Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Why I Don't Have Kids

Aside From That Lack-Of-A-Wife Thing...

Stories like this one absolutely piss me off beyond all reason...

Vegan couple sentenced to life over baby's death
Malnourished baby was fed soy milk and apple juice, weighed 3 1/2 pounds

ATLANTA - A vegan couple were sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for the death of their malnourished 6-week-old baby boy, who was fed a diet largely consisting of soy milk and apple juice.

Superior Court Judge L.A. McConnell imposed the mandatory sentences on Jade Sanders, 27, and Lamont Thomas, 31. Their son, Crown Shakur, weighed just 3 1/2 pounds when he died of starvation on April 25, 2004.

The couple were found guilty May 2 of malice murder, felony murder, involuntary manslaughter and cruelty to children. A jury deliberated about seven hours before returning the guilty verdicts.

Ignorant assholes. They deserve to be beaten to death with big bloody chunks of dead animal.

So, what does this have to do with my lack of offspring?? Let's see if I can tell this without getting too bizarre.

Here's the question... Is your child your property to do with as you please, or an individual in their own right that deserves the chance to choose their own path?

In other words, is it moral and/or ethical to pre-load ideas into your kid's head before they have the mental acuity to both understand the position you're forcing them to take, and also possess the maturity level to make an informed consent? Do you have the moral right to insist your child to follow your dietary or political or religious beliefs when doing so could be detrimental to that particular human being's mental and physical makeup?

Now, before you reach any quick conclusions about what an absolute lunatic I am, let me set up the playing field:

I believe every child should be reared to be a productive, cooperative member of society. This means you teach the kid safety, hygiene, manners, ethics (including a work ethic), etiquette & protocol and also educate them to a reasonable degree in matters both practical and scholastic before you turn 'em loose on society. To do otherwise is detrimental to both the child and the neighborhood.

Now, if you want to teach 'em ballroom dancing or upland bird shooting or golf or underwater basket weaving, that's all just icing on the cake. Those are pastimes that the kid can walk away from later in life if they don't like 'em.

Now, I *don't* think you necessarily have the moral right to force a kid to adhere to your personal beliefs through behaviors either persuasive or coercive.

Yeah, I'm talking about religion, too. Go ahead and freak out and call me names. I'll wait.

Look, this is a very weird philosophical position to take. I'm well aware of that. However, if it's wrong to convert the heathen savages or spread Islam by the sword or brainwash a P.O.W. into believing that there are five lights, how can you defend insisting that your child become a vegan, or a Republican, or a Pro-Lifer, or a Lutheran, or a flat-earther? In some ways, I think it's worse to indoctrinate a kid, as they tend to blindly trust you in all things, where an adult would have reason to doubt.

"But El Cap! I'm a Jew/Hindu/Rastafarian/whatever! I have the right to teach my kid about his cultural heritage!"

Yes, you certainly do. You're born into your culture, no denying that. I do believe you can teach your kid about his Scottish heritage without forcing him to be a Presbyterian, though. It's a tough row to hoe, however. Religion and culture can be so intertwined that it's very nearly impossible to teach one part without including the other.

It is done, though. Among some religions, notably the Amish, even though you are brought up fully immersed in the culture, you are not required to take the faith until you are of age. At that point, it's reckoned that you can make an informed decision on your own.

"Hey, El Cap, ya commie pinko scumbag! Don't you want your kid to grow up a patriotic American/Loyal Texan?"

Ouch, Mister. You cut me to the quick...

Yes... yes I do. Very much so. I'd prefer it if they were exactly like me in every way, brought up to love Texas, fly the American flag every day, and ride, shoot straight and speak the truth. Doing so would please me greatly. Just because something pleases me, doesn't make it morally defensible, though.

My parents brought me up in their image, just as yours probably did, and you're likely doing with your kids. It's just the way things are done, for millenia untold. Also for millenia untold is the inevitable adolescent upheaval, where the kids strain against and often break free of the beliefs and attitudes of their elders. True, some parents stomp this rebellion down with ruthless vigor, even making sure there's sacred verse to defend their actions, but the end result is usually trauma on both sides.

The bottom line is this... is it possible to raise a well-adjusted child in a manner where they're free of indoctrination or coercion until they're old enough to take an informed and considered position on their own?

I suspect it is... but I have no clue how to do it. As a result, I'm in no great hurry to try. I'd like to think I'd make a good father, but I just can't philosophically come to terms with making little clones of myself.

Sigh. Maybe I'll buy a dog. Of course, then I'll have to train him not to poop on the rug, thereby indoctrinating him in my humano-centric beliefs in No-Rug-Pooping Behavior...