Having Kids in the Apocalypse — Moral?
I have not studied ethics in any formal sense, but I know what feels right to me. The joke/statement the stereotype of teenagers often make “I didn’t ask to be born!!”
Do we have a moral obligation to not birth new people into a broken world? Obviously, human life as we know it cannot go on unless we continue to do so. We know this from headlines we see occasionally about populations refusing to have kids until their “leaders” finally allow them to have basic human needs as a guaranteed right. The pessimist in me sees that as proof that corporations see humans as a necessary profit vector, but the optimist sees this as proof that human interconnectivity is vital. In terms of statistical morality, the optimist is usually more moral, so we listen to that one. Humans should continue to procreate.
If we were the ones who broke the world, it would it be due justice that we live and die with the dread of killing humanity? Perhaps, but most of us didn't break the world. It’s the oil barons and other multi-billion dollar jackweeds. Perhaps they should never have kids, instead watching as their fortune dies with them and is distributed — oh no! — to other people who could use it (who-da thought others might have use for your dragon’s share?). This sounds quite vengeful on my part, retributive. Some would say retribution IS justice. Everyday folks should procreate. The über-wealthy should not be allowed to.
Should the dumb be allowed to pass their genes? From the get-go, this question leads me to imagine the plot of many dystopian stories with a “perfect” world without X, Y, and Z. That not the answer. Additionally, when we say “dumb people” in this context, we are likely thinking of people who refuse to acknowledge new information, which is quite different from people who are labeled by a supremacist power structure as essentially (as in their essence) “less smart” by way of their genes or what have you. The latter would be eugenics. Eugenics=bad i.e. immoral. Fullstop. But if we’re asking if those who refuse education should be disbarred from becoming responsible for a few members of the next generation of humanity, then that question is different. Parents are considered to be morally responsible for their children after all. The government can and will remove a child from the custody of their parents in cases of neglect and others. Is purposeful lack of education or miseducation neglect?
To a certain eye, it may appear that I’ve gotten away from the question at hand. We started with “Is it moral to have children in the apocalypse?” and here we are asking question of the form “Should we let [person] have children?”. These are the same. Morality has become less a matter of “how should I act?” and more a matter of legal dictation. The failure of moral theories is that they create broad moral decrees of right and wrong ranging from an objective level to an intersubjective level (a purely subjective model would arguably not be a model). All of these fail to corruption of power structures. They all require one to hold power over another. The primary premise is corrupt making the conclusions corrupt.
“What’s this got to do with the Apocalypse, Kiernan?” Be good to one another. You know what that means. And yeah, I’m being judgmental with that accusation and imperative. The key is that I hold no real power over you. Your discomfort is your own shame for mistreating others.
Listen to that and we just might get through the Apocalypse together.