The press is reporting a new study which claims that just over 50% of Americans now categorize themselves as “Pro-Life”. On the internet, in the “Comments” sections that usually follow these stories, I’ve noticed a new battle brewing: not so much between “a baby’s right to live” versus “a woman’s right to choose”, as between those who blanketly insist on “a baby’s right to live” versus those who demand to know whether these people are willing to put their time, money, and emotions where their mouths are, and provide safe happy homes for the many unwanted children who will allegedly be born if the “pro-life” movement prevails.
This new twist on the debate, despite the ugly accusations and negativity that invariably show up in some of the comments, at least encourages me that Americans might be ready to confront the real question: Why do we passively persist in encouraging a social/political/cultural milieu in which young girls are encouraged to have babies before they are ready to care for them; in which young boys are encouraged to have sex as often and early as possible, but are never taught how to be mature men who love and care for their families; in which relationships between men and women are belittled into contracts, and no one even wonders what love and commitment and responsibility are really all about; in which life’s meaning is reduced to going shopping and getting laid and being “free” to do whatever nonsense we please.
In his interesting book, “God and Gold”, Walter Russell Mead asked the question this way: “After all the fire and storm of the historical process, the struggles between good and evil, progress and reaction, the long and difficult climb from barbarism and slavery up into the light of civilization and finally of free civil society, at last and at length we struggle up to the peak of the mountain to encounter the culmination of generations of human striving: Homer Simpson…. The world turns into a big mall, and we all go shopping: forever…. Were all the heroism of the past, all the suffering, all the passionate faith, the sacrifice, the religious and political contests simply to build a shopper’s paradise? Does liberal society really stand for nothing more that the accumulation of material possessions?”