The FAQs: What (and Why) You Should Know About Anti-Natalism

The Gospel Coalition | 2/19/2019 | Staff
Mireille (Posted by) Level 3
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What just happened?

A 27-year-old Indian man plans to sue his parents for giving birth to him without his consent. Raphael Samuel, whose claim is based on anti-natalism, told the BBC that it’s wrong to bring children into the world because they then have to put up with lifelong suffering.

Point - Humanity - People - Samuel - Humanity

“There’s no point to humanity. So many people are suffering,” said Samuel. “If humanity is extinct, Earth and animals would be happier. They’ll certainly be better off. Also no human will then suffer. Human existence is totally pointless.”

What is Anti-Natalism?

Types - Anti-natalism

What are the types of anti-natalism?

There are two general categories of anti-natalism: misanthropic and philanthropic.

Misanthropic - Anti-natalism - Position - Humans - Duty

Misanthropic anti-natalism is the position that humans have a presumptive duty to desist from bringing into existence new members of our species because they cause harm. Ecological anti-natalism (sometimes called “environmental anti-natalism”) is a subset of misanthropic anti-natalism that believes procreation is wrong because of the inherent environmental damage caused by human beings and the suffering we inflict on other sentient organisms.In the 2018 film First Reformed, the character of Michael Mensana is an ecological anti-natalist. The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is also representative of this type of anti-natalism.

Philanthropic anti-natalism is the position that humans should not have children for the good of the (unborn) children because, in bringing children in the world, the parents are subjecting them to pain, suffering, illness, and—eventually—death. In Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel Mrs. Dalloway, the character of Septimus Warren Smith expresses a philanthropic anti-natalist view when he says, “One cannot bring children into a world like this. One cannot perpetuate suffering, or increase the breed of these lustful animals, who have no lasting emotions, but only whims and vanities, eddying them now this way, now that.”

Anti-natalism - Idea

Is anti-natalism a new idea?

No, despite its current (modest) resurgence, anti-natalism is an ancient philosophical position.

Forms - Anti-natalist

Forms of anti-natalist...
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