The View from Hell

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Your Children Might Be Evil – Even If You’re Not

with 20 comments

Parents generally have a great deal of expectations regarding their children, and one of the biggest expectations is that the children will be similar to the parents: similarly intelligent, happy, attractive, etc.

Parents also expect that their children will grow up to be good people; it’s all about how you raise them, right?

Not necessarily.

A New York Times article by Richard Friedman, “Accepting That Good Parents May Plant Bad Seeds,” describes the nightmare of raising kids who are just morally bad people – even if the parents, and the parents’ other children, are fine.

. . . there is little, if anything, in peer-reviewed journals about the paradox of good parents with toxic children.

Another patient told me about his son, now 35, who despite his many advantages was short-tempered and rude to his parents — refusing to return their phone calls and e-mail, even when his mother was gravely ill.

“We have racked our brains trying to figure why our son treats us this way,” he told me. “We don’t know what we did to deserve this.”

Apparently very little, as far as I could tell.

Very little . . . except force him out of the womb and into the world, necessarily against his will.

Parents make the choice to reproduce, and deserve what they get. Problem is, the children – bad people or not – do not.

Friedman concludes:

For better or worse, parents have limited power to influence their children. That is why they should not be so fast to take all the blame — or credit — for everything that their children become.

I think parents are very much to blame for the suffering of their children – and for the suffering their children cause others. Denying responsibility for making the very serious decision to reproduce is incredibly immature.

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Written by Sister Y

July 20, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Posted in antinatalism, bad kids, evil

20 Responses

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  1. I often wonder why more parents of suffering children don't experience immense feelings of guilt and self-loathing.

    Modern Man

    July 20, 2010 at 11:16 pm

  2. On the bright side, if your kid is SERIOUSLY toxic, you can always write a book about it.

    Chip

    July 21, 2010 at 1:31 am

  3. Along similar lines, it has recently come to my attention that an ardently vegan couple (of the ethical flavor) I know just had a baby. A “vegan” baby… (you probably know where this is going…) Since they pride themselves on living a vegan lifestyle, I wonder if it has ever occurred to them that their child may one day become unvegan. This scenario is incredibly likely, given societal pressures, a desire for convenience, and teen rebellion. And if this happens, he will undo a fair portion of what they have been doing in order to boycott products they abhor. And what if he goes on to reproduce himself? Why, there could be a whole lineage of carnivores in the wake of the well-meaning herbivorous progenitors. It makes me chuckle and gag all at the same time how self-righteous these people are, and how horribly in-denial (or stupid) they are. When will people learn that they can't make their children turn into anything in particular with absolute assurance?

    Anonymous

    July 21, 2010 at 2:37 am

  4. Chip – holy fuck. I thought of Lionel Dahmer specifically when I read the NYT thing – I'm tempted to get his book now.

    Anonymous – my first thought when reading your comment was to think of malnutrition. My mom's a vegan, and it's incredibly difficult for an adult to get adequate nutrients that way – much less supply them to an infant. But yeah, of course the kid will grow up to be a raging carnivore like me. <3

    I'm in favor of (voluntarily provided) person milk, though.

    Sister Y

    July 21, 2010 at 2:44 am

  5. Wow, lots of activity here lately! And a new look; very nice.

    Lionel Dahmer also used his son to push his creationist agenda. He got Jeffrey to say on national TV that his serial killer career was motivated by his acceptance of evolution. Curator, when you say you want to “get his book” I hope you don't mean you intend to pay for it! 🙂

    I think it would be much easier to get adequate nutrition as a vegan if there were more vegans and consequently more vegan products containing necessary supplements.

    MM –

    why indeed…

    On a related note, I took the emotional empathy scale from here last night and got almost exactly the same score as the mean score on the General Empathy scale (mine is 3.52, and the mean is 3.53; women's mean is 3.8, but my low Emotional Contagion score did me in). But I got a much higher score on the Empathic Suffering scale than the mean. Mine was 4.78, the mean was 3.97, and women's mean is 4.1 (the maximum score is 5 on all scales). I wonder if all philanthropic antinatalists have a heightened ability to empathize with suffering.

    There is no computerized version, but if anyone wants to score manually, the scale and the scoring instructions are at the end of the report.

