Bernardo M. Villegas
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David Beckham on Responsible Parenthood

          I must admit I am a rabid fan of the best football club in the world, FC Barcelona.  So ordinarily, I don't gush about players of Barca's archrival, Real Madrid.  Especially after seeing how dirty some the footballers of Real Madrid played in the last Supercup (which, of course, was won by Barca), I won't cite them as role models for the youth.  I don't mind saying, though, that I have always been a fan of a former Real Madrid player, the great David Beckham.  I was thrilled to see him and his equally glamorous and famous wife, Victoria, appear prominently in the last much publicized royal wedding in Buckingham Palace.

          Now, I have another reason to present him as an icon for young husbands.  He and his wife Victoria just had their fourth baby, to the consternation of the pill pushers of the Western World.  As reported by Colleen Carroll Campbell, former presidential speechwriter in the U.S., in an article for Mercator.net, Simon Ross of Britain's Optimum Population Trust, a population-control group, recently blasted David and Victoria for welcoming their fourth child into the world.  "One or two children are fine," Ross told Britain's Observer, "but three or four are just being selfish."

Knowing how strong-willed the couple are, I am sure they told Ross to "go fly a kite" (I am assuming David was not contaminated by his fellow footballers in the Spanish capital with the usual "tacos" or cuss words common among macho men).  Having the necessary financial means, they were just practising the other side of what is called responsible parenthood.  I would like to remind President Aquino and other members of his official family who like to use this phrase that responsible parenthood can mean planning for a large family if the parents can take care of the children they bring to this world, or limiting the number of children--using morally acceptable means--if there are serious reasons of health or economics for doing so.

          It is heartening to know some rich and famous people acting responsibly, not only to bring more children of God to this world, but also to contribute to solving the problem of aging and economic decay that are plaguing western societies suffering from the demographic winter. David and Victoria are actually being patriotic when they defy the neo-Malthusian biases of the population control advocates.  They are contributing to solving the problem of aging of countries who are in danger of becoming extinct.  They are actually already implementing what many leaders in Singapore, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong--all suffering from demographic winter--are imploring their citizens to do, i.e. have more children.

          The birth control mentality is more prevalent among the well to do.  As I have said so many times the poor are acting rationally when they have a large family.  Since most of them are in the rural areas where farm hands are direly needed for survival, it would be suicidal for a farm household to have only two children.  Since  poor families, both in the rural and urban areas, do not have any social security to turn to in their retirement, the most rational reaction is  to have many children, some of whom can take care of them when they grow old.  In fact, the phenomenon of OFWs is a testimony to the rationality of having a large family.  Some of the children can go abroad and help in defraying the living costs at home.  Do not believe for a moment the so-called "independent" surveys showing that poor families want to limit the number of children.  These surveys are paid for by the pro-RH Bill lobbyists.  I have as much faith in them as popularity polls financed by political candidates. The interviewers have a clever way of putting words in the mouths of the respondents, especially if they happen to be uneducated mothers.

          That is why when I listen to these fashionable,  well-perfumed and bejeweled  women in Congress, in the corporate world, or in  media (especially TV personalities) talking about the need for the poor to be given contraceptives, I would like to throw at them the words of Ms. Faye Canto who wrote me an email in response to one of my articles on the RH Bill:  "To give contraceptives to the poor, thinking for them that this is best for them, is the same as the government espousing selective creation--selective humanity.  They sound as if only the better off people have the right to have children... If you think about it, how different is 'population control' from the purification of the Aryan race by the Nazis.  The RH Bill is deceptively indirect and latent, but the result is the same."

          I have an eleven-year-old grand nephew who shows enough independent-mindedness to tell me he is a fan of Real Madrid, despite my protestations that Barcelona is better.  I tell him, though, that the two of us share our admiration for David Beckham.  As he reaches maturity and God gives him the vocation to marriage, this grand nephew of mine will have David as a role model in the exercise of responsible parenthood.  Like his father, who has become a millionaire through entrepreneurship, I am sure he will also be well-to-do.  He will therefore define responsible parenthood as having four or more children.  Then twenty to thirty years from now, cities of the Philippines will not look like a European city that some of the Filipino delegates to the World Youth Day visited on their way to Madrid.  They were struck by the fact that they saw no children on the streets; only senior citizens accompanied by their dogs, some of them with two or more canines apiece.   Fortunately, there are also some famous American personalities like 23-year-old U.S. singer Kevin Jonas.  He and his new bride intend to have children because they do not want to become "crazy dog people." When asked on "Access Hollywood Live" about the prospects of he and his wife having a child, he replied in the affirmative quipping, "We've started to realize we might become those weird dog people." My advice to the fashionable ladies telling the poor to avoid having children:   Go ahead and live your lifestyle as weird dog people, but don't contaminate the poor with your crazy ideas.  For comments, my email address is bvillegas@uap.edu.ph.