Enuja wrote: I morally support infanticide, because infants are amazing learning machines and should have the human right of getting a good opportunity to have a good life, but should not have a right to life.
I read this sentence three times because I couldn't entirely believe what I was reading. I too do not think there is any inherent value in human life, and that as a species we are incredibly self-centred. However... No. In a situation where a child is born into either abject poverty or a world too cruel for it, the solution in my opinion is that the parents of said child should have had access to proper and safe family planning or abortion. Perhaps there are cases when a child is born with such terrible defects that they couldn't survive such a view would be permissible. But otherwise, without some severe qualification, I find this sentiment morally abhorrent, and I apologise.
My views on the morality of infanticide usually only come up in when I think of my moral reaction to the many historic human societies which have practiced infanticide, and in reply to counter-arguments in abortion discussions. I absolutely agree that family planning and abortion are much, much better (less risk, less resources used, further from any moral problems), but safe abortion and highly effective contraception are very recent inventions, and some people have been forced to deliver and then watch non-viable babies die over a period of hours, instead of having an abortion. In these historic and present cases, I am in favor of infanticide.
Enuja wrote:If you tell a group of people that you'd save yourself, or any adult (unless saving the adult makes it possible to save more people because the adult can save others) before a child, they will very likely look down on you.
Perhaps this has more to do with societies expectations of collectivism over individualism, chivalry over self-preservation? If I told someone that I wouldn't take a bullet for some random woman, they'd call me a coward .
Enuja wrote:If you do not respect the attempts of parents and society as a whole to preserve the innocence of children, even when that preservation prevents you from doing things that are important to you, you will be socially ostracized.
I think you're painting yourself to be a victim here in a manner that belies your personal experiences with our relationship to children. I've never experienced parents or grandparents pressuring me to reproduce, so can't relate at all to this social ostracization you're attesting to. If anything, based on communications with my peers, I think there's a pretty widespread anti-children trend that's gaining in popularity, especially in urban areas.
I also think your stance about removing humans from the cosmos probably influences your evident curmudgeonry as it pertains to interacting with kids.
I have the strong impression that the "societal expectations of collectivism over individualism" (as weak as they are in general) are much stronger about kids than about adults. I also think that gender expectations are very important: men are expected to value women and children over themselves, women are expected to value children over themselves (and value men's skills over their own, while they value their own lives over men's lives).
Did you mean "reflects" instead of "belies" my person experiences? I've also not experienced parents pressuring me to reproduce, but when I talk about my choice to not have children amongst, say, co-workers or volunteers, I get disappointment. When I say I'm "socially ostracized," I don't mean that I get the same extent of social ostracization that I would get, from, saying, going naked, but I do think not wanting children makes me seem like a less acceptable person than if I were to say that I want children.
And, yes, I agree that my curmudgeonry (what a wonderful world) is related to my basic values, and that's why I mentioned these values in this thread.
KestrelLowing wrote:Why cancer things for kids always get more donations is because our society views them as helpless and typically we want to help the helpless. Adding to that, you get this thought of "what if that child was the next Einstein" or similar thoughts. Children have so much potential and I'm a firm believer that the majority of children would actually be able to become something great if given the right resources. However, once people live in the world for a while, that potential decreases because of all the things we get bogged down by. So I think it may be a little bit of longing for better things for our culture and that's why we try to save children.
I agree that potential versus experience is the central issue here, and that our society as a whole values potential. Personally, I value experience, even negative experiences that restrict future potential, far more than I value potential. Just as every infant has the potential to "cure cancer," they all also have the potential to be the next mass killer. I don't value potential for its own sake.
PictureSarah wrote:I'd also like to point out that, although I work with an agency that very specifically only serves families with children under 5, I don't do it because I like the kids (although I do), I do it because I care about the wellbeing of families, and women in particular. I serve poor, often very dysfunctional families, who are very poor and often don't have access to health/mental healthcare, contraceptives, haven't had much education, and aren't aware of safest or best practices when it comes to their children. I want to give these families a leg up, so that their children will, hopefully, eventually become more successful, productive, non-miserable adults. So really, I feel like you can dislike kids, and that's fine, but you can't *not care* about kids without not caring about people.
What you do is absolutely a great way to make humans better and happier. Personally, I'm much more interested in the part of your job that reduces the number of people (contraceptives), and I focus my volunteer work on ecology and biological diversity, but I think that your job absolutely makes the world a better place.
Izawwlgood wrote:... just don't mistake the thread for people telling you how wrong you are. I can see being told that you'll want kids one day is obnoxious and rude; I don't feel that I've been obnoxious or rude to anyone here for not liking kids. Enuja did the same thing.
I read very carefully through all of my previous posts, and I no-where did I call anyone in this thread obnoxious or rude. I did argue that telling people how best to raise and treat children, in this thread, was part of the overwhelming pro-child bias of our society, but I never claimed that anyone was being rude to me. (Of course, a few people have been somewhat rude about my valuing children less than adults, but that didn't come until after my last post, and I'm not even slightly surprised or upset by this.)
charolastra wrote:I have no problem with people who are childfree. I don't even have a problem with people who don't like kids. Where I have a problem is people like Enuja who outright state they do not value children.
To put that into a context that she can understand, that is like me saying I do not value polyamorous relationships as on equal footing with monogamous relationships because I do not like that form of relationship for myself. That's a silly statement. It's a dangerous statement when you start to place different sets of values on people. We can see what kind of dangers that leads to in India and China with baby girls.
So go on and dislike kids. That's fine and quite honestly a pretty common sentiment. But don't disvalue them because you don't like them or don't understand them.
I do not have any problem with anyone saying that they do not value polyamorous relationships on an equal footing with monogamous relationships. I'll disagree with them, and argue with them, but I expect that people with different moral values from me will value things differently. I agree that valuing men more than valuing women is dangerous, but I am not all concerned, in this society we have right now, with culture wide consequences from people not valuing children, in large part because so many people value children so much.
Okay, now that I'm done replying to comments to or about me, that seemed to merit reply (I skipped some things that I both agreed and disagreed with, because I think I've already answered the questions or the posts are statements of opinion that I read, appreciate, and can't think of a useful reply to), on to further discussion.
I am extremely surprised that (as far as I can tell, please point me to a post that says this if I've missed it), people in this thread are not championing the idea that children should have more intrinsic value than adults. When I go on Facebook, many of the people I went to high school with post almost exclusively about their children, and I strongly suspect that they value children more than they value adults, and in more than just in "I'm not selfish, so I value others above myself" and "I love these people" sorts of ways. When I talk with all but a very small number of people who became my friends due to rare shared values, I perceive almost all of the people around me as valuing children more than adults. This value system would also be open to the major moral complaint in this thread about my views, namely that all people, children and adults, men and women, able and disabled, should be valued exactly the same.
Before posting in this thread, I did honestly believe that valuing children and adults equally was considered a socially unacceptable moral among the vast majority (to make up numbers, say, 85%) of adults in America. Maybe I should do some research to see what people actually think. Because of this perceived massive majority, valuing children less seemed like a welcome balancing moral perspective, and arguments about valuing everyone equally seemed quite irrelevant, in the face of my perception of common morals.
I don't share the moral, but I have absolutely no problem with valuing children and adults equally. I think a very good society could come out of this value system, and it's not something that feels oppressive or obnoxious to me. I don't have any problem with infanticide being considered to be murder by my society as a whole and, in fact, it's a very convenient bright line that I have no objections to in this current society (where abortion and contraception are legal and available).