Monthly Archives: December 2012
We’re all selfish to some degree. In certain ways selfishness isn’t really a bad thing. I’ll even go so far as to agree with Ayn Rand and say that selfishness can be a virtue. I won’t say it always is good or always is bad, but it can be good and it can be very bad. Hell, there can even be selflessness in totally selfish acts (an example of this to come later). The way I look at it is does your selfishness directly cause harm to another person? If the answer is yes, then it’s a bad selfish by default. If not, then it’s not necessarily good but not necessarily bad either. However, there is one action that is supreme ruler over all the other selfish acts one could commit, and it is really a bad selfish act. That action? Reproduction.
The bottom line is that no matter how you play it up, there is absolutely nothing selfless about reproducing. I dare anyone to try to name me one way in which reproduction is a selfless act. You can’t do it, can you? You can name the sacrifices you make after you reproduce and perhaps those are in fact selfless, but that has nothing to do with the fact that the act of reproduction itself is the most incredibly selfish thing one can do.
When it comes down to it, sentient beings (and not just human beings, I should say, but sentient beings of all species) reproduce for very selfish reasons. Continuing the species? Selfish (sorry, but there ain’t anything special about us or any other life form that absolutely necessitates the perpetuation of that type of life form). Because you want someone to wipe your shit-smeared asshole when you’re too fucking old and decrepit to do it yourself? Selfishness in the highest! Because you want somebody to love? Give me a break, if you’re that desperate for love go adopt a damn dog or even a child for god’s sake. There’s no reason to force life on another sentient being (and thus all the suffering that awaits said being in an earthly life) just because you need to feel all warm and cushy inside. Give me a fucking break.
So, conversely, is childfreedom selfish? In my mind there is no question. The answer is absolutely. Both childfreedom and choosing to reproduce are inherently selfish acts. No matter what you choose about whether to bring life into this world or not, you will make a very selfish choice. That said, the ethics of each choice is totally different. Childfreedom, in contrast to breeding, is a good and moral selfish act, because that selfishness actually benefits others. It benefits the already existing by not adding to the population that will invariably increase competition for jobs, resources, capital, among other things necessary for survival. It also benefits potential persons by sparing them existence on earth and therefore all the pain and suffering that comes with it. In that light, childfreedom is also the most selfless choice one could make. In the entire selfishness of childfreedom is a deep-rooted selflessness. That’s what differentiates childfreedom from breeding.
Say what you will to make yourself feel better about subjecting a poor soul to life, but choosing to bring that soul into life is the most selfish thing you ever did. No amount of justification, semantics, or feel-goody bullshit changes that absolute fact, and I think you know it too. Why else would you people get overly defensive when we call you out for the crap we have to deal with from you?
Has anyone noticed this other than me? How the media just seems to glorify pregnancy and worship pregnant celebrities, regardless of how vile said celebrities are? I mean, it’s like they give them a goddess-like status. Well, quite frankly I’m tired of it.
First it was shows like 16 and pregnant, John & Kate Plus 8, 19 Kids and Counting, and other BS shows like that, then it evolved into birthing shows and stupid shit of that sort, and now it’s made its way to fucking game shows. In the US, The Price is Right currently has two pregnant models and host Drew Carey does everything in his power to absolutely worship and adore the pregnant models on that show. It’s disgusting in every way, shape, and form.
Yes, you read that right, I said it was disgusting, and there are two reasons for this. First of all, it gives girls the impression that pregnancy is glamorous and that they need to hurry up and get pregnant because it’s the thing to do. You want to see teen pregnancy plummet? The media is the place to start. If it wasn’t for their glorifying pregnancy we wouldn’t have near the problem with teen pregnancy as we do today. Second there’s the issue of reproducing biologically when there are millions of kids out there who need a home. If anyone can afford the expensive legal adoption process, it’s celebs, but instead of doing that they just have to produce a little me. It’s ridiculous.
No, we should be doing just the opposite to pregnant celebrities. The media should be treating them with contempt instead of reverence. They need to be called out for the narcissistic, selfish bitches they are. The pregnant TPIR models need to be fucking fired. Like I said, they’re in a perfect position to give already born children actually very good lives, yet they choose not to do that. Further, we should be making a mockery out of them so that these young, unmarried girls get the impression that that’s what will happen to them if they get pregnant (well, it already does, so it would be an accurate thing to do) and maybe, just maybe it will deter them. Sometimes public humiliation has its place.
Now, this is not to say that women should get all the blame. We should be totally trashing the men who got them pregnant too. Most male celebrities are scum anyway, so we already kind of give them a bad name, but the baby daddies need to feel the wrath of the media too, for many of the same reasons the pregnant celebrities do. As it is, celebrity daddies are given a god-like status for equally crappy reasons. The media glorifies fatherhood just as much as it glorifies motherhood and pregnancy, and that’s just crappy as well.
The bottom line is that when the media glorifies pregnancy (and fatherhood), the young, impressionable, and very horny teenagers think it’s the thing to do and will make babies. If it was treated with contempt maybe things would be different. Shame on you, media.
