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.

 

J.D. Unwin on the correlation between sexual liberty and cultural downfall

Fulton Sheen – The level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood

In Sex and Culture (1934), British anthropologist J. D. Unwin “studied 80 primitive tribes and 6 known civilizations through 5,000 years of history and found a positive correlation between the cultural achievement of a people and the sexual restraint they observe.” Writing in his blog, “Disfigured Praise: Affliction for the Comfortable,” Jonathon McCormack comments on Dr. Unwin’s findings:

“After studying cultures as diverse as the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and dozens of other groups, Dr. Unwin found a 100% perfect correlation between the practice of heterosexual fidelity and cultural development. As Unwin wrote, across 5,000 years of history he found absolutely no exception to his rule:

“These societies lived in different geographical environments; they belonged to different racial stocks; but the history of their marriage customs is the same. In the beginning each society had the same ideas in regard to sexual regulations. Then the same struggles took place; the same sentiments were expressed; the same changes were made; the same results ensued. Each society reduced its sexual opportunity to a minimum and displaying great social energy, flourished greatly. Then it extended its sexual opportunity; its energy decreased, and faded away. The one outstanding feature of the whole story is its unrelieved monotony.

Without exception, once restrictions on sexuality are lifted, especially female sexuality, a society destroys itself from within, and is later conquered from without. When not focusing mental and physical energy on building strong families, members of a culture lose the impetus for upkeep and innovation [emphasis added – The Angophilic Anglican].”

“Author Daniel Janosik puts Unwin’s findings this way:

“If the British anthropologist J. D. Unwin is correct in his assessment of society, this present generation in the Western world may be the last one. He found that when strict heterosexual monogamy was practiced, the society attained its greatest cultural energy, especially in the arts, sciences and technology. But as people rebelled against the prohibitions placed upon them and demanded more sexual opportunities, there was a consequent loss of their creative energy, which resulted in the decline and eventual destruction of the civilization. Remarkably, he did not find any exception to this trend.”

“The fact the world’s three major religions, which date back to the Bronze Age, have been structured around the ideals of monogamy and sexual restraint for thousands of years should tell us something about tampering with the set and frame of civilization, then calling the resulting degeneracy ‘progress.’

“Unwin concluded that the fabric that holds a society together is sexual in nature. When life-long heterosexual monogamous relationship is practiced, the focus is on the nurture of the family and energy is expended to protect, plan for, and build up the individual family unit. This extends to the entire society and produces a strong society focused on preserving the strength of the family.

However, he found that when sexual opportunities opened the door to premarital, post-marital, and homosexual relationships, the social energy always dissipated as the individual focused more on self-gratification rather than societal good.”

To which The Anglophilic Anglican can only quote that great philosopher of the earlier and more innocent 1960s, Gomer Pyle:

Gomer Pyle – Surprise, surprise, surprise!


[Disclaimer: No offense to Mr. McCormack intended, but I would not have titled the linked blog-post “How Women destroy civilization,” if I had been the one writing it.

It is not women per se who destroy civilization: it is masculinized women and feminized men; it is decoupling sexual relations from the gift and blessing, but also unquestionably the responsibility, of procreation and parenthood, and especially the vocation of motherhood; it is, as the above quotes make clear, privileging personal gratification over the good of families and societies.

Women who understand their primary and proper role being to act in support of their husbands, families, and homes are no threat to civilization, but indeed, one of its most essential pillars! Feminism, not femininity, is the problem.

Thoughts on family, fatherhood, work, and home-life… in a post-global age

The Tradwife Movement Reminds Us of the Virtue of Service in Marriage

There seems to be what I see as the beginning of a substantial backlash against many things we have taken for granted in culture and society for the last five or six decades in the Western world, and particularly in America. One of these is the notion that motherhood and homemaking is an inferior, subordinate role that oppresses and demeans women, and that women should therefore eschew it, and join men in the workplace. The rise of the “TradWife” (traditional wife) movement is part of the kickback against this – and one with which, in large measure, I agree.

