Some more thoughts on antinatalism

After reading over my original entry on the subject, I decided it best to give it another go and cite some particular antinatalist theorists to try to give a fairer representation of their views.

David Benatar, for example, states that people had no choice in whether or not they are born, and that life is nothing but suffering filled with “occasional moments of fleeting pleasure.” That’s a valid opinion, yes, but I think it’s too pessimistic and ultimately misanthropic, and again my main problem with antinatalism is the movement’s practicality, but now that I think of it antinatalism’s inherent misanthropy is off-putting as well.

I don’t have any specific critique beyond that since it is, after all, a valid and sound conclusion, but I believe there is much more to life than suffering, you do not have a choice in being born, but you do have a choice in how the world is shaped, and if life is inherently cruel and meaningless, you should try to give it meaning, make it less cruel.

How you go about that is up to you, I am not you, dear reader, but you are not powerless, remember that. Nihilism and misanthropy seems to me to be inherently defeatist, ie it’s giving up, and I don’t think that is a positive outlook on life that produces positive results, giving up the fight when there is so much good that can be done in this world is unthinkable to me, but I can see why other people do so and fall into such a view.

There was one particular criticism from someone worth their salt that even though breeding is the “biological imperative” it can be easily overcome, and that antinatalists will accept lower birth rates as a “temporary compromise,” which is true, but it still doesn’t meet the ultimate end goal of antinatalism, voluntary human extinction.

These are just my thoughts on antinatalism, and do feel free to criticize what I have written if you feel something needs to be addressed that I left out or am wrong about. Respectfully, Oxyaena.

A Critique of Antinatalism

Antinatalism is, at its simplest, an opposition to having more babies, or, well, “natalism.” Herein I first address several key concepts of the antinatalist movement and then move on to a short analysis of antinatalism itself. Let’s begin.

The first thing we are going to be addressing is the concept of existence and suffering, antinatalists claim that life is nothing but suffering, and nonexistence precludes suffering. That is, on its surface anyway, true, but the argument implies a subjective you to experience not experiencing suffering, while nonexistence means, well, nonexistence, “you” don’t exist, there is no “you,” not even proverbially. What this means is that nonexistence precludes suffering is irrelevant at best.

Also life is not all suffering, not existing also precludes experiencing things such as awe, joy, and wonder. Some antinatalists I have conversed with have viewed this state of nonexistence as akin to the Nirvana concept in Buddhism, but the concept of Nirvana implies that there is still a subjective you existing, so this is a false equivocation.

One other thing antinatalists like to claim is that antinatalism prevents overpopulation when in fact overpopulation is not a problem unlike what the pundits would have you believe. We have more food than people, and our rate of food production is more than enough to feed the entire population of earth many times over, it is increasing rather than decreasing, Malthus couldn’t foresee the Green Revolution and the British Agricultural Revolution, so overpopulation is a nonissue as well.

One thing I’ll give antinatalists is that antinatalism may be beneficial for the environment, but I doubt that means anything in practice, since people are still gonna have children irregardless of what other people say, it is the biological imperative of the species to do so, so other forms of environmental protections are more practical than simple antinatalism.

Introducing incentives to have fewer babies will lessen the rate of new births, but people are still gonna have children, it won’t reach zero, since people are still gonna have babies, just not as many, the species won’t die out.