Thursday, November 7, 2013

Inmendham’s Alphabet Of Evaluational Transgressions

[Update 2017-04-30: There are a number of things in this post I no longer endorse. A few of the issues I'm spotting on this latest reread are stylistic in nature. Others are plainly substantive. I might be nitpicking, but that's just how it rolls with me. For updated criticisms of all things Inmendham, see any post I've done after 2013. I'm only keeping this one up because I (largely) share Inmendham's belief that wiping out content is intellectually uncouth. As such, let the record stand.]

This will be an overdue continuation of the squabble from earlier this year between the discrete value economics promoted by Inmendham et al versus what I'll coin here as 'Freelance Ethics'. The last time I made an effort to cover some of this, I received a juicy dead-end for my troubles. Hopefully the itemized structure of this post will assist me in communicating rebuttals in a more lucid manner compared to the bloated posts from seven months ago.

Additionally, this can serve as a manifesto highlighting other areas where seeing eye to eye with Inmendham is pulled off by paying no mind to internal consistency, while offering my own heterodox theories on a shiny platter for readers to adopt and/or scrutinize. One motivational factor behind this; Inmendham’s ongoing challenge to have someone (anyone) present a cogent counterargument to any of his stated beliefs. He’s been griping about his inability to get a properly structured, well-organized debate format off the ground due to a lack of interest. This is true. I've not seen any participants ardent enough to put in the effort necessary to undermine Inmendham’s immutable value formulation in a way that might resonate with him, so I’ll jump in and be an accommodating host by alphabetizing the entire ordeal. Each contentious issue gets its own letter. By assigning letters to individual points which are bound to continue causing friction, no item of contention will be swept under the rug. Inmendham can easily reference each section of our now abecedarian dispute outlined below (assuming he wishes to argue further, which I’m sure he will). Oh the excitement.

Note: Jump-links for the below are pending due to ongoing formatting issues
 

The Contents:

Inmendham Glossary (beginners only)

Preamble 

A. Establishing Premises

B. Central incongruities between 'Justice Maximization' and 'Harm Minimization' 

C. "Sentience creates value" 

D. "That’s just your psychology"  

E. The Orphanage Proposal 

F. Extinction: The Pseudo-Goal 

G. Assisted Suicide vs. Unsolicited Mercy Killings

H. 'The Golden Rule' Is Awfully Rusty

I. "They can’t handle the truth”

J. "Why don't people lament the absence of life on other planets?"

K. “Zero-Sum Game” as a Post-Natal Proposition

L. “You can’t win” vs. Crude Literalism

M. 'Moral Nihilism' and 'Defeatism' are disjointed 

N. Non-Rational =/= Irrational

O. Non-impositions?  

P. Approved Impositions

Q. AntiNatalism and Atheism are not ideological cousins

R. Hedonism

S. Tactical Insults vs. Knee-Jerk Insults

T. Open Hostility Towards Doubt

U. Unquenchable Reinforcement Of Belief (including $1000 challenge) 

V. Style, Substance, and VloggerDome 

Summation


Okay okay, so the alphabet is incomplete, but I've taken a shine to the format and am sticking with it. Give Inmendham enough time and I’m sure he’ll supply ammunition for W through Z as well. Odds are that he’s already done so and I’ve just been in the dark about it as I only catch about one out of every fifty videos he uploads nowadays. It's not just DNG videos I've not been keeping tabs on, it's all videos. Chalk it up to my YouTube embargo. I still make it a point to listen to Inmendham’s weekly TinyChat audio-file recordings, and that’s enough to keep me up to speed on the non-developments in his camp. For instance, to this day, Inmendham takes every opportunity to jump on the proverbial 'Moral Relativism' bait during debates wherein he himself initially tasks opponents with defending Natalism, showing that he hasn’t gathered much from my past attempts at instilling the all-too-necessary fragmentation between meta ethics and normative ethics. If you think that checkmating 'Moral Realism' absolves Natalism of its due censure, you remain guilty of the same oscillation I reproached here. In any case, whether it's by Natalists or AntiNatalists, persistent unwillingness to differentiate between meta and non-meta types of ethics has been counterproductive to my aims and the sort of conversational template we must foster.

Note that Inmendham, on a weekly basis, has the inducement to challenge anyone under the sun to a philosophical duel to the death, solidifying that the man does not know when to say when. Consequently, he's succeeded in acquiring a squadron of exaggeratingly hostile and judgmental enemies; unmatched by those of yesteryear, which is really saying something the moment you recall the Subscriber Embargo Wars of 2007. His contemporary foes are even more rancorous. Some of them former allies. Call me weak-willed, but I'd say it'd be reasonable for him to have mellowed out & taken a step back by this stage. But no, he's feistier than ever. Even so, here I am, dedicating another offensively long post to a takedown of certain false impressions he has set in motion. So much for being a futilitarian on my part. I did cite futility when I bowed out seven months ago, but shouldn't have. Loose ends, you know. See for yourselves; his past attempts at refuting my corrective input have been monumentally unpersuasive. I see purpose in dissecting him and his antagonists to pieces, if for no other reason than the possibility of having people who support Inmendham (on everything from A to V) stumbling across this post and actually deciphering it. A slim chance, but I’ve got nothing to lose.




Inmendham Glossary:

1. Janitor = Reducer of suffering.

2. Mess maker = Contributor to suffering.

3. Efilist = Rejector of life. Interchangeable with 'Unconditional Extinctionist' (as explained in Section F).

4. Nihilist = Selfish person. Possibly a psychopath.  

5. Pussy Atheist = Disbeliever in God who doesn't go the whole way. Disbelieves in God just because it's convenient. Also known as "Atheist who's not really an Atheist".

6. Cheese chaser = Silly person psychologically owned by miscellaneous desires without even realizing it. Desires in question are often insatiable by design. Pick your poison.

7. Philosophy = Methodology by which ethicists can resolve their idiosyncratic differences and ultimately agree on a singular doctrine of value cognitivism, because only one reality exists.

8. Psychology = Barrier to philosophy.

9. Garbage Out > Garbage In = Cultural propaganda that people are inundated with early in life, without which 'Extinctionism' would be a foregone conclusion to anyone with a modicum of intelligence. Institutional propaganda can also be guilty of appending to this.

10. Wasted suffering = Any suffering that fails to prevent higher volumes of future suffering in some way, shape or form.

11. Suffering Matters = Suffering matters, literally.

12. Precious Commodities = Sentient organisms.

13. Gladiator Wars = Evolution by Natural Selection and its toll on sentience spanning 500 million years.

14. Depression = The proper emotional state triggered by an honest assessment of reality. Results may vary.

This post will indulge aspects of the above dialect (mainly the idioms) so beginners should familiarize themselves with the definitions in this particular context. I mostly don't condone indulging Inmendham's usage of these things, as they betray an appreciation for straightforwardness, but I'll make an exception here.

I can understand Inmendham using this phraseology in his own idiomatic way while making videos to his general viewers or to his long-time foes, but Inmendham casually uses "Janitor" and "Mess-maker" as tropes even when he's dealing with newcomers. The man is so steeped in his own agenda that he no longer has the presence of mind to know that outsiders won't be able to pick up on the esoteric nature with which he throws around terms like "Cheese chaser” unless they’re given a proper introduction. This is troublesome, especially for an aspiring communicator of ideas who is under the impression that he’s mastering his craft. Inmendham was a far better communicator before he needlessly came up with any of this ‘in-group’ lingo.

If anyone can think of other "Inmendham only" tropes to contribute here, let me know and I'll add them.


Preamble

Given the monstrous length, I advise against absorbing all of this in one sitting. Feedback is welcomed following completion of any given segment. Normally I’d expect readers to finish the entire post before commenting, but that would be an asinine expectation this time around, due to the segmentation. So if you finish Section A, rest assured that you don’t need to know anything about Section B in order to leave a succinct comment on Section A.

Readers who understand Inmendham’s position should also be familiar with our previous clashes on loosely related subject matter. Readers should also not omit the legitimate points Inmendham brought to the table during the initial stages of his YouTube run. These issues are criminally underrepresented, even to this day. The “Summation” portion of this write-up delves into some of that. While Inmendham deserves props in many areas, none of his mordant observations can be reformed to fit as dispellers of the escalated points I've piled on without first turning my assailment into a caricature of itself.

But enough foreplay. The below sections pinpoint Inmendham's overreaches, namely his demands to have law abiding humans justify their wasteful existence. This often leads to leaps of logic, imperious overestimations of logic, more non-sequiturs, or just blatant straw.


A. Establishing Premises 

Inmendham regularly claims “If you can’t agree that suffering is fundamentally a negative sensation, we have nothing to discuss. We should just declare you insane. You’re too far gone” and proceeds to disengage whomever it is that he initially solicited counter-argumentation from. This would be fine, except for the fact that during his walk & talk tirades, Inmendham annoyingly persists in chastising the premise’s nitpicky protesters. He does this, long after his insistence from the hilltop that they deserve to have the door slammed on their non-starter.

I don't get it. What's the point in so brazenly declaring that a bunch of people are not worth the time and effort only to go right back to dwelling on their false beliefs a few hours later? We've seen this play out on a weekly basis with Inmendham and the dozen or so YouTubers whose ‘Ivory Tower’ led axioms he has zero tolerance for, but whose collective viewpoints he promulgates incessantly. The intensity he exhibits during his 'play-and-respond' approach to video exchange indicates that he's not the least bit bored by his opposition’s content. By this stage, he should be placid and disinterested in everything they have to say, since none of them have so much as made a dent in his thought patterns for over six years. Their arguments are rarely, if ever, compelling to him. My experience isn't exactly a departure from his. I believe that Inmendham would benefit from going cold turkey on the content he normally replies to – including anyone who operates under the stringent confines of disciplinal academic philosophy – and devoting more attention to the types of arguments I presented to him back in March of this year. Speaking of which...

I'd not dispute any 'harm=negative' claims as long as they are accompanied by essential preconditions, one of which is the sorely underdiscussed distinction between 'Trivial Harm' and 'Non-trivial Harm'. Unfortunately, the margins here will not be cut and dry since qualia discrepancies are not universally quantifiable and must revolve around the proneness of the individual experiencer. Pointing to such dissimilarities is nevertheless perfectly warranted and should be viewed as one of the many inner branches of a healthy premise tree. Another precondition is the ideological (read: not sensorial) preference of the individual who has suffered, who may very well believe that every bit of it was worth it, even on his/her deathbed. We can divide these subsets into 'Consensual Harm' and ‘Non-consensual Harm', as the world presently contains billions of adults who endure wasted suffering, the presence of which doesn't hinge on irredeemable harm-exchange ultimatums.

Declaring that all wasted suffering is suffering that ought not have taken place – on the grounds that it didn't anchor the prevention of more copious amounts of suffering in the future – rests on the negation of divergent outlooks and covertly denies the individual sufferer the right to self-actualization. By distinguishing between the sensorial and the ideological – in conjuncture with 'Trivial Harm' and 'Non-trivial Harm' – we slowly start getting a glimpse of a vastly different looking 'net product' to strive towards than the purely sensorial one exasperatingly promoted by Inmendham. The initial 'harm=negative' proposition that Inmendham longs to see accepted comes across as levelheaded until we take into account that it actually posits 'harm = the only negative'.

By accepting an axiom like 'harm = the only negative' we would tacitly be instituting an equal-opportunity indexing of all wasted suffering, leading us directly to one of Inmendham's reoccurring statements that I find the most disagreeable:

"The enemy is suffering itself. It does not matter who suffers, not in any absolute sense that goes beyond creating disincentives aimed at stifling unproductive acts".

To fumble over qualifiers like 'Consensual Harm' and 'Non-consensual Harm', or to nonchalantly rule out their necessity, is no different than fumbling over qualifiers while proclaiming “If you don’t believe that telling lies is fundamentally wrong, we have to nothing to discuss” in exclusivity. Would abiding by a codified rendition of this statement make any sense? Take a step back and really assess the italicized statement. It's basically the ninth commandment in camouflage. The bold mandate offers a pressing question: Is honesty a fundamental good or is it merely a stepping-stone; A play-thing for exclusionary welfarists to use, abuse, and discard at their discretion in order to meet their ends?

We must always keep in mind that much wasted suffering has arisen because of headstrong individuals who have chosen to be uninterruptedly forthright in their interactions with others, come hell or high water. Inmendham, as a self-professed life-long philosopher, needs to be steadfastly cognizant of this pertinent proviso, yet he still hastily flip-flops between a univocally Consequentialist cornerstone like "You can only be a janitor" and a univocally Deontological cornerstone like "Your first obligation is to the truth". Due to the untold number of instances in which being an efficient janitor necessitates concealing the truth, any notion of a janitorial duty as the only worthwhile duty deserves to be rescinded as a blueprint for ethics. In its place, we can still subscribe to blueprints that openly favour part-time Janitorialism under which the maximization of nobleness wouldn’t be rigidly subservient to the minimization of harm.  

Throughout this debate, it has been my contention that clarity and knowledge be viewed – and sought – not just in the interest of a given extrinsic finality, but as an intrinsic one as well. It isn’t controversial to begin with the supposition that having a firm understanding of reality amounts to an initiatory good with no strings attached, as opposed to a supplementary good only. To best summarize this, I'll pompously quote something I wrote for my channel description last year: 

The pursuit of truth, undertaken as a means to an end, is a hollow pursuit. Thinkers who value truth exclusively as a harm reduction apparatus have already disqualified themselves. 

Proficient deception shouldn’t be condemnable only when its ramifications are routed to conveniently selected event chains that see the unpleasant fallout of the deceit bringing the deceived a measure of harm where none would have otherwise existed (in the immediate aftermath or in the long term). Deception can be said to be unwarranted in and of itself. This includes, but is not limited to, cases where the deceived gain nothing but pleasure from their delusion and avoid nothing but hardship due to the presence of this same delusion. It’s worth noting that this is rarely the outcome the misinformed parties go on to see, but just as a broken clock can be right twice a day, so too can ignorance be bliss for all involved in the long term. Seeing as Inmendham wishes to discuss absolute value, pointing to the existence of these curveballs is hardly unwarranted.

The “Veracity vs. Mendacity” wrangle is as deserving of its own spotlight as is “Pleasure vs. Pain”. This recognition leaves all previous discourse concerning a ‘net product’ liable of not covering its bases. Treachery remains treachery regardless of the good/bad consequences that may or may not be unleashed by it. The infrequency of a certain outcome shouldn’t nullify an ethicist's trepidation to have such an outcome purposely swept under the rug. If an observer views a given outcome's rarity as a decent enough excuse to discount the occurrence itself, then the observer at hand must be discredited. This is especially true during meticulous analysis of what Inmendham has knighted a bullet-proof theory in favour of a tendentious approach to ethics. The reader should not misconstrue my red-flag as stoicism on steroids. It's just plain old reverence for intellectual honesty, unchained by expedience.

Another way of looking at it is acknowledging that, if you're taking the time to read this, odds are that you’re the type of thinker who would rather be loathed for who you are, as opposed to being adored for pretending to be someone you're not. Surely the same would hold true even if you were to remain oblivious to the fact that people were enthralled by you due to their own genuine misconception of who you are and what you stand for, rather than a deliberate effort on your part to deceive them as to your true self. Challenge this on the basis of subsequent surplus comfort and see your integrity erode accordingly.

Likewise, if you are assured that your welfare can be improved on the whole, without impeding on anyone else’s welfare in a negative manner, albeit under the caveat that you’d have to trade in the accuracy of your overall belief system by adopting a patently inaccurate (but innocuous) belief system – one whose falsehood will never dawn on the new and improved you – then surely you'd reject this arrangement, along with its offerings of added pleasure and reduced hardship, would you not? If your answer is "No I wouldn't" then everything you say from here on out is promptly suspect, because by this stage you’ve revealed that truth itself is a prop to you. Under your amalgamated assessment of value, to be truth deprived and comfortable is universally better than to be more in tune with reality while seeing this comfort wither. Widescale comfort is your value based destination, and honesty just happens to be the most compendious road-map you’ve implemented to get there. In the end, honesty is your vehicle, not your destination. This skewed framework is difficult to reconcile with an unwavering commitment to intellectual honesty. The brain serves to function as a reality processor first, and a problem solver second. Inmendham seems to have reversed this order, or has just blended it into one of the same, having overanxiously summoned an evolutionary ordinance portraying the two as being destined to always complement one another, and to never find each other at odds. How quaint. They’re at odds far more often than Inmendham’s expediency preferences would have you believe.

Despite proposing that the practice of deception (and self-deception) is basally nefarious, I’ll freely point to a few extraneous scenarios in recent history – or just feasible examples I can conjure up as hypotheticals – wherein I actually do support having false claims deliberately applied in order to reduce what I’ve identified to be:

(1) Physical suffering
(2) Non-trivial suffering
(3) Non-consensual suffering

In minimizing these sets of sufferings, I'm not just talking about apportioning little 'white lies' only. The ideal (and overused) example of this is the bold faced lie a good Samaritan tells the invading Nazi soldier in order to preserve the well-being of the Jews hiding in the attic, if you'll pardon the borderline Godwin's law. This philanthropic lie is a necessary one in my view, yet I still don’t consider myself a proponent of exclusionary welfarism (by 'welfarism' I'm referring not to an economic conception of welfare, but a branch of Consequentialist ethics). This is because of the varieties of scenarios I can conjure up (as I have in my previous dealings with Inmendham) for which I place the expunging of preventable harm – doubtlessly slated to result in a vigorous net decline of harm – as the occurrence that ought not transpire due to my placement of certain harm ethers, along with circumstances enveloping the causation of harm, on a lower value tier when they lead to an overall diminution in poorly placed trust of fictitious claims.

This method is doubly reinforced when it comes to beliefs in fictive narratives of reality that are deeply and faithfully held, which I stand to see fiercely plummet, but at the expense of bringing about a significant surge in emotional harm. Such ascension of harm comes with the territory, but one clause remains clear: These confounding give-and-take variables are nothing short of conditional and cannot be compartmentalized into absolute ethical principles. To believe otherwise is to underestimate the paradoxical dead-end implicit in assessing the ethicality of every discrete action or utterance, while synchronically pinning these high-minded ethical principles against one another.

For Inmendham, it’s dirt simple: An ethical justification of an event or deliberate act resulting in harm can only ever be applied if the harm caused goes on to reduce (you guessed it) greater harm in the long run. His non-proximate terms and conditions rest upon the avoidance of higher harm volumes in the future, and nothing else.

We have to understand that each of us is just one pawn on the chess board. The game is bigger than you, and what you do now will impact the future. That's why I always go back to the whole "It's A Wonderful Life" deal, in the sense that people should really be interested in this concept of being able to see what the world would have been like comparatively without them in it. Is your existence on planet earth a net benefit or a net negative? And the sad fact is, is that human beings aren't anywhere close to where they need to be philosophically in order to ask themselves this question in any serious way. It doesn't even dawn on them to ever consider their own lives as part of a much broader picture.

The propounded layout for this value superstructure cannot ever divorce itself from the notorious house-of-cards sown at the core. The more we dig, the more evident it becomes that the superstructure’s rudimentary features easily employ principle-mandates calling for routine lying, egg-shell walking, and other forms of self-censorship to be practiced whenever we find ourselves in the company of delicate souls prone to emotionality.

We see this in practice through the modern use of 'trigger warnings' online, meant to accommodate the hypersensitive. After all, those who have been afflicted with an exceedingly delicate emotive state are technically not at fault for it. Their condition is a product of their genetics, their upbringing, their environment; basically a combination of these happenstances, and as such cannot be pinned on a nebulous 'free-will' of theirs. In accepting their blamelessness, Inmendham's logic 101 – once courageously taken to its rightful destination – dictates that we must also accept being beholden to their welfare by remaining mindful of their precarious feelings, even if doing so entails censoring ourselves. To be perfectly blunt, nothing in reality suggests that we have such an obligation. Their emotional weakness – while blameless – is not a mortgage on our decorum, as consequences of commission and consequences of omission shouldn't be intermingled. Purposely stealing a fifty dollar bill from an unsupervised cash register is not the same as neglecting to so much as lift a finger in identifying the rightful owner of a fifty dollar bill that one accidentally stumbles upon and decides to keep. The above value economics make no such distinctions between positive injunctions and negative injunctions, and place more emphasis on the fact that, in both cases, a fifty dollar bill has gone missing from its rightful owner. This value linchpin would have us buying into the flimsy old adage that man is indeed his brother's keeper in a clinical sense, giving us reasonable cause to tip-toe around the type of emotionally vulnerable people I mentioned earlier.

Conversely, I propose that we continue being straight-shooters with emotionally vulnerable people just as we are with anyone else, regardless of the fact that our refusal to treat them with kitty gloves would undoubtedly lessen the efficacy of our janitorial duty. This janitorial bludgeoning is a hideous expectation from where I'm sitting; one that sees the assembled house-of-cards imploding from within.

To use an example hinging on generic social issues; If we have knowledge that a sizeable percentage of the population still gets triggered by words like faggot/cunt/nigger (as we know they still do) and if eschewing such words causes us no discernible discomfort (as we know is also true), then the unselfish thing to do – the productive thing to do – is to capitulate to people’s phobias by using ‘C-Word’ or ‘N-Word’ or ‘F-Word’ as a placeholder for the actual word. By doing this, one inches ever closer to maximizing efficacy of one’s janitorial task, which is the only rational task, as per Inmendham. The result is one where the sensibilities of multifarious outcome-egalitarians rightly dictate our speech habits, which would rightfully stifle versatility. Bizarrely, this is an expectation that Inmendham himself has been appalled by, at least when it comes to anyone telling him that he ought to avoid 'faggot' and 'cunt' utterances. Not so much with 'nigger' utterances though. He’s on board with categorical avoidances of the word 'nigger' due to the word’s less than stellar track record. On the odd occasion, he's even on board with avoiding 'faggot' utterances, while with 'cunt' utterances he's unwilling to compromise in the slightest. Nor should he.

Caving in to these expectations like a bunch of ostriches would be the pinnacle of the same harrowing mindset we’ve seen from people who have – in the interest of preventing harm – advocated caving in to the extortion of Islamists demanding that cartoonists refrain from depicting their prophet in works of fiction, or else. Even if a crystal-ball had assured us that censoring these controversial cartoonists would have gone a long way in preventing future harm, censoring them would still not be the just course of action to take, as there are other precepts on the line distinct from plain old harm avoidance. I'll be the first to point out that I’d favour a net-product containing marginally more harm with more artistic license over a net-product containing marginally less harm with less artistic license. Further, expecting controversial cartoonists to be obsequious to the vaunted agenda of Muslim appeasement sends a lucid message to other enemies of artistic leeway, letting them know that they too can get a foot in the door as long as they succumb to tactics that might be perceived as intimidating enough. But it goes well beyond this.

A lifelong retard (or is that ‘R-Word’ nowadays?) who has proficient caretakers is generally prone to experiencing greater happiness/comfort compared to the ordinary worrisome adult, portending that a widespread decaying of humanity’s mental faculties is sure to bring about a hefty decline of sum-total suffering, provided that a select few trustworthy technocrats’ brains remain unaltered so to leave them in charge of the chaperoning. Imagine being presented with an opportunity to initiate this deterioration process with the simple press of a button, replete with a guarantee that the selected caretakers would remain magnanimous and competent. The premises embedded in the above reprioritizing of value – and thus an amalgamation of value – once accepted, would make it an ethical duty to press this button, and as such an ethical crime to walk away from it.

Under the unilateral premise, human beings are to be viewed not as individuals whose silly ideological preferences have a seat at the table, but rather as precious sentient organisms who have to be saved from themselves. So manipulated are they by their crude biology and insatiable desires that they ought not be trusted in judging what's best for them. That's where you – the salient janitor – come in and clean up their mess. To foment their mental corrosion by pressing the button is to circumvent their suffering, as all criteria unrelated to suffering takes a back seat. The sensorial is to dislodge the ideological, and it's one of many reasons why the revoltingly monolithic "You can only be a janitor" pronouncement warrants firm repudiation and scorn. Once we do away with all 'Janitor/Mess' euphemisms and swap them for direct mission statements, the intrusiveness of what Inmendham is advocating for will be crystallized, as his irrevocable 'net product' imperative goes well beyond a resolute admonishment of Natalism.

By distancing ourselves from this net-equation mandate, we do not castrate reasonable premises, but merely recognize the necessity for a give-and-take approach in establishing thoughtful premises that would see us disrelish a strictly sensorial ‘net product’ by focusing in on sound-minded preferences. Inmendham is free to join in on this, by permitting (instead of obfuscating) the causation of trivial harm and emotional harm in exchange for seeing deluded and/or overly sensitive individuals glean truth-for-truth's-sake, as opposed to sensorial ‘net gain’.

Inmendham will characteristically decline this offer, because his dedication to the pursuit of truth is grandiosely spurious. To Inmendham, truth-value is ultimately contingent on whichever direction the harm-reduction wind happens to blow. Generally speaking, the harm-reduction wind blows in such an oblique way where beliefs in falsehoods aren’t convergent with 'net gain' towards sentience, especially once 'Non-proximate Consequentialism' enters the fray. But if the opposite were true, much in the way "a broken clock is right twice a day" is true, Inmendham would preserve delusions for comfort's sake, as the staple of 'Negative Utilitarianism' unmitigatedly requires him to do. Agendas surrounding harm reduction would topple concerns over all else. This, above all, is why readers shouldn’t treat intellectual honesty as an ailment crutch, but a virtue in itself.

I would hope that all readers value and apply intellectual honesty as something more than an apparatus by which to reduce forthcoming suffering. By taking exception to this, Inmendham evinces that his calculus is one where any lie ought to be believed provided that the belief's fallout happens to minimize suffering without piling on future suffering henceforth. Within my deliberations, these habitual ‘deception/harm’ collisions are, by and large, non-factors.



B. Central incongruities between 'Justice Maximization' and 'Harm Minimization' 

This is another one I tried to drive home in previous posts, to no avail. As was the case in the past, the reader must keep in mind that none of my points rely on commonplace appeals to the gradations among "Directives in Practice" versus "Directives in Principle". These diversions have a knack for cropping up during discourse on ethics, merely to belabour the fact of our uncertainty in relation to permutations. They’re uninspired and by no means interwoven to anything I'll be conveying here.

Since Inmendham previously found my scenarios to be “bird shit” unworthy of attention, I’ll stray from them and from all anomalies. Doing so won’t hamper my cause, because the ideal example to insert is one invoking the following two contradictory statements that Inmendham himself utters on a regular basis, both of which are emphatically delivered and meant to leave the viewer with the impression that the statement presents a case for the optimal good, rather than a concession to highly irregular circumstances. The statements are:

1. It doesn’t matter who suffers, the enemy is suffering itself(IE: In determining the fate of sentience, we should always favour the world that ends up accumulating the least possible amount of sum-total harm when it’s all said and done, in rank order. Otherwise known as ‘Total Consequentialism’)

2.Since we know that future suffering will regrettably happen to some of us, it should happen to those who are willing to impose unnecessary risk on others for no reason other than ‘I want’. Imposers should get exactly what they have earned and exactly what they were willing to risk inflicting on others.” (typically reserved for imposers by way of procreation, etc.)

Frankly, one doesn’t have to ponder the two statements for more than a couple of seconds to fully absorb their mutual incompatibility. The unfitting puzzle-pieces escape Inmendham because the quoted sentences are always kept far away from one another, applied to different conversations, contexts and videos. They can also be fragmented in detached parts of the same video which still see them brought up distances apart, considering the length of some of Inmendham’s video replies. Attempting to juggle the two statements is tantamount to squaring the circle.

Classic dissonance at play here, affording Inmendham the cognitive gymnastics in thinking that he's being something other than a fair-weather friend to the two dichotomous proclamations. The moment we stack them side by side, we are overrun with thoughts of all the imposers who have lower pain thresholds relative to the non-imposers Inmendham wishes to see spared (at the expense of said imposers). This should seem discombobulating to him, because in order to truly maximize value efficacy (purely in the welfarist sense) we would have to disregard the imposition (justice) element wholeheartedly and focus strictly on favouring a world where all incoming suffering proportionately befalls individuals who have been afforded – by natural decree – the highest degree of pain thresholds, both physically and emotionally. Under this ‘Total Consequentialism’ criterion, concepts like Deserve cannot infiltrate our metrics, since the varying ‘decision-making’ and 'endurance' bestowments are brought to every last one of us by a thoughtless molecule rather than a fairness mechanism ingrained in the universe itself.

Think along the lines of “From each according to their pain threshold…” but customized squarely for harm reduction. Throw in cause and effect, and voila; Fairness and reprisal take a back seat as we determine that forthcoming suffering should befall those who are equipped with sufficient enough pain thresholds to be the least impacted by it, in order of magnitude.

But what of Inmendham Statement # 2?

Therein lies the essence of the conflict. We either adhere to the principle of utility unconditionally, or we don't. Inmendham Statement # 1 tells us to adhere to it. Inmendham Statement # 2 tells us not to. I believe that some scenarios call for the violation of this principle, just as other scenarios call for the violation of high-minded principles admonishing subterfuge.

Suppose Inmendham was tasked with having to decide which one of the following two individuals must be assaulted by a violent gang in a dark alley: A 400 pound bodybuilder who is tough as nails and is a non-imposer, whose ethical views and character mirror that of Inmendham’s. The other individual, is none other than the octomom.

There is no 3rd option allowing for a “None of the above” plea.

According to recurrent 'Inmendham Statement # 1' the victim of the assault ought to be the hardened bodybuilder because the beating he sustains won’t negatively affect miscellaneous precious commodities nearly as much as it will if it occurs to the physically vulnerable octomom.

According to recurrent 'Inmendham Statement # 2' it ought to be the octomom because she had it coming, as evidenced by her reckless, arrogant and repeated assigning of risk to individuals whose preferences she's unequivocally incapable of foretelling. Her children's potential circumspection towards living in this perilous world is the last thing on her mind as she chooses to go through with her pregnancies, whereas the bodybuilder rightfully condemns her misdeeds, along with her lax ignorance of the risk-averseness that those kids may subscribe to later in life.

Will Inmendham clarify, once and for all, where his notional value absolutism fits once adjusted to these perfectly regular and frequent scenarios? He might, but it will be for naught as he’ll go right back to self-contradictory oscillation during elementary debates with Natalist apologists. He’ll do this by continuing to pitch both # 1 and # 2 lines depending on the type of opponent he’s contemporarily dealing with; each set sold separately. I’ve seen it unfold frequently over the years and I’m kicking myself in hindsight for not having spoken out about it during my YouTube infancy days. Not that it would've mattered, since Inmendham was unyielding the last time I brought kindred “squaring the circle” issues to his attention.

Inmendham applauds fairness with one hand and then paradoxically peddles "Our main focus should be the total net effect" maxims with the other hand. It all rests on the type of video he’s making (and on his mood). He succumbed to this fluctuation seven months ago the moment I pressed him on the consequential effects of ‘Justice Maximization’ when such effects fail to corroborate with the ‘Harm Minimization’ goal post, as they often do. There's virtually no confluence to be had among the two, at least not in civil societies founded on regimentation. The time has come for Inmendham to stop dancing around these glaring gaps, assuming he wishes to have a fruitful discussion about absolute rights and wrongs with scrutinous thinkers.

And no, I will not entertain appeals to the subsequent contingencies triggered by the dark alley assault, in place of a concrete answer. I’m interested in the ethical evaluation of the proposed assault as a stand-alone construct. Anything else would amount to a copout.

Another ‘stand-alone’ conundrum that Inmendham might benefit from contemplating – which ties in well to the above one, but under a macro upgrade – is the decision between retroactively wiping out all suffering experienced by humans throughout the 1st half of the 20th Century, versus retroactively wiping out all suffering experienced by humans throughout the 2nd half of the 20th Century. Note that the choice won't alter anything in the here and now, or in the future.

We know that Inmendham views the average human being as a ‘zero-sum’ drain on the net-equation, slated to drag the totality-sentience-score ever further into the red through insatiable needs and wants. We also know that the population boom occurred during the latter half of the 20th century, precipitously boosting the net amount of said needs/wants. In light of this, Inmendham should deem it uncontroversial to undo the human suffering that came to pass from 1951 until 2000, as the minuses retroactively undone during that period contain far more subjects and bring the net effect that much closer to ‘zero’ than the minuses retroactively undone from 1901 until 1950 would have, as the 1901-1950 period contains far fewer subjects, and hence eliminates less reoccurring bouts of needs/wants.

This is the drawback that comes with omitting to instill barriers between ‘Trivial Harm’ and ‘Non-Trivial Harm’, and how individuals who harbor varying pain thresholds will understandably differ on where such lines ought to be drawn. The neglected specifications also admit of an irrevocable quarrel in measurements between the optimization of deindividuated ‘Total Well Being’ versus the optimization of ‘Average Well Being’, ultimately lending credence to innumerable value impasses. Under the yardstick of 'Total Consequentialism' our resolve would be to weigh the total net good in the consequences, rather than the average net good per person. 

Even if I were an unconditional ‘Net-Equationist’ with respects to humanity, I’d still not prescribe exclusionary ‘Negative Utilitarianism’ to the majority of human beings. Instead, my ‘net-effect’ calculations would counter in only that which I consider to be ‘Non-Trivial Harm’, but even those calculations would be overturned in the few instances where the sound minded subject consents to their own calamitous ‘Non-Trivial Harm’ for whatever reasons he/she pleases. Enter 'Preference Utilitarianism'.

[Update 2014-03-20: Or better yet, Negative Preference Utilitarianism]

[Update 2014-09-28: Full post here]

In addition to consent, I would also incorporate ‘Injustice Minimization’ to my scaling. So inordinate injustices such as Auschwitz and Hiroshima/Nagasaki – unrivaled by anything that followed – would be enough to persuade me to undo the human suffering that transpired during the 1901-1950 period, instead of the 1951-2000 period. I'd choose this despite knowing full well that my verdict would bring about a final net product that winds up further away from the purely sensorial conception of ‘zero’ desirable under the criterion of 'Total Consequentialism' in tandem with ‘Negative Utilitarianism’. Would Inmendham betray the net mandate by following suit, given the voluminous details I've just qualified here? It’s doubtful.

Every Net-Equationist should be cornered into spelling out exactly how they’d deal with these layered goal posts, without being allowed to appeal to “We can’t know” non-answers on account of the aforementioned “Directives in Practice” non-sequitur. Once again, our being constrained by butterfly effects is detached from the points I’m driving towards. Merely theorizing over differing modes of harm depletion is all we need to do in order to ascertain who stands where, and more importantly, who is unwilling to budge when the circumstance calls for it.

Essential:

Negative Utilitarianism shouldn’t be abandoned entirely. In fact, I prescribe the negative utilitarian formula to the majority of sentient life on earth; the wildlife. Unlike most humans, the brute/animal lacks the necessary mental faculties to conceive of the risk equations its been thrust into, much less to consent to its own lifetime of suffering. I also appoint 'Negative Utilitarianism' to perennially comatose humans for this very reason. The only exception would be instances wherein adults have taken the time to fill out what-if affidavits prior to their mutism, legally stipulating that they’d like to be kept alive in the event that they end up in a vegetative state, in which case I'd go with 'Preference Utilitarianism' once again. Subjects would also be required to arrange a guardian for themselves, along with a number of backup guardians who would have to sign similar documents acknowledging their willingness to be the caretaker following the subject's incapacitation. In all instances where the immobile subject has omitted to fill out this forward-thinking paperwork beforehand, I would revert back to 'Negative Utilitarianism' and pull the plug on them, as testimonies from family members regarding the catatonic subject's unwritten wishes are highly dubious and suggest that the subject didn't put much thought into worst-case-scenario prospects (the erosion of mental faculties).

As a rule, Efilists don’t invoke 'Preference Utilitarianism' to their value scaling. Predictably, the outcome is one where the Efilist fails to compartmentalize the parameters of 'Preference Utilitarianism' versus those of 'Negative Utilitarianism' as it relates to sound minded adults, opting to instead prescribe the negative utilitarian formula in exclusivity. Such a formula, taken to its ultimate logical conclusion, would have us declaring that lifting weights is unethical because the process is one of excessive physical hardship. Remember, it doesn't matter who suffers, the declared enemy is suffering itself, out there in the ether.