In sticking with the sort of antinatalist theme I have going on today, I figured I’d address a question that people often ask antinatalists. This is a challenging question at the surface, though it is readily defended.
I read Better Never to Have Been for a second time today (all the way through in a single day, goes faster the 2nd time really) with a particular aim of picking up some different elements of the book that I think are applicable but I kind of didn’t give much thought to the first time through. The first time through I just kind of got the crux of the book, but this time I think I made more sense of an underlying argument that I essentially missed the first time through, and that is the difference between present and future existence.
The premise of the book remains unchanged: to come into existence is always an incredible harm, and that harm is not negligible nor is it even moderate, but it is a severe harm. Thus, it would have been better never to have been born as the non-existent do not suffer harm. Only “existers,” as he refers to them, suffer harm. Of course, only existers experience pleasure, but since the non-existent are not deprived of anything by not experiencing pleasure (as they are unaware of its existence), it’s not bad. Basically, the argument in favor of not existing can be summed up in the following matrix:
|Not Experience Harm
|Not Experience Pleasure
(Neither Good nor Bad)
Thus, we see for existence, we have “good” and “bad,” but for non-existence we have “good” and “neither good nor bad.” Thus, non-existence is, in general, preferable to existence.
That said, in differentiating past and present tense, we have to look at life “worth starting” vs. life “worth continuing.” Since it’s better never to have been, no life is worth starting. Fine, we’ve established that. That’s a done deal. However, that’s just future tense and does not address present tense. For a life already started, however, we seem to have a lower standard by which we judge a life worth continuing to live.
Make no mistake about it, I fully accept that it would have been better had I never been brought into existence. Yet, somehow, I have a continued existence (at least for awhile), and at the moment, yeah, I do have my reasons for continued existence. They give me that “relief from suffering” as Benatar describes it, to make my existence worth continuing, at least for the moment. There could come a time where the suffering becomes too much even for that to make existence worth continuing, however.
This is an example of how I hold my already existent life to a much lower standard than a merely potential-existent life in deeming whether or not it’s better to exist or not exist. We all do it, too. Every last one of us. This is how even though as an antinatalist who would have preferred not to have come into existence, I can justify sticking around at least temporarily (and here is the answer to a question a lot of people have asked me in the past as to why if I truly believed the tenets of antinatalism, why not just off myself now). Thus is my defense of that.
Well, that’s kind of a rough justification, and I can’t begin to do as good of a job as Professor Benatar has of justifying this. Just go read the damn book. It’s the most sensible, eye-opening, and, quite frankly, factual/truthful book I’ve ever read. My favorite book of all time.
There’s no doubt in my mind that a very large percentage (probably a much larger percentage than the general populace) of childfree people also identify as antinatalist. Of course, that percentage still probably represents the minority of the childfree community, I’m just talking a large minority percentage.
The two terms are definitely not synonymous. Childfreedom, of course, is just the status of not having children by choice. Antinatalism is more of a philosophical stance that deems that birth has an overall negative value. In that light, it’s entirely possible, I think, to be childfree and completely pronatalist. Likewise, I also think it’s entirely possible to have children and yet be antinatalist. It’s probably a bit of a stretch, but it’s definitely possible.
Basically, the whole position of antinatalism argues that to be born is bad or has a negative value. Reasons for this vary, but I think the strongest argument in favor of antinatalism (and why I’m an antinatalist myself) revolves around harm. That is, only those who have been brought into existence suffer harm, and all people will suffer at some point in their lives. Had they never been born, they would have never had to suffer, and therefore it’s better not to exist than it is to exist. Makes perfect sense to me, though some of you might disagree.
I just wonder how many of my readers actually identify as antinatalist as well as childfree. I know several do as they have said so in the comments, and it was actually the handful of you who introduced me to the philosophy of antinatalism. I never knew such a philosophy existed until one of my regular commenters mentioned she was and recommended that I read Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence by David Benatar (excellent book, by the way, I can’t recommend it enough and it’s the book that completely sold me on antinatalism). In light of that, I would assume that so few people identify as antinatalist because they just don’t know such a philosophical position exists, and if it were more widely known many, many more people would subscribe to it.
So what do you think? Do you identify as antinatalist? Why or why not?
So I got the following notification from WordPress earlier today:
“You registered on WordPress.com 1 years ago! Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!”
It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing this blog for one year now. It seems to have came and went so fast. I started with the goal of getting a male-written childfree blog on the scene and also with hopes for addressing some male-centric issues on occasion, and I believe I have achieved that goal.
I do apologize for the brief hiatus I’ve taken. I’m very busy these days as I train for my new position within the company. For those who I haven’t told, I have been promoted to my flight department’s assistant chief pilot position! Exciting indeed, and I can’t wait for the new challenges and exciting life my new position will bring. Once again, childfreedom reigns supreme as I had just that much more time to devote to advancing my career than I otherwise would have!
Anyway, I look forward to bringing you many more years of great childfree content, and I’ll be back soon, I promise!