Is It Ethical To Have Children In The Modern Age?

Among all the the questions about whether or not to have children, one often gets overlooked in my mind, and that is the question of ethics. I’m sure you could probably make arguments for either side (and I challenge someone to argue from the other point of view), but I’m going to make an ethical case against having children in the modern era.

Take a look at the world around you. Seriously, just take a look at it. We humans have turned it into a scary place indeed. War, conflict, unrest, disease, famine, and the list goes on. The modern world is a very, very scary and gloomy place indeed. We’re using up our unrenewable resources faster than we ever imagined possible, and before too long we won’t have the very resources we’ve come to rely on to sustain our species.

The closer we get to running out of those resources, the competition for those very resources increases. And how do humans compete? More war, more conflict, more fighting. Combine that with the fact the human population is still growing at a rapid rate, and you can see where this is going: this world is going to be a total disaster area In other words, this world is going to become a more hostile environment with each passing generation, and quite frankly I’m just glad I won’t be alive to see the very worst of it. “World peace?” It’s never going to happen, and the more time goes by, the farther away from world peace we’re going to get.

So, with that, why would you subject another poor little human to this world that’s becoming ever crueler and more dangerous? How could you, in good conscience, do such a thing? I know I couldn’t. I’d never be able to live with myself and I’d feel guilty about doing so.

In that light, my ultimate answer to the question is that it is in no way ethical to bring new life into this world in this day and age.

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About coolchildfreeguy

Childfree guy living in Mexico City. Professional pilot by day, all-around fun guy by night.

Posted on July 2, 2012, in Childfree, Life, Parenting, Politics. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. hell no, american life = wage slavery……..if you’re lucky

  2. I completely agree with this. Broadly speaking, I subscribe to the philosophy of anti-natalism (there are some really good blogs out there on this – The View From Hell and Misery, Misanthropy, Melodrama spring to mind). I think it’s cruel to inflict the state of the modern world on yet more people.

    To be fair though, I have reason to be biased here. As someone with a mental illness, even if I wanted children I wouldn’t have them; it’s not fair to risk passing that on to someone else. Maybe this is not the reality for everyone who has mental health difficulties, but it certainly is for me.

  3. I doubt most people who have children even think about whether it’s ethical to be having children, or even care whether it is or not. People don’t have kids because they think it’s the ethical thing to do, they do it for selfish reasons or because they feel forced into it. Or both. Those that have kids because they want kids probably don’t give a rat’s ass about whether it’s ethical. They just want kids, and they’re going to do it regardless of whether it’s a good idea or not. Or they get pregnant and have been brainwashed to believe abortion is murder or some other roadblock stands in the way of abortion, so they have the kid. If more people worried about whether it was ethical to have kids and fewer people thought abortion was murder (and if abortion were readily available to anyone who needed one) then there’d be less people having kids they can’t afford to care for. But of all the things people think about and take into serious consideration before having kids, whether or not it’s ethical is probably rarely ever one of them. Those that do often end up NOT having kids.

  4. I’m also an antinatalist, for the same reason David Benatar is. Bringing a sentient being into an imperfect world guarantees suffering. You might like his book “Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence”.

  5. LOL. Because the world was a much safer and ethical place in the, say, Middle Ages. Or in Antiquity. Or during the long 19th century. Or… Most of the world is a way safer place than it was 50 years ago. Its a historical fact…

  6. People in the Middle Ages saw how miserable the world was and tried to rationalise their procreative instinct by telling themselves that it was God’s will that they reproduce. In other words, their knowledge and their biological urge were in conflict and they tried to settle that conflict by imagining that it would all work out somehow because, y’know, God and heaven and stuff. These days it’s more generally accepted that we only have one life, so many more people’s instincts and consciousness are in conflict; it’s far more of a straight choice than at any previous time in human history.

    I’m not anti-reproduction, but I’ve decided not to have kids because my childhood was horrifically abusive, which has left me with some mental health issues that would make parenthood difficult, and has also decreased my tolerance for any abusive behaviour to zero. There is abuse everywhere, not just in the home; bullying at school, bullying at work, bullying by Government/media if they decide it would be expedient for people to hate a minority group you belong to, abusive relationships, the list goes on. Statistically, if I bring a child into this world it will be actively mistreated by someone, and I just can’t go through with that.

  7. I think most people just want someone to look after them when they are old. especially in the middle ages and third world. No kids = no working age people to produce food and no one to staff the nursing home. These are of course selfish reasons.

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