Saturday, October 8, 2011

Joanne's Choice

A repost from the other blog.

It was California, in the autumn of 1954, and a graduate student named Joanne had a problem. She had been having an affair with a Muslim immigrant, a man her father did not want her to marry; and she was pregnant. These were the days before abortion was socially acceptable, and Joanne decided to give her child up for adoption.

When the child was born in February of 1955, there was an additional complication: it was a boy, and the lawyer and lawyer's wife who had agreed to adopt it had decided they wanted a girl. Another couple stepped up and offered to take the child, but they weren't college graduates, and Joanne felt strongly that her baby should be adopted by people with college degrees. But the couple promised to send the boy himself to college, and with that Joanne must have been content.

The boy went to college, but he dropped out after only one semester. He lived by sleeping on the floors of friends' rooms and getting free weekly meals at the local Hare Krishna temple. He worked briefly as a video games technician, but mostly because he wanted to save money for a pilgrimage to India. (He went.) He became a Buddist. He tried LSD.

But the kid was bright and charismatic as well as dumb and rebellious. He went into computers. He became a CEO. He went into movies. He got rich—his net worth in 2010 was estimated at over $8 billion. Some people called him a perfectionist, and some called him an egomaniac; others admitted his flaws, but insisted that he mellowed and matured with age. Unlike some CEOs, he never became known for his philanthropy. He had four children, though he dragged his feet over acknowledging the first one, who had been born out of wedlock like himself.

The boy's name was Steve Jobs, and he became the man primarily responsible for the Macintosh computer and the success of Pixar—arguably the most family-friendly movie company in the industry today.

Technology and wealth are only natural goods, and like all natural goods they can be two-edged swords. But even to the producers of natural goods we owe some thanks, whatever their personal failings and flaws might have been.

So pray for the repose of the soul of Steven Paul Jobs. And for all those who worship simultaneously at the Church of the iPad and the Altar of Choice, I repeat a question that's already been asked by numerous commentators: What would the world look like today if Joanne Simpson had aborted her child in the autumn of 1954?

1 comment:

  1. Nicely framed. Seems like an unusually good example of how abortion hurts society. (I'm not suggesting that this is the greatest evil of abortion.)