17 votes

Topic deleted by author

21 comments

  1. [12]
    Douglas
    Link
    My wife and I are, I guess, anti-natalists... which I had no idea was a thing before this article. We've been reading a lot of books about climate change and just how doomed everything is, and it...

    My wife and I are, I guess, anti-natalists... which I had no idea was a thing before this article. We've been reading a lot of books about climate change and just how doomed everything is, and it was enough to convince us not to have children (that and it's friggin' expensive beyond our means). It feels selfish to have kids of our own rather than adopt or become foster parents, both are things we've agreed we'll review when we're more financially stable.

    But in the meantime we just can't for the life of us connect with our friends' desires and engagement with popping out several kids into their families. I'm happy for them, and I'm sure they'll be wonderful parents, but both my wife and I have this nagging criticism going on the back of our heads like "...you thought it was a good idea to have kids in the current state of things? Have you read the news? Or looked into just how aggressive climate change is getting? How can you not consider these threats?"

    It's gotten to the point that I'm trying to analyze it and tone it down. I don't like how judgemental it's made us of people with kids. I think it stems from the fact that we both really wanted to be parents when we'd met, but painfully decided that ethically we shouldn't. And meanwhile, while we struggle with this decision and are trying to come to terms with it, nobody else seems to care or ask themselves the same question-- or if they do, they seem more confident in their decision than we'd ever be.

    16 votes
    1. [6]
      nic
      Link Parent
      You are fighting against a billion year old biological imperative that often expresses itself with the well meaning question "so when are you planning to have children?" I've definitely noticed an...

      It's gotten to the point that I'm trying to analyze it and tone it down.

      You are fighting against a billion year old biological imperative that often expresses itself with the well meaning question "so when are you planning to have children?"

      And meanwhile, while we struggle with this decision and are trying to come to terms with it, nobody else seems to care or ask themselves the same question-- or if they do, they seem more confident in their decision than we'd ever be.

      I've definitely noticed an inverse correlation between confidence and competence.

      9 votes
      1. [5]
        Douglas
        Link Parent
        Yeah, it's just suuuuuper hard to deal with. I was just really looking forward to being a dad, and anytime I'm with kids I'm reminded of the fact I'll never be one. My wife and I are trying to do...

        Yeah, it's just suuuuuper hard to deal with. I was just really looking forward to being a dad, and anytime I'm with kids I'm reminded of the fact I'll never be one. My wife and I are trying to do good and be a good person wherever and whenever we can, but it feels like there's a hole meant for someone to leave this lifestyle onto.

        Hard to describe, and even harder to just ignore. I really hate it.

        3 votes
        1. Diet_Coke
          Link Parent
          Hey Doug, I am in the same place you are and it's something I've thought about a lot. Here's what I've come to, maybe it can help. If you think of what it means to be a dad, blood is like the...

          Hey Doug, I am in the same place you are and it's something I've thought about a lot. Here's what I've come to, maybe it can help. If you think of what it means to be a dad, blood is like the least important thing. I mean, we aren't 16th century European royalty over here. Absolutely, the best thing you can do for the environment is not make more Americans. That doesn't mean you can't be a dad. You can foster, you can adopt, or you can mentor - there's a huge need for people willing to do those things. It can be expensive, it can be a challenge, but so can being a parent by birth. You can do some good for someone else and the world at large, be kind to the environment, and still pass on every meaningful part of yourself.

          Just my 2 cents.

          7 votes
        2. [3]
          nic
          Link Parent
          Then maybe not having kids is not for you. Have you ever considered the possibility of having just one kid?

          Then maybe not having kids is not for you.

          Have you ever considered the possibility of having just one kid?

          3 votes
          1. elcuello
            Link Parent
            Is the term "having kids" always synonymous with more than one? I realize it is grammatically but I've always seen it as having/not having and not about numbers.

            Is the term "having kids" always synonymous with more than one? I realize it is grammatically but I've always seen it as having/not having and not about numbers.

            5 votes
          2. Douglas
            Link Parent
            Oh I think at this point I just need to wait for us to get stable enough to adopt and just felt like complaining in a comment for the meantime. I feel like we'd want at least two kids in our house...

            Oh I think at this point I just need to wait for us to get stable enough to adopt and just felt like complaining in a comment for the meantime. I feel like we'd want at least two kids in our house to have each other's company/someone on their own age-level.

            I appreciate the feedback though! Believe me, we've run the mental gauntlet.

            3 votes
    2. [3]
      papasquat
      Link Parent
      A question continually asked by countless people since the beginning of modern history. Doom and gloom is what the news business thrives on. There will of course, always be hard times, but things...

      ...you thought it was a good idea to have kids in the current state of things? Have you read the news?

      A question continually asked by countless people since the beginning of modern history. Doom and gloom is what the news business thrives on. There will of course, always be hard times, but things tend to be cyclical. Even if you are dooming your kids to a raw deal, their kids, or their kids' kids will most likely be better off. Generally, most people are happy to exist, even in bad situations. I think it's worth the gamble.

