It hasn’t been a happy week…

It hasn’t been a happy week… December 11, 2012

…for the members of the Life-Hating Chattering Classes in New York and London. First, the Royals erupt in some good old-fashioned joy at the thought of a new baby, followed closely in their happiness by the unwashed mouth-breathing Normals on both sides of the Atlantic who still think babies are pretty cool, then America gets the bad news that our birth rate has plummeted and the ever sensible Ross Douthat, in the very pages of the sacrosanct organ of culture manufacture called the New York Times *dares* to suggest that a culture that doesn’t much care for babies is a decadent and selfish culture.

Well. This must not stand. So this week some designated hitter for Life Deniers writes a piece that might as well have been titled “NO YOU! ROSS DOUTHAT IS BREEDER!” Basically, it’s a piece designed to put heart in the faithful as they grow old in their childless, selfish world and tell themselves they are the Better Sort.

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  • S. Murphy

    “Like a dressage horse or a third vacation home…”
    “Mom, don’t have another baby! Get me a pony; it’s cheaper!” The things that would have been useful at age 8…

  • I always laugh at the calculations for the cost of raising a child per year. What, exactly, are these “middle class” people buying for their kids that they spend that much cash on them? And how exactly does this writer manage to believe that the selfless act of bringing a new life into the world and caring for it is “decadent”?

  • Good stuff from Mr. Douthat. I enjoy reading him and listening to him. Though I’m not sure that the whole royal baby story has done anything one way or another. It isn’t as if most people who are pro-choice hate babies or hate pregnancy, despite what Ms. Friedman’s article might suggest. Most I’ve heard over the years who support abortion rights are the first to jump up and celebrate if someone they know is pregnant.

    • Carbon Monoxide

      Trust me, pro-choice folks hate babies…and their moms.

      • S. Murphy

        There’s pro-choice, where they honestly mean that they don’t want to take away somebody’s get-out-of-pregnancy-free card, even though they’d never have thought for a millesecond about aborting their own kid(s), and there’s militantly pro-choice and defensive, where they perceive having a baby, or implying that babies are good, or any such thing, as a threat to their comfort-level with choices they’ve made, to have an abortion, or not to have kids, or not to have a kid ’til they’re 45, or whatever. I’ve met lots of the first kind in real life, and the second, mostly on the internet.

      • Some probably do. There’s those in any group. But most that I’m aware of don’t. There’s a mentality in pro-choice that makes sense from the pro-choice perspective, and it doesn’t have to do with drooling over slaughtering babies. Yes, the article linked to represents the emerging view about the topic, and that could make a difference down the road. But right now, most I’ve read and listened to wouldn’t see babies and pregnancy as something to hate.

      • Loud

        honestly, it seems most pro choicers that are left are prolifers afraid that they would be “shoving their values” on others, or are just too cowardly to say no to their fellow left-wingers. Pathetic fence-sitters, not baby haters.

    • It’s true. They can be very happy that you have conceived a “non-person” and choose to keep it and also very understanding if you choose to kill it. They may be outraged, however, if you choose to kill your healthy dog. That would be just wrong.

  • Alexander Anderson

    I’ll be sure to inform the young, single moms I know, who are forced to take on more work than a mother should and who often have to make the awkward choice of moving back to a parents house, I’ll be sure to inform them of the “decadence” of their little “status symbols”.

  • Wow. Wow. Wow. Why did I click that link? I was really hoping it wasn’t that bad, but it was worse. I’m actually angry. >:-(

  • Nick R

    “I suppose wanting to live in a big city with lots of job opportunities and not sleep in the same bedroom as your child and eventually send that child to college — the expenses that Taha added up arrived at $1.8 million — can be classified as “pleasures.” But mostly they’re about maintaining a lifestyle that few of us would describe as decadent. ”

    This sounds alot like another article I read yesterday:
    “I’m not rich! You don’t understand that I don’t have any money left after I spend it!”
    “I’m not decadent! You don’t understand that I *need* to live in a penthouse in NY to maintain my non-decadent lifestyle and for my kids to just have a decent chance in life!”

