Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A SOLITARY MAN. Rod Dreher is on one his natalist tears. "Will Boomers die alone and unloved?" he asks, and refers to Philip Longman's harrowing premonitions of Boomer-geezer disappointment in Social Security, of which my favorite part is this:
The younger generation to whom Boomers will turn for support in old age will also contain a higher proportion of African Americans and Hispanics than does the Baby Boom generation itself. So on top of the generational divide, and on top of the culture divide, will be a widening racial and ethnic divide.
As if anticipating that the prospect of senescence in hands of dark-skinned strangers may not be enough to sway us, Dreher doubles down with a childless couple's lament: "It's the other side of the Boomer childlessness story."

It's amazing how much of the Jesus people POV is based on the Ant and the Grasshopper. Just you wait, they say, one day you'll be old and alone and godless -- and, if we have our way, broke. Then who'll be laughing?

Speaking as a childless man of no great fortune, I fully expect to die one of these days, and I have respect enough for narrative, and the odds, to also expect that my end may not be heartwarming. But I fail to see how that should drive me to procreate. As Lear and a million other geezers knew, children are an unreliable source of comfort and security. However long a span I am granted, the end is just a little piece of it. If that isn't sweet, I know that my memories, if I am blessed to retain them, will be, and thereafter is oblivion. I have front-loaded my happiness, and have no regrets.

I understand that Dreher wants for religious reasons to encourage increased childbearing, and would threaten abrogation of the Social Security contract to achieve it. That he and others would use such a crude weapon to scare people into having babies is frankly disgusting. If my natural inclinations would in any case encourage my resistance, under such circumstances my self-respect demands it. Better, morally speaking, to fall back on my default retirement plan: a pistol and a rooming-house.

If you are not so inclined, you might still consider carefully before taking life lessons from a guy whose idea of Walter Cronkite is Ross Douthat.

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