Why Save the World if Kids Aren’t In Your Future?

 

We hear all the time that “children are our future”. We must spend more money on education because children are our future! We must spend more money on social welfare services because children are our future! We must destroy school lunches because our children’s future depends on it! We must wage war on climate change because it’s our children’s future! (You never hear these same people say we must manage the debt for our children’s future. Weird.)

Today on Yahoo there’s a new piece that flips the “we must do X because children are our future” argument on its head. The article delves into the “significant” decision some couples are making today: not having kids to fight climate change. One reason couples are forgoing children they claim is “climate anxiety”. From the article:

study published in the journal Climatic Change last November found that climate anxiety is factoring into reproductive decisions. Of 607 Americans between the ages of 27 and 45, 59.8 percent expressed being “very” or “extremely concerned” about the carbon footprint a future child might leave, whereas 96.5 percent were “very” or “extremely concerned” about that a child’s well-being amid a climate-compromised world.

The author goes onto quote a 2020 TMZ interview of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez where AOC claims people her age, afraid of climate change and the world future generations may have to live in, are deciding against bringing children into such an unstable and dangerous environment.

Further down, one of the women in the piece addresses the accused “selfishness” of the decision to not have kids. As you could have guessed, her rebuttal goes like this: “I don’t think there’s anything selfish about having a bigger picture of the planet”.

This brings me to something I remember Andrew Klavan explaining in one of his podcast episodes. Paraphrasing, Klavan spoke about how humans – being made by God in the image of God, with the ability to reason and understand – give meaning to the world and without us the world would therefore be meaningless. To the lady above: what good is the bigger picture if there’s no one to admire it?

Even if you throw out God and look at it from a purely “logic and reason” point of view, it’s hard not to see that the human’s capacity for understanding is what makes this planet worthwhile. The other side is one that replaces God with “Mother Earth” and is every bit, if not more religious in nature.

There are practical reasons against this line of thinking too. In general, having kids makes us more forward-looking. The great economist Tyler Cowen has written extensively about this. Cowen argues having children could actually be our solution to climate change, not the opposite. Bryan Caplan has also written about the benefits and reasons why you should have more kids in his book “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids”.

Life brings optimism and opportunity. Two hundred years ago people continued to have children even when birth and infant death rates were extremely high. Have you have looked at a family history from that time period? The sheer number of 6-month to 3-year old deaths is astonishing. The world was a hard place and they had little reason to believe it would get much better, but they kept having kids. In terms of peace, prosperity, and health, we live in the greatest time in human history ever. It’s inarguable. That’s why it’s bizarre for one to claim “climate anxiety” as a reason for not having kids.

It just doesn’t make sense.

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Preston Storm: That’s why it’s bizarre for one to claim “climate anxiety” as a reason for not having kids.

    I like the way you think.

    • #1
  2. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    This is one of those things addressed in the possibly-best-ever-of-any-person-with-any-subjects 2006 interview with Mark Steyn that I often promote.

     

    https://www.adrive.com/public/DS9Nut/NARN%2012-02-06%20NARN%201%20Hour%202%20Mark%20Steyn.mp3

    • #2
  3. Kephalithos Member
    Kephalithos
    @Kephalithos

    I’m less enamored of the idea of having kids than I used to be — not because I fear climate change, but because there’s a 68.4 percent chance that my kids would end up becoming insufferable SJWs and self-destructing.

    To be honest, I’m not sure whether it’s a bad thing that Millennials are having fewer children. They’d certainly do a rotten job of raising them.

    • #3
  4. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    I love the fact that these climate sterile couples are leaving the planet to the children of those who don’t care.

     

    • #4
  5. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Right, more room and resources for the rest of us!

    • #5
  6. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    I’m less enamored of the idea of having kids than I used to be — not because I fear climate change, but because there’s a 68.4 percent chance that my kids would end up becoming insufferable SJWs and self-destructing.

    To be honest, I’m not sure whether it’s a bad thing that Millennials are having fewer children. They’d certainly do a rotten job of raising them.

    But at least if your SJW children don’t have children, maybe that trait gets bred – or, un-bred – out of the species, eventually.

    • #6
  7. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    I suspect that very few of those people who have decided not to have kids because Climate Change have made any serious attempt to understand the science & math and gain a personal opinion as to how much CC there is actually likely to be, and what its realistic effects might be.

    Which makes me think that the CC reason is really, in many cases, mainly a justification for what they want to do (or not do) anyhow.

     

    • #7
  8. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Those trying to decide whether to have kids or not would do well to read this little essay by Paul Graham:

    http://paulgraham.com/kids.html

    • #8
  9. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Preston Storm: The article delves into the “significant” decision some couples are making today: not having kids to fight climate change. One reason couples are forgoing children they claim is “climate anxiety”.

