Life in the barrens

I’m not going to tell you the exact letters on the “vanity plate” on the car I followed on the way to work this morning. That could, theoretically, lead you to identify the owner individually, and it’s always possible I misunderstood them.

But the message of that license plate offended me morally, as I understood it. What it said sent the clear message that the driver did not have any children. Not in terms of lamentation, but as a boast – “I’m better than you are. I’m not cluttering the world up with toxic human beings.”

Now it’s hardly my place to criticize people for not reproducing, I who am myself a biological dead end. There are lots of innocent, even praiseworthy, reasons for having no children. There might be physiological causes, or psychological problems (my own case), or a person may have followed the call of the Lord to Kingdom service in a single state – as, for instance, in the case of priests and nuns.

But I’ve never heard anyone in those classes actually brag about not having children. Bragging implies a choice – not only a decision, but a decision of which one is proud. “Children are evil, and I have avoided that evil. I am no breeder.”

One of my college textbooks included a passage I’ve never forgotten, because it irked me. The author referred, with contempt, to Christian theologians (specifically John Calvin, as I recall), and called them “life-hating.”

His point, as I recall, was that the joy of life was identical with sexual gratification. Life-loving people were people who advocated (and practiced) the maximum amount of sex with the maximum number of partners, without consequences (the fact that sex without consequences was impossible in Calvin’s time didn’t interest him). Anyone who advocated traditional sexual morality – marriage and waiting for marriage – was obviously motivated by a deep-seated hatred for life itself.

Now, about forty years on, we can see the end of that thinking. The consummation of sexual “liberation” is not love of life, but hatred of life – at least human life. If life is free sex, then anything that interferes with sexual freedom (which babies certainly do) is anti-life. By this logic, having babies – extending life to another generation – is anti-life. To love life is to say that human life should end with Blessed Me.

For more on the consequences of such (profoundly life-hating in the true sense) thinking, see Jonathan V. Last’s new book, What to Expect When No One’s Expecting. I haven’t read it, but it looks like it’s worth reading.

3 thoughts on “Life in the barrens”

  1. I’ve never understood those who never want children, or who want just one spoiled child. It is indeed a hatred of life. An attitude of “life is all about me and only me, I can’t be inconvenienced by others.”

    It’s sobering that some have this view.

  2. At the risk of sounding judgmental(1), I am glad that some people don’t reproduce. We don’t need more people with a “don’t inconvenience me with little people” attitude.

    (1) As if we Jews were ever anything else

  3. I understand, and agree to some extent. But what makes these people poor prospects for reproduction is not their existence or nature per se, but only their stupid ideas. It’s the stupid ideas I lament.

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