"Not to worry," said I. "I did the math, and I would end up penniless after paying other people for the privilege of raising my three children."
"Good," said he. "You don't need a boat."
"We don't want a boat."
"Don't buy new furniture, either."
"What idiot with toddlers has new furniture?"
"Well, good, then. Glad to see that there are real parents left who know what their responsibilities are."
Now I recall this conversation in light of the book that I am currently reading, by Theodore Dalrymple. Our Culture, What's Left of It - The Mandarins and the Masses.
He relates seemingly innocuous things which add up to a disintegrating, degenerated culture - especially in England, where political correct fantasies are the rule, and the resultant chaos that is occurring without any sign of reversing.
From the Frontpage Magazine article (via Orthodoxy Today):
And so it is with bringing children into the world. Without the safety and benefits of marriage and two parents of opposite sexes. Girls decide they are miserable, and the thrill of deliberately getting knocked up while still living at home with your parents is their way of medicating themselves, and so, like moths they fly into the bug zapper of parenthood. They never calculate the costs to their families, to the children they bring in. It is always assumed...by them, of course, that Gramma and Grampa will be there to raise the tot. And, of course, Gramma and Grampa are.
Dalrymple It is clear to me that people often want incompatible things. They want danger and excitement on the one hand, and safety and security on the other, and often simultaneously. Contradictory desires mean that life can never be wholly satisfying or without frustration.
I think it was Dostoyevsky who said that, even if the government were 100 per cent benevolent and arranged everything for our own good, as judged by rational criteria, we should still want to exercise our freedom by going against its dispensations.
One reason for the epidemic of self-destructiveness that has struck British, if not the whole of Western, society, is the avoidance of boredom. For people who have no transcendent purpose to their lives and cannot invent one through contributing to a cultural tradition (for example), in other words who have no religious belief and no intellectual interests to stimulate them, self-destruction and the creation of crises in their life is one way of warding off meaninglessness. I have noticed, for example, that women who frequent bad men - that is to say men who are obviously unreliable, drunken, drug-addicted, criminal, or violent, or all of them together, have often had experience of decent men who treat them well, with respect, and so forth: they are the ones with whom their relationships lasted the shortest time, because they were bored by decency. Without religion or culture (and here I mean high, or high-ish, culture) evil is very attractive. It is not boring.
No one seems compelled to tell these selfish young people that doing this is a strain on society, on families, etc.
Not that fatherhood is in the hearts of these adolescent procreating boys, mind you. Far from it. Actually raising the brat they inevitably create never dawns on them. They still want to play.
And the girl is no better. She drops the miscreant off at her parents, who feel obliged and guilty over the child's lot in life, and they raise them without criticizing the daughter or son who put them in this predicament.
It is now beyond 21 years since I left a full-time job, in order to raise my kids at home, and I have seen the results, myself on warehoused kids, and kids raised by grandparents. It ain't a pretty sight. Worse, it seems to be the norm, rather than the exception. And no one is allowed to criticize, because that would be intolerant. And phobic of some sort.
Profoundly sad it is to see the demise of our culture, given the onslaught of more barbaric and brutal cultures, Islam, in particular.
It is mentally taxing to think about for any longish period of time, I need some solitude.
Here is a salve for the soul battered by our unlovely, wretched culture:
Es war, als hätt` der Himmel
die Erde still geküßt,
daß sie im Blütenschimmer
von ihm nun träumen müßt.
Die Luft ging durch die Felder,
die Ähren wogten sacht,
es rauschten leis die Wälder,
so sternklar war die Nacht.
Und meine Seele spannte
weit ihre Flügel aus,
flog durch die stillen Lande,
als flöge sie nach Haus.
-Joseph von Eichendorff
Translation (also by Joseph von Eichendorff)
It was as if heaven had quietly kissed the earth,
So that she dreamt of him
In the shimmer of blossoms.
The breeze blew through the fields,
the ears of grain waved gently,
the woods whispered softly,
so starry-clear was the night.
And my soul
stretched its wings out wide,
and flew over the silent countryside
as if it were flying home.
-Joseph von Eichendorff