Hostility to Children…

Hostility to Children… February 6, 2013

…is a sure and certain mark of the presence of evil and the influence of hell. People who seek a child-free America are doing the work of Satan. I regard the child free movement as an archetype of evil. And most of them don’t even have the excuse of being do-gooders who think they are somehow advancing the human condition in some addled way. They are simply narcissists who value their comfort and their appetites over the claims that children make on them and who have decided to try to pretend that this is noble by posing as some sort of grand social reformer in order to shout down their conscience when it tells them how selfish they are. Sometimes they spout crap about overpopulation, but that’s rubbish. We are looking at an impending demographic falloff. They just don’t want kids around and crinkle their noses in disgust at others who have them.

No. Nobody says everybody must have children and people are free to make their own decisions about such matters without anybody demanding they give an account of their choices. But when you go from making private decisions to remain child “free” (and note the loadedness of that word) to turning your selfish hostility to children into some sort of movement and positive good, you become an enemy of the human race.

In related new, Chinese commie one child bureaucrats live out in slightly more graphic manner what they always do by crushing a baby with their car.

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  • Didn’t they read Brave New World? Or did they think that it was an instruction manual?

  • Katheryn

    I’m still wondering what is going to happen in 50 years when the male/female ratio is something like 50/1. I’m certainly not wringing my hands about china like everyone said to. If there are no women and babies to come home to, then patriotism is pointless too.

  • Mark, when Sylvester Stallone starred in ‘Demolition Man’, I hope that he realised that its references to the ‘Taco Bell Wars’ might in fact be prophetic; after reading your links, the idea of the foreign mercenaries hired by the contraceptive manufacturers going head to head against the assembled legions of the candy makers to determine whether children should be allowed to even exist somehow seems less fanciful than it once might have.
    Hopefully without pushing anyone’s topical hot button, back in the days when I was still interested in economics (before I received the grace of mercy and returned to Holy Church), I once wrote that illegal immigration and abortion were Siamese twins, with the fact of the former’s existence allowing the latter to continue unimpeded, if only because, as many Catholic conservatives might perhaps still think, Man seems to exist for the sole purpose of earning the fruits of improved productivity (and you know how having a baby can mess that up, the call from the nursery fouling the compilation of the rococo spreadsheet, or the deadline for the report); and although on the level of the most meanly political that might once have been true, I’m not sure about it now. What I see as really mattering to childhaters of the stripe you are criticising is their pride. Becoming a parent means swallowing it and become the servant of someone else. This is something the deliberately childless will not do, with that old curse ‘non serviam’ remaining as fresh in some mouths as ever.
    In that respect, they’re pitiful, the only truly remarkable thing about them being the antiquity of their conceit.

  • Nobody wants an entirely childfree America. At least, not the childfree people I know, and I certainly don’t. However, I don’t want children, don’t have them, and never will. Not because of overpopulation or any other “noble” reason, but because I don’t want to be a mother. Many childfree people feel this way. And if you don’t want to be a mother, the worst thing a person could do is have children, don’t you think? What kind of life would it be for a child to be the cause of resentment and dissatisfaction? Why would you wish that on a child?

    • InsaneSanity

      The question begged then is “why” don’t you want to be a mother?

      • The same reason I don’t want to be an accountant or a pilot. It doesn’t appeal to me.

      • Mark Shea

        No. It’s not. That’s none of your business. It only becomes your business when somebody starts a movement and urges contempt for children on the rest of the culture as somehow noble and good.

        • Mark – are you replying to me? (I don’t want to jump in and reply if you aren’t.)

          • Mike Petrik

            Mark was replying to InsaneSanity, and I agree with him. It is entirely your business whether you believe that being a mother is your vocation. Mark’s post is not about that at all, but about a growing social hostility to children — something completely different.

          • Beadgirl

            Right. I couldn’t care less if an individual person never wants to have a child. I care quite a bit of that same person starts agitating for me and my children to stay away from restaurants, plane flights, museums, sidewalks (yes, really) because the very existence of my (usually well-behaved albeit exuberant) children bothers him.

            • Beadgirl

              I forgot Mass! I’ve been yelled at for bringing my children to Mass!

              • S. Murphy

                I’m so sorry to hear that! I don’t have any kids, but seeing them at Mass – usually even if they’re a little more exuberant than the, er, ideal – brings joy to my heart.

              • Lj

                That does all sound horrible 🙁 I would think children would be welcome at mass although can accept that a certain level of behaviour would be expected.

                I can understand on planes to a degree, some parents do take their children on flights at far too young an age, and my biggest issue with that is children cannot control their gases the way adults can, so a very young child can end up in a lot of abdominal pain and not be able to express that fact. I would hate to put a child through that and wouldn’t do it just so I could go on holiday where I wanted. Sometimes flights are a ‘necessity’, but I’ve seen people take newborns on 7 hour flights to New York for a holiday that the child won’t even remember, and with no idea if their baby is going to scream for the whole 7 hours, or just sleep… that’s incredibly inconsiderate and yes they most definitely should be considering the other passengers. I would not go onto that flight and expect to be allowed to talk incredibly loudly for 7 hours, the child can’t help it, but they are responsible for that child. Clearly they are going to New York for them and not for the child.

                It’s worth remembering that parents are slightly ‘deaf’ to their own child’s noises. Their brains do not register as much distress as the brains of people unrelated to the children. So parents do (incorrectly) perceive their child’s screams and cries to be a bit quieter than they actually are, obviously that doesn’t help matters. Planes are a very bad environment in which to experience a child’s cry, but maybe airlines could, without affecting safety obviously, take steps to help deaden noise in the cabin. Currently certain frequencies reverberate in a really horrible way and I can understand why a child crying on a flight is an incredibly unpleasant experience for other passengers. And I don’t mean unpleasant in a “I just don’t like it” kind of choice way, I mean in the sense of it making someone feel quite distressed. Certainly no-one will choose to feel distress, if they can avoid hearing distressing noises they will, but you’re not always allowed headphones on flights. I wear ear plugs and cover them with my long hair, but if the flight attendant saw them she would make me remove them. Our species was not designed to be caged up in metal cabins with excessive noise so it’s no surprise that we’ve not yet evolved to be able to deal with it. I would think in many, many generations to come it is something that everyone will be able to deal with.

                And in restaurants and cafes, there are loads of different types, some are obviously not set-up for children (fine dining etc.) and it is a little silly to expect places like that to have clientele that want children around, even those with kids of their own are probably treating themselves to a relaxing evening away from children. To have that experience ruined by a screaming child would be unfair. But there are plenty of very good restaurants that clearly do cater for children. Do I expect to be able to dine after 9pm at night without little children around? Yes, of course I do, they would be in their beds if their parents were any good, or should at least be finishing up! But if I go there at 6 or 7 I expect there to be children and noise, and would only expect something to be done if a child was really behaving in an excessively disruptive way.

                Certainly with our nieces we staged their introduction to eating out, it was little cafes at lunchtime, slightly posher cafes at lunchtime, then very family friendly eateries for dinner etc. and they only ‘moved up’ a step when they were obviously going to be capable of the expected behaviour. But while you may be sensible and take your kids to places that are suitable for kids, or wait till you can trust them to behave appropriately, on the flip side I’ve been at a fine dining restaurant at 10pm at night for a business meeting and had a woman come in with a friend and a toddler and start her evening meal!!!!!!! It takes all sorts :-S

                • carlamariee

                  My “parental deafness” worked the opposite way. Other peoples kids never bother me, mine seem amplified.

                • “It’s worth remembering that parents are slightly ‘deaf’ to their own child’s noises. ”

                  No, no we are not. Believe me, however much my kid’s crying is bothering you, it is much worse for me, not the least because I’m wondering how many people hate me and my crying child for disturbing them.

                  And for someone who wants no children, you have an awful lot of opinions on how to be a good parent.

              • George Lower

                Yeah…I have five children and have endured the dirty looks and scowls when my wife and I had the audacity to bring young children to church….

                I would smile and silently recite the words of Jesus “Let the children come to me, and hinder them not.”

            • Max

              Have you considered that your children may have a behaviour problem?

              • Andy, Bad Person

                So, having never met the children, you can speculate this?

              • Beadgirl

                Ha! I’ll keep that in mind next time a priest/stranger/teacher/doctor/fellow mom tells me how good my boys are.

                Here’s the thing — even the best-behaved child in the world is going to eventually have a melt-down in public, whether because he is over-tired, or getting sick, or hungry, or just having an off day. They’re kids — they’re not fully rational, they don’t understand everything around them, they’re not in complete control of their emotions (you know, like adults always are). And then, since apparently everyone forgets this, some kids are special needs kids, and that can also have an effect on their behavior in a variety of ways.

      • Kevin

        Why don’t you want to be a brain surgeon? The country needs a lot more doctors than mothers, just about any female can be a mother but few can be doctors.

      • Lj

        Why is that an appropriate question? No-one asks someone “Why DO you want to be a mother?” And it’s not the case that one is natural and one is unnatural, it is just two states in which people can be born.

        The fact is were are all born different, and there have always been people born without the desire to have children. Of course in olden times those women simply didn’t marry because had they married children would have been expected of them, so they stayed single all their lives. As such, they weren’t reported as ‘child-free’. Now that it’s easier for people to admit that they have no desire to have children, men and women born without that desire can marry each other. And that’s very useful for their families/friends and charities because they are often able to give a lot of quality time to nieces, nephews, the children of friends, complete strangers,… quality time that people who have their own children often cannot give.

        All the reasons I’ve heard people give for wanting children are incredibly selfish and self-serving. My only reason for not having children is that I’ve never had the desire to have them, obviously if I had that desire I would have had them, but I don’t have it. And without that desire it’s quite clear that having children would be an incredibly stupid thing to do.

        And what we see in society isn’t a hostility towards children, it is (perfectly right) hostility towards a declining standard of parenting. It is hostility towards parents thinking the world revolves around them and thinking that they and their children are not subject to the laws and to normal, decent human behaviour. The hostility is towards the following:

        1) Parents changing their children’s nappies on cafe/restaurant tables and kicking up a fuss when challenged about this unhygienic and, frankly, disgusting behaviour.
        2) Parents sitting in cafes/restaurants completely ignoring their children while their children run riot, scream blue murder, harass other customers.
        3) Parents who allow their two toddlers to sit in a row of an aeroplane by themselves actually thinking that children that age, without supervision, will behave for the next hour rather than constantly kick the back of the chair of the person in front.

        The hostility is towards bad parenting. There is a lot of it about, there is a lot of selfish parenting about, and people who are against bad parenting are PRO-children! Children need good parents, not some of the pathetic excuses of human beings they’re being subjected to today. I know so many kids from affluent families whose parents don’t care about them a jot, they just try and buy their child’s love, they spend no quality time with them, don’t pay any attention to their child’s point of view, frankly they don’t treat their child as a human, just an accessory. Unfortunately this type of attitude is growing among parents 🙁

        • A Philosopher

          Well, Sylvia kicked things off with a perfectly reasonable representation of those who choose not to have children, but Lj’s contribution here shows why the “child-free” movement raises such hackles.

          Let’s start with:

          All the reasons I’ve heard people give for wanting children are incredibly selfish and self-serving.

          Note that taking a swipe at those who do have children is a big step past simply expressing (or even merely exercising) one’s own preference not have them. I admit I’m pretty skeptical that Lj has never heard a non-selfish reason for wanting to have children, but just in case: it’s not so hard to come up with such reasons. Here’s one: people are good, and it’s good to make more of them.

          And then we’re on to the isn’t a hostility towards children, it is (perfectly right) hostility towards a declining standard of parenting line. A few things here.

          First, there’s a whole lot of confirmation bias going on here. A good 99% of observable parental actions aren’t anything like the (supposed) horribles being enumerated here, so when the 1% is fixated on, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the bias is driving the observation, rather than the other way around.

          Second, the supposed horribles don’t really sound all that horrible to me. I don’t think I’ve ever changed a diaper on a restaurant table, but I have on a restaurant bench. It really isn’t all that unhygenic, and I’m pretty skeptical of even vaguely objective disgustingness lines. (Side benefit of parenthood: you gain the ability to handle any bodily fluid without a second thought.) And kids running riot in a restaurant? What’s wrong with that?

          Third, and this is the really crucial point: Lj says that the problem is parents thinking the world revolves around them. But that’s not what the parents think. At worst, they think the world revolves around their children. And, more or less, they’re right, or should be. Children are among the most vulnerable members of society, and they should be protected and indulged more. Putting up with the (admittedly, at times annoying) impact of children on public life is just like putting up with the (admittedly, at times annoying) impact of the disabled, or the poor, on public life. You do it because they’re people who need extra resources devoted to them, and they should get them.

          • Mark Shea

            Thanks for your sanity, AP.

            • happily childfree

              Nope, AP is disgusting, not sane.

              • Andy, Bad Person

                Wanting to support children is disgusting? How sad.

              • A Philosopher

                Nope, AP is disgusting, not sane.

                For the record: the two are not mutually exclusive.

          • Lj

            It’s probably incredibly good for you that you live in an area where parents are so wonderful and wholesome and loving. Unfortunately not all areas are like that.

            You are choosing to assume that I am judging all parents by the standards of some, that isn’t the case, but instead of asking you choose to be a bit aggressive in your post. That’s your choice.

            Lots of parents pass by everyday that I probably don’t even notice because they are properly taking care of their children. Of course, it is the ones that aren’t taking care of their children that will be noticed because it is their children that will be making excessive noise to get attention. They shouldn’t have to make excessive noise to get that attention.

            If you can come up with a non-selfish reason for having children then give it, but “people are good, having more of them is good” isn’t one. People are not all good and too many of them will bring about the end of the species.

            I didn’t say I had any issue with people having children, again you chose to assume that. It’s just that “because I want a child”, “someone to look after me in my old age”, etc. all the comments you hear when people discuss why they want children, when pulled down to their core are selfish. That’s just a fact. If someone could say “I know that the child I am going to produce will make the world a better place, end war, end poverty” then of course that is a non-selfish reason to have children, but of course no-one can know that.

            You choose to read things the way you choose to read them, that doesn’t make it the way it was intended. My mention of selfish reasons is in response to people saying not having children is selfish. Clearly the meaning of the word ‘selfish’ is such that it simply cannot be applied to people solely due to them not having children 🙂

            Also, the behaviours that you don’t think are all that bad show your complete disregard for other people and suggest that you do think the world is solely about you and your child. What you do, and what your children do, in your own home is entirely up to you, but when we are amongst others we must take all people into consideration. I’m guessing you’re one of the non-religious people on here if you can’t understand that. Changing a nappy on a cafe/restaurant table is most definitely a hygiene issue and could lead to someone becoming dangerously ill, it is also against health and safety laws and the proprietor has no choice but to intervene if they see such behaviour, yet with parents they tend to get a mouthful of abuse for it!

            And really, a child running riot in a restaurant is okay? Glad I’m not your child, I’d have run into a waiter and had a knife fall into me!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, please if you have children, get some brains and look after their safety properly, and also raise them to consider others!

            • Margaret

              If someone could say “I know that the child I am going to produce will make the world a better place, end war, end poverty” then of course that is a non-selfish reason to have children, but of course no-one can know that.
              So— you’ve allowed for the existence of a non-selfish reason, but then tossed it out because crystal balls don’t exist, while free will does?
              How’s this: My husband and I intend and work hard towards raising children that will make the world a better place. That’s about the most realistic statement I can make, absent a crystal ball, but it’s the truth. I (and I suspect many of Mark’s readers) place a very high value on raising our children to be generous, kind, considerate, courageous, persevering, etc…

          • happily childfree

            “I don’t think I’ve ever changed a diaper on a restaurant table, but I have on a restaurant bench. It really isn’t all that unhygenic, and I’m pretty skeptical of even vaguely objective disgustingness lines. (Side benefit of parenthood: you gain the ability to handle any bodily fluid without a second thought.) And kids running riot in a restaurant? What’s wrong with that?”

            Wow, “A Philosopher,” first of all, that is just absolutely disgusting. Note that I don’t think your child is inherently disgusting, but your habits are. NOPE, it’s NOT OK to change your kid at a restaurant in public like that, except in the bathroom where there is a designated changing table. The smells, the germs, the dirty diaper….what the hell?! It’s a restaurant…people go there wanting to eat! They could also get seriously ill if your kid’s sh*t gets on things. That is disgusting, disrespectful, and incredibly selfish if you can’t even bring yourself to take your kid to the bathroom to do that. Second, “kids running riot in a restaurant? What’s wrong with that?” Are you kidding me?? *facepalm* Take your kids outside if they can’t behave indoors in public around adults in an adult setting. That’s what people always used to do. It’s that simple. Or….get a freaking sitter, or simply don’t go out until the child is old enough. Having children limits your freedoms…this was your choice, and you are not necessarily entitled to do all the same things you did before you had them.