I was raised by a traditional wife and mother: Ma never worked outside the home during my lifetime, although she did work as an English teacher during the first few years of her marriage to Pa. But not long after my oldest brother was born, she left “outside” work, and returned to the home. And there is no question that I benefited – we all did – from her ability to devote her full time and attention to being a wife, mother, and homemaker. We had clean clothes, a clean house, healthy, delicious homemade meals, baked deserts, and much else, thanks to her not needing to squeeze such things around full-time (or even part-time) work.

I also have no doubt that I was saved from many opportunities to “sin and err” by the fact that I knew she (or if she had to be away, my grandmother) would be there waiting for me when I got home from school! And no matter how far I roamed, through the woods and fields near my house, I never seemed to be out of the range of her call (a resounding “Tooommmmmmmmmm!”), that echoed through the air, come supper time – to the awed amazement of my friends, who were shocked that such a small person (she was all of 5’3″ in height) could call so loudly.

I empathize with the nostalgia for the immediate post-WW II era. Although I was born in 1965, I was in many significant ways a “child of the 1950s”: Ma and Pa were married then, and both my brothers were born in the ’50s (I was a late-comer, and rather a surprise, at the time!). So I get it! My concern about the TradWife movement, however – despite my admiration for many of the women involved, and my agreement with the basic premise that both women and their families are benefited by them being at home with and for those families – is that many or most of them seem to take the 1950s as their template for what a “traditional” wife should be, and do.
Continue reading “Thoughts on family, fatherhood, work, and home-life… in a post-global age”

Homemaking (or Homemakers) Monday – a growing trend?

Image

Mountain Housewife (@mtnhousewife) on Twitter shared this lovely image and posted,

“Imagine a day when the ordinary mother caring for her home is held up as an ideal again. This stamp celebrating the homemaker was issued by the U.S. Postal service in 1964.”

That was just a year before I was born! Back when there were only slightly over 2 billion people on the whole planet (there are something like 7.3 billion, now, and the number keeps growing), America was proud of its identity as a Christian nation, and my mother was equally proud of her membership in the Homemakers Club.

[These still exist, by the way, although they’re not as large, active, or prominent as they were in her day. Traditional Homemakers Clubs “are generally grouped by location and focus on homemaking skills, personal growth, socialization, volunteer efforts and improving the community,” just as they did in the 1950s – 80s. But, as I say, they are not as widespread. I could not find reference to an active one in Maryland, unfortunately. When they exist, they are usually – as they were then – under the auspices of the Agricultural Extension Service of the local land-grant university. The link is to the University of Kentucky!]

[UPDATE: I take that back! There do still seem to be a few active clubs in Maryland, including one in Frederick County, not too far from me.]

But when I looked up “Homemaking Monday,” thinking it would be an annual observance, what I found surprised me – and pleasantly so! Quite a few blogs of homemaking women, “Trad Wives”, etc., seem to be viewing “Homemaking Monday” as a weekly occurrence, a time to celebrate the art of the housewife. That is encouraging, in my view!

That said, though, see “Why tradwives aren’t trad enough,” for a discussion about the limitations of this approach (which typically takes the very historically and economically exceptional 1950s as its template), and some suggestions for possible solutions to this dilemma – one which closely tracks my own thinking on the subject (think Proverbs 31:10-31). I’ll probably write more on the subject at a later time.

But for now, let me just celebrate the fact that at least a growing number of women are rejecting the idea that they should emulate Industrial Revolution (and post-Industrial Revolution) men, and work outside the home to find their fulfillment. I don’t even think that’s a good idea for most men, and I certainly don’t think it’s a good idea for women. But as I say, I’ll write more on that subject anon.

In the meantime, kudos to those women who are at least keeping the skills, arts, and qualities of the homemaker alive. We can re-weave some of the broken strands of truly traditional home and family life later on. Survival and preservation is an important first step, and I doff my hat to these women!

 

What Princess Charlotte’s Portrait Teaches Us About Raising Adults | Intellectual Takeout

What Princess Charlotte’s Portrait Teaches Us About Raising Adults

Is it possible that in treating children like children – both in the way we dress them and the activities we allow them to pursue – we will better prepare them for a natural, responsible transition to adulthood some day in the future?

