Bootnecking Modern Civilization

Modern civilization lifted “nature’s boot” off humanity’s neck.

Nature’s boot, to put it simply, is the harsh struggle to exist. In nature, most organisms die without reproducing. That is necessary to prevent populations from exploding. It’s not the design of some benevolent creator. It’s just how things happen: populations increase until competition limits them.

All species have the capacity for excess reproduction, so all species have the capacity for exponential growth. No species could evolve that does not have that capacity. Premature death prevents most organisms from reproducing, and thus prevents the exponential growth of populations.

That’s the boot that modern civilization has lifted off humanity’s neck. In modern civilization, most children live to adulthood. For most individuals, life is not a desperate struggle to survive. Life is relatively easy.

However, the removal of nature’s boot has created new problems. These new problems are counter-intuitive, because the human brain is adapted to nature’s boot. Somewhat ironically, without the boot, the brain doesn’t work. The brain was smart enough to wriggle free of the boot, but it isn’t smart enough to figure out how live without the boot.

Or so it seems.

For humanity as a whole, the absence of the boot creates the twin biological problems of population growth and dysgenics. The boot regulated the human population and genome. Without the boot, the population is growing and the genome is degrading.

The solution to these problems is simple: replace nature’s boot with social regulation of reproduction. Unfortunately, most people resist this solution, because they don’t understand the problem. They don’t understand how making life easier for human beings could cause problems. It is counter-intuitive.

In the past, we solved problems by pushing against nature’s boot. It is hard to understand that the absence of the boot creates new problems, and that we can only solve those problems with a new boot.

For humans, nature’s boot often involved conflict with other societies. Other societies threatened to annihilate us and take our land. We could solve problems of scarcity by annihilating them and taking their land. It is natural for humans to go to war. It is not natural for humans to regulate their own populations. Population growth naturally led to war, which reduced the population.

Occasionally, humans discover a new trick, like agriculture or fossil fuels. Then the population increases for a while, until it reaches a new limit.

Good times are transient and self-eliminating. Hard times are relatively stable.

Now is a good time. We currently have abundance, not scarcity. Most children live to adulthood. The problems of the past have disappeared, for now. So, it is hard for people to understand that there is any problem that needs solving.

We evolved to deal with scarcity by competing for resources. We did not evolve to perpetuate abundance by regulating our population. Likewise, we never regulated our genome in the past — at least, not deliberately. So, the idea of regulating our population and genome seems strange to most people.

Nature’s boot solved the problems of population growth and dysgenics by killing children. We have never solved those problems for ourselves.

I am not proposing that we solve our problems by killing children. We can replace nature’s boot with socially imposed reproduction control. That is a much gentler boot.

But we don’t seem capable of understanding these problems, let alone solving them. So, nature’s boot will probably return in the not-too-distant future.

The absence of the boot also creates psychological and philosophical problems for individuals. It creates a loss of purpose, and the need for an explicit purpose.

When the boot is on the neck, human emotions work properly. They cause us to struggle to survive. That’s what we evolved to do, and our emotions evolved to make us do it. Once the boot comes off the neck, human emotions become dysfunctional.

For example, women evolved to depend on men for survival. Men have a stronger sexual attraction toward women than vice versa, because women were attracted to men for other reasons, and/or women didn’t have the option to refuse sex. Hunger, danger, and even male violence forced women to mate with men. In modern civilization, those ancestral forces are no longer present. The result is a breakdown in human sexual behavior. Men and women are not forming relationships and having sex.

I am not proposing that women be placed in conditions of hardship and danger, so that they will submit sexually to men. But we have to understand that human emotions are adapted to the conditions of the past, not to the conditions of the modern world. If we are going to have a civilization in which women are safe and comfortable, then we might need to make women depend on men in other ways, to restore a balance of power between the sexes.

Birth control is another solution that creates new problems. It gives us a new type of agency: the ability to control reproduction without abstinence. This is not harmful per se. It simply gives us more control over our lives. However, we did not evolve to have this type of agency. With easy access to birth control, most people choose to have few or no children.

In a world with birth control, human beings need to explicitly value reproduction. Otherwise, many will not reproduce, and they will not have a unifying purpose of life. They will just spin their wheels until they die.

Now this is where many people (understandably) get confused. Earlier, I said that unregulated reproduction is a problem. Birth control allows people to regulate reproduction. So surely birth control is not only good, it solves the problem that I raised before. It replaces nature’s boot. So there is nothing to worry about, right?

Wrong. Things aren’t that simple.

Voluntary low fertility is not a substitute for nature’s boot. It is dysgenic, not eugenic. And it is self-eliminating. Many people will choose low fertility, but some will choose high fertility, and their descendants will be the future population. In the long run, genes and memes that cause high fertility will replace those that cause low fertility. Even when something is voluntary, it has deterministic causes that can be selected for or against. The population might stop growing temporarily due to voluntary low fertility, but in the long run only nature’s boot or socially imposed reproduction control can stop the population from exploding.

See Dysgenics, Overpopulation and Conventional Ignorance and Demography and Destiny.

