It seems down through the centuries post “Enlightenment” that a very wide fault line has divided those popularly identified as the right and left; that would be children. The secular progressive left has always cast a jaundiced eye on the traditional family going back to at least the French Revolution. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who laid the foundation for the revolution wasn’t exactly a good family man. Modern feminism was nothing if not a rebellion against the family and children as a celebration of life.
Anti-natalism has a long and sordid history that can plausibly be traced back to Thomas Malthus who argued that population growth grows geometrically while food production only grows arithmetically. Thus in the long run there would never be enough food to feed a population that would always outstrip it. The modern environmental movement is a direct descendent of Malthus. In the 1960s Paul Ehrlich predicted there would widespread famine in the 70s and 80s because there were just too many damn people for the earth to sustain. In spite of his every prediction failing he is as committed to his Mathusianism as ever.
In our day it’s a bit difficult to claim that mass starvation will kill millions, but that hasn’t stopped modern Malthusians from asserting that disaster is right around the corner. “Global warming” or “climate change” (since the earth is inconveniently not getting warmer) is the latest refuge (I was going to say last, but they will always find something else) of Malthus’ progeny. A recent piece by one of these is just too predictable to lampoon. The title gives it away: “We Don’t Need Another Billion People.” See, it’s the people, people! Human beings are destroying our planet! Quit breeding for earth’s sake! Here is a telling pull quote:
Population management can’t do it all; we need a full-court press on all fronts. But if we want a secure future, we need to start with the fastest, most affordable way we know to limit carbon emissions: by bringing fewer emitters into the world.
The great divide in full flower: children aren’t human beings; they are “emitters.” How’s that for reductionism, progressive style. But I do have to hand it to the left liberals; they are at least consistent. Without any metaphysical foundation rooted in a God who affirms life, children can easily be reduced to resource depleters.
We cannot escape our presuppositions: what we believe about ultimate reality is a philosophical pre-commitment that cannot be proved and is rarely defended or even argued by most people, but especially by the secularist. They think they are somehow objective because they are not “religious.” But I hate to break it to them: we are all religious, whether our faith includes a God or not, and this faith will tend to determine what we believe about the value of people, little or big. Without a creator God it is really difficult on sheer utilitarian grounds to place any ultimate value on human life. Thus the modern environmental movement.