Unpopular Opinion: “Fur-babies” are not children, and pet ownership is not motherhood!

Image may contain: 3 people, text that says "THIS IG:@worth_ h_ for westernaesthetics com CAN NEVER REPLACE THIS"

I confess myself disappointed and frustrated by the number of people (in many cases, including otherwise seemingly intelligent people) who don’t seem to be able to “get” this. That some people don’t like other people as much as they like animals, and that some women, for reasons of their own, don’t want kids, is a given. That’s part of human nature, and always has been.

But the meme is still literally true and accurate, as presented, on several grounds:

First, continuation of the species. Yes, I know that the planet as a whole has an overpopulation problem. There were 2.2 billion people on earth in 1965, when I was born; there are 7.8 billion, now (it took until 1800 to reach a population of 1 billion – and only another 200 years to reach 7 billion), and the changes have not, in general, been positive ones!

A good few of our problems, I suspect, can be traced to – or at least, are exacerbated by – the fact that there are too many people, for the limited planetary real estate, and the issue is only likely to get worse, at least in the immediate future.

But I also know that in both Europe and America, the birth-rate has dropped below the replacement level. Increasingly, both are relying or will soon have to rely on immigration from people and regions who have NOT adopted the “my furbaby is equal to your human child” model to remain economically sustainable at present levels.

To the furbaby crowd, I ask: even if you think that’s a viable solution – and that is not a discussion I’m going to revisit, here, though I have posted on it before – what makes you think that it’ll remain so forever? What if the people you’re relying on to do the jobs your descendants would otherwise have been doing also decide that animals are less trouble than kids? Better hope we have effective AI by then, so robot servants can keep the diminishing human population cozy… if that’s the kind of life you want.

From a theological perspective, “be fruitful and multiply” was the very first commandment God gave to humans (Genesis 1:28). You don’t have to be literalistic in your interpretation of the Genesis narrative to understand why that should be so! No procreation? Then sooner or later, no humankind. It’s not a hard concept to grasp, or shouldn’t be. Co-creating with God the next generations of humans is both a gift and a duty that was given to us by our Creator.

And then from an individual, human, personal perspective, you may like animals more than humans, and that’s your choice; but you are never going to be able to have a deep, meaningful personal or philosophical conversation with Fido or Fluffy, you will never be able to marvel at their insight or strive to amend their errors; you will not be able to pass down to them things that you have learned in your own life-experience, or hear from them things that they have learned in theirs; you will not be able to reminisce with them over experiences you shared on a vacation trip, or share the beauty of a sunset or autumn foliage. You won’t get to share with them the important milestones on their life’s journey: first love, first car, graduation, first job, engagement and wedding, buying a new home, having a child, and so many more.

And from a more “enlightened self-interest” perspective, you won’t be able to ask them, once they’ve gotten their driver’s license, to go pick up something at the store for you; and as you get older, you certainly will not have them able to help take care of you as you get less able to take care of yourself. Yes, of course, you can hire people to do that. But will they show the caring and love of someone you have cared for and loved throughout their lives? Rhetorical question… we’ve all seen the horror stories of nursing home and home-care employees abusing their clients.

So, sure, it’s fine to not be overly-fond of people (I certainly have my doubts about some of the human race, myself, especially every four years or so…); it’s fine to like, even love, animals; it’s fine to realize that maybe you do not have the qualities it would take to be a good mother (or father) to a human child – and in that case, maybe it really is better that you don’t have children! There are too many abused, unloved, and unwanted kids out there as it is.

But it is still objectively true that cuddling your feline companion can never replace raising a child. This is not a matter of opinion or perspective – we put too much stock in unsupported opinions and preferences as it is (“I feel it so it must be true”) – but of simple fact. Sure, do your own thing! That’s the contemporary mantra anyway. But please do not pretend that your “fur-baby” is equal in any way to a human child, or that your care of them is of like significance or consequence to the raising of that human child.

It is not.

 

The Breakdown of Family and Religion Explains France’s Social Unrest

As religion weakens, family structure weakens, and as family structure weakens, government strengthens and grows.

Source: The Breakdown of Family and Religion Explains France’s Social Unrest

“As France is gripped by civil disorder,” this essay notes, “many commentators identify, quite correctly, as the culprit the outsized burden that France’s bloated welfare state places on its citizens.” In other words, the issues are economic. As former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s campaign manager, James Carville, once put it, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Well… to a point. But, as the essay goes on to point out, economics alone cannot adequately explain the situation. Or to put it another way, economic issues are a symptom, not the cause, of the French malaise – a malaise which is spreading throughout the West. Although Europe is the hardest-hit, even the U.S. is not immune. What, then, is the root disease, of which the current unrest is symptomatic?

“The vast expansion of the welfare state, both in Europe and in the United States, occurred in tandem with a weakening of the family. And weakening of the family generally occurs in an environment of weakening of religion…

“As religion weakens, family structure weakens, and as family structure weakens, government strengthens and grows. Where people once looked to their parents to transmit values, love, and care, increasingly they are looking to government.

