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Bioethicist: Having Children Is Bad

Wesley J. Smith
parenting
Photo credit: Irina Murza via Unsplash.

This is the world of bioethics, the “experts” whom we are supposed to trust to guide public policy on a range of issues, from medical policy to environmental law.

We should not listen to a word the mainstreamers have to say — as this article telling us not to have children makes clear. From “Science Proves Kids are Bad for the Earth,” by Travis Reider, published at NBC Think:

A startling and honestly distressing view is beginning to receive serious consideration in both academic and popular discussions of climate change ethics. According to this view, having a child is a major contributor to climate change. The logical takeaway here is that everyone on Earth ought to consider having fewer children.

The Chinese Model

Talk about shades of China family-planning theory. We must destroy much of what makes life worth living in order save the planet!

The argument that having a child adds to one’s carbon footprint depends on the view that each of us has a personal carbon ledger for which we are responsible. Furthermore, some amount of an offspring’s emissions count towards the parents’ ledger.

What crap. We do not have to feel guilty for being alive. Moreover, children bring great joy into the world. They are the posterity to whom the future will belong and depend. They are the hope of the world, not environmental disasters.

The Most Important Endeavor

But look at the moral wrong our bioethicist changes this most important human endeavor into:

If I release a murderer from prison, knowing full well that he intends to kill innocent people, then I bear some responsibility for those deaths — even though the killer is also fully responsible. My having released him doesn’t make him less responsible (he did it!). But his doing it doesn’t eliminate my responsibility either.

Something similar is true, I think, when it comes to having children: Once my daughter is an autonomous agent, she will be responsible for her emissions. But that doesn’t negate my responsibility. Moral responsibility simply isn’t mathematical. . . .

Having a child imposes high emissions on the world, while the parents get the benefit. So like with any high-cost luxury, we should limit our indulgence.

No. Choosing to bring new life is not an environmental wrong. It is the best that life has to offer.

This is why I call it global-warming hysteria. And it’s an example of why I think most bioethics discourse pushes us away from policies and actions that make for a healthy and vibrant society.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.

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bioethicscarbon footprintchildrenChinaclimate changeenvironmentalismethicsexpertsfamily planningglobal warmingkidslifemoral responsibilitymurdererNBC ThinkpoliciesprisonTravis Reider