In this thread, Ethical Implications of Remaining Childless By Choice we discussed whether or not it’s acceptable to remain childless by choice. The overwhelming answer, unanimous it seems to me is that yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to remain childless by choice. I don’t see anyone taking an anti-choice position in that thread.
However…what I do see is straight up derogatory bigotry from the childfree set, who think that terms like, ‘cult of the child’, or ‘breeders’ are acceptable terms. Now, this only applies to people who use the term, ‘childfree’, which is in and of itself an ideological assertion in the way the mere choice not to have children isn’t. Some people just don’t have kids. Other people turn a negative choice, a decision NOT to do something, into a primary feature of their identity. As such they must then show fealty to the ideology by expressing mockery and derision for those who did not adhere to that choice.
I constantly hear of childfree people complaining about the lack of validation for their choices, and how annoying it is that people find the decision bemusing. I have known people who dismiss the value of remaining childless by choice. So I won’t pretend they don’t exist, but I have not had any interaction with them in relative proportion to the vitriole I see expressed so casually by the childfree set.
It doesn’t matter to me whether or not a ‘childfree’ sort values my decision to have children. But why the hostility? Why are we subjected to a well developed lexicon of derogatory slang developed to describe the people doing the work of continuing the species? Why is it that people assume that the default amongst parents are shitty parents? Referring to the majority of parents as being the ones that let their kids run free and play with toys off the shelf, who let their kids scream their heads off in restaurants are the norm, is the same as saying that the average black person is lazy and shiftless. It’s the same sort of bigotry, making everyone responsible for the worst of behaviors.
Now, my daughter has been the kid screaming on the plane, she has been the one screaming in the restaurant, and I wasn’t always handling it the best. But the reality is that parenthood like any profession has a learning curve. And whenever kids are at their youngest and brattiest is when the parents are still noobs. 1 and 2 year olds have screaming fits when and where they want to. They are not in control over their emotions. And guess what? Neither is the parent. But most parents do care about your enjoyment of your dinner. You don’t notice the parents who take the kid out BEFORE the screaming fit, precisely because they took them out. So you judge them only by the parent who was either apathetic to the screaming, or who just didn’t get the problem handled in time.
Also, at one point YOU were the screaming brat. At some point YOU were a child. Some ‘Breeder’ raised YOU. Just like my daughter, who is a real person, you were a real person.
Now, I don’t expect a medal for being a parent. Being a parent is it’s own reward, and it comes with very, very heavy costs, which whether you like it or not you are expected by society to bear. And that makes sense. But it speaks to me of a very crass culture, a culture that is anti-life in general, when you see people who are openly derogatory of the profession of parenting in general.
There is no profession on Earth that is more essenital to the advancement of society than the parent. Parents train the next generation, they teach them how not to shit on the sidewalk. They teach them how to play baseball and help them with their chemistry homework. Without parents, the human race ends. So while, you shouldn’t respect someone just for being a parent, I do believe the ethical position is to have a healthy respect for the job of parenting because parenting is the ONLY thing that keeps humanity alive. We breed sexually, and as of right now, we all die.
Anti-Natalist bigotry should not be considered to be something that is simply, OK. It’s highly rude. I do fear a culture where anti-natalism is considered ok, and normal. Nothing good can come of it.
The VHEMT is an extremist organization unworthy of respect. Ok, so you’re a nihilist who has no respect for human life and likes to anthopomorphize the biosphere to such an insane degree that it is more valuable than the entire human race. I get it, go ahead put a bullet in your own head, remove yourself from suffering, but taking the entire race with you is not a respectable position. While we can tolerate it in society so long as it is powerless, it should be held up as an example of anti-social misanthropy and not as an equally valid point of view.