“The problem is that it doesn’t work.

“Traditional family and marriage reflect eternal values that cannot be replaced by government.”

Amen. Continue reading “The Breakdown of Family and Religion Explains France’s Social Unrest”

My genetic origins, according to Ancestry.com DNA

Source: DNA Origins

Just for fun, and potential interest! My genetic origins, as analyzed by Ancestry.Com DNA. The upshot? I am indeed, as I have always known, a “Northwestern European mongrel”!

More Norwegian than I had thought, but that’s not really surprising, since the Norse invaded, traded, settled, and generally intermingled with folks in most if not all of my other regions…

Ancestry.com DNA – Updated Estimate:

England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 57% (Decreased by 22%)

Ireland and Scotland 20% (Increased by 17%)

Germanic Europe (new) 10%

Norway 8%, Sweden 2% (Refined from: Scandinavia 6%)

Finland 2%

Baltic States 1%

Migrations

Mid-Atlantic States Settlers

From your regions: England, Wales & Northwestern Europe; Ireland and Scotland; Germanic Europe

• Delaware Valley Settlers

• New Jersey Settlers

Pennsylvania Settlers

From your regions: England, Wales & Northwestern Europe; Ireland and Scotland; Germanic Europe

• Susquehanna River Valley Settlers

Pennsylvania, Ohio & Indiana Settlers

From your regions: England, Wales & Northwestern Europe; Ireland and Scotland; Germanic Europe

One thing that’s abundantly clear: I am European, through and through. Ave Europa!

Seven Generations

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Some of the indigenous peoples of what are now the United States (and more broadly, North America) – generally known as “Native Americans,” or, in Canada, by what I believe to be the more accurately descriptive term, “First Nations” – have a concept that what we do, should be done in light of the “Seven Generations.”

Exactly what this means is open to some interpretation (*), but the version I like is that we should consider our actions in light of our own generation, the three that preceded us, and the three that will follow us: that is to say, how would it reflect on our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents? What is its effect on us? And how will it affect our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren?

This makes a huge amount of sense to me. We have a responsibility, and we ought to have a sense of loyalty, to both those who came before us, and those who will come after us. We inherit the world we inhabit as a gift from our forebears, our ancestors, and while we will ultimately hand it down to our descendants, in another sense, we borrow it from them for a while. We have a responsibility to pass on that legacy unimpaired; if anything, enhanced.

Our actions, the decisions we make, and the worldview we adopt to guide our actions and decision-making, demonstrate the degree to which we love, respect, and revere both those who came before us, and those who will follow us… or the degree to which we do not.


* This essay explains the view of contemporary Native elder Vine Deloria, Jr. (1933-2005), which is the one that makes the most sense to me:

“it is clear that much can be learned from nations that respect their ancestors, themselves, and those to come. Such nations exemplify the true meaning of the Seven Generations by maintaining their integrity as peoples.

“Vine Deloria, Jr. spoke of the Seven Generations in very practical terms. In his cantankerous way, he would express extreme annoyance at the romanticism of the concept as it was popularly used. Because, as explained to him, the generations we are sworn to protect and revere are the seven we are most immediately connected to.

“Think about it for a moment. It is possible that many of us have known or will know our great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Even if we aren’t fortunate enough to have been in the physical presence of those who came before us, we usually have stories, songs, and photos that have been shared so that we feel a connection. We also want to make sure our kids and grandkids are healthy, safe and aware of where they come from. So, counting our own generation—ourselves, siblings, and cousins—we are accountable to those seven generations, not some imagined futuristic peoples two hundred years down the road.

“Deloria’s articulation of the Seven Generations makes so much more sense on a human scale and does away with the destructive myth of mystical, all seeing Natives. In truth, our peoples were visionary but not in a passive, new-age way. We actively tended our families and our clan-ties by holding the lives, memories, and hopes of all Seven Generations close. Each generation was responsible to teach, learn, and protect the three generations that had come before it, its own, and the next three. In this way, we maintained our communities for millennia.

Consider what happens when we think of the Seven Generations as only flowing from each of us as individuals, as seems to be the dominant interpretation today. Then we live in a world where we owe nothing to our predecessors, where we have only a tangential connection to our present-day relations, and where we have but a vague notion of the ‘future generations.’”

That, unfortunately, is where most of us are, these days! The vision he articulates makes a great deal more sense to me, and I commend it to your attention.


Nota Bene:  This idea of the Seven Generations was originally articulated by the Iroquois Confederacy, but it has since been adopted more broadly.

And while it may not be expressed in just this way, it seems rather silly to pretend that other indigenous peoples throughout the world did not and do not have a very similar concept: concern for both one’s ancestors and one’s descendants is actually a core feature of every traditional culture, including European traditional cultures.

And of course, Europeans are the indigenous peoples of Europe, now existing also in a diaspora that extends from the Americas, to South Africa, to Australia and New Zealand. Our Celtic, Germanic, and other European ancestors may not have used the precise term “Seven Generations,” but they certainly would have recognized and respected the concept!