    O, what fools these mortals be.  I doubt that even they are dumb enough to actually believe such a thing.  That’s a convenient and pretty fabrication to cover up the truth.

    I can’t think of a more natural outgrowth of the commonly-held contemporary view that nothing that happened before I was born is of any moment or value, and nothing that happens after I die will matter, than that the thought of having children and being forced to confront the possibility of a world that moves forward without me, and is perhaps improved by the presence of my children in it, is an unimaginable horror and threat, the prospect of which  is to be avoided at all costs.

    The older I get, the more things–it seems to me–can be explained in terms of willful ignorance, self-involvement and narcissism.  I think this is just another one of them.

    • #9
  10. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    She (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: The article delves into the “significant” decision some couples are making today: not having kids to fight climate change. One reason couples are forgoing children they claim is “climate anxiety”.

    O, what fools these mortals be. I doubt that even they are dumb enough to actually believe such a thing. That’s a convenient and pretty fabrication to cover up the truth.

    I can’t think of a more natural outgrowth of the commonly-held contemporary view that nothing that happened before I was born is of any moment or value, and nothing that happens after die will matter, than that the thought of having children and being forced to confront the possibility of a world that moves forward without me, and is perhaps improved by the presence of my children in it, is an unimaginable horror and threat, the prospect of which is to be avoided at all costs.

    The older I get, the more things–it seems to me–can be explained in terms of willful ignorance, self-involvement and narcissism. I think this is just another one of them.

    For those people, the idea that the world could be better with their children but without THEM, must be truly horrifying.

    • #10
  11. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    As Mark Steyn likes to say: the future is for whomever shows up for it.

    It’s funny; just as this post popped up, I was thinking about the complete strangers that have shared with me their regret for not having children. One was a guy who was trying to get me to join the Chamber of Commerce, admitted that it was silly that he was crying over his dead cat, then shared his biggest regret.

     

     

    • #11
  12. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Kozak (View Comment):
    I love the fact that these climate sterile couples are leaving the planet to the children of those who don’t care.

    Let’s hope that Climate Nihilism is a recessive gene.

    • #12
  13. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Annefy (View Comment):

    As Mark Steyn likes to say: the future is for whomever shows up for it.

    It’s funny; just as this post popped up, I was thinking about the complete strangers that have shared with me their regret for not having children. One was a guy who was trying to get me to join the Chamber of Commerce, admitted that it was silly that he was crying over his dead cat, then shared his biggest regret.

     

     

    Or, as he says in his book from back then and repeats in the interview I posted, “demography is destiny.”

    • #13
  14. Preston Storm Coolidge
    Preston Storm
    @PrestonStorm

    Kozak (View Comment):

    I love the fact that these climate sterile couples are leaving the planet to the children of those who don’t care.

     

    The idiocracy effect! 

    • #14
  15. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Preston Storm (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    I love the fact that these climate sterile couples are leaving the planet to the children of those who don’t care.

     

    The idiocracy effect!

    Are you saying that idiots NOT having children, leads to Idiocracy?  Seems like it would be the opposite.

    • #15
  16. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Preston Storm: A study published in the journal Climatic Change last November found that climate anxiety is factoring into reproductive decisions. Of 607 Americans between the ages of 27 and 45, 59.8 percent expressed being “very” or “extremely concerned” about the carbon footprint a future child might leave, whereas 96.5 percent were “very” or “extremely concerned” about that a child’s well-being amid a climate-compromised world.

    Does anyone else find these numbers implausible?  I could see a high number of 15-year-olds who have just watched Algore’s movie saying that they don’t want to have kids because of climate change . . . and then forgetting all about it by the next week.  But 27-45 year olds?  Presumably sober?  I am very skeptical of that study.

    • #16
  17. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Kephalithos (View Comment):

    I’m less enamored of the idea of having kids than I used to be — not because I fear climate change, but because there’s a 68.4 percent chance that my kids would end up becoming insufferable SJWs and self-destructing.

    To be honest, I’m not sure whether it’s a bad thing that Millennials are having fewer children. They’d certainly do a rotten job of raising them.

    @Kephalithos   Please.  Your risk analysis is way off.  The chance is approximately 8.3.   

    But seriously, while contemplating parenthood should be sobering, for heaven’s sake, you will be their teacher!  Have some faith in yourself and just , remember that it is not your job to please them, it is their job to please you.  I’ve managed to have a lot of fun  producing three conservative children, all of whom married conservatives, who produced ten so-far-conservative-grandchildren, and unless you are a wuss, or you care overly much what the neighbors think, it is not difficult.  Go forth.

