March 22, 2016

Satanism and Eugenics

Image via Genotopia
One of the most controversial subjects in Satanism is eugenics. What is it? Eugenics is:
"The science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics. Developed largely by Francis Galton as a method of improving the human race, it fell into disfavor only after the perversion of its doctrines by the Nazis. (via Google)
One of the key things to take from this discussion is that eugenics only fell into disfavor after it became synonymous with Nazi Germany. It is truth that many people in the world saw eugenics as the next step for humanity, and even people on the receiving end of forced sterilization programs frequently agreed with the stated intent of making the human breeding pool stronger and healthier. While the genetic modification highlighted in Gattaca (1997) is still science fiction, the legacy of eugenics is science reality. For example, North Carolina had one of the longest running involuntary eugenics programs in the USA, and nobody should ever let the US federal government pretend to forget about the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.

Noble as the goals might be, in practice what history has shown when it comes to eugenics is utterly horrifying. And while Anton LaVey, the founder of Satanism and the first high priest of the Church of Satan, waxed eloquent about eugenics in several of his books, it's wrong to say that he wanted to reinstate the eugenics programs of the past. Satanists embrace the individual's choice to completely own his or her own body and do with it what he or she desires. So while a Satanist wouldn't deny another's right to bodily autonomy and choice to conceive, a Satanist would absolutely support mapping the human genome; designer babies; and - as the primary emphasis in this essay - voluntary sterilization.

As far as government eugenics programs went in the past, the idea was that the "right" people would be permitted and encouraged to breed more, and the "wrong" people would be sterilized to prevent their pollution of the breeding pool; however, as history has shown, the delineation of "right" and "wrong" typically split between "white" and "everybody else." Certainly, the mentally retarded and those born with congenital defects were automatically candidates for sterilization, but it's conspicuous how other candidates were selected.

But just because government-run involuntary eugenics programs were put to an end for obvious reasons, this doesn't mean that the practice of eugenics has stopped. There are many families today who choose to receive elective abortions when a fetus is revealed to be a girl. I support abortion-on-demand, and I myself don't see anything wrong with a couple who want to decide the gender of their child. In the present, the only option for controlling gender is to abort non-conforming fetuses, but in the very near future parents will be able to choose the child's gender at will. But to be even more practical about voluntary eugenics, this just means birth control. How many people practice some form of birth control? The most basic form of eugenics is a question: "Conception: yes or no?" Millions and millions of people answer this question with a variety of contraceptive tools and methods. Some even go so far as to accept voluntary sterilization.

Why would somebody choose to be sexually sterilized? I can't answer for everybody, but I can answer for myself: I got a vasectomy this morning. This was very important to me primarily because I'm absolutely, completely, and 100% done with having children. I think kids are great, I just don't want any more of them. 

My (almost) 4-y/o daughter has just fully potty trained, and that is a process I don't ever want to have to each ever again. Potty training aside, my daughter and her older sister, my step-daughter, get along great. I'm so lucky to have two beautiful girls in my house who get along so great. Adding another child to the mix would utterly disrupt the family life we've achieved and might as well be a hard reset to the relationship I've been building with my step-daughter. All my time and energy would go to the newborn, and that's something I don't want to do to either of my girls. 

Not to mention the lasting damage and stress another pregnancy would place on my wife? I love her bunches and bunches, but c'mon, ladies - tell me I'm wrong, but being pregnant for 9 months and then being chained to caring for an utterly helpless meat sack baby for at least three years until it's ready for full-day daycare or getting into junior kindergarten? That's nearly four years of your life that you won't get back again, and good luck trying to coordinate work, school, or almost anything else around a newborn. And don't even play it like having lots of kids doesn't make you crazy: my mom had four kids - three her own, one step-daughter - and not only is she crazy, but my brother, sisters, and I all made her that way. I really like my wife sane, and that goes a long way to keeping me from taking a job as a long-haul trucker so I can be away from home 25 days out of the month.

And as long as we're being honest with ourselves, my wife and I miss having great sex. Before the baby came along, we were having the best sex we've ever had at any point in both our lives. We'd learned how to achieve simultaneous orgasm on a regular basis, and it was glorious. 

