Psychology declares war on childfreedom.

The title of this entry may seem a bit overblown, but it’s hard to interpret the reformulation of Maslow’s pyramid of needs as anything but a conscious attack against childfreedom. At the top of the pyramid lies no more “self-actualization,” but rather “mate acquisition, mate retention and parenting.”

Yes, you read that right. It’s now been “discovered” by a group of horny white men that the highest and most sophisticated need that human beings have is finding someone to fuck and having children with them! And yes, they do make it clear that they are talking about propagating one’s own genes, so adoption is right out.

So this means that anyone who rejects “mate acquisition,” “mate retention” or “parenting” (propagating one’s genes by fucking) are not actually human, since they are missing a “biologically fundamental” need. There is something fundamentally wrong with them. They don’t outright say this, but it’s a natural conclusion from the nature of the pyramid of needs (it describes biological human needs and their order of fulfillment) and the new addition at the top of it.

This of course is a kind of rhetoric we’re already used to. Victims of the Conspiracy are always told there’s something fundamentally wrong with them, that they’re broken. Sometimes this is “confirmed” by the academia, as in the case of gay people, women or black people. There is no more self-righteous victimization than that which proceeds from scientific discourse (e.g. the “science” of economics justifying neo-liberalist genocides).

It is possible that this modification of psychology’s best-known icon is a prelude to a political attack against childfreedom in the United States. I certainly hope this is not the case, for all our sakes. Such an attack would only convince more women to have children, some of whom would go through a living hell because of it, not to mention the harm that the children will incur during their lives.

Most alarmingly, their arguments are based on the same “evolutionary psychology” quackery that has traditionally supported the oppression of non-white races and women:

Instead, many of the activities that Maslow labeled as self-actualizing (artistic creativity, for example) reflect more biologically basic drives to gain status, which in turn serves the goal of attracting mates.

“Among human aspirations that are most biologically fundamental are those that ultimately facilitate reproduction of our genes in our children’s children,” Kenrick explained. “For that reason, parenting is paramount.”

The researchers are not saying that artists or poets are consciously thinking about increasing their reproductive success when they feel the inspiration to paint or write.

We constantly have to face the claim that evolution has tasked us with procreation, that it creates in humans the purpose of procreation, and that anyone who refuses to procreate is aberrant. I have debunked such claims. But this time the argument is different: these psychs are not claiming that we must reproduce, but rather that reproduction is a fundamental motivation of our actions, whether we know it or not.

Like all evopsych quacks, they do not quantify their beliefs because then they could not defend such beliefs. Ultimately, anything can be reduced to “reproductive success” as long as you stay in the realm of purely abstract causation.

Sure, we can conclude that in some way, somehow, being a artist can lead one to have better “reproductive success.” But how much is a writer or artist’s “reproductive success” raised compared to the effort of being a writer or artist? Once we start quantifying, we realize that the argument is nonsense. Surely the exercise of one’s creativity is the main motivation for artistic endeavors, not wanting to fuck people and have children (actually, no kind of talent is required to fuck; anyone can do it, as the intelligence of many parents attests).

But, Kenrick adds, for humans reproduction is not just about sex and producing children. It’s also about raising those children to the age at which they can reproduce as well.

Well it’s nice that it’s acknowledged that you’re still responsible for the children after they’re born, too, but I fail to see why a human need for having children would come with an age requirement. That seems oddly specific and meant more as a disclaimer than anything else (yea we said for you to have children, but you have to take care of them too!).

The whole process seems very self-conscious, which is part of the reason why I think this change may be on purpose. We are rather far away from the naive “value-neutral” scientist who thinks his biology or culture is a universal fact. These people know what they’re doing.

The correct response in this case, I think, should not differ from the correct response in other cases of abuse of science: we must point out the reality of the situation and the bias of the “researchers.” Parenting is not a biological human need. People who refuse to have children are not incomplete or broken humans. People who refuse to have sexual relationships are not incomplete or broken humans.

To say any different is to demonize the childfree. And not only is such demonization plainly false, but it is the first step to hatred. We can’t let them get away with it.

19 thoughts on “Psychology declares war on childfreedom.

