Friday, March 11, 2016

The Children of Men

The Bear realizes this looks long. He believes it to be entertaining (of course), and thinks it will articulate what many feel about Pope Francis, in the context of a single issue. It is very Bearish, so the delicate are forewarned.

It's Just Math

It it fatalistic beyond even care. It's like the planet "Melancholia," from the Lars von Trier 2011 movie of the same name. A giant planet whose orbit takes it inexorably to Earth, which it will slurp up without so much as a pause. It's just math: orbits and mass.

It's the same with families. Chesterton was only making an example, but the Bear cannot help but think of this from Orthodoxy: "[O]ne generation could prevent the very existence of the next generation, by all entering a monastery or jumping into the sea..." Or, more realistically, simply avoiding the conception of children. Demographics are just numbers. If the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in an industrialized country falls below 2.1 children per woman, then that country is at risk of dying. No country has been known to come back from a TFR of 1.80. Europe is dying. The math is as unforgiving as the approach of Melancholia.

According to the CDC, American women will give birth to an average of 1.88 children in their lifetimes. Remember, it takes 2.1 births per woman to survive, and 1.80 is the point of no return. America, along with every other Western nation, most of whom are in even worse shape, is dying. It's the biggest untold story in history.

  • Poland - 1.33
  • Japan - 1.4
  • Greece - 1.42
  • Italy - 1.43
  • Germany - 1.44

Industrialized countries are not even close to a TFR of 2.1. They're dying, due to putting off motherhood,  divorce, abortion and contraception. It's just math. Look at Catholic Poland, who gave us Pope St. John Paul II. How can this be? It has one of the lowest TFRs in the world. Economic factors are blamed, and paid parental leave programs such as Sweden is using to increase its TFR are being implemented. But even Sweden only has a TFR of 1.88 -- the same miserable performance as the U.S. and far below the necessary 2.1.

On the other hand, look at the counties with the highest TFRs.

  • Niger - 6.76
  • Burundi - 6.09
  • Mali - 6.06
  • Uganda - 5.89
  • Afghanistan - 5.33

Although their replacement rates are somewhat higher (higher infant mortality) these countries (and many similar) are all growing. No wonder the U.N. is so desperate to get contraceptives distributed in Africa.

In 1960, in the U.S., there were 116 births per thousand women. In 2012, it was 63 births per thousand women. Do you see why, despite all the frustration and problems easy immigration causes, it is appealing to our leaders? Since we are not producing enough children, the logical, but unspoken, solution is to literally give countries away to foreigners in return for keeping the lights on. And when the childless woman is in the nursing home, it will be an immigrant who is there to take care of her. 

Note: who happens to be in favor of immigration without limits? In the birth vs. immigration debate, Pope Francis is firmly on the immigration side.

The Pope and His Most Incredibly Screwed-Up Country

"Have another Milk Bone, Pope."
Don't worry, Pope Francis. Rabbits are on the endangered species list. So are brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles. While you waste the magnificent office that has, God knows how, been bestowed upon your Argie self, whining about global warming so you get a pat on the head and a Milk Bone from Ban Ki-Moon, you don't have a freaking clue what really threatens families. But why would you? 

You are, for all intents and purposes, both anti-supernatural and wrong-headed about the way the world works. You are a dabbler. The Bear's Yorkie Buster would be a better pope. Yes, he would bark at everyone during audiences, but he wouldn't screw around with the faith. And he would bite Ban Ki-Moon on the ass, grab the Milk Bone and run away laughing maniacally. 

Now the Bear doesn't know about you, but that's Bear's kind of pope. Take a hike, godless, one-world, anti-people U.N.

Eva Peron -- post-mortem adventuress.
We get that Argentina is the weirdest country in the world. And the Bear is sure you ministered to overcrowded barrios and saw the corruption that Peronism is based on, although you probably thought it was a good idea at the time. 

Did you know you are only the second-most-famous Argentinian to, er, spend time in Italy? For awhile, the incessantly traveling embalmed corpse of Eva Peron was buried in Milan under an assumed name. When Juan Peron, who was in exile in Spain, got her body back, he did what any normal former head of state would do and kept her on his dining room table, where his third wife, Isabel, would brush and arrange her hair everyday. And that just touches the surface of 20 years of curious deaths and unmentionable weirdness that accompanied Evita's famous traveling corpse.