            • Andy, Bad Person

              Having children limits your freedoms…this was your choice, and you are not necessarily entitled to do all the same things you did before you had them.

              This is horrible. If the world cannot tolerate the presence of children, it is a disease of the world, not the children. You are making Mark’s case for him that hostility to children is, indeed, a symptom of evil.

      • Amy

        Perhaps the question should be, “Why do want to be a mother?”

        One has to take action to be a parent; childlessness is the default state.

      • My reason is because I hate kids.

        • Dan

          How very forthright. Now kindly consider seeing a psychiatrist.

    • Scott W.

      Depends on what you mean. If one doesn’t want children and both abstains from marriage and sex, then I say go in peace. If they give us what is essentially, “I have a right to both marriage and sex and the right to destroy my fertility and if that doesn’t work I have the right to kill innocent human beings through abortion”, then I call BS.

      • Why would I abstain from marriage and sex? I’m a romantic, we love each other, and my husband is sexy. He had a vasectomy so neither of us would have to worry about me getting pregnant. I wrote a response to Mark Shea’s blog post that might help you understand the childfree a little bit:

        • From those of us who are going through the toils and cares of child rearing, who will spend endless nights with sick children, bear the expenses, endure the hardships, the heartbreak, the sorrows, as well as the joys, happiness, and unbelievable fulfillment that comes with parenthood, so that our kids will be able to grow and become productive members of the society that will hopefully serve you well in your advanced years: you’re welcome.

          • You did all that for me?

            • Whether I did or not, you’ll certainly benefit from it.

              • happily childfree

                We all pay for children – public schools, tax breaks, and maybe more depending on where you live. I don’t mind paying taxes for public education and things like that, because I do think society benefits. Just don’t act like you’re not getting any benefits.

          • Glen Smith

            From those of us who decide not to have children, chose not to produce another consumer to further tax the ailing resources of the planet, chose to sacrifice the potential “joys, happiness and unbelievable fulfillment that comes with parenthood”, yet who diligently pay vast swathes of tax into the system – without promise or hope of equal return – to support infant healthcare, subsidised childcare, primary education, child benefit, secondary and further education, adolescent sexual health programming, income support for families with children, junior recreational facilities, drug and substance abuse detoxification programs…parents: you’re welcome.

            Kids are great…and of course everyone has the right to chose to have them if they are able…however, the righteous posturing above is nauseating. Imo, there is only one altruistic form of parenthood: adoption.

            • For some reason I can’t help but guess you’ll be more than happy to accept the contributions of those up and coming burdens to the planet in your old age. I could be wrong, and perhaps you’ve already appointed a time for your own personal Carrousel, but otherwise, remember just who you’ll be relying on in your twilight years.

              • Glen Smith

                Yes, you’ve said already. Are your kids planning to be care givers? If not, I think I will be ok without them thanks….and in that case you are still welcome for my contribution in bringing up your kids. If they are, then no doubt I will be paying them for the privilege of their professional services. You, on the other hand, will be expecting them to look after you for free, right? I’m sure they will look forward to that. 🙂

                • Who knows? Maybe. But it’s unlikely you’ll be OK without them or the next generations. You’ll need someone there to pay the taxes that maintain the infrastructure, to work in the hospitals, to drive the trucks and fly the planes, to basically keep the society you are part of running. And while I would like to think my boys would take care of me personally if I needed it, I’m not planning on it. I’d like to think I’ll always be able to be there for them. It’s that thinking of your kids first that comes with being a parent.

                  • happily childfree

                    That’s great that you think of your kids first. Just don’t expect us to also think of your kids first.

                • wineinthewater

                  And it’s not just the maintenance of the basic elements of infrastructure. Those next generations will also be funding your Social Security (because the money you put in is gone) and your MediCare. Just because they are not your care-givers does not mean they won’t be funding your care.

                  As a society, we’ve decided to subsidize both ends of the age spectrum. You benefited from the childhood subsidies and you will benefit from the old-age subsidies. Just because you do not have children does not mean that your children-destined taxation is not to your benefit. It is essentially repaying the debt to society created when society subsidized your own childhood.

              • Kaz


                Your kids are not going to look after you for that last 10 years when you are crapping your pants. Go visit the nursing homes, and do a quick survey of how often the kids visit their parents.

                Secondly, the child-free group are going to have plenty of money (from all the cash they saved not having kids) to pay for live in nurses/better aged care options.

                Accept that not all people want, or are suited to having kids. I have greater respect for the person who chooses not to breed, than for the person who follows social expectations by having children, even if they are not at all suited.

          • Kevin

            You’re raising slave children? That doesn’t sound very Christian.

          • Lj

            You’re wrong there Dave, they’ll only do it if their paid to 😀 And by paying them we are providing them with badly needed jobs.

            Don’t try and tell me that your children are going to look after complete strangers unless they are paid to, albeit I do a little bit of that myself but I also need to have a full-time paid job to afford to live, and so will your children.

            • kmk

              We are already discussing with our children the fact that we might be called as Christians to take care of older people, just as the early Roman Christians rescued the rejected babies on the hills. It’s not bragging or anything, I just see that happening in my parish and amongst friends anyway to varying degrees, so I think it will be a calling.

              (That calling is not just being moticed and answered by Christians, of course–I think all of good will will see this situation developing and react nobly to it. : ) )

              • Lj

                That’s good of you kmk. It’s something I’ve always done, and it’s something I hope my nieces and nephews will also do. But I take it you can see my point that most people will still need to have full-time jobs to live, and this will mean only being able to give some (and probably not as much as is needed) time to elderly people or others needing care. The elderly will always be reliant mostly on paid care-givers, and that’s not a bad thing, it provides jobs.

                I would hope that the people looking after me will be friends, I’ve always had friends of all ages and (like my gran) will no doubt have many much younger friends when I am in my later years. Had my gran had no family then I can clearly see that in her infirm years she had more than enough friends helping out to ensure she was taken care of. And that was because she was a good person, in many ways they weren’t ‘actively caring’ for her, they were just spending time with someone whose company they enjoyed, but obviously in doing so they also helped out with bits and pieces here and there. I do think that’s how it should work, we should treat people such that they want to help us out in our later years.

            • So what you’re saying is that you just assume someone is going to have the kids who will run the country someday. The problem with proudly saying I want the benefits of marriage without the burdens of raising children is that it automatically assumes someone else is going to pick up that burden so you don’t have to. Will my kids say “I’m only doing this because I want to help all these people”? Who knows? But you’re betting the farm that enough [other] people will choose children because you know full well you’ll be screwed down the road if they choose your path, as the culture you are part of begins to come apart at the seams.

              • Lj

                Well there is obviously a problem when you assume Dave!

                I am not assuming anyone else will have children, that’s up to them. If there is no-one to take care of me in my old age (and to be honest none of my family have needed actual physical care in their old age) then that’s the way it is. Having someone to take care of me wouldn’t be a good reason to have children, it would be a very selfish reason to have children.

                Still, the fact is God created me without the desire to have children, and because of that I am able to devote more time to children whose parents haven’t carried out even the most basic of their duties. I am able to help save children from a life of crime, a life without education, a life of feeling unwanted and unloved. I am so thankful for that because I know and love these kids and I could not bear to think that simply due to me having children they received less help 🙁 So I am very grateful to God for creating me with no desire to have kids.

                But no doubt I’m selfish for helping children whose own amazing parents didn’t give a care about them 😀

                • I don’t think anyone is saying that not having children is itself a problem. If you wish to live married or single and abstain from the sex side of things, then that’s one way to live life. So be it. You’re not trying to have your cake and eat it too, as the saying goes. But when we plow forth and push into a whole realm of ethical decisions that force even more ethical calls down the road, all in order to enjoy the fun but without the fruits, while obviously assuming others will bear the fruits (after all, the human race would come to a screeching halt if everyone jumped on the no-children bandwagon), that’s where it becomes problematic, at least if those making the choice aren’t aware of just what it is they are assuming.

                  • Why do you care so much if people enjoy the fun without bearing fruits? Does it seem unfair to you? Immoral? Why? Your logic leads to the belief that if you don’t want children, you should not be allowed even companionship or the love of a spouse. That is a very cruel doctrine that I believe goes against biblical teachings such as “it is not good for man to be alone” and the greatest commandments of love God and love each other. Love is good, and you are placing limits on it.

                    It’s generally a small percentage of the population that forgoes having children, and doing so frees them up to contribute to society in ways that parents don’t have the time or resources for. Why can’t you appreciate the good and the contributions that result from people who choose a path other than your own? God created a very diverse humanity, and it feels like you want to stick them into a very few confining boxes.

                    • Sure you can. Just don’t indulge in the sex part. Sure, it’s a bit of a drag. But for me, those who act as if it’s no big deal that they freely choose to have the bang without the buck, seem to be denying their basic assumption: that thank goodness others aren’t; that others will be having the kids who will grow up and take care of the society they will desperately need. Again, if you don’t want kids or don’t think you’d be a good parent, then by all means. There are a thousand variations on meaningful relationships that don’t have anything to do with sex. But trying to steal away the fun of it while, even unconsciously, taking for granted that others will go through the ropes to populate your civilization, is something that should at least be admitted to.

                    • Lj

                      It can only be jealousy that makes people not want you to enjoy sex without having children.

                      I mean to say “choose to have the bang without the buck”???? If children are such an amazing blessing then surely the people having them ARE the ones getting ‘the buck’.

                      This is the one thing I’ve never understood with some parents. Why if having children is so amazing do they make suggestions like this that make out like we’re enjoying life without getting the negative side effects? Surely for them NOT having children would be a negative so they are getting the sex and the positive of having children? Shouldn’t they be happy and feel sorry for us because we’re allegedly ‘missing out’.

                      I could understand wanting others to enjoy what you enjoy, but that is not the message given off by “choose to have the bang without the buck” now is it. Very strange indeed. I can have sex without getting pregnant because having ectopics lead to me being infertile. But really, to suggest that I shouldn’t get to enjoy sex when it’s not even my fault I’m not then ‘burdened’ with children, that’s surely just jealousy.

                    • I didn’t say negative side effects. I said responsibility. Not having kids is fine. By all means. Just abstain from sexual relations so we don’t have to twist and turn the definition of human life to accommodate the desire to enjoy all of sex’s fun (and I’m going on the assumption that sex can be, in itself, fun) without assuming the responsibility for having the kids who will run the trains and deliver the babies of tomorrow.

                      That’s the whole point of it. Those who flippantly say ‘Ah, just want a life focused on me and my spouse, no kids thank you’ are doing so with the unstated assumption that someone else will be having the kids while they skip along their merry way. Kids aren’t a negative. Tough? Yes. Difficult at times? Sure. Heartbreaking? Yep. Is it bittersweet knowing you have to take the people you love more than any other humans in the world and work your fingers the bones in order to prepare them to leave you and cleave unto another? Oh yeah. But they are not negatives. They are necessities for humanity. And you and everyone here needs them to be. It’s just that some take that responsibility along with the fun of what comes from making the babies, while others seem only to want the fun.

                    • I agree, Lj. I believe jealousy is a major driver in those who want to believe the childfree are selfish and not doing their duty. It’s the only thing that can explain the pure hatred that comes from their mouths, and the superior magical way they justify their own actions while condemning all others. Christlike love, indeed. They say that having sex without the burden of children is having your cake and eating it, too. But they want sex and they want children, so they are having their cake and eating it, too. Very hypocritical.

                      And Dave, you answered zero of my questions, so I can only assume you have no answers and prefer to blindly believe what makes you feel better than others, regardless of how cruel or illogical they are.

                    • Mark Shea

                      I believe jealousy is a major driver in those who want to believe the childfree are selfish and not doing their duty.

                      “Jealousy” is the new racism as the all-explaining way of dismissing people with substantive critiques of dumb and/or evil ideas.

                    • enness

                      “God created me without the desire to have children”
                      You are breathtakingly certain of that, are you? Why? Well, God seems to have created some people with the tendency to become alcoholics, too. I don’t see your point. It’s not an automatic good. It doesn’t mean you are immune from doing wrong by it.

                      “Your logic leads to the belief that if you don’t want children, you should not be allowed even companionship or the love of a spouse. That is a very cruel doctrine that I believe goes against biblical teachings such as “it is not good for man to be alone” and the greatest commandments of love God and love each other. Love is good, and you are placing limits on it.”
                      Bull crap. There are other kinds of fulfilling love and companionship besides the erotic variety. It is unfortunate that we have one single clumsy word whereas the Greeks have several. ‘This is a hard saying; who can accept it?’ (Hint: you can. I can.)

                      “It can only be jealousy that makes people not want you to enjoy sex without having children”
                      You have some serious freaking chutzpah. You are also missing a huge part of the point of sex.

        • Scott W.

          Contraception is evil. It desecrates the marital bond, offends against chastity, and is a menace to public morals.

          • It prevents unwanted pregnancy. People will not be stopped from having sex, but we can help curb the number of unwanted children who are currently abused and neglected. Five children die every day due to neglect or abuse in this country. Five. Every single day. The fewer children born to such abusive adults thanks to birth control, the fewer children who are tortured and killed at the hands of their “caregivers.”

            • wineinthewater


              That is an overstatement. Contraception decreases the likelihood of conception in each act. However, it is not 100% effective, even when 100% properly used. And unfortunately, the people who are the most likely to neglect their children are also more likely to neglect the proper use of contraception. When all these factors are put together, the net result is that pervasive contraception use actually has the potential to *increase* the number of unwanted pregnancies: more people engaging in an act more often that can potentially lead to a result that they are trying to avoid. As long as contraception continues to have a failure rate and continues to promise child-free sex, it is going to contribute to unwanted pregnancies.

              • enness

                Bingo. Contraception doesn’t prevent unwanted children. It contributes a great deal to making it fashionable to not want them pre-emptively. I don’t think it’s unfair to surmise that taken as a class, people who use it have a bias against wanting children (at least at that time) compared to people who don’t.

        • Some years ago, I remember an online conversation with a woman who was marrying a man who had biological children. At that time when he was married, he had a vasectomy.

          She had children of her own, and both a bit older I would say the couple was in their ‘late 30s’ and the children from the previous relationships were middle school/high school. The vasectomy issue was there, because she really wanted to entertain the idea of having another.

          My response wasn’t make him reverse it , but I asked her ‘Would it be the worst thing in the world, if two people who actually loved one another had a baby”

          I understand there may be personal preferences no to have any children, but it is a fair question to ask. Would a child really be the end of the world for you and your husband? Would it change one’s lifestyle materially and how you spend your free time? Yes. But would it be the end of the world? I really don’t think anyone could be that narcissistic to think a child between two people the loved on another would be that tragic.

          So I only see what you’re expressing as personal preference not to have children. IF YOU WERE to changed your mind, that a child could not destroy the love you have for your husband. Children can do a lot of things, but never did my children make me love my husband any less. Children don’t want to destroy the love a mother and father have for one another, they are the major beneficiaries from it.

          • Lj

            Okay, technically for me pregnancy would be the end of the world because, if forced to go through with it, I would die from it being ectopic so as far as I knew the world would be over as I’d be dead.

            That aside, your point is somewhat moot. You are assuming that people choose not to have children because they are narcissistic. Actually narcissism applies to having children (i.e. choosing to ensure that your own genes continue long after your own death) rather than to not having them. There is nothing narcissistic about not having children. There is, by definition, nothing selfish about not having children since there is no-one to be harmed by you not having them (in contrast a child can be harmed by you choosing to have it).

            You, and others, presumably have children because you have some in-built desire to have them. You don’t sit down, weigh up the pros and cons and think “okay, let’s have children”, the desire is there in the first place and THEN you (hopefully) look at how the practicalities of how it will work.

            Obviously when you are born without that desire it’s never going to cross your mind to sit down with your partner and say “okay, here are the pros and cons of having children, should we have them?” And that is simply because the desire isn’t there to being with. I really don’t get why it’s so hard for people to understand.

            Many desires (or lack of them) are in-built, they are not consciously made. I prefer not to say “I don’t want children” because for me that’s not what it’s about, it’s simply that I have never, and know I will never, experience any desire to have children. I can’t change that. I could have children anyway, but really, what would be the point in that?

            • enness

              That doesn’t automatically guarantee that such a desire – or lack thereof – is neutral.

              You may not desire children, but if you did have them you might find that you wouldn’t send them back, so to speak. That’s possible unless you really and truly despise them all (not the vibe I’m getting).

