Saturday, August 25, 2007

"Your Child Could Grow Up to Cure Cancer!"

One common argument the childed give for having children -- and even my own dear husband has admitted to feeling some affinity for this reasoning in the past -- is that intelligent people are highly likely to have intelligent offspring, and therefore we should have children on the theory that our children are somehow more likely to cure the world's ills.

Besides its obvious elitism, this argument has another fatal flaw. What no proponents of this theory seem to bother to do is to take it a step further. If the intelligent people are going to find a cure for cancer, that means that at some point, one generation is going to have to stop giving up our devotion to our careers in order to have children, and instead actually DO SOMETHING about cancer (or homelessness, or poverty or AIDS or whatever social problem you think smart people should solve.) If we just keep on procreating and counting on our children to solve these problems, ummm... when are we going to actually solve them?

Answer: NEVER.

If you are concerned about such issues, having children is not the answer. This argument doesn't make any sense to me at all! Why, if you're so worried about finding a cure for cancer, wouldn't you donate the money, time, energy and resources you would have spent on a child to helping to find one? The average child today is supposed to cost over $1 million to raise. I'll bet the American Cancer Society could make some serious use of that money... and it's a much surer bet on helping to find the cancer cure than just having some kid, who, after all, could just as easily grow up and decide he wants to be the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. Or something equally unhelpful.

So, no, this isn't a reason for you to feel guilty about not having children. It's just another block on the Breeder Bingo Card.

1 comment:

Mel said...

I've gotten that line before. I always tell them that by that logic my child could also grow up to be a serial killer. That normally shuts them up pretty fast.