When Capitalism Is Dangerous

 

From a young friend, commenting on yet another new fertility therapy:

We missed how easily progressives would accept and weaponize the language of creative destruction to deconstruct non-economic institutions like the family.

You can create a new technology. Why can’t you create new forms of sexuality? You have a new business model for your company. Why not a new model for how babies are conceived and reared?

His observation may be brief, but it strikes me as profound–and one that my generation has been slow to recognize. When we grew up, you could still take it for granted that society at large accepted, unapologetically and unselfconsciously, traditional notions of morality. Millennials have grown up in an entirely different world.

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  1. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    This may sound strange coming from me, because I am very pro-life, but our society is too centered on children. The reason people are willing to go to such horrific lengths to create biological children is because they apparently believe that biological children will provide them with a happiness that so far has eluded them. The reason so many people tolerate abortion is because children are seen as having no value, if they don’t immediately provide happiness. What a horrible world for children to have to deal with.

    • #1
  2. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Judithann Campbell (View Comment):
    This may sound strange coming from me, because I am very pro-life, but our society is too centered on children. The reason people are willing to go to such horrific lengths to create biological children is because they apparently believe that biological children will provide them with a happiness that so far has eluded them. The reason so many people tolerate abortion is because children are seen as having no value, if they don’t immediately provide happiness. What a horrible world for children to have to deal with.

    Means rather than ends. It’s a terrible way to view other human beings.

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  3. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    Millenials are increasingly living in a ‘Brave New World.’ The question is, how do or can we reverse this?

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  4. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    Judithann Campbell (View Comment):
    The reason so many people tolerate abortion is because children are seen as having no value, if they don’t immediately provide happiness. What a horrible world for children to have to deal with.

    I agree wholeheartedly. Abortion has to view the unborn as objects, not humans.

    Children are still produced from eggs and sperm, the family arrangements or supporting cast is what is different. And, I think, the jury is out.

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  5. Quake Voter Inactive
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    TeamAmerica (View Comment):
    Millenials are increasingly living in a ‘Brave New World.’ The question is, how do or can we reverse this?

    So sadly true. Reagan and his allies (including Mr. Robinson) were able to render 1984 an allegory, but less than thirty years after the departure of the great man, the future is seemingly a contest between Brave New World and Idiocracy. Maybe the present, as I find myself largely supporting President Camacho.

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  6. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Judithann Campbell (View Comment):
    This may sound strange coming from me, because I am very pro-life, but our society is too centered on children. The reason people are willing to go to such horrific lengths to create biological children is because they apparently believe that biological children will provide them with a happiness that so far has eluded them. The reason so many people tolerate abortion is because children are seen as having no value, if they don’t immediately provide happiness. What a horrible world for children to have to deal with.

    1. To me, this sounds like society is too focused on the gratification of the individual, not children.
    2. Perhaps if the state had not gone to such horrific lengths to make adoption so damn expensive, more infertile couples might take that route. A private domestic adoption costs as much as a used car and an international one as much as a new car, where as a public adoption may involve providing years of therapy for the abused child taken away from his parents after engaging in a lengthy legal battle. You’re required to submit every aspect of your life to the review of bureaucrats, who may chose to reject you for reasons like “wrong skin color” or “wrong religion.” Boy, can’t imagine why people might just want to pay their doctor than deal with that mess …
    3. Children will always be prized, because unless you are in an exceedingly rare position, your children are the only people who will remember you ever existed after you’re dead. The vast majority of people will not write a book, create a work of art, found a successful corporation, be a war hero, or do really anything noteworthy, and even if folks don’t think about it on a conscious level, it’s there as a subconscious one. It’s certainly something I never really thought about until I had to face the very real possibility that my family line will end with me. It’s heart-rending, and depressing as hell, to think of your life as not a link in the chain of humanity but just a dead end.
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  7. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    Perhaps if the state had not gone to such horrific lengths to make adoption so damn expensive, more infertile couples might take that route.