Lifting weights is the embodiment of wasted suffering as it seldomly (if ever) bequeaths compensation of the minuses generated. This is true of exercise in general (exercise prolongs lifespan/deprivation too, not good!) but I'll focus strictly on weight lifting. Inmendham may argue that, by choosing to work out willy-nilly, gym-goers aren't making themselves suffer, and that I've fallen into the predictable masochist trap by trying to make such a humdrum argument. This is false. My argument has nothing to do with the conventional appeals to masochism that Inmendham regularly encounters. Consider that I've walked by my share of ground-floor gyms and seen enough facial expressions of unsullied anguish through these gyms’ glass walls to know that many fitness enthusiasts engage in workouts so physically exerting, that the activity falls in the realm of 'Non-trivial Harm'. In speaking with them, I've only had my initial suspicions confirmed. Most gym-goers have told me that, unlike masochists, they immensely dislike the pain that comes with pumping iron. A tiny minority of them may profess to enjoy the workout itself, but their ‘mid-lift’ facial expressions tell a different story. Clearly, they don't "enjoy the burn". They just like having big muscles. Odds are that without putting on considerable size, many of them would feel inadequate. These feelings of inadequacy are just as inclusively undesirable under ‘Negative Utilitarianism’ as is the physical torment. Taking into account that the negative utilitarian formula proportionally safeguards the physical and emotional harms noted above, gym-goers’ physical pain is deemed ethically permissible only if it alters their natural physique to such degrees where their ego is left satisfied enough – their diffidence is circumscribed enough – to compensate for the physical hardship endured.

Insofar as 'Preference Utilitarianism' is concerned, gym-goers’ physical hardship is their business, regardless of whether it affords them a substantial enough ego boost to compensate for their minus riddled "burn". Most people who have experienced this burn fell short of distorting their regular physique to the levels they initially aspired towards. This is why so many gym memberships are revoked after a few months. As the suffering endured is typically of the wasted variety, we’re dealing with a surefire net minus, meaning that the ‘Negative Utilitarianism’ criterion must place all such attempts in the "ought not to have happened" pile, whereas Preference Utilitarians leave room for the (I'll give you one guess) preference itself, even if the preference happens to be shaped by vacuous cultural norms, or is later overturned. As long as the subject with the preference can be said to be of sound mind, the preference stands.

The conclusion is stark: Death to equal-opportunity indexing of wasted suffering. There is indeed much wasted suffering that should have occurred, under the welcomed deliberations of Preference Utilitarianism.

The most critical polarity between these two schools of utilitarianism: By focusing in on preferences over unmitigated harm reduction, those of us who principally reject Natalism will find ourselves favouring a net product that would strive to minimize the number of individual humans who go on to regret having been born, even when this outcome comes at the expense of more human suffering units being endured overall. Whereas rejecting Natalism on undeterred 'Negative Utilitarian' grounds still mandates that the optimal net product be one that minimizes overall human suffering, even if such an outcome comes directly at the expense of more individuals being born who go on to regret their birth.

I fear this section may have run a bit long. Those of you interested in a more comprehensive layout expanding on the ins and outs behind my 'Preference Utilitarianism / Negative Utilitarianism' sequencing, let me know in the comments and I'll dedicate a separate post to it if there’s enough demand. I’d rather not see this section overstay its welcome.



C. "Sentience creates value"

What Inmendham really means to say with this is that "Sentience creates disvalue" because the peculiarity of consciousness comes only with downside risk. If already-existent sentience hasn’t fostered anything he’d deem a ‘real plus’ then it by definition carries only disvalue, not value.

Inmendham – being a firm proponent of theories like "life = zero sum game" – simply cannot deduct his way into a belief where value exists, and can only tout varying degrees of disvalue. The reason so many people falsely accuse him of being duplicitous here is because they don't realize just how little regard he has for the formal verbiage to be mindful of the foundational alterity between value and disvalue, and that his philosophy can only posit "Sentience creates disvalue where none would have otherwise existed". Of course, had Inmendham portrayed statements like "life = zero sum game" as being merely speculative, his casual usage of the word value (in lieu of disvalue) wouldn’t have earned him so much grief with nitpickers in the first place.

Further, "Suffering sucks" is not a ground breaking statement in 2013. Having a vested interest in avoiding ‘Non-trivial Harm’ doesn’t denote an arcane philosophical revelation that we need to beat people over the head with. It’s a truism. Inmendham needs to come to terms with the fact that most of the things he says in relation to human suffering don’t go over his opponents' heads. Granted, underlining the suffering of animals is something that the public at large is in dire need of waking up to, but that notwithstanding, the remainder of Inmendham's points are far from stupendous. Insistence to the contrary only makes the insisters come across as irksomely naïve. The next time you hear Inmendham say 'value', chances are that he actually means 'disvalue' or theoretically 'less disvalue' given his nullification of plus states.

This ‘value =/= disvalue’ reminder is just a technicality though, but it bugs me to no end so I'm dedicating part of this section to it in hopes of having Inmendham decipher this and be more cautious in how he phrases himself from here on out.

All that aside, the purpose of persistently uttering "Sentience creates value" goes beyond composition of first principles. The statement is also meant to take the legs right out of any ethics based superstructure that focuses in on individuality first and foremost, or any theory that merely grants individuality a seat at the table. To Inmendham, the preservation of individuality as a virtue gives way to an ulterior recipe for the legitimization of selfishness. Emphasis on 'sentience' is fervently invoked to remind us that we are all the same when it comes to that which 'truly matters'. The not-too-distant cousin of this fuzziness is commonly peddled by the public at large as "We're all in this together". Whichever way one chooses to put it, the axiom comes down to: There’s no “I” in sentience (except for the one in the middle).

Squeezing all forms of selfishness into a neat homogeneous pile will pre-emptively incapacitate any attempt at a utilization of 'Justified Selfishness' under all conceivable circumstances. Luckily, this is effortlessly contestable and dare I say even refutable:

Envisage that you've been kidnapped and are being slowly and mercilessly tortured by a sadist in a secluded dungeon, with no help in sight. Your only hope of discontinuing your own bloodbath is a red button stationed next to the chair you're strapped to, just within your thumb's reach. You are aware that this button, if pressed, would not only kill you and your kidnapper effective immediately, but would instantly blow up the entire planet as well, leaving behind not a single living organism, microbe and all.

Pressing this button would be the epitome of selfishness as the captured victim must prioritize the value of his/her own harm discontinuation over the disvalue of murdering 7+ billion human beings, thereby undercutting any lofty allegiance to 'consent' that the victim may have previously held. Despite the ineluctable selfishness attached to the pressing of the button, the act is justifiable (to me at least). My assessment of this predicament unmistakably places the interest of the one above the collective interests of the many, and in doing so divulges gaping holes in Mr. Spock's infamous quote that Inmendham is so fond of.

My siding with the interests of the one at the expense of the many has nothing to do with 'Zero-Sum' math. The hostage is justified in pressing the button simply because the hostage is not our sacrificial lamb. If the victim disvalues his/her own toilsome massacre to impermissible degrees and has no means by which to escape the entrapment other than to selfishly press the button, then the admittedly selfish pressing of the button will not garner a red-flag from me. This recognition opens up a Pandora’s Box for 'Justified Selfishness' that can be accrued in reversed contexts as well, because we now see that rational self-interest is not always the oxymoron that hardline altruists make it out to be. While no individual is the center of the universe, each individual's life experience certainly places them at the center of their own perspective. Fervent collectivists need to embrace this, just as fervent individualists need to recognize the fact that individuals’ actions generally don’t exist in a vacuum. The cartoonish polarization Inmendham touts between binary 'selfish' versus 'non-selfish' framings is as periphery entrenched as most of the other stances he flimsily evaluates. If selfishness always constituted sacrilege, we'd leave ourselves no choice but to think of the abducted hostage as our sacrificial lamb who is ethically obligated to shun the button.

If Inmendham sees fit to defend the foundation of Mr. Spock's "the many > the few" metrics – even after agreeing with me that the kidnapped victim is undisputedly justified in pushing the button – it will be because the posed abduction and torture is an irregular occurrence and as such makes me guilty of arguing over "bird shit on the fence" once again. Will I ever learn? No, because all we need to do in order to go one step further is to consider that any proportionality criterion built around "the many > the few" axioms would have us placing the preferences (future prospects) of the many above the preferences of the few. Giving this numbers game our seal of approval would prove to be the death knell of any attempt to effectively scold Natalism. There's a reason why Spock never critiqued Natalism, and it has nothing to do with inconsistent writing. It follows from Spock's premise that the minority of individuals who regret having been born be regarded as unfortunate but incumbent fodder in the interest of acquiescing to the preferences of renowned life-affirmers; the majority.

If the subject being brutalized and held captive was none other than Mr. Spock, he would think it his moral duty to endure the pain for the greater good. At no point would he consider it fair to blow up planet Vulcan in order to spare himself the suffering.

On a side note: Readers may come away with the impression that my acceptance of the abductee's button pressing disqualifies my avid favouring of ‘Preference Utilitarianism’ outlined in Section B. This would be true had my approbation of Preference Utilitarianism been presented as a fixed recipe, rather than a tentative one that rests on ‘Trivial Harm’ versus ‘Non-trivial Harm’ category distinctions. Readers who scoured Section B diligently will recall how the same aversion to systemic fidelity was recommended with ‘Negative Utilitarianism’ as well.

Very few ethicists allow room for this kind of freelancing within systematized ethics, as doing so makes one vulnerable to being portrayed as unprincipled. To avoid this noise, acclaimed moral theorists have made a habit out of eagerly committing themselves to either a staunch favouring of Consequentialism or an indiscriminate rejection of Consequentialism, whereas I bite the bullet by evaluating outcomes and intentions conjointly; ranking their prominence on a case by case basis. Accepting that the road to hell is often paved with good intentions doesn't preclude the recognition that the road to paradise is sometimes paved with bad intentions. This means that nothing is set in stone. No formation of incorrigible recipes. No devotion to totem poles. I like to call this portable approach 'Freelance Ethics' so as to not confuse it with virtue ethics. Some readers may now call into question my reproaching Inmendham in Section A over his flip-flopping, seeing as how 'Freelance Ethics' seems to encourage that very flexibility. The problem with Inmendham's flexibility is that he is irredeemably oblivious to it. This should be evident to long-time subscribers who have heard him say "Value is not something you get to just make up" in tandem with "There is only one reality".

By saying "You don't just make up ethics" Inmendham is essentially saying "You don't just make up reality". This absurd interlacing of 'Ontological Realism' and 'Moral Realism' leaves Inmendham in a frame of mind where he actually believes that – permitting perfect knowledge of the future – a pecking order could feasibly be anointed to all conceivable (read: countless) global outcomes following their final impact on sentience. This is why he places great emphasis on words like "only" (You can only be a janitor) while describing his imperatives, making them construable as absolute when they are anything but. As I've shown here, there is no unified imperative, and this doesn’t bode well for any pecking order among subsequent varieties of global outcomes.

There was a time when I didn't give any leeway for what I now refer to as 'Freelance Ethics'. My previous allegiance lied with undeterred Consequentialism. This changed shortly after I rejected Natalism, as I came to accept soon thereafter that all forms of welfarist Consequentialism presently make perfect bedfellows with Natalism (not applicable to directives in practice, but merely directives in principle, permitting an accurate prognosis of the future). This is easy to understand once we take into account that ignoramuses (not to mention practicing Muslims in Europe) have been steadily out-procreating the more civilized among us. This has already led to unsavory consequences, and the downward spiral will only continue (See Mike Judge's "Idiocracy" for a comical yet accurate portrayal of what I'm describing). In light of these occurrences unfurling on a global scale, clinical interpretations of all forms of welfarist Consequentialism entail, in principle, that civilized and intelligent individuals have a positive obligation to procreate, given the equal-opportunity indexing of wasted suffering, coupled with foreknowledge of all possible net outcomes. By "taking one for the team" via procreation, responsible people can set the wheels in motion for the eventual turning of the tide by raising their own children to be upstanding citizens who go on to challenge the assorted dogmas of the devout and the ignominious recklessness of the indigent, throughout future generations.

Under my 'Freelance Ethics' formulation, any notion of an obligation to breed for the greater good would be met with proper disdain. Even if a crystal-ball were to offer us a guarantee that we would positively impact future net welfare at the hands of our breeding, the expectation that we should follow suit and breed would still be a reprehensible one, unworthy of our compliance. In his attempts to discredit this Natalist approach to harm reduction – without subsequently attacking welfarist Consequentialism – Inmendham uses the copout of "Kids rarely turn out to be anything like their parents, so this is stupid", but that counterpoint misses the mark entirely as it still leaves itself vulnerable to justifying Natalism on rigidly Consequentialist grounds in the instances where the subject does successfully emulate the responsible janitors that spawned him/her.

This externality sheds some light on why sentience alone cannot possibly create value. Values have always been concepts of worth and nothing more. If Inmendham reads this and maintains that sentience is indeed a value generator – or to be more precise, a disvalue generator – then he must also be partial to using Natalism for the reduction of net suffering whenever the shoe fits, given the consequential conditions I've spelled out. Inmendham should also refer to himself as a part-time Natalist, in light of this overriding imperative.

Essential:

This part-time camaraderie between Natalism and Consequentialism doesn’t lend any credence to the daft claim that AntiNatalism will only dwindle into an artifact on account of its antagonism towards familial indoctrination. These are two fundamentally different arguments, one of which is boundlessly flawed. Philosophy is not heritable, but the conditions I’ve evoked focus strictly on Inmendham’s attempts to merge AntiNatalism with Janitorialism, which we now see cannot be maintained on a full-time basis. Criticisms of AntiNatalism from the standpoint of “They’ll just weed their ideology out of existence” have always been beneath my time, and I hope with every fiber of my being that Inmendham won’t mistake my pointing to the occasional Natalism/Consequentialism fellowship, for that inane argument, so as to attack my input on false grounds.

The all-encompassing point is: If we accept that sentience itself creates value (disvalue), then equal-opportunity indexing of wasted suffering is paramount and statements like "It doesn't matter who suffers, the enemy is suffering itself" are patently incontestable. Such statements, coupled with precognition, would then rightly oblige intelligent janitors to breed for the betterment of the common welfare of future generations. The same janitorial bludgeoning would also have us conclude that aborted fetuses, otherwise slated to morph into efficient janitors had they not been aborted, are fetuses that ought not have been aborted. This means that the mother of the soon-to-be janitor had an ethical duty not to terminate her own pregnancy, permitting that she had prior knowledge that she was carrying a soon-to-be janitor. There are no words that properly convey how detestable this view is.



D. “That’s just your psychology, stupid!” 

Inmendham frequently points out that legions of vloggers and commenters have gotten overly personal with him during the course of these debates, but has never so much as flinched at his own eagerness to initiate the personal shots. These shots don't come in the form of harsh or petty insults, mind you.

Every time Inmendham dismisses a non-suffering oriented goal-post as “psycho-babble”, he has gotten personal with his opponent. You can’t engage in armchair psycho-analysis of your adversaries’ ethics for six years straight and expect them to just take it without striking back in some manner.

We’ve repeatedly heard statements like "Their psychology makes them desperate to justify the function of life" coming from Inmendham. He follows it with "They just can't let go of their silly attachments, their self-aggrandizement, and their embarrassing ego-gratification seeking". Aside from tacitly initiating personal shots, the inculpation unwisely overlooks the different ways in which catharsis manifests. This Section will bring some of these variegated psychological building-blocks to the forefront, while scolding Inmendham for casually overlooking them.

It's hardly a secret that there have been authentic phantasmagoricals with whom Inmendham has locked horns in the past. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that he was decidedly correct to summarize their views as wishy-washy tripe. But Inmendham has also engaged thinkers of a non-phantasmagorical disposition whose motives he’s been quick to intermingle with the unsanitary motives of the archetypal wishful thinker. He does this by branding it all “psychology”. Any utterance that deviates from the formulaic “gladiator wars” script is one Inmendham will readily smear as being symptomatic of untamed psychology. This impugns character, overlooking how not all challengers are cut from the same sparkly cloth. Why should Inmendham’s ceaseless unwillingness to make vital distinctions here be seen as anything other than a deliberate attack on the messenger’s integrity and motive? This is initiation on his part, not retaliation. If Inmendham disvalues or is indifferent towards a given virtue, said virtue always gets framed as the product of undisciplined psychology and/or of hedonistic comfort seeking. A petulant approach that leaves much to be desired.

I cordially invite Inmendham to do away with conjecture and to, for once, actually shed light on precisely why my intermediate defense of synergy’s necessity is precipitated by my “psychology” while his suffering-exclusivity perspective rises above all psychologically laden vocations. In other words, how does a pluralistically driven 'give-and-take' approach to settling discords among contrasting values (as expounded on in both A and B) amount to psycho-babble? Please explain the meat and bones of why that is. Simply reiterating that people are precious commodities and are not to be indelicate about it, isn’t going to cut it. If psychological haziness is all the rave obstructing otherwise rigorous thinkers from comprehending – or just honestly conceding – the correctness of Inmendham’s grand outlook, then Inmendham is tasked with having to actually discuss this psychology in depth instead of impetuously blurting out cacophonies of surface-level freudianisms that any angst ridden apoplectic kid can pull off, and even they do a better job of it than him.

One can just as easily hijack the word 'psychology' and use it as a weapon in defense of the belief that suicidal tendencies are provoked by delusional or unhealthy outlooks on life which are in dire need of reform via professional therapy. It’s irksome seeing Ivory Tower psychologists get away with pulling this, and it’s irksome when Inmendham pulls it by claiming that truth seekers or justice seekers, who happen to prioritize harm reduction a few notches below their truth or justice agendas, are just owned by their 'psychology'. No, they’re really not.

None of this is to suggest that wishful-thinking is on the decline on a global scale. There are boatloads of dupes out there whose psychological impediments leave them immune to properly deciphering the harm-focused allegations against Natural Selection that Inmendham puts fourth. It's 2013 and we still see people swindled into taking their intellectual marching orders from "power of positive thinking" gurus. The transparency of this snake-oil can be seen from a mile away, yet the charlatans remain unscathed as their collective prey simply have to believe that life is worth living and are made uncomfortable when contemplating the possibility that it might not be for some people, or even for themselves. My squabble with Inmendham arises from the fact that what I just described is not an accurate portrayal of the trend in most YouTube circles, as positive thinkers rarely infiltrate what they view as negatively themed discourse. They run from pointed debates like cats run from water.

Inmendham's ugly habit has him labeling many of his counterparts as starry-eyed optimists who are unable to part ways from their perceptual boner for life, despite the fact that most of them don't self-identify as optimists and have no reason to. It's cringe worthy to see this tactic in action, especially since he doesn't even have to resort to this smear in order to effectively combat run-of-the-mill counterarguments thrown at him by nitwits on YouTube. Inmendham persists in the one-dimensional portrayal of their motives because it's just so easy, and he's addicted to uploading stream-of-consciousness (easy to make) videos where he just vents. Having developed a drive to vent daily, he can continue venting publicly by telling himself that he's not doing it because it's therapeutic, and that the constant onslaught of uploads is there for the cause.

It’s also getting harder to not register the presence of hardcore cynics who surreptitiously find solace in their cynicism, in that they get off on an opaque form of pessimistic bravado; being inwardly acquainted with their own correct and allegedly disciplined outlook, while the intellectually pussy-whipped majority chases pink balloons. Inmendham has always been outwardly blind to this aspect of pessimism, and how its intellectual grandstanding elicits an unorthodoxly comfy mode of self-esteem invigoration. This may come across as errant pessimism, but the more I see of conventional ‘Philosophical Pessimism’, the more inclined I am to treat it as part and parcel of pessimism.

Take a step back and carefully scan the YouTube landscape. You'll find that most will regard someone like TAA as a profoundly pessimistic vlogger. By majority standard, TAA is, indeed, a pessimist. Though unlike morose Inmendham, TAA's machismo fuelled pessimism doesn't cause him one iota of pathos and instead only serves to anchor his own sense of intellectual superiority when juxtaposing itself to the superficial everyman easily amused by "American Idol" or whatever else pop-culture is serving up this week. I dub this crowd ‘pop-pessimists’, distinct from Philosophical Pessimists. It’s amusing how, when confronted with a more educationally polished combatant who happens to have a positive outlook on life, they'll find themselves in a state of consternation. Though this is true of the process of belief in general.

Contrary to the familiar "the truth is ugly framings (exacting a “one-size-fits-all” touchstone for desirability), once we discover that a given position is intellectually sound, it becomes difficult to remain psychologically disinclined to favour the contents of such a position, so we develop a certain fondness for it. Next thing you know, we viscerally despise seeing the position challenged by smart-alecky outsiders. Even public intellectuals or "scholars" have an emotional stake in what they perceive to be their grasp of reality, and thereby their intellectual merit. Once this is accepted, any semblance of an already-held truth being continually perceived as ‘ugly’ or ‘emotionally undesirable’ is seen as a caricature of the process of belief. Whatever ugliness one chooses to verbally assign to a held truth is covertly overturned in the subject's psyche by the mere virtue of its recognized truth status. Think about it. Who the hell wants to be wrong about anything? Being right does wonders for pride, and your sneaky psychology knows it.

It takes devotional naiveté to deny how seamlessly comfort wiggles itself into even the most disciplined of psychologies, through a cavalcade of detours. There are optimistic comforts and pessimistic comforts. Our psychologies are shaped by inestimable experiences – many of which carry their own distinct building-blocks – signifying that we have a vast array of predispositions to believe in any given thing, be it pessimistic or optimistic by nature. If you haven’t picked up on this by now, you've not been looking closely enough. Inmendham needs to grasp that "life is fail" outlooks can easily elicit psychological comfort in those who fail at life, no different than how losing a rigged athletic contest, due to impartial officiating, can make the loser of the contest feel better about himself/herself in comparison to how he/she would have felt had he/she lost to the better athlete in a properly officiated contest.

If the ultimatum between losing a fair game versus losing an unfair game were to present itself, I’d bet my bottom dollar that the majority would choose to lose in the unfair game in order to preserve their ego. By losing the rigged game, one can still entertain possibilities of being the better man and in the process inwardly build oneself up as the wronged hero, railing against the cheating evil-doers. The same can be said of many thinkers who analogize life itself to that poorly officiated, crooked game.

It's easier to come to terms with our shortcomings when we can just look at them and loosely say "Fuck it, no point in blaming myself, I didn’t ask for any of this, and life is fail anyway". When your experience predisposes your contemporary self to the belief that the life-lottery is itself at fault for carelessly throwing such shortcomings your way, such a recognition can, in fact, underhandedly engender a soothing comfort. The recognition takes the blame off of you and moves it towards the panoramic 'big picture' perpetrator (natural selection). Knowledge of life’s inequitable card-dealing is just as psychologically alluring as life-affirming optimism can be, depending on the type of thinker your conditioning has led you to become. Suckers for pride are likely to be enticed by this cynical mindset, and Inmendham hasn’t shied away from pointing out just how seriously he takes his own pride in himself. A surefire candidate, he is. I’d be willing to put up one thousand dollars out of my own pocket to have Inmendham undergo neuroimaging. I’m confident the tests would verify that he gleans a most unorthodox form of catharsis from his belief that life is fail.

We can use Inmendham’s own “cheese-chaser” vernacular to illuminate this point. When one fails to acquire the cheese, it stands to reason that one's newfound belief that the cheese is fake anyway will only offset one's disappointment in oneself for not being able to attain the cheese. After all, in our (mostly blue-collar) online circles, the cheese-chase mission has been identified as synthetic on its face, meaning that nothing of substance will be missed out on by those who remain 'cheeseless' due to the incompetence that plagues them. This belief system – characterized as ‘depressing’ by Inmendham – actually stands to be seductive to those who are now able take refuge in knowing that they haven’t missed out on anything of true substance due to their personal shortcomings. Whereas optimistic go-getters, who often view the cheese prize as having an intrinsic substance attached to it, will likely find it harder to console themselves should the cheese prove to be unattainable to them.

The seemingly abstruse catalyst becomes undeniable the moment we see it spelled out like this. Those who reject the fabric of optimism rarely fall for perfidious "Go out there and win win win!" life-guide narratives. The aim of these triumph-famished narratives is to keep the cheese-chaser believing that overcoming obstacles, conquering the opposition, and finally acquiring the cheese, earns the conqueror access to intrinsic value. Finding this sort of mentality laughable (as I'm sure most of my readers do) stands to only bolster blue-collar conceptions of self-worth, not hinder them. In this way, knowledge of life's futility is actually diffidence’s kryptonite, rather than a summoning of depression.

This is one of many reasons why simply saying "Your psychology makes you desperate to invent a function for life" is a nauseatingly oversimplified facade that doesn't get to the root of anything. Inmendham’s critique only works when tailored towards the aforementioned dupes who buy into the tutelage of “power of positive thinking” connivers, and even then it’s a stretch to assume that every last one of those saps is bound to fit the bill.

Evidently, futility and depression are not the conjoined twins they've been made out to be. They’re capable of being decisively separate beasts, due to our cognitive wiring being as partitioned as we now know it to be. Inmendham won't deal with the reality of this. He'll just reiterate that proper pessimism cannot in any way be a source of comfort, and if it is, then you’re doing it wrong.

On top of all that, Efilism is the ultimate minority position, and if the internet has taught us anything over the last two decades, it's that those of us who hold various unpopular viewpoints have the unfortunate habit of overestimating the trailblazing radicalness of our recondite observations, all while gleaning self-satisfaction out of it. We fancy ourselves as always being at least one step ahead of the rest, with the next round of humanity’s enlightenment reliant on our participation and valor. Any iconoclastic "us against the world" foundation has shown itself to be an augmenter of self-importance. Just do a keyword search on "ignorant masses" or "sheeple" and you'll get my drift. Being vastly outnumbered by the great unwashed is the hallmark of unsung heroism, and especially of online heroism where unsung heroes from all over the spectrum come to congregate.

The internet is littered with superfluous yet well-received criticisms of Joe Shithead, expressed cynically and under the veneer of iconoclasm. It ties in neatly to what I made mention of earlier with TAA’s half-baked iconoclasm. At least Inmendham's views are a few notches closer to actual iconoclasm. Take this into consideration the next time you are told that such uppity views only stand to leave Inmendham and his 'Efil' cohorts feeling depressed. No sale. They're depressed for different reasons. Their grasp of ugly truth has nothing to do with it. Truth is not ugly, nor is it emotionally unsettling, nor is it depressing, for psychology is, indeed, not philosophy.

Inmendham has shown that he understands how reverse-psychology can play a vital role behind why so many Democrats have Republican parents, and vice-versa. This inclination towards intrepid defiance is something he references frequently. If Inmendham is cognizant of this in the political domain, as he clearly is, then he must also know that the same reverse-psychology is susceptible to the recruitment of philosophical retinues. Why then, has he gone out of his way to frame these discussions in such a way so as to suggest that his stance is wholly uninfluenced by psychological factors, as though it were an immaculate conception?

It’s not hard to see why. All these "Psychology = DNA hypnosis" falsities he's submerged in makes it all the more opportune for him to pat himself on the back for being a valiant thinker. For a putatively depressing outlook, that’s one helluva high pedestal. 

While this section offered arguments for why a jaded person can feasibly find 'Efilism' emotionally redeeming, Section “They can’t handle the truth” conveys reasons for why the content of a given belief doesn’t have to play a role in its desirability or undesirability.



E. The Orphanage Proposal

Otherwise known as "Make people pay for their own kids!" 

Sounds terrific on the surface. The issue – as I've tried to point out in the past – is that Inmendham in no way principally opposes non-breeders being systematically forced to contribute towards the nourishment of breeders’ kids. Inmendham has proposed that children born to incompetent breeders – who at times don’t even have the means to provide for themselves, let alone for their kids – be confiscated by the state and placed in, not just any old orphanages, but in gov't orphanages. I'll take a wild guess here and assume that Inmendham supports having these orphanages subsidized through the public treasury, rather than private charities or other avenues of optional donation. In other words, we the taxpayers would still be legally mandated to feed, clothe, educate and maintain the health of other people's kids through a portion of our income.

At least with the current setup throughout the West, non-breeders are obligated to contribute only towards the medical bills and education costs of others’ children. The moment Inmendham's vaunted gov't orphanage implementation kicks in, we would have to add shelter and nutriment to that compulsory list, among other overhead costs. The extent of these costs? Well, Inmendham can be directly quoted as saying that these should be "The best, most kickass orphanages ever, with Disneyland rollercoasters and everything!". Straight from the horse's mouth. His plan would just give rise to added layers of collectivization routed to such infrastructure. The tallied tab for publicly orphaned children's nourishment would become more well-rounded and viral. Minors sequestered by the state would have an even more lavish safety-net at their fingertips, this time in the form of an institution, financed by "other people", including childfree people who are also taxpayers.

But wait, Inmendham has a solution for this too! Being one step ahead, he believes that all added costs would be offset in the long run by the disincentive to procreate that poor/incompetent people would now have, given that they wouldn't want to see their kids pried from them by the new and improved department of child services. The problem is that these are obstinately irresponsible people we're talking about here, many of whom fuck like rabbits and/or view abortion as a sin. That's some mighty insusceptible good ole folk we're trying to sway. It is a bold thing to predict that the presence of some new orphanage legislation would succeed at intimidating absolute abominations of human beings such as these into being child-free. It may instead just produce a boomerang effect. But even if this extortion worked like a charm, keep in mind that Inmendham always starts making his case by asking “Why the fuck should I be taxed to pay for someone else’s kid?”. This question, delivered in his classic pugnacious tone, is meant to give off the impression that Inmendham opposes taxed income being spent on minors, in principle. The moment he follows up on this by invoking publicly financed gov’t orphanages, he converts his initial high-minded principle into strategic hyperbole. His sole issue lies with breeders thinking they have a right to keep their kids. The outrage over spending "other people's money" is embellishment, as he'll drop this decoy the moment the children in question are relocated. When it comes down to it, Inmendham wouldn't want to see any minor left to the whims of private charities. Leaving youngsters to fend for themselves would be uncivilized in his view, and the only way to ensure against this is through the use of "other people's money". One would be hard pressed to find a more blatant example of Inmendham wanting to have his cake and eat it too.

Inmendham has always maintained that a rise in reproductive benefits marches in lockstep with an incline in birthrates, his direct quote being "You get what you pay for!". But the U.S. currently has a staggering amount of natal based entitlements compared to before, starting with education and healthcare, and ending with tax codes favouring individuals with dependents. Despite this, the birthrate has never been lower in America, with recorded data tracing back well over eight decades. A look at the rest of the developed world attests that the incline/decline birthrate-to-entitlements ratios aren’t much different from those in America.

If Inmendham has some actual evidence of correlative effects in reproductive entitlements that have recently led to a steady upward growth in reproduction, he's more than welcome to present that evidence. Not utter it, but present it by actually sourcing to it. I'm not even asking for evidence of acceleration across the board, just a correlative trend here and there, preferably within the 1st world. Until Inmendham actually presents (sources to) this data, the verdict is: Any gov't orphanage project would just contribute to added collectivization of minors' sustenance costs, leading to childfree workers dishing out even more money to raise other people's brats in public orphanages. An outcome I'm not terribly keen on, as both a non-parent and a full-time worker.

None of this even gets into how the orphanage proposal fails to acknowledge that, more often than not, kids develop a strong bond with their parents (or at least with one parent) and would be devastated by the forced separation, irrespective of how awesome an orphanage that we ship them off to might be. This goes twice for precocious kids, but for the moment let’s just stick to the averages.

Envision an ordinary little boy being told that he's not going to be around his parents anymore because they lost their jobs two months prior and have now reached a point of financial collapse in which they can't afford to keep him anymore. Under the orphanage system, the now insolvent couple must be taught a lesson even if it’s at their child's own expense. The kid's emotional trauma would be an unfortunate but necessary evil. The youngster serves as fodder for a greater agenda; To intimidate other couples into not going down the same financially risky road. Granted, the other couples are currently employed, but they don't have $200K sitting in the bank either, and may very well lose their jobs while their child is a toddler, just like the unemployed paupers in the noted example already did. Or even worse, couples can become unemployed five or ten years after breeding, once their kid has grown even more emotionally attached to them, as many minors tend to do if you give them enough time.

Then there are the couples whose economic standing is by no means penurious; couples who can squeeze by financially with one newborn/toddler, but not once the rugrat's (non-publicly financed) education costs kick in, meaning that many minors would be confiscated at the tender age of five or six, or whatever age it is that children start schooling within the reader's respective district. Ages five through seven is the worst time to separate minors from their parents.

In addition to this, the new societal "pay the full freight of your own kid" corollaries would leave many adoptive parents unable to cover their adopted kids' education and healthcare costs. So, would children from private foster homes also be expropriated by the state and placed in kickass gov't orphanages, in the event that their adoptive parents can no longer afford to educate them or keep them healthy without the aid of tax revenue? Surely Inmendham knows that most adoptive parents, much like most biological parents, are currently able to afford raising children only because some aspects of the costs are migrated to society at large. Once this changes, as Inmendham advocates it should, it stands to reason that we'd see far less children displaced from public custodial agencies so to be moved to private foster homes, because perfectly decent couples will no longer be able to afford adopting even a single child.

Many biologically childless couples are presently willing to sacrifice their own time, income and energy to raise their non-biological youngster, and would suddenly find themselves unable to do so. Why should anyone endorse this?

Adoption needs to be encouraged, and Inmendham's orphanage model would only dissuade it economically by putting all eggs into one basket; the gov't basket. A one-size-fits-all solution that has failure written all over it, as evidenced further by the Israeli Kibbutzim’s experimentation in raising children communally, along with many well-funded Western projects which showed that minors raised by the state end up with lower blood concentrations of oxytocin and vasopressin. As much as the Nuclear Family fails from the standpoint of my own Freelance Ethics, it remains the least worst offender once evaluated from a steadfastly Consequentialist lens. [Edit 2014-03-24: Clarification: In the last sentence I simply meant to say that having two adult providers for each child is better from a financial standpoint, not a behavioral standpoint. I now realize that the way I worded this point can easily give off the false impression that being raised in a Nuclear Family is somehow necessary for the formation of well-adjusted, mentally healthy individuals, which is of course utter nonsense as the entire belief-system rests on the bogosity of gender roles; the notion that every child needs a proper "mother" and a proper "father" as influential figures so as to receive the right amount of behavioral conditioning required to conform to "femininity" if they're a female and to "masculinity" if they're a male. And even if such a parental dynamic were true, it still wouldn't validate gender conformism itself.]

I am of the belief that Inmendham simply hasn't given these criticisms their due consideration, likely because no one has hammered home to him the onslaught of setbacks I just glossed over. Had he actually contemplated these hindrances, it's doubtful that his cost/benefit deliberations would've left him idly believing that his orphanage proposal is ironclad. If I'm wrong and Inmendham actually is cognizant of these setbacks, then he's a bona fide zealot for continuing to champion the orphanage model as a viable solution to Natalism.

Which reminds me: A decent weapon against Natalism is pure unbridled mockery of its intellectual insolvency, and of the fact that many Natalists who have an ideological axe to grind with AntiNatalism are so unsettled by their own apologetics that they won't even self-identify as 'Natalist' during their engagements, opting to instead self-identify as 'AntiAntiNatalist'; A title as ludicrous as ‘AntiAntiFederalist’ would've been had it been employed by dyed-in-the-wool Federalists who took exception to the position of 'AntiFederalism' during the Articles of Confederation.

Natalist views provide an inexhaustible supply of material for ridicule, but Inmendham is a creature of consecration and would naturally find mockery alone to be insufficient, to say the least.

Which brings us neatly to the next section.



F. Extinction: The Pseudo-Goal

The objective of this section is twofold: To explain why Extinction as Desired Outcome (maximal aim) and the position of AntiNatalism are not two sides of the same coin, and to offer a non-consequentialist reason for rejecting Natalism.

First order of business is the acknowledgment of the dissimilarity between a ‘By-Product’ of a given position and a purposeful ‘Maximal Aim’ of a given position.

The reoccurring claim that "Most people already behave like AntiNatalists because they don’t have more than two kids” is false both from the standpoint of abrasion and from a behavioural overview. That quote is also my number one pet peeve as far as Inmendham's arsenal of recurrent statements goes. Where, pray tell, might one find this guideline for how to “behave like an AntiNatalist”? I must have missed that memo, as did eminent ANs like Schopenhauer.

