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  1. MainerMikeBrown
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    MainerMikeBrown Contributing Member

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    Having A Baby In A Violent Nation Is Unfair

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by MainerMikeBrown, Oct 1, 2014.

    A couple having a baby can be one of the best experiences a couple can have, especially if the baby is given the opportunity to have a happy, productive life.

    However, I think it's incredibly unfair for a couple to have a child in a war-torn nation in which that country will clearly continue to be a terrible place to live in.

    If I lived in a violent area of the world in which their was little hope for things to get better, their is no way I'd want to bring a child into that kind of environment. It would be too unfair for the child.
     
  2. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I bet people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya are thinking right now, how unfair it is that pilotless drones are dropping bombs on their heads, destroying theirs and their children's future. We have no right to be moralising about them choosing to have children, if for no other reason but to keep their nation going.
     
  3. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I've always thought that the 'I won't bring a child into this terrible world' was the worst reason for not having children (and I can think of a lot of them). From the child's perspective, existing is almost always better than not, and how would you know that your kid won't turn out to be the one who grows up to solve the violence problems?
     
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  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Just like I know I will never win the lottery.
     
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  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    People win the lottery. And, you don't even need to stop a war to get the Nobel Peace Prize these days. Which is pretty funny if you disconnect yourself from all human feelings.
     
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  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always found this to be a weak argument. Essentially saying humanity is in such a terrible state, we should just give up and cease our existence as a species.
    I am continually shocked and dismayed by the horrific things people manage to do to each other -- the horrible brutality, inhumanity, and evil things people have thought up. At the same time, I am often in awe of the way people have worked together, helped each other, and discovered incredible things. I am amazed at the resiliency, the cleverness, the ingeniousness, and sometimes the kindness and selflessness of so many. Both exist simultaneously.
     
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  7. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    Yup, but as the State of Michigan is constantly reminding me, you can't win if you don't play. If you don't have the child, there's a 100% chance that she won't be the one to fix things.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
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  8. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @thirdwind : I too will never win the lottery, I'm too much of a pessimist to buy a ticket, but stevesh might :D
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014
  9. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    Your lips to the lottery god's ear.
     
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  10. Patra Felino
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    Patra Felino Active Member

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    I respectfully disagree. I've asked many people the following question:

    If, knowing what was to come, you had the opportunity to repeat your entire life to date, to experience it all again, without changing anything, would you take the option?

    Most people have said no. It could well be that I hang around with particularly negative people, or that there was something abut the way I asked the question that compelled people to say no, but I refuse to believe that almost everyone would opt to repeat their lives given the choice. I therefore disagree with your assertion that "existing is almost always better than not".

    My feeling is that there are similar amounts of happiness and unhappiness in the world, so having a baby is more of a massive gamble than a reliably good or bad thing from the baby's point of view.
     
  11. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Patra Felino : Asking people who are already alive and have already lived a part of their life, whether they would go through their lives all over again without changing anything is not the same as asking them whether they would prefer to never have been born. Therefore, you can't in any logical fashion transfer the answer for first question to the second, they aren't really the same thing at all.

    In my experience, anyone who wishes to never have been born, is speaking from the position of tremendous psychological pain, either due to mental illness or unimaginable past sufferings and traumas, and even then, a minority of survivors of war and torture kill themselves or live out their lives wishing to never have been born. Survival is the natural human instinct that can't be rationalised and intellectualised, especially not at the point of conception. So 'almost everyone' definitely fits the bill here, I think.
     
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  12. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with @jazzabel This is not at all the same thing. I don't really understand your question, actually. How, exactly, are you repeating your entire life? Why would you do this -- most people have had lots of good things and lots of bad things. Even some of the good things, though, would be pretty damn boring to repeat, knowing what comes next, and already having experienced whatever it is.
    Life is ultimately the result of your experiences. Even experiencing bad things, a lot of people are grateful for those, because they made them the person they are today. That doesn't mean that they would want to go back and re-live those bad things and go through their experience again. I think if the question was, "were the bad things that happened to you in your life so bad that it makes you wish you'd never existed," the answer for most people would be no.

    There's also the issue of looking back on decisions you made many years earlier, and wondering just how you did something so stupid. So going back and having to repeat the same dumb decision would not be particularly pleasant. I think the answer would also be different if the question were about whether you'd go back and relive your life, but have the opportunity to make different decisions than you did.
     
