Opinion: Guided – or misguided — by fear?


Birth rates among the young, First World and educated have never been lower. It seems that our modern age has determined that the greater privilege is to avoid procreation. Absolutely, babies are not requisite, and a full life is readily available without them. But some would imagine selfish millennials, Gen Zs, or whatever group one might wish to disparage refusing to share their avocado toast with the hungry, chirping mouths of their fledgling offspring.

Still, isn’t it all too convenient to accuse and malign those generations that follow our own as idle, selfish and rudderless? It has been the sport of the old and aging for centuries. But just as much as those might like it to be true, the evidence pushes to the contrary. The young will come, as they always have, to pick up the yoke of advancing civilization – well, when the elders are willing to get out of the way. In the passing years, experience, maturity and grit inevitably are gained. It is a good system and has served humanity well.

Recently, a 30-something and highly successful professional proclaimed his intention to soon marry. Wedding arrangements were being made and life decisions were firming. “No kids,” he proclaimed, continuing, “We cannot, in good faith, bring a child into this terrible world.” The jarring turn from flowing optimism to intense cynicism is increasingly common with the demographic. Climate, war, pandemic, bad political leadership, the loss of Tom Brady, and the inescapable looming zombie apocalypse have led many to the brink. Kidding aside, there are legitimate and concerning matters. Besides, who cares how others choose to live. And what defines a good life, anyway? Yet, why are so many opting out so soon? If fear dominates our decisions, are we selling ourselves short? Are we dying before we’re dead?