n An Open Letter to Matthew McConaughey: Help Us Do Better | Having Kids

Dear Mr. McConaughey,

We appreciate your breaking taboos around discussing families and wealth with your public statements recently regarding raising your three biological children to embrace being born affluent and to not feel guilty about that, but instead to “own it.”

We want to suggest an alternative way of thinking about the issue. Today we see 1) massive disparities in wealth and well-being in the United States, with black families having roughly one-tenth of the wealth of white families, and 2) clear and increasing evidence that these disparities are largely inherited on the basis of one’s economic positioning at birth. Inequity at birth and early in one’s life has disproporinate impact on one’s life prospects.

Adding to the injustice, those on the disadvantaged side of the spectrum will feel the impacts of ecological crises like climate change and pandemics like COVID-19, which are both fundamentally driven by the way we plan our families, much more keenly than those on the advantaged side.

This a result of policy, not some hand of God beyond our control.

The solution is obvious: Rather than continue laws and policies that promote our current way of planning families, we should cooperate to level the playing field for all kids, with more ecologically and socially regenerative family planning models. Regardless of whether you plan to have additional children, your publicly endorsing such a change in law and policy would go far to eliminating the injustice, while at the same time offsetting your children’s advantage by raising the floor for other kids.

Changing the way we plan families can free us. Why? Freedom requires a social contract, and that contract does not work if parents can simply pass disproportionate power to their children, rather than at least starting to move toward giving all new members of society a fair start in the social agreement — as free and equal people deserve. One model for such a change is called child-centric Fair Start family planning. As you think through these issues, would you consider this model and perhaps speaking out publicly in support of it or another justice-focused model that promotes ecological and social regeneration?

Sincerely,

The team at Having Kids

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