I advocate measures the encourage people to use contraception, or otherwise dissuade them from having kids without considerable thought.
For example, I advocate some form of monetary incentive to take long term contraception such as depo, and IUD or a hormonal implant.
Some people instinctively recoil at this suggestion, arguing that it’s a form of eugenics, and who are we to decide who has kids or not, and that having kids is everyone’s right.
I think this position indicates a kind of blase regard for human life. Having a kid appears to be treated like having any other commodity, like owning a house, or or travelling the world, without regard for the bundle of feelings that is entailed in producing a new life.
Mine is a ‘life is suffering’ argument; I think that for most of us, life, while totally awesome, also contains a great deal of suffering and difficulty.
We should be taking great care, and with a sense of great responsibility when we talk about whether new life should be coming into the world or not.
Often I think, when people argue for the rights of people to have children, they’re prioritising the feelings of those people who want to have children, over the feelings of those children that will come into existence.
I recognise that most of us likely have a biological imperative to have children, and have strong feelings urging us to have children. My argument isn’t to dismiss these feelings, but to rationally put in incentives to offset these feelings. After all, we often think or act irrationally, and I’m all for macro-policy that helps guide us in the right direction.
Some people might argue that my argument puts too much emphasis of the unpleasant aspects of life, and would instead make the argument that ‘life is a gift’. I think this is a bit pie in the sky and doesn’t reflect the depth of human experience.
A more substantive rebuttal would be that I’m making an implicit judgement about what people are capable of raising children who are able to have a good life, and who isn’t.
I think this is a reasonable argument, and I’d stress that I’m not seeking to create a perfect formula about what makes good parents. What I’m really seeking to do with this post, is to combat the attitude that ‘having children is everyone person’s right’. I think we should be far more considerate when deciding whether someone should come into the world, and put the feelings of that potential person first.