Jill Filipovic is a feminist, writer, and attorney.
On Wednesday, we learned that Filipovic is also a eugenicist.
It's a quite remarkable tweet. For a start, consider Filipovic's utter, unrestrained belief in her cause. That tweet isn't just a suggestion, it's an order: at the margins, having children makes you a bad person.
But sidelining the moral argument for a second, Filipovic's claim is also remarkable for its idiocy.
After all, the premise of Filipovic's argument — that Earth cannot co-exist with a growing human population — rests on the Guardian article that her tweet links to. That article references researchers who have listed all the things that produce carbon emissions.
But here's the thing. The correlation between planetary health and human population is not nearly as simple as Filipovic presents. New technologies have expanded access to food, housing, medicine, and energy supplies. On the energy front, the dual rise of solar power and fracking-based extraction offers sustainability for global energy needs. And the use of less-polluting, less-resource-intensive technologies defines the digital age.
Yes, we need to protect the environment, but we humans and the Earth can co-exist.
There's another logical issue here: growing populations in the developing world will inevitably, and vastly, offset any reduction in birth rates in the United States.
For the sake of argument, however, let us assume that Americans did listen to Filipovic and stopped having as many kids. In turn, let us assume that our population growth declined and from its already record low rate of 0.7 percent to a negative figure that caused the population to shrink.
We would have a big problem.
With an aging population and shrinking pool of younger citizens, we would face increasingly intractable problems in providing for our elders. It's not a terribly controversial notion to admit that younger, productive workers are needed to pay for the tax system that sustains our elders.
At best, Filipovic's proposal would lead to massive tax hikes on workers and declining standards of care. This would inevitably reduce private sector investment and productivity, growing debt, and a restraining influence on the economy. Put simply, we would live less-wealthy, less-happy lives.
Nevertheless, Filipovic's contention reaches far deeper than that of simple planetary concerns. It seems clear that the writer also has some pathological dislike for the process of producing children. We can assess this by scrolling down Filipovic's Twitter feed.
On Tuesday, linking to an article on the same theme, Filipovic tweeted out, "there's nothing more obnoxious than a gender reveal party." The author of that piece explains why she resents gender reveal parties. It's because those parties imprison female identity to producing offspring. And because "... gender-reveal parties don't actually reveal gender - they reveal anatomy. Gender is a wholly different thing, inextricably tied to the social constructs around it."
Sure it is.
Science aside, it's clear that Filipovic and her movement believe that having children is, to some degree, immoral. Filipovic does not tell us the number of children that can be morally justified, but she may well support a one-child policy. But more than that, in Filipovic world, the choice to become pregnant is an immoral offense against both female identity and the planet.
Filipovic's order against pregnancy might not be backed up for coercive threat, but it's still very unpleasant.