Had chat with biologist friend. Silver lining. We both came to the
expected June Stephenson-esque conclusion ("Men are not
Cost-Effective"), but I think I've just seen the glass-is-half-full
angle in what my buddy said is the only thing men are good for.
We've all heard articulated or imagined the militant feminist lesbian apocalypse (e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y:_The_Last_Man)
in which all men are killed off (usually by virus? I've been thinking
on writing on this theme for years now) and through artificial sperm or
some kind of egg-egg artificial chromosome exchange process woman carry
on the species on their own, never looking back as they ride onward into
the bosom of a welcoming eutopian gynocracy.
It turns out that
men are good for something, and that's sex (obviously) but sex is what
keeps a species one step ahead of diseases and mainly parasites. It's
all about genetic variability. For instance if there are ten men and
ten women, there are one hundred different mating combinations while if
there is only one man, there are only ten (but biologists always manage
to complicate things from there). That's why there are as many men as
women, even though it seems that many would argue that we could do with
many, many, many fewer. Obviously, we could, but we'd end up with less
genetic variability and we'd be circling the plughole as a species.
In short, men are useless, but men and women are the same species and
women apparently need men -- though perhaps even less than they even
thought -- despite appearances ("A woman needs a man like a fish needs a
bicycle" is a timeworn feminist refrain). Having said that,
biological raison d'être notwithstanding, in principle we all still have
minds (some of us, anyway) and are living beings and maybe even have
"souls" if you want to go there, and so deserve some kind of equal
consideration based upon merit, biological uselessness aside. We all
may even have rights (because it's an easier system than trying to
establish a 7-billion-person pecking order through centuries of bullying
-- although the Japanese seem to be making a good go of it (^_^). And
hey, your cat probably can't lift heavy loads or set up a basic computer
spreadsheet, I'm guessing.