Forget “be fruitful and multiply.” That’s so B.C. Anti-natalism is now in, and CNN is doing its part with an article touting the single life — even as fertility rates plunge and Western peoples disappear.
No, CNN isn’t going as far as the tattooed goth Australian professor prescribing extinction for humans or the young fellow suing his parents birthing him without his consent. But the network is promoting a book on “happy singlehood” and the “celebration” of solo living by a Dr. Elyakim Kislev, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Kislev speaks of the “tremendous growth in the single population” and CNN points out that the phenomenon is increasing worldwide, notably in Western nations and places such as Japan.
Never fear, though, CNN assures us, because research by Kislev “found that if you’re single, you can redefine the concept for yourself: You don’t have to be lonely, and you’re not a failure,” the site continued.
The CNN piece also diminishes marriage. “It was proven time and again that married people can be very lonely and emotionally deprived within their wedlock, sometimes exactly because they are committed to this one person and gave up on nurturing other connections,” it quotes Kislev as saying.
“‘On average, singles have more friends than married people,’ Kislev said. ‘We see a phenomenon of ‘greedy marriage,’ in which couples turn inwards and forget their friends and relatives. Instead, singles cast a wide net of friends that better support them in all walks of life,’” the site also relates.
Of course, another way of saying this is that some singles are substituting relatively shallow relationships for what can be the deepest human one possible.
For the record, being single myself, none of my critique is driven by personal emotional vested interest. Moreover, there is something known in certain theological circles as “the consecrated single life.” But, no, CNN isn’t the Consecrated News Network; it’s coming from a very different place.
The CNN piece, entitled “Singles Awareness Day: The benefits of being single,” reflects very much the modern “Me” attitude: It’s all about how you personally can be “happy,” feel fulfilled, raise “self-esteem,” and generally spend this transitional period between birth and death in tolerable, quiet desperation (though that’s not quite how CNN puts it). But there are deeper issues here.
First, since “being single obviously greatly reduces the chances of people having children, the article serves as yet more anti-natal propaganda even as America’s fertility rate continues to plummet,” writes commentator Paul Joseph Watson.
This is no exaggeration. While not long ago the United States’ fertility rate was at replacement level (2.1 children per woman), it’s now at 1.8 — and dropping. This just reflects a wider problem, too.
Fertility rates “are now below replacement level … in approximately 70 countries; in Western Europe, the figure is 1.38, and in northern Italy and parts of Spain it is below 1,” I reported in 2008. “As a result, Europe’s 65-year-olds now outnumber her 14-year-olds, and one German province had to close 220 schools in 2006. Children were present in 80 percent of U.S. households a century ago; that number is now 32 percent.” Furthermore, this problem has only worsened in the last dozen years.
Concerned about overpopulation, many will applaud this. But contrary to media-enabled myth, demographers have long known that the world’s population is poised to start declining later this century. The real issue, the largely unmentioned one, is that it’s hard to find a Western people anywhere that’s replacing itself. We’re quite literally witnessing the death of the West, as the “future belongs to those who show up for it,” to quote pundit Mark Steyn.
While CNN’s focus is the almighty “self,” its article does buttress the burgeoning anti-natalists, a group whose godless movement holds that procreation is morally wrong.
One advocate is Patricia MacCormack of Anglia Ruskin University, who maintains that giving “birth to a child is ‘the worst thing you can do’ to the climate,” reports Breitbart. Many do concur, too, as a growing number of people are now refusing to have children because of “global warming.”
Then there’s Indian businessman Raphael Samuel, who sued his parents last year for non-consensually birthing him under the idea “that it’s wrong to bring children into the world because they then have to put up with lifelong suffering,” as the BBC put it. (Samuel also believes that since we were non-consensually born, we should be paid for the rest of our lives. Hey, Bernie, there’s an idea for you!)
While it’s tempting to just laugh this off, these assertions do get at deeper issues — ones these anti-natalists don’t well tackle: Why are we here? Is there a meaning to life, and, if so, what is it?
It’s not surprising this anti-natalism would arise amid the growing Western godlessness. A corollary of atheism is that man is just a cosmic accident, a chemicals-and-water organic robot occupying a purposeless Universe. Under this thinking, hedonism — the seeking of pleasure — may be the only motivation to continue living, and there is a tendency to ask (rhetorically), “What’s the point of it all?”
Yet what apparently eludes MacCormack and the other environmental anti-natalists is that if there’s no inherent meaning to life, there’s also no meaning to their desire to “save” the cosmic accident we call Earth.
MacCormack believes it would be better for the plants and animals if man just disappeared. But what’s the purpose of the existence of the organic robots we call animals? Okay, so man disappears and doesn’t destroy them. So then they go on replicating until an asteroid strike, a roving black hole, our sun’s death, gamma ray bursts, or something else destroys them. What’s the point?
Besides, since time is “a handy illusion” as Einstein put it, and hence doesn’t really exist, what’s the difference if the plants and animals are destroyed now or in the “now” we call “in a billion years”?
Samuel’s purist anti-natalism is somewhat more serious. Why exist and endure pain, especially if your cost-benefit analysis finds it outweighs your pleasure? (Though, do note, these anti-natalists never seem to kill themselves.)
The only answers saving you from nihilism and begetting a culture of life are found in faith, a conclusion that itself is not faith but “philosophical fact.” Christians, for example, believe that to be “fruitful and multiply” is divinely ordained and that we have a very certain purpose: to love and serve God and, ultimately, to be with Him for all eternity in a place without pain.
As for this world, a Christian may unite his pain to the suffering of Christ. He may also quote C.S. Lewis’s observation, “Pain is the megaphone God uses to get through to deaf ears,” understanding that it’s perhaps the only thing inspiring us to grow.
So, no, we can’t “prove” God’s existence scientifically. But man’s psychology being what it is, we can prove what atheism taken to its logical conclusion leads to: death.
Image: AscentXMedia via iStock / Getty Images Plus
Selwyn Duke (@SelwynDuke) has written for The New American for more than a decade. He has also written for The Hill, Observer, The American Conservative, WorldNetDaily, American Thinker, and many other print and online publications. In addition, he has contributed to college textbooks published by Gale-Cengage Learning, has appeared on television, and is a frequent guest on radio.