According to Inmendham, “behaving like an AntiNatalist” amounts to all behaviour being fair game so long as one reproduces at a rate insufficient to maintain human existence. So right off the bat, Inmendham haphazardly imagines a healthy antipathy to Natalism undoubtedly concerning itself with 'Extinction' as Desired Outcome. Allow me to shatter this by offering all readers who disdain Natalism the following heterodox variant:

You exist in the distant future. Ambitious age-reversal technology has far exceeded its humble beginnings. Drastic strides have been made, chiefly in the chromosome domain, unimaginable by current standards. The West ushered in an ethos where cryonics are regarded much in the way that Generation Y presently regards VCRs. As a result of the progress, you discover that Immortality Pills are available and reserved for any educated and sane adult who wishes to take them. You have the power to stop this, by extirpating all such pills along with the formula for their potential revival, thereby ensuring the inevitability of the species’ extinction. Leaving these pills on the market will only amplify putrescence. The same pills also serve as a de facto sterilizer however, superimposing that adults who choose to prolong their lives closer to ‘infinity’ will be unable to procreate henceforth. Individuals who take the pills would also have to forfeit their Social Security benefits once their age surpasses that of the median life span, ensuring that they won't be a parasitic drain on the already clogged system. Inaccessibility to this most indispensable safety-net will bring about much suffering for those who choose to lengthen their lives and ultimately waive their SS benefits. According to all reliable surveys of the subject, the majority of seniors are elated with the prospect of these pills being placed on the market for their use. 



My question is simply: Would you stop them? Would it be ethical to prevent fully grown adults from having access to these pills, in order to decrease long-term (net) suffering of the ‘precious’ commodity of sentience ingrained in them and their newfound longevity?

If you believe that stopping them from prolonging their existence is ethical on account of the net product, you’re an 'Unconditional Extinctionist'. If you believe that stopping them would be unethical on account of their preferences and their preferences alone, you’re something closer to a 'Pluralist AntiNatalist'. The distinction at hand is also one of 'Negative Utilitarianism' and 'Preference Utilitarianism', cropping up once again.

Feel free to share your stance and elaborate on it in the comment section of this post. I’m highly interested in everyone’s answers. The question is pivotal because of Inmendham’s (and most people’s) presumption that proper rejections of Natalism are rooted in a positive yearning for extinction first and foremost, with other ingredients reserved for second-fiddle status. These other ingredients, as I will show later, are best viewed as the main course rather than the dessert. The pills’ forestalling of extinction should not worry us in the slightest, nor should it delight us.

In most people's eyes, the moniker ‘AntiNatalist’ is synonymous with ‘Extinctionist’, yet I’m confident that more than two thirds of the AntiNatalists who partake in the answering of this question will not take issue with individual adults opting to take the pills in question, or just prolonging their lives until the planet becomes uninhabitable due to a myriad of environmental factors. For literal talks of eternity, we would have to assume that humans will go on to bridge the environment gap somewhere down the road, which is highly unlikely and downright laughable at this stage. But it's not without its conjectural appeal.

If I turn out to be wrong and most AntiNatalists choose to pulverize the pills, in the interest of unmitigated extinction and net scaled harm minimization, I’ll be sure to eat crow accordingly. I’d still challenge their belief that they are doing it out of a sense of “AN duty”, since the designated aim doesn’t have to be one of ‘Negative Utilitarianism’ in exclusivity.

Had this question been asked around the corners of YouTube inhabited by people who self-identify as ‘Efilist’, I'd do an about face on my prediction. It’s safe to assume that garden variety Efilists would think it ethically justifiable to stop adults’ attempts to immortalize themselves at volition, with the tedious Prolonged existence only stands to drag the net equation downwards” venom offered as the justification. A position that recruits axioms as indelible as “It doesn’t matter who suffers, the enemy is suffering itself” shouldn’t be susceptible to ‘Preference Utilitarianism’ to begin with. This mode of thinking earns the moniker 'Efilist' an interchangeableness with the moniker 'Unconditional Extinctionist'.

Nevertheless, if any labelled philosophy’s underlying linchpin is to be measured by consensus among all of its adherents – as should be the case – then it is my belief that extinction is only a lethargic By-Product of what disfavouring Natalism often amounts to in the current day and age, and is not the direct goal. Wrap your minds around the fact that there is no mandate calling for a direct goal, much like there is no mandate calling for a direct overarching goal in our disfavouring of Nationalism. We can deride Nationalism without favouring Globalism in any of its incarnations. Likewise, we can deride Natalism without enamouring ourselves with positive Extinctionism and the can of worms it brings to the table. This is why I remain unperturbed by Benatar’s goal-oriented writings or the abysmally un-nuanced wiki article on “AntiNatalism”.

Extinction as Desired Outcome is a matter I’m indifferent towards, which explains why ‘Extinction’ as By-Product has never been a sufficient alarmism to, on Consequentialist grounds, humble my disparagement of Natalism. From 2011 onwards, the debate enfolding Natalism has been boxed into stale dichotomies where duelling participants either possess a hankering for extinction or rail against extinction. The discussions are all too panoramic, and this plays right into the hands of opportunists who habitually attack ‘Moral Realism’ yet title such attacks “AntiNatalism Discredited” as though they’ve just killed two birds with one stone by proxy.

On top of this, a select few continually slight “AntiNatalism” in exclusivity, but seemingly think it unnecessary to, in doing so, also put forth a single case for why perpetuating the species is ethically sound or compulsory. Nor do they outwardly condemn ‘Extinction’ the By-Product as a plight, indicating that they are inwardly aware of how going down such a route would corner them into having to put forth arguments outlining that an assortment of child-free individuals would have a positive obligation to breed should the attrition rate call for it (in the interest of ‘Perpetuation’ as Desired Outcome). Said opportunists want none of the hassle that comes with such a position. I refer to their offerings as “The Phantom’s Critique”.

It's important to keep in mind that the more virulent Natalists are never guilty of “The Phantom’s Critique” as they’re perfectly open about their willingness to bring about ‘Perpetuation’ as Desired Outcome by any means necessary. I only bring up “The Phantom’s Critique” because this is usually the angle from which AntiNatalism is maligned on the internet by sophists.

Evidently, the stripped down “Extinctionist vs. Perpetuationist” framing falls short of taking into consideration the margins along battle lines, with many enclaves routinely overlooked. Once this is established, attempts to pigeonhole the topic into a “Extinctionist vs. Perpetuationist” ultimatum can be rightly scoffed at. If anyone views the “Natalist vs. AntiNatalist” framing as being vulnerable to the same oversights, let’s hear why. I’m yet to encounter a single cogent argument for this that does justice to the edifice of AntiNatalism. How exactly does the option between Natalism and AntiNatalism amount to a "one size fits all"? We can legitimately abstain from subscribing to the ‘Extinctionist’ position as well as the ‘Perpetuationist’ position, since both positions are panoramic through and through. While with Natalism and AntiNatalism, the average Natalist’s refusal to self-identity as a Natalist or as a sympathiser of Natalism is the product of tact, propriety, or flat-out ignorance, so they end up inventing cockamamie monikers like "AntiAntiNatalist" in dire hopes of being immune to the criticisms of "either/or". Of course, AntiNatalists could then just as easily return the favour by self-identifying as ''AntiAntiAntiNatalist'' to hammer home the latent slyness behind any ''AntiAntiNatalist'' moniker. The moment the first redundant ''Anti'' is accepted, both sides acquire free reign to just keep adding ''Antis'' into perpetuity.

If it were possible to preventatively weed out all zygotes that would have gone on to regret being born and spare them the hassle of finding this out the hard way – by thwarting their birth beforehand – then this would be a worthwhile goal; one I’d apply force to achieve. This willingness on my part still wouldn’t morph my position into one of ethical Extinctionism. Unfortunately, in the here and now, we are unable to accurately predict who will regret their birth and who will not. Enter ambivalence. This is examined further in the Section “Approved Impositions”.

In light of this disbandment of moiety, we should be curious as to the number of people who tacitly reproach Natalism while seeing fit to align with a neutral ‘by-product’ take on extinction, as opposed to being a positive Extinctionist, let alone an 'Unconditional Extinctionist'. This curiosity was initially sparked by my having succeeded in convincing a few peers and even distant acquaintances to get on board with virtually all aspects of protest towards Natalism. This includes objecting to idolatrous takes on biological parenthood, along with expostulating the ideology of Familialism, as these two happen to be Natalism's bread and butter. Despite this fertile ground (for lack of a better term), my peers’ disvaluing of human extinction – even as a by-product – continues to feed their trepidation to abjure Natalism wholeheartedly. But this is a moot point, as the rightness/wrongness of human extinction can’t be summed up in a partisan manner anyway, no different than how “To be or not to be” cannot be answered panoramically from idiosyncratic lens, regardless of how ethically grotesque one finds Natural Selection to be. The number of times per week one is willing to utter "gladiator wars" in a video won’t change this, because unipolar narratives of this sort are intrinsically hostile to preference maximization, even under instances where harm-exchange ultimatums don’t counter in.

I've already discussed how the Negative Utilitarian calculus – taken to its utmost logical inference – can only posit than an instantaneous extinction be regarded as the optimal extinction. By favouring this formula, one endorses instant/painless murder and undermines the preferences of sound-minded adults who are ecstatic or merely content with their current arrangement, or even the adults who loathe everything about their life, but are still more than willing to stick around out of curiosity factors alone. On the other hand, by favouring 'Perpetuation', one corners oneself into dismissing the preferences of those who'd rather not have been (for one reason or another). Seeing as the unneeded need is equivalent to the unneeded needlessness, deliberate perpetuation and deliberate extinction are both problematic. If pressed with an ultimatum that's stifling enough, I'll give the favourable edge to extinction due to my concerns over non-consensual suffering, non-trivial suffering, and non-emotional suffering (physical suffering) eclipsing all else. This, however, is no basis upon which one ought to descend ideologically into a positive Extinctionist or an 'Unconditional Extinctionist'. At best, the ultimatum-minded parameters I've outlined require one to brand oneself a 'Provisional Extinctionist', a label I'll comfortably apply to myself whenever the above Immortality Pill scenario is stubbornly rejected as a conversation starter.

On the other hand, once the ultimatum clause is dropped, and if law-abiding adults of sound mind view their own lives as being worthy of continuation (read: not reproduction), it’s a decision they and only they ought to be in charge of making. This is a principle Inmendham actually argues in favour of, and with much conviction, but only when the individual at hand happens to be suicidal and is in dire need of euthanasia. Inmendham makes fine points on that battlefront, but then during TinyChat sessions, he sadly reveals that in terms of absolute value, he believes that instantly/painlessly murdering people (who don't want to die) amounts to "just doing them a favour" because it's a zero-sum game anyway and most people are clueless as to the misfortunes that await them in the future, in all likelihood. Listen to Inmendham's TinyChat mp3 files long enough and this will be evident. The man believes in unsolicited mercy killings.

I cover this punctiliously in Section G "Assisted Suicide versus Unsolicited Mercy Killings". The Section pinpoints how rank-and-file Efilists milk the virtues of The Social Contract with the former while ditching it for absolute value with the latter.

Readers who are unfamiliar with my previous posts might think that this is bordering on bloviating, but be assured that it's still germane to extinction as ‘by-product’ and it pans out towards end of the section.

Against Natalism

In the past I’ve touched on how a robust objection to Natalism can find its roots in the recognition of Natalism's kinship to the intellectual bankruptcy that is arranged marriage. In this day and age, only a miniscule percentage of Westerners remain ideologically astigmatic enough to entertain validating coercive arranged marriage on the basis of actual consequences. It's high time to offer Natalism the same treatment.

Under the arranged marriage scheme, the contracted ‘relationship’ comes in the form of ‘Husband/Wife’, with both parties having little to no say in their contrived union. It should be noted that the degree to which couples are coerced into their spousal contract varies depending on the mores of the given culture, but that's ultimately a non-sequitur.

Under the Natalism scheme, it is the ‘Parent/Child’ relationship that's subject to residential union and propinquity under the law. Under both schemes, the initial stages of the relationship are equally unearned and contrived. Do arranged marriages always lead to matrimonial horror? Of course not. The individuals slated to live together can easily be perfect for one another. This doesn't imply, however, that inhabitants of first world civilizations ought to judge the inanity of arranged marriage according to the happenstance of its success rate. So too with the prearranged familial ties implicit in the actualization of Natalism.

The coming decade will see a number of minors whose lives will be supervised by their parents, and even micromanaged from dusk to dawn in the extreme cases. Many minors will hear strategic ultimatums such as "As long as you live under my roof, you'll do as I say", or the ever popular "You'll thank me for this when you're older" brand of parental clairvoyance. Breeders are often under the comical impression that they have a little Miss Cleo in them as it pertains to the latter, whereas the rare honest breeder would simply tell the youngster "Who knows, you might even thank me for this when you're older. I really have no way of telling".

I have a measure of insight into the arrogance of hegemonic mindsets touting "You will thank me for this when you're older" utterances rather than honestly conceding to the minor the mechanics of this hegemony. My insight stems from years of interaction with my peers’ parents and surrogate guardians. Many of my peers were born to parents whose 'control-freak' oriented approach to discipline fit this bill to a tee. The peers are in their mid-twenties now and I still keep in touch with many of them. I recently spoke about this very issue with the ones whose parents were the worst offenders. None of them, as full-fledged adults, currently appreciate having been controlled and subordinated to the extent that they were. As time went on and as they learned more about the world, they found themselves gaining the strength of their early convictions; the very convictions their parents and surrogate guardians tried to dismiss as the product of youthful inexperience.

The most pressing discipline issue consisted of the parent (usually the father) grooming the child for a vigorous post-secondary education and career, with the preparation process commonly starting as early as the age of seven. As you can imagine, this career-oriented subordination eats up much of the child's youth, resulting in little payoff for some, and modestly more payoff for others. For whatever my two cents are worth, even if every despondent student-on-a-leash acquired the career daddy groomed him/her to acquire, the cushy salary hardly compensates for the wasted childhood years, as youthful escapades are known to be superior to those undertaken during adulthood, regardless of one’s economic status. This is why nostalgic experiences are so uplifting to so many. Parental clairvoyance bites the dust here.

The reader needn't remind me that a sizable number of career-minded young adults have thanked their career-oriented parents for forbidding them to spend their childhood years as they’d have pleased. Again, this is no different than how arranged conjugal unions can end up avoiding disastrous outcomes, as the ‘Husband/Wife’ pairing can easily be one of incidental compatibility. We should not – on Consequentialist grounds – scoff at the examples of arranged marriages in practice where the pairing actually pans out.

It's undeniable that, upon reflection, many adults come to accept having been bearers of naive outlooks during their youth, and this in no way strikes a fatal blow to the bedrock of my position. It instead poses a dilemma for parenthood as a package-deal, seeing as how a number of adults have always drawn the exact opposite 'post-childhood' conclusion (many of my aforementioned peers have) but were converted into sacrificial lambs nonetheless. Under Natalism, minors' judiciousness has to be presumed "guilty until proven innocent" through the legitimization of ageism, so that the naive plentiful can be shielded from the consequences of their juvenile indiscretion, for which they'll presumably be grateful later in life. Though even within that subset of young adults who are now mature and/or indoctrinated enough to appreciate how caged their youth was, there are still varying degrees of dissatisfaction over the minutia, stemming from the parent’s tenaciousness.

Even if the number of young adults who fit the “retrospectively grateful” bill happens to skyrocket in the next year, Natalism shouldn't be frowned upon any less, because the crux of the quarrel was never about the actual consequences, nor about how abundant the sacrificial lamb minority happens to be on a given year. The archetypal Natalist’s advice here – once summed up – essentially boils down to “Count your losses and move on”. Under my assessment of ethics, focus is shifted more towards what the Natalist’s "I'll take my chances" mindset reveals about the character of those cavalierly presuming Parent/Child compatibility on the basis of bloodlines. Adulation seems misplaced. The same Parent/Child compatibility presumption rears its ugly head whenever a Muslim or Christian has the gall to baselessly view their respective child as being destined to subscribe to their respective religion, merely because the offspring shares the Muslim’s or Christian’s genetics.

Natalism turns even more felonious the moment we remind ourselves that breeders, by breeding, not only acquire the right to prohibit what their children wish to do, but also what their children wish to expose themselves to in the realm of vicarious experience. There's no such thing as 'adult' music or 'adult' television programming or 'adult' art of any form, but the labelling exists. It exists because children's vicarial experiences are generally thought of as indistinguishable from proximate ones, due to the most overprotective (and vocal) breeders who are given the right to micromanage youngsters' lives, without trial. Vicarial vulnerability is axiomatically presumed on the part of the breeder, to the point where special interest groups have been devised whose business it is to think of the children. Unfazed is the Natalist by the impossibility of distinguishing vast numbers of minors who don’t need this micromanagement, from the ones who actually do. For every Little Johnny well served by the PG-13 rating due to his legitimate imprudence, there are those who are under 13 and precocious; minors whose psychology wouldn't have been negatively influenced – to the point of action, imitation or intellectual corrosion – by the entertainment they were preventatively barred from absorbing. One might hope that testimonies of this nature would be enough to humble parental prophecies as it relates to the inevitable negative effects of 'adult' shows/films/music on uncultivated young minds. Think again. It's 2013 and parental censorship of multitudinous entertainment mediums is in the same full swing it's been since the inception of the Nuclear Family. Granted, recent decades have seen a number of parents enthusiastically shunning this micromanagement and declaring their progressive parenthood strategy as the wiser one, but by doing this they run the risk of ending up with a young adult for whom a bombardment of structure early on would have done wonders. Parenthood operates as a Catch-22 endeavour in that it unavoidably relies on guesswork or deindividuation of minors and their respective judiciousness. This can be true of negligent parenthood and of authoritative parenthood. Shrewd advocates of anti-ageist memes should want no part of its instigation, nor of its apologetics.

The above paragraph, alone, fiercely trumps the standard ‘Negative Utilitarianism’ mantra for rejecting Natalism, and in doing so leaves us with enough room to self-identify as AntiNatalists without piling on any positive obligation to strive towards ethical Extinction. I imagine it would be difficult to reconcile mere indifference towards Extinction while remaining loyal to exclusionary Negative Utilitarianism. I'll point out one more time that such loyalty, taken to its fullest logical conclusion, ordains a yearning for the immediate discontinuation of all sentience as the optimal outcome, and frowns upon apathy towards this end. Under this branch of utilitarianism, we as efficient janitors are to solely concern ourselves with cleaning up messes regardless of whose property the mess happens to have been made on, without any regard for whether the property owners made the mess themselves, and without even asking the mess makers if they mind their own malady. If the mess makers are fully grown adults who inform us that they’d rather take the bad with the good and maintain their messy condition, their request is to be ignored. Their mess is our command. There isn’t an ounce of wisdom in such a value criterion.

Another salubrious objection to Natalism can (and should) instigate itself as an upshot extension of a rejection of Familialism or any tribal outlook soaking in affinities for consanguineous matters.

An analogy, if I may:

It’s feasible to reject self-indulgency in the form of 'Patriotism' on staunchly intellectual grounds (non-consequentialist grounds) and in doing so hold ideals which are intrinsically hostile to all matters of nationalistic exceptionalism, even when this nationalistic exaltation would’ve proven to be beneficial for the sensorial well-being of the patriots and citizens residing in the given country (or even within the purview of 'Total Consequentialism' altogether). The same impetus should, if nothing else, at least be conceivable with assorted rejections of Natalism. It goes without saying that it presently isn’t, because Inmendham and many of his antagonists are atrocious when it comes to the finer points of this conversation, opting to instead waste much time arguing over the staunchly teleological case against Natalism, leading to stunted, unfruitful discussions.

For what it's worth, in addition to writing off Patriotism on non-consequential grounds, the following isms are equally worthy of repudiation for the same reasons: Social Darwinism, Speciesism, Genderism, Sizeism, Ageism, Cronyism, Gynocentrism, Androcentrism, Racialism, Nativism, Ethnic Nepotism (not to be confused with ethnocentrism, as that may include judging cultures/behaviours), among others.

All of these isms share a common flaw: Emotionally steered rationalizations behind the offerings of preferential treatment to a select group based on qualities other than character (ancestry, ethnicity, nationality, age, sex, race, physicality, etc.). By procreating, Natalists willingly thrust new individuals into their lives in order to offer them this preferential treatment, without knowing anything about these individuals ahead of time. Their arrangement is one where merit and emotional attachment are conferred not through demonstrated character, nor ability, nor compatibility, nor homogeneity, but familial edict. Such appeal-to-nature mindsets revere in-group favouritism and often thrive on similar residues of primitivism.

It can be argued that my expectations are fantastically utopian and plain ignorant of the human condition, but this same line of thought-stoppage has been inserted throughout history to preserve status quos of similar vein. The once-upon-a-time normalized mistreatment of ethnic minorities should spring to mind. Playing the ‘unrealistic’ card holds ground considering the zeitgeist, but our inability to live out our own ethics in practice is yet another non-sequitur.

I have no use for Familialism ethically or ideologically, but corner me with an ultimatum pinning the murder of a family member of mine whose personality I like, versus the murder of one million perfect strangers, and I'll cast the million strangers as the murder victims. This doesn’t imply that I subconsciously endorse Familialism. My decision here is one of undiluted convenience, and cannot be substantiated on intellectual grounds. My readiness to admit as much, unaccompanied by my willingness to alter my decision, may be dubbed as duplicity, but such supercilious conclusions would then also have to declare any of the following statements as false, in the interest of consistency:

(1) A westerner can oppose ‘Western Imperialism’ while subsidizing it via taxation, due to the westerner’s predilection for living (and working) in America.

(2) A Chinese man can intellectually reject 'Racialism' but still tremble as a smaller black man passes him by in a dark alley, moments after a much larger Chinese man had passed him by in the same alley, prompting no dismay.

(3) A vegan can reject 'Speciesism' on ideological grounds and still tread on insects out of practical necessity, while walking.

(4) A vegetarian can oppose factory farming with respects to meat products and still go hunting in the event that produce is stifled due to harvest failure.

Regrettably, there’s a nearly inexplicable "Do as I say, not as I do" vibe in the four claims above, but this vibe is on the same sphere of triteness as is guilt-by-association. The next time someone tries validating familialism by uttering “blood is thicker than water” slogans, remind them that brains are thicker than blood.

How does Natalism tie back into any of this? The craving to raise a child can easily be satisfied through the adoption of minors already born to undesirable conditions. This remains an unsatisfactory method for most aspiring breeders. The reason is clear. Biological Parenthood is not confined to the fulfillment of desires to raise a child. It’s interlocked with aspirations to perpetuate one’s own genetic code. I am yet to hear a satisfactory (non-biological) defense of this craving that pummels the charge of egocentricity; the type resembling the above forms of in-group favouritism.

Favouring Natalism opens a Pandora’s Box for apologetics of the nepotistic conceit noted above. It’s a line of reasoning whose advantageous adherents can easily capitalize on to proselytize their respective ends. Most contemporary ethicists manage to freely scold race based favouritism, only to get off scot free as no one bats an eyelid while they draw preferential treatment lines at familial based favouritism. The lineage is there. More would be made of this in mainstream ethics had observers kept in mind that exclusionary Consequentialism can be used to vindicate familialism and racialism alike. 

Equating this breakdown with rabid ‘Egalitarianism’ amounts to a falsity as the average egalitarian rejects only aspects of these isms and does it out of moral inklings, as opposed to trenchant ones properly rooted in a disdain for organismal biology. 'Egalitarianism' is unbefitting of what I’m trying to get at because dyed-in-the-wool egalitarians will gladly castigate the practice of character based partisanship in their headstrong pursuit of classlessness or ‘equality’ at the expense of meritocracy, whereas I've always summarized partisanship stemming solely from the evaluation of one’s character traits (and skills, in the workplace) as being 100% tolerable, hence my endorsement of monetarily separate classes – much to the chagrin of fellow determinists who hold the belief that our newfound knowledge of ourselves as 'puppets on strings' ought to reprioritize the manner in which we scathingly judge character quality. A spectacular farce.

As for the listed isms, I must to return to racial separatists as an example, because only a fraction of them are partial to segregation out of hate. Most either see it as a prescription for political-preference maximization (hilariously assuming that political belief is inherited) or they just prefer the company of individuals of their own color, without necessarily hating anyone, no different than how heterosexuals prefer the intimate company of the opposite sex without hating members of their own sex as a result of said preferences. The catch being, racial separatists actively train themselves to omit enacting partisanship standards on the basis of character first and foremost. There are exceptions to this, as with everything, and that's a non-factor here.

By procreating, breeders are knowingly creating an environment for themselves where a large portion of their time will now be consumed by interaction with their children; Individuals whose character quality the breeder is unabashedly unaware of at the time of his/her decision to breed. We already have a finite amount of time to dedicate to individuals with whom we prefer associating. Natalists, along with Familialists, find it fruitful to make this time-span even narrower. By allowing bloodlines to influence these decisions, our already restricted choices are made even more confined, leading to an intellectually impecunious pro-familialism value system that has permeated virtually all cultures. Even to this day, cultures propel memes which relay how callous it must be not to cherish the time one gets to spend with one's family. As a rule, we are bombarded by this cultural drivel in higher droves throughout the month of December. The sentiments are vacuous, and are best countered by tireless reemphasis on the word I've continually invoked: Character.

If enough noise is made about character, indifference towards Familialism stands to make its way into counter-culture and can perhaps slowly start migrating towards mainstream culture, bringing about a zeitgeist in which consanguinity holds no psychological bearing on decisions regarding whom one opts to interact with. Such decisions, if they are to have a lasting positive effect, are best reserved for compatibility, and if this rapport just so happens to include one's own family members, then that's great too.

Contrastingly, most Consequentialist arguments for Extinction – generally centered around suffering – miss the mark because they’re tailored towards sound-minded individuals who view themselves as victims of Natalism just as much as they are towards non-deluded adults for whom the statement “I’d rather not have been” doesn't apply, even on their deathbed. Once again I stress that individuals mustn’t be relegated to the vapid status of precious commodities. Such equal-opportunity indexing of wasted suffering is invasive. It becomes doubly invasive if we adopt a 'Non-proximate Consequentialist' overview; the sort Inmendham drenches himself in whenever he blames parents for the negative sensations experienced by the spawn well into adulthood. Yes, adulthood. A state in which the brain has fully developed and where subjects are far removed from their initial inability to fend for themselves intellectually, ideologically and financially (invalids being the notable exception).

Returning to the original claim about most people already “behaving like AntiNatalists” by having no more than two kids, and thereby paving the road to extinction: By now we've established that, even by this metric, even the majority of AntiNatalists don’t behave like AntiNatalists because most of us would not take issue with grown adults forestalling extinction by taking Immortality Pills, provided that no adult is emotionally coerced into taking them. Again, I'll eat my own words publicly if my AN readers' answers to the above 'Immortality Pill' conundrum fail to corroborate with what I've predicted.

Further, if any act that is overtly friendly to the warding off of extinction amounts to “Not Behaving like an AntiNatalist” then a simple refusal to press the red button would also mean that one is not behaving like an AntiNatalist, despite being unrelentingly childless. As mentioned twice earlier, if we accept that life is a zero-sum game in tandem with the view that anyone who wants to live is too irrational to have an opinion worth listening to, it follows that an immediate extinction is the optimal extinction. Hence even a refusal to press the red button rightfully earns one the title of a ‘Provisional Extinctionist', as opposed to the type of 'Unconditional Extinctionist' that Inmendham has shown himself to be. But even then, Inmendham would have to disavow any octomom who has renounced Natalism later in her life, merely because she didn’t behave like an AntiNatalist beforehand. This would be insipid. There’s no such thing as “behaving like an AntiNatalist”. There's no official doctrine assigned to guideline the position, thankfully. This was explained in depth in my "AntiNatalism and Dissection" post from last year, yet Inmendham still ignores the obvious.

Seeing as 'Efilism' is Inmendham's brainchild, and the philosophy cogently boasts Extinction as Desired Outcome, Inmendham should just say "Most people already behave like Efilists..." and leave the moniker of AntiNatalism the hell alone. This was the entire reasoning behind his coining the term ‘Efilism’ in the first place. He disliked using ‘AntiNatalism’ because the term doesn’t fit into a neat little package, and with ‘Efilism’ nobody can mistake his “harm = the only negative” vendetta for anything else. So why the hell does he still use both monikers interchangeably?! It's excruciatingly annoying.



G: Assisted Suicide vs. Unsolicited Mercy Killings

Also known as "The Social Contract vs. Absolute Value".

Every video uploaded by Inmendham on the legalization of euthanasia makes solid points on secular grounds. The icing on the cake consists of Inmendham directing a flurry of vitriol towards vested enemies of the pro-euthanasia stance whose ideology landed Jack Kevorkian in prison for eight years (1999-2007). The vitriol is much deserved, if for no other reason than the draconian absurdity of the sentencing. Even after eight long years of incarceration, Kevorkian was released only on parole. The man was charged with a sentence of up to 25 years. The penalties are nothing short of infuriating to those of us who understand that life-affirming optimism doesn't have wisdom on its side any more than extroversion has a smidgen of wisdom on its side over introversion.

In combating the current laws, Inmendham has a treasure trove of perspicacious points to choose from, but the one he deploys most frequently is the following:

"Individuals should have the right to invest their own welfare in their own judgement"

Noble. Go revisit any "Right to die" video by Inmendham. He delivers the quoted statement with an aura of irreversibility and leaves his viewership with the impression that the principle they've just heard him utter is pertinacious in his view. I cannot properly convey in text the solemn technique with which Inmendham emphasizes the quoted statement.

Now for the deal-breaker: The irreconcilabilities revealed themselves in small increments, starting with a Stickam session dating back to 2011 during which Inmendham screamed his lungs off while continually asking the question "Where's the harm?!" in painlessly/instantly murdering abandoned two year olds after finding them in the middle of nowhere. Now, seeing as how two year olds are incapable of consenting to the harm ridden risk-equations they've been thrust into, there's no point in raising a fuss over Inmendham's value economics here. In the months and years that followed, however, the hypothetical two year olds were replaced with unproductive adults. Listen to TinyChat mp3 recordings long enough and you'll inevitably stumble across Inmendham openly endorsing the ethicality of painlessly/instantly murdering people who are unproductive. Whether they drag the net-equation downwards inwardly or outwardly is of no real concern to Inmendham.

An example he used on one occasion this past summer is one of a soldier whose post-war life is grueling and wasteful, and how such a soldier would've been better off had he been blown to smithereens during combat. Naturally, such an outcome would have been preferable under a "it's a zero sum game anyway" value benchmark that dismisses people who want to live as irrational.

This severely undermines every last one of Inmendham’s trademark “It’s not about your life, it’s about you having kids” proclamations that he’ll pay lip service to in redacted YouTube videos. But once TinyChat rolls around, all bets are off, as his surreptitious ambition to save people from themselves is unleashed in full force. All quandary in relation to painless and instantaneous murder becomes misplaced once the Negative Utilitarian formula gets punctured fully (for all sentience) rather than partly (for wildlife and comatose humans only). On a planet that presently harbours billions of able-bodied adults, this approach is less infused with being a janitor and is more about being a babysitter.

Inmendham usually tackles resistance in this domain by reminding us that “People's notions that their lives are worth living are just that; notions in the head” and suggesting that their silly beliefs should be written off as a non-factor, because people live on lies. I find this argument so feeble that I'll gleefully add to it by pointing out that many even require anti-depressants to get by, especially if they're adults. Inmendham then reflexively points out that people's belief in angels doesn't make angels real... as if my original comparison (respecting the wishes of the suicidal and the wishes of the non-suicidal, equally) had been culpable of argumentum ad populum. It isn't. It’s actually the analogy to angels that’s flawed. Analogizing a belief in the intangible (individuals placing conceptual worth on their own lives) to a belief in the palpable (existence of angels as entities) just further reveals compartmental ineptitude on Inmendham’s part.

If, during his videos on assisted suicide, Inmendham is going to earnestly insist that "Individuals should have the right to invest their own welfare in their own judgment", he can't just turn around and drop the tenet the moment it – along with the social contract altogether – becomes inconvenient to his clandestine ends. If he's going to defend dropping this tenet on account of the inevitable clash between the social contact and absolute value in which absolute value must take precedence, then the least he can do is quit speaking about individuals having the right to invest their own welfare in their own judgment as though it were a high-minded maxim worthy of his unwavering devotion, during those videos he makes in favour of assisted suicide. He can drop the “individual judgment” rhetoric and still argue for the legalization of euthanasia on 'Negative Utilitarian' grounds alone, thereby scoring much needed consistency points.

Inmendham has often appealed to the judgement of those who are on their deathbed, relaying to us that his experience of working in old folks’ homes has enlightened him as to how the withered elderly tend to be far more inclined to believe “better never to have been” than those who are in the prime of their life. I’m of the belief that the variance is hardly substantial. Then again, I haven’t a sliver of experience working in old folks’ homes, so I'll drop it. Let’s assume then, for argument’s sake, that the majority of elders do convert to the “I’d rather not have been” stance, during their golden years or on their deathbed.

The moment we start viewing their conversion as grounds for a categorical dismissal of their previous “Glad I was born” preferences, we open ourselves up to having the identical mode of thought legitimized and implemented by anti-suicide crusaders; Traditionalists who fancy themselves as having checkmated the pro-euthanasia position by narrowing in on people who are no longer suicidal – individuals who have been salvaged from their previous aspirations of suicide – thanks to the present-day illegality of assisted suicide. Their egregious principle is one where euthanasia’s illegality is justified even if it prevents just one person from ending their life, seeing as how a percentage of individuals who are currently suicidal will ultimately kick their suicidal tendencies to the curb, given enough time. The fact that remains, however, is that lifelong suicidal people will always exist as well, and a portion of them would have euthanized themselves and cut their suffering short had assisted suicide been legal in the here and now. We wouldn’t entertain reneging on suicidal people’s preferences, as it relates to their right to euthanasia, on account of the fact that a percentage of them would have gone on to live and at some point down the road (after years of being suicidal) convert into “Glad I was born after all” outlooks, all because they didn’t have access to euthanize themselves in the past. Shouldn’t the same aversion to reneging remain intact with elders on their death-bed who have recently come to regret their birth?

We mustn't lose sight of why present-day preferences are not to be dismissed ethically just because some people change their minds somewhere down the road. This is directed at both Inmendham’s “If they got killed painlessly, it was for their own good in the long run” Stickam/TinyChat revelations, and the anti-suicide flock's “keep suicidal people alive for their own good, they'll come around” nonsense. There's simply no room for double-standards in discussions about life/death preferences (barring extremities that invoke catch-22 ultimatums from which one has no choice but to trample one of two preferences).

Inmendham's double-standard is one that teeters cavalierly between The Social Contract and absolute value, depending on whether or not the subject in question is suicidal. If subjects are suicidal, they should invest their own welfare in their own judgment. If subjects want to live, the "invest" rhetoric is dropped as Inmendham doesn't shy away from pointing out that he’d decide for them on the basis of their potential productivity or lack thereof. 

I've lost count of the number of cakes Inmendham has had and eaten too.




H. ‘The Golden Rule’ Is Awfully Rusty

It’s always amusing to hear Inmendham passively reference 'The Golden Rule' as one of the few ethical precepts that humanity actually got right. Many have accepted this extolled code as the pillar of moral wisdom, with its grip on ethics remaining largely uncontested even in the aftermath of Christianity's decline in popularity throughout the developed world. The Golden Rule as a directive would, at best, only amount to preliminary evidence of ‘Moral Realism’, scoring major points on intuitiveness alone. It would be the evidence's seed, so to speak. Stepping back and allowing for a counterintuitive approach, a reassessed elixir shows that the rule doesn’t even amount to measly partial proof, because the moment we grant permission – as we should – towards individuals' polar opposite predilections for what constitutes as 'good treatment', the precept instantly becomes culpable of that which Inmendham despises the most; A Status Quo high-jacking.

If all humans suddenly began operating by The Golden Rule, the directive would be practiced mostly by those who love family life – people who feel the utmost admiration for their parents for spawning them; the majority. We would have to except, then, that these people would be well within reason to do onto others by spreading the gift of life and family in the same fashion it had been spread onto them. The only hope we have of calling foul on this practice would be to openly denounce precepts like “do onto others” as the zenith of ethical behaviour.

I regret having to be the one to break this to Inmendham, but ‘The Golden Rule’ is a furtive recipe for Natalism. It also calls upon us to glorify indentured servitude under fitting conditions, but that's an aside. With this squarely in mind, Matthew 7:12 suddenly rings hollow. Rather than doing onto others as you would have them do onto you, it would be better to simply ask people about their preferences prior to engaging in whatever do-gooder activity you've presumed will be reciprocated by the unsuspecting target of your altruism. Better yet, ignore your target altogether and mind your own business.

