Bryan Caplan’s Modest Proposal

Ten years ago, Bryan Caplan engaged in some introspection on Father’s Day: “If you offered to replace one of my sons with another biological child who was better in every objective way, I’d definitely refuse.”

That post is the first one I’m putting on my short list of favorite articles of all-time.

So what do you say? Would you accept where Caplan refused?

Of course you wouldn’t. You can’t answer that question any other way. But perhaps you managed to take it seriously. For some reason, I did, and when I did, I had an insight:

To think of the things that bring joy to your life in terms of desire is to commit a category error: you don’t want the things that make you happy, you love them.

You don’t have to go any further than this. Just use the question as a mantra. Don’t even try to answer it. To ask the question is to feel the answer. Now, communicate with your children through that feeling. Communicate that feeling to them. Go on. Try it. Then come back here and let us know how it went in the comments.



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