Fur Babies and the Dying Family
Young Colorado women can be founding hiking, running, climbing, boating, and pursuing all manner of thrilling recreational activities with their companions of choice–dogs. It has long struck me that, in the Mountain West, you will more readily find a woman between the ages of 20 and 35 passing the time in the company a dog than that of a man.
A Weekly Standard website article posted on February 1, makes it clear that dogs are displacing men not just in Colorado, but across all geographical regions and social demographics. This may bode well for the pet industry as well as the lovable pooches themselves who are lavished with such attention and loyalty, but for the American family, it portends extinction.
The article by Daniel Halper, titled Animal Planet: Pets Outnumber Children 4 to 1 in America, cites a new book by Jonathan V. Last which tackles the demographic disaster of plummeting birth rates in the West, of which the explosion in pet ownership, and the pet care industry itself, are symptoms. What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster will be formally released next week. According to Halper’s article, Jonathan Last comes to the inescapable conclusion that “[E]ducated, middle-class people have all but stopped having babies. Pets have become fuzzy, low-maintenance replacements for children.” I’ve suspected for decades that when, back in the 1970’s, in the wake of bra burning and the legalization of abortion, American women embraced playing frisbee with Fido and bonding with Buddy over men and marriage, that humanity was in a buttload of trouble.
I have a few theories of my own to add to Jonathan Last’s ruminations on the denouement of modern civilization. First; human beings are natural care-givers. They’re compassionate, and the expression of love through acts of kindness and service to a being which is incapable of fully caring for itself is edifying for most people. It’s literally what we live for. Anti-human movements have taken the forms of “population hysteria,” as exemplified in Paul Ehrlich’s dismally errant book, “The Population Bomb,” environmental fear-mongering and assertions that humans are destroying the planet, as exemplified in Rachel Carson’s equally inaccurate book, “Silent Spring,” and finally the war on children, exemplified by the SCOTUS ruling on Roe vs Wade in 1973 that legalized abortion-on-demand. These movements have always pursued one goal, and that is to vitiate human supremacy over the creatures of the earth.
Anti-human doctrines catechize the idea that people are nothing more than organisms with destructive potential, and they must be stopped and ultimately punished for their sins against the natural world. Environmentalism and abortion are partnered in a legislative and cultural campaign to negate the value of the human individual. These movements, however, don’t necessarily extinguish the compassionate impulses of people. We love to love, and to be loved. With the worth of marriage, families, and children being diminished for decades, society scolds its members–especially women–for having ‘too many’ children, or for fostering the traditional roles through which our loving impulses naturally find satisfaction. As a result, we have turned to pets as an outlet for our love. As the importance of families and relationships shrivels, human compassion is misplaced in the comfort, nurturing, companionship, and rights movements, of dumb animals. Humans have a righteous responsibility to treat living creatures humanely, but this form of misplaced compassion, where unborn humans are slaughtered as a matter of convenience, and men and women of child bearing age are opting out of parenthood completely, is neither righteous nor humane when it comes to our own species. Modern society is filling the void where large families and traditional marriage once stood with dogs, cats, and other ‘fur babies.’
The second in my litany of personal theories, addresses changing expectations and values regarding commitment in modern relationships. Pets are not just replacing babies, they’re replacing potential spouses. When divorce laws were changed and any party could divorce the other without grounds, other than the nebulous ‘irreconcilable differences,’ the rigors of ‘ for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part’ were regarded as unreasonable lengths to which one must go to preserve a dispensable relationship. Why have a high-maintenance man at the cost of your personal freedom when you can have the companionship and comfort of man’s best friend? Love between humans is not conditional. It must be earned through the diligence of both marital partners. Forming lasting relationships requires sacrifice and striving. Pets provide many of the same psychological rewards without the emotional risks or effort.
As marriage is devalued, so too is the importance of robust populations of children. It is considered heroic and selfless among people on the Left to abandon parenthood proclaiming that “it would be cruel to bring children into the world when the planet itself is imperiled and life is so hard.” But it’s not just Liberals who are opting to raise critters instead of kiddies.
Virtually all demographic groups are slowly whittling down their rates of birth. Liberals are, however, nearing zero population growth more quickly than Conservatives, Christians, and other religious groups. This not an indictment on pets in the homes of Americans, or the ambitions of entrepreneurs in the pet industry who build upon this infatuation with furry replacement babies. But serious reflection upon our priorities and regard for children is due. Animals as pets and helpers are as natural to humanity as the flora in our gut. But when the rigors and rewards of parenthood take a back seat to a fascination with animals, we can be sure that we have lost our sense of mission as human beings whose progenitors were sent into the world to multiply and replenish the earth.
by Marjorie Haun 7/24/14