              “there is no-one to be harmed by you not having them”

              That’s debatable. Not by you, individually, but the sum of thousands of individual decisions can become very problematic.

      • Lj

        Of course, even though any pregnancy I have will be ectopic I shouldn’t use contraception, I should risk my life for a foetus that has no chance of survival! Waow, that’s a really loving attitude!

        • I can’t be pregnant on the medicine I’m on. I need this medicine. I use Natural Family Planning for grave reasons for four years now.

          Yes, it really works.

          The science is there.

          • Lj

            To be fair Renee, even if I could conceive a non-ectopic embryo, the medication I’m on (which keeps me alive) would likely do a fair amount of harm to the foetus.

            I find it incredible that there are people who profess to love and care about children who think I should have them anyway! My genuine love for children is such that I believe every child should be conceived with the highest possible chance of being healthy and should ONLY be conceived with the full intention of their being two loving and considerate, selfless parents.

            Anyone who chooses to deny any of that to a child from the outset is a terrible person, to my mind.

        • enness

          None of us have any chance of survival in life, Lj. If my mother wouldn’t risk her life for me in utero, how would I believe that she would at any other time in my life? Unconditional love doesn’t wait to commit until we see if I make it, or if I am healthy, or likeable.
          (I know that this is slightly more severe than the Church’s actual stance on ectopic pregnancy. Nevermind that for a second, readers.)

          The thing is that there’s a reasonable assumption that married people have sex at least occasionally, and sex does tend to produce babies. Even sometimes when the equipment is purposely mangled (I don’t know how often, I wouldn’t expect it to be common, but I have heard the odd report of stuff growing back). I don’t mean to make light of the discernment process about what if any action should be taken, but I think the logical conclusion is not so escapable.

    • Mike

      Me, me, me, me, me. Me. Me; me, me, me, me. I, me, myself and me; I, me, I, I, I, me. I! I! Me? Myself! Mine, mine, mine, me, my, myself, self, my, mine, MINE!


      • Are you implying that you didn’t want children, but you had them anyway? Or were you thinking “I want I want I want I want, I, I, I, me, me, me”?

        If you have made the choice to bring something into the world that you could devote your life to, it’s a choice you made. A choice you thought would make YOU happy, make YOU feel fulfilled. How are you any different from me?

    • Mark Shea

      Nobody wants an entirely childfree America.

      Then perhaps they should not write books urging a childfree America. When you pass from making a personal decision to urging it as some sort of noble social cause, expect pushback. The Childfree Movement is an expression of toxic narcissism and hostility to children. It is part of what is deeply wrong with our culture, not part of what is right and healthy.

      • Lj

        No it’s not, your choosing to allow a handful of extremists (usually the preserve of religion mind you) to claim a movement that actually isn’t a movement and belongs to EVERYone who is childfree, not just to a handful. That’s your choice. These people don’t represent me. Equally, when the Archbishop of Canterbury speaks on TV I don’t assume he speaks for all his people, I engage my brain and accept that he is just one man and that not everyone he claims to speak for will agree with him.

        Also, if you understand the meaning of the word narcissism you would understand that someone thinking they are so amazing they must simply have some of their own DNA continue long past their death is surely the biggest indicator of narcissism that can be seen in our society.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          a handful of extremists (usually the preserve of religion mind you)

          The mask slips.

        • wineinthewater

          No, he’s allowing a group of people to define themselves. People in the child-free movement do not represent all people without children, but they do represent themselves. Mark is not commenting on all people who don’t have children, or have chosen to not have children, but only the subset that constitutes the child-free movement.

          If you do not advocate what these people advocate, then you aren’t part of the movement and Mark is not talking about you.

          • enness

            A good point and well said.

            Still, if these people don’t represent you then don’t be complacent about or indifferent toward them just because you regard them as fringe kooks that no one would take seriously. The unfortunate fact is that terrible ideas can experience a vogue, and all it takes is for 1) a few people to get their hands on money and influential positions, and 2) the rest of us to go about our business with our heads in the sand.

            • enness

              Sorry, I was addressing two different people there. I should have been more clear. wineinthewater has the good point.

  • Thomas Tucker

    OTOH, the way many kids are raised and behave these days, there are many I don’t want to be around either.

    • Lj

      I would have concerns about putting a child into any of the schools on this island seeing the kind of children they would be around. It isn’t the fault of those children, it is merely their poor upbringing, but it is fact that the badly behaved children have more of a negative influence on a group (or class) than well behaved children have a good influence. For some reason the bad behaviour always wins in being the most influential 🙁

  • Blog Goliard

    As a corollary: People who prefer animals to human beings are not to be trusted.

    • Perfidious Albion….

    • People are not to be trusted.

  • Madeline

    I have zero interest in being a mother. It’s not because I hate children. I just don’t have the desire. I’m sure there are things I enjoy that you wouldn’t enjoy. I wouldn’t force you to do them. Perhaps it’s selfish to not want children. But it’s my life and I get to pick how I would like to live my life. You wouldn’t like it if people assumed things about you just because of a life choice you made. If you want to have children, have children. If you don’t want to have children, don’t have children. Why is this even a issue?

    • It’s not selfish at all. Selfishness is a behavior that hurts or deprives others in your pursuit of happiness. Who are you hurting, whose life is affected, by your not wanting or not having children?

      • Mike

        You hurt Children with your attitude. You make it so that people who do have children are made to feel like they are imposing. Your attitude is what hurts families and communities. You disconnect yourself from history, you imply that it is not worthy of you. You take and do not give back. Who will pay for your pension? Your healthcare? Who if not other people’s kids? If you really don’t want kids, then at least stop taking things that you haven’t earned.

        • My attitude is very welcoming toward children. (The ones I like, anyway. Children, after all, are just people, and I have to meet them before I can decide whether I like them.) If you mean the childfree “movement,” all it really is is an effort to make people like you be less judgy of men and women who don’t want children. It’s a desire to be understood as just as normal as you – we just make a different choice.

          Why do you assume we don’t give back? Because we don’t create more humans? What about the people who give back through their work, their volunteering, their helpfulness, their kindness? Surely having children isn’t the only way to give back. Charles Manson was someone’s child, after all. Quite a few people would have been better off had his parents been childfree.

          • Jon W

            My attitude is very welcoming toward children. (The ones I like, anyway. Children, after all, are just people, and I have to meet them before I can decide whether I like them.)

            The more you post, Sylvia, the more put-off I am. You’re attitude is the attitude of hell. You don’t get to decide which people you want to “welcome”, whether you like them or not. Who knows what purpose God has with Charles Manson and what might be his final end or the end of those he brainwashed or (by proxy) murdered. Your willingness to post your own divining of someone else’s soul as an eternal declaration from God is a little … yech.

            I started out sympathetic to you, but no longer. Your attitude is chilling in its complacency.

        • Lj

          Sylvia is totally right, there is no-one to be hurt. It is entirely your problem if you assume that the way someone else lives their life is a reflection of their views about how you life your life.

          Chances are they are just living their life and assume that you will just live yours. But then maybe you think you are so important they must care what you are doing with your life? I doubt they give you a second thought, and likewise I doubt you give anyone else a second thought when you choose to have kids.

        • “joe”

          “You make it so that people who do have children are made to feel like they are imposing.”

          i can’t follow the train of thought behind this reaction to sylvia’s post.

      • Katheryn

        I think the “selfish” angle comes in enjoying sex without its natural end, which is conception, as opposed to pleasure. Yes, sex is great because it feels good, but the end is indeed children. Perhaps an analogy could be that the act of eating tasty food is pleasurable, but the end is nourishment.

        • Children is not always the natural outcome. Many people are sterile or infertile. Others have miscarriage after miscarriage. It’s all natural.

          I don’t understand how “selfish” applies. Again, selfishness is a behavior that hurts or disregards another. Enjoying sex for sex’s sake hurts no one.

          • Katheryn

            I didn’t say that every sexual act results in offspring. I said that it is the natural end. Eating food does not always nourish us (hello, junk food) but that does not change it’s natural end.

          • Jon W

            What’s not natural is making yourself sterile. That’s no more natural than cutting off your own legs because you really, really, really enjoy sitting down.

          • thomas tucker

            I’m not in agreement that that is all that “selfish” means. Seeking only things for your self is selfish regardless of whether other people are immediately affected. It affects you adversely, even if not others.

            • So people intentionally have children because they don’t want to so as not to be selfish?

          • enness

            Sylvia, have you not heard the phrase “exception that proves the rule”? Humans, as creatures that reproduce sexually, are not supposed to be sterile. Some of them may not mind, but that doesn’t mean it’s “natural.”

            “So people intentionally have children because they don’t want to so as not to be selfish?”

            I sometimes think that I really would like to be married, but I don’t love the idea of childbirth, to be honest. If I can’t reconcile those feelings somehow, I will not get married. And I will make up my mind not to spend my celibate life miserable and feeling sorry for myself.

    • Dave Pawlak

      An individual choice not to have children may be one thing. Turning that choice into a movement is quite another.

      • See above for an explanation of the “movement.”

    • Mark Shea

      It’s not an issue till some narcissist writes a book urging a “child-free America” because they want to rationalize their selfishness as noble and denigrate children and parents. Then those of us in the Normal American community push back.

    • For what it’s worth, I’ve never wanted to be a mother, either. Never to have been a father, though, would have deprived my life of any true meaning. I can’t say this is true in all cases of course, but to never have kids in your care is to condemn yourself to a life where your choices don’t really matter.

      • Lj

        That’s the kind of arrogant stuff that causes people to dislike so many parents. Just because it works for you and is how you view does not mean it is the way it would be for everyone else.

        It is really sad that you cannot see how different everyone in society is and accept that no-one else is exactly like you. Everyone’s choices matter, and indeed many human choices matter far more than the choices you make will matter to your children. Many human choices affect society as a whole.

        • Just asking hypotehtically: Why do your choices matter? After you’re gone, what will your legacy be? Like I said, it’s not true in all cases, but for most of us the only way I can see our daily choices mattering for any amount of time in the temporal plane is if you have progeny (and their progeny, and their progeny) to carry on your legacy (or your DNA if you want to be crude about it). If you’re Plato or Aristotle, then you probably don’t need literal progeny as your disciples will carry on that legacy for you. But how many of us are Socrates?

          • Lj

            Because my choices affect many children (and indeed vulnerable adults) and their lives. Surely you don’t live in some closeted world where your decisions only affect you and yours?

            Most of your daily choices won’t matter to your progeny at all either. Think of all the choices you make in a day, how many matter to anyone other than you?

            What people do in education, in healthcare and in showing love to other people, that is truly what matters and that is what leaves behind a legacy. That doesn’t have to be done to progeny, it can be to strangers. It is why treating all people well is so important, I trust you don’t just treat your own kids well and not bother about others?

            From the DNA point of view I don’t care about my own DNA continuing on, I cannot see why anyone would be concerned about their own DNA continuing on to be honest. But I will leave behind a legacy as all people do, I just don’t need it to be attributed to me in history books or a family tree or anything like that. Maybe I’m just not egotistical enough, I don’t know. I do good and I help people because it’s the right thing to do. I know it will have a lasting effect and that the effect ultimately continues on after I’m dead, but I don’t need to have it marked in any way or discussed by others in the future, it’s just enough that it happens.

            • victor

              Well said and those are all good reasons. I’ve never thought of myself as ambitious, but I guess I expect more from my existence. But to each his reach!

  • Beccolina

    Choosing marriage, then choosing to not have children, is selfish because it says, “I want the benefits of marriage, but not the responsibilities. I want sex with this person, but not results from that sex. I love this person, but not enough to reproduce with them. I love all of them, but not their fertility nor my fertility, so we must chemically or physically sterilize functioning organs so we may be married, but not produce that which marriage is meant and intended to produce: children.”
    Not every one is meant to be a mother, but to enter into marriage is to enter into a state from which motherhood and fatherhood naturally follow, just as entering into a sexual relationship, married or not, is to enter into a relationship that will naturally produce children (and parents). It is wanting your cake and eating it too.
    People don’t want to be parents. As Sylvia above says, it doesn’t appeal to her. She doesn’t say why. I didn’t want to be an engineer. It doesn’t appeal to me because I don’t like math, I don’t like sitting at a desk or a computer all day. But I didn’t go to the college of engineering at my university and take classes, get my degree, etc. while refusing to use math, and then refusing to be an engineer.
    Modern society has divorced (no pun intended), the purpose and meaning of marriage from the act. Marriage is a nice thing to do because you love someone, so hey, let’s spend a bundle and throw the biggest party ever and be married. Maybe it’s till death do us part, maybe it until I can’t stand you anymore and find someone else. But it is certainly not, anymore, “I love you, I love all of you, I love your fertility, I want to have children with you, and I will stick by you even if you become an invalid, even when you have dementia, even when you are fat and pregnant with an unplanned baby. and I will love that baby too because it is yours–ours.” Children are one of the purposes of marriage, but that has been lost, and anyone who reads this blog regularly can name the consequences of that.

    • You say children are the purpose of marriage – should couples not marry if one is infertile or sterile and they know it? Or would you insist that they adopt?

      I understand you would like my reasons for not wanting children, but they’re really no different from the reasons someone wants children. What you want, I don’t want.

      • Actually yes, that’s why the government keeps tracks of now many moms are married or not.

        Seriously being a single parents is a struggle, and father absence has a huge social impact on the socio-economic needs of children. Government once had an interest in marriage due to procreation, but there was a movement that says marriage isn’t about any more. It’s about the benefits of adults. Why else would government be involved in the marriage issue, if there wasn’t a public interest which were the needs of children. Adults can take care of ourselves, children need their mother and father.

        Most children are abused/die from non-biological care givers (mon’s boyfriend) , not biological parents.

        • Lj

          Renee, unfortunately you are wrong there, most sexual abuse is committed by a blood relation 🙁 And I know this because I work for a children’s charity and I work with abused children. All the children’s charities agree that most abuse is occurring in the home, and most sexual abuse is brothers/uncles/fathers/family friends in that order.

          It would be a good world if having children made someone a good person but it truly doesn’t and, of course, if you know you are a paedophile then you are going to try and become a parent because you know it will give you access to children. It’s very sad, but it’s true.

        • “Although mothers’ boyfriends contributed less than 2% of non-parental child care, they committed almost half of all the child abuse by non-parents. ”

          The risk of children being killed by a stepparent was 50 to 100 times higher than at the hands of a biological parent. (American sociobiologists Martin Daly and Margo Wilson)

          Preschool age children not living with both parents were 40 times more likely to be sexually abused than those who were. “The presence of a stepparent is the best epidemiological predictor of child abuse yet discovered.” (American sociobiologists Martin Daly and Margo Wilson)

      • Beccolina

        No, no forcing or insisting. I don’t support forcing a couple that doesn’t want children to have them, nor do I support preventing someone from having children just because I’m unsure of their fitness (As opposed to those who have show their lack-of-fitness most definitely). I’ve met folks who I think should have missed the reproductive train altogether. I don’t think all those who choose not to have children within marriage are malicious or evil (those forcing women not to have children are–see China), nor do I think they hate children, or hate people with children. I think they are the product of a culture that has separated s*x and marriage from their primary purposes for more than a generation. At the time in my life when I didn’t want children, I did not have s*x and I didn’t get married. I knew when I married that it meant, fundamentally, in the meaning of marriage, that children were possible, likely, and that I was accepting that. Procreation is part of the meaning and purpose of s*x; procreation and raising of children is part of the meaning and purpose of marriage. Procreation is not the whole meaning of either, so those who find they cannot have children, though they would be open to and desire to, still embrace the fullness of the meaning, even if their bodies (unintentionally) block part of the meaning. Intentionally blocking it, intentionally changing the meaning of marriage and s*x, seeks to change what it is. It seeks to change the meaning of marriage and s*x from procreation AND unity AND pleasure, to just unity and pleasure (and for those unmarried, one-night stands, seeks to reduce sex to mere pleasure, with neither unity nor procreation.)
        (Hey, got thumped by the spam filter for the fist time, hence the stars.)

      • enness

        Well, let me put it this way: if it was thought to be incurable, that is definitely something I’d want Fiance to be aware of, to give him a chance.
        I hesitate to say definitely not because we have two biblical examples of women who were thought to be hopeless cases, Sarah and Elizabeth.
        I bet more people discover they are infertile once they are already married and trying to conceive. They have my sympathy. Do we recommend ‘solving’ this problem by divorce, with or without remarriage? I wouldn’t.

