Because “having one fewer child reduces one’s contribution to the harms of climate change,” Travis Rieder argues, “everyone on Earth ought to consider having fewer children.”
Rieder confesses that “this is an uncomfortable discussion.” He says he’s “certainly not arguing that we should shame parents, or even that we’re obligated to have a certain number of children.”
But on his grounds, why shouldn’t we? If he thinks we’re morally obligated to limit our childbearing, shame would seem the least penalty appropriate. If having too many children is, as he implies, analogous to murder, why not criminalize it?
Does he really analogize childbearing with murder? Yes:
If I release a murderer from prison, knowing full well that he intends to kill innocent people, then I bear some responsibility for those deaths …. Something similar is true, I think, when it comes to having children ….
So we shouldn’t be surprised that he recommends an article justifying China’s one-child policy. There Sarah Conly says the world’s 7 billion people cause “soil depletion, lack of fresh water, overfishing, species extinction, and overcrowding in cities.” When we reach “9.7 billion by 2050,” the situation will be even worse. …
That’s standard rhetoric for population-control advocates. More people = more consumption = resource depletion. Scholars like Julian Simon (a former advocate), Ronald Bailey, Indur Goklany, and even myself have rebutted that equation for decades.