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  13. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I've been reading a lot about the Holocaust this year, especially memoirs of Holocaust survivors. I would be willing to bet real money that all such survivors, knowing what they know, would choose to be born rather than not if given the choice. If people who suffered the horrors those folks did can still find value in life, the rest of us should be ashamed to suggest that we would be better off never having been born.
     
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  14. Patra Felino
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    Patra Felino Active Member

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    @jazzabel: Knew there would be a bit of resistance to my post! I'm in the mood for a bit of a debate, though.

    "I wish I'd never been born" is a very strong-sounding statement. Uttering it is making a terrible admission of almost total failure. That's why you can't really judge people on whether or not they would make such a statement about themselves.

    If I were to cause a life to exist, and upon reaching the end of its life, it would not choose to repeat its existence, I'd consider my creation of the baby to have been a mistake from the baby's point of view.

    Personally, if I could repeat this morning, I probably would. This week, no, because Monday was terrible. I'd opt to rewind to the beginning of my thirties because things have been pretty good since then. I would not repeat my entire existence. As my own existence is the only one I can really judge, I have decided not to force anybody else to exist.

    I do not, however, wish I had never been born, because then I'd stop existing now and this bit of my life is pretty good. I'm probably going to enjoy today, and the weekend's coming up.

    I think my question is more valid than whether or not you'd say "I wish I'd never been born".

    @chicagoliz: Boredom wouldn't be a factor, since you'd be experiencing everything again for the first time. My question is a way of forcing people to think about whether they have, on average, enjoyed their life so far. Of course, if you just ask that, everyone just says yes automatically. Make them really weigh up the good and the bad, however, and...
     
  15. Patra Felino
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    Patra Felino Active Member

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    If it weren't so completely impractical and such a horrible thing to actually do, I'd take you up on your bet.

    I kind of agree with your sentiment though. Actually, I'm going to recount an trivial-sounding experience that wasn't:

    A few years ago, I saw The Book of Eli - a fairly unexceptional post-apocalyptic film. That day, I was both hungover and stoned, which was making me a bit stupid and also emotional. There's a bit when Denzil Washington is telling someone what life was like before the apocalypse. He was saying that people didn't appreciate what they had, and would complain about minor things, and throw away stuff because it was a bit scratched or something (the detaills elude me).

    For a moment, I thought I was in the film. I found myself thinking why, oh why hadn't I appreciated life more before the apocalyse. Now, I thought, there are cannibals everywhere and life really sucks.

    Then I snapped out of it, realised I was just stoned and hungover, and was back in 2010. From that day, I've been far more appreciative of life and genuinely happier. But that doesn't mean everybody thinks like that.

    I agree that the world should be a wonderful place, and people should be more appreciative. But they're not! Some people are happy and some aren't. Some holocaust survivors would choose to repeat their existence, and some rich, blond, gorgeous 1960s sex symbols would end their lives by their own hand. If you have a baby, you're signing it up to a great deal of happiness and a great deal of unhappiness. If you think there's more happiness than unhappiness then fine, get impregnating! But I don't really think it's obvious one way or the other.
     
  16. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Patra Felino : I get that there are times in your life you wouldn't willingly go through again, I am the same. However, this is the topic about how parents in war-torn countries shouldn't give birth to babies because the babies will be born into a violent world and it is unfair (according to the OP I'm paraphrasing) to birth children so they can suffer. All this is presuming a lot - that the war won't end and and that the child has no role in that war other than to suffer. It is an illogical argument based on personal feelings, too many assumptions and lack of first-hand experience of growing up in a war-torn country.

    To give a personal example, my people have been subjected to persecution, genocide and ethnic cleansings countless times (4 times in the 20th century alone, but it's been going on since 14th century, not even 50 years without war or hostile occupation). All my grandparents were either in concentration camps or in the partisans, as small children, with their parents perishing in the camps. Most of my family now are refugees (those that survived most recent ethnic cleansings and bombings). Do you know what the suicide rate in my family is (its known history)? Zero. Some of my relatives are extremely badly taumatised, especially one of my grandmothers. All of them had children and fought tooth and nail thorugh all the illnesses, ptsd, poverty, they each survived two wars (and genocides) lost everything they owned...War is horrible, but it makes you glad to be alive. It also makes you want to show the aggressor that they won't exterminate you, no matter what, you and your people will prevail. That is a very life-affirming effect of being brought close to annihilation, and I dare say that the more dangerous and war-torn a place is, the more highly valued each life is. So who are we to judge, from the safety of our First World homes, based on our First World problems?
     
