Unnatural Selection by Mara Hvistendahl
This book has seen the future, and it is not pretty. The explosion of scientific research has better enabled sex determination in utero, and has reduced the health risks of abortions. These scientific advances, when coupled with government population control policies (think: China’s one child program) have led to the following scenario: many women, once they find out they are pregnant, are going to doctors to see if they are going to have a boy or girl; if they are expecting a girl, there is a good chance they will “terminate” the pregnancy.
As can be imagined, Unnatural Selection is a very depressing read. It is chock full of shocking examples of the sex trade, abuse of women, and doomsday predictions about the nasty effects of a world full of men.
Hvistendahl starts out by noting an apparent paradox: the population of women, as a percentage of the population as a whole, has declined in correspondence to increases in women’s rights (as an aside, this would most certainly include the right to an abortion). The merited conclusion, however, is not drawn: women, once given rights, will apparently use them self-destructively. This, incidentally, is not mere theory or simple misogyny, but rather the plain and simple reality of the last forty years of history. Quite simply, when given the ability and permission to select the sex of their child, women prefer having boys to having girls.
Of course, this matter wasn’t helped any by the United States’ interference into foreign affairs. Assholes (and frankly, I can think of no better term) like Paul Ehrlich spent the better part of the 1960s and 70s predicting a Malthusian population explosion—which was never realized, by the way—and in turn called for strict population controls to prevent the supposed problem of overcrowding. Of course, these controls were to be enacted in poor foreign countries instead of in the wealthy Western countries where the proponents of population control resided. This led the United States to spend billions of dollars to basically subsidize the murder of unborn foreign children, in the name of saving the planet, of course. By extension, this means that the US also subsidized sex-selective abortions as well, contributing to the current global gender imbalance. In fairness, the US was not the only country responsible for this mess (many Communist countries were only too happy to receive American money for something they wanted to do anyway), but the US does play a rather dominate role in creating this mess, particularly through the 70s and 80s.
From there, the book goes on to detail the rather nasty after effects of the current gender imbalance. Because men have a very strong desire for sex, it is generally a good idea to make sure that they have access to it. This has led to a couple of different solutions. In wealthier nations, and in wealthier provinces of poorer nations, there are many men who simply purchase brides, which usually means purchasing women from poorer countries or provinces. Of course, this has a market distortive effect in the poorer provinces and countries, and so men there tend to form gangs wherein they go about kidnapping women and forcing them into prostitution. At least the world doesn’t have to worry about overpopulation anymore.
The unspoken, and perhaps unconscious themes of the book appears to be twofold. First, the book dwells a bit on how pure science is mostly used for evil. Second, the book dwells on how feminism has, by and large, made women worse off.
The former theme is especially interesting, since it would imply that there are many questions that man is simply better off not asking, let alone answering. In fact, science ultimately plays into man’s fatal conceit—the pride of life—by causing man to think that he can control the world simply by applying his knowledge.* And so man, in his pride, attempts to reorder the world according to his fanciful theories, using his knowledge to ever so slightly tweak the future. What man is unable to comprehend, though, is that there are often consequences that cannot be anticipated. Thus, the fatal conceit of science is laid bare, and it becomes obvious that ignorance is truly bliss, for with knowledge comes the desire to tinker, and with tinkering comes the consequences of destroying the natural order of things.
The latter theme is also interesting, even though it is obvious. Women, for whatever reason, are apparently incapable of handling power in a positive manner, for the benefit of not only others, but for themselves as well.** It is no surprise that women do not look out for men, and now it is undeniable that women can’t even be trusted to look out for other women. But this should come as no surprise to anyone that ever went to school.
In spite of all this, there is some hope for the future. The miserable results of sex-selective abortions are started to be countered, especially by pro-life groups. Not only that, the current shortage of women has increased their market value (in some cases, this is meant in a literal sense), which has encouraged more parents to have more daughters. This suggests that the problem will solve itself eventually, assuming the technocrats stop their tinkering. On a negative note, the shortage of women is linked to increased violence among young males that live in highly sex-imbalanced societies. These men will, for the most part, end up fighting and possibly killing each other, which will help to reduce the sex imbalance. However, it’s sad that it ever had to come to this.
This book is a highly recommended read. Its historical perspective and sociological predictions make this book well worth its purchase price. It’s an informative and eye-opening, albeit somewhat depressing read that’s best handled in small doses. If the future seems especially bleak to you, this book will help to explain why.
* The word “science” comes from the Latin word scientia, which means “knowledge.”
** In case there are any obtuse people, this is a general statement. It should go without saying that NAWALT. However, the inverse of that statement should also go without saying. Namely, that most women are like that.