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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sorry To Have To Tell You, But If You Can't Afford Kids, You Probably Shouldn't Have So Many

Someone said that if rats are placed in cramped quarters with limited resources, they'll start having babies, and that humans do the same thing. I generally agree, but I would point out that one major difference between humans and rats is that rats don't know how babies get made.

The problem began with cramming the poor into tiny spaces, but personal responsibility comes into play at some juncture. In a generation or two, you can no longer say that the poor don't grasp that if they are confined to their tiny existences, but they have more and more kids, their already meager resources will be spread thinner and thinner. 

I do believe that it's the responsibility of the rich to help the poor, but the poor can't completely exculpate themselves from making their situations worse by continuing to point the finger at others and say, "They did it!" In fact, this is what most of us are saying right now about the other side and how they treat the President. 

If I grow up in a one-parent household with three kids on a no-kid income and see the results of having to do that, it doesn't make me seem very responsible - or bright - to do the same thing myself.

I grew up poor. I've spent my entire life working for every single thing that I have. And I've made my own mistakes along the way, but repeating those that I watched my family make wasn't among them, for the most part, because I can learn from others' mistakes, too.

Just because you want 3 kids doesn't mean that you should have 3 kids if you can't afford to pay for them. I see this in my own community; some redneck living in a trailer whose walls you can see daylight through, with an $8000 four-wheeler in the front yard, beer cans everywhere, $12,000 worth of guns (this is not a joke; I know this family!) a beer can permanently - it seems - attached to their hands any time they're not at work - and that includes the ones 13 and older - and 6 kids, 5 of whom you and I support.

We live on an already-overcrowded planet whose resources we're using up at an unsustainable rate. You can bet the farm that the UHNWIs have already planned for natural (or unnatural, since we're causing it) population decline in the age of global warming, something which they publicly deny because they're invested in it, but which root-cause investments they're quietly but quickly divesting themselves of in order to grab a slice of the growing green economy. They're also planning for it, buying homes and properties in cooler, wetter climates at higher latitudes and altitudes (I beat them to it!), laughing all the way to the bank at people whose Fock Snooze-deluded priorities are keeping them behind in the stagnating fossil fuel/global warming-denial economies. 

They want the poor to turn on themselves and eat their own. The sooner, the better...for the wealthy. The sooner the poor are out of the picture, the sooner they won't be using resources that will then be available not just for a century, but because of the lowered demand, maybe for another millennium, giving the much, much smaller - and far wealthier - surviving population the chance to adapt to the new normal, a paradigm wherein automation and machine autonomy coupled with artificial intelligence will make labor obsolete. 

All that will happen on the backs of the poor. The more kids the poor have, the poorer they will remain, the more malleable they will be. They'll require money they have to borrow from the wealthy to buy food produced, transported, and sold by the wealthy. They'll need fuel for transportation and heating that they'll have to purchase from the wealthy. And they'll be killing each other to get it because there will be X number of people but only 1/2X resources to go around.

So, at some point, personal responsibility has to come home to roost with the poor, and they have to quit pointing the finger of blame at everyone else for the continuation of their poverty. It only takes one generation to fix it. Just one. Some guys will just have to face the fact that their family's line ends with them; that's the new normal. They're going to have to learn to adopt the same notion that Europeans and many Asians have had to adopt long ago, as well as many Americans: It takes a village to raise a child. And that means, 'even if it's not mine.'

I know what it's like to be poor. I also know what it's like to pull myself out of poverty using my own personal resources - determination, perspiration, and inspiration - because I had no others to fall back on. Poverty isn't a condition of race; it's a condition of the lack of money and opportunity, and poor Latinos, Asians, Whites, Blacks, and Native Americans all suffer it equally; it affects communities only as it affects individuals in a collective manner.