Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Prospect of Castration

As I sat back contentedly in my armchair, sipping a cup of herbal tea and gazing lethargically over at the bookshelf, I began to ponder how best to engineer the deaths of thirty million of my fellow citizens. This train of thought was prompted by a recent article in the Times by Jonathon Porritt of ‘The Optimum Population Trust’, which argues that the UK population must be drastically cut from 60 million to 30 million in order to save the planet. The minor detail of how to actually halve our population, he appears to have left up for discussion. These kind of scurrilous suggestions appear to be all the rage these days.

It appears to be in the nature of the intelligencia to demand the suspension of reproductive freedom. Back in the early decades of the twentieth century at the dawn of the Eugenics movement, we were told by doctors, psychiatrists, scientists and pundits that society was undergoing a biological disintegration. The ‘weak’, ‘the unfit’ - ’idiots’, ‘degenerates’ and ‘cretins’ – would all have to be ruthlessly sterilised in order to usher in a bright and prosperous tomorrow. Now we are told, by the usual line up of environmentalists, scientists and pundits, that humanity is mother earth’s equivalent of herpes and we must endeavour not to reproduce in order to save the planet. Now instead of the ‘weak’ and the ‘degenerate’, it is the ‘polluters’, ‘the carbon producers’ and the ‘environmentally illiterate’ which must be expunged from the gene pool. This seems a little naive. As I recall from Patricia Churchland, the priorities of human beings consist of ‘the four f’s’; feeding, fighting, fleeing and heading upstairs for a bit of ‘how’s your father?’. The last of these pre-occupations inevitably results in production of offspring. A straightforward prohibition on breeding will skew the evolutionary balance in favour of those too stupid to use contraceptives; even more than it already is. This being the case, I fear the worst for our sex organs in the coming century. In fact it may be that new labour will go so far down the Green route that they pass legislation to turn us all into eunuchs. I doubt this will achieve anything; although at least we will be able to usher in the coming apocalypse with a rather charming soprano accompaniment.

A more equitable alternative method of halving the population, I feel, would be to do the following. A ministry for population reduction would be assigned to divide up the country into pairs. This would be arranged by things like age, personal income and athletic ability. At the appointed time, letters would be sent to each pair telling them to hunt down and kill each other within a certain period, perhaps including some handy information like a polaroid photo, their address, personal weaknesses and favourite pub. The member of the pair that kills the other one first wins and thus, 60 million becomes 30 million with a minimum of administration cost. This doesn’t seem to me like too bad an idea; in fact for all I know the eco lobby in the government has enacted it already. Perhaps the letter was slipped in with my Council tax bill?.

The end of the world is beginning to sound more and more like the first draft of ‘The Book of Revelation’; the one that John of Patmos decided to tear up because it ‘sounded a bit over the top’. ‘Look at this’ exclaimed my CEO as he proudly presented me with a colour coded map of the coming disaster. The once mighty east coast of the United States was reduced to a smear of purple death. The white cliffs of Dover, a mere bump at the bottom of the expanded English channel. ‘This is great!, I’m going to buy land in Canada’ my boss exclaimed, before disappearing into his office to examine a satellite view of the Yukon; presently a rather monotonous stretch of tunda but soon to be a pastoral Eden. I began to contemplate my options and eventually decided to ‘think strategically’ and buy a plot on the moon. Future generations of ‘moonlings’ will hopefully praise me for my foresight, gaze in reverence at my lunar constitution and sing my hastily composed anthem. Either that or I just paid good money for a phoney deed and a rather silly T-shirt.

5 comments:

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Humphrey said...

Hmmm, I smell a rat

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David B. Ellis said...

Wouldn't the title more accurately (if less sensationally) be called THE PROSPECT OF VASECTOMY?

Roger Pearse said...

The castration of *poor people* is what is contemplated. I have not the slightest objection to those proposing the measure chopping their watsits off. Indeed it might usefully be introduced as a pre-requisite for some public offices.