More and more we hear rumblings about the appropriate number of children for a family to be environmentally conscious. Even last week while traveling, a young man was sporting a green shirt that proposed no more than two kids for the sake of the rest of the world. Where does this thinking lead? First, just as one can possess false humility one can also possess a false sense of service or sacrifice. A false sense of service or sacrifice can be motivated by many things. The narrative goes like this: “I will give up this for the betterment of the world…” but now it doesn’t stop with individual choices it finishes with “and you should too.” This many times is a false sense of sacrifice because those wanting another to give up something (children, etc.) never desired it for themselves. This brings us back to the green shirt guy- did he desire more children than one or perhaps two? If he did not, then what is he sacrificing for the cause? Why shouldn’t he forego bringing a baby into the world and instead adopt one of the many at risk babies born throughout the world? He didn’t choose this as he was walking a two year old around the pool that looked very much like him. However, there is a second problem with this thinking. Ultimately it will result in the state deciding for us. We can see the end-game of this type of thinking clearly playing out in China. Even fines (sound failure: think healthcare) can’t satisfy those who are in China’s bureaucracy. The New York Times provided a vivid picture what results from this type of thinking:
Ms. Pan, a resident of Daji, said Ma Yuyao, the head of the township’s family planning commission, “scores points for promotion” by keeping the population down. Many parents ready to pay the fine of $7,200 for a third child are still coerced or forced into having abortions to make sure targets are met, Ms. Pan said. (Daji is a rural area, and couples there are apparently allowed two children without penalty.)
This decision is best left with families, some will make wise decisions and some will not, but the solution is not a community or government voice.