Individuals can’t solve the collective problems of population growth and dysgenics by choosing not to reproduce. Collective problems have to be solved by collective action.

Modern civilization causes a loss of purpose for many individuals. They simply don’t know what to do with their lives. In the past, people couldn’t choose careers, lifestyles, genders, sexualities, etc. Those things were mostly determined by culture or nature. Women would get pregnant soon after puberty, so they needed to be married. People knew what to do: struggle to survive and raise their children. Today, people have choices that they didn’t evolve to make, and they don’t have the problems that they evolved to solve. They are lost, confused, and spinning their wheels. They don’t know what to do.

That is one reason for the explosion of new ideologies and identities, such as transgenderism. There is a deep sense that something is wrong with modern life, but the real problem is counter-intuitive, so people don’t see it. Instead, they frantically search for meaning in other areas.

To behave adaptively in the modern world, the individual must reject hedonism and explicitly value reproduction. In the past, human emotions caused people to reproduce without the conscious choice to reproduce. Now that we have the ability to control our reproduction, as individuals, we must choose to reproduce. The explicit value of reproduction is a substitute for nature’s boot. It gives the individual a purpose: something to work toward.

The individual needs a new struggle to replace the old struggle against nature’s boot. This struggle requires two things:

  1. An explicit purpose.
  2. Society making that purpose harder to attain.

The individual needs reproduction as a core value. This is necessary to make him adapted to the modern world. Society needs to limit reproduction, and make it more difficult for individuals to achieve. Society should require that parents are law-abiding, contributing members of society, and can support the child at a level deemed adequate. Society should also impose the requirement that both parents agree to a child, which would make women depend on men again, and help to restore the balance of sexual power.

By limiting individual reproduction, society could replace nature’s boot in two ways. It would regulate the human population and genome. It would also give the individual something to do with his life, instead of spinning his wheels.

But this is very counter-intuitive.

It is counter-intuitive that society should make it harder to reproduce at a time when fertility is collapsing in most countries. But that is exactly what it should do. The effect would be even more counter-intuitive. Making reproduction harder to attain would actually boost fertility in the developed world, because children would become a sign of high status. Children would demonstrate that the individual is a law-abiding, contributing member of society with the means to support children. Making reproduction into a civilized competition would help to make it a core value. Even without that effect, reproduction would eventually become a core value due to cultural and biological evolution, if modern civilization lasts long enough. In the short run, the best way to boost fertility eugenically is to make it harder, not easier.

Unfortunately, there are no intuitive solutions to modern problems. Only careful rational thought can understand and solve the problems of the modern world.

We have bootstrapped ourselves out of the Malthusian trap, but only temporarily, and by doing so we have created new problems. To stay out of the Malthusian trap and solve our new problems, we have to “bootneck” ourselves.


  1. > Individuals can't solve the collective problems of population growth and dysgenics by choosing not to reproduce. Collective problems have to be solved by collective action.

    Collectives are made up of individuals. There is no "collective mind". As very intelligent animals that are capable of foresight and planning, unlike any other animal, we can individually foresee far faaaar distant problems like over-population and overheating atmospheres and adjust our behaviors accordingly. Like how you felt the need as an individual to write this blog post. You didn't need Big Brother to make you worry about this. Similarly many people, as individual consumers, voluntarily choose eco-friendly products, electric cars, etc.

    > Without the boot, the population is growing and the genome is degrading.

    Genomes don't "degrade". That's YOUR individual subjective value judgement. Genomes simply adapt to their environment.

    You were very foggy about what exactly you meant by "social imposition". Was it something like Stalin or Xi Jinping or Kim Jong-un? And what's the scale - citadel, regional, global? I mean, if it's not global, then a "rogue" community could eventually "over-breed" and become a threat to the controlled-breeders amiright? Do you want social credit scores too, to further demonstrate and brag about how "law abiding" citizens are? How's that working out for North Korea and China? Who gets to decide what the optimal (global?) population is? Do you think it's currently overpopulated? Many people do, many people don't. Who's right?

    Why did you feel the need to write this opinion-piece, it's such a non-issue compared to the countless very real problems that exist. We are nowhere even close to real overpopulation, not in our lifetimes, not in our kids' lifetimes. It sounds like you were awkwardly desperately trying to justify your enslavement, and I guess indirectly saying that you aren't satisfied with your life and projecting that onto others. My life is very rich and meaningful, even without kids. It sounds like you had neglectful parents, and are indirectly telling us that you want others to care about your life and micro-manage your life, the way your parents were supposed to have done, but I guess didn't. Please don't make all of us suffer because your childhood was unsatisfying :p.

    1. Zero ContradictionsJuly 20, 2022 at 5:38 PM

      The advice troll returns once again. I don't know if you read it, but BG actually wrote a blog post about you titled the "Advice Troll" because that's what you are, a troll who will never concede that he's wrong, even when you've been completely unable to respond to any of my replies to you in the other blog post.

      > Many people, as individual consumers, voluntarily choose eco-friendly products, electric cars, etc.

