There is a middle ground between loftily deriding childraising as a mountain of diapers and insisting on its being an extremely expensive exercise in providing only the best and purest to an extension of oneself. It is actually possible to take it easy, push a baby around in a ratty old stroller, avoid worrying about the purity of every particle that comes into the baby's airspace, and not spend every night worrying about whether Junior will make it into Harvard. The child often enough ends up healthy, without allergies to every earthly substance, and relatively free of neuroses. [...] The whole Breeder/Proud Singles problem is pretty exclusively American, perhaps a product of everybody's need to justify exactly why they've chosen their way of life. But who really asked for a justification?
switters, who is pretty bizarre, captures a central irony of the whole debate:
Having children today could quite possibly be the most pure, unadulterated form of optimism, hope, and belief in our inherent goodness, and, in another sense, the closest we approach the divine in all of us. Or it could just be a broken rubber. Jury's still out.
For many other posters, the debate over child-rearing is political. 3dogs suggests licensing parents. Jaque argues that those without children should pay more to society. By contrast, yerevan believes he's subsidizing middle-class brats:
People who have had children should not place the burden of their personal choices on the rest of us. We should not have to work overtime because they want to go to a kid's school play. We should not have to pay extra to cover their family's health insurance. And if people get rebates from taxes to pay for private schools for their kids, then singles should get a rebate as well for having NO kids in the public school system. [...]
I'll be damned if I should support the personal lifestyle of the middle classes. You want the kid - then pay for the kid - with your time and money.
One of the stranger lines of argument is that parents must breed their politics into the next generation. Chauncy writes:
My wife and I are not "mindless breeders" We are educated, well-traveled, and involved in the community. Those that would judge me for having children remind me of the morality police from the right wing. Just because the decision to remain childless is not based on the Bible does not make it any less offensive to impose your beliefs on the rest of society. [...]
[Besides]; who is going to carry on the fight against environmental destruction and conservatism if the Republicans are reproducing like mad and the self righteous left quits making babies? I'm not saying that you should have kids just to win a few seats in congress, but political opinions are shaped in the formative years just like anything else. The world isn't going to get less lousy if you let the other side have all the kids and shape the values of our young people.
Xando finds such talk patently silly:
I can't tell you whether or not you should have children. But I can tell you that if your list of reasons for not having children contains silliness like social policy analysis, you need to seriously reconsider how you're making such decisions.
There are also many threads that elude easy categorization, such as the parenting insights of Caromer:
I agree somewhat with the characterization of us reproducers as breeding morons. Why do we do it? Because we are programmed to do it. For the future, not for us. For our children.
Children are one of the creations that people put their lives and hearts into; art, the house, a love affair, a piece of carpentry or music. But unlike those things, which are made to have some purpose defined and centered around you, the creation of a child is mainly a gift of life to the child. So, the motivations of the creator are secondary. That is why reproduction is truly selfless and somewhat moronic. Sane people do not create things unless they have a purpose to them. The main beneficiary of a child is not the self, but the child. Sure, there are joys, but there is heartache too. There may be another hand to work on the fields, but there's two more mouths to feed; the child and the pregnant spouse. And the child does not serve the parent. It's a constant one way pouring of effort.