Now, can what I just recommended be construed as a replacement for The Golden Rule? Absolutely not, because my advice also runs into unsurprising flaws the moment it gets universalized. As noted in Section B, pointing this out doesn’t translate to bankrupt red-herrings that focus on glaring differences between ‘Directives in Practice’ and ‘Directives in Principle’, as such diversions are unneeded to discredit lauded moral codes. 

Countless preference related divergences pose trouble for The Golden Rule, but I'll stop at Natalism because I think it best elucidates the hideousness of such a principle. It's the brainchild of theistic doctrine, after all. Inmendham's reverence for Matthew 7:12 showcases how little effort he puts into conscientiously thinking through the implications of panegyrized value codes.



I. "They can’t handle the truth” 

How many times has an Inmendham video recited the same spiel over how "People just don't want to hear the raw truth, and that's basically what most of this comes down to"? Too many.

This "belief/emotion" merger assumes an awful lot. What specifically can’t dissenters handle? That life is unfair? That sentient organisms exist without immunity to tragedy? That the world contains profuse amounts suffering? Why would mere recognition of these truths be too much to handle? Inmendham is the one who is hypersensitive to suffering, so if anything, he’s the one who can’t handle the mere suggestion that the hypersensitivity he’s burdened by doesn’t automatically make him more fit to accurately describe reality compared to those who aren’t intellectually preoccupied by their cognizance of this same suffering.

Inmendham is free to reference Joseph Carey Merrick (The Elephant Man) and compose "if the shoe were on the other foot" hypotheticals so to accuse his rivals of callousness, but not to accuse them of reality evasion. A critical component of even-handed data processing is idiosyncratic discipline, of which Inmendham has shown to have little. In his case, heightened sensitivity to suffering has sparked the opposite effect.

Tuition debt holders who waste their youth (and tens of thousands of dollars) acquiring unavailing degree-slips must justify the value of their post-secondary institution’s degree-slip, no matter how valueless it is in the majority of cases nowadays. Similarly, Inmendham has a PhD in commiseration which has consumed his life, so as with most starry eyed graduates, the PhD is very important and it’s wishful thinking to say otherwise.

Any outlook, if well formed, will have no prodigious kinship with the thinker’s emotional state. This doesn’t necessarily preclude empathy. As touched upon in Section D, some pessimists view themselves as the audacious few willing look reality square in the face and to describe it for what it is, envisioning their raw emotionalism in the wake of nature's carnage as the only intellectually honest reaction. Had Inmendham only lunged at this reassuring justification to relay his own personal (a-philosophical) emotionalism, I’d not raise a fuss over it. It’s his insistence that even a tame absenteeism of this emotionalism is a product of plain old mendaciousness, that provokes my ire. Milking this thought process, the ballsy philosophers saddle themselves with the adorable impression that it’s impossible to accept all the facts of Natural Selection that they accept, and concomitantly avoid emotionalist ruin.

Both anecdotal and statistical evidence suggests that depression, or even gloominess, hardly kicks in when people honestly start contemplating the excessive bouts of suffering over the last 500 million years. Frustration might kick in, sure, but depression and frustration are different beasts. Frustration makes some sense, considering commiseration coupled with our inability to bring the ongoing 'Non-Trivial Harm' in wildlife to a halt. Depression on the other hand mostly arises when a tragedy befalls the subject or someone within the subject’s immediate circle. It’s a personalized etiology, shaped by one’s vicinity, rather than a willingness to form a grand outlook on life.

There's nothing irrational about being depressed, but there's nothing irrational about not being depressed as well. Inmendham likes to point to Mr. Spock as an illustration of the ideal intellect (at least before Hollywood tarnished the character earlier this year), yet he never asks himself why Spock wasn’t written to be a depressive gloomer. The answer is simple: In most cases, the etiology of one’s depression has nothing to do with the contents of one’s belief-system.

Pulling the "Human beings just pick the beliefs that best suit their ability to live comfortably, they’re unwilling to handle the onerous truth" card is like shooting fish in a barrel. Look no further than the debates surrounding Hereditarianism wherein one side is convinced that the opposition denies cold hard facts because they’re motivated by ‘Political Correctness’ while the other side is convinced that the opposition denies cold hard facts because they’re bent on justifying their own deep seeded ‘Racial Hate’.

Even Theists have their own version of “They just believe it because it feels good” reassurances, as anyone who has ever had a worshipper tell them "You're just trying to invalidate scripture because you dislike the prospect of spending an eternity in hell" will already know all too well. In actuality, the content of the belief itself is immaterial to the subject’s arrival at it. Had the prototypical Theist been so smitten with the contents of the religious doctrine of their choice, then all recorded testimonies from former Theists – who openly discuss how they’re still recovering from the negative effects of their previous beliefs – would simply not exist, as these people would’ve ditched their faith the first moment that it became an inconvenience to their personal life. We don’t see this happening ubiquitously with Theists.

One of the most grievous things about Inmendham's contributions is his insistence that truth is depressing. This is the main driving force behind why Natalist apologists have gotten away with so much nonsense over the years. Thanks to Inmendham’s insistence that the truth is depressing, it's beyond easy for Natalists to keep going back to the well of "AntiNatalism is for the emotionally unstable" shenanigans. Inmendham sets himself up as Charlie Brown here and allows Natalists to play the role of Lucy holding the football. For years I've held an embargo against Natalists due to the brick wall of false impressions spray-painted on it thanks to Inmendham parading around his depression as though it were a fucking trophy. His goals are to prop up "truth is ugly" memes and to ultimately facilitate Extinctionism. He is the face of AntiNatalism on YouTube. The only way to deny this would be to propose that Inmendham is a Potemkin AntiNatalist after all, but that would just earn us a No True Scotsman fallacy.

Allow me to revisit 1999 for a moment, not to shift gears, but to discredit a prevalent misconception. I was in Grade 8 that year, which in my Province marks students' transition into high school. This was also before homophobia had become a relic of the past as far as teenagers are concerned. As you can imagine, I witnessed a prolific stream of gay bashing during that time, from peers and non-peers alike. Regretfully, during this period I was too much of an apathetic cunt in my own right, and therefore never made any effort to stand up against what I ultimately believed to be wrong. I never actively joined in on the gay bashing, but I never tried dissuading the homophobic majority either. Not once.

Fortunately, there were a handful of students in this school who were more than willing to stand up to homophobic bullies. In their attempts to set gay bashers straight (for lack of a better term), the keen points against prejudice were met not with reasoned applause, nor with passiveness, but with insinuations that the articulators of such points were themselves likely gay for being so quick to defend homosexuals. The ambience was one where arguing in favour of the abolition of sodomy laws earned you the title of "That kid who secretly wants to take it up the ass". I still live a few dozen blocks away from this high school, and as such my former classmates and I still cross paths here and there, so I can vouch that the handful of kids who stood up for homosexuals fourteen years ago were not themselves gay. But the mere willingness to argue in favour of gay rights was, in those days, enough to get most homophobic students jumping to baseless and bizarre conclusions about the underlying motives of gay rights advocates.

This is eerily similar to what AntiNatalists generally deal with while trying to fortify the preferences of individuals who have no use for life and who hold their parents in contempt for being the unsolicited recipients of their genetics via breeding. It is frequently assumed by the Natalist that the AntiNatalist who brings this issue to the limelight must have something at stake on a personal level; Depression, propensity to crypto-fascism, an inability to function in the world, philosophical ineptness, some unresolved mommy/daddy issues, you name it. AntiNatalists shouldn’t so much as lift a finger to defend themselves against any such attempts at gaslighting. Simply put, there is no point in conversing with foes this immature. We wouldn't waste time on opponents of gay rights who go around joyfully misrepresenting the sexual orientation of every gay rights advocate who is straight. My own embargo on Natalists will be lifted once I notice a profound shift in the zeitgeist, which would entail seeing the more disciplined Natalists (all two of them) calling foul on their compadres whenever the gaslighting tactics turn unbearably over the top, as they are wont to get. Not that my absence should break anyone's heart. But in the slight chance that it will, you have Inmendham to thank for parading around his depression and doing his darnedest to interlace rejections of Natalism with outlooks which logically warrant depression. The man has been an all-around instigator of the smear stratagem our opponents customarily engage in. 

Just think back to how poorly Inmendham handles the farcical question "Why don't AntiNatalists just kill themselves?". Inmendham's central reply to this always consists of "I can't clean up the mess you people keep making by taking myself out of the game. I'll just wake up in Indonesia one day and the vicious cycle will continue". Inmendham gives in to the Natalist presupposition here, instead of blocking the malignant question with a simple counter question like "Why do you think any AntiNatalist should have a single reason to commit suicide?" to which the Natalist will predictably reply "Because they have no use for life. That’s the centerpiece of their malcontent position". Therein lies the essence of the Natalist's confusion, thanks in part to Inmendham being at the forefront of these debates. I know very few AntiNatalists who actually have no use for their own personal lives. I know even less AntiNatalists who would entertain the prospect of ending their lives had euthanasia been legalized in their county. I'd wager that Inmendham does not fall into the minority of humans longing to exit stage left, given his gargantuan ego. I certainly don't regret my own birth either, at this stage. The Natalist will hear this and retort with "So you're a hypocrite" at which point we can explain the parallels to gay rights advocacy, stressing that straight people can legitimately partake in this advocacy without having an obligation to hang out in gay bars, fuck members of the same sex, or incorporate flamboyance into their otherwise monotone mannerisms, lest they be hypocrites.

Whenever the Natalist pulls the hypocrite card, the Natalist is stealthily denying the practicability of a well-adjusted, non-suicidal individual adjuring Natalism out of recompense for individuals who did genuinely regret their birth, the same way local homophobes in 1999 denied the practicability of straight people adjuring homophobia for reasons other than the supposed closeted homosexuality of the gay rights advocate. The analogy is not flawless, but the core tactic employed by the opposition is identical.

Most movements, during their infancy, have seen their respective antagonists finding it irresistible to pull these stunts in an effort to strangle the movement in its cradle. The main disparity between the two movements mentioned here is that most homosexuals are aware of the existence of gay rights advocacy, while most individuals who regret having been born – and who hold their parents in contempt over it – are patently unaware of AntiNatalism. But one can hardly blame AntiNatalists for that.

Life is undeniably unfair, and Inmendham believes that this should depress anyone willing to admit as much. The expectation might be reasonable, but only if the unfairness had been elusive to us throughout our lives and had only ceased eluding us upon our broadcasted engagements in philosophy. I can't speak for my readership, but I picked up on the absence of a cosmic fairness mechanism well before I entered double digits (let alone before I picked up my first camcorder). How would this recognition, in and of itself, leave anyone feeling depressed – or even frustrated – for years upon years upon years, well into adulthood? It wouldn't. Inmendham needs to consider that the expression "Time heals all wounds" rings very true for most people, and that there's nothing irrational with not dwelling on one's misfortunes for too long. Even deaths of immediate family members – which is for most people more emotionally devastating by leaps and bounds than the recognition that life isn't fair – are ordeals from which most people bounce back after a considerable amount of time. Inmendham expects us to believe that the unfairness of life is such a crippling truth that it warrants life-long sulking. To that I say; different strokes for different folks. If one endures a siege of bad luck, I'll be the last to challenge that person's bleakness and depression. All that's required of people who aren't as unlucky is that they don't try persuading gloomy parties to "turn that frown upside down" or to in some way assume that positive outlooks on life are in any way superior to – or wiser than – negative outlooks on life, because they're not. 

A parallel to this exists with the extrovert/introvert dynamic. Most extroverts I've known have never been able to wrap their minds around the fact that introverts don't secretly crave what the extrovert craves, and that neither side has the finer preference from an ontological standpoint. Even now in the digital age, many extroverts find it impossible to fully apprehend this, sometimes even going so far as to offer “social-skills” advice to the introvert on how to be the life of the party. How solicitous of them. Their advice on approachability just makes them come across like substandard PUAs. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so pathetic.



J. "Why don't people lament the absence of life on all other planets?"

Answer: For the same reason that Extinctionists aren’t actively basking in relief at the mere thought of sentience’s non-existence on all other planets. Just as life-affirming optimists and Perpetuationists happen to be apathetic towards the non-existence of Martians on Mars, Extinctionists are apathetic to it as well, when by Inmendham’s own logic they should be euphoric over it, or at least somewhat comforted by it. In place of a cosmic overview, Extinctionists’ attention is consolidated towards the pale blue dot at their disposal, much in the way Perpetuationists’ attention is. Whether you’re talking to an Extinctionist or a Perpetuationist, the absence of life on other planets is inconspicuous, not paramount. Let that sink in.

The same cosmic apathy comes into effect – on both sides of the isle – over the fact that well beyond 99% of all species that have roamed the earth are presently extinct. This prompts neither grief on the part of the average life-affirmer, nor relief on the part of the average Efilist / Unconditional Extinctionist. If Inmendham wants to take life-affirmers to task over their not feeling doleful here, then I will task him with having to feel jubilant over the “non-existing Martians” and the extinct dodo, in the same way.

Note that both reactions fit neatly with my torpid take on extinction. Classy.

Inmendham will dismiss the comparison I've made. At this juncture I can't fathom what arguments he might employ, but I'm positive that he'll have some. So, unlike with the other sections, this is one where I won't be able to knock down his counterarguments beforehand, as I can't even foresee what they'll consist of. What I can do though is point out that the splendidly one-sided arrangement of the question in this section's title is meant to play up the obstacle of "Garbage In vs. Garbage Out". Consult the Inmendham lexicon near the top of this entry for a refresher on what this trope is meant to convey when used by Inmendham.

Inmendham views the “input” facet of "Garbage In vs. Garbage Out" as the biggest barrier to our arriving at the position of positive Extinctionism. I'm reluctant to even hazard a guess as to whether this conventionalism-led “input” does, in fact, play more of a prominent role than many people give it credit for. Maybe we shouldn’t rule out the possibility that, without the blockage of cultural propaganda and institutional propaganda, more intelligent people would reach the position of positive 'Extinctionism' with the same effortlessness as Inmendham did. It's a bold prediction on Inmendham's part, but bold predictions are his bread and butter.

All I can do here is speak from personal experience by pointing out that my exposure to cultural and institutional propaganda – information streams which I always found rancorous – only made Extinctionism look that much more appealing in the first place; the polar opposite of Inmendham's analysis regarding how the average mind operates. I stumbled upon Inmendham's videos in 2008, back when YouTube was still fresh and the influx of non-commercial content it supplied was enough to make me abandon the very cultural and institutional information streams that had previously dismayed my brain. The new anti-DNA brigade I discovered was an amicable one. But the more I distanced myself from any and all exposure to cliché life-affirming rhetoric, the more lethargic I became towards such views. Before I knew it, "Garbage In vs. Garbage Out" started having an inverse effect. The garbage was definitely out, but this produced an “Out of sight, out of mind" osmosis, and optimistic life-affirmers were simply no longer a worthy priority.

According to his conversations in TinyChat, Inmendham has also distanced himself from the same conventional information streams that I (and likely all readers) have subdued, so why are cliché life-affirming sentiments not "Out of sight, out of mind" for Inmendham as well? They still annoy him, even though he isn't exposed to them anymore. This is idiosyncrasy at work, and it shouldn’t be mistaken for anything else.

If any of this were as simple as "Garbage In vs. Garbage Out" then I couldn't have possibly conceived of the very counterarguments to Inmendham’s positions that fill up this entire essay. These counterarguments are not the result of my having gobbled up some website's propaganda (there is no website that contains any of the points I've presented in this whole post) and I sure as hell didn't make these counterpoints by enamouring myself with any culture. So how can I lack the "Garbage In" facet and still manage to object to anything Inmendham puts forth? Because I've been listening to him for five years straight – March 2008 until March 2013 – before I went on my hiatus, meaning that I underwent yet another process of "Garbage Out" where the garbage consisted of many conclusions and axioms that Inmendham pitches profusely. The cerebral counterpoints offered here didn’t occur to me while I watched a popular show, or after I visited some institution's official website. They occurred to me while I contemplated these issues on my own accord. Sure, I may also work, walk, bike, jog, while doing the thinking/evaluating, but none of those activities qualify for "Garbage In" any more than mere breathing does.

Inmendham would have us believe that cultural hypnosis is public enemy number one as it relates to his overarching mission statement, and this only strengthens my argument for why he has a highly caricatured view of the process of belief. 

More can be said on this, but I’ll reserve that for another post as well, as I’ve already vacuumed out the substance of "Why don't people lament the absence of life on all other planets?" with a simple counter-question.



K. 'Zero-Sum Game' as a Post-Natal Proposition

This one’s provocative enough to the point where the public at large would benefit from being exposed to it. It’s crucial to remain weary of the controversy that has arisen and that will undoubtedly continue to arise (and dominate the conversation) should interlocutors continuously neglect that this argument exists in the following two incarnations which must be kept separate: 

(1) Pre-existent subjects’ postulated need fulfillment as zero-sum.

(2) Extant subjects’ need fulfillment as zero-sum. 

I will be tackling # 2 only, as Natalists’ attempts to discredit # 1 are laugh worthy. Some Natalists glancely deny that anyone would even try to discredit # 1, but the popularity of statements like “Life is a giftundermines this subtle backtracking.

Extinctionists pointing to # 2 as inerrable don't appreciate that they not only partially hinge on personal accounts of sensorial states, but they peddle it as essential criteria.

If the zero-sum proposition is an unadulterated truth, it's right up there as one of the most unverifiable truths of all time. There's no such thing as sensorial conventional wisdom. We're not dealing with physiology here. We're extrapolating, which warrants speaking from personal experience, so I'll have to remind readers that impulsively throwing a red-flag on anecdotes is where the true foul actually lies. This is because the zero-sum theory, though numeric in title, doesn't rest upon any actual mathematical traceability, and instead pleads for personal accounts of sensations from pillar to post.

It’s not my intent to disprove that most base ‘positives’ are pursued out of pre-existing deprivations. My understanding is that many 'zero-sum' detractors do actually deny this, and it's no coincidence that the ones who deny it with the most vehemence are also the very people who have the most contempt for Inmendham. Their unwillingness to concede the basics will not preoccupy my time at this stage. My intent is simply to remind readers of the many exceptions to this rule, by appealing to anecdotes.

In what world can an outside observer falsify that a given experience was an intrinsic positive – on account of reoccurring deprivation – when engagement in the activity was incidental to begin with; predicated by circumstances utterly disconnected from anything that can be dubbed a ‘pre-existing need’? Let’s return to comedy as an illustrator. Laughter gives us a type of high which in no demonstrable way precedes ‘hungry/horny/ego’ classification indulgences that need to be satiated in the first place. This is especially true of unintentional comedy; A brand of funny that catches us off guard and by definition cannot be purposely sought out. We can go for an eternity without subjecting ourselves to unintentional humour and still not be deprived of it. But when this humour jumps out at us, it lends a positive vibe to our experiential state. Inmendham believes that he has successfully refuted this as well, by pithily theorizing that the organism evolved to function in such a way so as to be everlastingly burdened in some abstract way. These burdens stem not just from cravings for conical fulfillments, but by the very nature of the organism’s evolutionary function, according to Inmendham.

To get around the sort of ‘unneeded positive’ example I just invoked, he proposes that we’ve gotten so accustomed to our ‘minus’ riddled state to where it fails to even register with us. This evolutionary bamboozlement furnishes our misconception of neutrality. The DNA molecule's swindling runs so deep in us that it masks the bondage concealed beneath the surface, meaning that laughter stemming from unintentional comedy still amounts to the subject merely “climbing out of the ditch” even though the subject didn’t feel any need to laugh in the first place. In short, this view would have us believe that “need fulfillment” doesn’t require a specific need in order to qualify as “need fulfillment”. My-my, how evolutionarily erudite. This is where Inmendham freudianly projects the unfortunate ‘minuses’ constantly chewing on him, allowing for his conclusion that everyone else must've been stricken with the same hurdles, by mere design. Pointing this out may come off as condescending at first glance, but it doesn't translate to shooting the messenger. My aim is to demonstrate why the possibility of uncontaminated 'pluses' runs so contrary to the bread-and-butter of Inmendham's outlook. His personal depression was the chicken, not the egg, of his take on humans’ collective disposition. He views it in the opposite order, and naturally goes on to treat firsthand accounts of ‘plus’ experiences with derision, regardless of what those experiences are made out of. It's a foundational structure dripping in duplicity, given his expectation that everyone else would be irrational to recoil at his own firsthand encounter with suffering as evidence that suffering sucks and to from there assign an invariable ‘zero-sum’ numeral model to this revelation.

The same can be said for consumption. Just the other day at work, I didn't have a sweet tooth for anything. Food was the last thing on my mind. My co-worker returned from his lunch break and, out of nowhere, dropped off a few doughnuts on my desk, telling me they're all mine as he was stuffed. I initially declined the offer because I was stuffed myself and the thought of eating anything seemed off-putting. He kept insisting that I have some, so I had one and incidentally ended up enjoying it. I didn't need it. I didn't think about having it in the minutes or even seconds leading up to my decision to have one. I only had it because I wanted my co-worker to shut the hell up and quit pestering me about it. And no, the doughnut tasting good had nothing to do with my knowledge that my co-worker would stop nagging me thereafter. Anyone who hears personal testimonies like this one and still adheres to an absolute take on zero-sum math in relation to # 2, is beyond incredulous.

A noteworthy observation:

Earlier this year, one of Inmendham's TinyChat regulars told him that he wished he was asexual, as he's fed up with licentious distractions getting in the way of his daily routine. Inmendham responded to this with bewilderment, stating “Pussy is the only thing keeping me in the game” and eventually pointing out that if it weren't for his lustful fantasies, he would really bail from this shithole. I find it impossible to make sense of this, because Inmendham's zero-sum overview indicates that he understands the mechanics of desire fulfillment. What would give him cause to believe that, as an asexual, he'd somehow feel a void because of this hypothesized absence of lust? If Inmendham understands impeccably, as his videos suggest he does, that individuals who are disinterested in watching sports aren’t haunted by feelings of desolateness due to their disinterest, why is he reluctant to draw the same inference with respects to a hypothetical absence of sexual vigour? Whether we're discussing a Yankees' fanatic who paints his face throughout the MLB playoffs, or a womanizing philanderer, the desire mechanism is the same; Once effectively lost, it won't be missed. Inmendham himself has stopped watching sports and hasn't missed them one iota henceforth. The same would be true of his hypothetical asexuality, of any other man’s hypothetical asexuality, or of any nymphomaniac's sexuality that goes by the wayside and never reemerges. If not, then why? 

This eroticism/sports inconsistency is further examined in Section "Hedonism". I hate to have to pounce on this, but Inmendham really steps into quicksand with some of the things he points out in TinyChat.

In any event, whether life is a zero-sum game or not doesn't even interfere with my contention that adults of sound mind ought to expose themselves to risk and suffer if they so please, assuming they don't have societal obligations in the form of debt or children for whom they are responsible.



L. “You can’t win” vs. Crude Literalism

First off, even if we grant the “win/loss” facet of life to be its chief descriptor, the inferences will remain unconvincing. Inmendham claims “You can’t gain *real* victory by imposing loss on something of equal value to yourself” which means that we’re right back to the There’s no *I* in Sentience mode of wishfulness. Setting aside for the moment the intractability of such an overambitious equalization of players on the chessboard, how is the quoted statement any different than saying one doesn’t *really* compete for a trophy because seizing trophies leads to others not seizing them? By winning, the winner literally gets the prize. Inmendham’s taking issue with this shows me that he’s not crazy about militant literalism in macro contexts, and applies lofty symbolism in its defiance, observed best with his metaphoric usage of the word reincarnation. This comes across as more desperate than incisive.

Every sentient being is vulnerable to drawing short straws and suffering, but this is just one measurement of value/disvalue. It’s myopic to infer that every loser/winner is of equal value based on that isolated quality and to marginalize the contest itself by overemphasizing sentience’s collective vulnerability to loss. It’s also fallacious to ignore the existence of varying pain thresholds amid the losers, since many of them have been apathetic to their losses, as noted in many of the above sections.

Secondly, and perhaps more on point: Believing that one’s life is an ordeal to be won or lost is a juvenile outlook, often pitched by ‘evo-psych’ hardliners. Inmendham is in lovely company here. In my experience, people who pick up on the blatant pseudo-science that infiltrates much of modern day ‘evo-psych’ are generally the ones who don’t lose sleep over their status. In other words, wins and losses are often thought of as ingredients, not the main course. This is not to imply that "Life is a journey, not a destination" as that saying is inane in its own right. It’s possible to protest unscientific 'evo-psych' narratives telling us that subjects’ lives can be summarized under a win/loss (alpha/beta) spectrum, and still come away having no use for the journey over the destination, just as we have no use for keeping up with the Joneses. The burdens often carried as a result of the drastically heavier losses shouldn’t be underdiscussed, and such burdens are certainly not undervalued in societies that provide safety-nets ensuring that no one loses too hard. Though many of those social programs are prone to creating additional losers unless properly managed and safeguarded, ideally by offering monetary incentives to responsible losers who manage to put a cork in it (not to be confused with Inmendham's Orphanage Proposal). But I digress.

The other problem arises with Inmendham flat out mocking those who have tried to outline what the criteria for victory could ever be, sans virtual reality. Inmendham contends that victory – or merely non-loss – can only rear its head under perfectionism, by which he means a superlative satisfaction of needs/wants. So if we were to win within predetermined VR, the loss would be imposed not on actual subjects, but on figments of our imagination. All losses would therefore be unreservedly tolerable.

In principle, VR is the paragon of sensorial fail-safeness. In practice, I imagine that the upper class will soon be at the brink of living out this lifestyle (assuming some of them aren't there already). For a while now I've been curious as to whether my lambasting VR criteria on account of a handful of contrary values would prompt allegations of schadenfreude at my expense. A moment's thought should be enough to dispel this indictment. Exhibiting at worst a disdain (and at best aloofness) towards the pursuit of “Perfection Prizes” dangled in front of me by the allure of VR would naturally result in me not obtaining those prizes either, meaning that any charges of schadenfreude would be deplorably misplaced. My aim would never be to deny VR enthusiasts access to VR. My sole concern lies with subjects being coerced into it, on account of it being fail-safe and by extension marginally more rational.

If we place all our value chips in the sensorial bucket, we revert back to square one with the unwillingness to grant differentiations between trivial and non-trivial harms a seat at the table. We would also have to go back to omitting pain threshold variance among individuals, rather than leaving it up to each individual, insofar as whether they'd like to strap themselves to VR based on their own assessment of risk-aversion versus the preservation of raw experiences. Adrenaline junkies will likely choose the latter, and they're not necessarily deluded – or in any way less in touch with reality – because of their choice. Inmendham believes that they are, because he views the value of sentient organisms through the merged lens of ‘evo-psych’ and ‘zero-sum’, which is to supersede the irrational preferences held by the organisms themselves.

It is precisely the existence of unbalanced pain thresholds – which I apply more profoundly to physical hardship than emotional hardship – that puts the icing on the cake as it relates to my rejection of Natalism. It’s not the groundwork; it’s just the final nail in Natalism’s coffin. To speak nonchalantly about non-trivial physical hardship is to blithely whitewash the nadir of every genetics recipient whose parents’ DNA dice-roll resulted in snake eyes. This irreconcilable practice is tolerated by the public at large simply because few of us ever drew straws which are that short. Note that I’m using “drawing straws” primarily as an idiom for birth defects. The fact that most readers have drawn marginally or substantially longer straws, is incidental. It’s only proper to experience unsettledness when seeing a certain percentage of the population – those who actually regret their birth for personal reasons, rather than philosophical or essentialist reasons – being made into sacrificial lambs in the name of human progress or any other ‘greater good’ mission.

As for why this shouldn’t box us in to a favouring of extinction as Desired Outcome, scroll back up to Section F. Review the segment scrupulously and it will be discernible why apathy towards extinction is not puzzling or self-contradictory, though it’s easy to see why outsiders would be nonplussed by it at first glance. Extinction would currently fall into by-product territory, meaning that our protesting of Natalism isn’t vectored towards a deliberate instalment of ‘Extinction’ any more than our refusal to bathe in scalding hot water is a stance against cleanliness. The water is bound to cool down soon enough.

How does any of this relate to Inmendham’s “you can’t win“ ventures into evo-psych? Getting to the meat and bones of the itemization above calls for an acknowledgement of the elements of 'Justified Selfishness' on both sides of the aisle, followed by the recognition of pesky grey area trade-offs as it relates to "imposing on the imposers". It’s a concession Inmendham wants no part of, as it would prompt deviation from other comfort zones, like the insipid belief that winners don’t really win because they go on to become worm food decades later, or because the record-book where all wins/losses have been etched will itself one day evaporate along with everything else on the planet. True, the trophy won’t be around forever and neither will its rightful owner, but no one has deconstructed how these truths in any way sever the ephemeral positives embedded in crude practices, like the vanquishing of an irredeemable rival on an equal playing field.

Contrastingly, whitewashers of non-trivial suffering employ their own banalities like “We must look forward, not backward”, “What’s done is done”, “The past is dead”, as if looking back on horrid events – or even dwelling on them when they hit close to home – amounts to a disorderly fetish for defeatism. The lesson I take away from all this is that we mustn’t denounce thought-processes that downplay long gone positives, while simultaneously propping up ones that focus on long gone negatives. And vice-versa.

Double-edged swords seem to be a reoccurring feature here, as we begin to see facets of invasiveness tied to the ultimatum where every citizen either does or does not have an ethical obligation to abandon ship effective immediately so that subjects who will lose (and lose hard) don’t have to deal with their shortcomings in the immediate future.

Despite being quick to point out the presence of multi-edged self-interest, I see no reason to be disconcerted by it. Under any panoramic overview, self-interest has to exist either way, whether from Natalists obnoxiously presuming their progeny will enjoy submitting to their companionship and values for 18-21 years, or from AntiNatalists like myself who would oblige the majority to stop transmitting their genes on newborns because a minority of those newborns will go on to be dissatisfied with their lot in life and/or with their familial ties. So even in the face of bilateral selfishness, we can maintain a stalwart stance against Natalism, instead of clinging to the view that every imposition matching our preferences is 100% ethical while the impositions matching the preferences of Natalists are 100% unjustifiable. Again, this same unwillingness to grant the dead-end ‘Catch 22’ a seat at the table is even more prevalent amongst Natalists and their sophist apologists, then it is with Inmendham et al.

I can see how my ultimate siding with fail-safeness, which is inimical to Natalism, might in some readers’ eyes render the above talk on impositions and “victories vs. losses” as incongruous. So, for more on impositions, skip ahead to sections O and P where I delve into the disparity of impositions' weight and explain why I consider Natalists to be the bigger offenders. My intent isn't to leave anyone with the impression that this is a ''50/50'' type deal, so please don't mistake the commentary in this Section for a If-By-Whiskey fallacy or anything of the sort.



M. 'Moral Nihilism' and 'Defeatism' are disjointed

Inmendham contends that evidence of ‘Moral Realism’ can be found in the mere recognition of an inescapably apparent answer to a deliberately simplistic question that one would have to be clinically insane to tip-toe around. So when faced with an open-and-shut case in deciding between two extremes – like the creation of a world where all sentient organisms do nothing but suffer horribly, versus the creation of a world where all sentient organisms exist in a perpetual state of euphoria – Inmendham affirms that picking the wrong answer would earn the picker a seat at the counterfactual table. This specious line of thinking resonates with us greatly, but is regrettably, in the end, not how falsification works. In any pensive field of study, standardization is not accrued based on whatever it is that experts are capable of crafting transiently from the crudest of baselines.

What would Inmendham (and those who echo his open-and-shut case) say when faced with die-hard Da Vinci fanatics who boisterously insist that setting the Mona Lisa right next to a toddler's squalid finger-painting establishes precedent for 'Art Realism' that doesn’t hinge on one's taste, because it's just so bloody obvious that one of those two paintings is superior to the other? What about a Beethoven enthusiast stacking the hauntingly lustrous “Moonlight Sonata” composition up against Federline's “Playing with Fire” abomination of a record, and using the manifest disparity in quality to set a standard for 'Music Realism' that seeks to dismantle the sacred cow of taste reliance? I've never actually encountered such people, mind you. I'm just using idealized examples as analogies to the 'Moral Realism' precedent Inmendham believes to have set by comparing worlds of abject misery to worlds of ice cream treats and orgy fests. If the intuitive obviousness is enough to set precedent for the latter, then why quell the wrath of descriptivism in relation to the former (Art/Music)? Or maybe Inmendham is also a ‘Music Realist’ and an 'Art Realist’, having procrastinated in publicly outing himself as one. And if he isn’t – that is, if he acknowledges the prescriptivism in inaugurating a rank order as it relates to music/art qualities – then he should explain what specifically curtails the nexus when it comes to our notional escapades in the ethics department.

For 'Moral Realism' to ring true here, we would have to redefine the word ‘ethics’ in such a way so as to tether it exclusively with ‘Well-Being’. This is a venture Sam Harris prominently embarked on three years ago, with the curious aid of neuroscience. Harris, for all his troubles, is not guilty of Inmendham's encroachments by any stretch, as Harris repeatedly emphasizes that he accepts the legitimacy of several ascending peaks on the "moral landscape", as he puts it. Harris allows for these varying peaks without attempting to prescribe a univocal pecking order among them. In light of this, he comes across as a rather meek defender of 'Moral Realism', which is one of the reasons why 'The Moral Landscape' won't garner a negative reaction from me (it's actually a great read). Unfortunately, Harris' redefining of 'ethics' or 'morality' to make it coincide with 'Well-Being' apparatus, would leave us concluding that schemes like "religious morality" are misnomers. Indeed, how could religious morality be anything other than a linguistic mirage, clinically speaking? Religious doctrines often have nothing to do with the well-being of sentient creatures (Christianity's Commandments one through four being the prime examples). Aligning the recipe for well-being with the (previously unidentified) objective of ethics is a reasonable thing to do, but we must remain mindful that this alliance is prescriptive and cannot falsify even the most inane of religious moralities. Given that my sole quibble with the case put forth by Harris revolves around that first tiny misstep he took, let's return to our primary offender.

Inmendham is quick to challenge Moral Nihilists by stressing that, if all wrongs are clinically unfalsifiable, where do any of us get off imposing our judgement on others?

Let's try it like this:

Both Inmendham and I are evidently Cultural Nihilists. That is to say, there is no culture any society or huddled group of mammals has ever formed, or could ever aspire to create, that would give us cause to be enthralled by it, or to regard it as an innately special culture (or even worse, an innately precious culture). In that sense, ‘Moral Nihilism’ and ‘Cultural Nihilism’ can be viewed as one of the same. At the same time, I prefer exorbitantly Western Cultures, modernized over atavistic, urbanized over bucolic, technological over tribal, etc. I'd peg Inmendham's Cultural preferences as more or less the same. That said, does our Cultural Nihilism make it irrational for us to hold the above cultural preferences? Is Inmendham required to earnestly pledge allegiance to the West in light of his preference for the West, in contrast to the rest? Would we, as Cultural Nihilists, be illogical to tempestuously wage war against invasive proponents of Islamic expansionism merely because the spreading of Western Culture around the globe doesn't strike us as an intellectually defensible mission to begin with?

How exactly would this be uncalled for, even without the pretext of National defense? If one disfavours existence under Islamized culture, one is well within reason to see such a culture stifled within one's proximity, even if this entails fortification. This justification is, in a nutshell, analogous to Ethical Nihilists’ vested participation in value oriented discourse. Inmendham finds this most perplexing, given his bizarre conclusion that 'Moral Nihilism' should lead to moral apathy, or some combination of fatalism and defeatism.

This bears a striking resemblance to the caricatured perception of Agnosticism that paints all Agnostics with the same brush. Very few Agnostics actually hold the belief that the likelihood of God's existence is literally 50/50, since the subdivisions are comprised of (1) Agnostic Atheists, (2) Agnostic Theists, (3) Agnostic Deists, (4) Agnostic Pantheists, (5) Gnostic Atheists, (6) Gnostic Theists, (7) Gnostic Deists, (8) Gnostic Pantheists.

