Monday, May 7, 2012

Scandalously expensive raincoat = my destiny, Jennifer Roback Morse = ?

Hey, fellow libertarians: am I the only one of our number who gets told that I will stop being a libertarian once I have children? Does this happen to libertarian women more than it happens to libertarian men? And does it happen to people of other political ideologies? In my experience, this has usually been an argument that social conservatives raise around libertarians. But that may be only because most of my progressive and liberal friends are about my age. Most of them either don't have children yet or have had them only very recently.

Second question (paging Bryan Caplan,  who recently wrote a book entitled "Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids"): is there any actual data showing that people's political beliefs change once they have children?

For what it's worth, I don't advise this as a rhetorical strategy to adherents of any political ideology. At any given moment,  many of the people whom you are trying to persuade do not have children or do not have them yet. Nor am I sure that the mechanism works well with parents of older children... do most mothers of 30-year-old lawyers really find "But your daughter could become a prostitute unless the government bans commercial sex!" to be especially devastating? Many people also often find this line of argument off-putting, to the point that it has occasionally made me wonder if I really do want children.

Though perhaps some people do find "transformative experiences" inherently more appealing than I do; in college, one of my acquaintances vehemently insisted that what was really exciting about falling in love was the whole experience of giving yourself so completely to the other person that it was like you weren't who you had been anymore but part of a whole new person. This sounded creepy as all hell then and still does. I have never particularly felt that my soul is in need of saving, whether from men or babies or anyone else. This has caused me problems with some men in the past, but it worked out all right in the end. Perhaps children are the same way.

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