    CM

    July 23, 2010 at 12:19 am

  6. CM – ew gross. I didn't realize LD was even Christian.

    About veganism – I'm in favor of avoiding animal suffering (and sentient existence) in all forms, but it irritates me when people act like veganism is natural. As far as I know, there isn't a single human society that has successfully existed with a vegan diet. It would be nice if we could live without eating animals or their secretions, but it seems that this is yet another situation where our existence depends on causing suffering to others.

    Sister Y

    July 23, 2010 at 1:18 am

  7. CM,

    Thanks for the General Empathy scale.

    Curator,

    My inability to cope with the suffering of animals was the biggest emotional factor in my decision to become an anti-natalist.

    -MM

    Modern Man

    July 23, 2010 at 1:19 pm

  8. MM, that very desire factored into both my anti-natalism and my decision to become vegan. I mean, the fact that a pair of ethical vegans could procreate, despite the extremely high likelihood that somewhere along the line, one or more of their descendents would revert to omnivory, is a sin in my reading of the “religion of veganism”.
    Curator, I fully agree that veganism is not the natural/evolved lifestyle for H. sapiens. And for what it's worth, I'm actually not against subsistence hunting/fishing… I simply abhor the drawn-out torture that stems from factory farming practices, from which almost all of us in the developed world get our animal products. Furthermore, I believe it's possible to nourish oneself adequately on a vegan diet if one is careful. I've been vegan for almost a decade… I'm an athlete (an “extreme” athlete, even) and I'm very healthy in all ways that can be perceived by me and verified by my doctor. Unfortunately, it is possible to “do” veganism incorrectly, and I've noticed that the uninformed forays of select others in this venture have given the whole diet an undeserved bad name.

    Anonymous

    July 24, 2010 at 12:07 am

  9. What, exactly, is “natural”? Mechanically separated meat and brominated vegetable oil, the staples of a modern industrialized nation's diet, are pretty recent. And all the stuff that vegans eat is natural for humans to eat. The only vitamins that are not found in plants and mushrooms are D and B12, AFAIK. Both can be synthesized using yeast and thus be vegan. And you can just get vitamin D from spending time in the sun.

    That said, I still eat dairy products and eggs. How did you vegan guys motivate yourself anyway? I've been a vegetarian for several years and have fully realized that veganism is morally preferable, but I have a high tolerance for cognitive dissonance, apparently.

    CM

    July 24, 2010 at 2:04 am

  10. CM: “How did you vegan guys motivate yourself anyway?”
    I'm motivated by the thought that I would be miserable if I were: imprisoned in a cramped cage/stall most of my life (or perhaps my entire life), made to stand/lie in my own piss and shit (and that of my cellmates, if applicable) all day, constantly breathing high-concentration ammonia gas, getting pecked at or bitten by my cellmates, getting handled roughly and perhaps even battered/raped by my keepers, harboring infected wounds left untreated, crammed into carrying vessels and shipped to where I'll be slaughtered (likely via a long journey during which I'd be exposed to the elements: extreme heat or cold and perhaps also snow/rain), and then (mercifully! finally!) killed. When I imagine how much I would hate that kind of existence, it's easy for me to give up consumption of animal products. These are only some of the atrocities exacted against factory farmed animals (even those kept only for milk and cheese production… and, by the way, so-called “cage-free” is just a joke, so let's not lull ourselves into thinking that it's a humane panacea for our guilt-wracked souls). There are plenty of other things that these animals are made to endure, but I don't want to derail this post any further than I already have, so I'll leave it at that. However, let me close by saying that eating vegan (and doing so in a healthy way) is easier than you probably think. I craved some non-vegan things in the early days, but I'm used to my diet now, and despite occasional inconveniences when I travel, it's not a bad way to live (if you have to live, that is!)

    Anonymous

    July 24, 2010 at 2:52 am

  11. correction: I meant to say “those kept only for milk or EGG production”

    Anonymous

    July 24, 2010 at 2:54 am

  12. If you are concerned about cramped cages, piss and shit, etc. (by the way you are projecting your human concerns: lots of animals engage in coprophagia and enjoy standing close together for fear of predators), it's easy to order from a grass fed supplier:

    Slanker's grass fed beef
    US Wellness Meats

    I think vegan diets are profoundly unhealthy, and increase suffering for humans. I have been eating a totally carnivorous diet, as I explained on Tim Cooijmans' blog recently.

    The Plague Doctor

    July 25, 2010 at 6:45 am

  13. Vegan diets are tricky, but I know athletic people who've pulled it off for decades without adverse effects. You just have to be attentive to your protein sources, and supplement accordingly.

