Wednesday, August 20, 2003


Peter Cuthbertson, one of my favorite commentators, writes in Conservative Commentary about how some social and nascent political movements could only exist because of the Internet. He supports the contention that, due to social, geographical, and political divisions, these diverse movements would not recruit enough members to form a viable and ongoing association. I'm certain that Peter is right.

One that he discusses is,
. . . [T]hose who call themselves 'Child Free'. They are people who decide not to have kids and believe that this choice is an important part of their personalities. And the way many such people act is scarcely to be believed. You see them writing in the most extreme and bizarre terms about their loathing of all children, talking all sorts of Malthusian nonsense about population problems. You see people constantly mentioning that they do not have children and about how those who chose to do so have wrecked their whole lives. You also see a psychotic level of nastiness directed at people who are not among them, a friend telling me recently of the attention they gave a friend of hers, a proud father who mentioned his daughter on his blog regularly enough to attract the attention of Child Free forumers, who then began posting about visiting where he lived and all the various ways they could kill and maim his young child. These were grown adults talking about mutilating a toddler.

I did a web search on "child free" and had over 40,000 hits which surprised me, primarily because there is more to the movement than I anticipated and the fact that it was all news to me. My research in the subject was cursory, yet I was left with two salient impressions. One is that it seems most of the people involved just do not want to have children impacting their lives. They feel the cost and bother far exceeds the benefits to be derived from parenthood. Personally, I'm somewhat troubled by these people and their attitude. They seem mostly interested in getting society in general to recognize their child free lifestyle as acceptable, but they're asking for much more. Some complain that workplace rules discriminate against the child free vs. people with kids. They also want airlines to impose stricter rules on people traveling with infants.

On the more troubling side are those people who want all others to be child free by advocating as many abortions as possible and, in some cases, forced sterilization. The website ChildFree Issues disturbed me with these statements:
Changing diapers in public (other than restrooms) needs to be illegal.

No services should be only for people with underage children living with them! Services I'm thinking of are food stamps, health care and homeless/battered women's shelters, but I'm sure there are others.

In my opinion, the institution of diaper changing laws is not a good idea. A society with Diaper Changing Police indicates that maybe the legal system is trying to criminalize every single action that is offensive to somebody.

And changing existing health care and food stamp programs to eliminate special provisions for children I think would engender little support from liberals and conservatives.

In conclusion, for my readers that didn't know this stuff was occurring, the foregoing information is nice to know. The child free movement needs to be recognized by the general public since they are advocating some fairly radical legislation and they are aligned with even more extremist viewpoints.

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