Biology Run Amok

Monday, October 3rd, 2016 @ 12:00PM

Biology – it is the substance of our being, the very essence of our existence. Of course, personal experiences and environmental exposures shape our psychology. But every last thing about us – what we look like, what we think, what we say, what we do, our personality itself – rests upon the framework of our biology. In fact, without biology, we wouldn’t exist.

It is biology that governs our most basic physiologic drives – the drive to breathe, drink, eat, seek shelter, and reproduce. Without these fundamental drives, individuals would quickly die and entire populations would soon fade to extinction.

As a society, we expend tremendous energy accommodating our biological needs. We struggle to keep our air clean and water pure; we maintain a huge agriculture infrastructure to produce large quantities of a variety of foods; we build elaborate single and multi-family dwellings adorned with furnishings designed for maximum comfort and utility – central heat and air conditioning, whirl pool bathtubs, elaborate kitchens with marble countertops, porcelain sinks, and stainless steel appliances; and we spend considerable time caring for our young  beginning with prenatal visits to the doctor and continuing with the teaching of healthy lifestyle habits, assistance in obtaining an education, and encouragement in the development of career goals and plans for their own family and future.

Further, in addition to the effort we spend in meeting our biological needs, we also spend considerable effort in attempting to control our biological drives – for the sake of our personal health, we try to eat right, get enough sleep, exercise, and maintain health insurance; for the sake of our families, we strive to be faithful to our spouses and to provide a decent living; and for the sake of our children, we attempt to protect them from harm and to encourage them to avoid drugs and to abstain from sex and becoming pregnant (or getting someone pregnant) until married.

In fact, when we as individuals and as a society pay sufficient attention to our biological needs and drives, things run relatively smoothly. It is when we abandon our concern for these needs and drives that real problems begin.

On an almost daily basis, I encounter people who make little or no provision for their biological needs nor attempt to control their biological drives. I see people who could work but don’t. Rather than providing their own food and housing, they rely on the government. I see people who stay up all hours of the night, drink alcohol to excess, ingest illicit drugs, and then, when they become ill as a result of these abuses, venture to the emergency room seeking care complements of the government. I see young women visiting the emergency room seeking free (for them) pregnancy tests who already have multiple children in foster care. I see young males who’ve never held a job yet have multiple children from multiple women. I see people with expensive “smart” phones who are receiving food stamps. And the list of abuses goes on and on.

Blame for these situations rests squarely on the shoulders of those individuals abusing the system by choosing to live off of it at taxpayer expense. But blame also rests upon the government, both state and federal, for failing to account for our biology by creating entitlement programs that actually promote and foster such behavior. Originally, entitlement programs where designed to assist those truly in need. Regrettably, politicians bent on enticing voters with freebies have allowed these programs to become seriously abused such as, for instance, welfare programs that pay the recipient more with the birth of additional children, thus creating an obvious incentive to continue to get pregnant.

However, with regard to bringing an end to these abuses, there is hope. Several states have introduced, or at least discussed, legislation requiring recipients of certain entitlement programs to undergo regular drug testing as a condition for receiving continued benefits. This is an excellent idea that sends the right message that failing to control one’s biological drives will cost them dearly. A similar program should be instituted regarding birth control. Those among us who cannot support themselves should abstain from having children until they improve their personal financial situations sufficient to support themselves and their children. No child should be forced to suffer because his or her parents choose not to support them financially, nor should the burden be placed arbitrarily on society at large.

Biology drives us all. It isn’t the role of government to foster the abandonment of the personal responsibility for controlling these drives but, rather, to force biologically irresponsible individuals to take responsibility for themselves and those they bring into this world. When we control our drives and respond appropriately to biologically-based needs, we prosper both as individuals and as a society. But when those needs and drives are ignored, individually and by the government, biology runs amok.

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