    Ornish style vegetarian/seafood diets aren't difficult at all, and if the health and longevity of Seventh Day Adventists is any indication, there are probably real health benefits.

    No amount of anthropomorphic projection can explain away the well documented suffering of hogs in modern industrial farms. Pigs matter more because they are significantly more intelligent than other mass-produced livestock, and the only practical way to meet increasing consumer demand for pork is to subtract from the animals' quality of life.

    Chip

    July 25, 2010 at 10:37 pm

  14. Since I became severly some two years ago, I have been reading almost non-stop about diet, health, and related topics, and I will say without exaggeration that a vegan diet are not just “tricky”, but the most profoundly unhealhty diet to which you can submit your body. In fact, there are quite a few former vegans on the various carnivory web forums, who turned 180 after utterly ruining their health on a vegan diet: 1, 2, 3.

    It is not just about the protein. By the way, a carnivorous diet is not a high-protein diet; most of the meat consists of water. A carnivorous diet is a moderate-protein, high-fat diet: 70-80% calories come from fat.

    I will not dismiss that you know some athletic vegans; what I will deny is that athleticism is in any way indicative of good internal health. In fact I was into long-distance running and swimming before I fell ill, and now believe (endurance) exercise to be unhealhty as well. There are quite a few atheletes who appear fit for decades, but then suddenly drop dead from a heart attack, or get cancer (think Lance Armstrong). Or have hairloss: if I had a nickel for every bald runner I see from my window, I'd be a millionaire. Carnivorous populations on the other hand do not get the diseases of civilization.

    Seventh Day Adventist are a bad example as two thirds of them are not even vegetarian, and they also avoid tobacco and alcohol, confounding the issue.

    As I am not intersted in convincing anyone, I do not have the inclination to debate this further, so I will again direct you my perviously comment on Tim Cooijmans blog.

    You can buy pasture-raised pork from Slankers as well. (I do not eat any pork, by the way, nor any industrially raised meat.)

    P.S. Life sucks.

    The Plague Doctor

    July 26, 2010 at 3:12 pm

  15. Plague Doc,

    I assume that you are more informed about this subject than I, but I do want to point out that the most cited Adventist health and longevity studies claerly distinguish between those who follow a vegetarian regimen and those who do not, and vegetarian Adventists fare better across categories. Of course, your point about confounders is well taken.

    It doesn't appear that there's a lot of longitudial data on vegan mortality rates, but the stats I've seen show them being right in step with the general population. Dispensing with anecdotes, it seems that if the diet were as risky as you suggest, the death and disease rates would be considerably higher (as they are, say, for obesity).

    What we really need is in vitro meat.

    Chip

    July 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm

  16. What we really need is in vitro meat.

    Completely agreed! I have even attended a workshop on growing stem cells with home-lab equipment (with the folks who make vegan leather). Unfortunately, the process requires huge quantities of decidedly-cruel-to-animals calf serum.

    Sister Y

    July 26, 2010 at 5:38 pm

  17. Might as well derail some more, since everyone else is doing it…

    I don't think that many people have healthy diets to begin with, and they already consume too many carbs. Going vegan wouldn't make a difference to them in terms of health, even if it were unhealthy. But it doesn't have to be; all the necessary nutrients can be obtained from vegan sources, so it should be possible to have a healthy vegan diet. If someone decides to eat primarily grass and then gets sick, like that Vegan Roulette guy The Plague Doctor linked to, it doesn't mean veganism is unhealthy; it just means the person isn't doing it right.

    Anon –

    Sadly, I'm aware of all those things, but I always manage to make up some lame excuse for myself, especially where cheese is concerned. FWIW, I've been trying to cut down on animal products. I agree about the cravings; and lots of vegan meat substitutes tasted horrible when I first stopped eating meat, but now the same products actually taste good.

    CM

    July 27, 2010 at 1:47 pm

  18. As Tim Cooijmans says, “The problem with eating meat is not that animals have to die for it. The problem is that they have to be born for it.”

    Sister Y

    July 27, 2010 at 3:00 pm

  19. “Very little . . . except force him out of the womb and into the world, necessarily against his will.”

    Um, I don't think a fetus have a “will”
    in any meaningful sense.

    Anonymous

    July 28, 2010 at 8:38 am

  20. Substitute “without his consent” if you like.

    Sister Y

    July 28, 2010 at 8:42 am


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