    I agree with everything you say; I don’t have children either, and that is not by choice. However, the difficulty of adopting children does not justify putting embryos in a freezer.

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  8. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Judithann Campbell (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    Perhaps if the state had not gone to such horrific lengths to make adoption so damn expensive, more infertile couples might take that route.

    I agree with everything you say; I don’t have children either, and that is not by choice. However, the difficulty of adopting children does not justify putting embryos in a freezer.

    Didn’t say it justified it. But this how capitalism works — if demand isn’t being satisfied through the current suppliers, the market will incite new suppliers to enter.

    People want children. If God doesn’t provide, and they can’t adopt the ones conceived by the fertile people who don’t want them, they’ll find new ways to get them. If we care about reducing the use of these morally questionable fertility treatments, we have to give infertile couples options beyond “get in line behind 36 other couples to shell out $15 or 20K” or “prepare to deal with the victims of the worse mankind has to offer.”

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  9. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Peter, I think your friend’s observations are along the same lines as some of C S Lewis’s thoughts, most notably in his book That Hideous Strength.

    Coincidentally, I just re-posted my earlier review of this book:

    Summer Rerun – Book Review: That Hideous Strength

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  10. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Prior to the modern age there was never an alternative to natural child production. The dynamics of competitive selection are what they are, perhaps the Brave New World will win out in the end. Consider this.

    Modern archaeology suggests that the adoption of agriculture came with reduced life expectancy (due to disease), decreased nutrition (due to a less varied diet), and increased labor. Two modes of living competed with each other nomadic hunter/gatherers and sedentary farmers. One life style clearly has in the end won out, yet its positive benefits in the initial phases were dubious. Yet, the technological and conceptual innovations that propelled us to give up hunting and gathering have led to all of modernity. Was farming any more natural to us back 10,000 years ago than this new technology is to us today?

    If we fear to have the nuclear family compete with other models do we not then imply that we lack confidence in its innate superiority? If these other family structures are to be subjected to dynamic competition, then ultimately the best structure will emerge, at least the best in the dimensions which affect selection.

    • #10
  11. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    But this how capitalism works — if demand isn’t being satisfied through the current suppliers, the market will incite new suppliers to enter.

    Hence the title of the op, “When Capitalism is Dangerous”. Although, to be fair, anything is dangerous when it is divorced from morality, including capitalism.

    Our founders told us that the system of government they devised could only succeed with people who care about morality. I think they were right. As someone who has faced infertility, I don’t really sympathize with people who want children so badly they are willing to do monstrous things to get them. If I ruled the world, they are the last people on earth I would give a child to. They are trying to fill some kind of void in their lives that no child will ever be capable of filling. It’s totally natural to want children, and totally natural to be devastated if you can’t, but this idea that everybody has the right to a child and must be able to have one by any means necessary is scary. The people who advocate that attitude are scary, and we ought to say so. I don’t care how much they want children. Stalin wanted children too; so did Joan Crawford. So what?

    • #11
  12. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Judithann Campbell (View Comment):
    They are trying to fill some kind of void in their lives that no child will ever be capable of filling.

    So if people who really want children shouldn’t have them, who should? The people who don’t want them? The people who just don’t care one way or another? I think there’s an awful lot of people who want children just to fill a hole in their lives, but because their genitals work, they aren’t assumed to be wanting children out of the selfishness you’re condemning here.

    • #12
  13. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    So if people who really want children shouldn’t have them, who should?

    I leave that issue up to God, and I say that as someone whom God decided should not have children. It isn’t fair that some people can have children and some can’t, but life isn’t fair. It isn’t fair that some people are born in war torn Africa and some of us are lucky enough to be born in America: nothing about life is fair in any way. People who do not believe in God will be driven crazy by this, and I don’t blame them.

