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7.5.02

A crackpot theory:

Pretty much everyone, no matter what their philosophy, agrees that murder is wrong. Sure, there may be some exceptions -- capital punishment, to save the lives of others, etc. -- but as a rule killing a person requires some pretty hefty justification. But why is it so immediately assumed to be wrong? There are lots of answers, none of which really hold up. Some people will say life is sacred -- but why is death not sacred? Some people will say people don't like to be murdered -- but why should we only do what people like? And doesn't the fact that the murderer likes to murder count for something?

The reason murder is wrong is because it undermines a higher goal of human existence. That higher goal is the increase of the population. Murder is wrong because it means that afterward there will be one fewer people on the earth.

To justify the ever-increasing population of the human species, we need look no farther than the fact that sex is enjoyable. If having children were a choice, or something to be avoided, why would we enjoy sex? It ought to be a purely technical operation. That would allow us to control it much better, preventing unintended pregnancies. And if sex were something to have for fun, it would not be potentially procreative. You would be able to have sex with no risk of pregnancy, even in the absence of complicated birth control technology. But the fact that sex is both procreative and enjoyable means that we are designed to have as many children as possible. Consider our mammalian relatives. They go into heat once a year, just long enough to have a few young. This is in accordance with the idea that no species ought to overpopulate its habitat. Humans, on the other hand, are perpetually in heat. Clearly, we are not just another organism in the ecosystem. We are meant to fill the earth with our kind.

Malthus did us a great disservice by suggesting that we are on the verge of running out of resources. We need look no farther than the many areas of wilderness in this world -- the Amazon, the Australian outback, the Northwest Territories -- to know that there is plenty of room for more people. There are places in the world now with problems of overpopulation. But that is a crisis of technology and food supply mechanisms, not of having too many people. The ancient Sumerians "overpopulated" Mesopotamia, but today even more people live comfortably in Iraq (or would, absent post-Gulf War sanctions). To claim we have reached the limit of our population size is to admit defeat.

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