(Evita worshiped, or pretended to worship, the descamisados, the poor. Sound familiar?)

You see, this kind of weirdness could only happen in Argentina. But the point our provincial pope misses is that the rest of the world isn't Argentina. He's trying to play a Western tune, but it always ends up sounding like a tango.

Pope with sign calling for negotiations for transfer of the
Malvinas (Falklands). Vatican said Francis did not know
what he had been handed. (Like the fracking shirt.)
Argentina was traumatized in 1982 when General Galtieri audaciously took a navy of mostly bargain-basement U.S. WWII-era ships, and a mixed bag of old aircraft, and challenged Maggie Thatcher over the "Malvinas," or Falkland Islands. Admittedly, you did okay for awhile, since the British had a nearly impossible task and aluminum ships that burned like tinder. Your pilots were brave and skillful in their American, British, French and Israeli aircraft, often flying below radar, just above the wave tops, to deliver French-made Excocet missiles against British ships. 

Indeed, Britain lost two destroyers and two frigates, while Argentina lost a sub and a cruiser.

But Pink Floyd's "Get Your Filthy Hands of My Desert" from The Final Cut sums it up:

Brezhnev took Afghanistan,
Begin took Beirut,
Galtieri took the Union Jack.
And Maggie, over lunch one day,
Took a cruiser with all hands,
Apparently, to make him give it back.

Ouch. Nuclear submarine. How could you not see that coming? Literally, a lack of effective anti-submarine warfare assets is the answer, but the larger point is Argentina knew with mathematical certainty that a First World weapon would eventually show up against which the pride of its fleet, the ARA General Belgrano -- former U.S.S. Phoenix, which saw action in WWII -- would be completely helpless. 

Indeed, the old girl survived the Japanese in the Pacific only to be sunk by a British nuclear sub nearly forty years later in the Atlantic. Sadly, 323 souls were lost. And that's the Falklands War in a nutshell. And Argentina, too: melancholy, sentimental, with no clue of how to make anything work.

Brazil's Export

Brazil designed and manufactures wonderful airliners, the Embraer E-Jets, affectionately called "Jungle Jets." They make up a large part of the U.S. carrier Jet Blue's fleet, and are used  by American and other airlines.

Argentina's Export

Argentina exports bamboo.

The Bear thinks Catholics know this by now, though. Argentina "ain't right," as some of the Bear's neighbors would say. It's the guy on the world's corner dressed in a tattered Abraham Lincoln outfit with medals pinned to the breast of his frock coat, passing out crackpot political fliers in return for donations.

Why Pope Francis Hates Babies

Here's the problem, plain and simple.

In the West, we love things more than children. 

The Bear will say it again. In the West, we love things more than children.

We should be corrected in this attitude. The Bear does not intend to insult anyone. Each couple must make its own decisions. But the Bear is talking the big picture here.

If it's a demographic contest, Muslims win. Globally, Muslims have the highest TFR in the world at 3.1, well above replacement rate. Strangely, once they get to the U.S. the Children of Men (2006 film where all women mysteriously become infertile) curse brings them down to 2.0. Does that suggest something fundamentally wrong with American culture?

Muslims deserve to win. They have an instinct to preserve and advance what they value. They don't say, "Oh, we don't have enough money for a large family!" Nope. Outside the U.S. they have enough kids to spare a couple for suicide bombers, while one becomes a medical doctor in America. How many Catholics can spare even one boy for a priest? The Bear's parish in its entire history has never produced a single priest. What's the matter sunshine, you haven't made the connection between teensy Catholic families and the vocations crisis?

The Pope constantly talks about every subject imaginable, so long as it has nothing to do with sound Catholic faith, or expresses a sensible idea. The last three books Jorge Bergoglio read were 1968's Population Bomb by Paul Erlich, and 1962's Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, and, of course, Das Kapital.

Well, there's also The Big Coffee Table Picture Book of Eva Peron, 1952-1976, but it's just pictures.