    • Glen Smith

      What an incredibly silly post. Choice is the prerogative of the individual….or in this case the couple. There is no law, natural or man-made, that says “marriage is for making babies”….a promise of betrothal is a promise to love and honour that individual…to endeavour to make that person happy in all of the circumstances life throws. Where did you hear that it was part of the contract to have kids? Someone sold you a line my friend! By all means, if that is what you want to do, then go right ahead….if you are financially and emotionally in the correct position to deal with the situation….or not. Your call.

      All this stuff about “being selfish” is complete pap. Is a mother selfish for wanting gas and air during her birth….or a c-section….or epidural? I mean she wants a child but not the pain incumbent on one who is giving birth. One could extrapolate your idioms a million different ways….but it is just too silly. Live and let live. Don’t judge others for making different choices than you.

      • Scott W.

        Deliberate sterilization is not a different choice, it’s an evil choice.

      • Um… No Natural law that says that marriage is for making babies? “Go forth and multiply” doesn’t count? That’s a biological as well as a moral imperative. It’s written into our DNA as well as into our hearts.

        Seriously, I almost hesitate to use the word, but I’m getting the impression from what I’m reading here that in addition to being passively selfish some willfully-childless folks are also being aggressively parasitical.

        • Glen Smith

          “It’s written into our DNA as well as into our hearts.”

          Er…you do know what we are discussing, right? In that case, it would seem that is *not* written into everyone’s DNA or “hearts” (lol). If you have that biological compulsion….knock yourself out! Many don’t. No need to judge them for being unlike you.

          • I think you’re mistaking your software for your hardware: your hardware, your DNA / body / heart, or your soul if you prefer, is programmed by the factory to reproduce. To the extent to which your software can be reprogrammed or corrupted (in the strictly technical sense) by society at large or your own whims and preferences, your hardware can be prevented from fulfilling its original programming.

            I just want to make sure you’re not confusing a firmware update for your original O/S. Flash new firmware to yourself too many times and you’re likely to brick the system.

            • Lj

              Our DNA is, as you suggest, a parasite using us as a host, and its desire is to continue on. However, evolution has also allowed for some ‘instincts’ to be over-ridden by intelligence. It still isn’t a conscious choice by the people, we don’t choose our desires, they just are what they are.

              What you post fails to consider is the bigger picture. Our species is breeding itself into being non-existent as soon as is possible, it will survive longer if the population is allowed to (naturally over time) decrease somewhat and then to continue at a sustainable level. Personally I have no difficulty with accepting that we probably have people being born without the desire to have children as the ‘species’ own collective way of ensuring that it continues as long as possible since the individuals within the species aren’t taking the necessary steps to make it so. If you believe in God then it could be that God has seen what we are doing to the planet due to overpopulation and maybe God is ensuring that our numbers are lessened without anyone getting hurt. Again, I have no issue with any of that, future humans will have a far better quality of life if we look after the planet more and stop just thinking of our own individual desires.

              • Mark Shea

                Our DNA is, as you suggest, a parasite using us as a host,

                Deep-seated and deranged hatred of life? Perish the thought.

              • Katheryn

                One of the points of this post is to point out the population bomb myth. It’s fiction.

        • Lj

          It’s worth remembering that what is ‘natural’ for you may not be ‘natural’ for someone else.

      • Beccolina

        Pain relief during childbirth does not eliminate the fact of childbirth. The child is born, though there are side effect to all pain relief (for the child as well as the mother). While c-sections are sometimes medically necessary, they are certainly not ideal for mother or child. Scheduled inductions or c-sections for convenience instead of medical reasons are selfish, as the are structured for what is best for the adults and and demonstrably not what is best for baby.
        As for where the idea that marriage and babies are intrinsic to one another, it’s called Natural Law, and has been understood by many cultures, worldwide, for thousands of years.

        • Lj

          It can’t be natural law because back when marriage first existed people didn’t sign what are actually legal contracts!

          • Beccolina

            Demonstrating that you are unfamiliar with how we are using the term “natural law”.
            Societies throughout history have recognized that when a man and woman make a commitment to one another, whether it was called marriage or not, it was culturally recognized that the union would and should produce children. Most, if not all, primitive societies actually made people approaching a marriage-like commitment eat a special fertility diet to increase chances of quick procreation, and would require that women and their partners eat a special diet between children for optimum development of the next child and protection of the mother’s physical well-being during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

            • Lj

              But if you believe that to be natural law then why get married? Because modern marriage isn’t natural law, it is a legal contract so you don’t need it.

              Societies throughout history did not have overpopulation 🙂 I do wonder when people will think the world is full, because it’s known that our resources are finite. And science doesn’t have the answer, it has some assistance to offer, but it doesn’t have the answer.

              Times have changed and we must change with them, and if that means accepting that things cannot be today as they once were then that’s just growing up and accepting the obvious.

              • Beccolina

                In reverse order: Over population is a myth. Check out what the Population Research institute says about it. My marriage is a sacrament of the Catholic Church, instituted by Christ, the God-man himself (to be clear, he raised the existing ceremony & following state to the level of a sacrament). I got the piece of paper for civil marriage because following civil authority in thing that are not immoral or unjust is my obligation as a Catholic. I could divorce my husband in the eyes of the civil government, but still be married. Marriage as an institution has been around, in various forms, for a long time. I cannot think of any ancient society that did not associate marriage, or their form of something like marriage, with fertility and children. Natural law is those “laws” which people can naturally come through without divine revelation or the teaching of some “higher” society. Most societies, through natural law, have taboos against theft, murder, infidelity, etc. Many historical societies were able to come to the conclusion that human sacrifice is EVIL, without anyone teaching them. Other notable societies did not, but that doesn’t mean they could not.
                Natural law does not mean “What comes naturally” but that we must use things, or let things be, according to their nature. The nature of food, it’s primary purpose, is to nourish. It has secondary purposes of pleasure and community, but the nature of food is first to nourish. If we eat for other reasons, we will likely fail to nourish, become ill, and develop many problems. People who eat for pleasure only, or who eat out of boredom, anxiety, to lift depression, etc. are violating the natural law of food by treating in a way that goes against it’s nature (nourishment). Check out the results of vitamin deficiencies, or what missing certain trace minerals can do, and you’ll realize how important this primary purpose of food is.
                In natural law, the nature of s*x is to create babies, bond the couple and for pleasure. Just as eating only for pleasure leads to bodily ills, so s*x for pleasure only, facilitated by sterilization, contraception, etc., leads to problems within relationships and within society. This doesn’t apply only to couple who choose childlessness (they are probably a very small portion), but to anyone who is contracepting or intentionally sterilized for non-medical reasons, to anyone fornicating or committing adultery. And no, I don’t consider them all equivalent–adultery is obviously much worse because it involves deception, breaking vows, lying, and hurting others, not just using s*x against its nature.

      • enness

        ‘There is no law, natural or man-made, that says “marriage is for making babies”‘

        I do — it’s called reality. Sex has a remarkable tendency to lead to babies, and married people have a remarkable tendency to want to have sex with each other (at least initially, wisecracks aside). See where it gets you to pretend reality cares what you think about it.

  • Madeline

    Really! Contraception is “evil”…come on now! Why are you scared of someone making a conscious desion for THEIR life. If you don’t like to use protection then don’t use protection. It’s your life. See how that works. I let you do your thing and I do my own. If you choose to have 10 children that is your choice. I choose to not have 10 children

    Just because my desire to procreate does not exist it does not mean I do not like children. I love kids. I’m a kick ass aunt. Plus, believe it or not, I have spent over 15 years of my life being a nanny. A real nanny. Not a babysitter. I have worked 60+ a week with some of these families. I have helped raised over 8 children. I have cared for them, loved them, potty trained them, cleaned up their messes, laughed with them and even cried with them. I’m not heartless. I just know what I want from my life and not having my own children is my choice. You have no right to pass judgment on others.

    • Not to be Mr. Nosey, but since you brought it up and just in case it helps, they’ve actually done studies and a non-existent desire to procreate can actually be caused by long-term contraceptive use.

      • Glen Smith

        Wow, this sounds scientific. It must be true. What contraceptive are we talking about…all of them? They all have the same effect? That would seem unlikely….making this a grasping generalisation to add to it’s irrelevance to the topic.

        • Glen, The Pill affects your pheromones. Don’t you know the Pill kills your sex drive. A woman’s pheromones change during her menstrual/fertile cycle. The send invisible messages. When a woman is on the Pill, it basically neuters her sexuality.

          Ever here about the study the strippers make more money when they ovulate?

          Real study.

          • Lj

            It improves some people’s sex drive. Renee, I would suggest reading up on endocrinology, because what you’re saying isn’t true, hormones are far more complex than you seem to think.

            • Complex or not, at least I know how to make a hormone!

              • Lj

                Are you a scientist?

                • Are you telling me you don’t know how to make a hormone? :O

                  • Barbara

                    Ok, that’s a groaner. (think about it for a sec….)

                    • Yeah! We have a winner! Only now I think I need to take a shower. 😐

                  • Lj

                    That one did make me giggle, sorry I took it as rhetorical 😀 I know rather a lot about the many different hormones our body produces and how it isn’t just one or two that affect our sex drive.

                    Obviously most of the hormones we hear about regularly are those ‘recreated’ for contraception, but they are far from the only important ones.

            • How would it improve? It’s artificial chemicals affecting the cycle?

              For instance one is not treating PCOS if a doctor is simple prescribing the Pill. It does not correct the underlying problem with her menstrual cycle. It just suspends her menstrual cycle.

              • Lj

                Because your sex drive is not solely based on your hormones Renee.

                • Really? Hormones do affect other parts of the body, i.e. brain. But sex drive, you do need hormones for that. So where else would it come from?

                  • I’m thinking along the lines of when puberty hits, and hormone production starts.

                  • Lj

                    There are a lot of hormones in our bodies Renee. The ones we hear about, and the ones that are involved in preventing pregnancy, are not the only ones that affect sexual drive. Also, the psyche is involved in sexual drive, so even without any chemical intervention that drive can come and go according to how we feel, also hormones can be produced according to how we feel.

        • I just go by what the FDA tells me in terms of the documented side-effects for artificial contraceptives. *shrugs*

          • Lj

            Fair enough if that’s all you’ve got to go on, but obviously they have to list stuff that has occurred in just a handful of people and that is purely due to worry about litigation. If I was to take as absolute fact the potential side effects of the drugs I am on to keep me alive then I wouldn’t take them because I would believe taking them would kill me. Bit of an oxymoron there but hopefully you get what I’m saying.

      • But there are many factors that contribute to people’s choices to have, or not have, children. Some people have children not because they want to contribute, but because they want to do better than their own abusive parents did, or because they want someone to love them unconditionally (note: babies need, they don’t love), or because they want to keep a man, trap a woman, save a marriage (a baby may or may not work), etc. Some factors that can make people disinclined to be parents might, sure, be birth control (but how do you explain the childfree men?). Other factors include abuse, disease or illness that runs in the family genes and that they don’t want to inflict on a child, a desire to have the time and freedom to volunteer for something like the Peace Corps, etc.

        Sometimes, the reason is a very simple “I want” or “I don’t want.” Interestingly, though, you rarely see people exploring the psychological motivation of people who choose to have children, even when those reasons can be as complicated as those driving a person’s choice not to.

      • Lj

        Yikes if true, but the people I know that are Childfree have always been so, long before they first used contraception. Most of us knew as little children.

    • James Isabella

      Contraception is “evil” because it prevents a marriage from becoming what it was designed to be, the full union of a husband and wife. Contraception intentionally puts a barrier (in fact, some forms are called “barrier methods”….its rare truth in advertizing) between the man and the woman, so the union is never attained.

      A child is the full visible fruit of that union.

      If you are Catholic / Christian, it needs to be pointed out that that human marriage is a living symbol of the relationship that Christ has with his Church…a relationship that is always life giving and always self-giving. As Christ would never put a barrier between himself and his church, a Catholic/Christian must not either in their marriage.

      • Lj

        We don’t know what marriage was intended to be, marriage existed before Christianity or even Judaism and exists in many different forms also.

        I believe that God has made me the way he chose, and that if he wanted me to have children I would feel whatever it is some other women apparently feel. I know for a fact that he wants me to help the children that I am helping AND that I wouldn’t be able to do that to any great degree if I had my own.

    • enness

      Scared? LOL! For calling it as we see it? More chutzpah. Who gave you your amazing psychic powers, Madeline?

      “We don’t know what marriage was intended to be, marriage existed before Christianity or even Judaism and exists in many different forms also.”
      Is it not possible that time has refined our understanding?

  • Lj

    This is hilarious. I’ve never met anyone advocating that no-one should have children. The childfree ‘movement’ as parents seem to want to call it isn’t really a movement, no-one is saying “you shouldn’t have children” or “they shouldn’t have children” it is merely a method whereby those of us who have been abused and ridiculed for the awful crime of being born without any desire to have children can easily find others who won’t abuse and ridicule us.

    What parents (et all) should ask themselves is, just how evil was their behaviour that caused the need for childfree people to seek out each other? That’s the real sin. How awful that some of you have spat on people simply because they were born without the desire to have children. How awful that some of you have verbally abused people who were born without the desire to have children. How awful that you have considered yourselves to have the monopoly on love, and have acted with total prejudice towards people who were born without the desire to have children.

    There is no ‘reason’ why I have no desire to have children, I was simply born without that desire. I love kids, I work with kids, I have nieces and nephews, but I was born without any desire to have children of my own. How awful of me 😀

    You must really feel threatened or unhappy with your own circumstances for this to bother you so much. Because frankly it doesn’t bother me that other people have children. Of course I expect them to properly value their children and to raise them with good morals and values and, unfortunately, in a lot of cases that simply isn’t happening, a lot of parents are putting their own wants and desires above their child’s needs.

    • Jon W

      I’m 36, and I don’t have kids, and no one’s ever said one unkind thing towards me because of it. Not one. And I live in a pretty conservative, pretty “fertile” community.

      But I’m single. Always have been. I think you’ll find that if you get married, people expect your marriage to be fruitful. That’s the reason you got married. And if you make all your sex sterile and then talk about it, people will have an instinctively bad reaction. If you don’t want kids, don’t get married.

      • It’s not the reason I got married at all.

      • Lj

        You are also male Jon (I presume?) It doesn’t tend to happen to men, yet another double-standard. However, now that I am married people do make that assumption to him.

        It’s not why I got married though (to have children), I got married because God brought this wonderful man into my life whom I love. My marriage is fruitful in that we can do far more together than we could as separate parts 🙂

        Why should I stay unmarried just because it doesn’t suit your idea of what marriage is about? After all, your idea is far from the only idea.

        • enness

          I’ll wager any day that my idea makes more sense.

          You’re stretching “fruitful” like a rubber band. Just so you know.

    • enness

      Just because YOU have never met any, does not mean they don’t exist.

      It is possible that you have truly been mistreated and abused, and for that I offer no justification; I’m sorry that happened. But given the content of your other posts, I have a suspicion that what you call “verbal abuse” I would call “speaking a hard truth.”

  • Andy, Bad Person

    Looks like you got cross posted on a child-free site somewhere.

    • Katheryn

      Seriously! I mean, it’s not like this is a Catholic blog or something…

    • Ha!

      I do enjoy the conversation though.

      • Katheryn

        Nothing quite like keeping sharp on the basics, for sure!

  • JJ

    Hey Victor, “Go forth and multiply” doesn’t count, because some (most likely fictional) collection of fables and tales written thousands of years ago (and has been subject to hundreds of mistranslations) should not be taken seriously in any matters of importance outside religion. Not to mention earth and society has undergone countless changes since the time of publication. What was relevant two thousand years ago may not be relevant today.

    The Bible is not “natural law” by any means. It is scripture which is of consequence to a very select group of people.

    • But sex is natural law. Catholics aren’t against the teachings of evolution or understanding the mechanisms of human sexuality.

      • Thanks, Renee 🙂

        And seriously: If we have to continually restate “species have a biological imperative to reproduce or else they go extinct” over and over again, never mind being anti-Natural Law, how anti-science must the other side be?

        But instead, I’ll just let Aretha Franklin explain it for me: “It’s the motion in the ocean, the wind in the leaves: two kind of somethings just trying to make three.”

        • Lj

          Victor you fail to understand population modelling. I would suggest going and reading up on it and then reviewing your last comment. The fact is that BOTH non-procreation and over-procreation bring about the end of a species. That is fact for every species in existence.

          As such, while we have people over-procreating we will always have to have people not pro-creating to keep a balance that allows the species to continue.

          That’s not “anti-science”, that actually exceptionally basic science that gets taught to teenage science students. You cannot claim something to be “anti-science” just because you don’t like it, when actually it is scientific fact.

