We were all drafted into wars we didn’t begin*. A war, that if you’re a believer of certain religions, might very well have started with a serpent in a lush garden, either literally or metaphorically.**
We are born into a place and time we didn’t make and our life will be influenced by decisions taken by others, far away and long ago. ***
Things are certainly not what your parents would want for you. Judging by myself and what I want for my boys, that’s flat out impossible, because I want them in that garden without defect, walking with perfectly compliant animals amid the lush and perfect vegetation. (And older son would lecture those poor animals on biology. no really.)
We are all born into terrible and imperfect times, and with our own imperfections, of mind body, and yeah, spirit. At least–
Okay, so when I was twelve, I used to yell at my mom “I wish you’d never have had me.” That didn’t last because mom is more appalling than I in frankness, and she would yell back, “I didn’t want to have you and when I wanted to correct the mistake, your dad stepped in. So, go yell at him.”
It was appalling — also truthful — but it stopped me on my tracks. What it didn’t address was that my argument was stupid and flawed.
Yes, I grew up in…. difficult times. I’ll be absolutely honest, being an Odd there were no good times to live in. **** Particularly since I was born in an extremely conformist country where sticking out from the norm gets treated like the nail that sticks up and will be pounded down, but also because compounding the issue, my Odd parents didn’t think I was supposed to be taught the norms, but expected me to respect the norms which I suppose were meant to emerge spontaneously from my naturally virtuous nature as their daughter. *****
But you probably know I don’t do things by half measures, so I was born under a National Socialist (but not fascist which is a very specific thing, and certainly not Nazi) system, and then it transitioned, suddenly and to my 11 year old eyes unforeseeably to international socialist with vague shades of Mao (and the Maoists in control for six months) and violence and atrocities. *6
Which is a terrible thing to do to someone who was born fighting, and has no intention of doing as told.
Yeah, I made my peace with it, and found my own way to a place where i could be free and not live in fear of transgressing the rules I couldn’t divine. But– Now they’re trying to take that away from me, and I don’t know what to do about it. Or I do. But I can’t get anyone to listen to me.
Recently a young friend said it’s not fair to have children now. They will be unwittingly recruited into a war not of their own making, even if it’s just a culture war.*7
I wouldn’t say anything, except that I expect that there is a lot of that generation worrying along those lines, at least on the conservative side. *8
It’s really just a more sophisticated version of “you shouldn’t have had me” but because it’s “altruistic” it might convince what are at heart good kids, who have been handed a very raw deal as to the time they’re born in. *9
The thing they don’t realize is that we are all handed raw deals when we are born, and some of us manage to make good things out of them.
Look, I’m not beating up on the young ones. Heinlein himself fell for this. His reason not to try for children with his wife before Ginny *10 was that “who would bring a kid into this fucked up world?” If he had had children then, they would be now in their nineties, around my dad’s age. And yeah, if still alive and having inherited a don’t tread on me disposition from daddy, they might be very worried about the road we’re on. But they would have lived through the age of greatest American prosperity, and have had the ability to make a very good life for themselves.
It’s still just a sophisticated version of “why was I born”. It assumes you grew up in the worst of times, with the worst of possible paths ahead, both of which are demonstrably flawed if not outright crazy ideas.
Look, I said above, I was born under national socialism. I was. It’s a fact of life. I found, later, I couldn’t live under international socialism, so I suited myself.
BUT here’s the thing: my parents were born under national socialism. Their parents were born during a brief Anarchists in power interregnum (I think all of them.)
They all had good lives. Okay, the lives might have been distorted by those in power above them. There was a reason grandad worked abroad most of his life, and frankly, I don’t know how long till mom started screaming if the revolution hadn’t happened. (Probably not long. She screamed under international socialism, even though they were — trust me — more crazy and intrusive than under national socialism.)
But beyond the distortions, all of them had good lives, and had kids, and raised their kids. Now, I don’t think I could have tolerated either regime as a grown up. But I’m me, and I fit weirdly anywhere. And mind you, I’m not complaining. Well, I am complaining, because the ranks are forming NOW when I’m old and unsuited.
In point of fact, the times I grew up in were much worse than now. But we survived. And I even have some very good memories.
You can’t know. You can’t know ahead what your kids are being born into. No one can. The one things we know is that they aren’t being born into paradise. (D*mn it.)
