This year, as the birth-control pill turns 50, America is discovering a lethal side effect. It’s called moral stupefaction. The pill has made an entire generation of adult Americans progressively more stupidly infantile. One half-century of a fatal, anti-baby culture is killing us. There is a culture-wide inability to think intelligently about what we have done to ourselves.
When the saga of oral contraception began in 1960, my surviving peers and I were in kindergarten. I say “surviving” because the pill emerged the year my classmates were conceived. This was the year some of my other peers were not conceived. The fanatical eugenics crusader Margaret Sanger had been demanding a “miracle pill” since 1923. In 1953 she persuaded a rich, frustrated, anti-child feminist to bankroll hormone experiments on women. Eight-hundred ninety-seven test subjects, who did not want to have babies, simply popped the new experimental drug. Eureka. No babies.
My surviving peers grew up being taught this was success in the name of science, in the name of the future and in the name of the state. The FDA approved commercial sales in 1960, and the Sanger generation, seated in the kindergartens of a government school system, would now give life to a culture of death.
I have since wondered which of my potential classmates missed their birth days. And I wonder how many of my kindergarten friends lost little brothers and sisters when the pill went on the market that first year of school – the year my school chums were celebrating each others’ 6th birthdays. We were the culminating fruit of the eugenics movement. We were at ground zero of the final chapter in the eugenics experiment. We were told the new culture was a culture of freedom, self-fulfillment, fun and life. The Sanger generation was lied to.
Soon my hot-blooded classmates were matriculated into junior high. This was another historic year for the Sanger generation. They came of age in a promiscuous culture they were taught to own, celebrate and perpetuate. This new culture embraced them when they were infants and succeeded in making them more infantile with each passing year. Puberty only accelerated this process. They were now old enough to taste social freedom themselves, and they all knew exactly what this culture of freedom was. It was an endorsement by science and government to be immature and irresponsible. They knew exactly where babies came from. And they knew this drugs-and-personal-self-indulgence culture was anti-baby. Eureka. Perpetual fun, no consequences, and no babies.
For the Sanger generation, mature family life with children was no longer a part of growing up. Approved drugs could be obtained – free – by the healthy adolescent for a new cultural purpose: to bypass the responsibilities of family. These drugs cured no medical ailment, but promoted a long-term social purpose endorsed by the government. The FDA, the Post Office, the courts and the school curriculum all approved of the new “pill” culture. Take a pill and engineer the population of an entire nation. Take a pill and be yourself. Take a pill and gratify your desires immediately. Take a pill and protect yourself from the consequences of infantile stupidity.
Now, sex and recreation were co-joined with the concept of permanent adolescence. An entire generation was listening to Mick Jagger croon, “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” and Jim Morrison scream, “Light My Fire!” That year Hugh Hefner’s theology was a big part of this new culture. It circulated wildly in the locker room, teaching my peers the joys of predatory, zero-consequence freedom. The pill, after all, had rescued the fortunes of Playboy magazine, which in turn created a bigger market for the pill, along with massive magazine revenues Hefner spent on court cases making birth control legal in all 50 states. Federal bureaucrats were doing their part in the revolution, not just giving pills to poor minorities (per Lyndon Johnson), but to school girls (per Margaret Sanger). Margaret Sanger died that year, 1966, in the knowledge that 12 million women were ingesting and making the most of her “magic pill.” Her eulogizers remembered these famous phrases:
[Our objective is] unlimited sexual gratification without the burden of unwanted children.
[Women must have the right] to live … to love … to be lazy … to be an unmarried mother … to create … to destroy.
The marriage bed is the most degenerative influence in the social order.
The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.
[“The Woman Rebel,” Volume I, Number 1. Reprinted in Woman and the New Race. New York: Brentanos Publishers, 1922]
The next year, pill revenue exploded to $150 million. Hollywood’s “Prudence and the Pill” made artificial birth control a point of comedy, a cool icon of pop culture. No one was ashamed of Margaret Sanger any more. And no one saw what was coming.
My headstrong peers graduated to yet greater social freedoms, with fewer and fewer responsibilities. The first year of dorm life in college was an opportunity for unlimited indulgence and uninhibited childishness. When the pill didn’t work, my peers threw tantrums to demand a backup, another “fix” for the wages of indulgence. It came that year, right on time, with Roe v. Wade. I remember campus discussions about legalized abortion.
“It’s murder, isn’t it?”
“Of course it’s murder. Everybody knows it’s murder. But it’s legal. And it’s just a baby. The Supreme Court said it’s totally OK to abort. So it’s totally OK.”
Eureka. Perpetual intemperance, no babies and no arrest warrant for murder. Today the Sanger generation is old enough to know better, but is now completely blind to consequences. As they rise to position of responsibility in the Congress, courts, media and business, the ways of facing problems are the same. Childish tantrums. Denial. A paralysis of indecision. A refusal to suffer, or even to do the hard work of thinking. “Just give me a quick, magic solution with no future consequences.”
But consequences of the death culture are piling up. The children they never had are not there to keep the economy strong. The government’s solution? No babies. According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the government must tax more workers to pay for more state-funded contraception so there are fewer children to take care of, thus relieving the nanny state of the high costs of raising children for infantile parents.
But the absence of babies leads to, well, something the Sanger generation does not want to think about: future consequences. Infants think only about the immediate present. Infantile men have the same problem.
Could this be true partly because of the pill and what the pill does to men physiologically? An estimated 110 million women currently ingest the pill. Large amounts of unprocessed estrogen and progesterone pass through their bodies, into the sewage treatment systems and back into the water supply (Barbara Biggs, NBC News, Nov. 9, 2004). On NBC News, the head of Denver’s largest sewage plant reported that most of the nation’s plants simply can’t remove all the estrogen in the water. “We’re concerned about the effect on aquatic life, but we’re also concerned about our ability to actually treat for these estrogens and estrogen mimickers,” said the official.
Male fish down river from these plants are becoming physiologically female. When male humans drink the water or eat the fish, what happens to them? Why is sperm count falling in American men? Why is breast-reduction surgery on the rise in men? Why do men show such passivity? Such an immature refusal to face reality? Why do they insist that overpopulation is still the No. 1 environmental problem when there are so few babies?
Fifty-nine modern nations are plagued by the high-tech benefits of birth-control pills. Each of them have waged a cultural war against babies. Each of them suffer below-replacement birthrates. Each of them face potential extinction. But concerns such as national suffering, dangerous international geopolitics and the disappearance of entire nations are matters that would require mature thinking – something that was successfully bred-out of the American people when they accepted the pill as, in the words of Hugh Hefner, the greatest invention of the 20th century.
Geoffrey Botkin is an international traveler, political consultant, veteran filmmaker, and popular lecturer. He currently serves as a senior adviser to the Western Conservatory of the Arts & Sciences. Geoffrey and his dear wife, Victoria, have raised seven children, who work alongside them to rebuild Christian family culture in the United States and abroad.