How to Not Change People's Minds

Thank you to everyone who has donated, subscribed, and e-mailed me (send your e-mails to scott@basicinstructions.net with the subject "I want my thank you gift") to receive their zip file of high rez copies of all of my hero comics. The response I've received has really been heartening.

I feel the need to point out that I do like children. It would be hard to work where I do if I didn't! I just think people should remember that they have the option to choose not to reproduce, as my wife and I have. I should also point out that the “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Eve and their stupid kids” shirt is available for sale now. You can get it in men's light-coloredmen's dark-colored, women's light-colored, and women's dark-colored

And, as always, thanks as always for using my Amazon Affiliate links  (USUKCanada).

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Reader Comments (62)

...presidential debates would be way better if they featured more shrill fighting

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjumbo t

...presidential debates would be way better if they featured more shrill fighting

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjimbo t

Don't worry, I wish people would have fewer kids as well. (Although, that's because I hate children. Well, I don't HATE children, I just wish there weren't quite so many of them because they're very annoying.)

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFluffy

You're not so much advocating against people having kids as advocating against people becoming parents. ;)
I have 2 kids of my own, and I have to say I agree with you. There are a lot of terrible parents out there. We take ours out to restaurants sometimes and they mostly sit nicely and when they don't they learn pretty quickly that we don't tolerate that behaviour and if they don't stop, we drag them kicking and screaming out of the restaurant and take them home. They've learnt pretty quickly that in public places you behave so as to not upset those around you and then you get to stay and have fun. Other parents response seems to be to say "Please don't do that" a few times, then ignore them the rest of the time while their kids run amok.

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter9squirrels

I agree with you! Darn people have kids, then raise them to be little horrors.

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

At this comic I just laugh and laugh. I happen to concur wholeheartedly with your stance, and panel three tickles me to no end. Bravo, sir.

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrant

If that T-shirt is ever in your store, I will totally buy one.

Note from Scott: The shirts are available now. There are text links in the commentary beneath the comic.

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLleu

As a childless-by-choice person, I've never tried to persuade anyone not to have kids. I've had a few people try to persuade me to have them, however. Weird. And to give every person already on earth a middle-class American lifestyle would require the resources of three planets like this one. A cheery little fact to remember the next time some doofus says there's no need to worry about overpopulation. The facts about global fresh water supplies are scary enough by themselves.

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Well said.

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnonynous Coward

Ha! I have kids, but for the most part they are not stupid. I do see your point though. There are a LOT of real yahoos out there having kids.

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFilthy McMonkey

The punchline of the first panel got me. Well done.

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLummox JR

I never, ever want to have kids. Unfortunately, I'm young enough so when I say that, people just roll their eyes and say, "You'll change your mind when you're older."
--insert rage face here--

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Ok, so is it strange that the thing I find most disturbing about this strip is the implication that Jenkins reproduced?

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersublight

Hi Scott,
I remember you opening a PO box to receive cheques from Paypall haters. Could you remind us of the address, and the rate for a yearly subscription? Also, what is the advantage of a printed calendar versus the subscription?
Thanks a lot!

Note from Scott: Sure! Thanks for asking. The rate for a one/year subscription is $30. The address can be found on my store page. The calendar is a standard joke-a-day calendar where strips from the back catalog have been split up so that one panel appears per day. The subscription service gets you high rez copies of my newest comics before they appear anywhere else, often with some extra commentary from me.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErikG

I think the use of 'I' in the advice text is breaking the Basic Instructions style. It doesn't match the normal voice of that text.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJL

I heard that about needing three planet Earths to give all of humanity a middle-class standard of living, and that was a while ago. There are many more humans now. On the other hand, I guess the middle class is hurting in this economy like everybody else. Well, not -quite- like -everybody- else. So, maybe between three and five Earths. Somebody should do the math.

Of course one reason people have kids is because sexual intercourse is great fun and the means to have sexual intercourse and not have kids aren't universally available, partly because some people can afford it and people who can afford it, whose religion tells them to be charitable, also have their religion tell them that having sexual intercourse and not having kids is wrong. That's one reason. There are others.

Having middle-class American kids obviously is worst of all, which is why Madonna has African orphans instead.

http://notalwaysright.com/ updates several times a day with tales told by customer service representatives, usually shocking although occasionally something nice happens, and many of those tales would put you off having kids. Quite a few others would put you off having parents, or, at least, put you off being in a customer service situation with your parents. And most of them aren't applicable to having kids at all, so I only hope you see the relevance.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Carnegie

The trouble with people being childless-by-choice is that they are usually well-educated; the very people who should be procreating like mad to balance out all the morons having 7 bratty kids. The gene pool is actually getting stupider by the year because of intelligent, thoughtful people opting out of parenthood...

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSB

Like everyone else with kids, I believe it is OTHER PEOPLE'S kids that are the problem :-)

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Geordie Brown

Please tell me you will make official versions of that T-Shirt to sell?

...Never mind. Just saw your post about the link.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterC.S.Strowbridge

And darn. I was going to put somethIng in a comment to say that I get it that the comic isn't -about- the population explosion, it's about ways of changing people's minds that don't work. And I forgot.