    Father Frank Pavone, who is very pro-life, used to site studies which he said indicated that wanted children are actually more likely to be abused than unwanted children. I never looked into it-I wouldn’t know how to assess that kind of study anyway, but I find it very easy to believe. Parents who have a wanted child and who have all kinds of expectations about what that wanted child can do for them are more likely to be disappointed. Obviously, this can happen regardless of how the child is conceived. Obviously, lots of people who conceive naturally are horrible parents. I am not saying that people who put embryos in a freezer are the only people on earth who are selfish, but they are selfish, and what they are doing is wrong.

    • #13
  14. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    Children will always be prized, because unless you are in an exceedingly rare position, your children are the only people who will remember you ever existed after you’re dead.

    I really hope this isn’t true for most people; I have several childless aunts, most of them have passed on, but I love them very much, and I remember them dearly. They were and are an incredible blessing in my life-and so were many other people, so many that I can’t count them. You don’t have to be someone’s child to love them and remember them.

    • #14
  15. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Judithann Campbell (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    Children will always be prized, because unless you are in an exceedingly rare position, your children are the only people who will remember you ever existed after you’re dead.

    I really hope this isn’t true for most people; I have several childless aunts, most of them have passed on, but I love them very much, and I remember them dearly. They were and are an incredible blessing in my life-and so were many other people, so many that I can’t count them. You don’t have to be someone’s child to love them and remember them.

    The main reason I love and remember all of my aunts and uncles is because I was blessed with parents who love their siblings fiercely. My mother had a difficult relationship with one of her own sisters, and also with one of her sisters in law, but in both cases, she never involved me in that. Even when she wasn’t speaking to them, she would demand that I go and visit them and spend time with them and get to know them. I love her for that, and for so many other things. My parents ordered me to love their brothers and sisters, and made it clear that there would be hell to pay if I didn’t, and for that, they have my everlasting respect.

    I see people around today who don’t seem to care much about their brothers and sisters; they have kids, and they seem to think that now that they have kids, the other people in their lives are less important, or not important at all. I think such people are making a huge mistake, and that is the kind of thing I am talking about when I say that our society is too child centered.

    • #15
  16. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    Judithann Campbell (View Comment):
    This may sound strange coming from me, because I am very pro-life, but our society is too centered on children.

    I couldn’t agree more. And I believe the reason so many parents are overly focused on a child is mainly because they have so few children. When a couple has only one or two babies all their hopes and dreams become laser focused on that one or two future adults, what they can be, what they can accomplish, etc. It’s not bad to want the best for your kids but this can often be suffocating. Kids need to be allowed to be kids…for about 12-14 years. They should be free to roam a bit, discover things, make mistakes and mature naturally, with guidance of course. When families had 4, 5, 10, 12 babies it was common for the expectation to be that at least some of them would achieve their parents hopes to a great degree. The pressure was off, both for the parents to, “Get it right.” and for the kids to, “Be all you can be.” We are today seeing a lot of damage that I trace to this bad reaction to the decision to have few kids (I do know and fully sympathize J,C. with those who haven’t been so blessed. We were tested for infertility 45 years ago, advised that we wouldn’t conceive, adopted a baby, then had 3 more at the maternity ward, all great blessings.)

    • #16
  17. Postmodern Hoplite Coolidge
    Postmodern Hoplite
    @PostmodernHoplite

    German philosopher Martin Heidegger wrote that when a technology is used to turn humans into an economic commodity, then that technology is (or has become) unethical in and of itself.

    It seems to me that the growing field of fertility treatments has long since crossed this line. It is a field of medicine that is predicated upon making profit from the practice of manufacturing children.

    • #17
  18. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    OkieSailor (View Comment):
    When families had 4, 5, 10, 12 babies it was common for the expectation to be that at least some of them would achieve their parents hopes to a great degree.

    As one of 9 I can attest to this. You’re give instructions and guidance and expected to take a stab at life. Too many people for most parents to micro-manage. Plus the opportunity to observe action/consequence closely in siblings.

