Chesterton: The One Type of Person

“I do not feel any contempt for an atheist, who is often a man limited and constrained by his own logic to a very sad simplification. I do not feel any contempt for a Bolshevist, who is a man driven by the same negative simplification by a revolt against very positive wrongs. But there is one type of person for whom I feel what I can only call contempt. And that is the popular propagandist for what he or she absurdly calls Birth-Control.

I despise Birth-Control first because it is a weak and wobbly and cowardly word. It is also an entirely meaningless word; and is used so as to curry favor even with those who would at first recoil from its real meaning. The proceedings these quack doctors recommend does not control any birth. It only makes sure that there shall never be any birth to control…

Second, I despise Birth-Control because it is a weak and wobbly and cowardly thing. It is not even a step along the muddy road they call Eugenics; it is a flat refusal to take the first and obvious step along the road of Eugenics. Once grant that their philosophy is right, and their course of action is obvious; and they dare not take it; they dare not even declare it. If there is no authority in things which Christendom has called moral, because their origins were mystical, then they are clearly free to ignore all difference between animals and men; and treat men as we treat animals. They need not palter with the stale and timid compromise and convention called Birth-Control. Nobody applies it to the cat. The obvious course for Eugenists is to act toward babies as they act toward kittens. Let all the babies be born; and then let us drown those we do not like… Unless I see a real pioneer and progressive leader coming out with a good, bold, scientific programme for drowning babies, I will not join the movement.”

– G.K. Chesterton, in his essay “Babies and Distributism”

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