Spinning My Wheels

My parents were very political, and I’ve got their genes so no surprise, so am I (although I often wish I weren’t). My mom was an activist and an environmentalist—she spent a lot of time and energy trying to save the world. But none of that effort was directed toward overpopulation. I think overpopulation is THE key issue in trying to save the planet and at the same time make life better for humans, so I used to tell her, “Mom, you’re spinning your wheels.”

But of course I was the one who was spinning my wheels. My mom was addressing problems most of which had at least some slight chance of a rational solution, whereas overpopulation has virtually no such chance. Fighting overpopulation runs directly counter to the central program of our selfish genes, which is making copies of themselves, i.e. reproduction. After all, we are basically baby-making machines—copulation machines. (I’m cleaning this up for public consumption—speaking in private, I would use a different word.) All the rest is accessory and accident (especially our “intelligence”, such as it is).

So I’m going to pull your coat about overpopulation, but with the knowledge that I’m going against the genetic grain, fighting an uphill battle on an impossibly steep hill. In short, I’m spinning my wheels.