Ideas Have Consequences: SRHMK Edition
By Bryan Caplan
Simon Nicolas Caplan, my third son, was born this morning. Mother, baby, and father are all doing well.
Besides the usual suspects, I’d like to thank the late great Julian Simon for putting me on my natalist path. Almost as soon as I set eyes on my son, I remembered his words:
spring day about 1969 I visited the U.S. AID office on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., to discuss a project intended to lower fertility in less-developed countries. I arrived early for my appointment, so I strolled outside in the warm sunshine. Below the building’s plaza I noticed a road sign that said “Iwo Jima Memorial.” There came to me
the memory of reading a eulogy delivered by a Jewish chaplain over the dead on the battlefield at Iwo Jima, saying something like, “How many who would have been a Mozart or a Michelangelo or an Einstein have we buried here?” And then I thought, Have I gone crazy? What business do I have trying to help arrange it that fewer human beings will be born, each one of whom might be a Mozart or a Michelangelo or an Einstein – or simply a joy to his or her family and community, and a person who will enjoy life.
It is only fitting that my son will bear this great man’s name.
I also owe a debt to the readers of EconLog. Natalist thoughts had been running through my head for years. But it was this forum that inspired me to clarify and organize the thoughts that have become the building blocks for my current book project, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. Much oblige!