          • Who says we’re over-procreating (in my opinion, there’s no such thing… wink wink, nudge nudge, knowwhatImean)? Populationwise, we’re nowhere near the limit of what our single planet can support. And since we humans can invent rockets and colony ships and terraforming techologies, there’s no reason we should feel confined to our single planet. If anything, demographic collapse is a far more imminent threat.

          • Katheryn

            Where is the “we” who are over procreating? Birth rates are at an all-time low…. Except for right before the fall of Rome, perhaps…

          • Andy, Bad Person

            The fact is that BOTH non-procreation and over-procreation bring about the end of a species. That is fact for every species in existence.

            One word: agriculture. It’s one of the things that makes humans unique among all species that have existed. While overpopulation causes famine in other species, humans have the ability to feed themselves through intelligent agriculture. Saying “every species in existence” is susceptible to extinction through overpopulation doesn’t account for the uniqueness of human ingenuity and the will.

    • Lj

      As a Christian I always took “go forth and multiply” to mean spreading God’s word to enable more people to come into the fold!

      • That’s not what the bible says, though. “Be fertile, then, and multiply; abound on earth and subdue it.” is the New American Bible translation of Genesis 9. And I don’t think God is telling Noah there — right after a great flood that’s almost made the human race extinct — “Let your ideas be fertile” 🙂

        • Lj

          As a command given to people when the population was small. Then we are told to look after the earth, and since doing that properly means stabilising (indeed lowering) our population the two teachings cannot co-exist in today’s world. And so the only other way to interpret it so it still applies is in the sense of bringing more people to the fold.

          To follow the first command literally has to mean ignoring the commands to look after the earth. I don’t know about you but I prefer not to pick and choose bits of the Bible to follow.

          • If by “look after” you mean “subdue” then I’m right there with you! 😀

            • Lj

              Oh come on Victor, don’t tell me you want to ‘subdue’ the earth? 😀 Certainly my God loves the earth, he created it after all, why would he want it ‘subdued’ rather than cared for?

              • Because He created the world for our benefit. It’s up to us to subdue it to our benefit — and having kids is a big part of that. We subdue it responsibly, of course, as if we subdue it irresponsibly it won’t be around to benefit our kids as they have children of their own. Control the earth so we can have children and keep them fed and safe, but respect the earth so it’ll be around for our kids to do the same. If we didn’t have kids, there’d be no point in being responsible caretakers of the earth. See, it’s like a great big circle. A “circle of life”, if you will.

                • Lj

                  So you’re happy to ignore the bit about looking after the earth? Really?

                  I can’t! And my God wouldn’t want me to.

                  And, of course, if we don’t look after the earth it won’t provide for us anyway, that is ‘the circle of life’. I see being a responsible caretaker of the earth as God’s commands even though I don’t have kids but, more importantly, while other people have kids I wish to leave their kids and their kids’ kids the healthiest planet I can. Being a responsible caretaker is the same as respecting it in many ways, but we aren’t doing that by overpopulating it.

                • Lj

                  I like a lot of your arguments Victor, I think we’ll just have to disagree on a core point. I see overpopulation as not caring properly for the earth, and not caring properly for future generations.

                  • victor

                    If I believed in such a thing as overpopulation, I’d probably agree with you 😉 .

  • Dale Price

    I’m not going to weigh in on any individual husband and wife’s decision on having children. However, there is an increasingly-fanged edge to some parts of the child-free subculture which display open hostility to parenting, with terms like “crotch-droppings” and “breeder” bandied about. While not as bad, there are even some hints of it here, with the sentiments regarding juvenile detox centers and “better off having not been born.” While the furthest thing from an intellectual Amanda Marcotte (ROTFL) has a podium at Slate to rant against motherhood with a picture of Octomom as part of her argument.

    Sure, I know for a fact some parents say hurtful things to those who have chosen not to have children. And I’ve been told by a federal court case manager telling me out of the blue that I should be “fixed” after learning I had three kids (I’m an attorney in federal practice). Maybe each side admitting to excesses in rhetoric and a desire for good will would be a good start.

    • Dale, I always like to think people are just trying to have a conversation. I think at times when someone asks ‘Are you done?’, they just may be curious why you didn’t stop at two children.

      • Dale Price

        “Are you done?” is fine–we get that a lot. I’m happy to respond.

        But “you need to be fixed” is of a different order entirely, especially when delivered with an edge to the voice.

        • “Are you done?!?!” is something I get more during the act of procreation than after it.

          • thanks for the laugh, Victor. 🙂

            • victor

              Anytime! It’s why I’m here. That and the food of course!

    • Lj

      Well said Dale. I have heard some people say these things, but I can brush it off because usually it is anger due to them first having ‘come-out’ as childfree and receiving an incredibly negative response. And I understand their anger, I was given a lot of abuse (verbal and physical) when people first realised that I was never going to have children, and this was even though I was clearly great with children and love children! The way I was treated by many people, specifically other Christians, was absolutely atrocious, it really was evil.

      So it’s not just child-free people who use strong and inflammatory language, Christians do it too. Meanwhile, the vast majority of us on either ‘side’ are just living our own lives peacefully and letting others do likewise 🙂

      I have no issue with the word ‘breeder’, I am originally a scientist and it is a biological term that we had to use a lot, the word itself is not offensive, in fact it is impossible for a word to be offensive, people have to choose to be offended by it. If the literal meaning applies then so be it, people shouldn’t be offended. Still, I find it is used solely to describe people who get pregnant, give birth to a child, but frankly do not give the child any care whatsoever. And personally I would fail to refer to someone like that as a parent, because I have parents and they actually parented. I would not denigrate the word ‘parent’ by referring to some of the people I see having children as ‘parents’. Being a parent is, to my mind, far more than having a child. Breeders have children, parents actually parent those children.

      • Andy, Bad Person

        I have no issue with the word ‘breeder’, I am originally a scientist and it is a biological term that we had to use a lot, the word itself is not offensive, in fact it is impossible for a word to be offensive, people have to choose to be offended by it.

        Whenever I speculate that someone’s IQ range is considerably lower than average, for some reason people get offended when I call them “idiots” or “morons,” too. I just can’t believe how sensitive idiots can be about clinical words. /sarcasm

    • Glen Smith

      For sure Dale, I think there are bitter tinges. I do not condone abusive terminology either way, although I can understand the feelings of those who adopt the terminology you mention. I am sure, even from the things written here, that you can see how quickly ill feelings build when you are being told by a good portion of society that your choice to exercise a right of freewill is deemed unnatural, against God, selfish. When you are constantly being told that you are wrong and that you *will* change your mind. That your marriage and mutual love is pointless without children. That you will never find true fulfillment in life. It’s water off a duck’s back for me personally, but I am sure you can see how those sorts of opinions and remarks can be embittering? Never before has the culture of the child been more prevalent that it is now….and never before, I believe, has such vitriol been poured out on those opting out of that life choice. Luckily, the internet now provides a support network for people wishing to exercise this right.

      All I ask for is to move forward in an attitude of mutual understanding and respect. We are all free to make our own choices….and we must all live by them.

      • Lj

        I think in one way it’s good that the vitriol has been turned on its head and that in some cases parents are experiencing it. In an ideal world, obviously, I would never advocate that, but I think this is what it is going to take for some parents to see how atrociously they have treated some non-parents. Some people learn by reading, seeing, hearing, others only learn by experiencing themselves that which they have done to others. That is, some need a taste of their own medicine for them to learn, sad though that is.

        As a woman the hardest part is the assumption that you are stopping your husband having children, that you are choosing to deny him that which he desperately wants. Essentially you might as well tell me I don’t love him, and who has the right to do that to anyone? No-one has the right to question another person’s love. Obviously I wouldn’t have married someone who wanted children, but not wanting children doesn’t mean we love each other any less. Indeed, if we loved each other less our relationship would never survive since often having children can be a distraction from problems within a relationship whereas without children any problem has to be dealt with and finished because there is nothing to distract you from it. Also, we certainly spend more time together than our parent friends, which again we couldn’t do if our love wasn’t equal to the love other couples share.

      • Glen,

        I agree. There is this odd almost paradox view of children. Children are human beings, they’re shouldn’t be seen as wants in the same manner I would want a material good. Many children who are born today are wanted in a material sense, but do not get the fullness of just being loved in the most natural sense.

        I believe that in the Catholic faith, a couple is not asked ‘they must want children’, but rather they accept children within their marriage. (Correct me fellow Catholics)

      • Dale Price

        Fair enough, Glen. And I don’t remotely condone the nasty rhetoric the other way–really, Barbara? How are you helping? How are you changing minds?

        But I will more than quibble with the idea that “never has the culture of the child been more prevalent that it is now.” To the contrary–American birthrates are plummeting to a level not seen for a century. Free contraceptives are deemed a human right, a moral issue by the supporters. The pendulum has swung, and perhaps decisively.

        And if we are pleading on behalf of our wounded brothers and sisters, I would do the same for those on my side. Those who have families are on the receiving end of judgment, too. Still, a little more self-policing of our own ranks wouldn’t hurt.

        • Lj

          I agree that people who have children are sometimes on the receiving end of judgement. Sometimes rightly so, sometimes not. There does appear to be some people out there who expect children to be completely silent all the time, whoever thinks that… well good luck to them 😀 I only expect that parents teach their children to consider the people around them. The children we work with are taught what behaviour is acceptable in public areas, they learn that on the beach or in a park is very different to in a cafe.

          “never has the culture of the child been more prevalent that it is now.” I think this gets said because children were once seen and not heard. Naturally the reaction to that extreme has been to go to the other extreme. Any extreme is wrong, but as a society we do tend to bounce from one extreme to the other and then eventually settle in the middle, and I think this is another area where society will eventually settle in the middle. The sensible position is that children are seen and heard but that this is coupled with parents carrying out their responsibilities properly and teaching their children to remember there are other people about. One of our local cafes I’ve ended up having to watch out for children about to seriously injure themselves because the parents are just paying no attention. I really feel for those kids, but if I’m out for a lunch with friends I shouldn’t really be in a position of having to keep an eye on other people’s children. Unfortunately I can’t sit back and watch a child get seriously injured. Scraping their knee or something like that is one thing, but I’ve seen a child work their way into a sectioned off area and be about to tip a bleach-mixture over themself. The parents were definitely at fault, but no doubt had the child been injured they would have blamed the cafe, even though health and safety laws were being followed properly.

          Of course there are unwritten social rules that we should all work with like not imposing ourselves upon others in a physical or excessively noisy way etc. Obviously some adults do this, particularly drunks, but generally there is little issue with dealing with them accordingly. However, when there are children involved some parents really over-react about being asked to do something perfectly reasonable (being asked to stop their child running around a restaurant for instance). These are just simple examples, but they are becoming increasingly common where I am, and it is these kinds of parents that are making life harder for the good parents.

          To me this is all just common sense. Children are meant to try and push boundaries, it’s how they develop. It is for the parents to set boundaries, stick to them and discipline where necessary. It’s not even just about others, it’s what’s best for the children anyway. Good parents do that, unfortunately not all parents do 🙁

          Don’t worry, free contraceptives are not actually a human right (paid for contraceptives aren’t either), but then lots of things that get touted as human rights are not in the charter at all.

  • Barbara

    All of the comments from childfree folk are very telling. It amounts to a whole lot of butthurt because “you’re judging meeeeee.”. Why don’t these people just nut up and admit that they’re movement is really about selfishness. It’s about putting “myself,” “my needs” “my comfort” ahead of any implied social or biological imperative to give of oneself, to extend oneself to others. Stop pretending it’s not, because your very discourse and deportment screams of it, full of I’s and me’s and my’s and attempts at tu quoque justification. “well having children can be selfish toooooo”. Stop being the 2 year olds y’all refuse to have, practice some self reflexion and say “look, I’m a self- centered individual who doesn’t want the radical change of lifestyle that parenthood requires. I’ll leave that for more courageous souls than myself.”

    Of course y’all don’t want kids, it means you have to grow up.

    • Lj

      Barbara, I can only guess you’re upset with your own life to assume that anyone is caring what your opinion of their life is. Once you grow up you will maybe be able to understand that everyone is different and in every area of this world and our species there are opposite. In a world where many people are born with the desire to have children it is obvious that there would also be people born without that desire, that’s how our universe works.

      It is incredibly sad that you would want children to be born into the world not being desperately wanted, that doesn’t reflect on you very well to be honest.

      • Barbara

        You guess wrong.

        • Barbara

          Calling a child unwanted says nothing about the child and everything about the person who says it,

          • Lj

            Barbara, I feel for you, I couldn’t live a life like you must be living to have to be so hateful towards others who have nothing but care and compassion for their fellow human being.

            It is obvious that if you are born without a desire to have a child then that child is unwanted. That doesn’t mean that you will ‘not want’ it once it is born, but wanting a child should start at conception dear.

            People can have children and love them, but to choose to have them when you have no desire to have them is idiotic. The world needs people that don’t have children, the economy most definitely needs people that don’t have children. There is a place in this world for both, it is so sad that you cannot see that, and so sad that you cannot follow your God’s teaching and be loving to others.

            • Jon W

              Oh my. This post takes the frakking cake. I’ve never read so much passive-aggressive self-righteousness in my entire life.

              • Lj

                It’s trying to calm down someone who is choosing to attack and be very nasty about people who simply were born without the desire to have children but who clearly have no issue with other people having them!

                • Barbara

                  It is passive aggressive. It’s like handing someone an over frosted bundt cake made entirely of dog turd. You make false assumptions about my motives, even my emotions and then you puff yourself up with self-righteousness, most clear-eyed people can see that, but when you live in a mind space where mushy emotionality passes for love and truth is whatever you say it is, and there is no “right” and “wrong” anyone who bluntly says “this is b.s.” suddenly becomes an “angry person”. I love how you use the old “I will pray for you”. I’ve heard that referred to as the Cathlolic f–k you, pretty apt in my opinion.

                  • Lj

                    As opposed to your just aggressive, nasty, swearing posts? 😀

                    You come across as aggressive and unhappy so I said I’d pray for you, goodness knows I didn’t think it was an insult.

                    This is the last conversation we will have Barbara, you wish to not accept that there are people created differently to you, and choose to limit your God to only creating certain types of people, but not others.

                    I can’t go along with that at all, so I will just wish you well in your life.

                    • Barbara

                      Hi LJ

                      I don’t know if you’re even reading this thread anymore, but I would like to apologize for the way I spoke to you yesterday. It was very unfair of me to be so aggressive and to make assumptions about your motives.

                      The thing is, I get very bothered by this topic, not as you mentioned because of unhappiness or jealousy or because I’m coldhearted or anything like that, but because I have been there and I see in you and these other commenters the person I used to be and of whom I’m very ashamed. I was an ardent feminist who swore I would “never” have children, I would never be “one of those women whose whole life revolves around husbands and babies”. I looked down on my very sincere Colombian roommate when she expressed a deep longing for a baby. I even wrote a poem about how I was “turning breach and kicking at the womb” that got published in a literary journal.

                      Then at 32 I found myself with an unplanned pregnancy and forced to confront the issue head on. I realized that I was having a baby whether I wanted it or not (abortion simply was not and would never be an option). I saw that I had a choice before me, I could kick and scream the whole way, or I could make the choice to love that child, to become her mother. And do you know, when I made that choice, the love came, and it was passionate and deep. You were wrong to say that I was only “in love with my own DNA” I made a conscious choice to love when the baby was nothing more than a vague nausea and exhaustion, and it was making that choice that brought about the feelings. Indeed, it’s that choice that sustains my love for my child when parenting is hard and “warm feelings” are scarce, when she throws a temper tantrum in a public place, when I haven’t gotten any sleep because she wants to be in bed with her dad and I and I keep getting woken up by her foot in my back, when I’ve had to put on the same Dora the Explorer video fifty gajillion times. “sing it with us…lake!…tunnel!….rainbow!”

                      The thing I realized the most, is how absolutely wrong I was to think that “feelings” were more powerful than will. When I put will first, when I said “I will love” I felt love. If I had waited until I “felt something” to love, then I would have never experienced the kind of love I have experienced as a mother. I don’t really care if it’s biological, or spiritual, or something in between. It has made me more human. That “biochemical reaction” as you put it, was like an explosion in me that made me more loving in general, across the board. I didn’t just look at my babies with love, I looked at all babies that way, I saw how beautiful and amazing they were. I saw how amazing mothers were. I saw how amazing fathers were. I saw the grace in the weakest and the smallest of us.

