Recently I had the opportunity to talk about why I don’t want children on SBS Insight, a popular TV program in Australia (episode 8 season 2022 here for Australians, or here for overseas). I’m not sure how many people watched the actual episode, but over 1 million people watched this clip. It was a great opportunity to share my thoughts about the ethics of procreation.
The way this opportunity came about is interesting. I browse and post on Reddit, and sometimes frequent various childfree and antinatalist subreddits. Someone from SBS must have seen me posting on one of these, and messaged me on Reddit. This lead to a phone call, which lead to an invite to come on the program.
The above clip posted on SBS Insight’s Facebook page naturally generated some contention. I had a great time responding to people’s particularly weird comments in the below video (from people wishing my parents didn’t have me to the usual bingo list of ‘you’ll change your mind’.
This topic seems to have just the right amount of controversy to be by far the most popular topic I talk about, even if you don’t include this program. My YouTube video on why I don’t want kids remains my most popular video to this day by far (it alone is half my views/watch hours on YouTube). It’s not really my main focus by any means, which I find interesting.
Vasectomies and lock-in
On another note, I am still considering a vasectomy. I’m like 99% of the way there, and the fear of chronic pain is what is holding me back. I know what I need to do to potentially alleviate these fears, I just haven’t had the time to do it yet. I will soon.
But – I have been considering the possibility of other ways to lock myself in to not having kids (as I’ve said before, I’d have a vasectomy even if I knew for sure I would change my mind and want kids in the future). One of the downsides, in my view, of a vasectomy is that it’s potentially reversible. Part of me wonders – why risk the chronic pain when I might just change my mind and get it reversed in the future? It’s not 100% reversible, and it depends on how recently you had the procedure done, but it’s a factor nonetheless.
By talking about this so much, I’ve basically done what I did with my giving pledge – I’ve at least set myself up for public embarrassment if I change my mind. I wondered at first if I could make a contract with myself to donate $100,000 to the Donald Trump reelection campaign or something I similarly disagree with if I have a child to encourage me to never change my mind. Unfortunately I don’t think you can make a contract with yourself. I’ve also considered finding someone I trust to make such a contract with them, but they might change their mind too in the future and not hold me to the contract.
I’ve also considered public bets in the style of www.longbets.org (unfortunately I don’t think my situation qualifies for “The subject of the Prediction or Bet must be societally or scientifically important”). People sometimes tell me I’ll change my mind. I’d like to challenge them to put their money where their mouth is. I would ask them for something like $100 now, with the promise of returning that plus $200 in the event I have a child in the future, adjusting that $300 for inflation and maybe 10% per year for the time value of money (I’d have to do it this way unless we set a specific date by which I have to have had children, but I’d rather it be in perpetuity).
This would not only be a free source of money as far as I’m concerned, but it would also help to lock me in. The more bets I take, the more I’m incentivised to never have children. Plus it would be rather satisfying to either prove these people wrong with this bet, or to see their face when I challenge them to put their money where their mouth is.