“Time’s ‘childfree’ assertion ridiculous”. Really?

Human Torch (C) Marvel Worldwide, Inc.,

Human Torch (C)
Marvel Worldwide, Inc.,

So, I was going through our daily deluge of childfree Google Alerts when I stumbled on a little editorial on a site called codyenterprise.com. It’s written by Darian Dudrick who is listed as the managing editor. For those who care, this is a newspaper, apparently founded by W.F. Buffalo Bill Cody and Col. John Peake in August 1899 which is kind of cool.

The editorial in question was a response to the Time childfree article…of course. There’s really nothing special about the editorial; what drew me in was that it is soooooo representative of that portion of the population that chooses to view the childfree dubiously.

So, I decided to eviscerate the relevant points in a rant. Let me put some music on, refill the coffee, and we’ll be off.

General Comment

Mr. Dudrick, when writing, you are not required to put every sentence on it’s own line. There’s this thing called a paragraph. You’d think the managing editor of a newspaper might know this.

In order to make my editorial more compact I will be using this traditional structure, even applying it to your writing.

The Assertions

Note: Mr. Dudrick’s thoughts will be in italics and mine will, umm, not be. Here we go.

Thanks to Time magazine for helping prove the point I made in a column back in January. I wrote about how America has become a narcissistic country. Enter the recent issue of Time, featuring the cover story, “The Childfree Life: When Having It All Means Not Having Children.” This serves as a prime example of the narcissism and selfishness that run rampant in today’s society. In its story, Time refers to the low birthrate and increased childlessness in the U.S. – more evidence to support my opinion.

So the childfree are narcissistic and selfish and we’re doing it in a rampant manner. This is apparently more pronounced now than in the ‘good old days’ when people weren’t and didn’t. Regarding the ‘good old days’ – today is the good old days, but that’s another post. Better yet, read The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker. It’ll blow your mind.

Back to the assertion of “narcissism and selfishness”… does the idea of “having it all” make one narcissistic and selfish or is it only when you add the “not having children” part? You’re not very clear Mr. Dudrick. The title of the article and your statement of  “…low birthrate and increased childlessness…” are in no way evidence of narcissism or selfishness by themselves.

We need some evidence, some causal chains here. Perhaps build your argument rather than just stating opinions as fact. We’ll come back to this more further down.

Yes. The decision by married couples not to have children is selfish. (I’m not talking about couples who, for whatever reason, can’t have children.)

It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again, what is more selfish? Creating a mini-you that you think will love and adore you unconditionally, that you can mold into the person you think they should be, and that you hope will care for you in your golden years – OR – conscientiously choosing to be childfree because you feel unable or unwilling to put in the recognizably horrendous amount of work necessary to properly raise and care for a child?

I do love your comment about infertile couples. This is where you get yourself into real trouble…but I’ll cover that below when you start spouting off about why people should not get married unless they plan to have kids.

Of course, that decision is a personal one. But when a national publication comes out glamorizing the childfree life – and insulting parenting in the process – the record needs to be set straight.

Thanks for allowing us this personal decision! Oh, and thanks for then judging that decision as wrong.

I’ve read the Time article and I’m not quite sure where it insults parenting. I have to go out on a limb here. Maybe you’re reading into it a little? Maybe it makes you question your decision to have kids? Or maybe you never realized you had an option? If this is true, I’m sorry for you.

Why do two people get married? The love they have for each other and the desire to spend the rest of their lives together go without saying. But really, if that’s the only reason to get married, they’re nothing more than a glorified boyfriend and girlfriend. Why not just continue dating?

You really could have stopped at “The love they have for each other and the desire to spend the rest of their lives together go without saying”. Actually, you could have stopped before you started this editorial, but here we are.

Why do two people (really) get married? Yes, because they love each other and the desire to spend the rest of their lives together. Also, to show that commitment publicly in a socially-sanctioned way. Also, to create legal relationships recognized by government. There you go, two more extremely important reasons off the top of my head. I’m guessing there are more.

Now for the whole “…not talking about couples…who can’t have children” bit. If a marriage without children is meaningless it only follows that a) individuals that are infertile should not marry and b) couples that find they are infertile should separate. Let’s keep going with this… maybe infertile individuals should wear symbols publicly so as to not waste the time of the fertile? Maybe it should be a criminal act to knowingly marry a fertile person if you are infertile?

Of course this is ludicrous, but so is your editorial.

Yeah, I know. Hollywood makes childless couples look really cool with those modern-day love stories.

I just have to laugh at this one. “It’s Hollwood’s fault…and those dang video games!” Really?

With no kids in their way, couples can wine and dine at fancy restaurants and travel the world. Couples with no children have more money to spend on themselves and more time to do whatever they want. Self-centered, self-serving … how else would you describe it?

A little thought experiment for you. Let’s assume for just a second that you have kids and that you actually want them. Next let’s assume that you spend the money you could be spending on wining and dining on the little darlings instead. And – remember this – you want the little darlings.

Still with me?

What do you call it when you spend money on something you want? Selfishness maybe?

Now, let’s assume you didn’t want your little darlings. Now, if you spend all your money on them, you are truly unselfish, at least as far as money is concerned. To be clear, true selflessness consists of doing something for someone with NO expectation of reciprocation. I’ve yet to meet a parent that has no expectation of reciprocation from their child.

