Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Grandpuppies and grandkitties. When aging baby boomers talk about the newest generation, that’s the lament I’m hearing from many. They wish they could take care of grandchildren for a weekend when their grown-up children go away, but there aren’t any grandchildren because their grown-up sons and daughters aren’t producing any. Instead, they raise dogs and cats, so they ask their boomer parents to watch their pets for them when they go to Bermuda or Cancun, or wherever. That’s what it has come to. It’s one unforeseen result of the fervent boomer belief that our planet is overpopulated.
Boomers grew up during the fifties when families produced a lot of children. When their turn came, however, they wanted fewer children than their “Greatest Generation” parents raised. Was it because birth control became more widely available? Must be a factor since they were certainly having sex often enough. This they proclaimed to the world as their “sexual revolution.” They separated sex from reproduction and family life, claiming marriage and family were too constricting. The institutions which had held society together for millennia were “oppressive.” “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one[s] you’re with.” Opposite sex? Same sex? Both? Didn’t matter. Boomers “liberated” themselves. They insisted it was all to the good. They still do in spite of mountains of contrary evidence. The Democrat Party platform reflects their “values.”
In spite of birth control, all that sex resulted in many pregnancies. “Liberated” feminists insisted they had a constitutional right to abortion and convinced a liberal majority on the US Supreme Court of this. Boomers would abort the children they didn’t want and many would insist that government (meaning people other than them) pay for the ones they did want. Democrats called it the “War on Poverty.” Forty years hence they say “It Takes A Village” to raise a child. It’s the same concept though. Fathers and Mothers aren’t important anymore. They would get rid of “Mothers’ Day” and “Fathers’ Day,” claiming such terms are “sexist.” They insist gender roles are artificial but homosexuality is natural. Government knows what is best for kids, not parents. How will government pay for all this? Raise taxes on the “rich” or course. The rich are defined as people other than them.
Not all boomer-raised children swallow that entire philosophy. They avoid children because raising kids is very expensive, requiring a lot of work and enormous sacrifice of time and emotional energy. They pursue a lifestyle in which kids would just be a drag. If they should get lonely, it’s much easier to get a dog or a cat. They can be left alone all day without a babysitter. On extended vacations, they can be boarded somewhere or left with friends or with their boomer parents. If pangs of guilt about their refusal to reproduce should intrude, they can justify their selfishness claiming they’re conserving resources and shrinking their “carbon footprint.” Their “green” lifestyle is saving the earth. They’re doing homage to Gaia. They’re preserving habitat for other organisms by not reproducing themselves.
Aging liberal boomers should be rejoicing that their children are living out their philosophies, but the ones I’ve talked to don’t seem to be. Rather, they seem sad. They feel they’re missing out on something and they are, of course. Western civilization’s advances have enabled them to live longer lives, but they can’t spend those extra years with the grandchildren if their children aren’t producing any. Similar things are happening in Japan where doll manufacturers are now making artificial, robotic dolls which function as surrogate grandchildren for the grandchildless. I’m not kidding.
Population in Europe is declining too. They’ve increased immigration from Muslim countries to the south to compensate, but that is presenting another set of problems and a backlash has begun against it in Holland, Switzerland, Italy, France and Germany. Europe’s population is aging and there are fewer young people to support the old folks because the generation in between hasn’t generated much. Liberal European retirement benefits cannot be sustained much longer.
Lamenting this situation with a Spanish priest I met in Jerusalem last May, I asked him why he thought young Europeans or Americans were not having children. His answer was simple and succinct: “They lack generosity,” he said. I had been inclined to discuss the subject further but I paused. He was right. It was that simple. When all is said and done, that’s what it comes down to. The “It Takes a Village” to raise a child view is misleading. What it really takes to raise a child is generosity and self-sacrifice, so let’s just say it out loud: Village or no village, today’s young people don’t have what it takes.