Nothing prevents the Agnostic from subscribing to positions one through four. I’ve never actually met an Agnostic who believes that the likelihood of God's existence is precisely 50/50. Likewise, very few Nihilists think it necessary to remain equidistant from subscribing to Consequentialism or Deontology or Virtue Ethics, just because they're Nihilists on a clinical level.

This is not so much of a defense of the accuracy of ‘Moral Nihilism’ as it is a dispelling of the hypocrisy charge levied at Ethical Nihilists who defend the values they hold in the face of committed opponents holding decisively contrasting values. Inmendham views their efforts as doublethink, once the discourse is tailored to ethics, but not cultures. I believe that the Ethics/Cultures divide in his thinking arises out of him striving to be correct about things; but not all things, just things that resonate deeply. Having our values challenged by obdurate dissenters tends to educe hostile reactions in us which (on a visceral level) reinforces our belief that the values we hold are true in the way that 2+2=4 is true. Enter 'The Backfire Effect'. Had Inmendham not suffered in his personal life to the extent that he has in his darkest hours, chances are that he wouldn't hold his value system so deeply and would be able to pick up on the obstreperous ethics/cultures interconnectivity I just glossed over.

Notions of value based hierarchies – much like notions of innate hierarchies in cultural quality – have always been the notional product of our intuitional proclivities. Ethics/Values are not out there to be discovered. They are concepts, and they can be said to matter, but strictly within the temple of cognition. Inmendham tediously confuses this for "the stupid witness argument" by which he means an external observer. He assumes that this is what his opposition is insisting upon as a mandatory component for suffering to matter. How Inmendham manages to arrive at that, I do not know, given that the sufferer is always the cognitive witness to his/her own suffering, leaving behind not a single occurrence of suffering without its rightful registrar and immediately ruling out the need for any outside observer whose participation Inmendham doltishly believes Nihilists are fixated on. I’m yet to run into a single irreligious ethicist who would object to this assessment. The exception would be Inmendham and those who’ve developed the unfortunate habit of listening to him on a routine basis, as though he still offered novelties every week. The point of interjecting with “matters to you” is simply to remind the Moral Realist that thoughts don’t create reality, no matter how punctilious they're capable of being. So say it with me now:

Reality doesn’t do ‘ought’ 

For adherents of mechanistic materialism (physicalism), ethics, by categorization, can only aspire to be notions of ought. Being conceptual, Oughts unfortunately can’t corroborate with anything outside the mind. Oughts aren’t indistinguishable with bestial bodily sensations, meaning that all our attempts to forge a system of Oughts to conform to ordinal qualia, are a fool’s errand. To use an everyday example: An individual can suffer mildly, be the lone witness to his/her own mild suffering, and still not believe "I ought not have suffered just now". In all such instances, there’s nothing a single moral theorist has ever envisaged as intrinsically part of reality that suggests this pointless morsel of endured suffering will – in some capacity or at some later stage – be viewed as event that ought not have taken place. This elementary recognition runs contrary to what any net-equationist benchmark would have thinkers believe, peddled by anti-literalistic pseudo wisdom along the lines of "Our productivity will be symbolically written on our tombstones once we perish". This is embarrassing. I honestly feel embarrassed every time I hear Inmendham utter sentences similar to this one, because you just know that he genuinely finds remarks of this nature to have intellectual rigor. But it's downright painful to listen to for materialists (physicalists). Add in the fact that he himself is an authentic materialist – staunchly opposed to the supernatural and the paranormal – and devising such sentences teeters even closer to incongruity.

A more crass analogy can be made by looking at forms of humour. Our point of reference can be a chap named Bob. For reasons entirely impermeable to Bob, certain schools of comedy resonate with Bob’s funny bones more than others, his favourite being unapologetic dark humour. Let’s say that the year is 1953 and all comedians’ stage work is never recorded, meaning that the creative content isn’t distributed worldwide, unlike in 2013. In light of this, the only way for admirers of stand-up comedy to expose themselves to comedians’ performances is by going to comedy clubs. As someone who prefers ‘Gallows Humour’ above all else, Bob has a propensity to see only the comedians whose material consists of truculent attack comedy, as seen in roasts.

Bob has also noticed that there are five other comedy enthusiasts living in his district, all of whom harbour either hostile or indifferent attitudes towards dark humour and in its place prefer dry humour, observational humour, family-friendly humour, etc. They also happen to be very charismatic and hell bent on pimping the qualities of their respective tastes in order to aggregate a large enough buzz and sway their favourite comedians to perform for the district they (and Bob) occupy. The venues in their shared region are booked to the rafters and reserved for other forms of entertainment, save for one club, on one night, for a few hours.

According to Inmendham's stringent "Unless you believe it’s true, you got no business proselytizing it" standards, the reasonable thing for Bob to do here would be to just sit back and let the five of them vie for this open spot, given Bob’s knowledge of the fact that his taste in comedy has arbitrarily clung itself onto his psychology and is in no verifiable way superior to anyone else’s. Inmendham sees no reason to, in principle, differentiate between hardline selfishness and the type of 'Justified Self-Interest' described in Section C. Consequently, all Bob would be doing by clamouring for his own comedical preferences is committing the mortal sin of selfishness, as per Inmendham’s value surmise. But if this is to be the barrier, Bob’s five antagonists are just as guilty of trespassing as Bob is, so to sit back and watch as they sway the market share in their favour would be docile and just make Bob a push-over. Why should Bob be their chump? According to the wisdom in statements like “The needs of the many outweigh the needs to the few”, Bob should be their chump because he recognizes that the people who prefer a family-friendly comedian for this venue collectively eclipse his own preference for a 'Gallows Humour' comedian.

It’s easy to mistake my belief that Bob should follow through with his comedical tastes despite their lack of popularity, for the belief that democracy itself should be scrapped altogether, so I will offer an essential disclaimer: None of this is to suggest that taste in comedy and notions of right/wrong on a political sphere impact sentience in the same magnitude (‘Trivial Harm’ versus ‘Non-Trivial Harm’). The analogy’s aim was solely to shed light on the fact that both are equidistant from falsification, and are not to be placed in the realm of truth reserved for anything that's breathing down the neck of the hard sciences.

This is why democracy – with civil precepts – was initially conceived, which Inmendham is sort of kind of a fan of (IE: Social Contract < Real Value). He’s on record as supporting the democratic process only because he’s aware that he won’t be obtaining dictatorial powers anytime soon; powers he'd joyfully bask in if available, as he doesn’t really support democracy out of principle. Neither do I. We both placate democracy out of political tact, since we’re in a bind. I actually believe that the overwhelming majority of the electorate are proto-miscreants to some degree, given how drenched in inane traditional values so many majority-backed vice crime laws are. The catch is: While many advocates of the “democracy-as-lesser-of-evils” theory pay lip service to its advertised virtuousness, few actually believe that it’d be equitable to obstruct its process through despotic means simply because they’re confident that they’re right and the majority is wrong, the way Inmendham does. As long as the policies being voted on don’t violate the noted ‘civil precept’ clause, obstructing the democratic process to overturn said vice crime policies will not be endorsable in my view.

Inmendham’s attempts to disclaim the merit of these analogies will see him tumultuously stressing that there can only ever be one reality. As an Ontological Realist, I concur. Reality is not formed by perception. When it’s all said and done, there will be traces of multi-layered chains of damn near infinitesimal events which have taken place, and every forlorn permutation will be fully subject to overview via empiricism (assuming a brain remains active in purgatory in order to recount the recorded events). Currently, Inmendham and I have differences as it relates to how some of these future events ought to go down, but this doesn’t mean that any of our notionally driven theorizing will be complimentary towards known reality once all the event chains have played out; Things that actually occur, as opposed to things that we believe ought to have occurred. After all, there's a reason why history is taught in accordance to actual events, as opposed to preferable events. When we describe what actually occurs, we are describing reality. When we describe what we believe ought to have occurred in the past, or what we believe ought to occur in the future, we are prescribing ethics. The elemental reality/morality drift becomes unavoidable once we accept that thoughts alone don’t create reality – an uncontroversial qualifier in materialist (physicalist) circles. With this in mind, any clamorous contention that 'Moral Realism' is a critical component of the belief that one version of reality exists, will be seen as facile. 'Moral Realism' and 'Ontological Realism' are not tied at the hip. The same is true of 'Moral Nihilism' and 'Axiological Nihilism'.

Inmendham has also concocted a hilarious conspiracy theory about Nihilists, positing that the only way people arrive at 'Moral Nihilism' is through a deep seeded yearning to escape being pestered by their own callowness or anti-social behaviour. Under this canard, Moral Nihilism is akin to moral cowardice. Apparently, Nihilists just don't want the ballache that comes with being constrained by any moral rule, primarily the rules telling them that they can't be selfish. With this, Inmendham's regulars pat him on the back and assume that he has gotten to the bottom of another one. He says this, and follows it with his patented "Of all the whack jobs out there, I've never thought that I'd have to deal with these Nihilists. Before I got on YouTube, I always thought that Nihilism was just a psychiatric disorder". This was from the 2013-06-09 TinyChat session, but he says it all the time. It reminds me of Steve Harvey's televised reaction to the existence of Atheists, from a few years ago. Inmendham has never bothered to diligently read up on arguments in favour of any form of Nihilism, much in the way the hyperlinked interview here shows that Harvey hasn't done with arguments in favour of Atheism. Either that, or they both get so worked up whenever the respective subject matter is broached around them, to the point where they can't help but go straight for the ad-homs, replete with the assigning of ulterior motives to Atheism or Nihilism adherents. These baseless assumptions, while laughable, are also cringe worthy when we consider that Inmendham does have a measure of influence on a few dozen decent people and has managed to persuade them that 'Moral Nihilism' can effectively be summed up as a shallow escapism decadent reprobates cling to as a feel-good drug.

Contrary to the defamation Inmendham has spread in regards to motives behind a disavowing of Moral Realism, I can vouch that dropping Moral Realism was not something I ever wanted to do. It was a bitter pill at the time I swallowed it. To see it spun in this cartoonish way by a guy who views himself as the only practitioner of rational philosophizing, is a rotten thing to behold.

Inmendham is militantly incredulous here. He doesn't just decry claims like “There’s no such thing as a moral fact”, he outright struggles to avoid going into frenzies over it, and mostly fails to maintain composure. Just watch a few of minutes of any video where he offers counterarguments to a robust moral skeptic and it will be evident that the mere contemplation of the legitimacy behind the irresolvability of absolute ethical codes leaves Inmendham in a state of discomfort. His intellectualized intolerance of non-cognitivism (expressivism) is rooted in his finding non-cognitivism (expressivism) intuitively off putting, which is understandable. Though it is quizzical how, for all his mockery of pagans, phantasmagoricals, spiritualists and other atheists who lean towards life-affirming optimism in the slightest way, Inmendham is too a wishful-thinker when it comes to his notional proclivities in the ministry of ethics.

Tangent alert:

No post of mine referencing ethics would be complete without me redundantly going over the garish distinction between ‘mind-dependent’ and ‘biased’ for the umpteenth time, and how the two are not synonyms among themselves, while they’re both synonymous with the word 'subjective'. Apologies to long-time readers, but here goes:

The word ‘subjective’ can be inserted as a placeholder for both 'mind-dependent' and 'biased', while mind-dependency doesn't necessarily translate over to a 'bias' synonym. It’s the number one reason to disband the subjective/objective phraseology.

I still make it a point to occasionally take peeks at comment sections of popular videos on ethics, only to find that people are still not even agreeing on the terminology that they continue applying while assuming their combatants have accepted it. A colossal waste of time. 

Ridding ourselves of the ‘mind-dependent / mind-independent’ dichotomy, and focusing in on the ‘biased / unbiased’ dichotomy, I am left with no reason to repudiate the existence of unbiased (or marginally less/more biased, if you prefer) views of ethicality, and posit that varying levels of cognitive-bias/non-bias-glued-to-moral-acts shouldn't be thrown out side by side with the implausibility of mind-independent ethics, much like a baby with the bathwater. This is why I'm still hesitant to stick the 'Moral Nihilism' or 'Moral Relativism' label on myself, despite having relinquished the 'Moral Realism' label years ago. I imagine this apprehension is slated to remain intact as long as contrived equalization of all cognitive bias/unbias levels remains prevalent among steadfast relativists.



N. Non-Rational =/= Irrational

I’ve never seen Inmendham differentiate the two. He’s been riding the renowned rational/irrational duality pony from the inception of his YouTube run, and likely from the very origin of his now fully devised value thesis. But is the ‘non-rational’ really synonymous with ‘irrational’? The statement “Life is a gift”, or its foe “Life is an infestation”, cannot be dressed up as rational or irrational statements. This doesn't mean that you yourself cannot judge life or Natural Selection for throwing snake-eyes your way. In fact, I encourage such discernment, just not on a panoramic level.

Stripping away all generous concessions to first principles, the two statements can be seen as belonging squarely in the realm of 'non-rational'. My choosing to write this treatise is also a non-rational activity (I’m just wasting my time) but it’s not irrational either as I don’t feel overwhelmingly burdened by the endeavour and have some free time on my hands. But let’s assume that I did feel particularly burdened by the task. I’d be generating a bit more ‘net minus’ into the atmosphere due to this self-imposed burden. Would that make the pursuit an irrational one? Does the fact that I could be spending this free time preoccupying myself with more fruitful pursuits – or by directly reducing someone else’s suffering – make my opting not to do so irrational? No. Even by most ethicists’ own axioms, most of the things we do are not irrational. They’re just non-rational.

Inmendham will likely read the above paragraph and still contend that the statement "Life is a dumb soap opera" transcends ‘non-rational’ boundaries and merits the title of ‘rational’, so let’s extensively examine "Life is a dumb soap opera" sayings. Soaps are known to be melodramatic. The popularity of soaps suggests that melodramatic fiction entices the public at large. Six years of video evidence indicates that Inmendham is highly melodramatic as well. There’s a good possibility that Inmendham has taken his own reaction to the malefic chore that life can be and has latently projected it onto everyone else's lives by insisting that they too cannot unhinge themselves from living the sort of emotionalist bound life that he's led. But many people have freed themselves from their emotionalism and egocentrism. Managing that lifestyle can be fulfilling, depending on one’s psychology.

What better way to emancipate ourselves from the dionysian beastie ingrained in us than by learning about Natural Selection and intellectually humiliating the very traps it sets for us. Peremptorily telling everyone that they're helpless against their own beastly entrapment is no different than telling drug addicts that they will always be slaves to their drug addiction no matter what they do. This entrapment has sunk its claws into Inmendham, not all of humanity. Many have no use for superficial desire fulfilment and manage to find satisfaction in a knowledge-oriented lifestyle, free of egomaniacal obstacles. It’s true that we barely see these people, but that’s because they’re not narcissists, so they’re not “in our face” about anything they do. Inmendham is unaware of what goes on in these people's heads, yet he remains unwilling to entertain the possibility that they are genuinely content. Accepting this – even as a feasibility – runs contrary to much of what Inmendham has experienced during his attempts to mold himself into a polar opposite of the Tarzan replica he fancied himself as being during his eccentric youth. Those who pejoratively spout "hungry/horny/ego" slogans have failed to provide even a shred of evidence backing up their accusation that practitioners of secular asceticism only fool themselves into thinking that they’re genuinely content. People don’t even have to adhere to secular asceticism in the first place in order to reprioritize their approach so that their daily routine resembles none of the narcissism which Inmendham despises. Why should this be an afterthought? Is it because only an infinitesimal minority of humans have succeeded in pulling it off? By the same token, only a minority of humans have partaken in unsolicited acts of prolonged torture. Does this mean that they should also be an afterthought in the grand scheme of things? Of course not. They represent the worst of the worst, and practitioners of irreligious asceticism represent the best of the best. 

We must also take dissimilarities between Type 1 and Type 2 thinking into consideration. Had every human been stuck in a perpetual cycle of Type 1 thinking, then I would place the statement "Life is worth living" straight into the 'irrational' territory. Many humans are not stuck in this cycle, having auspiciously rifted forth towards daily Type 2 thinking, and haven't looked back. For more on these subsystems and mismatches, go here. I’ve only scratched the surface of this and will leave it at that, given the loaded nature of the post.




O. Non-Impositions? ("We're not on a rescue mission")

One of the points Inmendham made in his last round of replies to me which I never got around to addressing (until now) is that "An imposition can only be an imposition when what's being imposed is irrational". I'm not making this up. Inmendham actually said this, point blank, with 100% candidness. 

Allow me to get this straight: An imposition is an imposition only when the perpetrator is gunning to impose something in order to serve irrational ends? How is this any different from saying theft is only theft when the thief irrationally spends the stolen money? If the thief spends the money rationally (perhaps on a great cause that focuses on cures in lieu of band aids, where the cures ultimately circumvent sum total suffering) while the money's rightful owner would've just pissed it away by gambling, then it can be said that the thief didn't really steal anything? This, folks, is the embodiment of self-comforting mental gymnastics at work. Inmendham essentially wants to privatize the gains of his value economics and collectivize the losses (or just fully negate the losses) by attributing all loses to something only the irrational detractors can ever be guilty of. Again, please go through his videos in the sourced playlist above to verify that what I wrote here is attributable to statements he’s made and that I'm not just inventing positions for him. His argument was, in fact, this anomalous.

In his defense, he only resorted to this argument one time, during that exchange seven months ago where I pressed him on numerous Catch 22s. I've not seen him make it since, though he might have as I've not been keeping up with his uploads due to my embargo on 99.9% of YouTube content.

For a more pervasive example of impositions Inmendham either inadvertently omits or deliberately obfuscates, look no further than the following quote of his: 

"We're not on a rescue mission" 

If some Extinctionists find this to be a cardinal truth, they should also believe that mommy and daddy telling little Johnny "We had you because we just plain wanted to" is a profoundly worse excuse for breeding than mommy and daddy imperatively telling little Johnny the following:

"We had you so that you can be an efficient janitor when you grow up. Listen up Johnny, the human race is currently trying to reach 'Planet X' as we've discovered that sentience exists on it. This sentience is in need of salvaging, on account of the equal-opportunity indexing of wasted suffering. Current estimates on intergalactic space travel has humans slated to reach 'Planet X' during your lifetime, but not ours. So help save those precious commodities Johnny, you're obligated to". 

Both excuses amount to repugnant exploitation apologetics. With the exception of ‘Non-Trivial Harm’ oriented ultimatums, Little Johnny’s existence shouldn't be an apparatus towards a given end, whether that end be the satisfaction of his parents’ ego indulgences, or conjecturally saving sentient aliens from themselves. A damsel in distress on Jupiter would not change this, irrespective of how lop-sided some may find the two excuses to be. Exploitation is exploitation, even when we fancy ourselves as exploiting others for worthwhile causes. I'm not immune to this, but all exploitation culminating in a decline of what I've dubbed as 'Trivial Harm' is exploitation I'd undo if given the means to do so. Would Inmendham draw any such lines at 'Trivial Harm', or would he rather stick with dogged 'Total Consequentialism' vis a vis 'Negative Utilitarianism'?



P. Approved Impositions

For the most part, I’ve not shied away from expressing my willingness to impose my sense of ethical boundaries on others in the delicate instances I've deemed appropriate. The rationality of these impositions wouldn't morph my acts into anything other than direct impositions. Spewers of ‘anti-authoritarianism’ lingo passionately assert that the line between righteous freedom and freedumb is indeed drawn on the basis of ostensibly axiomatic “Natural Rights” theories (which are just ad-hoc religious declarations).

There is no absolute fine line, in actuality. There are arbitrary social contracts which can be accepted without written consent in the same manner that one either accepts the territorial fortuitousness of one’s birth, or has the onus of moving along to another region. Odds are that most readers of this blog have not been inundated with ideologies touting abstract ‘anti-authoritarian’ cornerstones and can therefore accept that societal interactions beget circumstances calling for the enforcement of behavioural restrictions (impositions) as a necessary evil. Unfortunately, Inmendham (along with most Natalist apologists, ironically) fails to grasp that impositions – enforceable laws or decisions made by one subject for another, like parents do with kids – of all strides are sparsely black/white and contain elements of trade-offs due to irreconcilable value turbulence that’s inevitable within condensed civil societies, where lots of people live… different people.

Inmendham’s opposition to natal based impositions (risk exposure) has me scratching my head because he himself has justified – in his previous replies to me – any imposition by direct route of procreation where the subject being "procreated on” turns out to be a philanthropist who goes on to trigger a chain of productive events (events that give rise to a subsiding of net harm). So when cornered by this example, Inmendham needs to admit that this particular natal imposition would be a necessary evil, rather than a "non-imposition" simply because a net-scaled reduction of suffering is *always* optimal, and therefore any contrary version of events is authentically less ethical and by proxy less rational. But he instead oversimplifies the turbulence and concludes that impositions can only ever exist as irrational acts. Balderdash.

Likewise, the pro-choice advocate citing "bodily autonomy!" as a categorical knockout argument against the implementation of even the meekest procreation restraints, is about as compelling as Propertarians' citing "bodily autonomy!" in opposition to minimum wage standards or labour laws in general, given that a specific (albeit small) percentage of the workforce – made up of individuals who "own” their bodies – forswear such authoritarian laws and insist that they would have been genuinely content entering employment contracts under less than stellar working conditions, but free from the chains of "big gov't" in a properly natural state of affairs (feudalism). If kowtowing to preggos out of respect for autonomy is prima facie nonnegotiable, one might expect the very same pro-choice advocates to be the first in line to protest any governmental meddling in worker/employer contractual negotiations, as such interference tramples on workers' autonomy. Yet somehow, most pro-choice advocates comfortably ignore the latter violation, revealing their principle of autonomy to be little more than a rhetorical maneuver.

It should come as no surprise that my unforgivably authoritarian take on reproductive rights (restraints) is about as humbled by sanctimonious appeals to bodily autonomy from the mouths of pro-choice advocates, rabid humanists, familial-collectivists, and Natalist apologists of all strides, as are our views on labour laws sedated by pious appeals to bodily autonomy from the mouths of Randians, Voluntarists, or manifold free/freed market enthusiasts.

As for how precisely far I take my willingness to impose restraints: Assuming bullet-proof implementation, purely for the sake of this example – and not because I’m under the illusion that implementation is always feasible – whenever carriers of heritable viruses like aids see fit to procreate, I wouldn't hesitate to impose on them by outlawing procreation for select carriers of genetically transferable defects, or those with a high likelihood of heritability. How does one justify this without venturing into eugenics? Simple. Had I been the recipient of my parents’ aids, their deliberate decision to spawn me would've been met with my unrelenting rancor. I would also condemn their society or customs for allowing them to spread such a virus willy-nilly. The fact that someone else was born to aids in place of myself, is adventitious.

Unfortunately, we must also remain heedful of those who haven't harboured much resentment for being the unlucky recipients of their parents' genetic defects. This throws a minor wrench in my deliberations, taking us right back to irredeemable trade-offs. I’ll once again side with individuals who would make a colossal enough fuss over their inherited defects, to the point where they’d rather not have been, regardless of whether they’re a minority within a minority (or a majority within that same minority). This higher deference, as it relates to their preferences, would establish policy precedent aimed at preventing genetically transferable defects from unfurling generationally. The lone exception to this would be the particular pregnancies caused by rape or deceit wherein the pregnant party does not intend to become pregnant. In all such cases, mandating the termination of the pregnancy, in direct contrast to the woman's wishes, would be deemed as more unjust compared to the acknowledged injustice of birthing subjects who go on to regret their birth. The aforementioned policies would therefore not apply to these select pregnancies.

All of this is fine and dandy given the "exemplary implementation" precept outlined two paragraphs above. Without this precept, consummating these laws would make about as much sense as advocating for tighter gun control laws in a country like America. There’s no telling what may come of it, as the boomerang effect is bound to rear its ugly head and dismantle our laborious efforts.

Taking it a step further, suppose we had a time portal (I know, idealized conditions again. Sue me) informing us of the perfectly healthy couples favoured by Natural Selection who will spawn individuals who, while genetically up to snuff, will nonetheless be slated to endure suffering drastic enough to leave them regretting their birth. In these cases, I would sanction the use of force to stop those fit couples from procreating as well. I would, however, not sanction the use of force to prevent couples from procreating in the instances leading to the birth of “I’d rather not have been” individuals who have comfy lives and only arrive at the “better never to have been” conclusion through philosophic means / existential angst, where no specific occurrence prompted the conclusion, unlike with the first example. This is because the damage has already been done with the former and suicide wasn't an option, while with the latter the opportunity to exit before things get ugly still presents itself. Naturally, assisted suicide would have to be legal in order for this exception to qualify.

Adding on another layer to it, fully content individuals who suddenly find themselves in a prolonged state of suffering – a state they wish to see end regardless of their otherwise happy life, but one they are physically unable to end due to the dilemmas having arisen in the form of paralysis, abduction/captivity, botched suicides, etc  I would use the time portal and apply force to stop the mating couple from spawning the subject in the first place. I would then laugh myself silly listening to Natalists tell me how I'm a despotic monster for having done so. Of course, you won't see any tomatoes thrown at me here, but that's only because my writings aren't published by high-traffic outlets like The New York Times. Had my podium been a mainstream one, such accusations would be levied at me in droves, mainly by those who fancy themselves as milquetoast moderates. We are to view pragmatism – uninfluenced by ideology – as residing exclusively with them. The clever ploy can be trounced if poked at long enough.

A considerable chunk of this batch reveres the natural process so patently, they would condemn the force used to retroactively undo the specific breeding I’ve narrowed in on, even when the breeding leads to those last scenarios (paralysis, abduction, botched suicides, etc.). These people’s chief strategy revolves around the fawning of tenuous moderation. They view themselves as polar opposites to people like me and abortion clinic bombers (false equivalence), tactful enough to pounce on AntiNatalism without offering a positive case for anything. This leaves the recipients of their underhanded criticism with the lovely task of arguing a phantom. Inmendham is all too quick to munch on this bait, devoting much attention to these people; Phantoms who make it a point to never come across as if they’re advocating for any brand of moralism or ideology, while combating someone else’s criticisms of conventional theories held by the public at large. Remember kids, The Phantom has nothing to prove. The Phantom is merely challenging extremists who've proposed something in place of nothing, for whom the moral onus is solely on. Hands wiped clean.

By accepting a conversational framework this lopsided, we have agreed to take a sword for every sword owned by our opponents, while also agreeing to sit idly by and gawk as these same opponents reach for some first grade steel-reinforced shields. Now charge!

The most comical thing about the affair is that some of the Phantoms who purportedly haven't an ounce of ideology to shove down anyone's throat, are often the quickest to draw blood in the arena of moral outrage (at the proposal of any legally backed reproductive restraint, no matter how reasonably selected). And we are to believe that the ideological temper tantrums swing but one way (the AN way). It remains some of the most intellectually dishonest garbage I’ve ever seen peddled to succession.

This maladroit handling of the non-starters levied at us by propriety apologists masquerading as upholders of pragmatism has been noted elsewhere by me. Individuals for whom the natural process isn't sacrosanct might have been swayed in Inmendham’s direction had he known how to get one foot in the door.



Q. AntiNatalism and Atheism are not ideological cousins.

This one is obvious to anyone who has the two brain cells necessary to understand that Atheism is not a stepping stone towards any ideology, nor is it ideally a proper ethics enabler. The only case we can put forth for why the word ‘Atheist’ warrants being thrown around more frequently than the never used moniker of ‘Non-Astrologist’ is because Theists currently outnumber Astrologists by a hefty margin and have considerable political clout in many parts of the world. If Theism’s popularity had plummeted to the lows of Astrology’s, then self-identifying as an ‘Atheist’ would come across as equally out of left field as self-identifying as a 'Non-Astrologist' comes across now. Only by romanticising Atheism can we arrive at any other distinction between the two.

If evidence of Intelligent Design surfaced tomorrow, dating back to the big bang, this evidence wouldn’t humble my rejection of Natalism or my overall value system in the slightest, and it is absurd to expect that it should. According to Inmendham, Atheism opens the ideal door for a stern repeal of Natalism. I contend that this is not true as it relates to every AntiNatalist I'm somewhat familiar with, including Inmendham as well. The Natalism/Theism commonality consists of tradition, and not much else. Inmendham seizes upon this overlap, treating the glue of tradition as though it were a superglue. I could expand on this by appropriating (accordingly) a pluralist theory of value to the AN position, but I'll instead just assume for argument's sake that sturdy objections to Natalism are motivated by harm reduction and nothing else, as that's what most YouTube AntiNatalists seem to believe.

If God, with grand purpose in mind, can be credited for all the suffering experienced by sentient organisms so far, how would His notion of any conceivable purpose negate the impact of such suffering in the eyes of newly converted Theists who happen to be AntiNatalists? It wouldn't. There’s nothing God can tell me in terms of His vision of an ultimate worthwhile goal that would genuinely convince me of His creation being a wise endeavour, or that His goal in some way justifies the suffering endured by those whose permission wasn’t sought but who were used as toys for His warped ends nonetheless. We can talk about God being the supreme intelligence until we’re blue in the face, it would still not alter my thinking in any authentic way. Any expectation to the contrary comes across as foolhardy the moment one recalls that we don’t take our ethical marching orders from individuals whose IQs are higher than our own. Why would God's superior intelligence be any different? Because God is way smarter than even the smartest person on earth? It can’t be that, because we’d still be feigning our agreement with Him simply out of submissive modesty, and not because His goal has started to resonate with us in any genuine way.

Inmendham often states that God doesn't exist not just due to the lack of evidence for His existence, but also because Natural Selection is drudgery, so bringing sentience into effect couldn't have been the deliberate act of a supreme intelligence. But the claim "Intelligence doesn't do sloppy" is discredited countless times every single day, or does Inmendham actually believe that intelligent people, who regularly do stupid things, are rendered unintelligent because they did stupid things? If so, he has a cursory understanding of intelligence. The proposition of a grand intelligence that's incapable of leaving sentience unsupervised in the meat-grinder of Natural Selection ignores the possibility that God could easily be a sociopath. It's impossible to erase the laundry list of highly intelligent sociopaths, most of whom have a missing link in their prefrontal cortex. They aren't made any less intelligent by this anomaly, though cognitive neuroscience has much ground to expand upon here. If God actually existed, it's fathomable that He'd be just another sociopath whose intelligence isn't diminished by His malevolence. Inmendham refuses to wrap his mind around the feasibility of this. Advancements in cognitive neuroscience might just vindicate him decades or centuries from now. I certainly hope so. It's a bitch having to acknowledge that sociopaths aren't intellectually decrepit (as far as we can see in the present).

This brings us to Inmendham's vapid complains about how There’s No Happily Ever After and how the pussy Atheists must account for this. In almost every one of his “life-sucks” bullet-point rundowns, he throws in the "There's no happily ever after" grievance somewhere mid rant. Any long time viewer of his 'Walk & Talk' videos knows what I'm referring to. This is why people habitually associate rejections of Natalism with the nitwitted Theistic notion that an Atheistic world view breeds emotional discontentment; A demented connection to draw and Inmendham is blind as to why. I can see this sort of thing coming from former Theists who recently de-converted, but not from a life-long Atheist like Inmendham. Few things baffle me more than this.

What could a “Happily Ever After” payoff possibly compensate for? If I were to pose that all sentient organisms that ever have drawn breath were to ultimately experience a superlative “Happily Ever After” reward after spending a few decades on earth, how exactly would the existence of those pluses undo the minuses? If sentience were actually a giant interrelated entity, notions of compensation might make some sense. This is something the “We are all connected” crowd actually buys into. In actuality, sentience is comprised not of intertwined matter but of individuals who aren't emblematically "reincarnated", hence the existence of infinite happiness is no compensation in the first place. Forcing the question “Is this life engine burning more fuel than it’s consuming?” misses the mark because the issue is framed in such a way so as to deny branching outside the scope of deindividuation.

The (post-natal) zero-sum argument is unfalsifiable as well as obnoxious, because it presupposes that a case for itself needs to be made in the first place, as if threatened by the proposition of a 'plus-sum' game. The naiveté in feeling threatened by legitimate sensorial plus states is lost only on those favouring the obscene belief where a 'plus-sum' arrangement for the majority would provide sufficient grounds for a wholesale endorsement of the game, despite the 'minus-sum' arrangement for the minority, while on earth. There are numerous clever ways of getting around this, but they all include justifying a sacrificial lamb status for such minorities, in favour of Perpetuation.

We’re past theistic notions of “happily ever after” by this stage; The criticisms here are attributable to any humanist/perpetuationist grand outlook that strives to whitewash the exorbitant suffering of the few in the name of progress, or for the contentment of the many. I've re-written this section a couple of times, only to find myself casually reverting back to attacking the humanist position in place of the Theistic one. It's obvious why this keeps happening. If we're compelled to abrogate any life-affirming position that declares even an infinitesimal percentage of 'Non-trivial Harm' and 'Non-Consensual Harm' as permissible should it be accompanied by the attainment of pleasure oriented goals preferred by the majority (a practice the life-lottery cannot get around), then this same annulment would be equally suitable even if such a goal had revolved around the preferences of a Deity, as opposed to humans. Clearly, our non-belief in Deities bares no relevance to the values we hold.

It’s worth speculating whether Inmendham is aware of this on a subconscious level, despite the “Atheism is the first step to getting it right” drivel he spouts. Back in 2008, Inmendham occasionally did videos on Jezuzfreek777 and other worshippers where he applied the Hitchens mode of response to the standard Theistic question of "What would you do if confronted by God?" by boldly asserting he'd curse God to oblivion due to the wreckage brought upon sentience at the hands of His creation. Inmendham – much like Hitchens – stated bravely that he would respond this way even if it meant that he would find himself in Hell as a result. Considering that Atheism is a rejection of God's existence, and keeping in mind that the thought experiments Inmendham exuberantly participated in necessitated that he accept the existence of God (due to the proposed first-hand encounter with God), Inmendham's response to this encounter informs us that Inmendham's values are in no way shaped by his disbelief in God (Atheism) and that he would continue holding the same welfarist values he currently holds even following a direct confrontation with God, melting away all belief of God's non-existence (Acceptance of Theism or Deism).

My response would be the same, minus the bravado. I’d tell The Lord exactly what I think of His creation, not because I’m outraged to the point where I can’t help but tell Him off, but simply because there would be no point in contriving piety as His omnipotent know-it-all-ism would be on to the fact that I’m just faking it in order to avoid a one-way-ticket to eternal damnation. That’s an aside though. The point is that our values would remain unaltered following a conversion to Theism, because it would be impossible for our brains to conjure up a genuine worship of any Deity, much in the same way that it’s currently impossible for my brain to allow my exposure to other humans who hold vastly contrary values to candidly humble my views of what's right and wrong. This is plain to all who understand that one doesn't have to worship God in order to believe that God exists. In light of this, Atheism itself can’t be inserted as a guide towards any value system. Inmendham needs to stop insisting otherwise because he currently comes across like a petulant rabble-rouser with an emotional investment in his disbelief in Deities. If only he had the presence of mind to recall his answers to those old video encounters with Theists from years ago, and what those answers entail, he’d know not to carry on about the supposed implications of Atheism.

No piece on Atheism would be complete without the quintessential declarations about disbelief in Deities being linked to 'Unintelligent Design'. There is no absolute link here. It's entirely feasible to be an Atheist and still believe that potent aliens created this universe. It's loopy, but it's there.



R. Hedonism

We should be ambivalent on this one insofar as whether it amounts to a real encroachment or a legitimate grievance on Inmendham's part. I say both.

On one hand, if we were to suddenly acquire concrete proof that the word 'Rapist' has historically meant 'Rape Stopper' in esoterically constrained circles, we would still find it impossible to detach ourselves from a pejorative interpretation of what the word represents colloquially. This is what Inmendham is struggling with when it comes to the etymology of ‘hedonism’ and he shouldn't be given grief over it (in and of itself) as Ivory Tower exclusiveness is unworthy of being held in high esteem to begin with. Couple this with the fact that many philosophical accounts of hedonism do peddle self-absorption as the ultimate good (yes, historical ones too), and Inmendham is to me somewhat justified in his outrage at having 'Efilism' affiliated with an outlook feasibly vacant of risk-averseness and fail-safeness.

On the other hand, if Inmendham hadn’t immersed himself in his hackneyed uploads every single day, he could have taken the time to actually look up the exceptions to the rule, rather than resorting to keyword searches via populist image tabs on Google (for which he should be given a measure of grief for).

