NPR has a case study in liberal hypocrisy in its story Should We Be Having Kids in the Age of Climate Change? They feature Travis Rieder, “a philosopher with the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University,” who tells everyone they shouldn’t have children because of climate change.
He’s at James Madison University in southwest Virginia to talk about a “small-family ethic” — to question the assumptions of a society that sees having children as good, throws parties for expecting parents, and in which parents then pressure their kids to “give them grandchildren.”
Like a good liberal, he wants to shame you into not even having baby showers, because baby showers will cause the destruction of the Earth when carried to their end goal, celebrating the addition of a new human life to the planet. Heaven forbid friends and family reward new parents with a cake and a cute little onesie for the little one.
Actually, heaven doesn’t have to forbid it. Rieder wants the government to forbid it–or at least go as far as acceptable in forbidding before appearing completely totalitarian. He wants all tax credits for children stopped, and tax penalties instead imposed. It’s somewhat surprising he didn’t also suggest tax credits for aborting babies. In his world, it could become a real badge of honor to abort a baby to show all your friends your dedication to the climate.
The story then goes on to tell how his wife had wanted lots of children, and despite her husband making his living, his morality, his reputation off of telling others not to have children, they decided to have a child, who’s now two years old.
That doesn’t deter him from trying to terrify his youthful audience into doing what he himself refused to do:
He asks how old they will be in 2036, and, if they are thinking of having kids, how old their kids will be.
“Dangerous climate change is going to be happening by then,” he says. “Very, very soon.”
He’s predicating a climate catastrophe in 2036. Let’s see. His lovely little daughter will be about 22 then. Aw, how sweet. Just graduating from college to float off into the ocean that will rise up and sweep away anyone not consumed by the Earth-bound fires and damnation.
If he’s willing to assure such a tragic future for his daughter, whom he proclaims to be “the most amazing thing we’ve ever done with our lives,” then he cannot truly believe the Chicken-Little alarmism he is selling.
For others, he’s not willing to moderate his “children will destroy the planet” hype.
Rieder’s audience seems to want an easier way. A student asks about the carbon savings from not eating meat.
Excellent idea, Rieder says. But no amount of conservation gives you a pass. Oregon State University researchers have calculated the savings from all kinds of conservation measures: driving a hybrid, driving less, recycling, using energy-efficient appliances, windows and light bulbs.
For an American, the total metric tons of carbon dioxide saved by all of those measures over an entire lifetime of 80 years: 488. By contrast, the metric tons saved when a person chooses to have one fewer child: 9,441.
Another student asks: “What happens if that kid you decided not to have would have been the person who grew up and essentially cured this?”
Again, great question, says Rieder, but the answer is still no. First, the chances are slim. More to the point, he says, valuing children as a means to an end — be it to cure climate change or, say, provide soldiers for the state — is ethically problematic.
With all that’s at stake, he says, we need to shift our cultural attitudes. “It’s not the childless who must justify their lifestyle. It’s the rest of us.”
And that includes Rieder.
Rieder absolves himself of not following the morals he preaches like a modern-day Jim and Tammy Faye Baker by saying he won’t have additional children. No, no, no. They are “one and done,” in the cutesy liberal phraseology. His wife just needed that one to satisfy her extreme human urge she could not control. (She’s the sinner. He was saintly in permitting her to destroy the planet for all the rest of us.)
The story ends with a pair of frightening quotes from Rieder:
“‘The situation is bleak, it’s just dark,’ he says. ‘Population engineering, maybe it’s an extreme move. But it gives us a chance.'”
And then the last line of the story:
“‘We know exactly how to make fewer babies,’ he says.” To which the NPR reporter sums up “And it’s something people can start doing today.”
Tax credits for abortion doesn’t seem such an exaggeration after all, does it?