“Make yourself sheep, and the wolves will eat you.” – Benjamin Franklin
The life of an imbecile in 2048 is simultaneously secure and precarious. Lacking the opportunity to exchange his time and energy for anything he regards as valuable, the imbecile’s resulting lack of get-up-and-go or professional ambition is now a moot point rather than a cause for greater social concern. Nobody is worried any longer about his lifelong productive dearth. Universal income gives him sufficient spending power to sustain himself comfortably and carelessly from week to week; his automatically accrued electronic tokens afford him the ability to purchase ready-cooked meals tailored specifically to his tastes (more on this in just a moment!). At all hours, thousands of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and midnight snacks are created on-demand in vast automated kitchen factories by row after row of whirring, whizzing robot arms. Once the components are mixed and assembled, the meals are irradiated, packaged, and delivered to recipients’ doors by squadrons of buzzing drones, sanitizing their cargo as they fly so that they arrive 100% bacteria and virus-free—guaranteed. Who would risk experimentation with the ancient art of home-cooking in the light of all this safety and convenience? For this highly risk-averse generation, knowledge of even the most basic culinary practices is confined to erudition, as exotic and rare as proficiency in gothic calligraphy.
Bonus credits are available when the imbecile manages to deposit the associated packaging from his meal into the appropriately colored recycling unit. Virtual reality video games, movies, news, and other fictional works are streamed onto the imbecile’s raft of entertainment devices 24/7. But wait—are you still watching? Here comes the science bit: his mental wellbeing is monitored and managed via a wireless neural interface integrated seamlessly into the walls of his living quarters. The tiny brain scanners, the most sensitive of which are located in his mattress, bedhead, and pillows, collect vast amounts of neurological and physical data while he sleeps. This data (arguably the most valuable thing the imbecile produces) is transmitted to “wellbeing servers” running ever-evolving algorithms capable of detecting even the tiniest mental aberrances long before the imbecile is even aware of them. His next meal can be advantageously amended to include microdoses of tasteless, colorless, and odorless pharmacological additives to extinguish the genesis of any unwanted psychological manifestations.
The Greater Good
Perhaps, as you try to make sense of the imbecile’s superior life with your tired, unassisted brain, you might try to consider the greater good it represents rather than limiting yourself with misplaced Luddite concern. Is it not a cause of celebration that depression, sadness, cynicism, loneliness, and melancholy are no longer a part of the imbecile’s vocabulary? For millennia, he has been stalked by a legion of uncertainties. Why, only a few decades ago, his life was characterized by struggle, ever-present anxiety, and continual confusion in a perpetually stormy and inhospitable economic reality. What a somber contrast to the existential surety, contentment, and blue-sky calm in 2048! Indeed, it could be strongly argued that an imbecile’s life has never been more intrinsically worthwhile! No longer is he subjected to the indignity of repetitive manual labor in return for a pittance. Measured against any reasonable scale, it’s undeniable that his existence’s quality has been vastly improved—free food and water. Free shelter. Free entertainment. Free choice from the menu. Free time to make the choice. So, before you err into condescending pity for the imbecile, consider this: in return for this hard-won and preternatural gift of a happy, peaceful and carefree life on our overcrowded planet, is not a painless and non-surgical reduction in fertility a reasonable exchange?
Mega-Farms and Fertility
Without genetically modified crops, humanity would have been doomed to continual food shortages and inexorable conflict. Instead, our essential staples such as corn, soy, wheat, canola, potato, and rice are now super-efficiently produced on automated mega-farms, enjoying greater resistance to pests and disease than ever before. Moreover, these are the only crops that are economically viable to grow. The fact that these crucial cultivars were also engineered to confer additional ecological benefits, namely the incremental lowering of sperm count and motility in human male consumers, was not widely known at the turn of the 21st century—and for good reason! Fertility had long been considered a desirable trait in both males and females and, as such, humans—even imbeciles—were hardwired to resist any notion of its diminution. After all, left unchecked, fertility surely would remain one of the few domains in which the imbecile has never been found wanting.
The Third Industrial Revolution
A stark choice confronted our leaders in their speedy approach to planetary reformation. The third industrial revolution, along with the invention of synthetic nitrogen-based fertilizers, caused a population explosion. (Whether you like it or not, we are all the children of oil.) But, in the dawn of robotics and artificial intelligence, there persisted a surplus human residue left over from our 20th-century endeavors. Homo Vulgaris, as it was euphemistically coined, desperately needed to be controlled and eventually eradicated, but how could this be done in a modern, efficient and humane way?
Inaction was no longer a viable option. Allowing Homo Vulgaris to continue breeding haphazardly and exponentially would prove catastrophically immoral in the light of the clear, technological solution to hand. Only genetic engineering had the potential to untether humanity from its lingering lowest common denominators. Providing the economically dependent with a safe and secure environment to quietly neuter themselves through the willful consumption of genetically engineered food is a world away from strong-arming people into gas chambers or subjecting them to forced sterilization.
Perhaps we would do well to recall the words of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes during the 1927 Supreme court case, Buck vs. Bell, where he upheld a Virginia law that empowered the state authorities to surgically sterilize “mental defectives” without their consent.
“It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. . . . Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
As the global population peaked sharply then declined throughout the 2020s and 2030s, it was inevitable that some bean-counting commentators, perhaps with their minds stuck in the darkest shadows of our history, made hyperbolic and alarmist accusations of global genocide.
Fortunately, these worrisome and unhelpful voices were effectively isolated and quarantined across all social media platforms before they had any chance to contaminate the well-earned peace and serenity of the happy imbeciles. And if within the upper echelons of the managed population, there remained a small number who retained their procreational desires despite the chemical coercion, there exists the option of specialized fertility treatments to enhance their chances of reproductive success significantly. Credit subject to status.
If the world I have described sounds far-fetched and futuristic, please note that drones have been delivering poisonous pizzas to imbeciles for nearly half a decade. Moreover, if you follow the path of least cultural resistance and choose to eat the cheapest, nastiest crap that a bloated corporation has specifically designed to pass your fat, salt and sugar tick-box taste-test with flying artificial colors, then you are the appositely unwitting subject of this satire. In reality, nobody will mourn the removal of your genetics from the pool. You and your kind signed on the dotted line to be confined to the landfill of history, along with the Neanderthals.
If, on the other hand, you find my words disgusting and disturbing—I doff my cap to you respectfully. Might we consider the words of the great monetary theorist Edwin Riegel:
“To desire freedom is an instinct. To secure it requires intelligence. It must be comprehended and self—asserted. To petition for it is to stultify oneself, for a petitioner is a confessed subject and lacks the spirit of a freeman. To rail and rant against tyranny is to manifest inferiority, for there is no tyranny but ignorance; to be conscious of one’s powers is to lose consciousness of tyranny. Self-government is not a remote aim. It is an intimate and inescapable fact. To govern oneself is a natural imperative, and all tyranny is the miscarriage of self-government. The first requisite of freedom is to accept responsibility for the lack of it.”
If you resonate with the idea of governing yourself, it’s time to return to wherever you left off. (Whatever you do, please don’t ask for permission or worry if you can afford it.) A better future starts with a garden—even if it’s just 10 square feet or a container on your balcony. Indoors. Outdoors. Organic. Hydroponic. Biodynamic. Whatever. Find some space. Claim it. Collaborate, but please don’t have meetings about it. You can dig and talk at the same time.
Tell Everest about your growth plans. Send him emails at firstname.lastname@example.org