Thursday, 23 June 2011

How could you possibly counter Antinatalism? Part II

In summary of my last post, what I'll be doing here is playing the Devil's Advocate on the two main pro-natalist positions. I will try to then to link the possible conclusions one might draw from these with antinatalist thought.

Breeding is Neutral
The major problem with following through with this statement is that, although breeding is taken to be MORALLY neutral, it does follow that it is a completely neutral action. What I mean by this is essentially that, in a lot of cases, having a child is not actually in the best interests of the parents. The goal of life can generally be stated as the attainment of happiness, by most people (ultimately it must be happiness - charity work, creating a great work, being remembered etc. all lead to happiness, that is their point). So keeping this in mind, when is it right to have a child?


Financially: In this modern era, with mobile phones, computers, video games and televisions, it is becoming increasingly costly to have a child. While I know that goods (by psychological studies) often don't bring us happiness, experiences have been shown to do so. And is it not far easier to go on holidays when you are not financially burdened in such a way? 


Immortality: I think most people, even at only a subconscious level, believe that they will somehow 'live on' through their children. This is a lie perpetuated by your selfish genes; no, of course you won't. Just because your memory lives on for a few decades does not in anyway mean your consciousness lives on.


Job Satisfaction: To have kids, you need money. To get money, you need to work. And to work, you need to suffer. The more you work, the easier it is to have kids, but the more you work, the more you suffer from boredom, stress and general pain. If you don't have kids on the other hand, you don't have to work so hard - getting fired doesn't matter as much, and neither does bringing home so much money.


Meaningfulness: Some may say that children have brought meaning to their lives. But what if they don't? There is no guarantee that your child will love you, and no guarantee that they won't turn out to be a criminal. You cannot simply cash in your receipt and bring the child back into the womb. This reason perhaps is more based on risk: having a child could be a good thing for you, or it could be a terrible thing for you.


Stress: Having a baby is stressful, they cry at night, they demand constant care. Having a child is stressful - they could easily hurt themselves or get into various sorts of trouble. Having a teenager is stressful - they will inevitably drink, have sex and party. Stress reduces our lifespan, and is an experience pretty far off happiness.


As you can see here, if parents thought rationally about having children at all, they would eventually see that the good, unless they knew they were baby-crazy etc., is outweighed by the bad. In this case, though antinatalism itself would play no part in the consequences, antinatalism's goals would be almost met - so few people would breed that eventually the population should reach a cut-off point, causing the human race to slowly go extinct. This is already happening in Japan and Germany, by the way (though it may be more to do with parents marrying later and focussing on their careers more). Note that I'm not fully behind this logic one hundred percent - I've never had children and don't intend to,  so I'm pretty sure that I am missing a lot, and perhaps would even be happier with them. But still, this is just a trial run - I only want to show people that the very things that pronatalists take as a given, may in fact be unsound.


Sorry if my prose is not exactly up to its previous standard; I simply cannot be bothered rewriting paragraphs at the moment.
More in Part III

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