Being anti-woo and anti-religion, there are a plethora of conversations that I have over and over again. No, just because he/she/it is invisible does not make appeal to authority valid. Yes, you have to back up your claims with empirical evidence. No, your personal experience doesn’t count. Yes, billions of people can be wrong.

However, there is one topic over which I’ve had to defend my position more times than in all those woo and religious debates combined. I’ve had my views on this topic attacked, ridiculed, and/or dismissed by friends, family, teachers, acquaintances, and strangers alike. It doesn’t seem to matter about their national, cultural, socio-economic, or educational background. People of all sorts are eager to get in line to tell me I’m wrong. Note, I did not say my views were actually addressed by anyone, but more on that later. The point is, I’ve had to repeat myself quite a bit and it’s high time I had a resource to shoo all the naysayers to. So here it is, my most contentious, controversial, and debate inspiring position:

I don’t want to have children.

This really should be of no concern or interest to anyone outside my closest of circles. However, people are usually quite good at interfering with things that are none of their business, and The Breeder is by no means an exception. I repeatedly find myself up against a barrage of criticism and sometimes even hostility in my dealings with The Breeder. These uncalled for throw-downs usually follow three stages, each of which has their own series of common arguments. Of course, depending on who I happen to be talking to, some of these arguments will end up in different stages. And of course, there are variations in attitude, civility, willingness to listen to me, etc. But there is an undeniable and eerily strong pull to the mean when dealing with The Breeder. Society has given everyone the same grab-bag of prepackaged pro-procreation propaganda which most accept without question. As predictably as The Believer will throw out talk of “first causes” and “sources of morality”, The Breeder will devoutly spew out the same arguments from that grab-bag repeatedly, bleating out The Breeder’s maxims over and over again. Each individual will have their own spin, their own prioritisation of arguments, but the core remains the same.

Over the next few days, I will dismantle that core, piece by piece. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so I’ve divided the journey into manageable chunks.

I. Intro + Stage 1: Initial Shock

II. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part A

III. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part B

IV. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part C

V. Stage 3: The Rebuttal + Wrap up

As the posts go up, these shall turn into links, should you wish to jump to any particular section. For now, let us start at the beginning:

Stage 1: Initial Shock

At first, The Breeder cannot comprehend that any proper person could not want kids. Their knee-jerk reaction is to try and explain my unfathomable position by attributing it to some deficiency on my part. There must be something wrong with me. There could be no other explanation for why I would spout such inconceivable nonsense. This reaction comes in a number of flavours, but there are obviously common themes. What follows is my response to the most prevalent of these accusations.

“You’re just young. Once you mature, you’ll change your mind.”

It is true that the first time I realized that I wanted no kids of my own, I was quite young. At that time, I had many beliefs that could appropriately answered with just such a response. Vegetables were icky. Bathing was unnecessary and undesirable. Alvin and the Chipmunks were symphonic geniuses. I would grow up to become a dinosaur. Rockets candy were culinary masterpieces. Armpit fart noises were the most hilarious thing on the planet. At this stage, I can see how easy it would be for The Breeder to lump my rejection of the spawning narrative with these other childish notions.

But as I aged, the “you’re too young to understand” line slowly but surely slid from reasonable to demeaning. I’ve heard this line for around three decades now – clearly demonstrating that this is not something I will grow out of. Indeed, at this point I can guarantee that I’ve put way more critical thought into the prospect of procreation than most of the people who are actually engaged in child bearing – especially the first-timers. There are, of course, some who actually take the time to plan properly before deciding to procreate. A quick look around society, however, tells me that they are in the minority. In any event, my growing up, maturing, and understanding has done nothing but cement my position against having kids.

“You’re just being selfish / trying to avoid responsibility”

Another massive overlap between the tactics/misconceptions of The Believer and The Breeder. This makes my rebuttal exceedingly easy, as I can use the same responses to address the multiple levels of wrongness wrapped up in such a statement. First, there is no causal relationship between parenthood and responsibility or selflessness. There are far too many cases of neglected and abused children to prove this point. There is a report of child abuse every 10 seconds in the US. And that’s just the reported cases. One horrific aspect of abuse in a society is how under reported it is. And that’s just the abusers.
There are many parents who are simply not up to the task, mentally, financially, physically and/or emotionally. Siring a child does not magically flip all those switches to ‘on’. The sheer volume of struggling parents shows that. If anything, the additional strain of having to care for an infant will only add to their life pressures, making their maturity into self-sufficient adults even more drawn out and arduous.

Second, where the fuck does The Breeder get off telling me that I’m selfish or that I lack responsibility? I, along with many other non-breeders, do much that shows this to be completely false. We volunteer in our communities. We preform our jobs with a strong work ethic. We have committed relationships. We donate to charities. We go out of our way to care for those important to us. Forgoing the experience of squatting out a few spawn does not negate our good works, fuck you very much!

“Yeah, whatever”

Often expressed with nothing more than the rolling of the eyes, outright dismissal is also fairly common. This one agitates me the least as it’s the closest to being polite. Sure, it’s just as guilty of disrespecting me and my position before understanding it, but it doesn’t overtly assert any insulting attributes to me. Some version of either or both of the previous thoughts are usually lurking somewhere behind the eye-roll, but at least they have the decency not to say it out loud. Unfortunately, the inner urges of The Breeder are difficult to ignore and this politeness is almost always overridden.  They soon rejoin their less couth brethren and head straight to Stage 2, where they demand I explain my position. Well, over the next few sections I will do just that. Stay tuned.