There are simply too many people in the world. You cannot argue against this claim. We’re seven billion people and counting, and not only is Earth rife with famine, malnutrition and disease, but also (paradoxically) gluttony, waste and indifference. It is a world of Have’s, Have Some’s and Have Not’s, and it doesn’t appear that will change anytime soon. The more we breed, the more people there are that will be susceptible to the perils we’ve already brought to Mother Earth. I was talking to one of my friends, a breeder, about how unfair it is that people with children get huge tax breaks. You’re bringing in more people to an already overburdened planet and further exhausting the public coffers – and you get a break for that? It makes no sense. You should be charged more if you have kids. There is no argument to be made otherwise. The only reason that exists in the tax code is because they used to encourage population growth, but we haven’t needed that in forever. It needs to be revised, seriously.
I made the mistake of signing one of those “Care 2” campaigns and now my email gets inundated with requests for more signatures, more action and more money. I do have heartstrings that get tugged at by these campaigns, but they’re rarely the ones that involve people. Dogs are being tortured and eaten alive in China? Sign me up. People that run puppy mills need to be held accountable for cruelty and unhygienic living conditions? Sign me up. Killer whales are being kept in too small tanks? Sign me up. Angora rabbits are tortured for their fur? Sign me up. And on, and on. Children in Pakistan don’t have access to adequate education? Mmm, let someone else worry about that. I know, I know. What a monster I am. It isn’t that I don’t wish humankind well, it’s just that humankind ruins everything. Yes, including me. It isn’t that I don’t wish all humans peace and prosperity, health and happiness, education and healthcare, clean water and good food. It’s just that when I look at all the destruction we’ve done as a people, I have to ask myself if maybe it’s time to start over. Let’s take a mulligan on our race and give this back to the beasts. Maybe we’ll get it right next time.
Before you assume I’m some cold and callous individual who wishes the extermination of the human race, let me just say that I don’t like people in general. That probably doesn’t help my case. But I do like people in specific. Once I get to know someone, or hear about someone who is close to those I like, then I have sincere compassion for their wellbeing (most of the time). I would always go out of my way to help a friend, and sometimes I even help strangers, too. Apply pat on the back here. But when I think of all the damage I’ve done, and then compound it with all the damage every other jerk human has done, it makes me angry. Yes, there are numerous steps I could take to diminish my negative impact on the Earth; and believe me, I do try. I could try harder though. And while I like to think I’ve finally awakened, finally become aware of what’s around me, all I see is waste and loss and pain and emptiness. Now, I’m no Depressing Danny, it’s just that we’ve got all these people getting the short end of the stick, and the ones that get the long end, I don’t think they (we) give a rat’s patooty about the less fortunate most of the time. If there were less people, there would be less people in bad shape. Maybe there might be less people in good shape, too, but as long as the ones we lose are the Class-A Jerks, then I’m okay with that.
But we know people aren’t going to stop having kids anytime soon. We’re not going to have a global one-child policy a la China. So many people think that it is their right, and purpose, to populate the Earth. And it is fruitless to argue morals or rationality with many of these people, so why try? A counter-argument, for some, would be that as long as they can take care of them, why not? The best retort is that they should donate the money they would spend on raising that child to a country or family in need. Why do you need 3, 4, 5 children? Why aren’t little Susie and little Johnny enough? Don’t you love them? CNN claimed that it costs, on average, $233,000 to raise a child in the US from birth to 18. If you’re one of those people having a bunch of kids, hopefully you’re planning on helping them with school, too. If so, a four year education, all in, can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $334,000, according to Forbes. So if you decided to tie it off at two brats, and forgo the others, you would have $350,000 a child (roughly) to help out those in extreme poverty. Or you could just have a lot of really fun vacations and quit taxing the world with your spawns.
I have a friend who told me that he thinks all males should be vasectomized at birth. It would create far fewer unwanted children; procreation then would have to be planned for specifically. Then he quickly brought in the counter argument, that this could be seen as some form of eugenics. It would prevent those lower on the socioeconomic pecking order from having families; this is likely true, unless there were some sort of system in place that would pay for a reversal and another one after that when you were done. Okay, so maybe not the best idea. Yet, I would have to imagine it’s a whole lot cheaper for these quick surgeries than the expenses that come from all these extra people…
So, obviously I don’t have an answer and this is just another one of my half-cocked rants. I made the decision that I didn’t want kids a long time ago, but that had more to do with me not wanting the expense, the headaches, and the responsibilities than saving the world from one more mouth to feed. Nonetheless, it still serves my argument. Maybe there should be some sort of time-share system for kids so people can see if they really want them or not. Almost every one of my friends who has kids always tells me to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before you do it. I constantly hear complaints about the recklessness, whininess, illnesses, headaches and general frustration that comes with kids. Almost always followed up with, “But I love ‘em.” And then, “But seriously, make sure you really want them. They ruin your life.” True story. Time and time again…
So, how about this: let’s all just take a step back and see all the people in the world, then see all the suffering associated with them. Let’s think rationally about what less people could do for the planet and then plan accordingly. I don’t want kids, but I understand how others might. I also understand how you might want junior to have a sibling; that makes sense. But let’s stop there. There isn’t a solid argument for more than two kids, there really isn’t. You had two girls and the family name won’t go on? Who. Cares. You had two boys and you really want a Susie to dress up in pink ribbons and play Barbie’s with? Grow. Up. But if you just need that girl/boy in the mix, adopt one. There is no shortage of kids who need homes. Just don’t grow your brood. Trust me, we don’t need more of you.
Ain’t yo daddy