In many ways, I’ve sheltered myself from the world at large and all its absurdities. Because of this, some people have mistaken my neutrality on others’ lifestyles as naivety. For example, well-meaning Christian people used to mock me, under the guise of protecting me, for befriending a single welfare mom from our church. I would babysit her children, or give her family rides to medical appointments in my enormous Oldsmobile, or hang out and chat. The government had cut back her food stamps, which forced her to be more particular about how she shopped for groceries. Often, she would call me and ask for instructions on how to cook staple foods. My mother had taught me necessary life skills; her mom hadn’t taught her anything except how to become a single mom.
Who would think Christians would mock somebody for helping a mom with a brood of fatherless children? But that’s what happened. I was declared ignorant, blind, naive. Didn’t I know the woman was a no-good, druggie leech? I didn’t, to be honest. She never left paraphernalia such as crack pipes sitting out, nor did she exhibit the appearance or behavior of somebody who took hard drugs. No doubt, she was a pot smoker, but still I didn’t have the evidence to condemn her for smoking an herb that ought to be legal, anyway. So my stance was one of neutrality. If the woman needed somebody to write a list of her sins, or otherwise to cry at her, “Repent thou heathen slut!” then God would have had to find somebody else to do the dirty work.
Occasionally, the truth I suppress in my soul rises to my brain: my neutrality springs from my desire for others to leave me the hell alone. I want to be in charge of my own destiny and, therefore, I want the same for others. You could say that my libertarian politics are also an extension of my controlling nature. I don’t see any reason why adult individuals can’t make decisions for themselves so long as their decisions don’t involve harming others. This is my ideal. I understand that it’s a simplistic ideal, but I’m not much of an idealist, nor do I enjoy writing complex political arguments. [Liar. Of course I do. I don’t enjoy losing friends or listening to the vacuous silence that follows my political arguments.]
My continued residence in the land of neutrality is frustrating my soul, however. I’m not ignorant. I keep up with sociological forces such as dating lifestyles, as well as population stats. I’m distressed by the libertinism of young people in the dating world today. I’m distressed by the materialism, the seeking after self that leaves no room for bearing the next generation, or that puts off childbearing until it’s too late. Being a libertine is not the same as being a libertarian, although the two may overlap. Libertarians may allow for amoral behavior in their desire to preserve individual freedom, yet if they’re honest, they’ll admit that hedonism is harmful to everyone, especially when there’s no longer a foundation where the chaos can settle after inertia’s set in. For clarification, I already know that hedonistic cycles are normal in the history of civilizations. Don’t remind me, or I’ll send you, through my screen, what my daughter calls my “INTJ death stare”. Our modern nature is no different from that of people in the past, but our society has a glaring problem that societies lacking ready access to birth control didn’t have. We’re quickly losing the stable foundation of people who work together to support their children. Even the most famous historical libertines, such as the Lord Rochester of the 17th C, did their duty to secure a future for the nation by marrying and producing offspring.
Here is a basic truth: If we, as a society, don’t settle down to procreating, we won’t have anybody to care for us when we’re old. We won’t have enough people to keep the economy going or to prop up the welfare state. I may have gone out of my way to shelter myself from the world–I’ve never, for example, lived the dating lifestyle. I’ve been with one man, who happens to be the father of my children. I’m not naive, though. In fact, I’m beginning to think the naivety belongs to everybody else, primarily to those who demand we support the welfare state by providing free birth control to everyone. Isn’t this cognitive dissonance at its finest? Am I wrong in claiming we’ll need a new generation of worker slaves to feed the system?
And what about those who have mocked me? Christians who believe it’s not worthwhile to support a single mom, whose children are now entering the dating pool, have got to possess a level of naivety I’ve never touched, even while sheltering myself from the world and all its absurdities.
p.s. As an afterthought, it’s important to understand that the native U.S. population is not reproducing itself at the replacement level. We’re barely at the replacement level if you add in births by immigrant women. Immigrants, then, are saving us from ourselves, except….their birthrates typically fall below the replacement level after one generation here.
p.p.s As another clarification–due to conversations I’m having on facebook–I’m not against birth control. I, personally, don’t want to have ten children. But can’t we strike a healthy balance? Sigh. Humans don’t tend to. And if they do, it never lasts very long. 🙁