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Kids these days

A writer at BoingBoing decided to lob a grenade into the blogosphere by asking, “Is parenthood a lifestyle choice?” You have to live in a peculiar kind of bubble to even consider asking that question. It appears to assume that non-parenthood is more prevalent than parenthood, giving the latter that status of a steampunk obsession, vegetarianism, or a commitment to Linux.

It’s an especially weird question coming from a Web site that is predominantly secular humanist. Evolution-believing, science-loving, socialist-leaning secular humanists, of all people, should know that in this confusing, godless, short existence, pretty much the only thing a species shoots for is reproduction. That’s what “survival of the fittest” is all about: adapting and surviving so you can pass on your DNA, not so you can have Sunday morning brunch with your friends for the rest of your life.

That said, I would never say anyone has an obligation to have kids. I’m not the Catholic Church. I would simply reverse the question posed. “Is childlessness a lifestyle choice?” Yes. And it’s a fine lifestyle choice. But consider this if you’re an artist or filmmaker or a writer or someone who wants to help humanity while remaining barren: You are missing out on an essential, crucial part of what it means to be human.

This has huge implications for how you experience art, civic participation, and social interaction. There is a whole range of emotions and responsibilities that you will never experience, I don’t care how many dogs you have. So get out there and procreate. It’ll be fun.

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