      8 votes
      1. [2]
        emdash
        Link Parent
        I think the climate crisis bucks the trend of 'doom and gloom' and alarmism; and is actually a threat. Just because less than legitimate claims about upcoming events (of which you've actually...

        I think the climate crisis bucks the trend of 'doom and gloom' and alarmism; and is actually a threat. Just because less than legitimate claims about upcoming events (of which you've actually listed none) exist, that doesn't discredit the very real value behind being concerned about climate change.

        14 votes
        1. papasquat
          Link Parent
          Of course! People are right to be concerned about it, just as people were right to be concerned about the industrial revolution displacing jobs, the rise of fascism and communism, the cold war and...

          Of course! People are right to be concerned about it, just as people were right to be concerned about the industrial revolution displacing jobs, the rise of fascism and communism, the cold war and the threat of nuclear annihilation, and the countless other drastically dire situations that humanity has faced in the past. I'm just saying that it's not a reason to write off humanity and decide that we've run our course. We're, as far as we can tell, the only thing in the universe capable of thinking about being the only thing in the universe. That's pretty special and worth preserving in my book.

          8 votes
    3. aphoenix
      Link Parent
      I think it's wrong to say that parents haven't considered the same things that you have. People just don't talk to you about it. They have the discussions with their partners. I recognize that a...

      nobody else seems to care or ask themselves the same question

      I think it's wrong to say that parents haven't considered the same things that you have. People just don't talk to you about it. They have the discussions with their partners.

      I recognize that a lot of people do not have these discussions when having kids - I have a cousin who had kids as a fashion accessory in high school - but many parents, including me, have spent a significant amount of time figuring out their answers to the big questions about parenthood with their partner. We talk about the effects that children have on careers, on our ability to support the kids, and what it means to have children with the world in the state that it is in. We come to conclusions that we believe are morally correct.

      or if they do, they seem more confident in their decision than we'd ever be.

      It is easy to delight in one's decision to have children, or more generally, it is easier to feel concrete about a decision to experience something than to not experience something. That is simply the result of doing - you can have a concrete idea about what the outcome is (good or bad) and you are not left wondering what might have been, because you know. If you decide to not have an experience, you are always left with the question, "I wonder what would have happened if I had tried that?" This is often why people give the advice to try things; ask that person out because at least you'll know how they feel, go bungee jumping because you'll know if you like it, etc.

      In this particular case, the decision to have children typically leads to the loving of said children, and that's a great feeling, so it's easy to feel confident that the decision was correct because of the dopamine of love. Any activity with my kids makes me feel good about the decision that I've made to have kids because of the admittedly very selfish feelings of love that I experience via their existence, but on a different level, I also think that my decision to have kids was a good one, because it's an investment in the future. Not just an investment in my own DNA's future, but an investment in the future for all the people that my kids can help and whose lives they can touch.

      3 votes
    4. Nmg
      Link Parent
      I see it as of a question of "Why create a new person when there are plenty of children that need good guidance that already exist?"

      I see it as of a question of "Why create a new person when there are plenty of children that need good guidance that already exist?"

      4 votes
  2. [5]
    aphoenix
    Link
    While I'm not in any way, shape, or form an anti-natalist, and I don't think that the philosophy is a reasonable one, their choice of "Thomas, 29" as the example is a bit unfair to anti-natalists....

    While I'm not in any way, shape, or form an anti-natalist, and I don't think that the philosophy is a reasonable one, their choice of "Thomas, 29" as the example is a bit unfair to anti-natalists. The desire to end humanity is not normal, and I don't think that anti-natalists typically want to push a big red button and murder everyone.

    12 votes
    1. [4]
      papasquat
      Link Parent
      Honestly, it sounds like a mixture of legitimate mental illness, and good old fashioned edgelording to me. "People didn't consent to be alive, thus all life should be extinct"? Really? That's a...

      Honestly, it sounds like a mixture of legitimate mental illness, and good old fashioned edgelording to me. "People didn't consent to be alive, thus all life should be extinct"?

      Really? That's a pretty nonsensical argument. It's not possible for something that doesn't exist to consent to something. It's no different than saying "rocks shouldn't exist, because they're not capable of consenting to existence". Also, things that don't exist also never gave consent to not existing, so maybe your theoretical child actually would have liked to have been born, and by not procreating, you're violating his or her consent.

      The entire concept of consent is totally meaningless, and frankly ridiculous when you're talking about something that isn't, and has never been conscious or self aware.

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        emdash
        Link Parent
        I do hope you're constraining the concept of "consent" to just your argument, and not the "entire concept" as you claim, because consent is a very real thing in relationships.

        The entire concept of consent is totally meaningless

        I do hope you're constraining the concept of "consent" to just your argument, and not the "entire concept" as you claim, because consent is a very real thing in relationships.

        1. [2]
          papasquat
          Link Parent
          Not sure why you just quoted the first part of that sentence. Consent is meaningless when you're talking about things that are not conscious, is what I said.

          Not sure why you just quoted the first part of that sentence. Consent is meaningless when you're talking about things that are not conscious, is what I said.

          5 votes
          1. emdash
            Link Parent
            I genuinely thought you were extending your argument globally there with the "entire concept" for a second there. Good to see that isn't the case, carry on.

