Ethical Implications of Remaining Childless By Choice

I realize that no person can honestly compare social security* with a Ponzi scheme. Is that close enough?

  • presuming it’s honestly run, and the coffers aren’t pillaged. If it is, it’s turned into a ponzi scheme - but it’s not one by nature.

[/off topic]

Such people exist? :dubious:

I think that’s a very narrow view. First off you are defining neglect as not having individual attention from the parent. The idea that this is completely necessary is a presumption. Also, there is this general assumption that having to help raise your younger siblings is some kind of terrible hardship for older siblings. If they don’t like that situation they can move out when they turn 18. Lots of people from large clans are very close, and sometimes they barely know their older siblings who moved out of the house before they were born. It’s a different dynamic from our 2.5 kids suburban paradigm, but I don’t see that as being the end-all be-all arbiter of social value.

When I got beat up in school, I kind of wish I had a couple of older brothers. :wink: I was envious of the the Mexican kids who had these massive clans around them.

Immigration can solve some problems while creating others. If they properly assimilate then it’s all good.

Sure, I agree.

Well, to be honest when I hear the word, ‘childfree’, I automatically assume the person is a fanatic. You don’t sound like a fanatic, and I am glad you have some social group that works for you, but to me it’s an odd way to arrange yourself. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just odd to me. Even when I didn’t have kids, I didn’t see myself as childfree or anything, I just was a person who doesn’t have kids. I think it’s very cool that you’re using your free time to volunteer and that you see contributing to society as a valuable thing.

The media whoring is one thing. The strict gender roles I can understand. I don’t get at all the part where making older kids care for younger ones is a bad thing. Taking care of your younger siblings is more important and worthwhile and endeavor than playing X-Box all day.

Yeh, that’s cool.

It’s a Ponzi scheme by definition, you pay in and then when you get paid out it’s from other people who came into it later who are currently paying in. It’s not ‘like’ a Ponzi scheme. It’s not at risk of becoming one due to mismanagement. It IS a Ponzi scheme, in the strictest sense.

Maybe he’s talking about The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Like I said earlier, I belong to a CBC social group, and the most rabid amongst us don’t want anything more than people respecting OUR reproductive choice - we’d also like it if people would look after their own children and not allow them to negatively impact us when we’re out in the community. Maybe that’s what suranyi is talking about; getting people who don’t worship at the altar of children confused with people who don’t think anyone should have kids.

Piffle on your “narrow view”. I believe that as the number of children increases higher, the amount of proper parenting per child decreases. Does that mean that the children will all automatically turn into ax murderers after the tenth? Of course not. But it does mean that the parents are at best shoving off their own parental obligations onto others, like older siblings or their clan. And as the question is of parental selfishness, whether others pick up the slack or the kids manage just fine unattended is completely irrelevent.

I don’t care if you think it’s wonderful if everyone had twenty kids and ignored them completely. That’s no reason for me to think such parents are being responsible or laudable, and it’s not ‘narrow’ of me to continue to hold my opinion on this matter.

No no, I am just saying the word, ‘childfree’, strikes me as a sort of PC fanaticism, as opposed to the standard English word, ‘childless’. The word as I’ve had it explained by people who adhere to it came out of a sense that they were being oppressed by English syntax. ‘I am not less because I do no have a child!’.

You know kind of like terms like, “worship at the altar of children.”, which is a derogatory way to refer to people who propagate the species. Underneath it lurks a profound disrespect for people who do have kids.

I don’t have any problem with you not having kids, I don’t give a shit really. I have plenty of friends who are adults and have no kids nor any plans to. It simply is not something that bothers me particularly. I just always find it odd when people define themselves in relation to a negative characteristic. Negative in the mathematical sense. Defining one’s self as being ‘without children’. It’s odd to me that something you choose not to do impacts you socially. You associate with other people who didn’t decide to have kids. That the decision NOT to have kids is such a defining factor in your life.

I certainly know the difference between childfree and VHEMT. VHEMT is a whole 'nother animal. Childfree seems to me to be just another PoMo logical reduction that assumes that one can change people’s attitudes by retuning the syntax of the language. It doesn’t really work like that. Too much Chomsky on someone’s shelf somewhere down the line.

‘Worship at the altar of the child.’, tells me that what undergirds the childfree movement is a kind of bigotry. It treats kids as a consumer product and reduces their value as real human beings, and forgets that you were once a child raised by parents too. There’s also the common chip on the shoulde that assumes that every parent disapproves of your choices. Which is false, I don’t disapprove of your choices at all, I just think that the way you choose to manifest it in your life is sort of weird. Kind of like Straight Edgers who think about drugs probably just as much as most drug users. For the vast majority of people who don’t smoke pot, they simply don’t think about pot very often, and do not belong to clubs of people who do not smoke pot. But for you, the fact that you don’t want kids has become a central feature of your identity. So, that’s weird to me. Seems a bit fanatical.

I am not carfree, I am carless, I do not own a car. So I guess what carfree says to me is that not owning a car is a feature of one’s identity is some kind of cultural statement, rather than just the condition of not owning a car.

