Some people will tell you that choosing to not have kids is selfish. I disagree entirely. I don't think it's selfish, but foolish.
There is this new trend, sometimes referred to as antinatalism, where people are openly hostile towards having kids. Some of these anti-birth people argue that we need to 'save the planet' by protecting it from 'overpopulation'. Or even that the world is so messed up that nobody should want to bring another kid into it.
Most of the time, however, this reasoning is just a thinly veiled excuse for the real reason, which is that these people don't want to "lose their freedom". And it's that part that I want to address.
Fair warning: this blog may sound a little harsh and confronting at times, but I think that's appropriate, seeing how this is quite literally a matter of life and death, and there is no way to correct it later if you make a mistake based on misguided reasoning.
Loss of freedom
First of all, addressing the loss of freedom. Would you say that buying a house is a loss of freedom, because the money you spend on a house can't be spent on anything else? Of course not. Saying that only makes sense if you didn't want to own a house in the first place, but would rather spend the money on something else. If you did want a house, however, then buying one and spending the money on it is not a loss of freedom, but an expression of freedom.
In the same way, having children is not a loss of freedom, but an expression of it. Sure, having kids and raising them costs a lot of time and money; but so does everything. So just like with the house, this argument only makes sense if you didn't want kids to begin with.
If you say you don't want kids, because kids are a loss of freedom; but then they're only a loss of freedom if you didn't want kids in the first place; then this is a clear example of circular reasoning.
What people really mean by loss of freedom, is that having kids would require them to give up a frivolous lifestyle that they have grown accustomed to.
Often this is a lifestyle of what I call eternal adolescence, where you drink and party until you're well into your thirties, putting off adult life until some undefined date, much farther into the future.
And having kids would definitely require some maturing for people like this.
But my career
Another often heard argument is that you just don't want to sacrifice your career for having kids. What career, though?
People say this as if they’re well on their way to becoming the CEO of Google or Goldman Sachs. While in reality they’re working some boring office job at some meaningless company nobody has ever heard of. And that is supposed to be more important than having your own kids?
Don't forget that if you got into a fatal car accident today, the organization you work for would probably suffer a blow, but it would also most likely manage to replace you within a matter of months. And most of the customers wouldn't even notice.
This is true even for the CEO of Google, or Goldman Sachs, so don't use it as an excuse.
The reality is that you will always be infinitely more important to your own kids than you will ever be to any company or organization you work for.
I really shouldn't procreate
Sometimes, you hear people express that they just hate kids; that kids are just a nuisance they don't want to deal with; that they would be terrible parents etcetera. This is often followed by the conclusion:
"People like me shouldn't procreate."
People say this as if they mean it, but then, if you agree with them; telling them they're right, and that the world would indeed probably be better off without more people like them; they get incredibly offended.
And that tells you all you need to know about the sincerity of that argument.
It shows that these people don't actually feel that way. They actually like themselves quite a lot; definitely better than the average person. So they don't think the world would be worse off without them or people like them. They just don't want to do the work, because it requires a lot of maturing they're not willing to do.
And these people are right to get offended when I pretend to agree with them, because saying someone shouldn't procreate is like saying "people like you shouldn't exist". It's the ultimate insult. So why would you say that about yourself?!
Take heart, people. Even if you don’t like kids in general, you will most likely still love being a parent to your own kids.
People also get offended when I call it shortsighted to choose not to have kids. But only considering the short term and not the longterm is the very definition of being shortsighted. And that's exactly what this is, in most cases.
One of the biggest advantages we have as intelligent human beings is that we can plan for the future. Deferred gratification allows for investment in capital, which is the main reason we're as rich as we are.
So think of the long term. What kind of 60 year old do you want to be? Go out and ask people of that age if they regret having children, now that they're all done raising them.
Not having children may sound attractive in the short run, because you can keep a lot of your money and your time to do whatever you want while you're still young; spending time traveling or partying with friends.
But in the long run, this mentality of instant gratification leads to 75 year olds who get to the end of their lives with nothing to show for it and no legacy to leave behind.
It's not fun to spend the last decades of your life seeing your friends die off and knowing there will be nobody to carry the torch when you meet the same fate. Nobody that will carry your stories or the wisdom you've acquired over a lifetime into the future.
So it’s not selfish, but shortsighted, to value your “freedom” now (i.e. your job at some meaningless office somewhere, the salary of which allows you to party in the weekends) higher than having your own kids while you still can.
It's a simple choice: right now, or the future.