            I genuinely thought you were extending your argument globally there with the "entire concept" for a second there. Good to see that isn't the case, carry on.

  3. [2]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    A lot of those anti-natalists sound depressed. They're talking about life being full of suffering and misery, and not wanting to inflict that on more people. While that seems altruistic, it's...

    A lot of those anti-natalists sound depressed. They're talking about life being full of suffering and misery, and not wanting to inflict that on more people. While that seems altruistic, it's based on a very negative view of life. Life is not all suffering and misery. Life includes happiness and pleasure. One would hope the positives outweigh the negatives, but there are some (many?) people for whom this is not true.

    While I wouldn't support that petition that demands "worldwide birth stop now", I would support a worldwide reduction in the birth rate. People should restrict themselves to two children at most. We need a lower-than-replacement birth rate. It'll reduce humanity's environmental impact on the planet (in conjunction with more immediate changes to our lifestyle). It'll give people a bit more room.

    But there's no way I would support making the human race extinct. That's crazy talk.


    Some routinely insult parents - calling them "breeders".

    Oi! That's gay people's insult for heterosexuals! Hands off!

    9 votes
    1. elcuello
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I love that you had to type this out. I agree with your sentiment. This is a very simplistic way of looking at it but I feel that some of these people "need to get out some more". Log off the...

      But there's no way I would support making the human race extinct.

      I love that you had to type this out. I agree with your sentiment. This is a very simplistic way of looking at it but I feel that some of these people "need to get out some more". Log off the internet and go see/socialize or just be around people and then you'll realize that there is a LOT of cool shit in this world. I'm not saying we don't have a huge task in front of us but if that's all you see you need a new perceptive. Whether you have kids or not I really don't care but to say the world is going under anyways and nothing's worth living for is just not true, unless you're dealt a REALLY shitty hand or are depressed as other people have said here.

      4 votes
  4. moonbathers
    Link
    The possible end of humanity thanks to climate change used to get me down, but my worldview has changed. We're clearly not capable of handling the power that we have and if we go extinct, so be...

    The possible end of humanity thanks to climate change used to get me down, but my worldview has changed. We're clearly not capable of handling the power that we have and if we go extinct, so be it. Consciously bringing a new person into this world in this climate is selfish because you're condemning them to watch the world as we know it slowly collapse. Their standard of living will probably be worse than ours and ever more extreme weather will ravage the world through no fault of their own. They'll curse us for not doing anything sooner and we'll have deserved it.

    5 votes
  5. reese
    Link
    There is a spectrum with anti-natalism on one end, and pro-natalism on the other. Neither of these extremes are well-suited to supporting any prescriptive statement on a logical basis alone. These...

    There is a spectrum with anti-natalism on one end, and pro-natalism on the other. Neither of these extremes are well-suited to supporting any prescriptive statement on a logical basis alone. These extremes both require assumptions about the nature of reality, or at least of human percepts, that are not falsifiable. At its worst, anti-natalism is underpinned by the untestable and subjective opinion that the suffering consequent of birth vastly outweighs life's other qualities. Now it is okay to hold purely subjective and speculative opinions in general, and moreover to discuss them, but there is a distinction we ought to start making (or looking for) in our discourse: personal and public views.

    Here is an example of a personal view that I hold: I don't want kids right now. End of story. You will not argue me out of it. Maybe later I'll change my mind, and consider this: I never told you whether or not you should have them; and I did not deny the joyous love you may feel for your children, or potential children. Now, recall that my view is a personal one, meaning that it applies to me and only me. Sometimes I dress up my view as a hatred of children as to irritate my mom and others, but I'm not asserting that my view has anything to do with truth.

    So, what about public views? These are views with the intention of affecting many other people. I have no interest in sparking an off-topic debate in this thread, so I will not share mine here. You already know what these are anyway. Political views fall in this category.

    At the intersection of personal and political views you have issues such as abortion. To generalize, the reason the issue is hotly debated is because one group believes that making a strictly personal decision should be illegal, and the other group exists solely to counteract the other. To me, anti-natalists are by and large counteracting a far less serious phenomenon, but it's worth discussing. The initial conditions are such that they don't want kids, for one reason or another. And let's be real for a moment, many (most?) of them are economically downtrodden millennials being asked by not-millennials when the babies will arrive. My generation practically rents everything, including housing and transportation, and many of them, myself included, are still diligently working toward goals that would be catastrophically disrupted by caring for children at this point in time.

    The way the media presents the anti-natalism "movement" kind of reminds me of when I tell my mom that all children are smelly, scuttling bastards. Obviously I am not completely serious about that. Occasionally I co-opt other reasons to appear virtuous, you know, like climate change, which is patently disingenuous (because climate change was not my original reason for not wanting kids). So when the media interviews some doofus, they're seeking outrage, yes, even the BBC. Based on the sentiment I have seen online, most anti-natalists reasonably treat their view as a personal one, not as if it has any bearing on public policy or anyone else. To cherry-pick from and emphasize the minority who push it any further than that is just bullshit.

    3 votes