A new "culture war" has emerged as couples increasingly choose not to have children, with one columnist claiming society needs kids to survive.
A recent TikTok trend has introduced viewers to the term "DINK," meaning "dual income, no kids," which refers to married couples or partners in a committed relationship who remain childless, citing lifestyle preferences, personal freedom and financial savings.
In a Tuesday column titled "Kids aren’t for everyone. But it’s better for everyone if you have them," Washington Post contributing columnist Ramesh Ponnuru suggested the proliferation of the "DINK" trend may be a response to "aggression" from childbearing "propagandists."
"If so, they’re a self-defeating one," Ponnuru wrote. "Bragging about extra leisure time is not going to dispel the image of selfishness. It’s just going to make the critics feel more smug, and maybe think that these child-free people have to work a little too hard to stave away the suspicion that their lives are pointless."
A 2022 scientific reports study determined that the prevalence of childfree adults is relatively common, comprising over one-fifth of the population. Additionally, people with children have fewer of them than in the past.
Ponnuru claimed that these trends may be indicative of a new "culture war," noting that the U.S. political parties are already starting to divide over the choice of childbearing. He predicted Democrats and Republicans may soon face pressure from organized political lobbies with many possibilities for conflict.
Ponnuru said, these quarrels, many of which can be found on social media, could be avoided by remembering that not everyone is called to parenthood and many people who want children never have any.
"The child-free should contemplate that the annoying kid on the airplane could one day be their attendant in a long-term-care facility. Nobody has kids because society needs future workers, taxpayers and soldiers, but it’s still true that society needs them," he added.
Ponnuru also said that it may be a good thing if young adults face "some soft societal pressure" from parents to have kids of their own.
A 2022 General Social Survey found that married men and women with kids are the happiest subset of their respective sexes.
"If you decide not to have children, though, don’t fool yourself that you’re helping solve climate change — not, at any rate, if you’re taking extra flights to Europe like that DINK couple," Ponnuru continued. "And I promise you that if you do have kids, you’ll still be able to go to Florida — although your itinerary might look a little different."