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Why I Must Never Have Children

November 30th, 2003 · No Comments

Of course, some of you have probably already concluded that I should never have children, and my resolve to name any firstborn daughter “Antigone” would probably make it tough to find a willing collaborator if I were so inclined… but it’s actually something else altogether that prompts that headline.

At the end of a post on adoption and cloning, ex-roomie and economist extraordinaire Glen Whitman writes:

(I personally would prefer a genetically related child to an adopted child, but IĆ¢??d prefer an adopted child to a genetically identical child.)

Now, I’m one of the (probably few) people for which the prospect of a clone-baby is sort of alluring. I’ve always thought it would be interesting to see how (genetic) I would’ve turned out had I been raised by myself. Better still: each successive version of me could write (or record on video) a sort of memoir-cum-guide-to-life. A letter to a young self, so to speak. Each clone then clones himself, passing on the accumulated life experience of his predecessors. It’d be interesting to watch a series of persons with the same starting genetic endowment learn from and react against a series of prior “incarnations.” Of course, a disposition to think of child-rearing as an intriguing experiment is probably a sure sign that you’re not well suited to it…

Of course, there’s no reason ordinary parents couldn’t do this for their kids—and informally, of course, they already do by relating their experiences piecemeal over many years. But I’ve always thought it’d be interesting to read, say, my father’s memoir. I wonder how the children of folks who are the subject of one or more biographies feel reading them years later.

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