For example, 'Ethical Hedonism' upholds self-gratification – by hook or by crook – as the highest attainable virtue. After familiarizing himself with ins and outs of this, Inmendham could have informed his antagonists that ‘hedonism’ shouldn’t be thrown around lightly, as this particular subset of hedonism is indeed incompatible with his Efilism. I would’ve been the first to back him up on this, had he gone about it this way, in lieu of the populist ‘image tab’ way. By appealing to the image tab, I can just as easily do a keyword search on “box” and get nothing but pictures of square containers, without a single picture of humans engaged in a fist fight. This doesn’t mean that anyone who uses the word ‘box’ to reference fist fights can rightfully be labelled a secret-code-speak elitist. That’s not how etymology works.

Michael Onfray is a great example of a dedicated philosopher who specializes in the history of hedonistic thought. He defines hedonism as "An introspective attitude to life based on taking pleasure yourself and pleasuring others, without harming yourself or anyone else”. There's nothing in there that's combative to risk-aversion. Nothing there even denotes a favorable view of Natalism. This will be clear after a moment’s thought. Even by the zero-sum theory's own standards, "pleasuring others" can only amount to "reducing suffering". Inmendham is always the first to point out that what’s commonly referred to as “pleasure” is just temporary fleeting obstruction of deprivation working undercover. Inmendham also accepts that deprivation is a form of harm. Seeing as "pleasuring others" is interchangeable with "reducing others' harm", why the hysteria? Inmendham needs to specify this. If sentient organisms’ insatiable desires give rise to a minus generator, then any methodical ‘Hedonist’ as formulated by Onfray will be the poster boy for offsetting those minuses as much as possible in the interim. Should Onfray’s views be stricken from the record so that Inmendham's indictments of our clandestineness and inner-circle elitism get to ring true?

Of course, familiarizing himself with Onfray's conception of Hedonism would have entailed reading, which would have resulted in too many consecutive hours of not uploading platitudinous videos, and we can’t have any of that. (Inmendham is on record as having lost all patience for reading) [Edit 2013-12-25: I must retract this paragraph, as Inmendham has taken the time to read most of the sections in this post by this stage, thus thoroughly disproving the above portrayal of him as someone who is unwilling to read lengthy texts. My statement was unfair to Inmendham, and I officially eat crow over it. It's true that Inmendham has stated on numerous occasions that he has lost all patience for reading, but clearly this isn't enough to stop him from actually reading, and I shouldn't have assumed otherwise.

I must revisit some of the inconsistencies accentuated during TinyChat, mainly Inmendham's claim that lust is the only thing keeping him in the game, and that absent his amorous reveries, he would in his own words really bail on this shithole world. But wait a tic; Whenever cretins on YouTube ask him why he hasn't killed himself yet, Inmendham replies by telling them that he can’t fix the problem posed by sentience by taking himself out of the game. Given the two mismatching statements, it seems fair to ask; Is Inmendham's continued existence driven by his admirable aspiration to assist positive Extinctionists in bringing about total extinction, or is it driven by his desire to have a daily wank? If a sudden void of the latter is truly enough of a deal-breaker that he'd be willing to abandon the virtuousness of the former as he openly admitted in TinyChat on several occasions then he's quite the Hedonist after all, isn't he?

In ‘Section K’ I went over the absurdity in believing that an absence of lust would even be noticeable by Inmendham, and how his impression to the contrary cannot be squared with his own position on the uselessness of desire fulfillment, or the evidentiary ‘zero-sum’ math. Though the real kicker here is the revelation of just how paper-thin Inmendham's dedication to his noble Efilist mission comes across as being whenever he outs himself as being willing to forswear it in the event that his dick turns into cotton.

If Inmendham is willing to beat people over the head regarding how "There are real messes to be cleaned up here, and none of you selfish fucks wants the role of janitor" then the least he can do is not tell everyone about his own hypothetical willingness to relinquish his janitorial tasks, should such duties be ditched on account of his hypothesized asexuality. It's really no different than a hopeful breeder thinking that there's no point in living if one doesn't have the desire to procreate, and failing to see how the desire at hand cannot be missed once it vanishes (or if it simply doesn’t plague the subject in the first place, much like sensual eroticism doesn’t plague asexuals).

The word “hedonistic” was deliberately used by me in my blog reply to Inmendham back in March. He didn't raise a stink about it back then. Clearly, the flippant manner in which he skimmed through that post caused him to not even notice the word’s usage. It goes to show how much attention he paid to my efforts while engaging my counterpoints. But the moment hedonism is uttered in a video, sparks fly. I anticipate that his reading of this post will contain just as much flippancy and inattention to detail as with my previous posts. I'd love to be proven wrong though.

Returning to the general problem of “words” and their purported misuse; Inmendham has never been lost on that fact that homonyms exist and that they can be invoked even when the observer is unfamiliar with the etymology at hand. An image tab search on ‘hedonism’ that generates results displaying frivolous pursuits of pleasure and nothing else, is the same search that portrays ‘Naturalism’ as a nature-friendly ‘pretty colors’ position, rather than an ontological rejection of all things supernatural and spiritual. This is because Google’s image tab doesn’t have a philosophy index. Being dead-set in the belief that all forms of ‘hedonism’ can only be applied colloquially and that any other usage must be met with mockery and populist scorn, is tantamount to insisting that Naturalists are lovers of nature, because the Google image tab has spoken.

We should be able to tell any colloquial ‘Naturalist’ who doesn’t reject supernaturalism and spirituality what his/her epithet of choice translates to in philosophic terms, without charges of “secret-code-speak for elitists” being levied at us. While initially reacting this way is somewhat understandable, the continued truculence on the part of the self-identified ‘Naturalist’ who believes in fairy dust would border on contempt for the clinical. [Edit: 2013-12-25: Note that I've never run into someone who actually applies the word 'Naturalist' in this false manner, due to being a Google image tab scholar, or something of that sort. The above paragraph is just me using Naturalism's image tab results as the hypothetical causation behind linguistic misunderstandings, unlike with the additional example I invoked in the paragraph below.]

I am reminded of the vulgar reactions I received a few years ago from a friend following my attempts to introduce him to texts arguing in favour of ‘Determinism’. His impulsive reaction rivalled that of Inmendham’s here, as his interpretation of the word determinism was intuitive (Self-determination! Etc…), so he belligerently mocked its application to describe thinkers who view free-will as an illusion. Telling him that he’s oblivious to volumes of work on the subject didn’t turn me into a secret-code-speak elitist. No, it was him who was ignorant and delighted about it. The same conclusion must be drawn with respects to the contention that a colloquial use of ‘hedonism’ earns the word a monopoly and imperviousness to homonymous applications. I will not be told that I’m setting the bar too high by pointing this out.

If you’ve read everything here and you still maintain that using hedonism (or determinism, or naturalism, etc.) in a plural sense amounts to out-of-touch elitism, then there’s not much else I can do for you. Carry on.



S. Tactical Insults vs. Knee-Jerk Insults

We’ve often heard Inmendham say that people who’ve failed to refute his views have developed a knack for berating him ever so subtly. They veil their off-subject insults in order to try and “get away with it” in pseudo diplomatic form, or to simply “fool the crowd into thinking they weren't being insulting on a personal level”. Perhaps many of them do it with this in mind. I'd venture that it's a simple matter of image-conscious “YouTube politics as usual” where participants try their best to look like they're in control and avoid coming across like indignant brats on the playground every time they feel like insulting someone (the way Inmendham comes off in their eyes whenever he rumbustiously insults them back).

Inmendham handles subtle insults by upping the ante. The snider the remark, the louder the fuck-yous as a tit-for-tat. Other notable YouTubers have taken a shine to this approach, but they mostly consist of schtick personalities like DrinkingWithBob. The overt insults are not so much an illustration of what Inmendham truly thinks of his detractors’ intelligence, and ring more of a peevish need to save face through comeuppance. As he carries on with this cauldron of zappy insults, one can almost hear him thinking “Okay, now that I've been insulted, I have to insult my insulters back, crudely, directly, and overwhelmingly, just to one-up them since their serenely delivered insults did in fact get to me”. Inmendham – bless him – is too preoccupied with getting even to see just how woefully transparent an eye-for-an-eye approach is when it comes to insults. Responding in kind just makes one party come across as all too eager vindicate himself/herself. This has cheapened insults in general, which is a shame because insults used to be much more heartfelt before the internet boom. Now they're seemingly just the modus operandi, or feel overly contrived like some artform. It's gotten to the point where if I'm insulted by someone who I had zero desire to insult prior to them insulting me, I'd rather just have my insulter not get his/her verbal comeuppance than to contrive some half-baked retort just to save face.

As for Inmendham's targets, whose subtlety is enough to instigate the bluster: Don't buy their lackadaisical angle. It's very hipster-ish in its attempt to come off as 'not really trying' while still having a clear aim. People are aware that no one is resigned from passion 24/7, so Inmendham should just point out that his seemingly stoic insulters are putting on a front of temperateness which commences at the pressing of their camcorder's "record" button and ends at the pressing of the "stop" button (such is the game of YouTube). It has a charm to it, but so does Inmendham's unspoken view that such people unworthy of anything more than impromptu insults (at least once interpreted this way).

As I’ve explained in Section D, Inmendham initiates the personal shots much of the time. The Stickam recordings speak for themselves. But the optimal evidence of this is best accentuated through Inmendham's own words:

When you attack my ideas, you’re attacking me”.

Inmendham might want to rethink this, since it leaves anyone who disagrees with him (IE: The very people whose counterarguments he constantly solicits) without an option but to attack him.



T. Open Hostility Towards Doubt

If you’ve made it this far, chances are you’ve seen enough Inmendham videos to have heard him say “If you're not arguing for truths you’re absolutely confident are true, shut up and sit in the stands so that we can get on with the productive agendas”, more or less. Candid misgivings are an intellectual vice in Inmendham's bellicose world of “two philosophers enter, one philosopher survives” conflict resolution. He doesn’t apply this to all topics, just philosophically lucrative ones – or more appropriately; anything he has handpicked to be lucrative.

Is doubt inherently interwoven with ignorance? Anyone who has been plagued by paralysis-by-analysis to some degree can vouch that it isn't. So, is paralysis-by-analysis itself an intellectual malaise? Just consider a world where the majority of people entrench themselves in the belief that an overflow of certitude is a prerequisite for opining on prominent subjects in the public square. We'd mostly be hearing from bromidic zealots as a result.

People who are nagged by doubt shouldn’t feel pressured to keep their two cents to themselves. If you get the sense that you're under qualified in a given field, just be open about your shaky ground instead of trying to defy it by posturing around it through faux hubris. Uncertainty alone never made our predecessors any less/more qualified in a given area any more than certainty did. Enmity towards uncertainty often stifled them. 

The statement "We know all we need to know" served as the title for a running video series Inmendham did five years ago, in protest of YouTubers who kept pitching the idea that drawing decisive conclusions with respects to 'big picture' topics was the apex of intellectual blasphemy. Self-styled mystics were on the rise at the time. Once again, we should find ourselves at odds with both Inmendham and those he targets. One's certainty that all necessary knowledge has already been acquired is, in my view, a symptom of one's acrimonious welfarism striving to get people discussing extinction without having them worry about possible unlearned what ifs, while cryptic combatants employ the tired tactic of twofaced uncertainty; insisting that (they know) there are undiscovered salient truths in dire need of gleaning. They do this without ever explaining how exactly they came to know this about the unknown. It's plain conjecture, on both fronts. Bilateral agnosticism seems more appropriate when delving into as spacious a field as 'all necessary knowledge' or lack thereof. [Edit 2013-12-25: For the record, I don't believe that humanity will stumble upon any earth-shattering discoveries in the decades and centuries to come. I say this not because I view time as our biggest enemy, but because there's likely nothing else to discover in the first place. Again, I could be wrong. I'm only pointing it out now because, while rereading of the last bit of this section, I realized that my use of the word 'agnosticism' can be misinterpreted to imply that I'm literally "50/50" on the possibility of us discovering something so grand that it will overturn naturalism or truths along those lines. I'm not "50/50" on that. More like "99.99/00.01".  


U. Unquenchable Reinforcement Of Belief (including $1000 challenge) 

For Inmendham, inculcation is the name of the game. He is just one of many YouTubers driven by a constant, ironically insatiable need to spew out daily reinforcements of his convictions to anyone who will listen, regardless of how well-known his convictions already are. The 'problem/solution' repertoire he offers has been stuck on autopilot for years now, without a trace of concern over how off-putting this can be to long term viewers. Every so often, Inmendham will complain about the declining numbers on his videos in the form of views, comments and likes. Every sign points to the cause being an overabundant supply of uploads alienating veteran viewers. Inmendham's answer to this? Persistence in the supply of uploads, because a handful of loyalists have assured him that he’s charming enough to pull it off. He even touched on this in TinyChat on a number of occasions:

Before YouTube came along, I never considered myself as someone capable of pulling off this ‘Cult of personality’ thing”.

He had it right, before YouTube. He can’t pull it off, yet the remnants in viewership are enough to cement the perception he now has of himself as a charmer. He might point out that he doesn’t expect different results with each new upload, and that he’s just doing this video thing “for practice”. If we’re meant to gobble this up, one has to ask why his weekly "WTF" installments – which are supposed to be recaps – always contain him lamenting over this week being “the same old shit as last week”? These aren’t the words of someone who has made peace with his own obsolescence on YouTube. They’re the words of someone who still expects a modestly different result with each passing week. But perhaps more importantly; why is Inmendham still uploading videos to YouTube? Over the years, how many times has he emphatically stated:

"I'm done with YouTube for good. This last suspension was the final straw!".

Making bold claims like that, only to go back to YouTube in a matter of weeks, just makes it harder to take seriously every other bold claim he makes (and he makes many). Daily upload routines can easily beget a wash/rinse/repeat lifestyle where stimuli steered 'complaining/diagnosing' becomes one's modus operandi, with the "off switch" taking a hike indefinitely. Inmendham has reached a point where he simply cannot part ways from this regimen, and it bears an awful close resemblance to the need felt by the devout to gather up on a weekly basis to satiate their own conviction-reinforcement cravings, like a long-standing protocol. If Inmendham earnestly believes that he “would rather be doing a million other things right now than talking to assholes on the internet” then I invite him to abstain from uploading videos anywhere on the internet for one six months [2013-12-10: Edited to six months instead of one as the initial challenge was far too lax]. If he reads this and his immediate reaction is something along the lines of “Six whole months? And who will guard rationality in my place?” then he’s already authenticated my point. 

Nonetheless, my challenge to him stands. I’m willing to bet $1000 that he simply can’t do it, because uploading videos is like food for him (along with many other YouTubers, to be fair). He’d crack after a week, tops. Somebody would upload a video that he’d just have to respond to. I believe that uploads in general are more of a coping mechanism than anything else. If I’m proven wrong (that is to say, if Inmendham actually avoids uploading videos for one six months), I will send the $1000 directly to his "donate" banner on the DNG front page. You have my word on that. This challenge will remain open for one full year following my posting of this entry. He can start this video exile at anytime he so pleases, within that space of time.

I believe this exile will be beneficial for him for the same reasons an exile is beneficial for anyone who's morphed into a stereotypical 'one-track-mind' thinker, thanks in part to the internet. It's easy to dwell on one's pet issues. The content provider doesn't have to do much other than to run on autopilot and recycle thoughts, to the almost guaranteed delight of his/her supporters, along with the overall circle-jerk environment afforded to us (and our egos) by the internet .

A balanced, 2008-esque rendition of Inmendham would be welcomed right about now. It's not the bulk of his views that make his uploads insufferable, it's that he's spun into his head that his points continually go over people's heads, so if he just makes that 4729th video and phrases himself just right, he'll end up converting the previously unconvertible. All he needs to do is figure out the master key of elocution. He doesn't see how hopelessly brash each upload comes across, as it contains yet another rundown of his value thesis’ bullet points that we can recite in our sleep by this stage. He recites it with the type of vigour that would have non-regular viewers thinking that he's just conceived of it. You can really tell that it consumes his thought patterns even when he's away from YouTube. In TinyChat he even says:

I can't even focus on everyday human crap anymore because the truth has become so crystal clear that in the face of it, everything else seems more trite than ever. When I see the garbage these people I work for watch on the news, it really makes it more clear just how far the human race is from where they need to be".

At one point I was guilty of similar idiosyncratic entrapments. My thought patterns had me viscerally dismissing all outsiders as philosophically inept majorities who can only marvel at my DNA Iconoclasm. I don't genuinely regret this, mainly because the opposition engages in their own version of it all the time. Stigmatization is the name of the game on YouTube. Daubing any outsider with ‘molecule worshipper’ labels is a good way to engage in a tit for tat once in a blue moon and to blow off steam after dealing with the worst that the Natalist camp has to offer. This has done wonders for the binary "us vs. them" mudslinging seen with any other duelling echo-chambers, chalk full of inner-circle platitudes. It’s easy to see how the two camps help amplify overall insularity, which is the perfect segway to:



V. VloggerDome: Styled Substance

And finally, an Inmendham remark that should not be forgotten by anyone is a charge he made while responding to one of my comments during his “BullshitMan” series. He stated that I’m so owned by my psychology to the point where I don’t even make videos anymore and have resorted to hiding out on my blog. With interpretations like these, he has solidified that he is to “Substance>Style” advocates what "9/11 Truthers" are to purveyors of truth. Inmendham’s accusation discloses his outlandish view of written argument as a sanctuary, which just goes to show his often professed “Substance>Style” pedagogy to be perfunctory. If an argument is uttered in a video, the argument’s deliverer is audacious. If the exact same argument happens to have been written down, the deliverer is somehow less daring or in some way more reticent.

This aberrant impression of what makes for a good debate spills over to his proposal to have ideological clashes resolved through a “Two philosophers enter, one philosopher leaves” Thunderdome replica where vested onlookers would determine the prevailing points in a disputation. The catch being; votes from video makers would count for more than votes from participants who wish to remain anonymous by simply offering their contributions in text form.

Why would any serious devotee of a “Substance>Style” pledge make it a point to set up a “battle-of-ideas” medium that serves to actively beget a pecking order based on the irrelevancy of the style in which an argument is delivered? Why should video makers have more leverage than lowly commenters? Eloquence? If not eloquence, then what?

How does a willingness to record oneself and upload one’s own mug on the internet – on a daily, fanatically committed basis, no less – make one more qualified to judge the correctness of anything? If anything, it makes the content provider more likely to be a victim of vanity. This is precisely why the blogosphere has always supplied an astronomically higher calibre of intellectual content in contrast to video sites. It’s hardly any wonder why mediums offering uploads or video-streaming end up attracting teens, professional trolls, and narcissists in higher droves compared to blog sites where all focus must shift to the driest of dry argumentations. The blogosphere has zero special effects, no fancy editing, and no drama-fuelled back-and-fourths. All it contains, is plain dry text. Inmendham casually ignores this, and points to the intellectual wasteland of YouTube as evidence that “No one’s discussing anything of substance on the internet”. His unwillingness to decipher arguments when they happen to be supplied in text blinds to him to how out of touch his statement is. Unless a substantive argument is spoon-fed to Inmendham in video form, such an argument does not exist in his la-la land.

Powers of articulation – stylistically stimulating as they may be to the lightweight – are about as ostentatious as fashion trends to people who have done this long enough to pick up on the intricate, often blurry lines between style and substance, illusive to the beginner's eye. About a decade ago when I first started getting involved in online debates, I was still at a point where I'd get somewhat bamboozled – perhaps on a subconscious level – by a seasoned veteran's oratory prowess as a substitute for substance (just as long as they were singing my tune). Of course, I'd have denied it had anyone pressed me on it back then. That's exactly the kind of person for whom a site like VloggerDome is supposed to appeal to; Someone who actually believes post-millennial conflicts over matters of value can be settled through a dozen or so hours of on-the-fly video exchange.
Hovind can talk circles around most evolutionists. So the fuck what. If there’s a case to be made for the procurement of voting clout, it should revolve around expertise in the given field as the measuring stick, not a willingness to disclose one’s identify/appearance and recite arguments to a camera for hours a day. If VloggerDome’s “argument elimination” process goes down this hierarchal route, then individuals who actually hold credentials in acclaimed fields (mainly hard sciences) should have the most potent votes when the aim of said votes is to settle the quarrels related directly to their field of expertise. This is already a thing by the way; it’s called the scientific community, minus the voting. Consequently, this would also mean that Inmendham is fresh out of luck as his scholastic accomplishments consist of a high school diploma. This is why he has to invent bogus metrics that overemphasize the differences in arguments' delivery between video and text, in place of actual meritocratic measures. Keep in mind that I’m not snubbing Inmendham for not attending college or university, or for not having a career in the conventional sense. All of that is, in and of itself, 100% irrelevant. I’m just pointing out that his tendency to favour disproportionate voting power based on chicanery (the willingness to upload videos of oneself on the internet) is an invitation for more appropriate voting clout barometers to be instilled, where we actually take into account one's certified knowledge of the disciplines being discussed.
Insofar as online debates are concerned, lacking a formal education should be as much of a non-factor as is anyone's wish to remain anonymous by not uploading videos. The only factor should be: Does what you’ve said or written make sense and has it withstood rigorous scrutiny? Anything that goes beyond that just amounts to demagogues playing up their strengths and exploiting whatever they've identified to be their adversaries’ Achilles heel. This approach is as saturated with captiousness as Ivory Tower exclusiveness tends to be, and I'd like nothing more than to see it fulminated en masse.

If the written word just screams that its writer is hiding, whereas the spoken word suggests that the speaker is “in your face” and willing to duke it out in a fair battle of ideas, I'm curious as to how exactly Inmendham (or anyone who agrees with him here) arrives at such a binary breakdown of text/speech. Remember, this is the guy who shares my view of most teachers as "redundant performance artists". If he believes that most minors can educate themselves without being subjected to an overestimated, unionized orator’s performance art, how can he conceivably maintain that the masses require his brand of video-pedagogy in order to achieve enlightenment?

Why should onliners/commenters, who wish to remain anonymous, feel obligated to contribute to a VloggerDome type medium for their arguments to be on par with vloggers’ arguments? There's a gap in Inmendham's thinking here; Either he severely undermines the average student's attention span towards the standard material in high school textbooks, or he hyperbolically overvalues the effects of video content as it relates to online debates. He needs to ask himself what is it specifically about the written word that he finds so limiting and cowardly as a means of debate, contrary to the performance art found in videos. He has never explained this in depth, despite knowing that his aversion to penned debate is a giant impedes towards him becoming an effective messenger; something he is striving to become on a weekly basis.

Most, if not all, pedagogical public figures who have obtained massively large (or merely adequate) followings have done so through their written works, and not by uploading videos to YouTube or anywhere else. Contemporary or not, these fussy elitists gained support precisely because they took themselves out of the picture. Their works usually source to the best articulations of the axioms and maximal-aims advocated by their target. They then fastidiously deconstruct and refute one of the two, or both. Why would anyone who is authentically interested in the devilish details discard this painstaking approach (and for a video exchange format, of all things)? Are authors of nonfiction just cowards in hiding because they don’t bother making videos on a weekly basis, or would this only apply to vloggers-turned-bloggers like myself and the absence of weekly uploads on my YouTube channels? Vloggers who get astronomically popular on YouTube are usually of the TAA/Thuderf00t/Condell flavour, so pardon me for believing that it’s critical to migrate to a different platform altogether.

If I am unsuccessful at convincing Inmendham that the written word is far less polluted by its author’s setbacks relative to the spoken word, then hopefully his supporters won't partake in his incredulity. The spoken word magnifies the personality and other immaterial traits of the speaker, whereas the messenger of the written word is afforded the ability to structure arguments over a greater period of time, through uniformly consumable delivery that thrives in untarnished text. The written word flushes out irrelevancies like charm, garrulousness, cunningness and general rhetorical manoeuvrings that infiltrate spoken-word debates profusely; especially well financed ones where participants are career charlatans (and very talented ones at that). My willingness to accept that I make for a mediocre messenger doesn't make my migrating away from the video format a hideout. In fact, I can’t think of a single vlogger whose ‘off the cuff’ video arguments trump the arguments they construct in their written works. People regularly get disoriented or flat-out choke during spoken-word debates, especially if their position is more nuanced than their opponent’s position and is therefore more difficult to properly convey to beginners. Is this what Inmendham is banking on? I wouldn’t put it past him.

Inmendham maintains that an extemporaneous approach to argumentation is more seductive and stands to be more productive in attracting eyeballs. This amounts to turning on a camera and just blurting out whatever thoughts arise. Having spent a great deal of time listening to Inmendham’s bi-weekly lament-fests about “How do we do this conversation thing properly?” I would expect that he’d be the 1st to get in line and applaud the blogosphere, seeing as how (1) Bloggers are far more likely to discreetly and contextually quote the positions they’re tackling. (2) Inmendham himself acknowledges that we are indeed fallible messengers with quirks integral to us which get in the way of clarity. Cold hard text, free of such barriers, is the closest thing we have to a master key at our arsenal. (3) Resisting hostility, snark, or drama-laced stigmatization of the opposition, while arguing face to face (so to speak) has proven to be extremely difficult for most of us. Shoving our mugs in videos only amplifies our personas at the expense of crisp content. Why then, would Inmendham look at my or anyone else’s attempt to migrate to this drier, more methodical medium and come away thinking that it has something to do with a hideout?

The answer is clear: Inmendham does what he does in a video format because he enjoys it on a personal level. His “I’d rather be doing a million other things right now” remarks are disingenuous escapisms. The internet is his playground, and views opposite of his own are the toys he plays with. He refuses to read because reading is a ballache for him. He’s allergic to text not out of a lack of patience, but because pursuing the written word would interfere with him getting in his daily dose of face-time. As with any flagrant exhibitionist, the face-time takes precedence. Spending seven hours in TinyChat every week also takes precedence over reading, even though his conversations in TinyChat are of a predominantly social calibre. Inmendham is not too busy to read, he just prefers dealing with familiar trolls in chat rooms and on YouTube because they aren’t nearly as challenging as long-winded books. For every Sunday morning he’s spent in Stickam/TinyChat over the last five years, he could have spent reading up on austere systems of ethics. Not that I think familiarising oneself with the excruciatingly long history of ethics and philosophy is a particularly fruitful exercise... but had I shared Inmendham’s eagerness to end all suffering, making myself the optimal messenger would entail doing just that, as such a task would call upon me to comprehend all the faggoty jargon speak.

It's not the hyperbolic chiding of snooty babble speak that bugs me. It's what usually follows it, like the caricaturing of Nietzsche's works. Inmendham regularly refers to Nietzsche as a nature-worshipper. Having no use for interminable jargon lexicons is one thing, but an unwillingness to read Nietzsche long enough to find out that the man’s admiration of creativity didn’t translate over to a boner for the molecule, is abominable. Nietzsche's backstory discredits such misrepresentations. This information is not obscure by any stretch. Even so, Inmendham is, to this day, yet to retract this “nature-worshipper” indictment.

Disclaimer: Not that I'm a fan of Nietzsche or anything. You won't see me pointing to Nietzsche quotes as through they're insightful (even for his time). I'm saying that endorsing creativity (not stuck-up hoity-toity creativity, but authentic creativity) doesn't denote DNA worship. 2015-04-03: On further inspection.
The marquee point: Vlogs have a eight+ year track-record of being an ineffective mode of influence amidst leading intelligentsia. Had the opposite been true, no longer would influential thinkers write books to get their points across, nor would their books continue selling well. Videos would have caught on by now and renowned scholars would upload vlogs for iniquitous audiences permeating YouTube (an audience Inmendham has not found a way to resonate with for over six years by this point). But as we know, Inmendham is the personification of bad habits and has likely convinced himself that his daily uploads are a more productive way for him to spend his time than to immerse himself in what stuffy scholars have to say in enervating text. Composing a competitive reality show out of these debates would just amount to C-SPAN on steroids, with internet no-names replacing prototypical professionals. This blog has a better chance of being picked up by a Network or Cable station.

Now we get to the part where I admit that my preference for the written word isn't inspired by strategy alone. There's a personal element to it; one of time management. I get to write these posts during slow periods at my workplace. It goes without saying that I'm not afforded the same privilege when it comes to making videos as work. Seeing as the arguments in my blog posts blow my video arguments out the water, I'll stick with the blog format. 

If Inmendham reads this but still maintains that it's wiser to stick with the video format, and if he's as invested in the prevention of suffering as he has made himself out to be, the first thing he should do is humble himself and pull a Jay Leno circa 1992 in an attempt to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. He is unwilling to do that, because the prospect of lowering himself to the lowest common denominator is too demeaning for his elephantine ego. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as he accepts the underlying reason for why that’s the case; All of us value our own dignity above “the mission”, unbeknownst to him. It is our own self-interest that prevents us from using any of the well-documented ingredients that make for a 'YouTube Success Formula' which would undoubtedly assist us in spreading our message more effectively.

It’s not hard to figure out what the bulk of highly subbed channels have in common: None of these channels focus on just any one area. As a rule, people tune in to channels offering “the whole package” consisting of, but not limited to: Coverage of apolitical current events, commentary on political developments (more slant than news though), a pinch of celeb gossip, movie/videogame reviews, sex talk (but in a glorified “ooh-la-la” way, not the way Inmendham does it), disgusting overproduction and over editing, upbeat energy and delivery, light bubble-gum tune playing in the background, green screens, among other gimmicks. 

Inmendham won’t resort to any of this because he values being at ease with himself while reflecting on what he has contributed to the internet, and the style in which he did it. The same applies to all content providers unwilling to whore themselves out to cultural norms or internet memes as a means of reaching ever closer to their coveted ends. But wait! If we tally our contributions by the contorted imperative espoused by those who dwell over the cruciality of the net product, not whoring ourselves out makes us “less productive”. We are too selfish because we value our own personal integrity over the higher likelihood of obtaining popularity and attaining a greater measure of success in terms our respective vendettas. Which means: Either have the strength of your greater good convictions to act on them, or drop the constant condemnations of acts oriented around the tiniest smidgen of self-interest.

Simply acknowledging an awareness of one's own self-aggrandizement doesn't diminish my point because Inmendham regularly condemns others who are more than willing to whore themselves out in order to be more effective messengers for what they view to be the greater good. By his own value metrics, the all-important word in “lowest common denominator” is the word common, so if a culture-whore like Leno appeals to more eyeballs with shitty jokes, we need then overlook the manner in which he pulled it off and just narrow in on the sum product; He’s making more people happy now than he did when he was on the comedy club circuit. He’s productive.

For the record, Inmendham is free to ignore everything written here on account of it not being spoon-fed to him through a video.


Summation

The above exposition, though highly critical of Inmendham, has also hammered home a sagacious contribution of his; Emphasis on the senseless brutality engulfing sentience in the animal kingdom. Inmendham’s efforts are commendable here, so long as the proposed remedy is one of gradual sterilization rather than nuclear incineration (as the latter necessitates the murder of law abiding humans and should, if nothing else, at least be met with a shred of authentic ambivalence).

Over the years I’ve had ample discussions about nature's insidiousness with people who are aware that appealing to the natural order in order to combat Consequentialist critiques of nature is the quintessence of circular argumentation. Somehow, this basic admission continues to escape many onliners with a YouTube account. My offline 'samplings' suggest that individuals who have sat through their share of arduous footage capturing carnivores feeding on sentient prey incidentally sing a different tune from the ever insightful "it's just the food-chain!" crowd. If the opportunity to initiate an identical 'dog-eat-dog' process on another planet were to present itself, those who take the time to actually watch the carnage in all its gruesome detail have a tendency to think it better to leave other planets uninhabited and free of natural selection. I have no qualms admitting that this impression stems from surveys I’ve conducted with the locals, most of whom were selected through my deliberately picky criteria [Edit: By this I simply meant that they're all westerners]. The maneuver is assumed to have no bearing on any aspect of this debate since it’s unapologetically anecdotal, but no one has adequately explained what exactly makes it negligible, or better yet, philosophically inept.

Inmendham runs into problems the moment he takes apt observations of perniciousness present in wildlife and goes on to underplay the extent to which societal interaction is disparate from it throughout the modern developed world. To believe that all humans – including accomplished ones living in the 1st world – are basically doing what animals do but with fancier features, is to sociologically blindfold oneself while in the presence of Type 2 thinking. Reluctance to wear this blindfold around "civil human > brute" disparities doesn’t oblige any of us to take up the position of an ‘Unconditional Perpetuationist’ or even a ‘Provisional Perpetuationist’. None of the criticisms presented in A through V suggest that anyone has a positive obligation to propagate – or to indirectly assist in propagating – any species, nor do the sections put forth the view that humanity stands to accomplish anything of intrinsic merit in the future. The human condition is as unworthy of intellectualized reverence as its ever been. If Inmendham has been left with the impression that any of the above sections contradict this, the onus is on him to deconstruct them and pinpoint the inconsistency.

Or he can decline the offer and ignore this post. If so, the next time he grips about how no one has the backbone to deal with his arguments, I will have myself a dosage of laughter, maybe even of the out-loud variety.


70 comments:

  1. hey man, this should be a compelling read when i get the time, i'll book a week off ;)
    how comes you haven't linked it on youtube yet?
    ooj

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ben: This was posted on the evening of Nov 7th, hours before news broke of DE's suicide (and/or foul-play-death). I really didn't see the point in promoting any of this in the immediate aftermath of the news that had surfaced. I might give it a few more days, but well see...

    ''i'll book a week off''

    No rush, the only real reader participation I'm looking for is in Section F.

    ReplyDelete
  3. ok. well i will definitely get around to reading the whole thing sometime soon. i just took a quick look at section F, and my short answer would be 'no'. i wouldn't stop them. basically cos i couldn't give a fuck what people do to themselves, and if it stops them having kids, then thats a win. if they live indefinitely, well thats their burden, at least they havent foisted existence on someone who didnt ask for it. ill answer it more in depth when ive had time to read the whole thing.
    ben

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  4. ''and if it stops them having kids''

    That's not a deal-sweetener though, because I set up the conundrum by saying ''they won't be able to procreate henceforth''. Emphasis on the ''henceforth''. They'd still be able to procreate prior to munching on the pills as seniors, and it's not like the average senior would've procreated anyway (female seniors already can't, even without this proviso). I threw the ''henceforth'' bit in there to ensure that readers don't come away with the false impression that male seniors extending their lives might contribute to a rise in birthrates. It wouldn't.

    Point is, the moment we accept the equal-opportunity indexing of wasted suffering (as is advocated in Inmendham's ''BullshitMan'' playlist linked near the top, among many of his other axiom-oriented videos), then the ethical thing to do would be to save the 'precious commodities' from themselves, regardless of the details. Consent flies out the window, right along with the social contract.

    In any event:

    Pluralist AntiNatalists: 1 so far.

    Extinctionist AntiNatalists: 0 so far.

    Yes, I'm totally keeping score.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "so they end up inventing cockamamie monikers like "AntiAntiNatalist" in dire hopes of being immune to the criticisms of "either/or". Of course, AntiNatalists could then just as easily return the favour by self-identifying as ''AntiAntiAntiNatalist'' to drive home the latent slyness behind the ''AntiAntiNatalist'' moniker."

    I agree that "AntiAntiNatalist" is a redundant term, perhaps even dishonest, but what about the people who identify as Non-Natalist? Maybe this is covered elsewhere in your post, I'm only 6 parts in. Your post is very long and at the start you say that you're fine with feedback from people who haven't read the whole thing. I can't find "Non-Natalist" anywhere here on a search, so I'm asking now.

    To answer your question about the pills - I would not stop them. I consider myself a Non-Natalist though, so your question wasn't targeted at me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "perhaps even dishonest"

    Perhaps? The term is overtly dishonest in its attempts to dress up AN as a first-propositional stance, rather than a counter-propositional stance (which it clearly is). Natalism is the ideology on trial. AntiNatalism is the plaintiff. Natalism is the predecessor, and as with any other "Anti" position, the counter-propositional stance cannot exist prior to the influence of the original. People who have issues with AntiNatalism don't like this narrative, because it places them directly on the defensive, whereas they like being on the attack. By inventing "AntiAntiNatalism" they think they've pulled off a convenient role-reversal. But as I point out in the post, ANs could then just as easily take it one step further with "AntiAntiAntiNatalism". And both sides could just keep adding "Antis" into perpetuity. Or, we simply draw the line at the first "Anti", just as we do with every other counter-propositional stance (no such thing as an "AntiAntiFederalist").

    "what about the people who identify as Non-Natalist?"