    Of course there is always room for parents to micro-manage, but it just is not the norm. Success lies in yyourself your choices, and you learn how to manage & negotiate a path.

    Plus the close family is large, with spouses, kids, in-laws. This only expands the observation tank for the progeny.

    I count my blessings we don’t have a lot of rancor and misery in our immediate family that approaches 45.

    Not to say we don’t have our share of spats and grudges, but nothing fatal.

    • #18
  19. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Amy is correct in her assessment of the difficulty of adoption. The Catholic Church no longer offers adoption services in Massachusetts due to to conditions set by the state that the Church must place children with gay couples. Placement has also become a business, an expensive business. Obviously there has to be safeguards in place for the child, but bureaucrats make the path to adoption more difficult than it should be.

    In the most extreme cases there are parents that want that perfect child, whether it is gender selection, or the potential that their child will be admitted to Harvard. Then there are the parents that can conceive that are absolute rotters.

    There are people that are willing to provide a loving home for an adopted child, and providing a loving home does not mean you have to be earning a six figure salary, and it does not mean you have to be a young urban professional.

    In the United States since Roe V Wade there have been over 55 million abortions. Some states no longer report the number of abortions that are performed due to pressure from Planned Parenthood. I believe that making adoption difficult was intended by abortion advocates. Regardless of what I believe the labels for each successive generation that followed Roe v Wade should simply be Survivors.

    The Survivors have been carefully taught that if a child has been conceived at an inconvenient time then destroying the child is a viable option, and when you desire to have a child then it is no different than the desire to purchase the latest I-Phone.

    • #19
  20. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    I believe that making adoption difficult was intended by abortion advocates.

    We shouldn’t ignore the role of the pro-life crowd either. Every unplanned pregnancy now has to be treated as a hostage situation, which has caused a dramatic reduction in the stigma against unwed motherhood. Forty percent of births — two out of every five children! — are now outside of marriage. Heck, look at the Bristol Palin incident — she was praised for not having an abortion, chastised neither for getting pregnant nor for not marrying the baby’s father nor for not putting the child up for adoption.

    • #20
  21. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    I believe that making adoption difficult was intended by abortion advocates.

    We shouldn’t ignore the role of the pro-life crowd either. Every unplanned pregnancy now has to be treated as a hostage situation, which has caused a dramatic reduction in the stigma against unwed motherhood. Forty percent of births — two out of every five children! — are now outside of marriage. Heck, look at the Bristol Palin incident — she was praised for not having an abortion, chastised neither for getting pregnant nor for not marrying the baby’s father nor for not putting the child up for adoption.

    I absolutely agree.

    • #21
  22. Chris Campion Coolidge
    Chris Campion
    @ChrisCampion

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Judithann Campbell (View Comment):
    This may sound strange coming from me, because I am very pro-life, but our society is too centered on children. The reason people are willing to go to such horrific lengths to create biological children is because they apparently believe that biological children will provide them with a happiness that so far has eluded them. The reason so many people tolerate abortion is because children are seen as having no value, if they don’t immediately provide happiness. What a horrible world for children to have to deal with.

    1. To me, this sounds like society is too focused on the gratification of the individual, not children.

    This is spot-on. Even the comments made by the founder speak to this result, not a “we’re doing it for the children” result.

    This comment from someone who was already well-off enough that she could leave the company, and start a start-up that basically sells fertility coverage as a health care option supplement to existing policies to places that are obviously enlightened enough to take advantage of it.

    Her statement reads “You don’t care about women or LGBT if you don’t have this benefit”.

    Hey, here’s another thought: If you want something, go pay for it yourself. Now that additional coverage is added to the cost of benefits to the entire pool of workers, and only .03% of them will be taking advantage of it.

    At least everyone will be able to feel good about themselves and nod approvingly when they read the benefits coverage during the annual benefits enrollment process. When healthcare becomes politics and politics becomes healthcare, we are throwing away everything about our individual choices that makes a mockery of the past 240 years.

    • #22

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