Yesterday I took my car in for repair as part of a recall.
A number of folks were sitting around waiting for service work to be finished. Naturally, we were talking about various things, and I mentioned that some of the problems they were talking about were a result of, or worsened by, high population.
As you might imagine, there was a period of silence, followed by a number of protestations. One man said that, while he and his wife had chosen to have 2 children, he had “a right” to have as many children as he wanted. I asked where does that right come from. His reply was, “It’s natural, it’s the way we are.”
Further conversation ensued, and he said he thought that, as long as he could support them, he should be able to have as many children as he wanted. I asked what happens if he has them, then can’t support them. He sort of stumbled around the idea that “family will do it.” “But what if your family can’t or won’t” He said they would.
Well, I was reassured. You bet.
Thus was avoided any recognition that we live in a finite world, and there is a link between individual action and global problems. This, of course, means that we have no responsibility for the effects of our personal choices on ourselves or others.
Rights without responsibilities – the American Dream.
But what was interesting to me was his reasoning and support for his position: “It’s natural. It’s the way we are.”
Once again, here was an example of supporting a position with a reason that would be laughed at in support of any number of other human activities.
If someone makes us mad, or has something we want but won’t give it to us, we can simply kill them and take it. It’s our right, because it’s natural. It’s the way we are. We are told that humans have been doing just that for most of our history, and prehistory, for that matter.
Of course, the other person may kill us instead, but that’s how it goes. It’d natural. It’s the way we are.
If I want to live in your house, I can simply throw you out and take it. If you can stop me, you stay. If not, I get your house. Until you decide to take it back, or someone else decides they want it. It’s natural. It’s the way we are. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years.
Puts mugging in a different perspective, doesn’t it?
When I was a child people who acted like that were called “savages” or “uncivilized.”
When I was in college I was told that people like that were “mentally ill” and had “poor impulse control.”
I suppose that is still true, but now we call it “Standing up for our rights.”
What do you think?