Childfreedom and Antinatalism

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?

About coolchildfreeguy

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

Posted on December 4, 2012, in Childfree, Philosophy, Religion. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. *raises hand*

    Proud antinatalist here. My reasons are similar to yours; essentially, I think that however ostensibly altruistic people claim procreation to be, it’s not. You cannot ever guarantee that the creation of new life will not end in horrendous suffering – indeed, as you say, you can virtually guarantee suffering of some description at points. Granted, antinatalism dictates that pleasure won’t be experienced either – but since one wouldn’t have been born, that’s not going to matter. Being born and living a rubbish life kind of does.

    Admittedly, I’m could be accused of being a little biased as I suffer from a mental illness, but there are plenty of ‘sane’ people in the antinatalist community, so that’s hardly a watertight contention.

    Still, we’re already here so let’s celebrate the good; congrats on your year’s blogging and your new job! 😀

  2. I go back and forth. I watched his interview on youtube and I’ll have to read that book to see if it sways my opinion further. I didn’t choose to be CF because I thought life was bad, but because I benefit too much from being CF IMO. I definitely think some of the arguments from antinatalists are worth bringing to the public’s ears just like the argument for atheism.

  3. Hmm. I don’t think that I do. Mostly because I haven’t really ever thought about it before. Not that I didn’t know about it until this moment (your blog has reminded me for a while now that it is a philosophy that exists but I knew the word and what it meant before too), so unless and until I give it more thought I doubt I ought to just randomly declare myself for or against it. I’m neutral, then, I suppose. :p

    However, I do remember a conversation with my mother when I was a child that arose due to bullying (I was bullied relentlessly all through my school years). I think she said something along the lines of everyone gets teased and bullied as a kid, or at least most people if not everyone. And I asked her then why did she have me if she knew I was going to be bullied? And she did know. She even thought about it while choosing names for me (and my siblings), trying to choose names that would be difficult or impossible for bullies to make fun of or come up with embarrassing/weird nicknames/shortenings for.

    I don’t remember much about the conversation or the exact wording, except for that one sentence from me. But, I do remember that she had no answer. She just stayed quiet and glared at me because I was pertinent enough to ask a question she either couldn’t or wasn’t ready to answer.

  4. pitbullgirl65

    I do i.d as antinatalist. Why? One because I’m a woman who finds pregnancy repugnant. It ruins your body. Ugly stretch marks, sagging skin after birth, weight gain, and frankly the huge watermelon stomachs some women have are disgusting.
    Two: the whole you’re not a woman unless you’re a mother mindset. I’ve noticed this cropping up in feminist circles. Once again I’m defined by my reproductive organs.
    Three: there as been concentrated effort by religious and political organizations to roll back reproductive rights. Scared the poo out of me.
    Finally: I deeply dislike babies. That doesn’t mean I go around kicking them as some people think! I do, they are annoying, they stink, the crying and the happy screeching they do just piss me off

  5. Schopenhauer Pauer

    I just want to thumbs up everyone here. I’m more of a classical antinatalist, but on FB, reddit etc Benatar is hittin harder than darrow, Schopenhauer, or even the wwII No existentialists/absurdists…this is going mainstream, baby (Pun in 10)! I am guessing more parents will have awkward conversations in future. My dad had this infuriating use of ‘life is unfaire’ whenever we complained, knowing it is a) a FUCKING CLICHE b) HIS FAULT that I got to empirically confirm for myself that life is to be endured, not endorsed. Dafuq? Does nature seem like the sorta setup geared to the satisfaction of the individual? Nature does only enough to get by. That’s how we end up with T-rex arms, panda thumbs, giraffe carotids, human inguinial canals etc etc etc and often the process is gross so pitbullgirl b keepin it REAL! I always respect married childfree women (ur sure it was a choice, not frustration) and atheists in muslim countries. Can’t herd these cats!

  6. I love benatar’s upgrade for moderns, but I’m sure you know of antinatalism’s….pedigree lol. Look for ‘tyranny of the prefontal cortex’. Not an explicit antinatalism tome, but predictable because with the ascendancy of rationality and literacy, people stopped anthropomorphising their surroundibgs, and the magic went out of the non-human. People stopped the repetitious telling of mnemonic folklore;they just read maps now, that’s why primitives who get evicted for ‘developement projects’ here in kenya suffer even in a similar climate/terrain, their land literally ‘spoke’ to them. Antinatalism is as old as written language, note the egyptian obsession with the afterlife, the nihilistic babylonian sheol, or much of buddism/hinduism. My main issue is even if life is a benefit to the nbirthed it is marginal, and not obligatory. Are we obliged to confer benefits or to merely abstain from cruelty? Three stages: you pay someone on time n. U sont owe,ad in full yet they couldnt ‘t havr compelled you. You save your jewish neighbor fro the gestapo. You get t he geso reward for snitching. We can agree that the snitching is evil like the hiding is extra credit. Neutrality, simply avoidibg hypocrisy, is the first option. And the default. How can u be obliged to go fpr extra credit? Aren’t obligations in the curriculum? That’s the real assymetry, incumbency is in not inflicting loss, not provision of orgasms.

  1. Pingback: 2012 Childfree Data Dump - Why No Kids?

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