    I haven't seen this moniker used by anyone. Is it new? I've been avoiding YouTube like the plague for over 5 months now, so if this is a new label, you'll have to link me to the specific users who self-identify this way.

    A keyword search on 'Non-Natalism' or 'Non-Natalist' shows no results for either (on Google). With Natalism and AntiNatalism, the results are plenteous. A 'Non-Natalist' should really only be someone who has never contemplated the issue in the slightest. So, as long as 'Non-Natalists' don't mistake their apathy (and/or obliviousness) for a strike against the AN position, I won't have anything negative to say about them, just as I don't have anything negative to say about Apatheists who actually follow through on their Apatheism & steer clear of all theistic debate.

    Of course, my spidey-senses tell me that 'Non-Natalists' steer clear of nothing, & instead direct their attention unevenly to the issues they have with AN.

    If 'Non-Natalists' are merely undecided, or are 50/50, then they should still be more focused on deriding Natalism, due to the obvious strength in numbers Natalism has, especially once we counter in eastern cultures. Even here in the west, the pendulum swings overwhelmingly in Natalism's direction. I can't name a single media outlet, mainstream or indie, that treats procreation as anything remotely close to a contentious issue. If anything, people who are "50/50" should be grateful to ANs for at least trying to get the pendulum to shift a bit in the other direction.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Since there is no objective morality, it's pointless to argue for antinatalism. Antinatalism is just a point of view and it's impossible to force other people to agree with it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous:

    "Since there is no objective morality, it's pointless to argue for antinatalism. Antinatalism is just a point of view and it's impossible to force other people to agree with it."

    An identical train of thought, rewound 160 years counterclockwise:

    Since there is no Moral Realism, it's pointless for 1850s abolitionists to argue for the abolition of slavery. Abolitionism is just a point of view and it's impossible to force non-abolitionists to agree with it.

    Lucky thing, the steaming incredulity of non-abolitionists didn't prevent the abolitionists' agenda from emerging victorious. For that to have been made possible, abolitionists understood that they first had to gain strength in numbers, which they managed by making persuasive arguments. See also: Every other civil rights movement in recent history. Every movement can easily be strangled in its infancy, should its proponents be chumps who allow themselves to get humbled by your advice here.

    If you'd like to know where specifically, in my view, the abolitionist agenda differs from the AN agenda in terms of policy, see Section P "Approved Impositions". Also, see Section F "Extinction: The Pseudo-Goal" for a non-consequentialist case against Natalism.

    Further, even if you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the public at large will never be persuaded by a single one of my unconventional stances, my acceptance of your proof would in no way alter my willingness to continue engaging in ethical debate; both online & offline. This is because I find ethics interesting as an end itself, as most ethicists do, no different than how cinema enthusiasts passionately argue among themselves over film qualify without any ultimate goal in mind, and without thinking of themselves as 'Cinema Realists'.

    Your comment indicates that you're unfamiliar with everything written in Section M: "Moral Nihilism and Defeatism are disjointed". Start there.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well, I am for extinction, but in the meantime, I don't see the problem with people gaining immortality, as long as they could end their lives if they chose to. My concern is suffering first, extinction second.

    I just don't see how it's that complicated. I also don't see the problem with wanting extinction. What's the big deal?

    ReplyDelete
  10. "I don't see the problem with people gaining immortality, as long as they could end their lives if they chose to"

    This remains an option, whenever they so please. I probably should have stated that explicitly in the post. The "Immortality Pill" option merely halts chromosomal decay, so death by external forces (including suicide) is still a go.

    "I also don't see the problem with wanting extinction. What's the big deal?"

    The post offers vivid reasons (more so *in principle* than *in practice*). My antagonism towards Extinction as a *maximal aim* revolves mainly around the janitorial "equal-opportunity indexing of wasted suffering" (IE: "It doesn't matter who suffers, the enemy is suffering itself"). In place of this philosophic protectionism, I endorse the optimization of 'Preference Utilitarianism' which aims to maximize the preferences of able bodied, sound-minded humans. This is compatible with AN axioms, as said preferences don't have to, in principle, leak over to irredeemable harm-exchange ultimatums. To fully understand my point here, one must first understand that there's a subtle difference between being *wronged* and being *harmed*.

    We should be Negative Utilitarians, but only with respects to wildlife, or any sentient (human) organism that doesn't posses the cognitive faculties necessary to conceive of, much less consent to, said organism's exposure to non-trivial harm (which they've already been thrust into by blind forces).

    The catch: Billions of adult humans currently exist, all of whom are more than capable of understanding & consenting to their lifetime of harm exposure. Most of them aren't fazed by this to the point where they come away regretting their birth, even on their deathbed. Given the ubiquitous presence of this informed consent, the obnoxious universality Efilists vehemently prescribe to Extinction as "desired outcome" is intrinsically hostile to preference maximization. The moment one accepts the maxim of "sentience creates value" (IE: disvalue), then the deindividuated currency of "ought" is to measure all wasted suffering in the exact same manner, hence the formulation of the following simplicity: An *immediate* discontinuation of collectivized sentience is the *optimal* net product (IE: Painlessly murdering billions of adults isn't unethical because they're not around to suffer for it).

    I'm not in the business of saving people from themselves, nor do I care for rigidly sensorial net products. I'm in the business of saving only those individuals who actually want to be saved (who actually regret their birth). In short, it's about maximizing personal preferences, not sensorial states. Some exceptions apply, mainly with 'Truth Maximization' vs. 'Harm Minimization' (see Section A) or with 'Justice Maximization' vs. 'Harm Minimization' (see Section B).

    At times, Inmendham appears to favour the same nuanced goals, but the moment I pressed him on the devilish details back in March, he revealed that his "value math" is rooted in untarnished harm stoppage, & that anything else is "just silly psychology" (see Section D).

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  11. This is sort of off-topic, but are you aware of the antinatalism debate between LudditeReturns and Controversial Philosophy taking place? If not, I'll leave a link here. It's really quite good.

    http://ludditecontro.blogspot.com/

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  12. wayward,

    I'm aware of the blog's existence, but I haven't read any of the content, nor will I be bothering to. This is because of the blog's irritatingly off-putting headline:

    "Anti-Natalist and Anti-Anti-Natalist Debate"

    This is enough for me to disregard CP's credibility, as he allows a blatantly shifty framing to be plastered right at the top in huge bold writing.

    Tell me, where else do these nonsensical "Anti-Anti" monikers exist? The answer is nowhere, because people generally understand that railing against a counter-propositional stance entails a latent affinity with the first-propositional stance that's already under scrutiny.

    For example: First there was Federalism, then came Anti-Federalism. People who take issue with Anti-Federalism's criticisms of Federalism can only so do by (1) endorsing some level of Federalism in the first place, (2) not really caring either way but still arguing for argument's sake despite not having a dog in the fight & only picking apart certain technicalities.

    If apologists of any other first-propositional stance tried pulling this "AntiAnti" framing following a counter-propositional uprising, they'd be laughed out of the arena. But of course, YouTube AntiNatalists eat it up it and ask for 2nds.

    A small part of my comment from 2013-11-20:

    "The (AntiAntiNatalist) term is overtly dishonest in its attempts to dress up AN as a first-propositional stance, rather than a counter-propositional stance (which it clearly is). Natalism is the ideology on trial. AntiNatalism is the plaintiff. Natalism is the predecessor, and as with any other "Anti" position, the counter-propositional stance cannot exist prior to the influence of the original. People who have issues with AntiNatalism don't like this narrative, because it places them directly on the defensive, whereas they like being on the attack. By inventing "AntiAntiNatalism" they think they've pulled off a convenient role-reversal. But as I point out in the post, ANs could then just as easily take it one step further with "AntiAntiAntiNatalism". And both sides could just keep adding "Antis" into perpetuity. Or, we simply draw the line at the first "Anti", just as we do with every other counter-propositional stance (no such thing as an "AntiAntiFederalist")."

    But aside from the irritability of that non-starter, it is my understanding (from listening to TinyChat mp3s) that CP is big on the benatarian asymmetry. I find this to be one of the weaker arguments against Natalism. Frankly, I'm annoyed by its popularity. The existence of AntiNatalism precedes the asymmetry argument, by centuries.

    For solid arguments in favour of AntiNatalism, see Section F.

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  13. ABS, as far as I'm concerned this is your magnum opus. It has taken me a long time to read through and to try and follow every nuance, but at the end of it all I can say is that you have covered every conceivable point that Gary has ever brought up and thoroughly trounced them all. Never before have I seen such an all encompassing analysis and utter destruction of another's arguments. Well done!

    Now, (deserved) ass kissing aside, I find I must follow in the footsteps of Waywardhorizons there above. While noting your objections and unwillingness to read the debate between LudditeReturns and CP, I do think personally that Luddite is a more worthy opponent to spend your time with than Inmendham.

    Oh, and one more thing... I haven't watched them yet and don't know for certain if they address all/some/none of what you have written here, but the aforementioned - and permanently pissed off hairy hermit - has made a couple of videos with your name in the titles. I'm plucking up the courage to watch them as it takes a lot of inner resolve to listen to another Groundhog Day-esque repetition of the same themes and mischaracterisations you've already deconstructed over and over again.

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  14. Why thank you, but sadly it can't be a magnum opus as I spend far more time "tearing down" than I do "building up". Ideally, a magnum opus should be heavily dominated by the writer's own solutions/ideas, or things of that nature. I do propose a few things in place of Inmendham's ideas, in certain sections, but often times these proposals basically boil down to "change nothing" or "change very little". The best example of this is my "Private Adoption > Gov't Orphanage" conclusion. My counter-proposal doesn't really deviate from the norm much, it just gives reasons for why (in this particular case) the "conventional wisdom" that private adoption trumps public orphanages happens to be justified. For a magnum opus, I'd have to narrow in on every bit of "conventional wisdom" that I find unsavory, and offer something realistic in its place. Still flattered though.

    I also don't view every single section here as "kicking ass" so much as I think it allows for the possibility of a stalemate on select issues (whereas other sections are clearly lopsided in my favor). I think Inmendham may concede this as he progresses (see my 1.5 hour real-time discussion with him that he uploaded on his main channel yesterday. It was a good exchange).

    "I haven't watched them yet and don't know for certain if they address all/some/none of what you have written here"

    I'm highly underwhelmed by his replies so far, but he's being perfectly diplomatic from start to finish, so that's something. Apparently he's just as underwhelmed by my arguments as I am with his tackling of my post. So, he's being kinda flippant about the substance here. I left him comments on each video. If you watch the vids, see my comments.

    "LudditeReturns and CP"

    See, I don't feel the need to read any of that because I don't recall Luddite ever even disagreeing with the statement "There is no harm caused by not coming into existence". That's an uncontroversial statement if I've ever seen one. Things only get somewhat gnarly (as argued in Section K) with the "'Zero-Sum Game' as a Post-Natal Proposition" business.

    This past summer Luddite popped into TinyChat & said something along the lines of "playing devil's advocate" & already being "halfway there". I can see that, since AntiNatalism precedes the asymmetry by centuries.

    I think some people (especially philosophy buffs) just enjoy criticizing "AntiNatalism" since it's often presented under a true/false binary, like with any 2+2=4 equation that we know has to either be true or false. This approach does a disservice to AN, as it would with any other severely unconventional ethical stance.

    Edit: Update 2013-12-14: Inmendham has blocked me & deleted a comment of mine on his orphanage response video, because he wants to weasel out of the context behind his proposal. See my YouTube channel wall for the details.

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  15. Damn, I really have to catch up with this whole thing. I'm glad to see you are still around to do what you do best: write huge blogposts which happen to be fair, well-thought-out criticisms which make Gary's arguments look ridiculous.

    I really won't be able to bear the tediousness of all of Gary's videos to you unfortunately, but I'm definitely gonna get through this blog. For now, I just wanted to say that I'm also gonna throw in $1000 with you if Gary ends up doing it, he has my word too. Haha, if only he would also bet against us... free money! If Gary wants to bet against us, I promise to donate the money to an animal shelter (and would offer the receipt as proof). How could he refuse doing such a great service to the sentient animals in need? Sounds like a great idea to me.

    Also, I just watched your talk with him. I'm impressed by how you managed not to severely anger him a single time during all the time! It was amazing to see him 'concede' so much; and even more so to see that nothing had changed when he was back to his old abusive video-making self right after it. He almost strikes you as two different persons.

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  16. Tranquil,

    I've been challenged to a "duel to the death" VloggerDome style, where I (and only I) get to choose the jury... You interested? Does he still have you blocked?

    "if only he would also bet against us"

    If money is involved & it's only a one month video exile, he'll probably bear it out. Make no mistake, he'd still record tons of videos/replies throughout the month, but he'd still manage to wait until the month was up prior to uploading everything he recorded. That's why I made an addendum edit (highlighted in blue) changing it from a one month video exile to a six month video exile. If he refuses to accept those terms, we'll see if a happy middle can be worked out. Good to know that you'd be willing to throw in though...

    "I'm glad to see you are still around to do what you do best: write huge blogposts which happen to be fair, well-thought-out criticisms which make Gary's arguments look ridiculous"

    That's what I thought too, but then Gary made this video (/watch?v=yGYT0O1ecVs) informing me that this is all just "psychotic nitpicking" of my part, inspired my by inability to get over a "floppy foreskin" complex. It's true. So envious am I of the millions of men who have no foreskin that I have arbitrarily singled out Gary to take my pent-up pathological frustrations out on, as evidenced by my criticism of everything (sans anti-foreskin sentiments) throughout this entire post... Clearly, the surface-level freudianisms are incontestable!

    Then there's this doozy: /watch?v=1CKQQj4oIp0

    Here he spends over 15 minutes reading/replying to another user's comment, thinking he's reading/replying to my comment, all because the commenter replied to me & therefore had my screen name at the top of his comment. Seriously, you gotta watch it. For 15 minutes straight, he fails to see that the comment isn't mine. He even pans the camera to the comment multiple times, capturing the channel icon of the commenter, showing that it's not my comment. None of his commenters point this out (tells you all you need to know about the caliber of his supporters). I was already blocked by the time I watched the video, so I left a comment from my other account, pointing out that he read someone else's comment & attributed said person's arguments to me. No apology. No speech bubble added to point out the error. No nothing. I've interacted with preschoolers who weren't this reckless. And even if they had been, they'd have at least acknowledged it & apologized. Not Gary though. Because "Bullshitman" !!!

    As for the substance of his replies so far, this is all you need to know: Not only do his videos target my arguments by having him start reading my content mid-paragraph, but there are also instances of him starting to read mid-SENTENCE. Goodbye context. Hello caricatured position.

    Also: He read "Deride" as "Derive" and "Ideologically" as "Ironically". I don't understand why he doesn't just increase the screen size... enlarged letters help with this.

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  17. I just saw his lunatic video where he does his usual bullshit move of stop-and-re-contextualize-for-those-not aware-of-the-truth (I can't believe people fall for this). In truth it's displacement/framing of context to make him look like a victim. Every single time. He says that all of this from you is simply a personal vendetta because he thinks he owned you on the topic of circumcision, nothing more. That's a real gem right there. How could he treat your arguments fairly now when he already assumes that your motive is distortion for personal reasons? He's essentially admitting (and displaying with his anger) that there is no objectivity in his dealing with your blog. Hilarious.

    This also simply gives more validity to your point about the distinction between the video vs text medium. Anyone perceptive could observe that currently he couldn't make it more of a battle of personalities than this, while you focus on the arguments first (having no choice with the cold hard text). He throws insults left and right, repeats the same ad-homs over and over, etc. And that is how a reasonable person who values integrity enormously behaves! It should be enough to destroy the faith of a Randian in his sacrosanct Reason.

    I wouldn't be allowed to be on the jury, of course. Gary despises me more than you and virtually everyone else he's still dealing with. He wouldn't go for it, ever. He's just bsing people when he says he'd allow you the full control of it and he just doesn't know it yet, but he would change the rules when it becomes serious enough. That or he would say he reserves the right to exclude dishonest people or some other crap, and he would make me one of them.

    As for the $1000, yes, I did mean that it was gonna apply for the 6 months exile. I hadn't read your blog before the edit. If he wants to bet with us, I'll gladly donate the money away with proof just so that he knows that I'm not doing this for personal gain. It would be great if he took this bet seriously.

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  18. ABM, something interesting just crossed my mind. I was thinking about Gary's tendency (can't think of a stronger word here) to annoy the shit out of people with his incessant ad nauseam rhetoric, and then I thought it would be funny if his channel name was adnauseam instead of inmendham. This made me think about the bet and the conversation you've had about "truth maximization" with Gary and how he was not willing to "sell out" and do all this gimmicky stuff (which he would have a hard time living with) despite the fact that according to his ethical philosophy it is the right thing to do if his agenda is gonna get more exposure. Now he was saying that if he was guaranteed success in the long run, he would definitely do it. He would step on his ego, throw away his comfort, and act like a fool. You thought he wouldn't.

    I thought about it, and if he was honest and has perfect integrity, couldn't Gary be made the slave of anyone with some money who is aware of his unflinching principles and perfect integrity? He's said that he is willing to suffer for others, as long as he suffers less than they would. I think we all rolled our eyes when he talked about his willingness to do the Jesus thing, but not much was said of it because it's a bit hard to force him into action with that one. Not so with this one. We can take him to task with this one.

    His argument is that we have an obligation to reduce net suffering if we have the information ahead of time. No other factors matter. So, say someone has $100 and tells Gary that he will use this $100 to relieve some kind of non-trivial suffering right after Gary has done a thing in particular (e.g. from now on post videos on a channel named adnauseam), Gary would be obliged to do so, since his psychological discomfort doesn't outweigh the non-trivial harm this person would prevent (by donating say, to a reputable animal shelter for abused and abandoned animals). If Gary was shown that this was in fact going to happen for certain, wouldn't he be forced to do it or look like an asshole with no integrity?

    I mean, we could reduce it to absurdity as well, and for a couple dollars Gary would have to do what is asked of him, no matter what it is, as long as it involves less harm than is prevented with that money. What do you think? It seems to me like there would be no way to weasel out of it if he was confronted with it.

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  19. "adnauseam"

    This is gold. Hasn't YouTube made it possible for users to change their screen names to pretty much anything now? I haven't fiddled with the options yet, but I've noticed an increase in "Adolf Hitler" screen names on popular videos since this last Google change, so I'm guessing that he could easily fulfill this request. If so, I'll join you and throw in an extra $100 if it means the screen name 'inmendham' will be altered to 'adnauseam'. No real harm will be caused by it, aside from the slight psychological annoyance he'd have as a mere notion in his head, which would pale in comparison to the actual harm reduced by the donations, especially if we manage to solicit more bidders. But even if we don't, the $200 alone will subside real harm, whereas screen names and notions of pride are just bullshit ego at work, at the end of the day. It's a sweet bargain for any self-professed janitor.

    I'll definitely bring up this offer during our next exchange. Sadly, we both know what will happen. He'll just launch into a spiel over how "band-aids aren't cures" so there's not much point in donating to shelters in the first place, unless you "turn off the valve". Cue pithy statement about how he has his sights set on the big picture, and how we're not seeing it.

    Now if we offered him a podium or lengthy air-time during the Superbowl halftime show or something, he'd be all over our offer, as he's steadfast in his belief that people aren't reaching his conclusions simply because they haven't had 'efilism 101' relayed to them in the first place ("Garbage in vs. Garbage out").

    Let's see how it goes...

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  20. I knew you would like the idea! Yes, I think everyone at least has one name change available for their channel.

    I would suggest donating it to the ARS (http://www.animalrescuenetwork.org/info/display?PageID=987) or SPCA here in Montreal because I know people who work there and know that they do excellent work. I know for a fact the money would indeed be used to alleviate sentient suffering and none of it wasted.

    Surely if he goes into such a spiel he would suffer cognitive dissonance and you could demonstrate him to be unprincipled fairly easily. Let's see what happens.

    "A man should be upright, not be kept upright." - Marcus Aurelius

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  21. "Surely if he goes into such a spiel he would suffer cognitive dissonance and you could demonstrate him to be unprincipled fairly easily"

    Oh no doubt. The only setback revolves around him having already admitted to not being an upstanding human being, and to even being a hypocritical curmudgeon. This was accentuated in public as recently as the 2nd half of my skype call with him that you watched. He didn't fret over publicly acknowledging his inability to put a leash on his own "baboon" psychology, and freely pointed out how much of an even bigger asshole he would be, should a *tempting* enough opportunity come knocking. While going over this, his tone of voice was rather jovial, so I predict that he'll be equally as unfazed by our challenge, despite knowing that his refusal to play along would, in fact, lessen the efficacy of his janitorial duty.

    This doesn't mean that he's out of the woods, since he spends a significant amount of time boisterously criticizing people for being even mildly selfish; something most other ethicists don't do, at least not on a daily basis, the way he does. So in that respect, he boxes himself in to a higher standard.

    The only reason this might get a bit gnarly is because some degree of "do as I say, not as I do" is inevitable. I foresee people trying to turn the challenge around by pointing out how I like to criticize Western Imperialism, but I choose to live in Canada, hence I subsidize a small component of the west's militarism/neoliberalism via taxation.

    Of course, I could then simply point out that I never said things like "You can torture me for a million years if it means western imperialism will end now" the way Gary does with 'The Jesus Deal'.

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  22. The "baboon" thing was more about him being able to lose control because of his deprived state seeking alleviation (e.g. sleeping with a friend's girlfriend because he's so sexually unfulfilled). When presented with an easy ethical decision like with our scenario, there is no way to use the "baboon" card. He has control over the fact that conserving his dignity would be costly to other sentient beings. He can rationally weigh the two and make a choice. He can say we suck for putting him in this situation, which would exactly prove our point that he shouldn't belittle other people's psychology because HE sucks in the same way for doing it and he does it all the time. It seems there's no other way to teach him that lesson. But if he thinks his psychology is bullshit in the first place, aren't we doing him a service by forcing him to get over his dignity for a good cause? Hasn't he said when discussing the trolley thought experiment that if he wasn't willing to jump on the tracks to save more people he sure as hell hoped that someone else would push him onto them as he would do for them?

    Like you said, he has been so arrogantly self-righteous during all those years on YouTube that he should be held to his strict janitorial standards and people should see him being tested rather than him simply getting away easily by saying jovially that he's not good enough. If you really do think you aren't good enough, then shut the fuck up about other people's shortcomings and focus on your own. I find it an aberrant thing to do to constantly tell people that they are shitty human beings even though they strive their best to be as good as they can, yet this is what inmendham has always done. He has thrown the "you should get what you deserve!" sentence how many times at how many harmless people (myself included)? What does Gary deserve, a fucking medal for making rants on the internet which in no way significantly contribute to the larger world but significantly contribute to his own psychological assuagement? How does someone who thinks he sees so deeply into life misses the obvious like that?

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  23. Hey ABS,

    Is ethics just an appeal to emotions?

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  24. ''Is ethics just an appeal to emotions?''

    Nope, at least not in the context of this post, and especially not once we take into account the works of formal ethicists. Though ''morality'' as perceived by the conventional human certainly can be, and often is, little more than a horde of unexamined appeals to emotions, prejudices, cultural indoctrination, denial of essential facts, etc... no getting around that.

    But should one look into the history of ethics, or take the time to scrupulously formulate a thoughtful axiom or two, well in that case one needn't rely on any degree of emotion to discuss ethics; be it one's own ethics or adversarial ethics. In that sense, I maintain that there *is* such a thing as ethical wisdom, despite the folly of 'Moral Realism' from a strictly ontological standpoint.

    Then we have the disciplinal ethics in the form of descriptive/meta/normative/applied... the last one being my favorite, as my posts have a tendency to highlight.

    Obviously these are all studied at the university level, so they can't just be boiled down to pure raw emotion. Had the entire field been emotion oriented, there wouldn't be much to work with in the way of curriculum.

    I should also point out that some aspects of these studies are (in my irreverent view) needlessly subdivided. For instance, components of normative ethics and applied ethics can overlap, so categorical distinctions seem like they're just there to overwhelm rather than to bolster insight. And so on.

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  25. >>But should one look into the history of ethics, or take the time to scrupulously formulate a thoughtful axiom or two, well in that case one needn't rely on any degree of emotion to discuss ethics;

    Can you tell us what axioms you use in your system of ethics?

    >>Then we have the disciplinal ethics in the form of descriptive/meta/normative/applied... the last one being my favorite, as my posts have a tendency to highlight.

    I am sure you know about the whole is/ought gap thing famously articulated by David Hume. So another question I have for you is how did you bridge that gap? In other words, how did you logically make the jump from descriptive to the prescriptive?


    P.S. Thanks a ton for your response. This clarified a lot for me.

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  26. People who echo my views tend to go with imperatives like "Do No Harm" but this really tells us nothing of substance that we can apply to actually resolve reoccurring ultimatums, like a scenario depicting fairness at direct odds with consent. A banal utterance like "Do No Harm" just screams oversimplification, so I shun it in favor of the following:

    Unjustifiable = Deliberately exposing non-consenting sentient organisms to the possibility of non-trivial harm (existence) in order to attain pure benefits for oneself. Note: In this context "pure benefits" conveys mere indulgences, ego-boosts, etc... without which one does not endure anything remotely close to non-trivial harm (unlike with what is commonly referred to as "needs").

    Justifiable = An unwillingness to sacrifice oneself, or to sacrifice the welfare of anyone else, for the purpose of exposing an infinite number of potential sentient organisms to pure benefits **even when** every last one of these forthcoming organisms would've been content with their arrangement. Declining to follow through is justifiable due to the fact that it's impossible for potential subjects to endure any measure of harm by not being around to attain "pure benefits" in the first place.

    In other words: It is unethical to put others in harm's way, but it is not unethical to not expose hypothetical others to a lifetime of pleasure, even when the outcome would've been nothing but pleasure 24/7.

    This is a "rule of thumb" that westerners generally consider themselves as being fully on board with. That is, of course, until the topic of procreation is broached, & we begin to see the rationale's building-blocks thrown out like yesterday's garbage. Breeding, peculiarly, remains the one activity held so sacrosanct to where concerns over decisions to expose others to even the high possibility of enduring non-trivial harm, are liquidated out of respect to "pure benefits" that will (in all likelihood) be enjoyed by the breeder, the newborn, or both. When examining any other area of interpersonal risk-assessment, concerns of the exact same mold are perfectly acceptable in western societies. Breeding is the inexplicable exception to the rule, due to prima facie cultural affirmation of familial collectivism, all too ingrained in the human psyche.

    So that's my starting point, though it gets tricky from there...

    I was a rugged Consequentialist for years (still am when it comes to political affairs). When delving into the apolitical sphere, a staunch adherence to welfarist consequentialism entails that one must regard the majority of suicides as unethical, should those suicides prompt more volumes of harm via fallout (grief on the part of family/friends) versus the volumes of harm that the suicidal person would've gone on to endure had he/she been compelled to stick around for the greater good. Such expectations are abhorrent in my view, but one cannot rail against them without first dropping full-time Consequentialism & migrating to a part-time position (See 'Freelance Ethics' in Section C. I outline feasible examples wherein more emphasis is placed on the subject not being a harm reduction apparatus, at the expense of consequences).

    "Hume"

    In my last reply I took a direct jab 'Moral Realism'. My issues with 'Moral Realism' crop up on many occasions throughout the blog (oughts=/=sensorial states). Thoughts alone can't create reality. Not exactly sure how I managed to leave you with the impression that I take issue with the distinguishing between facts & values. No inherent kinship there, only internal consistency, or self-acknowledged leeway for pragmatic purposes.

    My problem with militant relativists stems from their notion that vested ethicists should be humbled by this compartmentalization of facts & values, because "moral certainty is always dangerous" or some unsupported drivel along those lines.

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  27. Hello AntiBullshitMan,

    I recently came across your blog and was surprised to find that I am mentioned in the comment section of this post. There are two points to which I want to respond.

    1. You take issue with the title of the blog that Luddite and I are running. I agree with the following claims that you made: anti-natalism is a “counter-propositional stance”; “ . . . railing against a counter-propositional stance entails a latent affinity with the first-propositional stance that's already under scrutiny.” But it seems that you misunderstand my intention in titling the blog as I did. Doing so was not part of an effort to tendentiously frame the blog’s debate. Rather, I took up that title with the knowledge that many critics of anti-natalism object to being identified as “natalists”. They do so because natalism is widely understood to be an attitude that explicitly encourages procreation generally. The term “anti-anti-natalist”, as unwieldy and seemingly idiotic as it is, is meant to identify those individuals who reject anti-natalism (in the context of the dispute I refer to, philanthropic anti-natalism) but do not support procreation generally. Indeed, from what I have gleaned, Luddite—though an ardent critic of philanthropic anti-natalism—seems to believe that human procreation should be dramatically limited. As such, I chose to refer to Luddite as an anti-anti-natalist in the title of the blog to avoid misrepresenting him. Had I referred to him as a “natalist”, I imagine that he would have taken issue with that.

    2. You note that you heard that I am “big on” the asymmetry argument. I stated on my blog that while I believe that the asymmetry argument is sound—and have argued in its favor in a number of posts—I do not think that it is the most compelling argument for anti-natalism. You correctly claim that anti-natalism precedes the asymmetry argument by centuries, which is something that I have never denied (not to suggest that you claimed that I denied this, which you did not). The Syrian poet Abul ʿAla Al-Maʿarri, of the 11th century, and Koheleth, of the Book of Ecclesiastes, are two ancient anti-natalists with whom I am quite familiar.

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  28. Hi CP,

    A bit of context, not necessarily for you, but for anyone potentially reading this in the future without having read some of the relevant comments above:

    The initial comment was an inquiry from wayward asking me whether I was aware of your blog's existence. I thought it necessary to give him a fleshed-out answer, rather than a flippant "yeah I know it, but I know nothing of it" semi-answer. For this to make sense, I made mention of why I hadn't read any of the available content there. It's crucial to note, given the tone of that reply, that my remarks weren't intended as anything beyond this context -- they certainly shouldn't be taken as some passive call for you to justify how you choose to title your blog -- and were only meant to relay to wayward why the answer to his question contains zero feedback as it relates to the actual substance that he has enjoyed on your site. Just getting that out in the open.

    But, since that we're both here now:

    "it seems that you misunderstand my intention in titling the blog as I did. Doing so was not part of an effort to tendentiously frame the blog’s debate. Rather, I took up that title with the knowledge that many critics of anti-natalism object to being identified as “natalists”."

    And it's a nonsensical objection that needs addressing, given their one-dimensional understanding of AN as "anti-life" or their failure to recognize how criticizing criticisms of procreation doesn't denote neutrality. More like latent apologetics.

    It actually had occurred to me shortly after I discovered your blog that the title may be nothing more than you being a chummy host. Unfortunately, this is an aside, as the term still plays into the irksome framing which, to me, trumps the noblest of intentions. Usage of 'AAN' seems to have died down over the last month, and I'm interested in keeping that quicksand viable.

    If we're on the same page regarding "first vs. counter" propositions, which seems to be the case, then I can't fathom your willingness to accommodate "non-natalists" terminological inexactitude and its continuing precedence over the narrative itself. The power of narrative is undeniable (just look at US politics). Also consider that, despite all cultures having been fervently Natalist both throughout history and in the present day, these supposedly neutral "non-natalists" have been heavily focused on deriding AntiNatalism over the last several years. How odd that so much of their attention was devoted to a non-movement. But I suppose it's okay because every so often they've tacked on a remark or two paying lip service to "oh and overpopulation is a problem too, so don't call me a Natalist" sentiments. But no, let's credulously take them at their word that their *proportional* priorities totally reflect their oh-so neutral stance on the matter.

    I go into this somewhat more in Section F of this post, if you're interested.

    That said, I'm less hostile to the epithet today, compared to when I wrote that comment (having already vented about it). If active ANs decipher these grievances and still go on to view 'AAN' as a legitimate term, so be it. I can only repeat myself so many times.

    "I do not think that it is the most compelling argument for anti-natalism."

    Well then, I've been misled on you and the asymmetry. Can you by any chance link me to a post of yours where you mention or meticulously outline the most compelling argument (assuming you've written up such a post). Very curious.

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  29. Hello ABM,

    Rather than keep this exchange running on two sites via copy-paste, I thought I'd just provide a link so that whoever is reading here can see my response and whatever subsequent responses are posted: http://ludditecontro.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-title-of-this-blog.html .

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  30. I think the decision of having children rests solely with the parents. It's a right of the parents to determine for their children. Nobody is in the place to say what is ethically right or wrong. Only parents can determine what is ethical when it comes to procreation, not a random person. Parents are the ones to decide what is the best for the child they will bring into existence.
    Antinatalism is simply ridiculous.

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  31. “I think the decision of having children rests solely with the parents. It’s a right of the parents to determine for their children”

    Did you come up with that all by yourself?

    If you have knowledge of and appreciation for historical context, you’ll know that the principle you put forth -- that minors be regarded as the property of the parent -- was regularly applied to validate domestic corporal punishment, as parents were generally fine with it up until a few decades ago.

    I’ve got a hunch that, when it comes to this particular form of child abuse, you’ll effortlessly dishonor your espoused first principle by exercising your own judgment and reneging on parents' supposedly unconditional right to decide what is right for their child, which necessarily entails the option of abusing the child. Most westerners are at a point now where they deviate from such fanatical breeder veneration, hence the broad support of the CRC along with other child protective committees and services throughout the developed world (departments comprised of individuals who have no familial ties to the minors whose welfare they have a vested interest in, due to the broad support of said agencies). I happen to go one step further by condemning the inherent coerciveness of parenthood itself, while the majority of westerners restrict their analysis to non-trivial beatings or indoctrination of the child (indoctrination having been fair game too once upon a time). I believe that the remaining taboos stand to be lifted as well in the future, provided that ANs continue promoting their views -- just as domestic corporal punishment and indoctrination are no longer chalked up as infallible rights of the parent, precisely due to outspoken individuals who politicized the issue and intellectually humiliated the traditionalist principles that you're so flattered by.

    Why even show up with such lazy, rudimentary thinking on a post like this? Do you think you've advanced the discourse? If you can’t defend Natalism with anything other than platitudes, that’s fine. No one’s obligating you to defend it, or to participate in the discussion: /watch?v=i_xgpdosEbo

    If you’re actually interested in finding out which specific reproductive restrictions I favor, see “Approved Impositions” in this post. If not, move along.

    “Nobody is in the place to say what is right and wrong”

    Except you, of course, as you contradict yourself immediately by following that statement up with the below one:

    “Only parents can determine what is ethical when it comes to procreation, not a random person”

    So first it’s 'nobody' and then it’s 'only parents'. Convenient elasticity much?

    Why only parents? Because you say so, on firm moral grounds, despite your disingenuous “Nobody is in the place to say what is right and wrong” framing, by which you really mean to say “Simmer down AntiNatalists, I’m trying to have my cake and eat it too”. You are adorable.

    Step 1: Pretend to strip away the necessity of individual scrutiny towards the issue, in an effort to humble the opposition.

    Step 2: Reassert said necessity but apply it only to individuals initially targeted by the very position you’d like to rebuke.

    This is called circular reasoning: Because there is no right and wrong, parents are to be elevated on deontological grounds in their decision making which impacts their child, meaning it's *wrong* to say parents shouldn’t be elevated, meaning there is *indeed* a wrong after all, but one which only rears its head among those who don’t already agree with you. Repeat this enough times and AN will surely crumble, as will any other non-familial scrutiny of a given minor’s plight stemming from the parent.

    “Antinatalism is simply ridiculous”

    Sure is, when you safeguard the pretense of Natalism as benign and uncoercive.

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  32. Isn't antinatalism just founded upon subjective opinion?

    Why does harm prevention take precedence over benefiting?

    Wouldn't the denial of happiness make non-procreation equally immoral?


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  33. Are you the same anonymous from two days ago? If so, it seems you're just trolling at this point.

    In any event:

    "Isn't antinatalism just founded upon subjective opinion?"

    Aren't you just appealing to relativism the same way anyone who opposes civilization, or emancipation, or women's suffrage, or animal welfare laws, or environmental laws, etc... can just as easily appeal to relativism in a desperate attempt to undermine the arguments behind those and many other propositions, many of which you're no doubt a beneficiary of?

    When you make the decision to enter any ethically oriented debate, only to point out that the debate is necessarily based on value judgements, you do nothing but waste people's time.

