Originally written July 2007
In 1785, the German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, released his book called "The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals." In it, he introduced a term called the "Categorical Imperative." According to Kant, this means that one should "act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."
So basically, if you are going to do anything, first imagine that that action were a universal law. And if that action was still ok, then go ahead and do it.
So lets say you are going to take a candy from the store. Not that you want to steal it, you just want to see if its any good. What you need to do is ask yourself "if everybody took a candy, would it still be ok?" The answer is obviously no, since all the candy would be eaten up, the store would have no candy to actually sell, it would go out of business, and then no one would get any candy. No candy, oh no! So according to Kant, we can confirm this action as immoral.
Likewise, say someone drops their wallet and you see it, and go to pick it up, and return it to its owner. What would the consequences be if everyone did this? Well… it would be a good thing. So according to Kant, we can safely say that this is a moral action to take.
So this Categorical Imperative idea seems pretty good. And I think that everyone would agree that if you follow this basic concept, you will do alright.
So now lets get to the beef. Many people claim that they would rather adopt children than have their own. Reason being, there are already a lot of kids out there, so why bring another one into the world if you can help one that's already here? Sounds pretty good if you ask me. But lets break it down…
What if this became a moral law, and everyone decided not to have children, and instead adopt? Well… pretty soon, there would be no children to adopt, because no one would be having babies! There might be the occasional accidental pregnancy, but the numbers of babies would decrease so much that it would threaten the survival of our species. And if something threatens the survival of our species (more specifically, our genes), it is immoral.
Therefore, adoption is immoral.