I think the reindeer scenario is already happening in some parts of the world (horn of Africa?). And in other parts, birth rates are dropping enough to endanger smooth social functioning and to prompt government concern (Italy? Germany?). But we can’t just redistribute people because this is, in fact, a very big, diverse, and unequal island we’re on.

But the real reason I posted is your long discussion of people wanting to pass on a name or a genetic heritage, even those you call smart enough to “know better”. I think these are straw targets. Many (most?) people have children for love, to experience those incredible joyous highs that children bring (along with the grinding hard work, of course). You don’t use the word “love” anywhere in your blog post (apart from saying you’d “love” to have kids one day, which is slightly different use of the word, I think). I know it’s deeply unfashionable to talk about love, but I think it’s a central concept here with regards to what you’re arguing. To ask people not to love is profoundly unethical: freedom to love is, for some people, the only freedom they will ever have.

It doesn’t solve our population problems, of course, but I just wanted to signal that there is far more at stake here than biological urges. Perhaps you think that love for a child is a biological urge and my counter-argument therefore holds no water. But I would ask you not to be too quick to come to that conclusion. There are of course biological urges involved, but love is something of a different order and if we can put aside our fear of sentimentality to talk about it, we might open up new facets of these important debates.