This is not liberal; in the very deepest and best sense, it is profoundly conservative.
We have children because they make us human. Throughout my teens and twenties, I often went for years without being deeply moved. My friends called me even-keeled or unflappable, but the truth is that I almost never felt—really felt—anything at all. Not joy, not sorrow, not anger or hurt or fear. This might sound like a good thing. It was not. Every few years my heart would return to me, and for no apparent reason I would find emotions falling down like spring rains on parched soil. I was always relieved to feel connected again, vulnerable, alive—but then the season of feeling would fade and would leave me impassive again.
That changed when I learned we were having a girl. Perhaps there is something especially sweet in the father-daughter relationship, or perhaps it was just that the image of my child became concrete. Whatever the reason, I spent the remainder of the day staring at the ultrasound photo and downloading father-daughter songs in a joyous tearful mess.
Blessedly wounded, I never recovered.
I am on record in many places as supporting a woman’s right to have an abortion, at least for the first two trimesters. That has not changed since I abandoned my unthinking, unreasoned liberalism over a decade ago. It’s none of the government’s damn business.
But Dr. Dalrymple here illuminates what is wrong with the abortion rights movement, something I saw at the time but didn’t know how to talk about or even think about: it positively defends, even celebrates, the taking of innocent life as a good thing. It insists that children are a burden, that they are links in the evil chains that men use to enslave women to the patriarchy.
I am childless, as are some of my friends. And we lament that, for one reason or another, we lack some crucial qualification for parenthood. At the root, though, is a deadly smugness: we were smart enough to realize that our lives would be better without children.
My generation somehow convinced ourselves that we should pursue with great zeal the principle that our ideas and ideals were so great, so perfect, that we should impose them on everyone around us by fiat and force.
I will not dwell here on those of us who insist that there are enough people already, that there’s something wrong with having or even wanting to have children. They will self-select themselves out of the gene pool.
As will the rest of us, too self-centered and lazy to do the one thing that is naturally given to us to transmit our ideas, our values, our hopes and dreams to the future.
And we are a poor, miserable, dead-end lot.