My box of regrets is full of things like ‘if I’d kept my mouth shut and written leftist, the kids would be so much better off.” But on the other hand, I wasn’t ready to sell my soul, even for them.
The thing is, any kids you have will be born into a war. So it was since the beginning of time. But here’s the thing: they’ll have to make their own lives, live their own choices.
None of my fans will like to hear this, but your kids might very well decide to be statist drones. *11 (In which case, it will really suck to be them, but that’s on them, not you.)
All you do is give them life, give them the opportunity to choose. Ultimately, they will make their own choices, and yes, some will be things you wouldn’t make UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. This is something that’s very hard to fit in your heads, until the kids are in their twenties or so, but every parent since that garden and that serpent has had to face that.
But why give them life if it’s not going to be perfect? Or at least good?
…. Because it’s the only thing that gives life meaning, in the long run.
No, I’m not saying that childless people have no meaning in life, though I think a lot of them think they don’t.
What I’m saying is that if you care passionately about anything: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, say, even if you’re not religious (particularly if you’re not religious, because if you’re religious you view this life as a short preamble) you must have kids to invest in the future. (Or get close to the kids of others and hope to influence them. Which is harder. And it’s about to get massively harder for the left.)
Because in the end, those kids you “draft” “unwillingly” are the only ones that can win the war of human liberty. Or life. Or the pursuit of happiness.
You’re not going to win it in the present. And if you leave the reproducing to people who want government to care for them like a mother or a father forever, then liberty is going to go down for a count (it will come back up, because genetics aren’t all) because the kids will be raised with that. Yes, some of them will defect to our side, like some of us will defect to theirs. But on the main, temperament and disposition have an influence, and they will tend to go the way of the family, in the majority.
So if you care about the future, you’ll have kids. And you’ll do your best to raise the little sh*ts so they don’t defect, and don boots, and go stomping on human faces.
Because that’s what your ancestors did. And your ancestors before them. World without end.
I was tallying how few people in my generation, that I KNOW have grandkids. Even those with enormous families have maybe one or two grandkids.
I can’t begin to emphasize how this is not normal. I’ve preached about population dearth, but this is population crash: assume the position and kiss your *ss goodbye.
And we don’t know what comes next. I don’t know what comes next, and neither do you.
I know a ton of you were propagandized that on the other side of this there’s rainbows butterflies, and we’re all rich. They’re idiot Marxists. Wealth isn’t something to be endlessly redistributed. It needs humans to create it.
Times of population dearth are hungry and horrible times. And that’s not what we’re looking at. It’s 10x worse than that.
Add to that all the people who are going to find that most of their age group has no kids and gives no fucks; that the majority of their age group believes neither in G-d nor man, nor anything beyond them, and it’s too late to do anything about it. *12 And a lot of them are going to flip into end-times bacchanalia and crazy.
Which will be biblical and epic. After which the Earth will go very silent, as the children (particularly adult children) who depended on others looking after them die. Those that survive such “end times” will start again, if we’re lucky not from pre-historic conditions, but that depends on how ugly things get as they come apart.
It won’t be very far up from that, though, because it can’t be. Because we’ll have enough (maybe) for small bands of people, dotting the landscape. How long can one keep tech going? When in the end times the hedonists will insist 2 + 2 = infinity and teach that to the scant children?
“But Sarah, if we bring children into the world, they’ll just have to deal with that.” Maybe. Or maybe there will be enough of them, and enough of them will be sane and functional to keep us going over the very rough spot, so that we can emerge on the other side, still civilized and functional.
“But I can’t ask that of them!” Every generation asks that of every other. Each generation has it in their hands to end civilization. Not having a generation, or having a generation that’s 1/10th of the past just guarantees that the few that exist will fight in vain against the fall. The more we have, the more likely we survive this.
No, we are not overpopulated. We never were. That’s a big government statistical lie. It’s possible for humans to be overpopulated. That usually leads to invention and expansion to other areas.
But we can get under populated. And like the cooling of the planet being a much bigger danger than the heating of the planet, under-populated can destroy humanity, or send us back to living in hunter gatherer counts for a very long time. (I believe this has happened before. Maybe many times. Hence it being built into every language that our ancestors were much, much better than us.)