  17. Patra Felino
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    Patra Felino Active Member

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    @jazzabel: I think I agree with a lot of that. I live in Colombia, and even though some of it's a bit fake, I'm pretty sure that the average Colombian is happier than the average inhabitant of the UK, where I was born, even though there is defintely more violence over here!

    Not sure about something as extreme as being in a concentration camp, although I just haven't been close enough to such an extreme situation to really comment.

    Have to go into a meeting now, but I'd like to reiterate that the whole happiness/existence issue is clearly very complex, and I just can't agree with anyone who either says that life is obviously great or that life is obviously terrible. It's just more complicated than that.
     
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  18. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    The question confuses me. I've always been of the opinion that people say 'no' because they know they wouldn't be able to change anything. But what if they could? If each and every one of you were given the ability to be reborn in the same exact life, in the same exact set of circumstances with all the knowledge of what was to come if you did nothing...and yet you had the ability to change it, would you still want it?

    If you give someone an opportunity to change their life for the potential better, they're going to take it. In my example, if you told someone if they had a chance to redo their lives and make some slight adjustments so they can get to a better place, I'm sure they'd love a chance to try.
     
  19. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Link the Writer : Even more so, in order for one's life to be exactly the same, everyone else's lives have to be exactly the same, which is pretty unlikely. In other words, even if one was to be born all over again, even if they had no memory of their previous life, the likelihood of their life being exactly the same the second time around is pretty much nil.

    ps. Here's an interesting graphic that could, obliquely, illustrate the uniqueness of each individual life

     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
  20. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    After all the analysis, I don't see a meaningful distinction between these two. You're merely asking people if they would prefer to have never existed, and I just don't see a majority of people saying yes. It's worded differently, but given the additional parameters you've placed, I don't think it provokes any additional thought, other than trying to figure out what the question means.

    Having no memory of the events happening, no knowledge of what happens, and no ability to change anything makes the question merely one of whether you are glad you existed, given the circumstances into which you were born.
     
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  21. Ossian
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    Ossian Member

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    Having a baby is a violent crime.

    There were 2 billion people 1927. There are 7 billion now, how many do we want?

    -In the 20th century shark numbers decimated by 90% -the seas are dying, there are too many people.
    Amount of people X degree of sanity(intelligence) = Earths condition. The only way to save the planet is to reduce populations.

    There will be 10-12 billion people by 2100(if we survive for so long.) http://www.aaas.org/news/science-global-population-wont-stabilize-century

    -Parents are terrorists, babies spell misfortune. Anyone of relative intelligence understand as much. It is better to disregard the rest, the fearful, the stupid.

    --Im not debating, just stating what is known(to me).--
     
  22. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    Bull. Such 'predictions' have been made since Malthus, and we're still here and thriving. We have a lot of problems as a species, but over-population isn't one of them, yet, and since the predilection to reproduce is the strongest urge in nature, all the sophistry you can muster isn't going to stop people from having children. Better, I think to focus your efforts (and your distaste for humanity, if that's important to you) on accommodating the future population.
     
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  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Why do I get the feeling that this is just another 'humans are a leech on the planet!!' speech? I can assure you, the Earth can take much of what we throw at it. Can we ease off a bit of what we're doing? Sure, absolutely, but so long as human ingenuity and creativity continues, I think we'll be here for a long, long time. Don't believe everything told to you.
     
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  24. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can we please refrain from statements such as 'Having a baby is a violent crime'? It's completely untrue, inappropriate, it vilifies those who give birth and it is a statement most likely designed to inflame. Thank you.
     
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  25. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is true we have a huge overpopulation problem and we will end up with billions of people simply starving to death and dying from diseases. People really should limit themselves to one or two children. People used to have many more children because so many would die in childhood. Now that most babies, especially in the industrialized world, do live to adulthood there is no need to have a dozen kids.

    The number of people that the earth can reasonably sustain, given current standards of living (electricity, air travel, etc) is about 3 billion. We're now at 7 billion, heading to 9 billion by mid-century. Something will give.

    If you want to read more about this, there is a fantastic book called Countdown by Alan Weisman. I highly recommend it.
     
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