The whole point of cuteness (and a defense of Planned Parenthood)

Dear Hannah,

The really strange thing about cuteness is that it goes away.  Unless you have a disease like Gary Coleman's you're going to lose it.  One minute you're adorable as a kitten and then poof -- no more cuteness; no more inspiring that feeling that you've got to be hugged and squeezed and cuddled even though you're spitting up all over us and crying when we're supposed to be sleeping.

God has seen fit to let us run out of cuteness and become adults that you see shivering on the street without giving a damn; and He's done it probably because our survival eventually needs things other than cuddling.  Old people and babies are cute and a few lucky people in between and that's pretty much it.  The rest of us run on handsome or gorgeous, and the unlucky ones beyond that have to work hard to get people to like us.  Simply put, magic remains a rarity or it wouldn't be considered magical.  The needs of infancy disappear along with the spellbinding power of chubby legs.  Something happens and then everyone ignores you when you're seven.  Babies turn into adults so we can make more babies so we can make more adults.

This seems a roundabout way of going about life but it's the only way we've got; and what we're left wondering is whether babies are worth making because they're cute or they're cute because they're worth making.  Every healthy woman in the world wants children and that is the end of it; I make no excuses for the dry ones who don't.  But almost no woman in the world looks at the average adult and says she wants to cuddle him in her arms.  If a woman did we'd think she's insane and we would be right.  It's babies or bust.  To hell with the rest of us.

In light of this I ask myself a question.  When I look at your face and I hear your little voice I don't see aeons of accidents building on top of each other until we finally got parenthood.  I see something deeper than instinct; an art beyond understanding and evolution and the chemistry of space colliding inside us.  I see that we were made to worship God and that things like you are the reason we worship Him.  Cuteness isn't a trick to get me to love you.  It's a trick to get me to love life.  It's a gift that was given to get me to go on.  Cuteness is lost and we build other things -- our relationships become a mixture of instinct and art.  But the joy of these things is all a matter of celebration.

There are of course people who see it differently.  There are those of us who see humanity in light of evolution alone and believe that everything boils down to sex and that sex boils down to babies and babies exist so we can pass on this life force simply to pass it along; and that everything we know, from a mother's voice to a baby's smile, to romance to heroism to the music of Handel and the poetry of Shakespeare, is a mating dance in an interminable and meaningless flow of burials and births**.  A theist can't see it this way.  A theist sees it the other way around.  That life exists for enjoyment and not just enjoyment for life; that somewhere out there exists Someone who doesn't die, who made our joys the end and not the beginning.

In truth they're both the beginning and the ending and therein lies His genius.  There should never be a question about whether we were created to feel things or we feel things in order to create.  The romance of life is the crowning achievement and at the same time a new beginning.  Life reaches its intended pinnacle -- and the pinnacle climaxes in another life.  The goals of our existence are inseparably connected with the beginnings of other existences; and our meaning lies in reproduction, which itself results in our meaning.

Your father,

PS: I had intended this essay to be a defense of Planned Parenthood and ended up with a statement practically against it; so in reverence for my intentions I'll give you a counter-statement.  I'm against any organization which cuts up living babies to satisfy any "mother."  It goes against all my natural instincts because I've seen too many abortion photos.  But if we could separate Planned Parenthood from abortion; if we could alienate the organization from the abominable practice and get it back to planning, then I think we could really strike some gold.  The problem is that the people who are good at planning are the ones who aren't having children.  The plan has killed the planners.  What we're left with are the plan-nots.

As such Margaret Sanger is almost a total failure.  She aimed for the worst neighborhoods and ended up ruining the best.  I have great sympathy with her original cause.  She wanted to go into all the miserable neighborhoods and stop the misery by stopping the childbirths.  All the people you see on the streets; all the un-fathered street urchins, all the degenerates, the losers, the drunks and the junkies and the prostitutes and the wife-beaters; the people yelling at one another in dilapidated houses and shouting empty-headed slogans on the streets; threatening good men and raping the women; smelly, stupid, and ignorant; embarrassing democracy and driving down wages and dragging us toward disaster -- there's nothing more natural and moral than to say enough! and to go down into these places and swear you'll stop all the madness; and that you'll do it with the consent of the women.

The problem is that contraceptives have gotten to our best neighborhoods in the best countries.  We should have started in the worst places in Africa and India and Asia and the Middle East; but instead we hit the places where we were most enlightened -- Euro-America and the best parts of Asia; and our enlightenment ruined our legacy; and the people who'd been running things right disappeared; and the people who could only run up criminal charges and welfare expenditures flooded our gates.  If Planned Parenthood could have done what it proposed it would have done the greatest service to mankind -- which is to stifle the ghetto itself.  Instead what it did was it got rid of our champions -- and now we're being swallowed by a world that doesn't know and never knew how to plan.

*In this version of the universe the goo not only has no ultimate point, but the only point of all the things we love, all the honor and shame and poetry and history and art and every work of genius ultimately comes down to coitus.  This is why Richard Dawkins is a giant dick; and (with the exception of a few Christopher Hitchenses out there) atheists throw out the humanities in favor of the sciences.  They're the kind of guys who love science so much that they think flying to Mars on a one-way trip is an exciting idea when we've already seen pictures of Mars and we've already done Mars better in Utah.  Simply put, they lack imagination.  But what can you expect from a phallus that came out of a void?

Thankfully our ideologies are only ideologies, and Whoever made us made our feelings stronger than our thoughts about our feelings.  And the atheist says the universe is a dying void and he still falls in love anyway; and the Catholic says that sex is only for making children and he still has fun having sex.  We can thank God that we can never really trust a convert to be wholly converted; and that our humanity is actually stronger than its conventions.  We all believe in many things, right and wrong, true and false.  But what we want, what we feel -- these things bring us back to reality.  They are why we were created and why we worship the Creator.