You know what else was glorious? Not using a condom. I get that a condom is a really great way to prevent unintended pregnancies and also prevent STD's, but in a monogamous relationship STD's aren't an issue and a well-timed rhythm method prevents conception. But you know, while my daughter wasn't an accident, she wasn't planned, either, and that's what happens when you go on vacation, deal with stressful relatives, come home and forget exactly which day of the month it is. Call me Pistol Pete, because it only took one encounter for us to get pregnant. My wife and I had been talking about having a child within the next year or two, but hadn't settled on a date. Turns out, a date settled on us!

So I really want to get back to spectacularly great sex, and I really don't want to use a condom because I can't feel a damn thing with one of those on. But then, I'm also done checking the calendar every time I want to get frisky with my wife. Who's a totally hot yoga teacher-trainer, by the way, and yes - yoga teachers do make better lovers! And again, perhaps in the category of "too much information," but climaxing together is so deeply romantic and fulfilling, and I want to be able to enjoy that with my life partner without worrying about calendar dates.

Another alternative we have available is for my wife to go on the pill, get an IUD, use a female condom, or use a spermacide. For long-term relationships, the pill is selling yourself short because it stops the ovulation cycle and all the sexy secretions that go with it; IUD's aren't risk-free; female condoms are the most un-sexy thing ever invented; and spermacide alone is only 70% to 80% effective. And, regarding pills or other injections, this doesn't even get into hormonal changes that can cause a whole host of other problems. Plus - when I got on the waiting list for a vasectomy a year ago - my wife was still breastfeeding, so anything that could wind up in the breast-milk was a non-starter.

And sure, my wife could get a tubal ligation, but for a woman to get a tubal ligation requires general anesthesia, laparoscopic surgery, and a longer recovery time compared to a vasectomy. Which, again, wasn't a great solution since my wife was still breastfeeding a year ago, and as busy as we were with both of our business, it wasn't a good choice for us, which is why the best solution was for me to get a vasectomy because it's day procedure done with local anesthetic and so the doctors say will have me back on my feet in a couple days. 

So how did we get to this morning? After nine months on the waiting list, I got an appointment with the local urologist, Dr. Aziz, for an initial inspection of my man-parts and tentative date for me to join the next vasectomy clinic. I was initially scheduled for a vasectomy in February, but it filled up and I got pushed back to March. I got a phone call from the lovely receptionist at Dr. Aziz's office who told me everything I need to prepare for the procedure, which also includes shave prep. As far as man-scaping goes, I keep a trim lawn, but I've only ever shaved my man-parts twice in my entire life, and both times I swore I'd never do it again because the hair growing back is insanely itchy. That and it just looks ridiculous. I mean, seriously: shaving your man-parts make you look prepubescent, and the only people who like that are Catholic priests.

At any rate, I showed up at the minor procedures clinic this morning in the local hospital at 7.45am, got checked into a holding room, and changed into a couple surgical gowns. By 8.20am, I was in the surgical room getting prepped which included being covered with multiple layers of sterile sheets, having my man-parts painted with what felt like ice-cold betadine, and being instructed by the nurses that after the sterile sheets went down, I couldn't move anything. That left only my neck and head exposed at the head of the bed, and my man parts hanging out of a hole in the sheet in the middle of the bed. By 8.35, Dr. Aziz had prepped, he came into the surgical room and asked the nurses to start prepping needles.

Up to this point, I was doing great, and then Dr. Aziz started injecting the local anesthetic. Now, it needs be said that - the way this was explained to me - nine times out of ten, a vasectomy is a mostly painless procedure with very little discomfort. But, as it turned out, I was that one time out of ten when the anesthetic didn't do what it was supposed to do. Dr. Aziz started on my right side, and the injections caused immediate and intense pain. When I cried out, Dr. Aziz laughed nervously and said to his nurses, "So, uh - what's in these needles? Water?" I couldn't see the nurses' faces, but their voices sounded unimpressed: "No."

