How to Be Grotesquely Reductionist and Utilitarian about Human Love and Life

This post by one “Deep Thought” is a brilliant example:

This isn’t rocket science; men with easy access to prostitution or to promiscuous women have little incentive to marry. Suddenly there is nothing to offset their legal and financial obligations as a husband – so why take on the obligation? Women who are promiscuous face disease, pregnancy, and emotional trauma – all of them reduce their ability to be a valuable wife.

This probably helps explain what’s going on with prostitution bans, but is it supposed to be a moral reason to endorse them? Dramatic reconstruction:

Sweetheart… Since I have no easy access to women who sell sex, will you share my life so I can use you for sex? I mean, even if there were a few more easy women around here, I’d have no use for you. Definitely no reason to make a commitment to you. But there aren’t. Oh well. So… I love you? And Oh! Here’s a diamond.

Maybe this tells us something about the great romance of being the mother of Deep Thought’s four children, but for my part, I share my life with Kerry because she is brilliant and exciting and we mesh in so many ways and I love her. As far as I can tell, the existence of Craiglist’s Casual Encounters has no bearing on this, my greatest source of happiness.

It gets even more obsessively biological. This is, sensibly enough I suppose, written by a Catholic guy with a theology degree who attends Latin mass and thinks “the Patriarchy, when controlled by Judeo-Christian morality, is a protector of and advocate for women.” [!!!]:

the future belongs to those who show up. If you don’t have kids, you have no stake in the future. If you have kids, you not only have a stake in the future, you can influence it in ways almost impossible to duplicate without kids.


bans on prostitution exist not just to avoid the exploitation of sex workers; they are in place not just because the majority of world religions declare them immoral; they were passed not solely to fight the spread of disease; they were written with more than the goal of reducing the numbers of poor, fatherless children. No, they are there to protect the future.

Again, I can see the explanatory power here. But to think that this has justificatory power is simply grotesque. This is to reduce individual human beings to tokens of a biological type, to reduce the purpose of an individual human life to a link in a biological chain there is no moral value in forging. Yes, the future belongs to those who show up. But the present belongs to each individual human being. We have lives because a lineage has been perpetuated. But our lives are not for perpetuating lineages. Our lives are for our living. Our duty is to treat one another as free and equal persons, as ends in themselves, which means we are duty-bound not to use people and their lives for purposes not their own. We treat people with the respect they deserve. Whoever shows up, shows up. If you’re interested in that, then breed away. But do leave the rest of us alone.