                      Have you ever noticed how, when a mom is carrying a baby people are just drawn to it? Strangers ask questions. Heads turn. People smile all of a sudden. They come out of themselves. Babies seem to draw this natural, spontaneous good-will out of so many people. One baby on a city bus makes that city bus a little bit brighter for a brief moment. I’ve seen that so many times. A badass faux gangster or world weary hipster will say “hello” when a toddler hands him a toy telephone. Children really do renew the world. For this reason, whatever your decision ultimately is, I pray to God that the Child-Free philosophy dies on the vine. I want the world to continue and I want there to be more innocence and love, not less.

    • Glen Smith

      Barbara, this post just comes across as very ill thought out. I don’t know about you, but I try me best not to act in the spirit of any “implied social imperative”….I was born a thinking individual, and I tend to give consideration to most things that I do. And need we go into “implied biological imperatives”….I feel that would open a whole can of worms. (Do you kill and cook your own meat….destroy anyone who is a threat to your family….think it is ok for a man to “sow his wild oats” as far afield as is possible etc….all biological imperatives).

      Unlike you, I do not see that the majority of parenthood as the result of the “courageous soul”. Rather, in the first instance, it is the product of social conformisms, peer pressure, accident (both happy and sad). I believe that very few people truly consider or are aware of the demanding nature of child rearing until they are in the middle of it….ergo, to me, they are merely people in a situation that they have to make the best of. Many will love it….many will not. Admirable? Often. Courageous? Very rarely.

      Also, I believe it a great act of love to not bring a child into the world for vanity….to care for you when you are older etc. It is the opposite of being selfish. Too many children are brought into the world this way. Some will be loved and cherished regardless. Too many of those that are a product of the kind of pressure you demonstrate here will end up in less than fortuitous circumstance.

      Genuinely, I wish that those selfless individual who have the desire to be great parents would consider giving a home to the millions of the worlds children that sleep alone at night, without family or hope. That is a truly altruistic parent. If, like you say, being a parent is an act of selflessness…..why does it have to be your own child, and not one of these helpless kids?

      As I said earlier, we all have our own road to walk. Judge not and be judged not.

      • Barbara

        See, here’s the thing. I don’t know what world you are living in, but I do not see the “social conformity” issue you do nowadays. Maybe in the past this was the case, but in contemporary society childlessness has become pretty much a non-issue, if not something celebrated my mainstream culture. The pressure now on young people is to sew their wild oats, get a college degree and travel the world before, if ever, having children. As I said below, choosing a path that will be celebrated or treated as a non-issue by mainstream culture is not courage. Choosing what makes you happy is not true courage, Courage is other centered. In no society I’m aware of is “courage” defined as “living as I wish and damn the consequences”. True courage puts oneself at risk for the good of another. It is inseparable from love itself. I just get annoyed when I see what is so obviously a decision based on personal preference lacquered over as somehow “noble” and “unselfish”. Of course it’s selfish. It’s founded on your desire for personal happiness and pleasure, and by weighting that desire against any competing claims made by children. Having children can be selfish too, and I talk about that below, but not all decisions to have children are rooted in selfishness and being a parent tends to put a ding in your self-centerdness, whether you like it or not. Unless a childfree person avoids having children in order to supplant that desire with other-centered activities as nuns and priests do, than it is by definition selfish.

        • Lj

          Hmmm Barbara, I can’t agree that today’s social conformity is about not having children. Yes we see people in the media, it’s all about booze, sex etc. but when that lifestyle is being shown children are completely out of the picture, it’s not about them. However, when couples are on television there is always the assumption that they go on to have children. And in everyday life you can be greeted by “when are you going ot have children?” rarely, if at all, will you hear “are you going to have children?” The assumption as displayed by the media is very much that in life we grow up, meet a partner, get married, have kids. That’s still very much put across as ‘the norm’.

          “Of course it’s selfish. It’s founded on your desire for personal happiness and pleasure, and by weighting that desire against any competing claims made by children.” Yet again you are assuming (wrongly) people’s reasons for not having children. I have no reason to not have children, God simply did not give me the desire to have them. I am really struggling to get why you find that so hard to understand. I mean, to bring it down to an incredibly trivial matter, I don’t like the colour pink. I really don’t like it. I won’t buy pink things, I don’t find clothing attractive if it’s pink, even if it’s an item that I do like in another colour. I have no idea why I don’t like pink, it’s not a conscious decision.

          I do like children, I love children, I couldn’t even consider doing my job if I didn’t that’s for sure, but I have no desire, urge, biological imperative (whatever you consider it to be that you may have felt) to have my own. You can call that wrong as much as you want but as it’s the way God made me then if it’s wrong your God got it wrong.

    • Dale Price

      Barbara, this doesn’t help. Not even a little.

      • Crud. Were we supposed to be helping? 😐 I just wanted to get the comment count above 200 as it’s been a while since one of Mark’s posts has made it that high! #138!

        • Lj

          Does this help Victor? 😀

          • victor

            It does! 233 and counting!

    • Barbara, having children doesn’t mean having to grow up. It does for some people, but others just have them and go on with their lives as before, sort of taking care of their kids, but not really. Not enough people put enough thought into having children before having them; if more did, there would be more happy parents and more happy children. A decision as life-altering and important as creating a whole new person, and then molding and shaping and being responsible for that person, should require more than just, “We can biologically procreate; therefore, we should.”

      The “butthurt” you speak of often comes from being judged by people like you who call us “selfish.” No one likes being called names, or being judged for just living their lives. It really should be of no concern to you or anyone else whether someone has children (unless they ARE having them and they’re unfit – that’s a real concern).

    • Hillari

      Having a child doesn’t not automatically make anyone a mature adult. The fact that there are neglected and abused children everywhere proves that.

  • Our guests here are definitely showing a sanitized version of the childfree movement. Mark encouraged us to google, and here is the second site that came up. Just one random post among many.,275107

    The various names, printable and unprintable, they give to “breeders” and their children are the giveaway.

    Those people are sick. And the fact that some of you think in polite terms that everyone who has children is “narcissistic” gives a lot away.

    • This one is what first got me going.,274245

      For the record, I am not saying any of our childfree commenters are narcissists themselves, or that they should have children if they don’t want to. But you do have to question what it is that leads people to such bitter rage against parents and children as I saw on that site. You seem to be denying that there are people like that in the movement.

    • Lj

      I tend to ignore these people, just as I ignore religious fundamentalists. Indeed these people are the ones that will likely end up deciding at some point to become parents.

      But do allow some of them that it is a reaction to how they have been treated by parents. Not everyone is religious, not everyone turns the other cheek, some of these people will have received a lot of abuse in their lives solely for not having a desire to have kids.

      • Yes, I agree that this type of abuse of anyone is wrong. I regret that anyone has to suffer it. And yes, crazy and angry people are not limited to one religion or non-religion. (I shudder to think of any of those people becoming parents).

        • Lj

          But too many people on here don’t believe it happens because they haven’t seen it! Yet the same people probably expect others to believe in a God that they haven’t seen because they have seen God!

          Everyone has different experiences and sees different people everyday. Naturally I realise that working with abused and neglected children I see some of the worst, but I also live in what is regarded a very good area because it’s affluent, and the lack of standard of parenting I see is really worrying. I can’t believe that so many people genuinely want children but actually only want babies, it’s like once the child becomes a teenager the parents want them out of the house of an evening, it’s really sad. It’s not all parents thankfully but I think it’s far more parents than some on here are willing to admit. When my nieces and nephews come and visit their friends are welcome in my house. I would far rather that than they feel unwanted and left to wander the streets of an evening like many teenagers we see today. Some people on here seem to assume that an attack on bad parents is an attack on them, does that mean they think they are bad parents? Or are they trying very hard to be offended?

        • Lj

          What I meant to say about ignoring it is, a lot of them will change. This is an initial reaction, an initial anger to the way they have been treated. It applies across all areas of life that our initial reaction to something often mellows over time.

          The only person I know who truly hates children is an adult with a fairly severe learning disability. And he doesn’t actually hate children in the sense that we might think because he doesn’t really know children, his understanding of a child is solely that this being is making a noise that (for whatever reason) his head cannot cope with and which makes him feel immensely anxious. He doesn’t experience the same with adults because adults voices and, therefore, noises are on a lower frequency than that which little children can produce.

          There is evidence that certain frequencies can cause some people’s brains to become quite hyperactive, and unfortunately that hyperactivity in the brain can make them feel very unwell for long after they have removed themselves from the noise. Hopefully one day science will be able to work out exactly why those frequencies affect certain brains and not others, but until then…

      • Dale Price

        I have to admit, I find the waving away of this sort of thing off-putting. Should it be used to broad-brush everyone? No.

        Is it a problem? Hell, yes.

        • Mark Shea

          Lj’s denialism here reminds me of loopy Southern Agrarians who try to argue that there may have been a *teensy* problem with the whole chattel slavery thing in the antebellum South, but basically all was well and slavery was on the way out and white racism is a myth and besides black people liked being slaves and stop looking at me like that.

          • Lj

            What denial Mark? Seriously, I am beginning to wonder what world some of the posters on here live in. Do you ever step outside your cosy little churches into the real world?

            And really, because you disagree with someone you want to try and liken them to supporting slavery, give me peace 😀

            If you are a good parent, if you are raising good children, and if you let other people live their lives according to how God created them, what have you got to fear?

      • Dale Price

        I mean, I’m sure the Westboro Baptist cult has a backstory, too. But decency calls for limits.

        • Lj

          Dale, any idea what Westboro have to say on the having of children?

          • Dale Price

            No, but nobody’s making excuses for Westboro’s nastiness on the basis that they, too, might have been subjected to harsh rhetoric themselves.

      • enness

        Lj, if you think they make YOU look bad, the last thing to do is ignore them. CONDEMN it. Is that too much to ask?

      • enness

        Lj, if you think they make YOU look bad, the last thing to do is ignore them. CONDEMN it vocally and often. Is that too much to ask? Silence can be construed as complicity, therefore it will and probably by those you least want it to.

    • Bratfree is a particularly … angry?… site. They don’t speak for the majority of childfree people.

      I’ve wondered before why there’s so much anger from both parents and non-parents directed at each other, and what it usually comes down to is insecurity with personal choices. A young childfree woman who is new to realizing that she doesn’t want kids will feel, thanks to society and some family and/or religious pressure, that her choice is wrong, or is something to be questioned or changed. This will make her want to fight back, and part of that fighting involves attacking those she thinks are the enemy (parents, I guess). I try to remember that when I see particularly nasty posts that call people’s children “spawn” or “crotch droppings.” I really, really try to remember that…

      • Lj

        Sensible of you Sylvia. I still think those terms should be challenged, they rarely appear on sites that I’m inolved in, in fact we only have sites because we’ve found that even if you dare to say “I had a headache today, was sat in a cafe and a child started screaming, the parent wouldn’t do anything” that some parents become quite nasty about it. I mean it’s actually no different to saying “I was…. and a drunk man started yelling and the proprietor did nothing” but that never gets the same reaction.

        I honestly do think a lot of the contributors on these kinds of nasty sites will end up having children, I think if you genuinely don’t want kids you tend to be less bothered by people that do. Still, I had many issues with my ex-mother-in-law, she always knew that I had no desire to have children, nor did my husband (her son) but she was increasingly nasty to me for preventing her from having a grandchild!!!!!! My husband wouldn’t deal with it and eventually I had enough. Didn’t seem to occur to her that she had a daughter of her own 😀 It was all about her getting to have this little baby that loved her and brought her joy etc. Fact is, had I had a child I wouldn’t have let her babysit because of how she treated her own kids.

        There is though (you’re right on this) a core issue with people being told that something about themselves which they cannot change is ‘wrong’. I don’t know how someone can have the gall to tell me that I was made ‘wrong’, cause to me that implies that God got it wrong and I don’t believe he did, I think He made us all different in every area for a good reason 🙂 I cannot make myself want children, life would certainly have been a lot easier in the past if I had them!

  • Barbara

    The thing is, in the end it is you all who will ultimately pay the price for your own choices, not because of some deity, but because you are like men who put out their own eyes with a fork in order not to be troubled by ugly sights. Your punishment is that you will also miss the beautiful ones, for which there is no proxy. No one can really put into words the fierceness of the love and the depth of the joys you experience holding your own child in your arms, inhaling her baby scent, gazing at her tiny sculpted features. And when she begins to move about the world, and speak and become the person she is, her growth extends back to you; you grow, your capacity for love deepens. You become like the soft clay the potter pushes his hand into, deepening and widening to contain more love, more joy, more tenderness.

    Nothing replaces it, not siblings, not nieces and nephews, not pets, not personal pursuits however engaging they might be. In parenting, the work becomes second nature after awhile, human nature adapts to anything, even discomfort. But the whole of the experierience more than compensates. But you have said no to this. You have put out your eyes and sewn your lips shut, content with pablum and darkness, while more humble folk, less educated, less sophisticated, less “connected” are feasting at the banquet and relishing the delights. Enjoy your choice.

    • Lj

      Barbara, you cannot know the love for an identical twin. And it’s safe to say (because I know identical twins that are also parents) that nothing compares to that love. I am an identical twin 🙂

      So, while it is incredibly sad that you are so bitter about your own life choices that you have to pour vitriol and hate on how other people live their lives, you do not have the monopoly on love and you cannot assume to know how strong other people’s love is for their pet, their parents, their best friend. It is NOT for you to judge.

      Also, you have to remember that what you feel as love is your DNA’s drive to reproduce. That is why when love is quantified it is (all being equal) strongest where the most DNA is shared. Essentially it is ‘loving yourself’ not the actual child, it is loving the child because part of that child is you. True love, i.e. the love that our God gives us and allows us to have for others, is what matters, not liking our own DNA 🙂

      • You do realize, of course that your magnificent love for your sister involves loving your exact same DNA?

        • Lj

          Yep 🙂 I have no issue with that, but parents often have issue with accepting it about themselves and their love for their children.

          • OK, Lj, help me understand. You tell parents “what you feel as love is your DNA’s drive to reproduce,” and that this merely means that parents are “loving themselves.”

            Apparently you think that being a parent involves no “real love” even as a supplement to DNA “love.” Not only this, but above you also wrote “Also, if you understand the meaning of the word narcissism you would understand that someone thinking they are so amazing they must simply have some of their own DNA continue long past their death is surely the biggest indicator of narcissism that can be seen in our society.”

            Do you honestly mean this? You think all parents are hopelessly narcissistic because they are loving only their own DNA? You think it’s impossible that some other kind of love could also be involved? Is the kind that you called “True love, i.e. the love that our God gives us and allows us to have for others” impossible to parents? If not, if parents can have a non-biological love for their children, why even bring up the question of biology? Do you think anyone here doubts that there is a real love above the biological?

            What you really want to do, I think, is to criticize parents’ love as inferior because biological, while trying to except the love you yourself feel for your sister, which after all, according to your theory, is nothing but loving your own DNA. I doubt you think your love for her is solely biological. I doubt you have really thought this through.

            Thank God most people are better than the ridiculous theories they sometimes hold. And this one is both silly and useless.

      • Barbara

        I’m not “pouring vitriol and hate on how other people live their lives”. I’m saying stop bullsh–ing yourself and others. You’ve copted a narrative of victim hood which legitimately belonged to real marginalized people in order puff yourself up with false courage and righteousness over what is, honestly, a decision based entirely on your desire not to inconvenience yourself. I don’t care one way or another how a person lives their personal life. It’s the plain as the nose on your face self and mass deception that bothers me, and the conversion of a whole thing into a “movement” where you and like minded people can massage each other’s ego talking about how “oppressed” you all are and how brave you are for choosing to keep your three-floor-walk up. That’s not brave. Brave is choosing to love a child you didn’t plan for and have no means to support. Brave is putting yourself in harm’s way to protect the innocent. Brave is taking a bullet for someone else. Just stop lying to us all, stop lying to yourself, and stop trying to have your false narrative acknowledged as truth. Be honest, say ” look I want my life the way I want it. It’s self-centered, but its the truth”. All of your comments to me have been nothing but attempts to divert attention away from that fact, putting the spotlight first on me “your life must be miserable” then trying to somehow make your choice noble and mine not ” I just don’t want children to be unwanted, see I’m a noblehearted person while you don’t care if they’re wanted or not”. I believe children should be “loved”, whether or not they are “wanted”. “wanting” children has a sneaky underside, it reduces children to another “lifestyle accessory”. What’s worse, you automatically assume that love is a condition of wanting. I consider love a condition of willingness, which is very different. You would make love a slave to fickle desire. I believe love is an act of the will. You choose to love, or you choose not to love. I chose to love. You chose not to.

        • Lj

          Barbara you are so misguided and assumptive it’s incredibly scary.

