Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
(E.J. Hersom, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
This is not about “reproductive rights.” It never was. It is about taking away the right to reproduce.
In a recent British Vogue Magazine interview, Prince Harry made a comment that caused quite a stir. The Duke of Sussex stated that he and his wife would have a “maximum” of “two” children for the sake of the environment. It’s easy to dismiss Harry’s comment as the irrelevant, meandering, mumblings and grumblings of a man whose most notable accomplishment was being born into royalty—the original “famous for being famous” achievement—but I’m not going to do that. Maybe, like most new fathers, Harry hasn’t gotten enough sleep lately and is thus unable to carefully choose his words. I can relate to that.
It could also be that he’s been stressed lately doing home improvements. Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle had wanted to move earlier to their new home of Frogmore Cottage, but they were waiting for repairs and renovations to complete. Hey, I’ve been in that stressful situation myself: baby on the way, the lack of meaningful employment, having to live with family while you wait for house repairs. It can be rough. What difference does it make whether you’re in your parent’s basement or in Kensington Palace?
Since the renovations used taxpayers’ money, spokespeople for the royals clarified that these renovations to Frogmore were much-needed and basic repairs. From my perspective, that would mean things like fixing a leaky faucet, installing a new water heater, and replacing a broken light fixture. Frogmore’s “basic renovation” meant converting five separate residences into one massive estate. That takes time and money—about 2.4 million pounds (about $3 million) in taxpayer money.
The cynic might wonder if overtaxing commoners so they can’t afford to feed their own children is all part of the royal plan, but I’m sure they tried to save money every step of the way. The chandeliers at Castle Depot aren’t exactly cheap, nor is the ongoing upkeep or the power bills. Nor is it fair to ask Prince Harry to dip into his estimated $40 million net worth to pay for any of this. He needs the money for traveling.
Or maybe he doesn’t. According to the Daily Mail, Prince Harry flew by private plane and helicopter to Google’s recent climate change conference in Sicily, paid for by Google. In fact, a lot of celebrities and corporate titans attended as well. Numerous news outlets reported that over 100 private jets and yachts brought these A-listers to the climate change conference. Some environmental organizations have called this inconsistent.
Yet, I wonder if it actually is inconsistent. Of course, flying around in private jets, driving 12-cylinder Lamborghinis and pleasure-cruising on yachts leaves gargantuan carbon footprints. But in the minds of today’s rich, famous and politically-empowered, that’s really not the problem at all.
In their minds, what’s the problem?
The problem is humans.
The problem is children.
The problem is conception.
As Prince Harry phrased it in the Vogue interview, “What we need to remind everybody is: these are things that are happening now. We are already living in it. We are the frog in the water and it’s already been brought to the boil. Which is terrifying.”
In Harry’s mind, the problem’s not Frogmore; the problem’s the frogs, like you and me.
The ultimate goal—and it’s a goal that some hope to achieve at jet speed—is the criminalization of conception. That statement is not conspiratorial; it’s observational. A conspiracy implies secretive action, and this desire among the world’s celebrities and politicians is anything but a secret. Having children has already been stigmatized, but for some, that’s not enough. Government action against conception—action already woefully common in China and other nations that “progress” has led to thinking government is the only way to get anything done—is next.
Unfortunately, there’s not much standing in their way. Politically, things are glum. Even during a Republican administration, funding for Planned Parenthood has risen from year to year. The Catholic Church is at its weakest position in centuries, and those who have publicly argued for forced population control have been entertained at Vatican events without challenge.
Ultimately, this is not about “reproductive rights.” It never was. It is about taking away the right to reproduce.
And from the highest echelons of elite culture to rural China, there are precious few voices raising any opposition to it.