As I’ve found most people disagree with how I plan on raising my hypothetical children, I’ve decided to try one final argument. Hopefully I won’t need to dip my pen back into this ink bottle again. Personally, I’m sick of going over this again and again.
I am a vegetarian. If you cannot respect my personal choice of what to eat (without my pushing it on anyone), then we’re probably finished talking.
Frankly, what I eat has no bearing on who I am… well, in a physical sense yes, but in no other way… except for what it reveals of my own psyche.. well, whatever.
I am a vegetarian for moral reasons. That seems to be a meaningless qualifier to the prior position, but it’s important.
I have a hypothetical child who I can raise in any way I choose. This is the supposition needed. For we wouldn’t get into this problem but for this clause.
If you can respect my belief, surely you can respect my raising a child in my belief. It would be as illogical to ask me to raise my child a meat eater as it would be to ask an anti-Semite to raise a child Jewish.
Here we’re in new water. Some people might challenge this, saying that it would be wrong of me to raise a child in something I’m not certain of (or foolishly certain of). But I’m stuck in a dichotomy: either I raise my child vegetarian, or I don’t.
Either I raise him anti-Semitic, or I don’t.
Either I raise him speaking English, or I don’t.
Here, my uncle’s wise words come back to me: “Teach them what you know, let them figure out the rest.”
I could try to raise my children Jewish, speaking Arabic, and eating meat, but I would do it in such a terrible way that the child would be worse off than if I’d just gone ahead and ‘brainwashed’ him and raised him with the things I do know.
(note: I disagree with the term ‘brainwashing’ as it absolves a person of responsibility. Many people would consider my brother to be brainwashed, I’d consider him to be an idiot in need of thinking through his life decisions again)
The best thing I can do is teach my child to be autonomous— which is possible– and hope that he will realise his own personal correct course of action himself eventually.
As I have no choice but to raise him in my beliefs and teach him my way of thinking, the best course of action would be to do this until he can decide for himself. Similarly, a Christian’s best course of action would be to teach Christianity and assorted arguments for and against it, an anti-Semite’s best course of action would be to teach why or why not to hate Jewish people, and an English speaker’s best course of action would be to teach English and try to prod them along with other languages if possible.
When the child grows up or becomes rationally self-aware (I’m guessing age 10), he can make his own decision. I won’t stand in the way, so long as the decision is thought out and explained. For the time being, however, I have no choice but to raise him vegan and have him understand the reasons why.
(which was my original statement, damn it. I’d assumed people would know that this argument was behind it, but you know what they say about making assumptions… you make an ass out of ‘u’ and… um, ‘mptions.’ Damn.)
And now… attack my views at will. You know you want to.