Friday, November 6, 2015

Confessions of an Eugenicist

As a staunch evolutionist I am becoming a bit concerned that the human race is breeding itself into mediocrity and that it may not survive the coming human caused changes to the planet that we live on.  The challenges we face will take all of the brain power of the most creative, intelligent and savvy of our children and grandchildren, and it may be that as humans we have given up on breeding them.

I admit to being dismayed that a large portion of the best and brightest in the US have bought into the false dichotomy promoted by the religious right and some feminists that women must either choose the stay at home mom track or a life style without children.  

This observation does not preclude that the stay at home mom may not have valuable genetics, many "successful" men chose accomplished women as their "homemaker" but their accomplishments outside the home are expected to end with the first child. Nonetheless early marriages for women seem to indicate selection criteria other than creativity, intelligence and savvy.  Or perhaps I should say that creativity, intelligence and savvy are incidental to the main selection criteria and society encourages keeping these traits in the closet for the main breeding population.  

The excluded middle is a life style with one or more partners sharing the parenting either as a shared parenting partner or as a stay at home dad. I have seen many scenarios where women have figured out the problem of support for the children that will pass on her superior genes to the race.  From Heinlein: You don't own your genes, they belong to the race.  At one extreme was a talented dedicated woman who said to her husband "If you want kids that is fine, I will have them if you will stay home and take care of them."  Another I know of was a lesbian couple who chose gay men for fathers, and shared parenting among the four of them. The "traditionalists" are women dedicated to their careers and their children, who upfront select men who agree that shared parenting is the way to select superior genes from both and get the kids off to a good start.    

In the shared parenting scenario some of the mom tasks can be contracted, the housework, day care, etc. although in many cases traditional homemaker standards fall by the wayside.  A glance into the bedroom of a shared parenting household will appall traditionalists.  The clean laundry may or may not be folded, but is on a table not in a closet or armoire, the bed is unmade, and if the floor is relatively clean it is because the contracted housekeeper has been there recently.  

Shared parenting is not a lifestyle conducive to material excess, advancement to management in either career, as parenting is a full time second job for both parents.  A recent article suggests that the dearth of women in management positions is that they refuse advancement to keep balance in their lives. Accepting management positions for either men or women frequently means sacrificing both achievement in their chosen field of excellence, and balance outside of the office.  A hidden cost of shared parenting for men is that management is not an option both for social reasons in the paternalistic culture of many businesses and the time constraints of parenting even for older children.  

I know a lot about shared parenting from personal experience and the fact that support comes from other shared parenting couples who seek each other out.  Three times I had to use white male MBA privilege to change careers. Once because I lacked a "Corporate wife" at an important promotional social function, once because management meant a change of locale to corporate HQ and moving was not an option for the family, and once for trying to achieve balance between personal and business life.  I find I am not unique even on the male side.  Most men who co-parent jump off the corporate hamster wheel early to find more rewarding use of their skills and abilities.  

There is some evidence that in some parts of the world, Northern Europe in particular that later parenting and spouse choice based on good genetics is encouraged, but in the US and much of the rest of the world intentional breeding for mediocracy is the social standard.  I know little about the big population centers in South Asia, but anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that women are in charge of breeding, which is a good sign.  So maybe there is hope after all for the eugenicists.  Women are naturally eugenicists when given some choice, and contraception gives them that choice.  

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