Over in Liberal Land, this great debate is unfolding: Whether maternity leave is a good or a bad idea, not because of its impact on business at a time when the economy is moribund and the unemployment rate is stubbornly stuck at 9.1 percent. Liberals are worried about the leave’s environmental impact.
A reader of Matt Yglesias’ blog questioned Yglesias’ support for the leave, pointing out just how environmentally incorrect it was. “Not having a child is arguably the single best thing a person can do for the environment,” he proclaimed.
Yglesias responded sensibly enough:
Radical population reduction would sharply reduce the quantity of anthropogenic ecological impacts, but to what end? The goal needs to be to reconfigure human activity in order to make it sustainable over a longer time horizon. But sustained human flourishing requires both acceptable levels of ecological impact and also the continued production of new human beings.
This corroborates the point of my previous post that the problem with the modern environmental movement is that, in contrast to the original conservationists, it wants to protect the environment from humans rather than for humans. Yet without humans as a standard, the movement has no rational basis for determining tradeoffs between conflicting environmental ends, and is doomed to collapse into incoherence.
Indeed, the fact that the morality of having children is subject to debate in respectable liberal circles speaks volumes about just how unhinged modern progressives have become from the ordinary aspirations of ordinary people.
This is, to say the least, mulish—in more ways than one.