On the Immaturity of Maturity

I have lost track of the number of times the debate about legalising abortion in Ireland has been characterised as a question of whether we, as a nation, are mature enough for such big-boy decisions and for catching up with the rest of the world.

Of course, the kind of ideological secularity that often accompanies rhetoric in favour of legalising abortion is ill-served by the mythic ideas that a nation can have a representative “we” or worse, the idea that nations are on an inexorable journey to subtle cultivation.

This ranks high on my list of things I hate about how Irish people discuss serious matters. It almost pips “What do the rest of the world think of us when they see X?” style pretensions.

Anyway, aside from the ethically inexcusable conflation of abortion with maturity, the ill considered rhetorical move of marking “maturity” as something we should self consciously reach for reminds me of C.S. Lewis at his dacent, honest best:

To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

Your Correspondent, Asinine! Everything he says is asinine!

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