smaller things first

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 27, 2005

Today's Chicago Trib has one of those novocaine-for-the-conscience articles on "childless by choice" couples. We begin with the personal note.

When Tina Roggenkamp and her husband, Mark, decided to keep their marriage free of children they took a lot of things into account.

They considered their desire for greater freedom, something that enabled her to get a graduate degree and start a small consulting business. There was also their enjoyment of what she called "smaller things," such as being able to sleep late when they wanted and to dine out whenever the mood struck them.

Oh wait. Need to add some noble-sounding motive.

There were larger issues too, such as environmental concerns and worries about an overcrowded planet.


Think about it for a second. Is it possible, psychologically, that a married person who put these solipsistic "smaller things" ahead of parenthood could sincerely commit to any larger principles of idealism, misguided or otherwise?

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 17 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Nov. 29, 2005 7:38 PM ET USA

    Funny how those in favor of "Voluntary Human Extinction" don't seem to think it a good idea to extinguish themselves.

  • Posted by: Sir William - Nov. 29, 2005 5:50 PM ET USA

    "what the world would be like if everyone shared their view "environmental concerns"" Likely, they would belong to the 'Voluntary Human Extinction' movement. Yes, it actually exists. There are actually people who think they need to 'save the earth' by causing humans to voluntarily sterilize themselves & go extinct. This is where it goes, when such Godless thinking continues on its logical course.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 29, 2005 12:50 PM ET USA

    So often, we miss the point about children. "What do I want" is utterly secondary to "What does God want". The world asks the first; Catholics should ask and do the second. How many children would God want or like me to have? How do I dispose my life to achieve what He wants? How should or can I prepare myself for such a marriage? What should my response be to a generous life-giving God if I am made in his image? God knows how to plan far better than we. God loves children and generosity.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 29, 2005 2:02 AM ET USA

    Perhaps the world's population is too large for everyone to enjoy an upper-middle class Western lifestyle, to which all people conceived should be entitled. The Church — and the world — *must* encourage more people who are not interested in having children to embrace the vocation to a celibate and chaste life in the world. If all the people who are in childless-by-choice marriages were celibate-and-chaste for life instead, the world might be a much better place. (BTW, I'm single & chaste.)

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Nov. 28, 2005 11:53 PM ET USA

    I wonder if they reflect what the world would be like if everyone shared their view of "environmental concerns" and or if, at the very least, their own parents were childless by choice. They are just getting a headstart on becoming the "greedy geezers" who will expect other people's children to fund their social security and medicare in 40 years. On the positive side, think of it as culling the selfish and self-centered from the herd.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2005 10:44 PM ET USA

    "However, childlessness in the past was more closely connected with non-marriage than now. Bingo. That is what the contraceptive mentality does; it robs men and women of the possibility of practicing self denial and Christian self mastery in the single state by giving them the worst of both worlds in a deliberately childless by choice marriage.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2005 9:32 PM ET USA

    Years ago, P. J. O'Rourke pointed out that the number of people per square acre (or was it mile?) in Etheiopia is the same as Freemenot, California. And in NY city it's WAY higher. But we do not have goats overgrazing Central Park....

  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2005 5:23 PM ET USA

    This is the sickness of socialism---convince the young that offspring are burdensome by legitimizing abortion, contraception and feminism. Use the education and entertainment systems as vehicles. Criminalize religion because it's contrary. When these morons get to an age beyond the ability to do anything about changing their situation, who do you think they'll depend upon---that's right---the government! And then, when they become burdensome to the government, the poor fools can be euthanized.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2005 2:41 PM ET USA

    Part of me is glad they are not having children. Maybe they have the right kind of thinking. If they did have children, they would make the world a worse place. God: Novus, be charitable! Novus Est: Yes, Lord. On the other hand, maybe having children would help fix their warped minds.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2005 10:55 AM ET USA

    Hannah: That's just it. They *will* expect you to look after them. They will pick the pockets of the fecund one way or another.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2005 10:15 AM ET USA

    What an example! In fact, lack of openness to children is a dealbreaker for me in dating. If I am out with a woman and I ask her if she desires 1. marriage and 2. children someday and she answers negatively, the next two words out of my mouth are, "Check please!"

  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2005 9:58 AM ET USA

    Without children there is no future. Not a hard concept. Of course, it might be too hard for the academies to have a good understanding of the big picture. As time goes on, are the schools going to have one student or raise the student population to the age of 80? As for the world being over-populated, I can assure you, that God has a plan. Fear not, there will always be plenty of space on our planet to welcome all the little ones. A couple that can have babies, but prevents them, are empty.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 27, 2005 10:14 PM ET USA

    A great quote: The Iron Law of Population -"Any country in which the mass of population practice effective contraception and abortion will die", as formulated by Andrew Pollard. This "Law" is from an article on "The Contracepted Society" appearing in the Population Research Inst. Review. It is the kind of summary statement that gets to the heart of things, and avoids all the double talk. We need to learn it by heart and spread it when ever and where ever we can.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 27, 2005 2:20 PM ET USA


  • Posted by: - Nov. 27, 2005 2:08 PM ET USA

    Yes, and unregulated personal consumption, declining moral values, world hunger to ponder over tofu medallions, and the like. The selfishness and frivolity of the modern age.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 27, 2005 1:40 PM ET USA

    "Babies have just never interested me," she said. "My husband and I didn't get married to have children. We got married for us." MEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEME! I sure hope these dopes don't expect my children to look after them in their old age.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 27, 2005 1:37 PM ET USA

    Remember that logically if you give me my assumptions. I control what you believe and to a large extent how you act. Every school in America (especially the church ones) teaches the world over population myth. Once you beleive that baloney, charity requires you do your part and not contribute to overpopulation. Please read J Kaun's book: War Against Population available at Ignatius Press