    If you get kidnapped & find yourself being tortured in captivity, followed by attempts at reasoning with your kidnapper to let you go by pointing out that he's conducting himself like a sociopath, and he tells you "Isn't your condemnation of sociopathic behavior just founded upon subjective opinion", will you be intellectually humbled by his response? If so, I'd love to see how that would play out. If not, don't expect anyone else to be.

    Also, read the ending of Section M "Moral Nihilism and Defeatism are disjointed" where I explain why the subjective/objective binary is a terminologically poor way to frame the facts/values distinction.

    "Why does harm prevention take precedence over benefiting?"

    It doesn't have to take precedence over benefiting for the individuals who wish to continue exposing themselves -- the key word being 'themselves' -- to the risk of future harm. I myself am presently not fazed by the suffering I will experience in the future, but this doesn't mean I should cavalierly presume that my hypothetical spawn (another individual) will share my views on risk aversion. The AN argument is not a panoramic one which speaks on behalf of everyone, nor does it assign a normative, one-size-fits-all value to the line-in-the-sand each individual draws on their own risk exposure. It merely refuses to accept making sacrificial lambs of those who do go on to regret their birth, or those who take issue with being plagued by their parents' genetics, often in the form of heritable defects. If you'd like to know the ins-and-outs behind why I reject the natalist proposition that such individuals be turned into sacrificial lambs for the purported "greater good", read the rest of this blog. If you're too lazy/disinterested to do that, see my comment reply on 2014-01-05 to a question in this comment thread.

    "Wouldn't the denial of happiness make non-procreation equally immoral?"

    For this flip-side to make sense to you, you'd believe that the overwhelming majority of male orgasms are grossly unethical, as they don't lead to pregnancy and thereby eliminate boatloads of existing life in genocidal droves. Only a microscopic minority of all male ejaculate actually impregnates women (thus enabling "the road to happiness"). If you want to stick to your silly analogy, then even fanatically natalist males who go so far as to impregnate hundreds of women would still be unethical since they'd still end up wasting far more potential life via one single non-intercourse ejaculation, relative to the pregnancies they had a hand in initiating.

    If your flip-side doesn't make sense to you, then why even bring it up?

    Anyway, you're likely just yanking my chain with these comments, but I'm so damn nice and solicitous that I've replied anyway, due to the slight chance of you being serious. Enjoy!

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  34. ABM, do you think procreation should be criminalized?

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  35. Not as a general rule.

    Section P "Approved Impositions" relays my views as to what constitutes "general rule" versus the minority of pregnancies which are the exception. I'll briefly go over it here though:

    Since my chief issues with Natalism are rooted in non-consequentialist type objections, I fall in AN camp that regards the average birth as a smaller ethical felony compared to the ethical issues with forced abortions. Inmendham obnoxiously writes off this group as "not real AntiNatalists" the way he does with "pussy Atheists". He does this without even considering that "imposing on the imposers" can have a range to it, meaning this doesn't have to come down to "all/nothing" ultimatums. But I digress.

    On a legal scale, the first thing we should always focus on is whether the pregnancy was initiated deliberately or not (I know that actually being able to confirm this is often an impossibility, but for argument's sake just assume that we just invent a flawless, dirt cheap polygraph that detects lies with 100% accuracy, on the spot). If an already pregnant woman never intended to become pregnant, but would still prefer to not abort (her reasons can vary from mere discomfort with the procedure itself, to even a silly human-centric concern for the "rights" of the unborn) then forcing her to abort will, on consequentialist grounds, still supersede the ethical problems of the birth itself. As a result, all such pregnancies would never be terminated without the pregnant woman's approval and only her approval, in my ideal system.

    Now suppose a couple fully intends to initiate the pregnancy, but neither of them has a history of depression (or other non-trivial heritable conditions along these lines). The couple's immediate & extended families are also free of all non-trivial heritable conditions/defects. In all such cases, I'd deem the birth & the couple's subsequent ownership of the individual they birthed as a lesser of evils compared to a forced abortion, despite the pregnancy having been initiated on purpose.

    To recap: I would deem the forced abortion as a lesser of evils only when the pregnant party (1) deliberately gets pregnant while (2) having full knowledge of her, and/or her family's history of non-trivial heritable defects (or of her partner's and/or his family's history of such problems). Since a large portion of the 1 million individuals who commit suicide every year are afflicted by depression (or other non-trivial defects, all of which they inherited & never asked for) I'd be willing to legally enforce the rare abortion, once the above criteria is met. This means that I'm not an autonomy absolutist, but most people aren't either, though they hilariously portray themselves as such (see Section P).

    So on a scale of 1 to 10 -- 1 being the least unethical & 10 being the most unethical -- here's my overview:

    9.5 - Owning a slave

    7.6 - Deciding to procreate despite a full awareness of one's history and/or one's family history (or one's knowledge of the partner's history and/or partner's family history) of heritable defects.

    7.5 - Forced abortion

    7.4 - Deciding to procreate and claim ownership of the child. Both parties have no history of non-trivial heritable defects/conditions, nor do their respective families.

    7.3 - Begrudgingly going through with a pregnancy that wasn't planned, merely because the subject is uncomfortable with the process of abortion.

    1.5 - Making shitty arguments against AntiNatalism on YouTube.

    If you comment again, please sign off with a username or something. Starting today I'd like to know whether anonymous commenters on here come from YT, or just the blogosphere. Or both.

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  36. Antibullshitman, it would be great if you would write a book on AN. Clearly you are intelligent. However, I still find it difficult to argue from your perspective.

    Mt. Zapffe

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  37. Antibullshitman, The vast majority of people can manage the suffering of their lives. It seems you are so self involved that you think nobody should be born because you can't cope with suffering.

    Why do you think nobody should ever exist because some people can't deal with suffering? This is not a rational argument to stop procreation.

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  38. Sofia, you're commenting on a post you've clearly not read. Not only have you ignored the content of the post itself, but you've also ignored this comment section where I've already explained why your objections make no sense & rape context. If you had taken the few minutes necessary to familiarize yourself with my objections, you wouldn't have felt the need to say things like:

    "The vast majority of people can manage the suffering of their lives"

    This was highlighted throughout the post to make the case *against* applying the 'Negative Utilitarian' formula on sound-minded adult humans who are currently content & who are mentally developed & who therefore have the capacity to provide informed-consent to future risk. Surely you can see how one can take all this into account & still oppose Natalism, as the individuals birthed will *not* be sound-minded adults capable of said informed-consent. That's a two-decade long span of one's inability to provide informed-consent to just about anything. Lacking this ability results in having to be subordinate to the familial autocrat, indiscriminately. And for what? For the breeder's self-indulgence? If that's good enough for you, your standards on interpersonal risk equations are atrocious, as are your standards on what constitutes domestic authority.

    "It seems you are so self involved that you think nobody should be born because you can't cope with suffering"

    A flat-out lie (love your desperation though). I live in the west & frankly can't even recall the last time I endured non-trivial harm. Please quote a sentence or a paragraph from this post or from any other post I've written that you believe supports your "you can't cope with suffering" drivel, & I will explain why you're not grasping the actual point I was making. At no point has my position on procreation (or anything else for that matter) been influenced by my personal circumstances.

    You're doing exactly what I wrote about in "Section I". This eagerness to combine the messenger & the victim into "one" is a tactic people tend to succumb to when they're dealing with a brand new movement, as such movements are often easier to misrepresent. Your assumption that my stance on procreation is fueled by my inability to handle my personal affairs is no different than the assumption that the gay rights advocates who claim to be straight, are actually closeted homosexuals, because no way would anyone be capable of caring about the plight of the fag unless they themselves are gay, right? In reality, people's endorsement of gay rights doesn't tell you anything about their own sexual orientation. Remember this in the future whenever you're tempted to baselessly assume things about strangers online because of their stance on breeding (or any other issue).

    (1/2)

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  39. (2/2)

    But while I've got Sofia's attention, I'll give her something else to consider:

    If there's a case to be made about the emotionally unsettled that ties in to procreation, I'd say a good place to start would be with those who feel the need to engineer their relationships through familial edict, usually because people outside their bloodline clan aren't all that impressed with them. It's hardly a stretch to see how social rejection compels many breeders to have their own kid who they presume will always validate & love them. This is what they crave. Is it any coincidence that these are also the very people who will own dogs as well? Huge overlap there, & it suits the profile nicely. The dog worships the ground the dog's owner walks on, and I believe the owner gets a boost out of this.

    Contrast this to AntiNatalists & other non-familialists whose view of fruitful relationships is driven entirely by matters of character, as opposed to herd-like notions of blood being thicker than water.

    "Why do you think nobody should ever exist because some people can't deal with suffering?"

    I'm not saying no one should ever exist. Had you bothered reading the post you'd have known that I would, in a heartbeat, give sound-minded adults Immortality Pills if possible, as long as that's what those adults truly wanted. The only sentient beings that I believe shouldn't exist are those who can't give informed-consent to (1) future risk in the way of non-trivial harm (2) to being controlled by their domestic rulers (3) to the heritable conditions/defects they're now stuck with due to the arrogance of their parent(s).

    "This is not a rational argument to stop procreation"

    By your standards it's rational for 99 people to drag 1 person into a movie theatre & force him/her to sit through a film he/she doesn't want to see, all because the 99 people really want to see the film but the film won't start without there being 100 asses in seats. In such a scenario, I believe the majority will just have to do without the film unless they can find person # 100 who actually wants to see it. Coercing someone to sit through it is unjustifiable, regardless of the majority/minority count.

    Curator / Mt. Zapffe,

    Don't see much point in writing a book on any of this. My blog is already easily accessible to anyone who searches my username, plus there's more people writing books nowadays than ever. Watch 'Real Time' or any other talk show that's even slightly political. Everyone and their mother has a brand new book to pimp (and that's just the people who get published). I don't even have any connections.

    What specifically, from my perspective, do you find difficult to argue for?

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  40. Mr. ABS, please make some more YouTube videos.

    Thanks

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  41. Also, do you have an anxiety disorder?

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  42. 1. I will not. Read section V of this post. There's no need for me or anyone else to make more YouTube videos. These posts are superior to any video I've uploaded, because I can actually be fastidious with my argumentation here; writing my points out in a calm manner instead of just turning on a camera & trying to nail the entirety of it in one take.

    Look at the average comment section on YouTube. The quality of debate is horrendous. This is what happens when people get accustomed to watching videos where interlocutors can substitute substance for style, instead of reading lengthy exchanges in dry text where all emphasis is placed on the points being made, and none on the personalities. Why would I insert myself or tidbits of my personality in the middle of this? I made that mistake 6 years ago and I won't make it again. If I cared about pleasing my ego, or just making money via ad revenues, maybe then I'd go back to uploading vids.

    2. No. What a bizarrely erratic question.

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  43. Thank you for addressing my comments.

    You certainly make some valid points. However, I just feel that you have greater chance of getting your message across by making YouTube videos rather than writing obscenely long posts which, unfortunately, not many people will read because they do not know this blog exists.

    As for my bizarrely erratic question, many antinatalists tend to have some sort of anxiety disorder or issue related to depression, which is why I was curious to know if you had one.

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  44. The videos on my main YT channel average less than two thousand hits per upload. The last few posts on here are in that same ball park. The written stuff does fall short, but only by a couple of hundred views. So it's a drop in the bucket, especially when you consider just how many people have internet access. I mean, even a difference in 10K views only amounts to a grain of sand, & none of us are anywhere near 10K; blog or video.

    Also, just as clicking on this post doesn't entail the reader will read it fully, the same goes for my videos, some of which are close to 1 hour in length. I recall uploading in the late 00s when the 11 minute restriction was in effect. There were more comments per video because most people who clicked actually stuck around for the 11 minutes. Doubt they stuck around for my hour long EC video from 2012, for instance. So length hurts, regardless of the medium.

    If I were genuinely desirous to expose my arguments to a wider audience, my YT channel wouldn't be the apparatus for that. I'd instead try to wiggle myself into the YT celeb circle-jerk crowd by playing nice with them & networking with them, or something equally slimy like that. Even Inmendham is unwilling to stoop that low, & he's more obsessed with pushing "the agenda" than anyone else I've known.

    While this last post is obscenely long, it's a post from 2013. Considering how I only publish once in a blue moon, a case can be made that going through my overall output is still much less time consuming compared to the average blogger's overall output. Active bloggers post multiple times a week. I'd say what passes for "lazy blogging" in people's minds is if you post twice or thrice a month, whereas that's still "busy" from my standpoint.

    This post in particular can be taken as 22 different entries that just happened to have been published on the same day, with no additional posts burying them for six months now. (though I'm posting a new one later today)

    I don't break things down into shorter posts because I prefer revising points in rough draft mode for long periods of time, so that I can add or eliminate where necessary before the post goes up.

    "many antinatalists tend to have some sort of anxiety disorder or issue related to depression"

    Not so sure about that. Would be an interesting survey to conduct though. I'd like to think that the case against Natalism has resonated with ANs for non-personal reasons.

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  45. I also think you should do more youtube videos. You are one of best antinatalists out there.

    You can still keep writing in your blog too.

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  46. Just look at your most recent blog posting: only 2 comments thus far and one of them belongs to you, so technically you only have one comment. This is surprising because I have yet to see a YT video of yours which has not at least had a minimum of 5 comments.

    Again, I feel you will gain a greater audience and thus persuade more people if you resume making more YouTube vids. You've changed my mind on a lot of things but that would have never happened if I had never come across your YouTube videos.

    >Not so sure about that. Would be an interesting survey to conduct though. I'd like to think that the case against Natalism has resonated with ANs for non-personal reasons.

    I really wish that were true but I sincerely doubt it, especially in regard to the well known antinatalists on YouTube, many of whom have a great deal of psychological issues. Just to name a few examples below:

    Inmendham has anxiety and depression.
    Mymiseryandme has depression.
    Waywardhorizon has depression.

    There are more users than this but I can't remember their usernames. That being said, it would be interesting to see if depressed/anxiety prone people are drawn towards antinatalism or if antinatalism makes people depressed and anxiety prone.

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  47. "Just look at your most recent blog posting"

    I haven't so much as lifted a finger in promoting that post though (and ditto for this entire site). The post we're commenting on now was in that same low range for the first month or so, before I got around to following up on it.

    My YT comment sections look spicier at first glance because they're mostly made up of exhaustive merry-go-rounds between myself & a handful of obstinate mongoloids who keep replying no matter what, not because they're advancing the debate, but simply because they want to get the last word in (which is common for keyboard warriors who perceive YT as an ideal podium to get things off their chest). I'll gladly take a comment section with a few decent comments over any of my YT comment sections that surpass 50 comments. Far less hassle.

    Besides, you glossed over my having already pointed out that (1) I'm not invested in any "gotta spread my views" type mission at this time, especially if it's at the expense of having to place myself front & center by doing performance art, and (2) My YT channel isn't the apparatus for that anyway. Buddying up with internet celebrities is. Might as well ask me to do that. It'll be more effective. Inmendham knows this too, but continues to avoid employing such methods, because at the end of the day he values his pride more than any mission, regardless of what he says while running on autopilot.

    I'm glad you got something out of my videos, but in retrospect I dislike many aspects of how I went about making arguments back then. Those vids are still up only because I think it's lame to just wipe out things I've said in public.

    "or if antinatalism makes people depressed and anxiety prone"

    Concluding that procreation is stupid or unethical cannot, in and of itself, make one depressed, let alone anxiety prone.

    Schopenhauer not withstanding, AN does not rely on pessimism in order resonate with sound minded people. And if it did, Section D of this post offers reasons for why even the most morbid form of pessimism can be uplifting, depending on one's psychological profile. Positivity tends to inundate people with the belief that whatever prize they're chasing has intrinsic merit, so failing to conquer *insert prize here* will naturally be a downer for them, whereas pessimists who view the contest as being rigged are less likely to fret over their status or ego or things of that sort. Very accommodating if you ask me.

    Two of the three individuals you mentioned have dropped AN in the past (for trite reasons) so let's not overlook the more tenacious ANs like skid, criss, trick, indifferentsky... none of whom reached AN due to personal reasons.

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  48. "Take this into consideration the next time you are told that such uppity views only stand to leave Inmendham and his 'Efil' cohorts feeling depressed. No sale. They're depressed for different reasons. Their grasp of ugly truth has nothing to do with it. Truth is not ugly, nor is it emotionally unsettling, nor is it depressing, for psychology is, indeed, not philosophy."

    Since your grasp of the English language far surpasses my own(It's not my mother-tongue), would it be correct to understand that quote as saying that we can accept the truth of the universe as we now know it without having to cry yourself to sleep every night?

    If that's what you're saying, I will have to say I agree and it is in itself a wonderful thing.

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  49. Yes, that's the gist of it. It's by no means a wonderful thing though. That paragraph you quoted, once explored further, sheds light on the limitations of human empathy.

    As I write this, an uncountable number of humans and animals are experiencing a level of harm so dreadful, its magnitude is not even fathomable to our spoiled sensibilities. None of us would want to be in their shoes. We would bargain away the promise of any grandiose positive experience, in order to avoid their plight. Had even a single one of those organisms been somebody in my social circle, my reaction to this reality would be profoundly different. But it's not. As it stands, my awareness of strangers' suffering doesn't depress me. It doesn't depress Inmendham. It doesn't depress you. It doesn't depress anyone. It only *frustrates* those of us who frequently think about it. The frustration creeps in on account of us knowing that we can't do anything to prevent the bulk of this harm.

    Inmendham portrays this frustration as if it were a depression (though he's simmered down on this in recent months, thankfully) so I felt the need to dedicate a part of the 'psychology' section to the conspicuous distinction between the two. Inmendham was highly obnoxious about this throughout 2013. Almost every video he uploaded was premised on his assumption of the depression/frustration overlap (in philosophy no less).

    Depression can be chemical or circumstantial, just not a-personal. It will never be the product of any pessimistic/philosophic outlook, in and of itself.

    Regrettably, even my frustration is fleeting. With each passing year, it intrudes less and less on my daily routine. My cognitive makeup is slowly but surely getting accustomed to the fact that I can't do anything to alleviate 99.9999% of non-trivial harm out there. The more accustomed I get to this, the less I will bother. So no, it's not wonderful. The suffering of strangers or of out-of-sight-wildlife doesn't vanish just because we're emotionally preoccupied with our own respective bubble.

    And if I may split hairs for a second: Summing up *the truth* as "ugly" assumes that there are only certain things (ugly things) that constitute truth. But "2+2=4" is also a truth... one of the many "non-ugly" ones.

    Same goes for "truth is beauty" utterances.

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  50. Hm, I hadn't really looked at it in that way, and your comment certainly provides fodder for thought.
    Thanks for your response.

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  51. Why should we act ethically?

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  52. This has to be the fourth time an anon has popped into this comment thread with this rudimentary question.

    Scroll up. You'll get your answer. An even wilder idea: Read the post.

    You may as well have just asked "Why should anyone care about the truth?" or "Why should anyone do anything ever?" like some wannabe sophist.

    I've written about this. Ad nauseam. So have others. Read up.

    Or, if you're philosophically disinclined, or a sociopath, or a compulsive liar, spare yourself the boredom.

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  53. I do rank high on the psychopathy scale but is that my fault? No! It is not.

    Look, I have no fucking incentive to act ethically. And if it weren't for these fucking fascist laws, I would probably be ripping humanity a new asshole.

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  54. It's not your fault... it's not your fault... it's not your fault... it's not your fault...... it's not your fault...

    No, listen to me son... it's not your fault.

    *big hug*

    Nor are the above mentioned afflictions the fault of those unfortunate enough to be burdened by them, be it the compulsive liar's indifference to truth, the philistine's aversion to culture and knowledge, the narcissist's disregard for others, Helen Keller's inability to see and hear, etc...

    A rabid dog cannot be *blamed* for being a rabid dog. Such blameless beasts have nonetheless proven themselves a danger to others' wellbeing. They can be described as such, perhaps treated, and if all else fails, put down.

    Or would that be too "fascist" a move for the anti-ethicist's sensibilities?

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  55. I'm not going to play these fucking games with you. I'll just leave you with this link: http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=6900&page=4

    Read the posts written by Kramdar. He blows all your fascist antinatalist arguments out of the water. Enjoy bitch!

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  56. Alright, I'll bite:

    The only one playing games is you. Just because I addressed your "is that my fault? No!" line by adding a bit of film parody doesn't mean that you get to ignore the point raised & change the subject by linking to a totally different discussion with its own baggage.

    You linked to page 4 of that thread because you're unwilling to deal with my arguments directly, word-for-word. You clearly don't even know what most of those arguments consist of & are too lazy to find out. Your solution is to rid this post of all its context by migrating to a rather cliché debate taking place on a different site, which includes Benatarians & an ex-Benatarian who is under the impression that AntiNatalism starts & ends with the Benatarian asymmetry. If you don't see how Kramdar's arguments are a dime a dozen, you've not been engaged in this debate for very long at all.

    The guy actually wrote the following:

    ''Antinatalists assume that harm is the sole determinant of life's worth''

    This is just a standard critique of Negative Utilitarianism vis-à-vis value monism, applied to ''AntiNatalism''. I don't know whether to yawn or cringe.

    One can just as easily conflate Natalists & Hedonists, then do nothing but appeal to arguments against hedonism to obfuscate arguments in favour of procreation that don't rely on hedonism. And such arguments for procreation do exist.

    Kramdar's aim is to undermine AN, which is fine, but he's under the adorable impression that this is doable without so much as bothering to offer reasons for why people should have children. Imagine someone attempting to undermine the Natalist position without bothering to explain why people should *not* have children. It's a non-starter, yet Kramdar's whole approach is tantamount to this. He just offers the overused phantom's critique, highlighted in Section F of this very blog. This either comes down to the ''we should be indifferent on procreation'' appeal to natal-apatheism, or a roundabout way of saying ''we should be ambivalent on procreation'' which is supposed to make AntiNatalists simmer down. This is ridiculous because (1) Natalism & AntiNatalism are not ontological positions, (2) AntiNatalism precedes the ''Better Never To Have Been'' book by centuries, & the statement ''Better Never To Have Been'' presumes to speak on behalf of everybody so it invites ontological critique of a position that's not ontological, and (3) natal-apatheists don't make the case for natal-apatheism around people who celebrate Natalism & parenthood; they just peddle it around AntiNatalists. Considering how our culture heavily reveres Natalism & parenthood, one would suspect the natal-apatheist to be far busier around Natalists, not the other way around. Their attentional energies only make sense if one regards condemnations of procreation as being inherently intrusive, while bizarrely construing recommendations of procreation as ''minding your own business'' so as to make them compatible with apatheism. No sale.

    Your main problem comes down to your inability to think of adherents of Natalism & AntiNatalism in the same way that one thinks of adherents of Environmentalism & Anti-Environmentalism. It's impossible to show up to an Anti-Environmentalist rally, not make the case for Environmentalism, & come away ''blowing Anti-Environmentalism out of the water''. One might be able to undermine certain features of the Anti-Environmentalist stance without advocating for Environmentalism, but one can't blow anything out of the water.

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  57. Kramdar's 1st comment on page 4 sets up a scenario wherein a Negative Utilitarian -- who evidently rejects value pluralism -- murders people because he applies a tunnelvision approach to harm reduction where the aggregate metric reigns supreme. Since you keep ignoring the things I've written about, you're unaware that my blog post here -- which you're commenting on -- sets up similar scenarios, condemns willy-nilly murders by granting entry to competing values like honesty & autonomy, & delves into the categorical distinctions that should be made between (1) consensual harm vs. non-consensual harm, (2) trivial harm vs. non-trivial harm, (3) physical harm vs. emotional harm. Offering harm this leeway still leaves all kinds of room for AntiNatalist conclusions, because Natalism is a package deal that tolerates the perpetuation of non-trivial harm & non-consensual harm. Had this package deal only included consensual harm or trivial harm, with all subjects having immunity to non-consensual harm, the AntiNatalist stance would be significantly weakened, to the point where I'd only criticize Natalism on non-consequentialist grounds. But that's not the case. There is no immunity, as per the number of yearly suicides, or just the people who at some point get captured & tortured & are willing to trade anything for an escape at the time of impact (to say nothing of the animals who can't consent). By smuggling in the aggregate tally right off the bat, Kramdar implies that one cannot make the above 3 categorical distinctions when it comes to harm, & still be an AntiNatalist.

    At no point is it explained by Kramdar why objections to the package deal -- and thus to procreation as we know it today -- entail being burdened by things like value monism. AntiNatalists are capable of grasping how harm minimization is not the *only* value linchpin in all conceivable circumstances, just as Natalists are capable of grasping how the maximization of happiness is not the only standard for them (unless, perhaps, one happens to be a classical utilitarian).

    You of course are unaware of these pesky distinctions because you're a reactionary who comments on posts without even skimming them first.

    ''He blows all your fascist antinatalist arguments out of the water''

    He blows murder out of the water (very impressive) thinking it accomplishes something because he mistakenly views the crux of AN as a call for aggregative harm reduction under every fathomable predicament. To blow AN out of the water, it's incumbent upon him to complete sentences like ''People should have children because...'' which he doesn't even attempt to do. Instead he safeguards the ''procreation can't be scrutinized either way'' line; a way of saying there's no merit to debates on procreation, while engaging in debates on procreation.

    But suppose that I *did* painlessly kill humans in their sleep: Why exactly should your cries of fascism hit home with anyone when you yourself ask questions like ''why should we act ethically?'' before mentioning your own thirst for human blood, limited by fascist laws. It's like you actually believe that your condemnations of fascism exist outside the scope of ethics, because you're a special snowflake like that.

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  58. What are your thoughts on the death penalty? You for it or against it?

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  59. Always opposed capital punishment as an apparatus for retributive justice.

    I did favour painless forms of capital punishment reserved solely for irreparable psychopaths serving life in maximum security prisons with no chance of parole, because it made fiscal sense to me at the time. I abandoned this position a few years back when I finally got around to looking up all the spending that goes into it. Statisticians generally agree that the average “life without parole” maximum sentencing still extracts less from the public treasury compared to the average CP expenditure and the ongoing (seemingly neverending) appeal process it invites.

    Obviously I’d still provide all suicidal prisoners with the right to die. That’s a different argument altogether, but I always feel the need to reference it in relation to CP.

    The only tricky aspect of the CP debate revolves around select imprisoned psychopaths who are not of sound mind. If this is ascertainable, then state sanctioned killing by way of lethal injection may be valid, as it merely puts the afflicted parties out of their misery in the same way that putting a rabid dog out of its misery is regarded as a decent thing to do, rather than a “punishment” or as a way of making an example out of the criminal. But again, there is no universal criterion for what constitutes a “sound mind” so this is often a bitch legally.

    If you don’t feel like reading the dry data, John Oliver did a fabulous segment on CP a few weeks ago: /watch?v=Kye2oX-b39E

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  60. I love it! "Non-astrologist" lol! I actually know a few people who swear by this stuff. Anyways, does Inmendham not know any theist ANs? Because I find the AN argument even more compelling, viewed through that lens.

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  61. Afraid I can't take credit for that one. A couple of months ago I saw an old talk by Sam Harris where he uses 'non-astrologist' as an analogy in the exact same way. I vaguely recall watching that talk way back in 2007. Odd how the analogy lingered in my subconscious long enough that it eventually made its way into this post, seven years later, despite not standing out to me at the time I actually first exposed myself to it. Had I not stumbled upon that talk again, I'd never have recalled it was Harris' doing.

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  62. That's okay. It's the first time I heard the term, so it's much appreciated, as is your blog. I freely admit I am not half the writer/thinker you are, and it's a pleasure to read your work. I've been an 'undiagnosed' AN as far back as I can recall, and only ran across the AN blogosphere late last year. You and a few have given great insight into myself, as well as the pitfalls eg. Efilism (what I would term a form of non-consensual AN).

    On another note, I hadn't figured out why, but when I understood that I was an AN, whether I was an atheist, theist, misotheist, whatever, seemed to become a secondary, minor issue. You've cleared that up for me, when you brought up what should have been obvious to me; whether God exists or not, doesn't mean I have to be his toady.

    Looking forward to reading more... Brian L

    Brian L

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  63. InMendham is ultimate poster child for Dunning-Kruger fucktardedness. Let's examine his "Everyone who doesn't believe what I believe is an idiot" claim. Here's the truth of the matter:

    I. The best definition of intelligence proposed so far is "g".

    II. The most g-loaded activity in existence is the taking of standardized tests, such as the WAIS, the Stanford-Binet, the SAT, the ACT, etc.

    III. One's "philosophy of life" correlates, at best, WEAKLY with one's standardized test scores. For example, the correlation between religiosity and intelligence is -.24. That's hardly a strong correlation. (The correlation in question may even be curvilinear, but that's a discussion for another day.) In other words, an estimation of X's intelligence based on X's personal beliefs is bound to be imprecise.

    IV. This last point is irrelevant, however, as InMendham's philosophy of life is so unusual that its correlating with intelligence is an impossibility. How many net-equationists are in the world? A few thousand?

    The bottom line is that InMendham is a dangerous megalomaniac.

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  64. Hello ABM -

    I know that this post is fairly old and I'm not sure if you'll see this comment, but if you do I want you to know that I think you and your views are very agreeable. I am glad that I found this resource criticizing many of Inmendham's views, and also glad that it wasn't coming from some idiotic pro-life/natalist/spirituality blogger either.

    Furthermore, it is quite ironic that you talked about the social contract in this post, as well as unsolicited mercy killings because I actually recently made a post on that on my blog (there's my shameless self-promotion).

    To answer your question regarding what we would do when given the chance to unconditionally wipe out life, I would reject this opportunity unless there is a unanimous agreement.

    If there was a button that would instantly purge all individuals who are suicidal, I would hesitate but I think I would press it. I would hesitate because I myself go through bouts of theoretical suicidal thinking.

    But going back to the unconditional extinction opportunity, I would not press the button because it is a violation of the social virtue of liberty, as well as a manifestation of a megalomaniacal intellectual egotism:

    Regarding the intellectual egotism, imagine that a skinhead racist had access to a button that would immediately put all "inferior" races into slavery. She presses this button because she feels that she is in the moral right, that inferior races are indeed inferior, and that there is absolutely no way that she is wrong.

    But in fact, almost all of us would content that what she did was extraordinarily immoral, for good reasons, too. And so the moral of this thought experiment is that irreversible, permanent "moral vigilantism" is unwarranted and utterly immoral.

    This can also be seen when pro-lifers blow up abortion clinics. They are overstepping their moral bounds.

    Because of this, I will contend that no matter how passionately we believe that AN is morally righteous, it is immoral to take irreversible, permanent action based upon AN.

    Regarding the "mercy" aspect of the killings: like you said in the post, the phrase "it's not about who is suffering, it's that suffering is the enemy" screams of self-entitlement and a misconstrual of pain vs suffering. I contend that pain only becomes suffering (and therefore a moral economic entity) when all attempts to associate meaning with it fails. Those who say that a little pinprick is enough to destroy the world over are being absolutely silly, because we go through far more painful events every day and deal with it, even thrive upon it.

    And so such a mercy killing is not a mercy killing at all. It is merely projecting one's desire for annihilation onto others without recognizing that others may enjoy living, even if living is a risk.

    Outside of this response, I would also like to say that I dislike Inmendham's (and others') view that suffering accumulates. This is one of the reasons why I tend to find certain utilitarian theories to be inadequate. Suffering does not accumulate in any external, measurable way, it is only measured by an internal psychology of resilience appropriation. And when we die, this psychology ends with us, and thus all the suffering fades.

    So I think it is rather foolish to think about all the suffering that will be accumulated in the future, as if the universe is just overflowing with suffering. What matters is if the individual can cope with the aches and pains of life. Since we cannot know whether or not an individual can do so before they are born, it follows that having a child should be viewed as a risk imposition. In my view, an important moral virtue should be that one ought not harm others without their consent. This, in my opinion, seems to lead to AN without having to use Benatar's asymmetry as a crutch that is systematically misinterpreted by natalists (not that there's anything really wrong with Benatar's formulation...it just may be unnecessary).

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    1. Glad you found this old, overwritten post agreeable. In a few days when I have ample time, I'll be sure to check your profile to look up what you plugged.

      I understand the (conventional) moral arguments against any & all button-pushing; the sort you seem to have been persuaded by. I take issue with folk morality, and ultimately disagree with your conclusions here. Morality, at the end of the day, simply must track axiology. When it doesn't, we're reduced to deontological grandstanding, like "Ask NOT what morality can do for you, ask what YOU can do FOR morality!". This is (1) Moral masochism, (2) Ignoring determinism/causality, (3) Privileging Cosmic Misfortune over wrongdoings with human fingerprints on them.

      Inanity.

      Now that you have a glimpse into some of my core precepts, let's cut to the chase: Fazed with an opportunity to push an Instant_Discontinuation button, I don't see myself being able to do it. This is irrelevant however, because I think the button ought to be pushed; viewed from an impartial panoramic overview.

      Not only does Scope Insensitivity emerge in standard numeric conceptualizations (i.e. Death of one = tragedy. Death of a million = statistic), it's even more prominent when it comes to our spoiled attempts to fathom what it must be like to be the recipient of worst-case-scenarios, or as I've dubbed them; Cosmic Snake-eyes. No, we can't imagine what it's actually like to be kidnapped by sadists, continuously tortured... again, and again, and again... and then tortured some more. The longer the torture goes on, the weightiness of the victim's wish to discontinue the torture grows ever weightier. The disvalue is powerful; far more robust than any positive value I've ever yearned for. This overrides my wish to not be murdered, both painlessly and painfully. It trumps every other negative I might wish to shield myself from. Because of this, I maintain that certain 'disvalue>value' trade-offs strike moral conventionalists as deeply counterintuitive merely because our brains are prone to the aforementioned depreciation of scope.

      The indignation over button-pushing is nearly comical when you consider that most parents say things like "I'd be willing to do ANYTHING to keep by baby girl safe. Absolutely anything! She's my baby!". You hear this myopic stuff, & it compels you to ask follow-up questions, like if the proud parent would be willing to blow up an entire continent; a continent overseas wherein their child is being slowly & brutally tortured to death, as the child begs the parent to blow it up ASAP because the hardship is just that unbearable. The parents I've cornered with this ultimatum had no qualms admitting that they'd blow up the continent... when it's *their* child. This in mind, their recurring indignation over the virtue of impartiality-driven button-pushing is, as I said, comical at this point.

      At any rate, I opt for an analytical approach to ethics (over intuitionist or sentimentalist ones). Thus the counterintuitiveness of button-pushing wouldn't be a deal-breaker for me anyway.

      An applicable comment by me, posted in this thread on 2014-07-20:

      "As I write this, an uncountable number of humans and animals are experiencing a level of harm so dreadful, its magnitude is not even fathomable to our spoiled sensibilities. None of us would want to be in their shoes. We would bargain away the promise of any grandiose positive experience, in order to avoid their plight. Had even a single one of those organisms been somebody in my social circle, my reaction to this reality would be profoundly different. But it's not. As it stands, my awareness of strangers' suffering doesn't depress me"

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  65. Crap, when I said it was immoral to take irreversible, permanent action based upon AN, I meant it was immoral so long as there is no consent. Sorry.

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    1. Also:

      Whether the button-pusher is praiseworthy or blameworthy due to this single act, we can certainly debate. See my video on 'Dual Consequentialism' for an explanation behind why Praise or Blame stops at pragmatism & has no normative force. See this post for a clear-cut example of a case wherein praiseworthiness shouldn't manifest & blameworthiness should manifest: http://antibullshitman.blogspot.ca/2015/08/prospective-vs-retrospective-judgements_31.html

      I do agree that the elimination of pinpricks or stubbed toes is by no means grounds for murdering innocents. But that's not the context of the debate, broadly speaking. Negative Preference Utilitarians can certainly accommodate these curveballs by separating interpersonal risk-exposure (boo) and intrapersonal (yay) risk-exposure. The disutility as far as NPUs are concerned would be limited to the former.

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  66. ABM -

    You should take a look at the work of Julio Cabrera and his Negative Ethics. He was talking about antinatalism before Benatar and co. did (and in fact has done imho a devastating criticism of Benatar's asymmetry that Benatar has not to my knowledge responded to), and has created a system of ethics called "negative ethics" that criticizes what he calls "affirmative ethics".

    Here's a link to the summary of his ethical views: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8lRhEwzaxOlckVlNG1RVjNPdHc/view

    And here's a link to a book by Cabrera, translated into English: http://repositorio.unb.br/bitstream/10482/17430/3/Livro_CritiqueAffirmativeMorality.pdf

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