From G. Chumo III, La Canada, CA:
Do you really believe the lack of children are merely just a MacGuffin for setting up the action in "Children of Men" and serve no other real purpose? Or could it be essential, almost echoes of warning to explain the spiritual death that is slowly killing off Europe as we speak? While it is true Cuaron uses leftist imagery to bring to life peoples' fears of future chaos and the police state that follows it, I believe the use of children, or the lack thereof, is essential to explaining the fears many people secretly harbor about the real Europe. While we don't know why children are dying off in the film, we do know why there are less and less children in Europe today. People have willingly chosen to not have them anymore.
This is why I believe the film is one of the most subversively religious, pro-life films to come out in a generation, maybe unbeknownst to the filmmakers. It taps into anxieties people hold but only Pope Benedict and the Patriarch of Russia care to voice about postmodern, secular-socialist Europe. It's an undeniable fact that Western Europe is in the midst of a population bust that will peak in about twenty years. Her slowly committing demographic suicide is happening, I believe, because she does not wish to make the spiritual commitment it takes to raise future generations anymore. Rather, her people, and people in the Western world in general, increasingly choose to remain in a permanent adolescence, relying on a nanny state to care for them as they enjoy an ephemeral, hassle free existence that pursues desire rather than meaning.
To support that, "others" must be brought in to do the work it takes to finance such a system, but all the while, those "others" are never allowed to join or do not care to join the very society they live in. They're instead relegated to the outskirts, which only fuels resentment and radicalism. Children are essential to the film because they are in fact the future. When societies stop having them, people in effect say they no longer have hope or faith in the future. It's only a matter of time when all that's left to do is fight for one's own narrow wants and needs then. The Clive Owen character finds redemption because he is the one man left in an insane world who chooses to sacrifice his own life for the future, or in the case of the film, a child.