As read on February 15th, 2012 in the presence of distinguished peers at the University of Vermont.
A Modest Proposal
There appears to be a widely shared consensus on the value of life in contemporary society. This consensus leads us to prohibit wanton murder, torture for fun and other random acts of senseless violence. The courtesy is not always extended to non-cute mammals, even less to fish or plants and of course there are situations in which people lose their claim to life. One category of beings, however, is universally recognized to be so important that its members should be kept out of harm’s way without exception, even in comparison to successful individuals and household pets. The group I’m referring to is, naturally, human babies. Killing babies simply is wrong and no-one in her right moral mind would disagree.
Despite the widespread understanding that lives of babies are, in fact, untouchable, there is a dispute going on concerning how to decide what constitutes a human baby. More horribly, this lack of agreement on such an important issue prolongs and promotes our participation in mass-murder and reckless genocide. Neither side of the “what makes a baby” debate addresses this terrible fact of our continued existence on heaps of baby corpses.
The first view holds, roughly, that a lump of matter becomes a person upon birth, but is not so sure of this that it would allow babies to be killed at any moment before labor. Instead, its advocates have attempted to determine a time-frame in which a lump of flesh is not yet a person and can be terminated if need be.
According to the second view, life starts from conception, from the very moment a daddy sperm fertilizes a mommy egg. To its proponents, it is an atrocity to kill such a union of sperm and egg, namely an embryo or, later, fetus. This view seems to appreciate the life of human babies more than the first, but one tremendously important question remains.
Why draw the line there?
Both of these ill-considered views have not made the most profound realization concerning sperm and eggs. Each of these special cells holds the seed of new life, the capacity and potential of being a human baby. They are the quintessential baby parts, two halves of a whole baby. If killing babies is wrong, what could justify killing half a baby?
If we could find a fertile egg for every sperm cell, all of them would go on to be complete thinking and feeling persons. How could it then be said that a sperm or an egg is not unique and valuable, and thus subject to all rights we give sperm-egg unions and their end results? What immediately follows this truth is that we, as a species, are currently participating in mass-genocide of our own kind, namely of half-babies.
First of all, each menstruation cycle that does not lead to the fertilization of an egg is murder, as is each instance of an egg perishing due to strenous activities or the use of contraceptives. A rough estimate is that around 3 billion homicide cases like this occur monthly.
Second, each instance of sperm release is mass murder. Masturbation and sex between individuals do not differ here, since in both cases from 2 to 400 million sperm cells – that is, again, half-babies – perish. Only counting the times a person gets laid during his lifetime takes the death toll to figures deserving a hanging at Nuremberg. Even if sex leads to the fertilization of an egg, the one saved life cannot be taken as making right the millions of killings that occur simultaneosly.
From these terrible figures it should be clear to everyone that we must stop this destruction of massive amounts of living things. Hence, I lay out before you my proposal to end such atrocities that have gone on for too long.
The first logical step is to criminalize masturbation and all sperm release that happens without guarantee that every cell survives. Intentional mass-murder is the first thing that needs to stop and our law enforcement apparatus should be equipped so that they can catch all such culprits and monitor the behavior of the male population at large.
Of course, sources of arousal must be wiped off the face of the earth in unison with this change in legislation. The use, possession and distribution of all material with the potential to turn people on must be punishable, more strictly if they are used in concordance with sperm release.
It is true that spontaneous release of sperm cells occurs especially in young males and this cannot always be helped. Scientists should work hard to develop means of gathering accidental sperm and ensuring its survival. My initial suggestion is to look into smart-fabrics capable of storing sperm to account for wet dream episodes. Before this technology has been made available to the general public, it must be ensured that each accidental ejaculator receives a fair trial to establish whether they had taken necessary precautions to avoid committing these crimes against humanity. A partial list of precautions could include cold showers, thinking of your grandma and avoiding attractive individuals at all costs. The masturbation prohibition would also remove theological guilt resulting from God killing kittens every time people please themselves.
How about saving the eggs, then? And how to ensure the continuation of the human species without killing a multitude of babies in the process?
First of all, women capable of having babies should be having them at all times of their fertile lives. This would mean monitoring closely the physiological development of women, making sure that the first case of ovulation is noticed and the first egg fertilized. After the first child is born, another should be conceived immediately when possible. Each woman would need a lab nurse to monitor their menstrual cycles and take care of fertilizing the egg – that’s 3 billion jobs worldwide, Mr. President. To avoid accidental deaths of eggs, women also would be required to maintain a restful lifestyle, preferably in confinement so that they would be free of stress and fatigue.
Naturally, as only one sperm cell is needed to fertilize an egg and each man produces a huge excess, we quickly end up with vast reserves of sperm and not enough eggs to receive them. This should not be seen as a problem, however. As we already have established that sperm is for all intents and purposes alive, as a half-baby, we should not worry if it does not go through what we have so far called life. Each sperm cell is valuable in itself, not just as a potential child or adult. Thus, we should make sure that excess sperm, of which we will certainly have plenty, is spared, lives in the best circumstances possible and receives an adequate level of comfort and opportunities to lead its prenatal life to the fullest.
Further, selection of sperm for conception should be random so as not to favor one sperm batch over another and to give each sperm cell an equal chance of becoming a child and an adult – or of staying in its original state, since we cannot be certain which fate a sperm cell would prefer. It would not be fair to discriminate, say, sperm from intelligent, athletic and healthy individuals over other types of sperm, forcing only them to develop and be born.
In conclusion, it seems clear to me that my proposal would settle, once and for all, the dispute over the moment of life’s origination. More importantly it would make sure that no more unjust, cruel and condemnable acts of murder of innocent human babies would occur. And that, as we all can agree, should be the sole goal in our lives as human beings.