      That's only a drop in the bucket. An electric car still produces half as much CO2 as a gasoline-powered car since lots and lots of CO2 is still produced during when manufacturing the EV. That doesn't change much at all when you consider that the world population is still continuing to increase, which will further increase the demand for cars. So your argument doesn't hold up here.

      Another problem with EVs is that the infrastructure (EV charging stations) to support EVs doesn't currently exist. You don't have the intelligence or the critical thinking skills to realize it, but government is necessary to create the infrastructure to support EVs since the free market won't be able to solve this. The manufacturers won't build the infrastructure because it's too expensive if there aren't enough consumers to make it worthwhile to build billions of dollars of infrastructure. And if there's no infrastructure to support EVs, then people won't buy EVs and the cycle will repeat. You can see Wendover Production's video on this topic here:

      Btw, we wouldn't have to live in a world with polluting-causing cars in the first place if we didn't have car-centric urban planning. But thanks to economically-illiterate morons like yourself, we don't have Georgism, nor do we have the walkable cities and effective urban planning that Georgism would encourage since Georgism strongly incentivizes people to use land more efficiently. You still haven't delivered a sound rebuttal against the theorem that the OATP is anti-free-market compared to the GTP, because there isn't one.

      > We can individually foresee far faaaar distant problems like over-population and overheating atmospheres and adjust our behaviors accordingly.

      Since you clearly don't read the news, climate change is still rising dangerously fast. Consider the ongoing 2022 heat wave in Europe that has killed at least 3600 people this summer and counting. It's almost as if a global government will be necessarily to solve the problems of over-population and global warming since these problems must be solved with mandatory coordination, lest the world continue to suffer Tragedies of the Commons regarding pollution, rising CO2 levels, and an ever-increasing world population.

  2. "Genomes don't "degrade"" - I'm not so sure they don't. A simple example is myopia or short-sightedness. Not a problem in the modern world but a huge hindrance in a hunter-gather society. In which society does myopia spread over generations? More cynically cosmetic surgery hides defects (real or culture-specific) and increases the chance to pass them on by tipping the scales sexual fitness. "Genomes simply adapt to their environment" is a rather empty statement since ANY circumstances can be said to fulfill that statement.

  3. blah blah blah
    TL:DR you're a self-aggrandizing stereotypical white supremacist racist who thinks 'inferior' races need to be stopped from procreating and only the 'strongest' of genes need to breed. just another hitlercuck. so boring.

    1. Where do you see anything about racism or inferior races? His statism is cringe though, that's true. (Even though his concerns might be valid.)

    2. So you didn't read the post and have no actual thoughts, but you felt the need to chant your little mantras. I can't imagine how empty your mind must be.

    3. So wanting to live in a society with a functioning economy, low pollution, no child labor, no slave labor, and no tribal warfare is "cringe". Got it.

    4. Statism is slave labor / slavery, by definition. Ancaps love functioning economies, low pollution and oppose war.

    5. Anarcho-Capitalism is an oxymoron. There can be no capitalism nor free markets without a state to enforce the rule of law and establish free markets. Saying otherwise requires using a Circular Reasoning Fallacy. Thus, Ancaps do not propose any functioning economies. Nor do they propose any proven ways to forbid slavery and pollution since they oppose government.

      Statism is not slavery. Everybody except you does not believe that government is enslaving them, so you should stop trying to speak for others when the entire world disagrees with you.

      You disagree with everyone else because you belong to a cult. A red flag is that you aren't able to make a single argument that supports your position that doesn't use the "Rhetoric of Exploitation". See the blog post:

    6. False. Rules will exist in ancap citadels. And they will be better rules since they'll be voluntarily and intentionally agreed to. There will be competition for the best rule providers. Things will initially work very similar to how they do now, except with a real option to opt-out.

      Statism IS slavery: forcing people to do things against their will, preventing them from leaving the plantation (eg. Assange, Snowden, Ulbricht) -- not letting them live freely (eg. violently telling them what foods they can eat).

    7. Lol, you actually believe that??? Any bloke with a modicum of common sense could easily realize that that wouldn't happen at all. If anything, the rule providers would all fight and kill each other over which rules, crimes, and punishments are justified. It is truly ridiculous, crazy, and idiotic that you think that would any better than what we have now.

      But if by "competition for the best rule providers", you mean that the rule providers would all seek to find out who's the best at all-out tribal warfare, then I fully agree with you.

      Statism isn't slavery any more than it's slavery for parents to force their children to do household chores. If the children enjoy all the benefits that their parents give them, then they have to do their part, contribute, and follow the parents' rules. Again, you're using the Rhetoric of Exploitation here. You're trying to portray normal, non-crazy people who are fine with government as being exploited and having no agency, even though they do have agency, and they want a government because they're sensible.

  4. "Only careful rational thought can understand and solve the problems of the modern world."
    lololololollllooo - Good show! I honestly laughed out loud. I'll pray for you. Do have a nice day!

    1. You seem a little hysterical -- like you are struggling to deal with cognitive dissonance. Try facing the truth like a man. You can seek refuge in delusions, but reality will kick the door in eventually.

      Yes, we can only solve our problems with careful rational thought. We can't solve them by praying to the magic sky fairy. Sorry, that's just how it is.


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