny climate change and strip women of the right to abortion in the land of the free under the guise of protecting life, women are also under attack from former Dems who claim population collapse is the greatest threat to mankind and, thus, women having less kids will bring about the end of the world.
The biggest culprit? Elon Musk.
Not just content with ruining my favourite site on the internet, Elon has become increasingly obsessed with women’s bodies and procreation in recent years. A father of 10, he seemingly subscribes to “long-termism”, a philosophy which euphamises the obsession with controlling women’s reproductive organs as visionary concern for humanity’s future. Devised by Oxford scholar Will MacAskill, and gladly subsumed by a range of Silicon Valley tech evangelists, including cyrpto con-man Sam Bankman-Fried, long-termism suggests that the value of the future unborn trillions of humans outweighs the billions who exist today, and sacrificing the wellbeing of some of those billions in order to make the technological advancements which can protect and house those eventual trillions is thus morally correct.
It’s this grandiose narcissism which justifies sending children down mines in the Congo to extract the minerals for a Tesla battery and blasting millions of tonnes of carbon into the air to explore space: We’re doing it for the future humans, not to line our own pockets. (Will Mars be a communist colony with universal basic services? I somehow doubt it, given Musk recently shut down Ukraine’s access to the internet without warning their military after the Pentagon didn’t foot the Starlink bill in time.)
Women—you had one job!
Welcome to the world of pronatalism, where people believe exponentially increasing our exponentially increasing human population will solve all our problems on a resource-limited planet.
The pronatalist argument seems to have split into two camps, depending on IQ: elite masterminds like Simone and Michael Collins believe smart people need to have lots of smart babies and encourage them to have lots of smart babies themselves. They’ve created a pro-procreation matchmaking service for the intellectual elite (read: white and rich) and plan on having 10 children themselves. They hope their bloodline will outnumber the current human population in just 11 generations and have gone on record saying they believe investing in the top 0.1% is more important than investing in the bottom 10%. Musk is also taking the burden of improving humanity personally, recently donating $10 million to fertility research. With a man as powerful as Musk, though, the personal is always political: he recently tweeted that only parents should have the right to vote given only they care about the future.
The other camp is more obviously anti-women in their thinking, providing the other side to the anti-abortion campaigners who claim to be “pro-life” but unflinching in the face of incest, rape, ectopic pregnancies and fatal miscarriages. These men (because they are men) claim the fairer sex are threatening humanity’s very existence by having the audacity to choose childlessness.
Just as our population blasted past 8 billion, one such bloke, Stephen Shaw, released Birthgap – Childless World, a film which pins the planet’s “collapsing birthrate” on the “pitfalls of Feminism and the modern dating-world”. Not one to be far from the limelight, Musk makes a special appearance. In the film, Shaw claims declining birth rates are not due to smaller family sizes, but due to “an explosion in childlessness” in women, claiming such childlessness often leaves women “regretful, lonely, and frankly confused about how life worked out the way it did”.
A special screening for Cambridge students to encourage them “to consider factoring in plans for parenthood into their career plan” was protested by the student body in May, who rightly decried the film’s unscientific grounding as “misogynistic”. Concerned by the impact of such propaganda on the wider populous, a group of leading scientsist this week launched the Birthgap Facts project to debunk its claims.
Project lead, Nandita Bajaj, said: “Women without children, whether by choice or circumstance, face enormous stigma in most cultures, which often includes domestic abuse, divorce, and social ostracisation. There is also a lack of reckoning with the great unraveling of our ecological and social crises, which, according to the leading scientific authorities, including the UN, will likely bring unimaginably dire consequences for humanity and other species over the next several decades. These stark realities, including the climate-driven death toll and refugee crises, and the sixth mass extinction, are not acknowledged in the film.”
Given human population has increased from 2 billion to 8 billion in the past 100 years, stirring up a moral panic about childlessness seems an odd hill to die on. But moral panics are rarely about morality themselves, and the lack of scientific evidence of Musk et al’s arguments reveal an ideological underpinning which justifies terms like “neo-fascism”.
It’s not that there isn’t enough kids in the world—it’s that there isn’t enough of the right kind of kids. The white, middle-class, Western kind. If the population argument was purely a numbers game, then Western countries would open their borders to booming populations across Africa and Asia. Instead, governments are tightening border controls and deploying a range of coercive pronatalist policies from child tax credits to stripping women of the right to abortion.
And for much the same reason that the Catholic Church still wanders about sub-Saharan Africa preaching that contraceptions gives you AIDs, increasing our own population isn’t about protecting kids but about increasing the number of believers in our way of life—it’s about maintaining political hegemony, a hegemony which is built on the back of inequality, of sending children down mines in the Congo so we can drive to the cinema in an EV and claim moral superiority. The economic machine driving wildfires, drought, food insecurity, tribal warfare, mass extinction—and huge wealth—demands labourers and consumers to function. The decline of either threatens corporate bottom lines—you can’t send people to space if they can’t afford a ticket, and they can’t afford a ticket unless someone else can’t afford running water.
“The world's eight richest individuals have as much wealth as people who make up the poorest half of the world,” continued Bajaj. “Ecologically blind to limits to growth, and operating from a warped bubble of techno-utopia, Musk's obsession with population growth is linked to economic growth. After all, he constitutes the small minority of elites that has benefited most from a system of patriarchy, extractive capitalism, and market fundamentalism, built on the practices of exploitation of the planet and the oppression of the most disempowered communities.”
The “pitfalls of feminism”
The population question is often kept out of mainstream conversation for fear that talk of population control will lend validation to eugenics. This squeamishness is understandable given the world’s not-so-distant eugenicist past, but assumes top-down policies are the only way to manage population. On the contrary, the best population control policy has nothing to do with population and everything to do with education. Improving girls’ education always results in a lower birth rate. Period. Once granted the choice, women almost always choose to have less children, resulting in more attention, education and opportunity given to their smaller families.
Now, smaller families don’t automatically mean protecting the planet from population impact in a world where a minority have access to private jets, however, increasing the standards of living in the majority world threatens the labourer/consumer binary. Dismantling our for-profit economic system which perceives the natural world as a wasted resource is a priority if humanity is to survive itself.
Feminism is a threat. It’s a threat to the inequitable distribution of resources, to racist border policies, to coercive pronatalism and extractive capitalism. Men like Musk would have us believe women’s liberation is destroying society. No, women’s liberation is birthing a new world where men like Musk don’t get rich off of kids in mines.
© Rachel Donald
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