“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” - Often attributed to Plato but likely from Ian McLaren (pseudonym of Reverend John Watson)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"18 Kids and Counting (19 now)", "Quiverfull", seriously?

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 18 children (now 19 with their newest indefinitely in neonatal intensive care) are the central focus of the TLC reality show 18 Kids and Counting. And there's an Evangelical Christian movement called "Quiverfull" whose primary tenet is to eschew any form of birth control and "joyfully accept children as a gift of God" in accordance with God's direction to "be fruitful and multiply." And, in fact, the Duggars are conservative Baptists. That said, two things need to be made very clear before going on: the Duggars claim no association with the Quiverfull movement; and, though covert white supremacy motivations are sometimes attributed to the Quiverfull movement, it appears to be a genuine philosophy of adherence to the joyful acceptance of what members believe to be God's divine direction.

But, motivations aside, what impact do such decisions have? While it's a certainty that the human population does not now and has never grown at a well-defined exponential rate, this is quibbling. The Earth's population has, for the past 100 years or so, exhibited a doubling rate on the order of 60 years. While the actual number is by no means beyond debate, surely we can all agree that there's some maximum number beyond which the Earth's resources cannot support us in a standard of living we'd accept, whether that number is nine billion, 12 billion, or two billion.

This makes the celebration of a bodily function that any gerbil can master not merely inane but harmful. We've seen an increasing number of amoral fame seekers doing "whatever it takes" to achieve a low brow fame by getting onto reality shows (e.g., the balloon boy Heenes, Tareq and Michaele Salahi and the White House party crash, the so-called octomom) It seems clearly destructive to grant celebrity to those who engage in an obviously non-sustainable practice.

Regardless of where you may stand on anthropogenic global warming, carbon footprint is a reflection of energy and resources used and these are indubitably strictly limited, classical economics notwithstanding. And nothing a person can do contributes more to carbon footprint and hence resource utilization (that is, depletion) than having children. And having them in the United States, where we each use energy at the rate of 11 kilowatts is as destructive as it gets.

I remember when "TLC" stood for "The Learning Channel," but a look at their program guide shows that they left that concept behind years ago. I'm sure they did so because the American appetite for actual learning is minimal and more advertising dollars can be gleaned with reality television. This is sad to such as I of course, but I see no likelihood of a reversal of this trend. And I'm by no means in favor of the imposition of top down rules on content. But is it really necessary to celebrate a lifestyle that can hardly be beat for the expediting of the destruction of civilization?


Unknown said...

Huh. A blog that has nothing with which I disagree. Satan's grabbing his sweater, I'm sure.

Unknown said...

Couldn't agree more. World wide population explotion in my opinion contributes to, and is the primary cause of all world resource and climate issues.