          Choosing to love is when you choose to love children that are NOT biologically yours.

          At least we agree that children should be loved 😀 But I also believe children should be wanted. Sometimes things happen and people end up pregnant who didn’t expect it, and yes, of course there is a high chance that they will love their child. Does that mean that they should have intentionally got pregnant even though they didn’t want children? No, it doesn’t.

          Also, you do realise that love for your child isn’t automatic and that women who find they don’t love their children suffer a lot because of women like you who choose to be nasty instead of being supportive?

          I am not a victim, I have been pointing out that many people are treated incredibly viciously simply for God choosing to create them without the desire to have children.

          You assume I’m in a ‘movement’, you assume I massage people’s ego (?), you assume that rather than offering support to people who have been alienated from their family or church due to being born without the desire to have children that I somehow talk people into not wanting to have children 😀 You’re deluded woman.

          Thing is, I’m a Christian, and you have resorted to swearing and nastiness and are really coming across as an incredibly unGodly person. I will pray for you Barbara.

          • Barbara

            See, you give way too much power to this thing called “desire”. You and your companions were born without the “desire” to have children. Of course, you’ve never had them, and you live in a society that practically finds them repulsive. Why don’t you critically examine your desires? This is all I have been saying all along. God didn’t create you without the ability to have children, he didn’t give you the warm, mushy love feeling? And that’s why you all warrant sympathy and compassion? Or because some religious people say unkind things to you on the Internet? Are you so jelly souled? Man up. Maybe you’re too much of a fading flower for real life. Stay in your walk up in your bubble where you can feed yourself all of the sympathy you want.

            • Lj

              I live in a society that claims to love children Barbara.

              Why don’t you critically examine your desire to have children? Do you realise now how absurd your question sounds?

              Actually, having children would kill me but that’s beside the point, I still don’t have the desire to have them. I get that mushy love feeling from lots of people, including children, but also from vulnerable adults. Why do you think that’s solely the preserve of the child/parent relationship? That’s incredibly sad. If you are only getting that amazing feeling from your children then either you are doing something wrong in your life or you were created with quite a cold heart.

              There is nothing amazing in being able to love that which is part you Barbara, God’s love is far better displayed in loving when it is tough to love.

          • enness

            Lj, you’re being incredibly patronizing. It’s time for the pot to meet the kettle.

            I also think her point was that it’s *not* about mushy feelings.

            • Andy, Bad Person

              enness, what is it, enness, about Lj’s style, enness, that you find so incredibly patronizing, enness?

  • Clare

    I understand most people would rather take the path of least resistance, but… I would far rather benefit the world with the products of my mind than the products of my body.

    Oh, and while you’re talking about DNA, google “mom gene”. Crude term, I know, but it should point you to recent studies that indicate the possibility that NOT all humans are hardwired to reproduce. Early days, but an interesting area of study.

    Here is a crazy idea: there is room in society for all kinds of people, not just those who bear children. Some spread their ideas, not their genes. And the time they were spending “selfishly” not procreating, could be better used to pass things of intellectual and moral value into society, to benefit YOUR offspring.

    Some people don’t use their brains, others don’t use their reproductive organs. Enlighten me on the difference.

    • A nice thought… But until your ideas can pay for my Social Security the way my kids will pay for yours or until the products of your mind can take care of me in hospice the way my kids will take care of you, it’s still kinda hard not to see that as being selfish to some degree.

      • Lj

        They won’t Victor. Apart from the fact that the economy (especially social security) is going to change incredibly in the next decade and there won’t be any state pensions etc for my generation, you cannot blame individuals that the current system is a PONZI scheme. I would never have designed a PONZI scheme. I am putting money away for my own future, and I fully expect that to be all that is available to me when I am old. So it’s not your kid’s money, it’s mine. I have also contributed to social security and will rightly get that back. Again, it’s not your kid’s money.

        It’s hard not to see having children so they’ll look after people in their old age as selfish. If that’s why people are continuing the species then it’s really sad. As I’ve said before, there needs to be balance, there needs to be people that have children AND people that don’t. Only having one type would end our species very quickly. That’s scientific fact. So live and let live, treat each other well, raise you children to treat others well, and all will be well.

        But assuming to judge someone’s personality because of a desire that God chose not to give them, well it’s not the fault of a person when they are born without a certain desire so really you’re blaming God.

    • Lj

      Clare, I’ve already mentioned above that it makes complete sense that where there are people born with an unquestionable desire to have children that there will also be people born without that desire. It’s the way of the universe after all, everything in our universe has its opposite, it amazes me that people think within the human species this same law wouldn’t apply.

    • Barbara

      Except the products of your mind will most likely pass into oblivion, helping no one. If everyone thought like you then none of the products of any mind, not Shakespeare, nor Dante, nor Da Vinci, nor anyone would continue. It will all become so much ash and dust. You will die. What you create will most likely die as well, in your lifetime or if not a few generations from now. A tint statistical minority of us are granted posterity. The only thing you create that will transcend you are your children. Or think of it this way: you or any of us are only alive now because uncountable generations of women gave birth. Also, I find it interesting that your comment displays an almost gnostic disregard for the body in favor of the mind. You imply that gifts of the mind are superior to those of the body, yet as I see it, the former cannot exist without the latter. What is wrong with giving a gift with the body?

  • The money you have paid into Social Security has already been spent on those currently withdrawing benefits. The money you get from Social Security, whenever that is (if it even still exists, as you say), will come from those paying into the system at that time (i.e. today’s children). Also, unless you’re putting the money you’re putting away for your future into the mattress, you’re probably counting on a nice return on your investment when you retire. That will only be possible if our economy continues to grow, which will only happen if there are enough future wage-earners and consumers (i.e.: today’s children) to sustain our economy and keep it growing.

    And this isn’t just theory. You can look around the world (Japan, Spain, et al) and actually witness, in real time, what happens to a society when there aren’t enough new consumers and producers being born.

    • Lj

      That’s exactly why I mentioned PONZI schemes Victor, because I understand that. It doesn’t change the fact that having paid in it is my right (according to current laws) to receive. But of course I don’t expect to receive anything, and I’m okay with that.

      I’m not counting on any great return, I invest my money as best I can and as ethically as I can, that’s all I can do. I won’t invest in some areas that would have a great return because ethically I cannot bring myself to. But then I also live a very simply life in monetary terms. I’m not materialistic, and I’m certainly not an over-consumer.

      Your last paragraph is good, but all we do if we continue to grow the population is leave an even worse situation for future generations. Yes we’ll be dead by then, but I’d rather my generation took the hit now than saddle my nieces generation with a worse ‘ageing’ population. That’s my choice I guess, you may prefer your grandchildren or great-grandchildren to be the ones that ultimately end up having to take drastic action. But where population growth is concerned the sooner we sort out the economic problems caused by it the better, the longer we leave it the worse a headache it will be for future generations.

      It might sound weird that someone is happier with their own generation being the ones to take the financial hit, but that’s how I feel. I love my nieces, I will love their children (if they have the desire to have them), I cannot in good conscience sit back and allow my generation to just pass the problems onto them the way previous generations have left it for us!

      • Katheryn

        Aaaand more eugenic implications…

        • Lj

          Where? You’re choosing to think eugenics, possibly because you’ve had that debate with other people? That’s your choice. I don’t know anyone who agrees with eugenics and I certainly don’t 🙂

          • Katheryn

            Your population control angle is the platform for eugenics.
            I’m not saying you’re obliged to have children. I don’t think any of the level-headed Catholics are saying that either. What level-headed Catholics know is that marriage and sex without openness to life is contrary to natural law.

            • Lj

              It’s not. I haven’t mentioned population control o anything like eugenics.

              I’m talking letting the population stabilise by just maintaining the replacement rate of births, voluntarily might I add! Obviously if people want to have more and more kids that’s fine, but it will bring about the end of our species faster than need be. It’s lack of education about how populations work that causes us to be in the situation we’re in. If you educate people and they grow up realising that having kids is good, but there are also other issues to consider if we are concerned for the species as a whole then some might have 3 instead of 4? Maybe they won’t care, but some will.

              The fact is there are a lot of people who know that species can die out by not procreating, but for some reason they don’t know that the reverse is also true, species can breed themselves into dying out. Our species is lucky enough to have that information, you’d think we’d try and not breed our species to extinction, but it seems too many of us just don’t care. Population modelling is far from new science so I find it strange that so few people hear both sides of the story.

              That’s not eugenics. Eugenics is about taking steps to ‘improve’ the genetic make-up of the population. Personally I don’t consider any one gene to be better than any other so I wouldn’t know where to start even if I was a supporter of eugenics!

              I can’t agree with your last sentence because if God creates people without a desire to have children then that’s his call, not ours. Why shouldn’t two of those people meet and enjoy marriage and a sexual relationship?

              • Lj

                I should add, if the population is allowed to stabilise through people making educated decisions then the population continues and no-one gets hurt. Breeding ourselves into extinction will be a particularly nasty experience for the last generations left, and will most likely involve starvation and violence (as people fight for resources).

                • enness

                  Why do you continue to insist that we are in fact “breeding ourselves into extinction” when there’s quite a bit of evidence to the contrary?

              • Katheryn

                Sorry to yell, but several people have stated this already, including myself.

                • Lj

                  You’re missing the point, that still doesn’t mean that people should refrain from using contraception and choose to have maybe 3 kids instead of 4 to help contribute to our species lasting longer now does it?

                  You either want the species to continue or you don’t, for it to continue is definitely going to require use of contraception or for married couples who already have a few children to then abstain from sex.

                  And sorry to yell but PEOPLE CONTINUE HAVING SEX LONG AFTER MENOPAUSE!

                  • Anson

                    Okay. People continue to have sex after menopause. But they are not doing anything to actively thwart the procreative end of intercourse. In other words: they are still having sex that is open to life even if the chance of new life occuring is fleetingly small. The husband is still fulfilling his duty to his wife not to use her body as an object by which to achieve consequence-free pleasure because he is still open in mind to the deep life-affirming and lifelong consequences, even if one or both of their bodies no longer is. The wife freely reciprocates in not using his body solely for pleasure or affirmation. Love is preserved because the selfish end of intercourse is eclipsed by the pledge of eternal responsibility and mutual sacrifice is still present. The same goes for the couple who is through no fault of their own sterile.

  • TheConductor

    I used to be an “I don’t want children” person, and now that I’m old enough that it’s relatively unlikely, I’ve come to regret it, so much so that I’ve confessed my feelings at the time to a priest (and received absolution). But, nonetheless, that absolution doesn’t change the fact that there are no kids. Yes, no potentially bailing a child out of jail for drunk driving some 16 years hence; but also no smiling faces to greet me in the morning and call me “Daddy.” As Mark often writes here, sin contains its own punishment.

    • Lj

      Maybe for you it was a sin. I’ve never said “I don’t want children” there’s no active choice on my part, it’s just how God made me. What’s important is being honest with yourself. I’m sorry you denied whatever was within you and decided you didn’t want them, but don’t let that ruin your life, that wouldn’t be what God would want. So you made a decision and you regret it, if God does consider it a sin and you ask for forgiveness he will forgive you. I cannot believe in a God that would want you to suffer for the rest of your life. There are people who have the desire to have children and cannot for physical reasons and equally I don’t believe they should live their lives being unhappy. You make the most of what you have.

      I hope you come to terms with it and find contentment.

  • Lj

    What’s clear on here is that there is a lot of assuming going on. The fact is that we cannot know why other people do things, it is not for us to question their motives, we can only know what they tell us and should take that at face value unless we have evidence to the contrary. And since none of us know each other we cannot have any evidence to the contrary.

    Yes I know people who have had children for selfish reasons (they have voiced it that way not me), but you would be wrong to assume that I walk about thinking everyone who has children has done so for selfish reasons, I suspect most do so simply because they were born with a desire to have them. No big deal there.

    It is also very clear in this world that when people are born with a desire to have children that they will do anything they can to have them. So surely it makes sense that people who don’t have them (but physically can) simply do not have that same desire that some of you were clearly born with. I mean from what I am told by parent friends it is some kind of urge that you just cannot ignore, even if you want to (because you think you cannot afford kids or similar). I’ve got to past child-bearing age without feeling any such urge and so clearly that is the way God intended me to be, and clearly God’s plans for me are such that they couldn’t have happened if I’d had children.

    • “But you would be wrong to assume that I walk about thinking everyone who has children has done so for selfish reasons.”

      Then it might be best if you didn’t go around implying that people who want children are all being narcissistic, and have only a selfish love for their own DNA. And don’t pretend you didn’t do this.

      I’m sorry to learn that you not only don’t want to but can’t have children. I’m glad that works out well for you. You are luckier than someone like me, who did desire children, but not having found a good marriage partner, has never had them.

      None of us have any business telling you what to do with your life, but at the same time, you should look at your own words. It may be you are not trying to to be hurtful to others, but that is how you are coming across – as arrogant and superior to others.

      • Lj

        I realise I’m far luckier than some people who want children and can’t have them, I don’t take that lightly.

        Please do take my comment in context though, I only mentioned narcissism with having children to point out the idiocy of saying that not having children was narcissistic. It’s not a comment I ever make about people who have children unless making that distinction.

        There is implying and inferring, you don’t have to imply for people to infer. On here people’s experience of child-free people has obviously been as bad as my experience of certain types of parents has been. But I don’t assume you are all trying to force your way on me, only those who are making it clear that they believe childfree people to be wrong in some way. I’ve made it quite clear in other posts that I only ask of parents that they actually parent, other than that I don’t care if they have kids.

        I have not said that having children is wrong, but I have been told that not having them is wrong. Don’t expect me to sit and let a statement like that go, especially when telling someone that the way they are made is wrong is saying that God got it wrong! He didn’t.

        • I’m willing to take you at your word that you didn’t mean to imply all those who have children are narcissistic, but please realize how your comment came across — always a good rule to remember when you say something just because someone said it of you first. There is a lot of this going around especially on the internet.

    • enness

      Now would be a good time to start practicing what you preach.

  • Brian S

    “3 Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. 5 How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate.”

    Psalm 127:3-5

    • Lj

      I don’t think anyone’s arguing that? but the Lord gives other gifts too 🙂 If he wanted me to have them I’d have them, he clearly doesn’t.

      • Brian S

        3 Behold, iphones are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of Steve Jobs is a reward. 4 Like posts in the hand of a blogger, So are the electronics of one’s youth. 5 How blessed is the man whose tablet is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they post with their enemies on the comments thread.”

        • Lj

          Who are enemies?

          And why on earth would you suggest that material items are a gift from the Lord? That’s absurd.

          Unless you’re being childish and doing the “childfree people are all materialistic” nonsense, in which case you’re definitely preaching to the wrong girl 😀 I can’t stand materialism, don’t get the point of it. Lots of parents do though, they ‘fight’ with their friends to be the ones with the latest gadget etc. I take it that’s okay and they’re not selfish because they’ve got kids also?

  • Juniper Creek

    I work with foster youth. This last year, I have spent time one on one with over 100 children helping them cope with an unfair hand that has been dealt to them. I have time to help them because I am childfree. Children in the foster system over 3 years of age will most likely stay in the system for life. They will never have a home nor a family. They will shuffle from group home to group home, struggling through each day.

    How many children besides your own have you helped? I see a lot of comments here about how people are so selflessly taking care of their own kids. That’s your job. You had them so you take care of them. That isn’t selfless. That’s being a parent. Taking care of the millions of children in this world that suffer every day is selfless. But you call me selfish because I didn’t bring another one into this world.

    Worried about the future economy? Then step up and take care of these kids. Help them have a future instead of popping out five of your own. If you are only having kids to take care of you in the future, either as slave nurses or as tax payers, you fail to understand economics completely. I would love to see the ‘christians’ here actually sacrificing for the good of mankind. (It isn’t a sacrifice to care for your own child. That’s your responsibility.)

    • Juniper Creek

      Not a single response to this. Why? Because the posters here want to continue ignoring the children in need, feign ignorance. They don’t want to feel guilty for the excesses in their life. They preach and pray about their football team and their sixth child while they step over children suffering on the street. Christians. Ha.

      • Heather Price

        So it’s hypocritical to have that sixth child biologically instead of adopting from foster care or overseas? Should we limit our birth children so as to be able to afford that? “You’ve had your allotted two children the easy way; no more until you adopt from foster care. No, we’re not going to cover the child’s therapy bills or any issues that come up in the future. Those will be up to you to recognize and find treatment for. Or you have to adopt one from overseas; those bills are yours too. On top of the years of therapy, probably emotional as well as physical, you’ll have plane fare, paperwork, fees, yeah, that’s on you.”
        It IS a sacrifice to care for a child, whether your own or anyone else’s. It’s also a sacrifice to care for one’s aging parents or neighbor, or spouse with the flu.
        Or am I misunderstanding you?

