“Social Security, Abortion, and the Fruits of Evil”Categories: Meditations
Most Americans who follow politics are aware that Social Security is going to run out of money. To be more precise, in 2034, the Social Security Trust Fund will be depleted, and it will only be able to pay out about 75 percent of benefits that retirees have accrued. Similar problems beset Medicare.
In both cases, the problem is the same. We live in a country with an aging population. In order for the population of a country to sustain itself, the “replacement level” of live births is about 2.1 per woman. Currently, the live-birth rate in the US is about 1.8 per woman. Without immigration, our population would be in decline.
There are many reasons for this demographic crisis, but one of the most important, and one of the least talked-about, is abortion. Since 1973, more than 61 million American babies have been aborted. Not all of those babies would have become productive members of society who paid into Social Security and Medicare, but most of them would have. Their contributions surely would have kept the American social-insurance system afloat for a few more decades, perhaps indefinitely, without the need for hard political choices.
This is bitterly ironic. The same people who are the champions of the welfare state in the US are also the champions of abortion on demand. Their insistence on the second has rendered the first demographically unsustainable. They have undone their own designs.
I point this out for two main reasons. First, I am adamantly opposed to abortion, and I will muster whatever arguments I can against it. Perhaps someone who cannot see that it is immoral will accept that it is unwise.
Second, I think it illustrates one of the primary this-life problems with evil. Even though sin appears to offer advantages to the sinner (Don’t we sin because we think it’s going to benefit us in some way?), over time, those advantages often prove to be illusory. Psalm 94:23 points out that God brings the iniquity of the wicked back on them. As a result, when we sin, we commonly sow the seeds of our own destruction.
It’s important for us to recognize this pattern in the consequences of others’ sins, but it’s vital for us to acknowledge it when we are tempted. For instance, consider the married man or woman who seeks sexual fulfillment in pornography. Admittedly, their sin probably will supply them with some measure of satisfaction.
However, it also will create two problems. First, immorality never can do more than provide a counterfeit of the joys of marital intimacy as described in Proverbs 5. In the words of Jeremiah 2:13, the sinner is trading a fountain of living water for a broken cistern. Second, once their spouse finds out (which will happen sooner or later), the revelation cannot help but damage the trust on which the marital relationship is based. The quest for fulfillment in porn is self-defeating and doomed.
It is good for us to be wise about such things, but it is better for us to be trusting. God’s commandments are for our good, and that remains true whether we see the good or not. Doing the right thing will often lead us to blessings that we do not expect. Evil, by contrast, is a weapon that will turn in the hands of those who wield it, and none of us are exempt from its consequences.