I do not deny that I am a selfish person, and that most of my reasons for being childfree are selfish: I want to spend my money on myself. I don’t want to waste my life raising a child. I love my alone time. I can’t stand the screams and smells of children. I treasure my possessions, and I don’t want to risk them getting ruined. In the event of a disaster or an emergency, I want to look after only myself. I don’t want to share my partner’s love and attention with a child. I like having sex whenever and wherever. I like my body way too much. I love my boobs. I love me. Me. Me. Me.
Of course, that’s not very politically correct to share, especially in some circles, so I have prepared an unselfish reason in case the topic is, for the nth time, broached upon:
I try to imagine how life would be like some twenty, thirty years from now, when my hypothetical child is already an adult, and I worry about so many things that he/she would have to deal with.
What would the job market be like? Would he/she be able to find good jobs in the future, or would most jobs be replaced by automation? What about competition? It would be so intense. There would probably be nine billion people by then, and all would be competing for food and space and work. Would my child be able to compete with all of those people?
What about the government and politics and society? Would people still have freedoms? Freedom of religion? Freedom of speech? Freedom of assembly? Freedom to wear whatever they want? Freedom to go out at night?
Would they still have privacy? Would they be able to think and say and write what they want, without fear of being policed? Would they be able to date freely, have sex freely, without fear of finding a video of the act on some internet site? Or worse, fear of being incarcerated for it, for one reason or another?
Would it be a time of peace, or a time of war? Or a time of war disguised as a time of peace?
I see too much of it happening around us now. And, hopefully, you are seeing it, too, and would prepare your children for the future that they’re going to face. Jobs are being replaced by machines, or are being transferred overseas. Layoffs by the thousands, bailouts by the billions of dollars, left and right. Corporations abusing the large job market, offering low salaries for long hours and a deadly lot of hard work, just because they can easily replace an employee with any one of the millions of other applicants. Employees are disposable. And that’s just now. What about twenty, thirty years from now?
We are quickly losing our freedoms. Right now, we have children who are being suspended, or even legally charged, just for making a gesture of a gun, or for painting a gun, or for playing cops and robbers. Creativity is being stifled. Risk-taking is discouraged. People are becoming too careful, in what they say, in what they do, and they are teaching their children to be that way, too. Docile and humble and obedient. Fearful of any consequences. There’s a right way of doing things; there’s a politically-correct way of doing things, and if you somehow toe the line, or cross it, bam! Punishment for you. Have some Ritalin, have some Adderall, and sit down.
Our words and actions are being policed, and not just by the government, but by we ourselves. Everything we say, and everything we do, potentially could find its way into YouTube and become a viral video; one moment could irreversibly ruin entire lives. You can’t even joke about so many things any more. Can’t joke about women, can’t joke about gays, or retards (oh sorry, I meant “differently-abled”), or foreigners, or whatever. Everyone’s a victim. You can’t hurt anyone’s feelings. And this shuts people up. Yes, we have freedom of speech (and yes, although making a politically-incorrect joke won’t land you in jail, it still has consequences, and people are free to respond to / critique / ban / ostracize you, blah blah, I know the law, but that’s not relevant in this case)… yes, we have freedom of speech, but if no one is making use of it, what’s the point?
We have fringes of people who are forcing their brand of religion upon others, by use of force, violence, rape and fear. And, while they are spreading their influence and control at a terrifying rate, our governments are turning a blind eye because they don’t want to offend anyone. Is this the kind of world that our children would wake up to, where they would be forced to wear religious clothing, whether they want to or not, and treat groups of people as subhuman, whether they believe so or otherwise?
We are even more quickly losing our privacy. Our personal data is everywhere. There are plenty of services which you cannot access without surrendering your personal data. This information can potentially be obtained by anyone, as long as they have the means and the motive to do so. And there are a lot of those people. Our personal data can (and probably will) be used against us. It has already happened in the recent Ashley Madison leak. And the frightening thing is: Some people support it because “they were being immoral anyway.” Well, who’s to say what’s immoral? At one point, premarital sex was immoral (and still is, in some places, and from some points of view). At one point, homosexuality was immoral and illegal (and still is, in some places, and from some points of view). Do fornicators and homosexuals deserve to have their privacies breached at any point in history, just because their activities were once perceived to be immoral? So what makes it okay to violate a person’s right to privacy, just because he/she has committed adultery?
For these reasons, and more, the present is concerning enough, but the future… the future looks horribly bleak. And this is the kind of future that your children would be facing and dealing with, several years from now.
Maybe I am worrying too much. Maybe the future would be beautiful. But there’s too much at stake, and I cannot, in good conscience, force an existence upon anyone, knowing that their chances of a beautiful future, where they would be living in freedom and privacy and abundance, are very low.
Life is hard. I know it. I feel it. True, I love my life, but it’s a choice that I have made, and that’s because I already exist, by no choice of mine; what other choice do I have? Between loving life, or wallowing in hopelessness, of course I choose to love life. I choose to face its challenges head-on, and I am determined to triumph. But it doesn’t negate the fact that life is hard, and even ugly in some ways. Life may come with love, and laughter, and wealth, and fulfillment. But it also comes with suffering, and pain, disease, and heartbreak. The challenge to tackle life for what it really is — it is the most difficult challenge there is, and ideally should be accepted only by choice, and not enforced.
Of course, that’s not the way reality works. Thus, I have made the conscious decision that I would not force that challenge upon anyone. Upon my hypothetical children, whoever they may be, I bestow the gift of peaceful non-existence. Truly, I believe, it is the most beautiful gift that I can give them.