Children: To Have Of Not To Have!


Well-Known Member
Jul 3, 2006
Obviously, this isn’t a debate about individuals who for any particular reason can’t have children. It is about those that are in a position to choose to have children (or not to).

Basically should society through force or persuasion make more citizens have or not have children?
I think it should be up to the individual how many children they have, although I can see future legislation restricting the children to a certain number, as they do in China.
Since I was very young, I knew I didn't want to have kids, at least not my own. I have considered the possibility of adopting a kid, but under my current financial situation, that is not an option for the moment.
It isn't anyone's business unless people have kids they can't take care of and require government assistance. Even then, it's a murky topic.
No I certainly don't think that anyone should force you to have or not have children. Cannot really think what the reasoning would ever be to force someone to have a child?
I don't think it's a matter of forcing anyone TO have children, as much as it is to force sterilization ON them. And, in certain circumstances, yes, it is advisable. For instance, my sister-in-law is adopting a little girl. The mother had already had four others. She is neither mentally capable of telling someone "NO, I don't want to have sex with you," nor is she capable of taking care of a child. She has the mental capacity of a 6 year old. So, in cases such as that, yes, I do believe that it is advisable to have the person sterilized.
I guess in a case such as you describe I could see forcing sterilization. I never thought of a case such as the one you described.
You just reminded me of this girl that the parents "forced" to stay a little girl giving her hormones and surgery to remove her breasts and avoid having a period since she is mentally discapacitated and will never be better... it was very controversial few months ago on the news... I understand the parents.
The decision to have children is a very personal one. I once lived next door to a couple who had made a decision to not have any children. it used to infuriate me the way that people would call them selfish as a result of their choice. They were actually very generous people; they just chose a path that was right for them rather than doing what convention called them to do.
The reasons for thinking about having legislation for how one or whether one should children seem to fall under the following:

1) Our liberal axiology which has us believe that every child should be raised as best as possible to realise their potential and make them self-sufficient individuals.

2) A country's labor market and workforce as well as demographic distribution affects economic viability and therefore policy.

As such, sometimes a government will see it fit to impose limits on children because there may be a risk that the numbers will fall too far askew. Of course, for this to actually count towards anything, a society needs to have effective parenting on the whole, which is something we might be seeing less and less of in this day and age.

Philosophically speaking, I say that the range of contingencies is too great to make any categorical judgment on whether one ought to have kids or not. In a vague sense, I'd look at the broader picture and see if there's some kind of balance going.

That's why I tend to be skeptical of policies regarding children. Most of them are either disastrously myopic electoral tools or just plain too narrow in scope to appreciate the full range of social dymanics.

P.S. My jury is, as always, out on whether I'll have kids, although I can't see myself having any at the moment.
Given the rate of population growth around the planet and our diminishing natural resources, there will come a time when population control on a macro level is necessary for the survival of a civilization. The worlds natural resources only support so many people, we'll have to live within that box or suffer famine.

On a more personal level, I think once a government is forced to take care of your offspring it has a legitimate say in how many of them you have. That wouldnt necessarily come in the form of sterilization, but rather "welfare will only pay for your first 2 babies, after that we'll be taking them to adoptive families." Thats not a nice thing to have to say, but its much better than the current situation where some welfare mothers have children specifically for the additional welfare benefits they get for having them.
Well, China had for many years the policy of "Just one child per couple" to control more or less the over population of the country. But I think they are being more flexible now, because they are noticing that as society grows, then there are not that many workers, so who will pay to support the elderly? There are countries that look for younger people to procreate and have a younger population ready to work. So, is it a "double whammy" to have more kids?
The whole workforce and age-demographic bias thing comes up quite a bit, and usually in cycles, not surprisingly. Previously in post-WWII Australia immigration was one way of dealing with it...but that's not really possible with our current global climate (and Australia's immigration policy!)

Hokey election promises to capture the baby ballot usually result in disastrous welfare-state burdens, such as what framed mentioned above. Heavens above, if I had a dollar for each time I saw some young couple say "We're having the kids because it seems like a good time to, with the $3000 bonus" or "He got my vote, that cash will come in handy"...I'd probably get tons more than the freakin' handout.

Bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush, so it seems.
I know that in China and India, girls are looked down upon, and in China, especially, you're only allowed to have one child. If that child happens to be a girl, you're stuck. So, in the end, they are killing their own nation because there won't be any more girls to have children, if they keep it up. Or am I totally misconstruing things?