Perhaps they don’t like children, nor have the patience for them. Maybe they view children as an inconvenience, or they just don’t want that responsibility. Regardless of what it is, there isn’t a great reason to decide not to have children. Even the fear of being a bad parent is more of an excuse to avoid responsibility. Most prospective parents have those jitters.

JESUS H F’N CHRIST! You’re basically arguing that if you know you will not care for children appropriately you should have them anyway. What kind of thinking is this? It’s perverse and immoral. I, the childfree guy, actually think that children are precious, should be cared for and loved, and given every opportunity to thrive. You appear to be a sadomasochistic ass.

There’s not much disputing the statistics that suggest more couples are preferring to be childfree. That’s the narcissistic society in which we live. But where Time’s ignorant, one-sided story fails is with the viewpoint that childfree couples are happier and smarter. What a bunch of bull. I sense sour grapes at some stage of the magazine’s decision-making. Could the story be masking someone’s emptiness at being childless? Maybe they regret not having children, or fear being alone when they’re old or if their spouse dies.

Empirical research to date – and I stipulate that this may change – shows that the childfree are happier and smarter. You elegantly refute this with “nuh uh”. The rest is a non sequitur. Sour grapes? Your editorial is full of them but not the Times article.

Is being a parent difficult? There’s nothing more challenging. Is it expensive? Without question. Is it time-consuming? No doubt.

I stipulate being a GOOD parent is difficult; being a shitty parent is easy and there are lots of shitty parents. The statement that nothing is more challenging is utter BS. Try being a Navy SEAL or a NASA astronaut or the CEO of a company or a really, really good programmer or being an excellent teacher. The list goes on and on.

You can stop patting yourself on the back now.

But being married with two children, I can say there’s nothing more rewarding than parenting, and no greater love and blessing than your children. And there are tens of millions of parents around the world who’d agree.

It is categorically impossible for you to know that there is nothing more rewarding than parenting for yourself, much less for everyone else. Not only is it categorically impossible for you to know this, it shows an incredible lack of imagination. First, you’ve only lived one life and that life has included two children. You have nothing to compare it against. As far as other people, all you have to do is look at the news. Even one example blows your truism out of the water, so, lets see, how about Susan Smith? Perhaps she would have been better childfree? Her kids certainly would have been. Methinks she did not reap the rewards of parenting you describe so glowingly.

The point being parenting is not right for everyone.

Oh, and you’re back to showing your real, selfish stripes with the no “greater love” comment. Reciprocation, reciprocation, reciprocation!

Time magazine has managed to put its foot in its mouth. The funny thing is that all of us – even those at Time and couples who choose to be childfree – are here because someone wanted to have children.

Being wrong continues to be your forte. First, I know for a fact that we’re not ALL here because someone wanted to have children. How do I know? Because I was accidental.

You should really learn to make less sweeping statements and over-generalizations.

As a matter of fact it’s probable that the vast majority of humans ever born were accidents. The true statement is that all of us are here because someone wanted to have sex. And, yes, sex leads to procreation but in humans it leads to procreation infrequently. It’s actually a form of recreation in humans and in a number of other animals. Evolution is clever that way. It gets us to reproduce by making us really, really like sex. Historically there wasn’t much we could do about that. How times change!

Indulge in that.
Right back at ya!

9 Responses to “Time’s ‘childfree’ assertion ridiculous”. Really?

  1. Jolene September 4, 2013 at 5:36 am #

    Awesome, thank you!! So refreshing to read!

  2. Laura Johnson August 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    I’m glad your patents were not childfree, Lance.

    • Lance August 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

      I agree most of the time!

  3. Teri August 15, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    My husband and I, as childfree people, can’t seem to “wine and dine” anywhere without there being a bunch of screaming children and inattentive parents.

  4. Eli August 14, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    I will admit as a parent, that I wish more educated and intelligent people chose to have kids, and less of the lower end of the bell curve chose procreation. From a purely cynical point of view I see humanity breeding away the intelligence that sets us apart. See, it takes a certain degree of brainpower to realise the children choice is, in fact, a choice, and a certain amount more to use contraception to its full efficiency.

    • Lance August 14, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

      Thanks Eli. We appreciate comments from thoughtful parents!

      Personally I’m not super concerned about the ‘dumb-ing down’ effect although it makes for a good movie (Idiocracy). I think too many confuse being uneducated and brainwashed (as in the hyper-religious go forth and multiply types) with being unintelligent. There are many highly intelligent people that just get born into the wrong circumstances.

      Thanks again!

      • Eli August 14, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

        As I said, it is a purely cynical reaction. Mostly based on experience of other parents who cannot talk about the wider world. I find being a parent adds a different perspective, not the only perspective.

        If one has no ambition to learn, no amount of circumstance will change that. By educated – it needs not be formal, simply a mind that continues to seek knowledge 😉

  5. Jamesa August 13, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    The author is ridiculous. “wine and dine”? “self-centered”? The majority of childfree people who are volunteering left and right to “travel” to developing countries like India and Kenya to alleviate world hunger issues. That is “self-centred”? If so, my career as an Agricultural Engineer is going to be grossly selfish when I graduate from college!

  6. Lyz August 13, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    A-effing-men. I have nothing to add.

    I hope he takes a visit over here, though I don’t have high hopes for him coming to light of how ludicrous his article is.

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