    • #17
  18. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Preston Storm: That’s why it’s bizarre for one to claim “climate anxiety” as a reason for not having kids.

    The precise same line was run in the 1970s and 1980s, only then the excuse was global nuclear destruction. How could you possibly bring a child into a world that was going to blow itself up? We’re all doomed, so let’s have a party unencumbered by the costs of child-rearing. 

    It is really all about making a virtue of self-indulgence at a societal level. Mind you, the Western European and North American variant of choosing to commit national suicide is of the curl up in a ball version, versus the possible go out in a blaze of glory version that Communist China is edging towards.

    • #18
  19. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: That’s why it’s bizarre for one to claim “climate anxiety” as a reason for not having kids.

    The precise same line was run in the 1970s and 1980s, only then the excuse was global nuclear destruction. How could you possibly bring a child into a world that was going to blow itself up? We’re all doomed, so let’s have a party unencumbered by the costs of child-rearing.

    It is really all about making a virtue of self-indulgence at a societal level. Mind you, the Western European and North American variant of choosing to commit national suicide is of the curl up in a ball version, versus the possible go out in a blaze of glory version that Communist China is edging towards.

    And maybe Russia too, as Mark Steyn points out in that great interview:

     

    https://www.adrive.com/public/DS9Nut/NARN%2012-02-06%20NARN%201%20Hour%202%20Mark%20Steyn.mp3

    • #19
  20. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    The precise same line was run in the 1970s and 1980s, only then the excuse was global nuclear destruction. How could you possibly bring a child into a world that was going to blow itself up?

    I suspect that some people use social causes as the cover story for not doing things they didn’t want to do anyway.  “Sure, I’d ask Jenny to marry me but then I’d have to give her a ring and that would be supporting the blood diamond industry, so remaining a bachelor is just a sacrifice I am going to make for the sake of people in Angola.”

    • #20
  21. Podkayne of Israel Member
    Podkayne of Israel
    @PodkayneofIsrael

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: A study published in the journal Climatic Change last November found that climate anxiety is factoring into reproductive decisions. Of 607 Americans between the ages of 27 and 45, 59.8 percent expressed being “very” or “extremely concerned” about the carbon footprint a future child might leave, whereas 96.5 percent were “very” or “extremely concerned” about that a child’s well-being amid a climate-compromised world.

    Does anyone else find these numbers implausible? I could see a high number of 15-year-olds who have just watched Algore’s movie saying that they don’t want to have kids because of climate change . . . and then forgetting all about it by the next week. But 27-45 year olds? Presumably sober? I am very skeptical of that study.

    Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Prize over the noble Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic who personally rescued over a thousand Jewish children from death. She was caught and tortured by the Gestapo, and was supposed to be executed, but was released by a fluke, and survived to live on into her 90’s. Unlike Gore, Sendler never preened about her heroism, and never got big accolades. Indeed, she confided that she thought they might have rescued many more. 

    Who would you rather be on Judgement Day, Irena Sendler or Al Gore? Who would you rather your children become? If we can manage to raise more Irena Sendlers, there may be hope yet.

    • #21
  22. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Excellent post. It’s funny because I was just sitting in church yesterday admiring a woman I know who is raising a special needs child. In the light of society and many young people (especially women), she had a wonderful life: husband and very successful business career. About 10 years ago she stopped her career so that she and her husband could foster and/or adopt children. She and her husband are now the adoptive parents of a very challenged child who will always be in wheel chair, will never ‘speak’ using words, etc. Looking at her love for this child and her husband, I know she would say she has a much better life than she did before. Unfortunately, so many of these young people will (1) come to regret not having children and/or (2) not realize that they have missed out on so much of what makes life wonderful. Sad.   

    • #22
  23. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    The precise same line was run in the 1970s and 1980s, only then the excuse was global nuclear destruction. How could you possibly bring a child into a world that was going to blow itself up?

    I suspect that some people use social causes as the cover story for not doing things they didn’t want to do anyway. “Sure, I’d ask Jenny to marry me but then I’d have to give her a ring and that would be supporting the blood diamond industry, so remaining a bachelor is just a sacrifice I am going to make for the sake of people in Angola.”

    In Forrest Gump, when another Jenny is beaten  up by her antiwar-activist boyfriend, he blames his actions on the influence of Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War.

    • #23
  24. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Preston Storm (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    I love the fact that these climate sterile couples are leaving the planet to the children of those who don’t care.

     

    The idiocracy effect!

    Are you saying that idiots NOT having children, leads to Idiocracy? Seems like it would be the opposite.

    I too support genetic engineering. 

    • #24