  1. myrthryn May 20, 2013 at 20:24

    That is absolutely horrid! Thanks for this post. I hope this tripe has little effect.

  2. rjjspesh May 21, 2013 at 06:12

    If it was so ‘fundamental’, then we wouldn’t be able to resist the urge to reproduce. However, the fully 24% of adult women who are childfree might beg to differ

  3. anyasok May 21, 2013 at 20:39

    Indeed Francois. It seems that the whole edifice of society is based on this whole sexual tension that exists between the genders. Men and women have to attract each other and everything is geared towards that. EVERYTHING. Sad, pathetic society.

    • Francois Tremblay May 21, 2013 at 20:57

      Well, gender is, I think, the most ancient form of hierarchisation…

  4. sbt42 May 22, 2013 at 04:40

    I’ll stick with the ‘classic’ model. No need for me to upgrade.

    (I’m sure I sound like an old fuddy-duddy with this, but with this particular instance I don’t mind.)

  5. Mera May 29, 2013 at 12:44

    Reminds me of this bullshit movement:

    TWRA assholes.

    “I do support patriarchy as a universal social model that everybody should be encouraged to conform to. The problem with each person or couple on their own deciding what their preferred lifestyle or living arrangement is is that some arrangements work better than others; not all “lifestyle choices” are equal. When men and women get together they get together for the purpose of having children. The whole reason why romantic love exists is as an evolutionary motivation to have sex and therefore have children and also to bond the man to the woman so that the man will support the woman so that the children have a higher chance of survival. This is all part of the evolutionary program to continue the species.”


    • Francois Tremblay May 29, 2013 at 13:44

      Well, at least the name Slymepit is very appropriate. Welcome to this blog Mera. :)

      • Mera May 29, 2013 at 15:15

        They don’t like him/her either.

        I hate ‘traditional gender roles’ creeps.

  6. Francois Tremblay October 8, 2013 at 16:26

    Actually, Maslow has been dead for forty years.

  7. Cammy January 27, 2014 at 22:40
  8. donnafaye May 7, 2014 at 01:01

    Who are these people to redine Maslow’s Hierarchy decades after his death? Is there anything in his writings that would indicate pronatalist leanings, or are the revisionists projecting their own goals on Maslow’s work?

  9. prayerwarriorpsychicnot August 13, 2014 at 11:59

    Correct me if I am wrong but in Maslowes original hierarchy reproduction was tacked onto the survival drive – which makes it conditional on circumstances. If a woman has a medical problem which would mean the pregnancy would kill her, would she get pregnant? If reproduction is given primacy we are reduced to the level of unthinking animals. Somehow I don’t think Maslowes would approve. (If we are only animals then thinking becomes unnecessary.)

    • Francois Tremblay August 13, 2014 at 16:02

      Agreed! That’s what’s so scandalous about this!

  10. prayerwarriorpsychicnot August 13, 2014 at 12:01

    Reblogged this on Citizens, not serfs and commented:
    What is disturbing about this is that it re-writes history. If Maslowes hierarchy of needs are revamped, they are no longer Maslowes but someone else who is using Maslowes credibility to promote a different agenda.

  11. Brian L January 5, 2015 at 22:56

    I was reminded of this post whilst reading “No Baby, No Cry”, the author using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to extend his arguments. With this disturbing change, his argument, or anyone else’s, begins to look dubious to lesser informed people. This change is just sinister, and I’m so glad you brought it to the forefront. I wonder if the author of above book has seen this change… Childfrees and antinatalists… perhaps even those who don’t seek infertility treatment, as ‘abnormals’. And where does that leave priests and nuns, come to think of it?…

    • Francois Tremblay January 6, 2015 at 01:21

      Well it is perhaps the very first sign of a backlash. After all, the number of childfree is growing (20% now). We should expect more reactionary bullshit from the mainstream as time goes on.

      • Brian L January 6, 2015 at 11:03

        That’s a fair percentage actually. Is that in North America, or the west in general, Francois?

        • Francois Tremblay January 6, 2015 at 15:53

          US and UK at least, I don’t know about the West in general but the statistic is probably approximately correct there too… One thing we know is, it’s going up.

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