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38carrots

Childless late twenties, 30 somethings asserting themselves by saying how awful kids are.

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Hypocrisy makes me less likely to consider an argument on the basis that a person who is taking international flights is in no place to lecture mothers about their carbon footprint. Lack of authority, I suppose. I would be more likely to listen to someone who had already reduced their own footprint to its minimum, partly on the basis that they might know what the heck they are on about, due to their commitment and experience.

 

I think lecturing individual mothers is a very ineffective way to make a point anyway. Girls education has been shown to reduce birth rates. Contraception and good sex education reduces birthrates. Even social security for old age can eventually reduce birthrates. If I was to consider an argument against birthing children to be valid I would merely suggest there are better ways to achieve the goal.

 

What doesn't reduce the birthrate ? Hectoring women about their family size, being anti-mother or anti-child.

 

Yeah, this drives me totally crazy.  It's the personalized version of people who complain about  Africa or Asia having too many children while ignoring that westerners use most of the resources and make most of the pollution, and are still looking to continually consume more, not less.

 

I would go so far as to say there is a bit of a practical paradox - it seems lower birth rates increase lifestyle expectations, often without people really noticing, so that over generations their expectations  are significantly higher.  It then becomes much more difficult to reduce our cultural expectations to sustainable levels.

 

Such people also seem to ignore the fact that since many people never have children, some people having more than one or two doesn't mean that suddenly we are over replacement, or even gentle descent, levels.  And they don't seem to realize that it is only because we have social infrastructure that transfers wealth and work from other people's kids to themselves that they will be able to have a nice old age.  Without that social infrastructure everyone would have to have their own kids to secure their old age.  So when they are also annoyed about things like others getting maternity leave and such, it is even more difficult to take them seriously.

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I think that probably when people are talking about selfishness as a reason for not having kids, they have something pretty specific in the back of their minds, though it might not be conscious.  And I think it probably has to be understood in terms of group dynamics rather than individualistically.

 

No one really talks that way about a nun or a doctor or whatever, someone who forgoes having children in order to make some other contribution to society.  They are working hard, making sacrifices, and considering the well-being of others.  It's a different vocation, is one way to think of it.

 

But when someone says they don't want kids because they want freedom to do what they like, or they don't want to adjust their lifestyle, or even that they don't have the personality to deal with someone elses needs, that seems to have different implications.  Doing those things for your kids is probably about the easiest way to be sacrificial to others - we are biologically primed to do it.  If someone can't or won't give up those things for kids, might it not also be the case that they wouldn't give up those things for their elders, or the poor?  If you won't give up international travel for kids, will you give it up for the environment? 

 

I think suspicion of those kinds of motives probably comes from deep in our brain, where it sets of some question about whether that person is going to contribute to the tribe or do the right thing when it becomes necessary.  That is pretty much the definition of selfishness, people who won't give things up for others but want always to do things for themselves. And it is perceived as bad in social animals because it compromises the group.

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We're not talking about sharing jokes on facebook anymore, I take it.

 

 

Not to minimize the seriousness of the discussion at hand, but Matt Bellassai's (the same guy from the OP's link) targeted rant yesterday was pants.  I doubt if asked while sober and in all seriousness that he would admit to a true hatred of children.  Or pants.

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That's a good way of putting it, Bluegoat.  It can depend on how the message comes across.  I have a childless, divorced friend who says she feels she can do more for the world because she doesn't have kids.  She has done a lot of volunteer work, including tutoring kids at an orphanage every day after work when her peers were home caring for their kids.  She's started and funded nonprofits, some of which are focused on kids and disadvantaged people.  At the same time, she does like the freedom to hop on a plane and go somewhere without having all the considerations that we parents have.  Nothing wrong or selfish about acknowledging things that make life easier.  I mean, I love the fact that I have hot water for taking showers.  I don't think it makes me selfish or obnoxious to say so.  (Well, unless I am saying it in front of someone who cannot afford a warm shower.)

Edited by SKL
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Not only did I discover the world misopedia today ( hatred of children ) but apparently the anti-breeder lot are called antinatalists. Who knew ? Not me. Taken to the extreme, there exist antinatalist groups such as the Voluntary Human Extinction movement. 

I always wonder why these people don't start with themselves if their prerogative is just extinction. It also makes me wish for stricter gun control laws because if you're pro-extinction, it makes me question how far you'll take that.

 

 I ignore those who carry on about the ecological selfishness of breeders, unless they have made adequate adjustments to their own lifestyles  - you know, no o/s flights, no car - that sort of thing. If they haven't, they are hypocrites of the first order. If they have, good luck to them, and maybe they could consider putting all that righteous energy into things that actually work to reduce world birth rates - education for girls, and access to contraception being the most effective.

:iagree:  And let's not forget that drastically falling population rates can actually cripple economies and society.  The people who want the world to be void of humans seem to forget that they'll need younger populations to wipe their butts and give them prescriptions when they're old or ill.  It is just ridiculous to me. 

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