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The National Post asks “Is it immoral to have babies in the era of climate change,” and the question itself reveals the problem. If we believe our own continuance on the planet to be a moral negative, if we believe the rock upon which we live has more intrinsic value than human life, we are already in the death throes of a moral relativism that will destroy us if we let it. Survival of the planet without humans to people it is failure.
While the one-child policy in China continues to come under fire, climate change activists promote the same type of policy, on a voluntary level. Stories that emerge from China about the lengths people go to in order to comply with the policy are harrowing. Babies abandoned, forced abortions and sterilizations, human trafficking rings, and infanticide are just a few of the ill-effects of government population control. But the most insidious thing of all is the internalization of the political propaganda that leads people to allow an ideology to dictate their family size. This internalization is what is being pushed by climate change activists.
Last year, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke against the dangers of bringing children into a world affected and threatened by climate change. Prince Harry’s September interview with Jane Goodal in British Vogue revealed that the royal couple intends only two children max, in an attempt to not overburden the climate endangered planet.
This maddeningly myopic view that the childfree lifestyle is more sustainable is touted by The Independent: “…being childfree is something that should be celebrated and valued. The childfree do more for our environment than any campaign.” What use is the environment to humanity without humanity itself? A lifestyle that will not sustain human life should not be considered sustainable.
Western culture has completely lost site of the imperative for life. We are so tortured by the impending doom that we wish to rush it by denying ourselves children, parenthood, and a future for the human race. It is as though we hate ourselves and cannot bear for the species to continue. Do we really fear our existence so much that we wish to obliterate it?
There is an old saying that the best ideas start as heresy and end as orthodoxy, and this idea of denying humanity its offspring did not originate with concerns over climate change. During the Cold War, when the US and Russia were both in existential fear of mutual nuclear annihilation, Americans often cried that they wouldn’t want to bring kids into such a messed up world. The narrative went that things were so bad, so much worse than they’d ever been, on a global level, that it would be irresponsible to subject a new life to that kind of uncertainty and fear.
Of course, what’s being missed in all this is that life is actually better than not life. There can be no value placed on not existing because, without life, there is no value structure. If there is an innate morality to the universe that denies human legitimacy, it cannot be accessed without the conduit of life.
Climate change activists are so sure of the impending judgment day that they’ve lost sight of what it is we’re preserving and conserving the world for. Limiting carbon emissions, using sustainable building technologies, cultivating renewable energy resources, are not in service to the planet but in service to the population.
The kind of relativism that places a higher value on the absence of human life than on the maintenance and furtherance of it is nothing more than a death cult. Our culture is driven by an imperative to destruction rather than renewal. There difference between the emphasis on certain doom today that of the past is the relativist perspective.
When early Christian revivalists in post Civil War America pitched their tents and put out their sandwich boards, the emphasis was on salvation. The idea was that each person had to work to save their souls before Christ came again to judge the living and the dead, wherein his kingdom would have no end. Despite the inherent grift of these hucksterish pastors, the salvation of human beings was the goal.
During the Cold War of the 20th century, the push again was to save people. There were calls for nuclear disarmament, marches, protests. Activists were concerned for the human cost of this impending, mutually assured destruction. While there was concern over bringing kids into this crazy messed up world, the Boomers went for it anyway, and spawned the millennials. Turns out those fears about the total ruination of the planet and everything on it wasn’t enough to curb a fresh baby boom.
The article addresses philosopher Trevor Hedberg’s theory that “even though many developed nations are below replacement fertility, even small gains in countries like the U.S. and Australia—say, going from a fertility rate of 1.8 to 1.5—would typically be far more significant to climate change than reducing the fertility rate in a country in sub-Saharan Africa from four to two…”
The idea isn’t that everyone on the planet should stop reproducing, but that western nations, where individuals have typically way larger carbon footprints than their counterparts in developing nations, should curb their population growth. There is discernible logic in this argument that there should be fewer babies with high carbon footprints. However, it speaks to a further relativism, uniquely localized to the 21st century west. We do not simply despise humanity, we despise our culture’s impact on it.
There is no logic at all to this. The west has engaged in centuries of work toward equal rights and egalitarian ideals. While there is always more work to do to ensure that those in our society have the opportunity to see their full potential, we have a really good start. Just as there is no value system without the existence of life, there is no climate change research without the work done by western scientists, and there is no global decline in poverty without fossil fuels.
We are a culture that continuously builds on itself, on our tech, on past ideas and theories. Fossil fuel, that deadly scourge, is what facilitated the decline of poverty worldwide and the networks of communication that are employed by activists to spread their message.
If prospective moms and dads decline to be moms and dads, how will their values be passed on? Liberty, freedom, and individual rights, are the hallmark of western culture. Western culture is not a burden on the world, despite its historical shortcomings. It has benefitted more than it has hurt. If we kill ourselves off by simply refusing to continue ourselves, the planet may be better off, but humanity, most certainly, will not.