I just wanted to get this out. I saw on a friend of mine's twitter something along the lines of:
'All of you pro-lifers going on about the right to life, what about paying for those unwanted children?'
The implications are simple, children cost money and is it not a waste to use money for children that were unwanted. I am currently checking with her and hoping that I don't have to fear the worse, but I feel pretty dim about her prospects because she is very socially liberal.
I have no problem with liberals per say, but I do have a problem with people not realizing what they are really saying. Liberals can want very good things, but they are not right about everything. Yes, we need to help the poor etc. but, the right to life should be apparent to all and children should not be seen only as burdens.
Our society has gotten so steeped in a 'me-first' attitude that we can hardly take joy in beings as simple as children. I realize that not everyone likes children, and that is alright. After all, not everyone is meant to be a parent. However, can you not see something wrong with viewing a person (however young or small) as a burden? There is something especially vicious about that when the person has actually done nothing to earn the title of burden.
In the case of a child, that child has no bearing on whether or not it would be conceived. That was based on someone else's choices, not their own. A child has no bearing on not understanding, being mobile, or anything else we take for granted as adults because they have to grow. They are born into a state of helplessness. I feel like, if anything, the truly helpless that have no means of supporting themselves are those who need the most support.
It is simply insanity to treat a child as a burden and it results in various vices. In my own case, my father treated my as a burden quite often. He also tried to convince me that he did this because he was not sure if I was his kid at the time (a truly absurd notion, not to mention an incredibly weak excuse). I was shunted aside, abused, etc. I do not say this for pity--it is what it is. However, I know what being a burden can feel like and I have spent my life shaking those shackles off of my person.
Someone might not that maybe it would have been better that I not have lived at all, if I was simply put on this Earth to suffer for 20 something odd years. I have to disagree with this because life is good, no matter the circumstances. I have known despair intimately, and I have also known beauty. I have a poet's heart and, I realize it is completely cliche, but I am thankful for the wrongs and rights in my life and would not trade it for anything. I just need to harness it and I need to submit myself to the Lord Our God.
I have digressed, as I so often do; so, let us get back on subject. Life is good. The most uncivilized 'brutal' man can and often does believe this. Why should we believe that life is good despite our suffering? Where would that thought come from? In any case, most are agreed life is good and most would be inclined to agree when their life is easy.
However, ease is not the same thing as goodness. Ease in life is certainly less stressful, but it takes stress and heat to form us into something worthwhile. Courage is found at the center of every virtue. Fidelity to your wife is the courage to forgo a passing physical pleasure for the sweet unity of matrimony, for the great good of being a man who keeps his promises. True generosity is the courage to give perhaps a bit more than you think you can, and reject the idea that all of these physical gadgets we can buy are what's most important in life. Ease can be said to be good in certain situations, but to believe life is good only when it is easy is cowardly.
The point: life is good and we all have the right to live. This is why murder is so heinous, it is one man or woman deciding the fate of another on a whim. There is plenty of nuance therein, but whatever the cause, the loss of any life is heartbreaking for someone. Even some of the most terrible people known to mankind have had families and friends who mourned them. We mourn, not because our brains are programmed to respond in that fashion. That trivializes the whole idea. It trivializes anything that makes us human, our art, our loves, our ambitions, and our failings. The brain is certainly powerful, but its intricacies are not going to explain that which is naturally ephemeral. Why does art tend to repeat itself and yet be so fresh? We artists borrow from those who came before us, but are hammered into our own over time when we do not worry about being original. There are themes and motifs, and an infinite way of expressing them.
Our world is in a state where we have lost that value of life. We pretend like we rejoice in life when we are actually just going through the motions and distracting ourselves along our way to the grave. We have lost a sense of the transcendent with a vague materialism that manifests itself in insatiable desires to buy anything and everything, and to think that there is nothing else but the physical world. We have lost spirit, our particularly human spirit.
This is particularly evident in the fact that we can convince ourselves that a conceived child is not a life. We convince ourselves that a woman, due to her fortunate gift of having developed more than the child, can dictate whether or not that child should live. Let's be honest, whether or not the child is still in the cellular stage, it is the start of the development of a human person. If allowed to go from the moment of conception on, a human child is going to pop out. We are not going to end up with a baby dolphin, flower, or chimp, we are going to end up with a new human life. All life is valuable, but human life is especially valuable. We must not forget those things that actually separate us from the animals that we have developed our bodies from. As has been said a long time ago, humans are the upright ape that went mad. We are peculiar.
That said, genetically speaking the child is distinct from the moment the sperm hits the egg. Yes, a woman owns her body (as much as any of us own something we were born with) but that child is not her body and it never was. Her body stops at her own genetic pattern. She could destroy her own cells and DNA if she so chose, but the child (and we must not forget that that is what the little being is) is not the woman's body. At worst, the child is a parasite on its mother's body. That can be argued, but it again degrades the humanity of the child and distorts the inherent bond between mother and child.
Women were not confined to the home simply because all males think they are silly creatures. Men surely think women are silly creatures, but not every man has been one to shackle his wife to the house and kitchen. Woman had a specific function in life and, like anyone, wears multiple hats. She always has. It is perfectly fine that women work outside of the house now, but not at the expense of denying common sense. In general, women feel a certain closeness with that little creature that is developing within her womb. The sane woman realizes the tremendous gift, however painful its reception into the world, that she has been given. Through her selfless giving of her self and her selfless reception of her lover, new life is brought into the world.
It pains me to think of how much beauty we are missing in the world. I am a schoolteacher and marvel everyday at the antics of my students. They are adolescents, juveniles all trying to figure out their way through the world and--true to human form--stumble and bungle through it. Everything they need to know about life is not inherent, but their bright eyes and ability to be present should be enviable for those adults who have forgotten what it was like to wonder.
All of our greatest achievements began in wonder, and they lose their potency when separated from it. Art, music, dance, and the sciences are the result of wonder or, at least, the sciences use to be. The original goal in science, as far as I can tell, was not simply to get a bunch of facts about the universe, but to understand and rejoice in this strange world we find ourselves in.
In short, there may be burdens associated with having children, but we lose valuable aspects of our humanity if we continue to degrade them and continue to reject and lose our own wonderment at the world. The parent who addresses their child's haunting question about why others may mistreat them is one such reminder. The child says, "Why, daddy? Why are they mean to me?" The father can only say, "It's human nature, my dear child" and marvel at how conflicted our lives true are. Why are we the way we are? Such questions must never be lost, and a world devoid of children will surely extinguish this flame. I'll have to come back and rework this. I'm done ranting now.