Monday, March 05, 2007

There is No Such Thing as an "Illegitimate" Child; They're Just Bastards

In a discussion with the conspecifics the other day, the normative proposition that “children do better in intact families” came up. What this boiled down to in the end was that intact families generally had more money than non-intact families. The male role model thing could be tacked on to bolster the argument, but the main thing was financial stability. A related proposition is that “women who are not married should not have children”, presumably because the offspring will often not be as well off as they might with a husband in the picture.

But how perfect does the situation have to be before it is morally appropriate to reproduce? Children with nannies are better off than children without them, so should everyone wait to reproduce until he or she can afford a nanny? Children with loving extended families are better off than children in mere nuclear families, so should those who are estranged from their kin eschew reproduction until reconciliation? At some point, the situation is presumably good enough since the anti-bastardy advocates among my conspecifics all have children even though their situations are not perfect in every particular. And they had children even though they knew that one of them might die or that a divorce might ensue, in which cases their children would be less well off and better off never having been born.

For my part, I am indifferent to bastardy. If you don’t expect me to pay for your childrearing hobby, then I don’t care if you are married when you have a child. Alas, money is extorted from me for the support of other people’s children, and most of them are not even bastards. They were whelped by married couples and live in intact families which, despite being able to afford to take care of their own children and to educate them, nonetheless demand by force that I pay for public schools and other amenities for their kids. When they stop robbing their neighbors, I will listen to them moralize about bastardy. Until then, their moral credibility is strained to the breaking point.

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