  • Whenever you use the phrase “Chattering Classes”, I think of my 3rd and 4th period Pre-Algebra classes… they, too, are chattering classes. And yes, I do think that a bunch of 12-year-olds who can’t exercise enough self-control to be able to not talk to their friends for five minutes is a very, very apropos thing to compare the American commentariat to…

  • Brian

    From the comments:
    “As a queer person, I see having kids as a flaunting of heterosexual privilege. Or, to put it more bluntly, having kids is a way of showing that one group of people has more rights than others. (. . . )That’s why I can’t feel any sympathy for people who get to have kids. Yes, I have more money and more in retirement than you do, but that’s because the choice of whether or not to have kids was not a choice for me like it was for you. You made your choice. Quit whining about it to those of us who never had the choice.”

    Obviously, this person missed Douthat’s point, since she is demonstrating the exact attitude that he is commenting on.

    I am never surprised by the ability of this current generation to look truth in the eye and completely deny that it exists.

    • I don’t think the problem is with people who deny truth. It’s with the growing tendency of seeing truth itself as the problem.

      • Stephen J.

        “It’s with the growing tendency of seeing truth itself as the problem.”

        That, sir, is the most brilliantly pithy summing-up of the problem I’ve seen in years.

      • “It’s with the growing tendency of seeing truth itself as the problem.”


        Yes, what Stephen J. said.

    • Mark Shea

      As a queer person, I see having kids as a flaunting of heterosexual privilege.

      Can anything compare with the massive narcissism of the gay community?

      • dominic1955

        Nope, at least I haven’t seen it. If they could only cut through the cloud of crap, they might see they owe their ability to pontificate inanities to that “heterosexual privilege”.

    • So he’s admitting there is something fundamentally different about the heterosexual relationship, some “privilege” that sets it apart?

      Perhaps that’s why it’s not bigotry to call it by a different name: Marriage.

  • MI Will

    There are many angles to this issue. Many people who want an increase in fertility do not want to pay for the infrastructure that is required. It is ironic that in some of the god-less European countries people pay higher taxes buth have family friendly things such as health insurance, daycare, more affordable college and trade school, maternity/paternity leave, and pensions.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      And a birth rate so far below the replacement level that it’s at a point from which no civilization in history has ever recovered.

      I think the “necessary infrastructure” argument is nonsense. People have been having kids since, well, since there were people, and we’ve always found a way to make it work.

    • Not everything is best solved by writing a bigger check.

      The “infrastructure that is required” is not a constant, but rather a variable. One of the most profound reductions of infrastructure expense proposals came out of deep red Texas recently where Gov. Perry challenged the educational infrastructure to create a $10,000 bachelor’s degree. Instead of $20,000 a year for some public universities, under this regime it would be $2,500 a year, over 85% less and a figure that most students would be able to finance themselves (4 months of minimum wage work would do it and there are kids with credit card limits bigger than that).

  • Naomi

    I am continuously amazed at the lengths people will go to and the mental gymnastics required to justify their choices. I mean, I am flabberghasted at the “status symbol” nonsense, but at the same time there is a sick fascination with wondering how one can spout this nonsense and actually still believe that it’s not nonsense. The rebuttal argument was priceless for its ability to prove exactly Ross’s point: “GASP! You mean you want me to GIVE UP my PARTY LIFESTYLE? Inconceivable!”

  • Mark R

    I don’t know who you are all talking about. I live in a premier suburb on the West Coast, thanks to my wife inheriting a house, and all the young professionals have kids. That’s kids with an s. I think the kind of folks you all think of who do not want kids would probably do well without them because they would be rotten parents.

  • Mark R

    And most of them probably voted for Obama.

  • sal magundi

    “the Royals erupt in some good old-fashioned joy at the thought of a new baby, followed closely in their happiness by the unwashed mouth-breathing Normals on both sides of the Atlantic who still think babies are pretty cool”

    it would be nice if
    1: every pregnancy got front page attention, and
    2: not every last catholic blogger i’ve ever read donned coveted victim mantle by inserting slimebag attitudinizing into the mouths of putative culture controllers. it’s been a bad week for that here.

    btw i’ll be spending christmas with all the in-laws including the 3 (one more coming on april) little nieces and nephews, who are sweeties and charmers. and i’m a native of manhatan island and a skeptic!

    so, that’s it for this blog too. ta.

