A good reason

by wechslerh66

Why some people shouldn’t have children, #92:

‘…[N]ot one of them was a free agent,’ he said. ‘They were all tied to the merciless industrial machine. And the pathos of it and the tragedy is that they are tied by their heart-strings. Their children–always the young life that it is their instinct to protect. This instinct is stronger than any ethic they possess. My father! He lied, he stole, he did all sorts of dishonourable things to put bread into my mouth and into the mouths of my brothers and sisters. He was a slave to the industrial machine, and it stamped his life out, worked him to death.’
‘But you,’ I interjected. ‘You are surely a free agent.’
‘Not wholly,’ he replied. ‘I am not tied by my heart-strings. I am often thankful that I have no children, and I dearly love children. Yet if I married I should not dare to have any.’
‘That surely is bad doctrine,’ I cried.
‘I know it is,’ he said sadly. ‘But it is expedient doctrine. I am a revolutionist, and it is a perilous vocation.’

–from Jack London, THE IRON HEEL (1907)