No, I don’t see communism as the future, and I don’t see communism in the US. I think the current crop of arrant idiots, quite the dumbest set to ever run in possession of Marxism and red crap, will try. They will TRY. But they’ll fail. I expect chaos and almost for sure violence. (Yes, I expected the beginnings this month. I’m not sure we’re not seeing it. There have been a few events… Besides a sitting (if illegitimate) president threatening us with nukes. And since this is the second on their side to do so, you know it’s what they really believe.) I think the violence only hasn’t happened because our proportion of young people (real, not statistical) is low, and low enough they were taught a culture of safetyism. (Because they were the precious few.)
But I believe violence will come, because humans are not tame, and this bunch is cornering us.
But even if we don’t rebel communism is designed on Malthusian and other completely insane assumptions. We don’t have enough people for us to pretend it even works. And if they take out the country that feeds the world, there will be no one to subsidize the pretense. (Yes, I’m sure the idiots think China will, but I’m not at home to Communist delusion.)
So, whatever you think you’re having kids for, it’s not that.
What is it? Bobbed if I know.
My parents couldn’t have foreseen the fall of Communism. They like every conservative in their era thought communism would win in the end, and that the only virtue lay in resisting it as long as they could. Their parents might have thought the children they were having children for was endless European wars.
It turned out much better than they could have hoped. No, not perfect — duh — because it usually does.
The truly horrific things — the black plague — tend to be absolutely unforeseen. And unplanneable for. They just happen out of clear blue sky, unforeseen.
Yes, tomorrow or tomorrow or tomorrow the sun could go supernova, and what if you drafted — DRAFTED — a child to the unforeseen end of the world?
I hate to say this, because I realize it’s a retroactive rebuke at Heinlein. It is also a rebuke on the new agey pamphlet that I was handed when older son was born:
We ALL have children for uncertain times. The total idiots are those who think their kids’ lives will be lived out in candyland with sparkles.
And yes, for some it will turn out very badly. Contrary to the stupid pamphlet, you can’t CONTROL your kids forever into the future, and if you could it would be terrible.
For some it will turn out very well. Better than you could have expected. Or do you think that Leonardo DaVinci’s parents, having an illegitimate son in a dirty-poor village expected him to die in a royal palace and be admired four hundred years later?
The real question is: Would you rather not have been born? Do you know anyone who would rather not have been born, unless they’re mentally ill, or 12 years old?
We can’t even CONCEPTUALIZE not existing, because the essence of life is to live, and pass life on. It’s the most basic thing.
Do the thing, if you can. Pass it on.
The doom of civilization I foresee is probably wrong, as all foreseen dooms, but it has a better chance of happening than “We’re going to be fighting them from the Gullags FOREVER.”
There’s not that many of them. They’re not that powerful. They are a terrified minority, fighting like cornered rats.
Be not afraid. And if you can, bet in the future. Bet in the future in the only way that matters.
The future might not belong to those who show up. But if no one shows up there is no future.
Only silence and emptiness.
(** Metaphorically and by modern interpretation, it always starts with a serpent in a lush garden. See Leonard Cohen “It is in love that we are made.” — and yeah, I woke up in a weird mood, then the day got weirder, and you’re inevitably going to have to put up with it.)
(*** BTW, I’m not going to whack the regular who preached this at me, because regular. But there are another three comments on this that I DID NOT approve, to the point I wonder if my post yesterday got posted on one of the whacker “Christian” sites. So, for the record, “You were beautifully and fearfully made” is true. It’s also true “G-d doesn’t make junk.” (And incredibly vapid.) That doesn’t mean that humans are perfect machines, or that they have to live with everything they are born with.
I, thank heavens, I was raised in a religion that whatever its other issues understands that creation is still subjected to the effects of sin, starting with the original sin, and that G-d respects the free will of humans, even free will that distorts his plan. He obviously respects the free will of other creatures because by the time we became humans we had some very interesting ancestral systems that work at cross purposes. Take my auto immune. Your immune system is forever on patrol against different proteins. This is how most cancers we get (and we all get like 2 a day) never survive and grow. Because your immune system whacks them. HOWEVER either mine is insane (possible) or I express proteins that are different (I’m above the highest for Neanderthal genes!) So mostly it whacks me, leaving me at danger for cancer and making me scratch my arms raw. But I’m just an extreme example.
I’m not being heretical. There is still a miracle there. My older son says it’s a continuous miracle that humans continue living and don’t self-destruct any of the million of ways we can at any time. So, that is a miracle too.
I do realize people are uncomfortable with treating things that if you squint and look sideways can be considered moral failings. Which was the whole point of my post. Sometimes you have to. They are not moral failings, but have their origin in well-defined physical issues.
