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Monday, 26 November 2007

The new manichaeism

This from the Daily Mail: Meet the women who won't have babies - because they're not eco friendly
Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy.

But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.
The philosophy is made clear in Toni's words:
Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population.
Her doctor would not allow her to be sterilised (more than one of these strangely counter-cultural doctors appear in the story) so her husband had a vasectomy. Then, when she was 23 they divorced.

At the age of 25, she fell pregnant ("disaster struck"). Toni continues the story:
I didn't like having a termination, but it would have been immoral to give birth to a child that I felt strongly would only be a burden to the world.
Finally, she was sterlisised and her future husband sent her a congratulations note.

Perhaps the saddest quote of all is:
She excelled at her Roman Catholic school
There is a further story of Sarah and Mark who says:
"Sarah and I live as green a life a possible. We don't have a car, cycle everywhere instead, and we never fly.

"We recycle, use low-energy light bulbs and eat only organic, locally produced food.

"In short, we do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint. But all this would be undone if we had a child.

"That's why I had a vasectomy. It would be morally wrong for me to add to climate change and the destruction of Earth.

"Sarah and I don't need children to feel complete. What makes us happy is knowing that we are doing our bit to save our precious planet."
This is indeed a new form of Manichaeism: humans in the flesh are evil and some higher good is to be preferred. In this case it is the "precious" planet and the ecosphere that takes pride of place - a sad step down from the early gnostics who at least aspired to some sort of higher spiritual state. We must pray that those who hold to this philosophy do not take the logical route followed by their forbears, the Cathars, and commit ritual suicide.
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