There is a sort of passive-aggressive attack against childfree people, which I think most childfree people have experienced, which is of telling them what great parents they would be, if only they would have children like everyone else (80% of the population, anyway).
The childfree, confronted with such a statement, has few good responses. Ey can deny it, but that denial will be seen as modesty. Ey can agree with it and feel good about emself. I imagine that doing the latter may lead childfree people to feel self-righteous or long-suffering. After all, they could have been “great parents” and gain that status, but they sacrificed it for their childfree values.
But here’s the problem: how do we know that anyone would make a “good parent” unless they’ve already been parents? What exactly is the observable evidence that any given person would make a good parent? How can anyone predict parenting abilities? Isn’t that the breeder equivalent of a crystal ball?
People believe they can “read” all sorts of things in others just by looking at their eyes or face. The concept of juries operates under the belief that ordinary people can “read” people’s faces and figure out when they’re lying (despite the scientific tests that prove otherwise). We all operate under the unconscious delusion that we can understand people’s motivations from the way they act or look. Breeders are not immune to that.
I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “great parent.” I believe that all pedagogy is inherently wrong-headed at best, and psychologically murderous at worse (and if we include Quiverfull insanity, actually murderous). I believe that breeders are deluding themselves, and others, by pretending that there’s a “right way” of playing this game. Everyone always loses: the children, the parents, and society.
The decision to be childfree is a ponderous one, and all childfree people, I think, have thought about it quite extensively. To make such attacks is to trivialize the childfree person’s decision. It’s like telling an atheist that they must have been abused by a religious person when they were younger and to consider that their abuse may not be a good reason to disbelieve. It’s cheap, crass, unnecessary.
I already asked about what sort of observations would a breeder use as evidence that someone would make a “good parent.” My answer is that no such evidence can exist. But obviously they do think they see something that serves as evidence. Presumably this has to do with our interactions with children (those of us who have any, anyway).
Not all childfree like children, but I would say most childfree people have a pretty high affinity for children. This is partially because they don’t have children. Seeing children for an hour or two at a time is an entirely different proposition from taking care of a child twenty-four hours a day; there is no better cure to finding children amazing than to have one.
I think there is some underlying truth to the breeders’ attack, although not the one they’re going for. I would expect that it is the least pedagogically damaged people who don’t procreate, who have the least need to reproduce the abuse they were subjected to as children, who are least likely to need affection so much that they try to find it in captive beings.
Although there are exceptions, it seems to be a general principle that the less damaged you are, the more you recognize the extreme difficulty of raising children. People who breed without thinking seem to believe that raising children is something anyone can do and that you automatically qualify by virtue of having been raised (badly) and being able to fuck. This is delusional thinking at best.