Papal Leporaphobia
He could use his bully pulpit to talk about the importance of families. Of children. He won't however, because Ban Ki-Moon tells him overpopulation is almost as big a problem as global warming. (Ironically, that is a true statement.)

Pope Francis likes one baby for a cute photo-op, but the thought of hundreds of millions of them spewing forth from the fertile loins of rabbiting Catholic couples gives him nightmares.

All eco-leftists -- and Pope Francis is an eco-leftist -- hate babies. They hate people. People are the problem, with their carbon footprints and pollution. Jesus valued people. He said: "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2 RSV).

All eco-leftists dream of a pristine world without a single human being. They believe that in their infernal father's house are many rooms, and all of them are empty. If that is not practical Satanism, the Bear does not know what is.

Even the Bear would miss people.


  1. An elderly neighbor of mine, who is planning to move to an assisted living facility soon, says "I spend a lot of time alone by choice -- but I like to know there are people around." That's the way I am, too.

    My extended family has been steadily shrinking (even though they aren't Catholic! ha ha...) My paternal grandparents had three children: my dad and his sisters. Dad had two children (he wanted more, but Mom did not); one of his sisters had no children, the other had two. Of Aunt Marian's two -- my only cousins -- one has no children, the other has two (twins -- and without IVF! It's a miracle!!). My sister has none; I have two. On my mother's side, Mom had but one sibling, who had no children.

    My sons are both married, and I have son and his wife have an almost two-year-old, and another child on the way...and that daughter-in-law says she wants more after this one :-) :-)

    Gosh, I almost feel as though I've gone to Confession. Anyway, I remember the long-ago festive family Thanksgivings and Christmases at my grandparents' house, three generations around the groaning table, the whole Norman Rockwell deal. Except, we were on the road to near-extinction.

    1. Same story here. My grandmother had two children, one of which was my mom. Her son never had any children, and my mom had one, and adopted two, one of whom was a Bear. The son she had had two, one by two different women (which still = a TFR of 1.0). One of his daughters had two boys.

      On my paternal side, before my grandmother died in childbirth long before I was able to meet her, they had four. My mom's effective TFR was 1.0 (with the two aforementioned adoptions.)

      Aunt Margie and Uncle Dub were certified Catholic Rabbits who managed an impressive five (yay! an African TFR!) But those kids dropped down to one or two each.

      We seem to be our generation's anomaly with four, albeit with a set of twins. If we were a country, we'd be Rwanda with a TFR of 4.0. But despite the Bear's frequent, and no doubt embarrassing, dynastic rants, and their mother pointing out the most philoprogenitive-looking girls at mass, my hopes are waning.

    2. Here's Frank's new prayer intention video which features a 2 child family. Amazingly no same sex parent families included. Such orthodoxy!!

      Seattle Kim

    3. I'm sure I'll find something to carp about in it. I saw it. You're stealing my thunder!

    4. P.S. you seriously linked to popefrancisthedestroyer? LOL...grr. Although the Bear may be estopped from complaining after this article. Even so, that drives property values down ;-)

    5. My take away from the vid---the gubmint must support families so they don't have any economic hard times stressing them out. Also be sure to have no more than 2 kids. Finally I thought the re-titling "Beer Me B----" was pretty funny!

    6. Please refrain from posting as unknown. Identify yourself in some way.

    7. 'Twas I Seattle Kim. My bad--forgot to id meself.

  2. I will say that culture is extremely powerful in the West, as such people will do what is the norm in our society, which is one or two children.
    I personally would like to have 4 kids, 3 at least, but I am a brand new about to be convert to the Church, single and far from being able to support a family, though it is a delightful dream, it probably will not come true for me.

    As it goes for the West, but with Canada gearing up to get their medically induced killing of the undesirables (mentally ill, old, dying) started and the UK gearing up to genetic engineer some 'leftover' IVF babies, we should have utopia just before we collectively recognize that there are no humans left to bestow on that genetically perfect, ageless, eternally young, sterile, human existence.

    "Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?”"

    1. The Bear will just observe he cannot remember the last family who starved to death in the last 50 years in the industrialized west.

    2. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find people on the earth?

