In the Smoky Drinky Bar last night, Nisakiman remarked that I’d saved myself several hundred thousand pounds by not having any children. He should know: he’s got several. He didn’t like abortion.
It was a quiet night last night at the Smoky Drinky Bar, and after I’d left, I watched Roger Scruton talking about moral relativism for a while. Moral relativism meant everyone having their own opinions, with no one opinion being worth any more than any other. Or something like that.
As I was listening I thought that Idle Theory was an absolute value system. In Idle Theory, the absolute value of anything is the sum of the costs and benefits associated with it, with those costs and benefits measured in idle time. You make some tool, and it costs you some amount of idle time to make it. And then when you use the tool, it saves you idle time in doing something.
Example: You have lots of nuts that need tightening. By hand you never get them very tight, unless you ask Steel Fingers Harry. It takes you ten minutes to tighten a nut on your own, using just your fingers and a piece of rag. Suppose that you could make a simple spanner by cutting up very thin sheets of steel, and gluing them together. It takes maybe 2 hours to make it. And then you use the spanner to tighten the nuts, and you can tighten a single nut in 6 seconds. And you also get the nuts much tighter, so they don’t unscrew after a few minutes like the finger-tightened ones always do. And so if you’ve got 100 nuts to tighten, it would have taken you 1000 minutes using your worn. calloused, bleeding fingers. But with the spanner it takes just 600 seconds to tighten those 100 nuts. That’s 10 minutes. A saving of 990 minutes. If the spanner breaks after every 100 nuts it’s used to tighten, then the value of the spanner is 990 minutes. But it only cost 120 minutes to make the spanner. So the spanner’s net value is 990 minus 120 minutes of work, or 870 minutes. No wonder engineers love spanners, and always keep a couple in a deep trouser pocket. And it doesn’t matter what colour the spanner is, it still works just as well. And it doesn’t matter whether people think spanners are ugly, they still work just as well. It doesn’t matter what anyone’s opinion is.
Part way into his talk Roger Scruton mentioned the subject of abortion. And I immediately connected this to what Nisakiman had said. And I asked: What is the value of children?
In Idle Theory, children are useful tools – just like spanners. And like spanners, they have costs attached to them. The initial costs of making children requires only 5 or 10 minutes of fairly intensive work (which many people greatly enjoy doing). But there then come years and years of nappies, crying, feeding, clothing, housing, schooling, and probably a lot more as well. It takes years of sustained work to turn the child into an adult who can perform useful work. It took 2 hours to produce the finished spanner. It can take 20 or more years to produce a finished adult. No wonder Nisakiman said that I’d saved myself hundreds of thousands of pounds (sterling) by not having children.
For where’s the value in children? After 20 years of being clothed, fed, housed, schooled, and given pocket money, they leave home and never come back. All the effort is wasted. It’s like making a spanner and never getting to use it to tighten nuts. Or, worse, having someone else use it, and gain all the value without doing any of the work making it.
No wonder people want abortions! They don’t want to spend twenty years of their lives toiling to produce an adult finished product from a mewling, dribbling baby, only to see their efforts wasted.
I once had, for about one day, a 20-year-old girlfriend who’d just had an abortion. Why did she have it? Because she didn’t want to spend the next 20 years of her life as an unmarried mother living in a tower block in Walthamstow, waiting for the cladding to catch fire. She wanted to spend those 20 years dancing and drinking and screwing. Which was how she came to need the abortion in the first place.
It makes you wonder why anyone ever has any children at all. But the answer is that, in the past, people didn’t spend 20+ years producing educated, useful adults. Instead, children were set to work as soon as they could walk and talk. Which is about the age of three or four. Your 4-year-old son or daughter would be sent out to carry sticks or logs home for the kitchen fire. Or they’d be set sweeping floors and mixing ingredients. Best of all, they could be sent up chimneys to clean out the soot – a task that adults were too big to do. So after about 4 years, parents began to see a return on their investment. And the return grew larger as the child grew taller and stronger and abler. Your 10-year-old daughter would be cooking all the dinners, while your 15-year-old son would be chopping down trees, and carrying logs home. And you could just sit in the sun with your pipe, benignly overseeing their industry.
But you can’t do that any more. Because it’s called Child Labour, and it’s as abhorrent as Slavery. You have to clean out the chimneys yourself. And sweep the floors. And cook the dinners. And carry the logs. Because now chiiiiildren are precious things that are very easily broken, like Ming vases. Even a whiff of tobacco smoke is enough to snuff out their lives in seconds.
But as soon as it became a crime to employ child labour, children became valueless to parents. The whole point of having children – as invaluable mother’s little helpers – vanished. And that’s when women started having abortions.
It’s also why we have an entire generation of snowflakes who’ve Got Rights to a “safe space”: i.e. their own bedroom with Flight Simulator 10 running on Xbox 27. They’ve never had to get logs from the orchard, or coal from the coal shed, or mix pastry for their mum, or make their own beds. They’re Chiiiiildren, and it would be a betrayal of their Human Rights to make them do anything they don’t want to do. And all they really want to do is crash airliners into the Twin Towers. Or any other available high rise buildings, now that the Twin Towers have gone.
I could go on. But I won’t.