Reno one-ups Sarah Palin as a negative role model for the young (see Thank you for nothing, Ms. Palin), as he praises these confused and wayward youngsters for recognizing the satisfaction of experiencing, through childbirth, a "primordial blessing."
Skipping over the Bible's injunctions on fornication as such, and re-tooling Christian doctrine to suit his own proclivities, Reno informs us of the biblical claim that the "single greatest disaster" for any woman is barrenness. "Be fruitful and multiply," he further proclaims. Hence, these Gloucester girls are to be commended for not being "captive" to their own "selfishness," in contrast to today's typical woman who is overly involved in taking control of her future.
He derides what he calls a "Miss Prudence" class for these girls, where they might be informed of the consequences of their actions and the challenges they will face as mothers on their own. Candidly informing them of future difficulties is just so much dramatizing, according to Reno.
He says he finds "something reassuring" about the idea of a band of teenagers making a "pregnancy pact," to produce children on their own. It's "so much brighter, so much more hopeful, than the alternative, which is the 'sterility pact' of those so committed to controlling their futures."
Wouldn't you like to have this guy as speaker at the next assembly meeting of your high school's 15-year-olds?
Reno is contemptuous of those "upper middle class parents," whom he disdains for their "upper middle class attitudes," and who he says "live in fear that their daughters will find themselves pregnant at age sixteen and 'throw their lives away.'" It's not just the upper middle class, Mr. Reno, but responsible parents lower down the economic ladder, as well, would like to see a better future than early motherhood for their 16-year-olds. Especially since they know better than anyone the mentality of their 16-year-olds.
On conservative, pro-lifer Lawrence Auster's site, Carol Iannone responds to Reno's reckless discourse by reminding us that "trying to exert some control over the future by finishing school and getting a job and establishing a home and getting married before having babies is exactly what society has been rightly exhorting teenagers to do." Up to now, the Church also taught that this was the better path to take.
In the world of the deranged pro-lifer, one must never bring up either the social costs to the young person herself or the long-term impact on society of widespread single motherhood. Such concerns are cavalierly waved away by Reno, who calls this kind of thinking just so much "blah, blah, blah."
Lawrence Auster observes:
R.R. Reno's article expresses in pure form the mentality that led "Christian conservatives" to gush over Bristol Palin's out of wedlock pregnancy. If there is to be a movement worthy of the name conservatism, it will have to be created or recreated, because the conservative movement is dead. The so-called conservative movement should change its name to the anti-abortion movement, or "the cult of natalism for the sake of natalism," or "Christians for illegitimacy."
In Does pro-life now mean pro-libertinism?, Selwin Duke tracks how government inevitably steps into the breach when there are large numbers of dependent women and children. The average pregnant single mother, writes Duke, is likely to be left alone. "Individually, this is often tragic, but collectively, when the number of single mothers becomes great enough, it is always so – for a civilization."
Duke maintains, "The less the individuals fulfill their roles – in other words, the greater the number of single mothers laboring singly – the greater the government's role will become." And, "When there is a large population of dysfunctional youths in society, there will be impetus for a trove of other programs as well. You can start with pre-kindergarten, after-school, nutritional, youth-intervention, drug and anti-violence programs, but the sky is the limit. Virtually anything a good family would do, Hillary's village will do."
No writer has done a better job of dissecting exactly the phenomenon described by Duke than George Gilder. In his book, Visible Man, through the lives of roaming underclass black men, Gilder showed how the welfare state made it possible for unwed mothers to support themselves and thereby substitute government for the fathers of their children. [See The Civilizing Power of Marriage and Family]
It is due to the more than benign treatment extended by government, granting additional monetary stipends with each additional illegitimate baby, that we now have what was an underclass problem moved into mainstream society. There is a line, even if indirect and crooked, from the open-ended, free-for-all welfare policies begun in the 1960s, to those Gloucester high school girls.
Recently, a woman called Laura Schlessinger's radio show, and told of a relative who had already given birth to two illegitimate children, both of whom were being taken care of by a reluctant grandmother, and there was one more on the way. Dr. Laura asked when in the world would someone tell this woman to get her tubes tied. (Even though a pro-lifer, Schlessinger tends to be a sensible one.) The response was something like, "But she's only 24 years old."
Schlessinger almost had a fit. Three children down, and the concern is that, if her tubes are tied, this irresponsible wench, who is not even mothering her offspring, might not be able to have more in the future! That is, children to turn over to someone else's care, and, perhaps, ultimately dumped in the state's foster care system. This woman's story would surely warm the heart of a pro-life zealot like R.R. Reno. There obviously is no "sterility pact" involved here, nor a woman overly caught up in taking control of her future.
Since so many pro-lifers condone promiscuity among the young, I wonder why they pretend to be fans of abstinence. Surely, practicing abstinence, which in this case means not engaging in pre-marital sex, would mess up the game plan of unlimited baby-making, wouldn't it? Or, perhaps, these cynical creatures are counting on the game plan to be fulfilled by their very call for abstinence.
We didn't know this?
Thank you for nothing, Ms. Palin