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Argument Analysis: No Kidding!

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In a CBC Commentary, Rose Kemp speaks against what she terms as a backlash against children.  She cites an increase in the number of No Kidding! chapters in the U.S. from just 2 to 47 in just 5 years, further stating that this social group actually represents a reactionary movement opposed to the noise, disruption and inconvenience caused by children.  In general, the author espouses respect for the parents that raise their children.  She is clearly opposed to the offensive language used to describe children which she associates with the group, making personal attacks on the organization itself based on the opinion of some of its members.

 Moreover, with accorded respect must also come an understanding that the cost of raising children should fall upon the whole of society.

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A cursory search in the internet reveals that No Kidding! is a social club for childless singles and couples that has existed since 1984, with its first chapter established in Canada.  The author of the essay appears to express some alarm over the exponential increase of local U.

S. chapters of this social club.  She reports that “these people” object to children, workplace colleagues that have flexible hours because they have young children, and the payment of taxes that go into the care of other people’s children.  Looking into No Kidding!’s website shows that these are actually derived from stories shared and posted by its members. The group, however, maintains that it is simply a social gathering of childless individuals and does not advocate, in any way, the opinions held by its membership.  The author was making a hasty generalization, associating the opinion of the few to be a clear advocacy on the part of their social club.

Kemp singles out No Kidding! as central to the issue of the backlash on children, but there are other groups established for the childless, notwithstanding unaffiliated individuals.  Perhaps the social group was highlighted in the essay only as a means of introducing the issue of movements established against children since she proceeds to speak against the ideals of the child-free.  The author states that she sympathizes with certain aspects of the child-free view of life, and agrees that the decision of some to remain childless be respected by all.  She also agrees that children are wont to be disruptive, particularly at a young age, and parents should be mindful of the discomfort their children could potentially cause at places and events like expensive restaurants, shows that require silence on the part of its audience, and the like.

There are some observable fallacies throughout the article, however, such as an appeal to tradition, an appeal to fear, and an appeal to emotion.  As mentioned, the author states that she sympathizes with particular facets of the child-free outlook, but points out how she cherishes the traditional experiences related to having a child, by saying how glad she is to have been lucky enough to have such experiences, thereby implying that those who choose not to have these traditional experiences, though it is their own business, are missing “something big.”  In effect, she seems to say that it is unfortunate that there are some people who choose not to have these experiences.

She builds on this by using an appeal to fear, saying that these people are missing “something big” in terms of making a “fundamental mistake about society itself”.  She basically tries to argue that if the child-free view of life is given free reign, then society as it is today would literally cease to exist.  She cites the old Christian belief of celibacy and proceeds to relate the now extinct Shaker movement as an example of something that disappeared because of mistaken beliefs.  It is as if she wishes to point out that because of the allegedly fundamental mistake about society that the child-free view entails, it too will disappear.  She emphasizes this by saying that if everyone was to stop having children, then there would eventually be no one left to perform the basic functions of society that make it work, such as essential medical services, and tying it up to one of the arguments in favor of the child-free view, even opera and restaurants.  She claims that as a matter of fact, some day, even these people who espouse the child-free view will need the children of other people, albeit already grown-up, to provide them with these services.

She caps off her argument by making an appeal to emotion.  These people will need other people’s children to fulfill their needs, and as such, they owe a “big debt” to parents who take time and exert effort to rear these children.  Therefore, she says that “some sharing of the work and the costs of raising and educating them is perfectly reasonable.”  At the very least, she believes that parents deserve respect for their hard work in raising and rearing their children, implying that those who espouse the child-free view have no such respect, and she pleads that everyone, including child-free view proponents, must “understand that children are necessary for life itself.”

The main flaw in Kemp’s article is that she is creating a false dilemma, defining a problem that does not exist.  I agree that society needs children, that its basic functions, its very workings, depend on humanity and its continued existence.  However, I do not agree that the child-free view poses an imminent or serious threat to the propagation of the species, as she tends to imply in her article.  Just as there are people who choose not to have children, there will always be people who will choose to have children, and will want to experience the joys of parenthood, regardless of the hassles the child-free wish to avoid.  I do agree that there should be a sharing of costs in raising and educating children, but I do not think that it should be borne out of fear, or justified by articulated hardships on the part of would-be parents.  I think that shared responsibility should be based on humanity in itself, without regard for the distinction between children and adults; we are all just people living in a world with others, all needing respect however distinguished.

Cite this Argument Analysis: No Kidding!

Argument Analysis: No Kidding!. (2016, Jul 12). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/argument-analysis-no-kidding/

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