I have said I’m “still at large” on depression because, unless something unforeseen occurs, I DO have it under control. The worst I got was when Hypothyroidism fought on its side. I try not to have to take treatment for THAT because I want to make sure what I think with is mine.)
HOWEVER I wouldn’t be here without medical treatment. I’d have died in early childhood. And the ADD? I had a choice. It is severe enough that I could not get anything done the rest of my life, now I don’t have editors calling and demanding work (i.e. I’m not exernally regulated) or I could be productive. I choose to be productive. Some people manage ADHD fine. Because they don’t have as severe a case, or because they’re better at managing it. I can’t.
To anyone demanding one manage everything without drugs because “you’re beautifully and fearfully made”: I have a distant cousin who has warring mental illnesses the least of which is schizophrenia. When he’s well, he’s around and doesn’t take his meds. And then things go wonky. He watches himself all the time, and when he thinks he’s at risk for killing someone, he commits himself and gets the treatment. Yes, he’s beautifully and fearfully made. It’s not his fault HIS ancestors married their first cousins more than mine did, and gifted him both a brilliant mind and a severely flawed brain. And he deals with it the best he can. And in eternity his CELESTIAL body will be free of those flaws. Or would you rather he accepted G-d’s will and killed people, starting with his very beloved mother? I don’t care if your crazy interpretation of the Bible says. My branch doesn’t engage in biblio-idolatry. G-d might be a pantser and have plans to rescue everything into His plan at any minute, but he’s not a puppet master and you’re not a meat puppet. He allows free will to run in the world, and that means the free will of your ancestors affects you too. And if that’s not what you believe too bad, so sad, but you’re not going to convince me by shouting at me.)
***** And people wonder why Jean Jacques Rousseau is first on my kill list as soon as younger son builds the long-promised K’nex time machine.
*6 Though you won’t find that in any history books, not even the mass graves found decades later. Hell, I don’t know if people in Portugal know about them. I don’t know how mom found out, though I verified it sideways and weirdly.
When I was telling a friend who worked for the State Dept. under Reagan about this stuff I started with “you’re going to think I’m crazy.” And he said “Oh, heck no, honey. We knew. We just couldn’t get anyone to listen.” And it was SUCH a relief.
*7 Spoiler, I don’t think it will just be JUST a culture war. It’s been delayed due to the aging of the populations, but the blue model can’t go on. Their ultimate model, communism, has shown what it is almost half a century ago, and we’re running out of denial. And people are getting angry. It’s not a coincidence the FICUS wants to nuke us. They know. In fact, they’d never have cheated this blatantly or done the crazy things they imposed on us for a year and a half if they weren’t terrified out of their corrupt little minds.
*8 The liberal side is still trying to figure out: what kind of genitals they have; what kind of genitals they want to have; what kind of genitals they’re attracted to; how to make babies in the middle of all this mess; whether the sacrament of abortion is more important than making babies. So, we’ll leave them out of this.
*9 One of the things I like about Budhism and other religions that believe in Re-incarnation (The Mormons believe in Pre-incarnation, and I might or might not have known this at one time, but I no longer remember if they believe this particular thing) is that they believe the baby chooses the time and place to be born into *9*1 which absolves parents of that particular anxiety and responsibility.)
( *9*1 I don’t believe in that, but let’s suppose I did: did I have to choose such a strange time and such a backward place. If I believed that, I’d go around randomly whacking myself in the back of the head for being a dumb ass.)
( *10 Yes, she was a lush. But people have had children with lushes, and all of us have ancestors who are/were lushes. And yeah, he was sterile, in his fifties, when tested. MAYBE.
Because, look, they weren’t that good at determining that. We still aren’t. My best friend not someone to play around and besides her oldest is the spitting image of his dad was told her husband was basically sterile. She didn’t know it but when those results came back, she was pregnant with their first child. At any rate, due to Heinlein’s health issues, this might not have been true EARLIER.)
( *11 If only to piss you off or to be different. I mean, you guys know not all of my family is conservative. In fact none of them is for liberty, because they’re Europeans. But some of them are on the other side.)
( *12 For women there is a very specific end. Surveys suggest every woman who hits it childless wishes she’d had children. But hell, even women who had as many children as they planned, when it becomes impossible to have more, eat their own hearts out. Even those who tried to have more. Trust me on this. The saddest words in language are “it might have been.”)