    • Congratulations on avoiding the anti-natality brigade in Manhattan. I didn’t think it still could be done in 2012. Others have not been so fortunate.

  • Janet O’Connor

    The only way that pregnancy would be celebrated is when a Hollywood Celebrity or in the case of the Duchess of Cambridge is focusing on every little detail. For the record I don’t follow any of the mainstream secular media or press because I believe they have some kind of agenda. They control how most people think and believe so they become “sheeple or Zombies who can’t think for themselves. I get all of my news from independent news bloggs.

  • Observer

    The impovershment which gives a child no chance is what most prochoicers are fearful of. As long as a culture gripped in a sense of life without meaning, without value, and cannot survive because of a selfish culture, then the prochoicers are correct.

    Not that they’re right as far as what is correct and one ought to do. Rather, they are right becuase it’s the inevitable ills of a culture which are never curtailed. Prochoicers demonstrate the problem. Whereas Prolifers demonstrate the remedy and cure: a culture of charity founded on truth.

    The sad problem is what happens when you defend life with a background and bedrock of a selfish culture. You get life without meaning. A meaningless life means life is not worth living. You have to promote the welfare of society by securing and safeguarding life not just by and in law. As well to ensure life is safeguarded by the culture and people have the means readily available without obstruction.

    A woman who cannot have a child because she doesn’t have the necessary means, cannot have a child. Whether she chooses to have the child or not, it would not matter in a culture which demonstrates life is meaningless. And, you have there the central theme of the argument of prochoicers: why defend life in a culture that doesn’t want to support and take care of another human being? Their question is legitimate and valid.

    • dominic1955

      Where did this meaningless of life come from? Probably those same prochoicers who do what I described below-make some little name for themselves in business, have material things and are alone. Yep, that sort of life is pretty meaningless. We’ve replaced people with things, things are what these people think gives meaning to life. They’ll find that meaning through the instrumentality of things one way or another, hopefully it won’t be at the end of a barrel or bottom of a pill bottle.

      They’ve made life “meaningless” and they won’t fix it by throwing money at things. Doesn’t matter which form it takes, whether its the gov’t trying to redistribute wealth through taxes and myriads of bureaucratic programs or any other sort of social engineering.

      Besides the fact that they are to blame for their own argument against life, the principle trumps all. No matter what kind of situation a child is going to be born in, no one can do evil so that good comes about. Killing an innocent person is wrong regardless of the situation.

      Like all the rest of human history, people rationalize and justify their sinfulness. Folks want to have all the fun of sex without the resposibility-that is what abortion boils down to. The vast majority of abortions are performed without any threat of impending death or utter impoverishment. They might be done under coercion from other folks involved in the woman’s life. No, a kid is a major buzz kill to hedonists.

  • Julia

    Well the comments there are certainly depressing. One thing that is so pervasive that I never noticed until I started coming closer to Christ and the church- something shared equally between conservatives and liberals- is the tendency to speak of children in strictly monitary terms. They are assets or liabilities, producers or takers.

    It’s rather dejecting.

  • dominic1955

    What I also find funny is that when you go to the site with the “rebuttal” to Douhat, there is a prominent ad from Tiffany & Co. hawking some gaudy baubles for X-Mas. Gee, maybe foregoing a couple of them and weekly mani-pedis and $8 lattes might be the way to fight decadence.

    People also need to get the lie out of their heads that in order to adequately care for 2.5 kids they need a $300,000 house in the ‘burbs, two $80,000 SUVs in the garage, name brand and new everything, hundreds of dollars worth of presents for every birthday/Christmas/whatever, and on top of that footing the bill for 4 years of whatever college program they choose. Yeah, I suppose if you cling to that kind of asinine view on raising kids they are astronomically expensive.

    As to women pursuing their careers, well they and men need to get some priorities straight. What exactly do you get going through a program for your work permit, working long hours in a rat race city for six figures plus? You get the privilege of coming home to an empty way overpriced appartment/condo? Geez…no wonder why people off themselves. What the world offers, if one ever stops to think, it pretty empty in general. Makes me think of the value of winning the whole world to one’s self but losing their soul…