01/08/2012 08:10 pm ET Updated Mar 08, 2012

Santorum's Crazy Baby-Love

Rick Santorum's outrageous attacks on contraception and gay marriage are rooted in the notion that sex be about procreation only. He is not alone. He expresses the views of a very engaged edge of GOP primary voters, and Romney et al dare not uphold more moderate positions, lest they lose precious votes in crucial early primaries.
The cowardice of the possibly reasonable in the face of the right's extreme baby-loving wing is a despicable failure of leadership, because the baby-lovers' accumulated forays into public policy are as dangerous, over time, as aerosolized bird flu.
The consequences of the human population explosion have been well-known since Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb in 1968. In the decades since, countless demographers, economists and scientists have warned us on a regular basis of the coming environmental and social disasters related to having too many humans on the planet.
A horrible culling seems overdue.
The Population Bomb was published when there were just 3.5 billion humans on Earth. Last year, the UN reported that the world population will rise to 10.1 billion by the end of this century, due mainly to whopping birth rates in countries that can barely feed, let alone govern themselves now, like Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa. The UN report predicted the number of Nigerians will rise from 162 million now to 730 million by 2100.
Ehrlich also predicted "all important animal life" in our seas would be made extinct by over-fishing and pollution. Last year, a consortium of scientists released a "shocking" report about coming mass extinctions of marine life, confirming the death of the oceans is now nearly inevitable, entirely thanks to human activity.
In our generation, writers like Bill McKibben and others have been issuing the same warnings. And yet, the phenomenon of the crazy baby-lovers perseveres in the American discourse.
Given all the stark and to put it mildly, rather terrifying predictions, why does a sector of the American voting public persistently reward the Santorums of the political world for regressive notions about sex and child-bearing? Why is it that we still have so many semi-viable American political leaders willing to not just give lip service to the idea that we need to make more babies, but to also believe it, as Santorum surely does.
The feminist answer - one I share up to a point - is that male conservatives and their female co-dependents prefer women to stay home and bear children, partly to keep power where it has always resided. In this analysis, the short-term desperation for men to retain control of family economics and the public sphere always trumps the long-term logic of keeping the human population down.
But as a "breeder" myself, having produced a healthy pair of kids, I do wonder if what's motivating the craziest baby-lovers isn't something deeper and more insidious, in fact, the exact reverse of what it appears to be.
I love my kids and I like to cuddle a baby as much as the next person. Parenting has its joys but it is also a long and arduous duty. It changes our lives and, most importantly, it limits us in ways that childless people never experience. The extreme baby-lovers and their rejection of, if not raw fury at, the idea of sex for the sheer fun of it, sex that doesn't bring more little ones into our dangerously human-overwhelmed planet, are simply bitter at the raw deal they sense they got in life, and jealous of those with fewer cares.
It is difficult to imagine anything more petty than abandoning our duty toward the future of the planet out of envy and spite. Yet it's the only explanation that makes sense.
Maybe aerosolized bird flu really is going to be the answer.