It took me many years after my conversion to realise that it is not the norm, even in the post-divorce, post-sexual revolution western world to have no relatives in one’s life, to have grown up with no contact with other children the same age and never to have had any contact with babies or pregnant women. It took a long time for me to figure out that the little West Coast hippie/hipster bubble-world, governed by feminist, socialist mores, was not the universal law of existence.
Even a few years ago, a friend who handed me their child, expecting a positive, feminine, cuddly response would have been disappointed. I had no idea what to do with a baby until very recently, looking upon them with vague suspicion. (Though I’m pretty good with cute furry animals, so not totally devoid of feminine instinct.)
Where and when I grew up, the late 60s and early 70s on Vancouver Island – ground zero of the Sexual Revolution – the notion of “alternative” families was already well entrenched, and it was taken for granted that for the most part, you were on your own in life and can depend on no one for help or support in need. Babies were, at best, a nuisance who were smelly, loud and destructive. At worst, they were a kind of social and economic catastrophe. We were told all the way through school that pregnancy was physically dangerous and would ruin our chances of any future happiness, destroy our “relationships” with boys and condemn us to lives of misery, poverty and regrets over lost opportunities.
All this popped back into my head this morning when I read an article about the disdain and contempt parents and babies are held in by the “hipster” clique in, of all places, Tel Aviv. One woman wrote of her experience with her Cool Kids friends when she let it be known in her early 30s, that she might like to become a mother one day: “It was met with equal amounts of ridicule, contempt, and pity.”
Dana Kessler writes in Tablet:
Some of my friends treated me as if I declared myself a right-wing fascist or just stared at me as if they felt sorry for me for leaving the realm of rational thought and voluntarily crossing over to the other side—the side of brain-dead baby-talk. Having a baby, they explained, is akin to throwing your life away.
Yep. Pretty much.
When I was growing up, the hippie culture was of two minds about babies: they were either a form of biological self-expression or a dreaded social disaster. No one really liked them much, but the more generous had them anyway, as far as I could tell out of a kind of carelessness. These were people whose homes were never really that clean or tidy to start with, so maybe they figured a baby messing things up wouldn’t make much difference. These hippie parents, mostly single women, more or less allowed the kids to run wild and be grubby. This was regarded as allowing one’s children to be “themselves,” and children “expressing themselves” spontaneously on any subject was regarded as a triumph of enlightened parenting.
My mother was one of these, and I did in fact spend a good portion of my childhood shoeless. I had a habit of regarding the local park, the beach and the empty lot across the street as extensions of our living room and would often leave my shoes there, coming home barefoot. Despite this, I was comparatively well washed and well behaved, since my proper English grandmother – born in 1903 – would endure none of that hippie nonsense from me.
The few other kids in our circle, however, were raised according to the stricter interpretation of the ideology and were unconstrained by any kind of discipline or correction, moral instruction or example, and were monsters. It is little wonder that I preferred to spend my time alone exploring the beach or with my nose in a book. And it is equally unsurprising that most of us grew up not to have their own children.
My mother, who was probably of a genius level intelligence, never lost an opportunity to remind anyone who would listen, including me, that the reason she never went any further in her education than her BSc (double major in Mathematics and Marine Biology) was that she had to raise me and couldn’t afford it. Motherhood was a cul-de-sac that ended at the welfare office.
One thing we learned early and with absolute certainty was that kids were horrible, and that they grew up to be horrible – self-centred, materialistic, incapable of intimacy and totally without moral restraints – as adults is merely an expression of causality. The hippie culture that eventually took over all the institutions of the western world, held that human beings were “free,” which meant free to be awful.
Whatever was intended or not, the ultimate result was that our culture became one that not only hated people but produced people worth hating. The deep entrenchment of anti-human ideologies and practices; divorce, contraception, abortion, population control and finally euthanasia, comes from a hatred of human life that we confirmed by our own personal, day to day experience.
As kids growing up at the epicentre of this vast philosophical experiment, we heard the message every day, from our own parents, from schools, from television shows and films, either out loud and in as many words or more subtly, that motherhood was a form of slavery to be avoided at any cost and pregnancy was a horrifying, disfiguring, life-threatening illness. (Think Ridley Scott’s “Alien” and its chest-bursting monster and that horror film “It’s Alive” about a deformed and evil baby.) Those few of us who had families larger than our single mothers and occasionally visiting fathers, learned to regard them with mistrust. Divorce and abandonment was all around us, stalking the ones who still had two parents like a wolf just outside the range of the firelight.
All the institutions of our culture were disdained and disparaged by our elders; Viet Nam, the Bay of Pigs and Watergate and all the other historical paraphernalia of the 60s had discredited government. Corporations were trying to poison us and the “ecology,” as we called the environment in those days. The Church was plainly evil and existed only to oppress women and entrench domestic servitude; and Christianity was either an absurd fairy tale for silly old women or a tool of social justice.
We grew up with no parents, no morals, no social institutions, mistrusting everyone and everything our culture offered by way of solace. It can hardly surprise anyone that “Generation X,” as we came to be called, dove head first in the 80s into sex, drugs and nihilism.
I think that pro-life people, having for the most part come from a different world, are often bewildered and shocked at the loathing they engender out there. They look at a photo of a baby and think “cute”. But we who grew up “out there” were trained from our earliest years to look at the same photo and see a mortal threat. It can be hard to remember what an enormous impact the divorce culture had on people my age and younger. None of us had any notion of stability or domestic security, and those of us who have converted to the cause are often convinced more cerebrally than emotionally.
It might be helpful for people entering the debate on abortion and related issues, to remember that they hate us for a reason. It’s wrong and based on lies, but it’s not random or inexplicable.