    3. Another thing. When the Bear goes to Traddie parishes (and he means that affectionately) he notices babies everywhere. Moms and dads holding babies. Babies with babies. Obviously, these Catholics have somehow broken the code on how to survive economically with large families. I would like someone to chime in on that.

      When the Bear's mate got pregnant with our first, he was a college student, and his mate worked at a Senior Citizen Center doing health screenings. We also took care of Bear's mate's grandmother. We were fortunate in a nice, but not extremely large inheritance, and were able to buy a house in the country -- the beginnings of Zoar.

      A crucial decision was for me to join a profession where I had a decent earning potential: I went to law school, using GI benefits from my much earlier stint in the Army. I decided to join the Navy JAG Corps, and learned my wife was expecting twins while I was at Officer Indoctrination School in Newport, between my second and third years of law school. So then we were 3. The twins were preemies, and we benefitted from a financial help program for such situations.

      After law school, we went off to Newport again, for Naval Justice School. Where our daughter was conceived. She was born while I was at my first duty assignment, Great Lakes Naval Training Center.

      The Navy was a good place for our family. The money wasn't bad as an O-3 (full lieutenant), and we had allowances for housing, full medical care, school, etc. Between the Army, when we were first married, and the Navy, who moved us to Sicily, we got a lot of traveling out of our systems. We never got many vacations, so that was good -- just one of those things you decide to do without when you have kids.

      I didn't make a whole lot as a lawyer doing criminal law, but it was enough. My wife worked for me, and we turned extra office space into a home school. We would take turns teaching different subjects during the work day.

      We raised four wonderful kids. They're college portfolios got massacred, but homeschooling puts them head and shoulders above their peers. The twins both served in the Army, earning the benefits they will be using for college. They did as much as they could in an excellent Junior College.

      So, we got lucky with an inheritance, but that was not decisive. We planned ahead for a sufficient income, and benefited from both Army and Navy service. My wife worked when she could, and not when she couldn't. We were willing to make good decisions, give up a lot, have an adventure with 4 young kids in the Navy. I see friends going to the Caribbean every year. We had maybe three vacations of the road trip variety to exotic locales such as Rock City and Disneyland.

      I think it can be done, but you've got to plan and be willing to make sacrifices. It may not look like the American Dream. Some parts of the plan may now work out -- like our college funding. But now I see one of my sons with military benefits, ready to perhaps go into the law, where he will make enough to have as many kids as he wants. Our daughter married into money :-) As a father, I am learning that 20-somethings are starting to live their own lives. My oldest won't get married or have kids. He's happy to co-habitate. Genetic and dynastic dead-end, but I love him for what he is. But we did our best, and the opportunities are there if they want to continue the tradition of having what is considered a lot of kids nowadays.

      I tell my kids that we had four kids, so we're owed 16 grandchildren. Seriously, that's the way I feel it should work, but it won't. All we can do is provide the example and opportunities. I may not end up with any grandchildren, my wife and I a genetic dead end. While I think that would be incredibly sad, there's not much I can do about it.

  3. Great column Bear. Right on. With Catholics, I suppose, Vatican II and the "pill" contributed significantly to the problem. Vatican II by putting Man before God resulted in a catastrophic loss of faith and fear of God. Sin disappeared. Social Justice became the in thing. Social Justice(saving the world) thinking meant having lots of kids became equated with selfishness. And the "pill" came along just in time to make it possible that Social Justice Catholics could few kids and become the ideal. Just like their Protestant friends. In other words, not only faith in God was lost but vice was turned into virtue. How proud the devil must be of his work! And now. And now we are on the road to turning the country over to folks who don't think having lots of kids is selfish. I say more power to them and God help us all especially our dear Pope.

    1. I won't embarrass you by awarding you the St. Corbinian's Cross for you heroism in this area.

    2. How did Vatican 11 put man before God?

    3. And, may I point out, if Vat 2 did so, then the Church's claim to indefectibility is untrue as the Church has taught error for the last 50 years.

      Seattle km

    4. I don't want to speak for Michael, but "Vatican II" is often used as shorthand for an unfamiliar spirit that swept through the Church, even as it did on the secular side during the sane period. Vatican II's individual documents are debatable on a number of grounds. One way or another, every Catholic needs to make his or her peace with Vatican II and move on. There is nothing in "Vatican II" that prevents a restoration of the Church from its current, crippled and disfigured state. Indefectibility is bent, but not broken.