Some people think they should never have any interaction with children in the world. That’s impossible, unless nobody ever has any children.

I am carefree, but not careless. Does that count?

And what do you base these ideas off of? Your entire view looks at it negatively as though the benefits of having a clan are irrelevant, it is only what they don’t have that we should judge the value of their cultural existence upon. They don’t have 1 on 1 time with Mom and Dad like an only child does, and for every child past 1 it is some increment of abuse and neglect. I don’t think it’s abusive to have a 17 year old change a diaper, and I don’t think it’s neglectful as long as you are aware of who has what responsibility at what time.

Are you even talking to me, or are you just going to make shit up? No one said, anything about ‘laudable’ but your assumption that it’s irresponsible is simply an assertion. It is not harmful for a kid to be taken care of by an older sibling, not harmful to either sibling. And you don’t know how much time the parents spend with their kids or not. Lots of only children are dumped with the nanny while their parents go do Yogalates.

I base it off the idea that parenting should not be taken lightly. This is not rocket science.

Note that I only start really disapprooving when I have reason to believe that neglect (of parental responsibility - others may be picking up the slack as the child is concerned) is likely occurring. I know families where that started happening around the seventh kid. I’ve seen it happen on the fifth. (Heck, I’ve seen it happen on the first.) My disapprooval with regard to large families that I’ve never met is based on extrapolation, probability, and speculation. When I hear of some family having ninteen kids, I have to wonder whether they can handle it. If I hear that these kids happened in four -tuplet birth sets in rapid succession due to fertility treatments, I start to doubt it a lot faster. If I learn that those nineteen kids were on four wives in succession across thirty-two years, I doubt it a lot less. But absent further information I don’t assume competent parenting of giant herds - that’s silly.

I’m talking to you. Perhaps if you figure out what you’re arguing that would help. 'Cause I’m not arguing that all single parents are good parents here (though all childless ones are). I was specifically answering “I don’t get it. Why is the choice to remain childless better than the choice to have lots of kids?” My answer is that for certain definitions of “lots”, I suspect that the parents are having the kids for other reasons than that they want to be good parents to them, and thus there’s an increasing chance that they’re going to be pooching the job of parenting as the number of kids goes up. Whereas with single parents, there’s no real way they can screw up the non-parenting.

It will be interesting to read what the Duggar kids have to say in twenty years, assuming that they escape from their brainwashing. However, I’d worry more about those families without TV contracts and iron hands, and how their 12 kids turn out.

And still more argument by assertion. Why do you think that someone who has that many kids takes their obligations lightly?

Ok, this has some more meat in it, at least your anecdotal experience. I am not sure it’s a quantity issue. Some people are neglectful of their first and only kid. Agreed about people spreading franchises all over the country, but that’s not what the Duggars have done.

You just made this comment about ‘laudable’ as though you have to either think their choice is pure awesome, or pure terrible. I don’t have to think that having 19 kids is the way to go just because I don’t automatically assume it’s a bad thing.

Your argument really does boil down to an armchair psychoanalysis of people you’ve never met. Though I do respect that if you’ve known a lot of families that were very large and feel they were neglectful then I can see where you are coming from. I really don’t see why having older kids help raise younger kids is a bad thing. It seems to come down to this nebulous idea of ‘liberty’ that the freedom of children to be indolent is somehow paramount and sacrosanct.

What do your kids say now that they have escaped their brainwashing? ;p

You should consider the possibility that for some people not having kids is definitely of the heart. My head and my heart both agreed that having children is something I wanted to do, but I accept that lots of people are not like me.
It is possible that in 20 years some people who didn’t want children will regret it, but it is just as possible that some who did want children will regret that decision also. The former mistake only affects the person making it, while the latter affects the person, the children, and possibly society as a whole. Do we really want to pressure people to possibly make this mistake?

Considering that we’re closing in on a worldwide population of 7 billion, I don’t think the addition of one more squalling brat is a virtue.

Would you be willing to give up your social security so that you can decrease the burden on my squalling brats when you retire?

Yeah, every time I have a period, I put a bag of stuff into the charity drop box.

Mostly it’s other organs that are involved.

Although I think your comments could be the genesis of some interesting pickup lines.

*This caused quite a bit of trouble for the lead character in Miller’s Crossing.

A few examples to highlight the underlying fallacy (equating the individual with the group):

I choose not to personally maintain the sewer system. Obviously if everyone chose like I did, epidemics of cholera and suchlike would break out within weeks.

I choose not to personally police the streets. Obviously if everyone chose like I did, our cities would be overrun with criminals (at least until they died of cholera along with the rest of us).

I choose not to personally join the military. Obviously if everyone chose like I did, foreign invaders would be contesting the control of the cities with the aforementioned criminals. (Memo to invaders: bring plenty of medical support for the cholera epidemic.)

I trust that the point is well and truly illustrated, and that I need not continue in this vein.

On the contrary – all my experience is that people are rather too inclined to follow their hearts off a cliff when their heads are desperately yelling “Whoa!”