Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Parenthood.  §

This is not a popular view. But in my estimation, any society in which a majority of the population does not engage in their own child-rearing is one that is ultimately doomed to collapse.

“Think of the children” really is a thing, and it is a thing that you cannot properly do until you have your own. No, parenthood does not change everyone, but it changes enough people in a particular enough way to fundamentally alter the frame in which a public approaches social self-sustenance.

I don’t believe that someone can be morally complete unless and until they have their own children. Now throw the tomatoes and/or tell me you’ll never speak to me again. This is not to say that childless people are necessarily somehow bad or to be looked down upon—just that there is a particular sociopolitical and historical naiveté that cannot be overcome until one is forced to engage with it on a realist basis over the very long term. It’s rather like being in a position of military leadership, or in critical areas of medical practice, with both the power and the responsibility for life and death themselves on your very tired and inadequate shoulders.

Put another way, it is not really your responsibility until it is really your responsibility, i.e. your decisions and actions alone are directly and immediately responsible for the very lives of innocent people—no escape hatch. Saying that you’re willing to take on the responsibility is not the same as actually having it, completely, without the ability to avoid it. This comes only with parenthood or—as I just pointed out—certain other rarefied positions in the social system.

Certainly parenthood is the only thing that can force this level of discomfort, introspection, and risk/responsibility acceptance for the broader population. I just don’t believe that there is anything that can take its place. A society in which parenthood is on the wane—is itself also on the wane.