5 Realizations Upon Turning 30 Today
Missed the SOTU for the birth of my first child. She arrived at 6:19 pm, ignoring the president's propaganda speech. Baby patriot.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 29, 2014
1. I need to be a father someday.
Ben Shapiro is the newest of my friends to join the parenthood club. I'm so thrilled for him and his wife. They're going to love that little girl so much and just create the most extraordinary human being.
For most of my life I was agnostic on the parenthood question -- it was largely a reflection of an agnosticism about, well, everything. A child was such a permanent decision, a no-going-back choice in which one decided that another's life would come before your own.
What changed? What caused the light switch to flip over from the wobbly, maybe-kids-some-day, to YES, I have a responsibility and a need to become a parent? Finding the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with was only step one. There was another big change that had to happen:
I don't hate myself anymore.
I think that's what was really at the heart of not wanting to have children. People who see themselves as a broken ball of neuroses don't want to compound their misery by spawning miniature versions of themselves who will likely be even worse than they are.
But now I know better than on January 29, 2004 when I was a postmodern progressive undergraduate writing columns praising Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. I know that there's no reason to ever hate yourself because we're all capable of transforming ourselves. We're not hardwired or stuck with anything about ourselves. All problems have their solutions and we can become happier, more productive, better people if that is what we choose.
I want to raise sons and daughters someday who can know that from the beginning -- that they are smart enough and strong enough to solve any problem they encounter themselves and they do not need to vote for some emotion-manipulating demagogue to pass a program like Obamacare so they can be free.
I wish I'd seen this classic Disney cartoon "Chicken Little" over and over again as a kid instead of ninja turtle toy commercials disguised as entertainment. I wasted so much of my 20s dealing with one fox after another:
2. I do not need to be a parent anytime soon. It may be a decade or more away. And that's a good thing, I say unashamedly.
While I no longer hate myself, I still do not have any affection for my genetic material. As far as I'm concerned DNA is an obsolete technology.
Biological reproduction is not a prerogative for our family so there is no clock counting down, pushing us for when we need to start. Adopting children will more than suffice. And I'm content to wait for my wife to catch up with my need-to-be-a-parent enthusiasm -- she's still on the fence -- which is fine. (She's three years younger than me.) If it takes 20 years for me to persuade my wife that more Siberian Huskies are good but some children to go along with them would be better then that's alright.
Waiting is a great idea. I'd rather shape the world more before trying to raise a family in it. Today it is as though we are in a neo-1930s and our culture and leaders are just as blind to the approaching Big War as they were 80 years ago. More so, actually. The Nazis didn't advertise their intent to exterminate the Jews and acquire a nuclear weapon the way Iran does today. Neville Chamberlain had an excuse; Barack Obama doesn't.
3. By the time I turn 40 -- January 29, 2024 -- we will either be in the middle of the next Big War or just starting into it.
This period will be akin to a neo-1940s. I am dead earnest in my belief that massive, global wars are coming soon in our lifetime. The slave states currently oppressing more than a billion people will not give up without a fight and the weapons of the future will make mass murder even easier.
I do not fear these wars because I know America will win them.
4. By the time I turn 50 -- January 29, 2034 -- we will have won the Big War against the Shariah-Socialist slave state alliance.
What technology will we unleash to win it that will then transform our world in a burst of neo-1950s economic growth and cultural optimism? What will be the Manhattan Project of our era?
I believe it'll be the merging of artificial intelligence and nanotechnology -- when the computers are so small and smart they're able to help us out at the cellular level. At this level we'll be able to communicate with machines as though they were extensions of our own bodies. The day will come when one won't be able to tell the difference between how it feels to pick up something with your real hand and your robotic hand.
5. By the time I turn 60 -- January 29, 2044 -- the neo-1960s will be upon us.
Will I have a daughter of my own by then? Which side of the new culture war raging will she be on? Will she be a flesh-and-blood human child embracing the neo-Luddite counterculture that rejects all the technological advances I'd spent the last 30 years fighting to promote and defend? Or will my family be among the first wave to raise android children? Will my daughter be digital? Or carved out of wood?
Or by that time will the distinction between man and machine be nonexistent? When we have computers floating around in our bloodstream and cybernetic replacement organs and limbs, what then?
People expect me to feel bad for turning 30 today. Why? What's another decade when we've got technology coming down the pipeline making it plausible for vast numbers of people living today to live well beyond 100?