My father was an antinatalist!
When he told me
“It would have been better if you had never been born,”
I was naturally shocked and gutted.
I cannot even remember how old I was (maybe 7) but this phrase has remained with me all my life.
The good news is that I have realized over time that my father was expressing his sympathy and empathy for all the problems I had to face.
I was born with a congenital birth defect which meant that I would never be able to speak properly until I had surgery at the age of eighteen.
I had a childhood and adolescence marked by illness and hardship.
So what is the basis of antinatalism?
Antinatalists believe that no more children should be born in order to spare them suffering, illness, poverty, slavery, and hunger. It will also save the planet from extinction. They hope that every couple will be child-free.
“To bear children into this world is like carrying wood to a burning house.”
― Peter Wessel Zapffe
This is also the view of David Benatar and David Wasserman in their book called Debating Procreation. They argue that non- procreation is the only ethical solution.
One of the best sites to explain all this is the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement which has the acronym VHEMT which is pronounced “vehement” and they are!
Planet earth is getting worse.
Living on planet earth is not an easy ride unless you were born in an area where the climate is not extreme and the land is fertile and fruitful.
Inequality is getting worse as the poor are trapped while the rich are getting richer and richer, according to Oxfam.
The chances of this improving are pretty slim. A tide of negative emotions connected with worry, anger, and sadness has already increased by 27% in an eight-year period (2010–2018).
How did all this start?
The idea that being born into a world full of suffering and grief is unacceptable is nothing new. Its roots go back to the very beginning of time.
“The best for them [humans] is not to be born at all, not to partake of nature’s excellence; not to be is best, for both sexes. This should be our choice, if choice we have; and the next to this is, when we are born, to die as soon as we can.” — Aristotle
I always have a good laugh at one antinatalist interpretation of the Great Flood. You see, God was not really so fed up with evil mankind but rather saw the futility of the whole project. He decided to put an end to it all but then had second thoughts and decided to save Noah and his family.
And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. Genesis 6. 1–22
Nothing like being upfront about your errors.
Antinatalism has a fight on its hands
When you think of the heated debates for and against abortion, contraception, euthanasia, mass sterilization, vasectomy, you begin to realize how hot an issue this is.
In the UK, a doctor can override his patient’s decision to be sterilized if he or she thinks it is in the best interests of the patient.
It is interesting to note, though, that some nations have implemented a sort of antinatalism by prohibiting procreation. China started this in 1970 with the one-child policy and then later in 2016, changed it to a two-child policy.
China is now faced with an aging population and is desperate to change the demographics but some economists have argued that it may already be too late.
The antinatalists are strangely silent on this one as a shrinking population will always have drastic economic effects that are uncontrollable.
The British Royal family has even been involved in the antinatalist debate. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have said they will have a two-child policy in order to help save the environment.
When antinatalism gets ridiculous
Whatever your views on antinatalism, there are times when you begin to rub your eyes at what you are reading.
An example is that of the Indian, Raphael Samuel, who has decided to sue his parents in court because he was never asked whether he wanted to be born or not. He will be quite happy if the courts decide to compensate him. He says that one rupee will do. It is not about money, he insists.
“Isn’t forcing a child into this world and then forcing it to have a career of kidnapping and slavery?” — Raphael Samuel
So, the question most rational people will ask is:-
How can you give consent if you do not even exist at the moment of conception?
Maybe sperm cells will be given a sheet with the terms and conditions? You could also be asked whether you want to take the risk of a pleasant life or decide to opt-out for fear of a life full of hardship.
Thanks for the offer but I will pass on this one!
Now, if Raphael Samuel wins the case, maybe we could organize class actions against certain parents for hatching hateful and idiotic individuals.
No need for names… we can all think of one or two or several!