Source: What Princess Charlotte’s Portrait Teaches Us About Raising Adults | Intellectual Takeout

Annie Holmquist, Editor of Intellectual Takeout, often has good things to say, and this is no exception. This essay is a few years old, but that does not make it any less apropos. She notes a Spanish clothing designer – Spain being one country where traditional clothing for children is much more common than it is here in the US, or apparently in the UK – as commenting,

“The style is much more classic for children, with Peter Pan collar shirts, soft colours, floral prints. We keep the essence of timeless clothing for children and enjoy seeing our children look like children.”

(See also this earlier essay on the subject.)

The Anglophilic Anglican is a hopeless traditionalist – and darned proud of it! – so needless to say, I agree. But it may be more than merely an aesthetic preference. As Holmquist continues,

“I can’t help but wonder if the Royals have caught onto an idea that’s been completely overlooked by all of us commoners across the pond… after reading the ideas behind the Spanish approach to children’s dressing which the Royals follow, I had to ask myself if the American habit of dressing children as mini-mes has helped to fuel the rise of immature and incapable adults.”

Well worth a read!

My wildest fantasy.

Image may contain: text

As a friend of mine pointed out, when I posted this on Facebook, “The fact that this is a meme at all points to the shrinking middle class.” This is very, and sadly, true.

What is even sadder (to me) is that, with a few minor changes –  minus the dogs, to which I am allergic, but adding a wife and children, a nice big garden out back, and a few chickens for fresh eggs – this is my fantasy, as well!

Well, and a Christian West which has recovered its faith, its self-confidence, and its vision for the future, and is rebuilding both its population and its influence in the world. But I suppose these days, that is really dreaming…

 

“When men stop seeing women as mothers…” | Holy Motherhood

“When men stop seeing women as mothers, sex loses its sacredness.”

— Mary Pride

To which I can only say… Amen!

 

And on a related note… Be a rebel. Save society.

Be a rebel – and save society

Yes. This.

Settle down, raise a family. This is going to take a while.

Raise a family.jpg

“The real way to leverage your time and make a lasting difference is exponential and generational: get married, have children, practice your faith, raise liberty-minded children, be active in the community, serve your family, homeschool your children, give them a real education, and teach them to be self-sufficient, well-read, healthy, and wise.

The quote above is an excerpt (I’d say, the key excerpt) from a friend and fellow Christian clergyman’s Facebook post this morning. Here’s the whole thing:

“What’s the best way for young people to fight for human liberty in the west? A podcast? A blog? Go on a speaking tour? Run for office?

“Maybe.

“But the real way to leverage your time and make a lasting difference is exponential and generational: get married, have children, practice your faith, raise liberty-minded children, be active in the community, serve your family, homeschool your children, give them a real education, and teach them to be self-sufficient, well-read, healthy, and wise.

“And raise each of your children to do the same thing and create strong families of their own.

“Living the swinging single libertarian life and/or having a biologically unfruitful relationship simply neutralizes and nullifies any long-term influence you might have had, and surrenders the field to others who are doing the hard, generational work of raising their own children to promulgate their values. The cultures that reproduce will push all the others out. And if that culture is oppressive and tyrannical, you don’t want them in the majority.

“This is akin to Aesop’s Fable of the tortoise and the hare – only in this version, the rabbit is sterile while the turtle is prolific.

“The west is dying because most young people don’t have the long view in mind, and also because young women do not understand the old adage about ‘the hand that rocks the cradle [rules the world]’ and are thus clueless about what it means to be truly empowered and strong.”

As our Eastern Orthodox brethren would say,

Wisdom! Attend.

Now, if I could just find someone to raise a family with…! *wry smile*

 

Medieval peasants vs people today – on the lighter side!

Image may contain: text

As an academically-trained – and lifelong avocational – medievalist, I can say there is a lot of truth to this! True, there were plenty of issues in that era that could be lethal, from plague to war. But now it’s cancer, degenerative heart disease, and (in many parts of the world) still war… 🙄

In fact, most of the things that killed people – and that account for the “lower life expectancy” (which is an average) of medieval people during that age – were most threatening to children. If you once attained adulthood, you had a pretty fair chance of living just about as long as we do now!


(To be fair, one exception to this was childbirth, which remained very dangerous to women right up until fairly recent times. Young women are more likely to be resilient and avoid or survive potential issues with childbirth, which is one reason why women married and bore children much earlier, on average, than they do today.)