    5. "Sane" -- NO! That should be "same." Anything but sane.

    6. Or the other view that many trads take, Vat 2 was merely a pastoral document and therefore be blissfully ignored. I think that's poppycock but a lot of FSSP-ers and SSPX-era believe that.

    7. "Vatican II's individual documents are debatable on a number of grounds. "

      Best to trust Peter and the council on that lest we go into error, he/they together speaks the Church's mind so as not to be deceive that is why its such a serious thing to oppose this council and blame apostasy and dissention on it when it in fact was given with heavens permission who has not change her mind through Peter, no oops here, no matter how many want to lay blame on it for all things wrong in the Church

    8. Darn forgot to id meself again--Seattle Kim.

    9. to "Unknown" ... "or the other view that many trads take,"

      Please do not post anonymously. You need to identify yourself. The status of the documents is not the issue. The issue is what positive teachings they succinctly lay out, if any, since they did not choose to use anathemas ("too negative"). They are lengthy and gaseous love letters to the world written by hippies. The Bear gladly submits his intellect to whatever he is require to accept, if there is anything in that category. Vatican II documents are more pages than all councils in Church history. They are compromise documents that are often impenetrable and confusing. They are what they are. The Bear simply does not feel obligated to get a theology degree and wade through them.

  4. My mother is one of eight. My father is one of six. I am the eldest of eight. My parents have forty-three grandchildren and I've lost count of the number of great grandchildren.

    There are nieces and nephews and cousins galore in the family and all close, both as a family and (for the most part) geographically. Moreover, many can still reckon the names of a fair few of their second and third cousins.

    When I was a teenager I felt suffocated by my family. Five decades later, I wouldn't trade their guidance, support and camaraderie for all the world.

    My father, a WWII Navy vet, recently turned ninety. Until very recently he sang Sunday Mass at his EF parish. He walks two miles a day every day rain or shine or snow.

    My mother recently turned 89. She attends the EF Mass every Sunday with my father and cooks non-stop for her children, grandchildren, etc, who, variously and almost always unannounced, 'happen to drop-by at lunch or supper time.

    Due to their advanced age, my parents attend a local NO Mass every day of the week but Sunday.

    I count my blessings and thank God for them.

    1. Wow, that's impressive. Ireland's TFR is at a fairly respectable 2.0 still. That's probably one of the higher ones in northern Europe.

  5. My mother who converted to Catholicism was from a family of 2. My uncle had 3 children and there are 5 of the next generation. One family became Catholic and had 3. Now for the Catholic side! Our family came over in the 1600s from England to Maryland so as to live their Catholic faith. My grandfather wrote 2 large volumes of the descendants from those pioneers. I have 31 cousins. But from my father's family of 7, one never had children and the youngest who came of age in the 60s only had two. I love my 5 siblings to pieces! And all my cousins, aunts and uncles too. Grandma and Grandpa lived to ripe old ages (95, 101) and where the hub of the family circle. Going to their old 1869 built home with the cousins was a blast! Holiday meals? Oh yeah.

    But I was stupid. Came of age in the 70s and waited to have children and only had 2 sons. Thought at the time it was irresponsible to have more than 2. I bought the lie and was sterilized. Stupid! The Church was essentially silent about contraception and mostly still is although in my present good parish, young families with 4, 5, 6 children are now present again even though it has been 3 years since the pastor spoke about contraception. We HAVE to hear the truth!

    And I have my first grandchild who is 4 months old. Yay! I hope my sons have big families.

    1. A very impressive history, and congratulations on your grandchild! Would that I would live to see one of my own.

      You are right. The Church is shamefully silent, from the confessional to the pulpit to the Pope of Rome. His latest video not-so-subtly promotes the ideal 2-child family and winks at contraception.

      There's something about the west. Muslims have a global 3.1 TFR. But when they come to America, it drops to 2.0! It's the culture of selfishness. My pleasure, my time, my choice. (See "Your Holiness, Your Movie Sucks" for quote and more.)


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