SHOULD YOU BECOME A PARENT?
While the act of procreation brings children to support us, and places additional demands on the environment, it is actually considered selfish not to have children, as if people who choose not to have children are decadent hedonists, who care only for themselves.
Having a child is a fundamentally selfish act, as evidenced by the following reasons for which many people do have children:
- As an unintended consequence of sex.
- As a manifestation of your genes, of your selfish instincts.
- Because other people you know have babies, so you want one too.
- It provides a purpose in life, for people who have none.
- It gives you a friend, particularly one who is under your control.
- It gives you a free, bonded laborer.
- It provides, using genetic selection, a source for a bone marrow or organ transplant for another child.
- It gives you an heir.
- It is used to trap a mate.
- It satisfies the demand of your parents for grandchildren.
- It is a social welfare system, or an obligation of religious form.
People have children to satisfy their needs, not those of the children. No one asks of an unconceived child, would you like to come into the world, such as it is? [FFF, Species Background]
You should only have children if:
1. You believe that life, as an existential category, not your life, or even human life, is good. (This precondition is easy to overlook.)
2. You want to bring someone into life so they can experience the beauty and mystery of it. (These two preconditions together constitute the non-selfish basis for having children.)
3. You are prepared to be a capable parent.
With regard to this, children should only be born when two individuals have made a loving commitment to each other, and when:
- they have worked to ensure a degree of financial security, such that they can care for the child, and have established a home in which to do so.
- they are both psychologically prepared for it, including understanding how much work will be involved, and how they will regularly have to sacrifice their interests to those of the child.
- and they willingly accept this - actually - they look forward to it.
How many, or what percentage, of the children in the world today were (and are) born to such parents? Certainly it is less than half, and likely much lower.
At the turn of the century the global population is six billion people. The annual growth rate is approximately eighty million, and the United Nations medium projection is for a population of nine and one-half billion people by the year 2050. This is far, far too many people: way beyond the planets carrying capacity. If it occurs, it will lead to hitherto unimaginable social and environmental disasters. [FFF, The Earth]
© Roland O. Watson 2001-3