Then again, offering the T-shirt for sale also misses the point, unless it was already for sale some time ago. There should be a T-shirt that says something like "I went to a seminar about persuading people to reconsider their settled opinions, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Carnegie

Go get Missy now. I don't think you've thought this through properly: By choosing to not have kids, *YOU'RE RUINING THE WORLD!*

Modesty aside, it's smart people like you and I that should be having kids. If we leave the reproduction of the species to the stupid people then by the time we're old there'll be nothing but stupid middle aged folks and their even-stupider offspring ruining the world around us with no smart people to stop them.

Me and my woman are expecting our first child in November - Not because we want to have children, but because we see how stupid other people's are, and feel it's our duty to help improve the next generation.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChuck

Didn't Scott just aver that he didn't write political comics?

Jumping right in: I'm skeptical of your claim, Anne. It seems that such an analysis would be prone to oversimplification (e.g. American energy consumption per capita * world population), and ignore efficiencies from scale and population density. I'd be happy to see your sources, though.

Also, it seems like every time in history there's a population-bomb scare, some bit of clever innovation comes along that allows us to blow through any supposed population cap with nary a problem. I suppose humanity can't rely on such innovations indefinitely, but I see no sign that we should all put on our Malthus-hats just yet.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter1Mac

Actually, it is Adam and Eve and their stupid kids -- Cain, Abel, Seth, and other sons and daughters. And the first kills the second! Pretty stupid.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNed

You know one of Adam & Eve's stupid kids killed the other one? I'm sure that either decisively proves your point, or precisely the opposite.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom

I don't think people raise kids to be little horrors. I think it is because parents do not put effort into training their children that they become sociopathic brats.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

They should put birth control in the water and you have to take a test to get the antidote.
And as always, awesome comic.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Shouldn't the title be "How Not to Change People's Minds"? I only took one English course in university, and got my wrist slapped for using a split infinitive. I'm still smarting from that lesson, so I go out of my way to ensure that other people suffer the same humiliation avoid the same mistake.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVirtual Particle

I know precisely one couple that I'm happy has reproduced. Out of a couple billion. Thank all that is holy that my wife and I haven't.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva

OK, I have kids, but I have to say...that t-shirt is awesome!

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermc

Thank you for expressing one of my most passionate beliefs in a humorous way, Scott. But really it's not that I think the world would be a better place with less kids, it's that the world would be a better place with less people. And yes, it's because I hate them. Mostly. Except for some close friends and family members, and a few web comic artists. Thanks for being one of the good ones!

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermoojen

How short the Bible would be if Adam and Eve never had kids. Or rather, how nonexistent.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterClassic Steve

You missed a major point. If you remember you bible Adam and Eve's had two son's, Cain and Able. Further more in the Bible Cain KILLS Able. Adam and Eve, the world FIRST bad parents.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdoppleganger

I thought that Genesis was technically all about Adam and Eve and their stupid kids what with Cain, Abel and all that begatting that was going on.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRIMike

It's not so much that we hate kids, just that we hate the fact that parents think we have to love thie little horrors. I shall love my, and only my kids should i ever have them. That's all!

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermayhemfunkster

I'm sure many of us have stupid people in our ancestry. If one of my great grandfathers - by all accounts a vile, abusive drunkard - had not done the deed, I in my brilliance would not be here to read this great comic. I don't think stupidity is genetic. That said, I do pity the kids of some fellow parents, and look forward to the day when those kids can break free....

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSpeck

Mac, you make a good point about technology, and I think the human population could continue to grow for some time. The question is how long that growth can continue and whether we really want to turn the planet into a giant human feedlot. And some resources and ecological services don't seem to be replaceable by technology. Apart from the rapidly-dropping aquifers around the world and the disappearing topsoil (and in the U.S. Cornbelt, it's going fast, and I've seen some of the research), plus the other problems, millions of species, from large to tiny, are heading toward extinction. As one scientist recently pointed out, the polar bear costume she sewed for her little son, who wanted to be a polar bear for Halloween, may well outlast the polar bears. I've seen drastic declines in some beautiful bird species in my area just in the past thirty years. The world is becoming uglier long before it will become unliveable. (Sorry, I do know this is a comic-strip site.)

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Panel three is splendid: we need a tee shirt that says "Like my shirt? No? Good." If people had to pay fees like they do to adopt a dog from the Humane Society -- up front, no guarantees of success -- and had to sign an itemized agreement to pay all the costs associated with 18+ years of Child, also up front, there would be less brats. Because people who could understand that math aren't stupid parents. It's entirely too much easier to bear a child than to adopt a dog.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergobbler

@Robert Carnegie
The most effective means of contraception worldwide has been adequately demonstrated to be the education of women.

@Chuck
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Marching_Morons
(Scott. Am I allowed to post links? It is just Wiki... :)

@ 'The Childfree'
Who's kids are going to run the world for you when you're old and helpless?

just sayin'...

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterancient.brit

Bring back the Infinitee!!!

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdrian

The problem is that the people who shouldn't be reproducing are and those that should are not.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKG

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