With the election of Emmanuel Macron as President of France, the two most powerful leaders in Europe — Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel — now share a certain characteristic: they have no children. (Hat tip: Gatestone Institute)
Doing the work of raising the next generation is hard. It consumes resources. It requires sexual discipline. It carries the possibility of enormous, unique satisfactions if one’s children do well and offer their tribute of love and respect. It also carries with it the possibility of enormous, unique heartaches when children fail, betray, or are simply hurt by outside forces.
Virtually every human society has understood that making the next generation is both a difficult and yet crucial task. Western civilization alone seems to have abandoned that understanding in favor of viewing children as optional choices and celebrating the liberty to define our sexual identities and sexual lives however we choose.
Donald Trump, of course, has not been immune to these cultural forces. But it is astonishing to recognize the difference babies make. Having five children gives Trump both hostages to fortune (the attacks on Ivanka Trump recognize his vulnerability here) and a profound motivation to make America great again.
Of course, individuals without children can and do also have a profound love of their country. But when a society turns away from children and preoccupies itself with other needs, the result sooner or later will be death — death of a whole culture.
In early April, the Pew Center issued a report on “The Changing Global Religious Landscape.” In less than 20 years, babies born to Muslim mothers will outnumber babies born to Christian mothers worldwide. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated face a “birth dearth”:
While religiously unaffiliated people currently make up 16 percent of the global population, only an estimated 10 percent of the world’s newborns between 2010 and 2015 were born to religiously unaffiliated mothers. This dearth of newborns among the unaffiliated helps explain why religious “nones” (including people who identity as atheist or agnostic, as well as those who have no particular religion) are projected to decline as a share of the world’s population in the coming decades.
If Pew had concentrated on the demographic trends in Europe, an even starker and clearer picture would emerge of what happens to civilizations which forget to invest in the basics, including raising men to be husbands and fathers, and women to be wives and mothers.
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Individuals admit exceptions. Not everyone receives this calling. But for cultures to survive, there is no other choice.
Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0