      • enness

        Or maybe because your attempt to misdirect the focus of this post has failed, simple as that.

  • R. Howell

    Jesus did not have children. The great majority of canonized saints of the Church did not have children. The overwhelming majority of priests and bishops of the Church are committed to not having children. But perhaps all these at least “have the excuse of being do-gooders who think they are somehow advancing the human condition in some addled way” (Mark’s words).

    • Juniper Creek

      But those are all men! It would appear to the logic of many here that that’s ok, but women gots a duty! Clearly, according to many here, a woman’s sole purpose on earth is to be a broodmare. Barefoot and pregnant or she’s “evil”.

      • False. A human being’s purpose (telos, in Aristotelian-Thomist philosophical vocabulary) is to attain to the immortal contemplation of the beatific vision of God. A virtuous life is conducive to this. A life of narcissism and hedonism makes us only able to descend to Hell upon death, rather than ascend to God in Heaven. A woman may forge herself into a virtuous saint through a life as a nun, as a celibate single person living in service to others, or as a wife and mother. A man has similar vocational possibilities: priesthood, monasticism, celibate single life, and life as a husband and father.

        Great female Catholic saints have been far more than “broodmares.” Mother Teresa, Blessed Dorothy Day, St. Hildegard of Bingen, St. Therese the Little Flower, Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Margaret of Scotland, St. Edith Stein, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and the Blessed Virgin Mother of God: these were women of such holiness, that if you stood in the undimmed light of the glory of their souls for an instant, you’d be blinded. Broodmares? You have no idea of what you speak when you blaspheme the Lord with your dimwitted slander of his saints.

        Catholics desire that humans be liberated from addiction to sin and take our place as daughters and sons of God in Heaven. The childfree wish only to enable women and men to wallow in self-indulgence. There is so much more to life than being a happy pig in slop. Grow up.

        • Katheryn

          I’m gonna leave the rest of this to you, Irenist.
          I don’t care if people disagree. What gets me going is when they refuse to acknowledge where I’m coming from as if I’m some sort of under evolved idiot who passed any available brain cell that I may have had into my resource-sucking litter of extraneous offspring.

      • Point to one single person in this thread that has said a woman’s sole purpose is to bear children.

    • Beccolina

      They weren’t married, either. Nor were they all men. St. Theresa the Little Flower: no kids (oh, wait, not married), St. Rose of Lima, no kids (Wait, not married either), St. Philomena, no kids (not married). Of course there are many females saints who were married AND had children AND are saints: St. Elizabeth of Hungary (and she was a queen too), St. Margaret Clitherow, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Monica.

    • Chris-2-4

      No, but Jesus and every single one of the saints had parents who had them.

      • Juniper Creek

        So did Hitler, Mussolini, Bin Laden. Your point?

  • The spam filter apparently thinks my response to Sylvia’s arguments for the “child-free” lifestyle are too long. I have posted them here:

    • Lj

      I wasn’t aware Sylvia was arguing for the child-free lifestyle? Isn’t she just arguing against some of the prejudices and assumptions people are making about it?

      • She seems to me to be an advocate:
        A well -intentioned advocate, but an advocate nonetheless.

        • Lj

          I guess it’s natural we’ll read it differently. I do give support to people who themselves know they are childfree and who have had a lot of issues with family and friends because of it, but I can’t see any reason to advocate a ‘lifestyle’ because I don’t believe we choose it, it’s just part of who we are and how we were created. I don’t believe anyone can change their desire to have children (or lack thereof), they can only choose to ignore it, and that would be silly and lead to great unhappiness.

        • Subsistent

          And on that website, apparently caricaturing his position on this issue, she dramatically addresses him in “apostrophe”.

          • Subsistent

            By “his” and “him” I was referring to Mark Shea. (Sorry about my bad pronoun reference.)

          • That’s not meant to be dramatic. It’s a blog post about someone else, and when not addressing the person directly, pronouns are used. I later decided to address him. There was no intent to “caricature his position on the issue.”

    • Katheryn

      Thank you for the well-balanced response.

      • On re-reading, I was rather worried that my tone was too harsh toward the “child-free.” Thanks for your kind feedback.

      • kmk

        I agree-thank you, Irenist.

  • kara

    Ok, I read most of the thread and skimmed where I didn’t read.

    Hello, childfree people. I think I can clear up why there is so much angst between the two sides represented here.

    For the parents: please bear I mind that its true that people who decide not to have children (and even those who are not childfree by choice) probably at least face familial pressure and pressure from their frinds to chang e their minds about the whole kid situation. Its probably very unpleasant. I know it would have been for us.

    For the childfree: please, please stop referring to parents as selfish. Kids are really hard to take care of, especially with no outside help. When you can’t remeber the last time you slept through the night and the closest thing to a fashion accessory you’re wearing is baby vomit, its heartbraking to hear how “selfish” you are by people who are not parents. I am not judging non-parents, I made a lot of assumptions before I had kids. But please understand that if you don’t have kids 24/7, you can’t really understand how hard it is. Please don’t be those people who confront young mothers and tell them they are destroying the planet. Please don’t be the person at the movie theatre who is enraged that there is a child in the theatre at two in the afternoon (a quiet one, btw). Please don’t refer to me as a breeder because it reduces my identity to one set of organs. Please don’t, as Mark has said, be the guy who writes a book about how evil kids are.

    Beyond that, I think we should all be able to get along, right?

  • That’s a good thing to hope for, Kara, and we should all live in hope.

  • Christine

    Procreation is only the “natural end” if both people have a functional reproductive system.

    I was Catholic for 18 years, taught CCD, taught religion, Lectored and was a Eucharistic Minister at Mass, led Small Groups on retreats and was even asked to speak at Theology on Tap. I declined TOT because I have only been to 2 Masses since Easter Vigil 2012. I say this because I know about” Natural Law,” and I know that it’s little more than a way to lock men and women into traditional gender roles. Roles which human society created. But because God created nature, whatever is “Nature’s” law must be God’s law. Right? I’s a clever trick really. Human rules in divine clothing.

    Zygotes are byproducts of sex. Not every unprotected sexual encounter leads to pregnancy. Also, the reasons why a couple uses contraception are nobody else’s business, though conservative Catholics like to make it their business. Plus to give some reasons more validity than others is passing moral judgment. Jesus said not to judge others, FYI.

    Marriage is a legal contract and the marriage is legally valid whether or not you have kids. In fact, Catholic historians correct me if I am wrong, but I was taught that marriage is the youngest of the Sacraments. It didn’t become a Sacrament in the Catholic church until later. It was a legal process that became blessed.

    And btw, I pay into my own pension and Social Security. What is this talk about other people’s kids paying for my retirement?

    • freddy

      Taking your last point first, your social security is being used to pay the benefits of people who are retiring now. It wasn’t supposed to be that way, but it is. Future generations will pay your benefits when you retire and the fewer of them there are the more money will have to come out of their paychecks to pay those benefits. Don’t worry, though, the system will probably break before you’re able to collect!

      Marriage is not considered the “youngest” of the Sacraments. The Church teaches that marriage was instituted as a Sacrament by Jesus, who said “what God has joined, let no man put asunder.” Marriage, as a Sacrament, is considered by the Church to be both for the sanctification of the spouses and the proper rearing of children. Just because some couples are unable to perform one or the other in no way diminishes the purposes of marriage. Just because some people are allergic to wheat in no way diminishes the purpose of wheat as a food staple, for example.

      You seem to misunderstand Natural Law, in spite of your experiences as a Catholic (or perhaps because of them! Catholic education has been abysmal for years.) Natural Law looks at humanity and human behavior as a whole, and shows general patterns that reflect moral truths. One example would be the effect that theft has on the individual and on society on a whole. (See, nothing about “gender roles” here.) When the effects are understood to be deleterious, theft is then understood to be wrong — by nature — as well as by command. The fact that a starving person may steal food to live demonstrates a breakdown in society rather than a failure of the moral law: no society is just if members must steal to stay alive.

      In the same way, then, the natural end of sex is procreation: that’s what it’s for; the continuation of the species, in the same way that nourishment is the natural end of eating. Just because some foods are not nourishing does not diminish its nature; nourishment is what food is for. Just because some couples are not fertile, or have passed the age of fertility does not change what sex, in general, is for. A zygote is not a “byproduct” of sex; he or she is the natural result: that’s kind of like calling your college degree a “byproduct” of your years of education!

    • “And btw, I pay into my own pension and Social Security. What is this talk about other people’s kids paying for my retirement?”

      What you pay in, is already go by the time you retire. Pensions are invested in the economy. Currently the economy is stagnant, possible decline. See the demographic problem in Japan.

    • enness

      “I was Catholic”

      You don’t say…

  • Christine,
    ‘The Miracle of the Pre-Nup at Cana’ doesn’t have the same ring.

  • “it’s little more than a way to lock men and women into traditional gender roles.”

    I was discussing this with my mother recently, bless him.

    • I wish we had a thumbs up for comments.

  • “Procreation is only the “natural end” if both people have a functional reproductive system.”

    Just like those spring chickens Abraham and Sarah.

  • “the reasons why a couple uses contraception are nobody else’s business,”

    I’ve heard a lot of folks use it to prevent getting pregnant.

  • “Plus to give some reasons more validity than others is passing moral judgment. Jesus said not to judge others, FYI.”

    I would recommend some reading to you; John Ruskin, ‘Modern Painters’, Book V. The acid passion which he pours upon lazy and self-serving interpretations of Our Lord’s teaching ‘Judge not lest you be judged’, and on the immense evil and harm that such lazy and self-serving interpretations have facilitated, may offer you a new perspective on it.

    “I declined TOT because I have only been to 2 Masses since Easter Vigil 2012.”

    What seems to be the pride with which you parade your failure to attend Mass notwithstanding, the irony of your application of that particular acronym in the context of this particular argument is beyond comment.

    Christine, I cannot be a Eucharistic Minister: I have a congenital Parkinson’s-type illness (organised medicine seems unable to put a name to it, if only because it veers between super-Tourettes and near-catatonic Parkinsonism), and my hands now tremor quite badly. Although your prayers would be very welcome, I do not share this with you in order to elicit your pity. I do so because you were once given the great gift, and great grace, of being a Eucharistic Minister, and not everyone can perform that role, and I am very sorrow to see you now in a state of such apparent confusion. Please pray more. It will help. I will pray for you tonight.

  • This is one the most depressing threads that I’ve ever read.

    Jesu, mercy; Mary,pray.

    Father of five.

  • Marthe Lépine

    Well, I got tired of reading the comments half way down… But I have a question: Is not it a fact that according to the Catholic church, a marriage may be deemed invalid if the man, the woman or both of them enter into the marriage with the clear intention of never having children? I am not familiar at all with Canon Law, but it is what I have been led to understand.

    • Beccolina

      I think it is grounds for an annulment, yes. My brother’s ex is citing it as a reason in their annulment, along with other items.

    • Katheryn

      I also believe it is a lie, because one of the marriage promises is “will you accept children…?” So the lie invalidates the marriage, right?

      • This of course depends on where and how you marry. Not all marriages are Catholic, of course. My husband and I made no such promise to each other, and according to the two of us and to the government, our marriage is valid.

        What would solve any disagreement here is this: you accept that not everyone lives according to your religion, and we accept that some do. To each his own.

        • As democratic peers in citizenship, we are called to accept that not everyone is Catholic. However, if, as we believe, the Catholic Church is in fact the bearer of Truth, and not merely of some whimsical preferences we happen to have, then we are also called to inform the world of the Good News of the Gospel and of the error and unhappiness that a departure from the Truth represents.

          I have replied more fully to your thoughts here:

          If you choose to read it, I hope you will find it respectful, despite my continuing sharp disagreement with your view.

  • Yes, when Cicero discussed Natural Law at great length in his works, it was all a veneer for the Catholic ideas he picked up on his time machine jaunt to the thirteenth century. Mr. Norris, the consistently laughable quality of your arguments may yet drive those who read you into the arms of Holy Mother Church. Keep it up!

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Aw, it’s taken down, so now this has no context.

      • He was arguing that the entire Natural Law tradition is merely a thinly veiled attempt to foist Late Medieval Western European gender norms upon us all. That the Natural Law tradition in Western philosophy began with pre-Christian Greek and Roman pagans (and indeed that sex and gender are only one part of the whole moral universe of Natural Law) seems to be entirely unknown to him. He seems to have gotten Mark to ban him as a troll. In a way, I shall miss him. His SWPL memes were so easy to refute, he couldn’t help but make Catholicism look very reasonable indeed.

  • Katheryn

    Mr. Norris, you truly are the most radical feminist ever! And I truly mean that.

  • kmk

    Just icase anyone is still reading this, this blog entry today by Elizabeth Scalia (Anchoress) gives a glimpse into that richness of the Faith which I think is timely for both this discussion and the one about women in the military. THIS is where Catholics are coming from–one of the many thoughtful angles. It’s about ETERNITY and HEAVEN and the SUPREME GOD who LOVES us and the entire gender/marriage/family paradigm is wayyy too mysterious to fully comprehend and appreciate in this life:

  • hater

    fucking extremist

  • bridgit

    You’re a riot and reading your comments made it worth reading through this whole depressing thread!

  • Elaine S.

    A couple of points that I think are being overlooked here:
    1. Just because a good thing is done for a “selfish” reason, doesn’t necessarily make it bad or unloving. If you embrace a religious vocation because you find it personally more fulfilling than a secular one, does that make you “selfish”? If you marry someone because you enjoy their company and find them physically attractive (in addition to being of good character), does that make it “selfish”? Why would having children be any different?
    2. What’s good for an individual doesn’t always equate with what is good for society if large numbers of people start doing it. For example, a city dweller moves out to the suburbs in search of peace, quiet, and more property to spread out in. That’s great for him, but when thousands of other people start doing the same thing over many years, eventually the suburb gets crowded and noisy and not as attractive as it was before. Likewise, the problem here isn’t so much whether a particular individual decides not to have children, but when the number of people opting not to have children grows so big, and becomes a decisive force in society, to the point where it “snowballs” and begins to have bad effects (e.g. the collapse of Social Security).
    I would say that while INDIVIDUALS who decide not to have children are not necessarily evil, the existence of an aggressive “childfree” MOVEMENT that tips some couples who were “on the fence” about having children in the direction of not doing so, may have consequences we will later come to regret.

  • Judge not lest ye be judged seems to be a Bible verse you missed.

    Nope. We’re called not to judge our fellow sinners. We are also called to prophetically remonstrate with those who advocate for sin. People are not to be judged. Ideas and acts are. That is the difference between humility and relativism.

    Some of us never found the right person to marry so we have no children.

    Then don’t have children. Single people, priests, monks, and nuns are not called to have children. Obviously.

    Some of you seem to grudgingly acknowledge that might be ok, but it’s very clear you think we are absolutely your inferior.

    Not at all. You may well be a far better person than me. Ditto your fellow childfree types. However, when unmarried couples fornicate, or when married couples artificially close the sex act to the gift of new life, that is a sin. We cannot judge the sinners, but we can discuss why Catholicism teaches that to be a sin.

  • Andy R

    What a load of baloney – especially the misguided comment about overpopulation not being a problem.
    Although the demographic in developed countries had tended towards smaller families, the population worldwide keeps increasing. In my lifetime it has doubled!
    Although the secular are having smaller families, the religious seem to be happily breeding away on the assumption that the earth’s resources are infinite. It looks like the secular will volunteer themselves into small numbers – which is good for the planet – while the religious will happily keep popping babies in the naiive belief that “because it’s done in love, it must be beneficial”
    If the population kept doubling every 40 years, then within 600 years there would be one human being for every square metre of the earth’s surface. Do the maths and you will be surprised.
    In other words, behave as the fervently religious are doing and you guarantee an ecosystem collapse.

    • enness

      No citations, I see. How much you wanna bet this is a Paul Ehrlich devotee?

  • Andy,
    You might perhaps have a bit too much faith in science’s understanding of the ecosystem’s limitations.
    Now I’m maybe not the easiest person to persuade with science when it comes to all this, I admit; but I for one am perfectly happy to believe that the providence of Our Lord God is His infinite justice, mercy and wisdom will ensure that the home He gave us will sustain any number of His children for any period of time that He is willing to allow. 40 billion? Piece of cake to God.

  • enness

    I’m glad you’re writing about this, Mark. It has been on my mind for some time. Personally I think the other side of the pathological coin is the idealization or sexualization of children.