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Fr. Shenan Boquet

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Tragic irony in the death of Toys ‘R’ Us

Fr. Shenan Boquet

April 9, 2018 (Human Life International) – Life is full of irony.

I am thinking of Toys "R" Us' recent announcement that it will be closing all its stores.

That the toy chain has been forced to shutter due to financial pressure doesn't come as a shock. In the age of Amazon, many brick-and-mortar stores are going out of business, unable to compete against the internet-based retailer's economy of scale and convenience. And yet, while this is part of the reason that Toys "R" Us cited for their demise, along with debt and rising labor costs, there is also another, far more telling explanation.

"Most of our end-customers are newborns and children," the company explained in a recent financial filing, and "as a result, our revenues are dependent on the birth rates in countries where we operate."

In other words. No babies, no toys. No toys, no Toys "R" Us.

In that same filing, Toys "R" Us continued: "In recent years, many countries' birth rates have dropped or stagnated…A continued and significant decline in the number of newborns and children in these countries could have a material adverse effect on our operating results."

And that is precisely what has happened.

In 2015, in the U.S., the total fertility rate (TFR) – that is, the number of children the average woman will have in her lifetime – sank to 1.84, well below the replacement level of 2.1 and less than one-third of the 1960s rate (3.7).

A self-inflicted demise

But here's the ironic part. For years, Toys "R" Us donated to Planned Parenthood – just like Target and Starbucks and countless other well-heeled corporations. It's what socially conscious, left-leaning corporations do these days. But in Toys "R" Us' case, there's a perfectly reasonable case to be made that they were literally donating money to put themselves out of business.

Planned Parenthood, of course, directly kills some 300,000 unborn U.S. citizens per year – in other words, 300,000 of Toys "R" Us' own target demographic. All told, there have been some 60 million (conservative estimate) preborn babies aborted since Roe v. Wade. Imagine if these children had survived the violence of abortion, married and had children of their own? Not only would America's population be stronger, but there would be huge number of Toys "R" Us customers.

But sadly, Toys "R" Us isn't alone in committing economic suicide by financially supporting the very organization and ideology that is eradicating the same people that its future depends on.

Last month, Congress voted to approve a new budget that grants over $500 million to Planned Parenthood. This half-billion-dollar gift from our pockets to prop up the business of destroying the next generation is the longstanding norm, and for all their vows to the contrary, Republicans sadly have yet to stop this cash infusion into the abortion giant. Meanwhile, private corporations donated another $530 million in 2016-17.

In the end, we, the taxpayers and the consumers who support these liberal corporations with our purchases, send over a billion dollars a year as a donation to support Planned Parenthood, whose primary aim is to prevent the birth of the citizens that our country desperately needs to work the jobs and pay the taxes that keep our economy and government going.

If that's not irony, I don't know what is.

The Washington Post, of all places, recently highlighted this tragic irony with a highly insightful analysis.

Charting the birthrate over the past 12 years against the toy giant's revenue over that same period of time, the Post's Andrew Van Dam found that the two charts were near mirror-images of each other: as births went down, Toys "R" Us' revenue went down; as births went up, revenue went up.

This isn't surprising; but even so, the clarity of the correlation in visual form on the graphs is somewhat startling. But then Van Dam pointed out the obvious: "Toys "R" Us focuses on kids, so it's feeling the crunch from declining birthrates long before the rest of the economy," he wrote. "But it's just a matter of time before the trends that toppled the troubled toy maker put the squeeze on businesses that cater to consumers of all ages."

Starbucks doesn't sell coffee to kids. But it sells coffee to adults who once were kids. And if Planned Parenthood succeeds in reducing the number of kids through their murderous services, there are fewer coffee-buyers to keep Starbucks afloat. Toys "R" Us feels the demographic rumble first, being the business closest to the epicenter of the beginning of life; but everyone else will feel it sooner or later.

The worst of it, continued Van Dam, is that this is a self-perpetuating cycle. If this generation is smaller than the last, because fewer parents are having kids, the generation after that will be even smaller. And in an economy set up to depend on growth, that's bad news.

"In the end," he concluded, "Toys 'R' Us will just have been the first of many businesses of all descriptions facing the same hard demographic truth: Economic growth is extremely difficult without population growth."

Exporting societal suicide

Adding tragic irony to tragic irony, is that our government and many of our wealthiest citizens aren't content to murder our own future, or to contracept its ever coming into being in the first place: they're also hell-bent on exporting murder and contraception to other countries that are even more dependent than we are on a healthy population.

Take a look at International Planned Parenthood's recent five year plan to get a sense of the breathtaking scope of the ambitions (if that's even the right term) of the anti-life zealots: to convince 100 countries to support "sexual and reproductive rights" (contraception, abortion, etc.); to specifically target countless millions of youth with graphic sex education, and, after encouraging them to express their reproductive "rights," to make available to them the "sexual and reproductive health services" they will inevitably need to clean up the mess of broken bodies; and to deliver two billion such so-called services.

And we're sending Planned Parenthood billions of dollars in private, corporate, and government funding to follow through on these threats. Not content with our own suicide, we are determined to entice others to walk off the cliff of demographic suicide along with us.

I recently visited two countries – Zimbabwe and Uganda – and was appalled to see the way that a conglomerate of wealthy foreign powers are propagandizing entire impoverished populations into believing that their most valuable resource – their own children – is the one thing that they must do everything (including murder) to prevent. I wrote about my experiences in Zimbabwe and Uganda here and here.

As I wrote about Zimbabwe, without offering meaningful change, all that Planned Parenthood and the other population controllers accomplish in these countries is to make large poor families into small poor families. And a country of small poor families, is a poor country without any hope or future.

Of course, economic considerations are hardly the most important thing here. Whether Planned Parenthood's murderous ideology harmed or helped the economy is completely beside the point, in that murder is always and everywhere wrong, regardless of the consequence. And yet, if history has taught us anything, it is that in the long term, evil never pays.

Political and societal correctness holds such tremendous sway over corporate America, that Toys "R" Us was willing to "kill off" future customers in order to be a "good corporate citizen" by supporting an ideology of radical "freedom" – an ideology that promises much in the short term but takes no mind for the long term. Now Toys "R" Us is dead too, a victim of the Culture of Death. That's what the Culture of Death does – it kills.

I take no pleasure in the demise of Toys "R" Us. There is something beautiful about the toy industry – an affirmation of the joy of new life, and the intrinsic goodness and innocence of human play. But I take it as an omen: one more among many signs that the Culture of Death has come home to roost, and the urgent need in our culture for the life-giving, hope-giving, future-looking, beautiful, self-sacrificial, love-fueled Culture of Life.

Published with permission from Human Life International.

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