Three shots of local anesthetic on the right side got followed by another two, and that blocked the pain of the scalpel incision and later the stitches, but I felt a lot of everything else. And by "everything else," I mean when Dr. Aziz reached through the incision, grabbed and cut the vas deferens, burned the ends shut, and then clamped them shut. Actually, I didn't feel any of the burning, but yeah - everything else.

Image via Mayo Clinic

In the picture above, do you see the clamps put around the vas deferens? In my procedure, the doctor burns the ends shut, folds them over, and then clamps them. You wouldn't think it, but those clamps hurt when they go on. If you want to know what it feels like, grab your sack, isolate one of the boys, and squeeze the shit out of it. I don't understand why it feels like that, but it does, and absent anesthetic doing what it's supposed to be doing, it hurts like hell.

Oh, and notice in the picture how the top end of the vas deferens is still, you know, attached? The only way to get enough slack and do the work necessary is for the doctor to pull it out of the incision made in the scrotum. For me - because the anesthetic didn't work the way it was supposed to work - it felt like getting kicked in the groin while at the same time getting my testicles ripped off. that's what it felt like. And shame on me for not being a tough guy, but I cried. It was really fucking painful. But, as my nurses and the doctor told me, this isn't the case for the majority of people who get a vasectomy - I just got unlucky because my body didn't respond to the anesthetic.

And for the folks who are counting along with me, that was only the right side: I had to do it all over again on the left side. 

This was made even worse because ever since a really stressful and terribly painful surgery in 2010 - my right lung collapsed and required thoracoscopic surgery - my personal nightmares revolve around being helpless, in pain, confined to a hospital bed, and unable to move. So as you can imagine, this minor procedure that was described to me as mostly painless turned out to be a nightmare combination of Saw and Hostel. I don't think that my suffering was legendary even for Hell, but it was a new personal record.

Dr. Aziz was understandably frustrated that I was in pain and that he was looking incompetent. You might think that I think he's incompetent, but I don't - the guy's done over 5,000 vasectomies, so he knows his business. But yeah, he was frustrated because he knew that I was thinking he was incompetent. He needed me to calm down, so they gave me a dose of ativan half-way through the left side. He finished his work, they moved me back to the temporary room where I'd left my clothes. I spent the next 40 minutes waiting for my body to stop shaking, and when I was well enough to get up I called my wife and she drove me home.

Since I got home just before 11am this morning, I've been laying on my back with my legs elevated and rotating bags of frozen peas and frozen corn onto my crotch. And you might not know it from the way I'm typing, but I'm totally stoned on dilaudid right now and it's still not managing all the pain I'm having. So the doctors tell me, the dull ache and throbbing pain should be finished by the end of the second day, but if those 1-in-10 odds play out for me again, it's going to run into the third day. Time will tell, won't it?

Something strange I've noticed since I got home is how I can't relax. Truthfully, I'm exhausted: I went to sleep around 2.30am this morning, and only got about five hours of sleep before I was up to catch a cab to the hospital. It's after midnight right now, so you do the math. I should have crashed out by now, but my body is still tense. I don't know for certain, but I'm guessing that the trauma to my man-parts is stimulating a prolonged "fight or flight" response. 

Or maybe I'm just still really fucking fried after escaping my own personal torture chamber? It's a good thing that the doctor gave me all my follow-up instructions in writing, because - just like my lung surgery in 2010 - my mind is already erasing, confusing, and blurring all memories of this experience. Ever see Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950)? The whole movie could be expressed one sentence: "That's not how I remember it." And that's exactly what my brain is doing to me right now: it's already changing what I thought happened, and if you asked me about the whole experience tomorrow, I'd almost certainly tell you something different than I'm telling you today.

Where the hell was I? Eugenics. Voluntary sterilization. Yeah, I'm really tired, I can't sleep, my nerves are fried, and I'm a little bit high on dilaudid, so I'm going to end here. I started this as a discussion about why I as a Satanist embrace voluntary eugenics, then it turned into play-by-play telling of my vasectomy, and then it morphed into an Akira Kurosawa film. Clearly, I'm done for the night, so I'm going to call it quits on whatever this is before it turns into something even stranger.