Tuesday, July 28, 2009
It has struck me as a shame that David Brooks's columns are not more often as good as yesterday's, "The Power of Posterity." Although Pope Benedict is not mentioned, the column reveals the author's (perhaps unconscious) appreciation for the fact that authentic human development and community are not easily separable from the embrace of children. (The Pope emphasized this connection in the recent encyclicals; many of those who regard encyclicals as occasions for cherry-picking snippets for use in public-policy debates missed it.) Here's a bit:
What would happen if a freak solar event sterilized the people on the half of the earth that happened to be facing the sun? . . .
Without posterity, there are no grand designs. There are no high ambitions. Politics becomes insignificant. Even words like justice lose meaning because everything gets reduced to the narrow qualities of the here and now.
If people knew that their nation, group and family were doomed to perish, they would build no lasting buildings. They would not strive to start new companies. They wouldn’t concern themselves with the preservation of the environment. They wouldn’t save or invest.
There would be a radical increase in individual autonomy. Not sacrificing for their own society’s children, people would themselves become children, basing their lives on pleasure and ease instead of meanings to be fulfilled. . . .