I have had a lot of thoughts on my mind because of recent events that happened after a link I shared that Monique sent me. You can read it here if you want:
After I posted that article on Facebook, a thread started full of comments back and forth of people debating anti-natalism. This inspired me to listen to an old Impersonal Opinion podcast I did with Trick on the topic.
I think that episode and the one after it covered all the major issues surrounding ethics of procreation and also the abortion issue.
There is however one thing that weighs heavily on my mind. While I see procreation as nothing more than a biological urge which is defended by a bunch of illogical and selfish arguments, at the same time I am against abortion because it is a type of killing. It of course makes sense that I am this way given that I don’t like to end the life of any animal and am a vegan who also tries to avoid killing insects.
One thing that Trick and I obviously agree on is that it’s better for people to remain celibate or get sterilized so that no woman ever becomes pregnant in the first place. I think that if we could get everyone on the planet to agree to this in the first place, there would be no actual abortion debate to be had.
Instead, what we have is a debate between two opposing sides both about whether abortion is moral and also whether or not it should be legal. I stepped away entirely from the abortion debate because it’s too emotionally disturbing and I don’t know if it actually changes anyone’s mind because people are too stubborn and set in their ways generally.
But the reason I bring it up is that something just feels off about the fact that I don’t want people to exist but I also don’t want to kill them. I’m trying to dive deep down into my own psychology and resolve this issue. I also don’t know why I bother considering that I don’t know what practical difference it makes in the real world. Maybe I’m just screwed up and conflicted in the head about whether we should live or die.
Poffo recently mentioned in a phone conversation with me that we are asking the ancient question: “To be, or not to be”. It’s an important question about whether life is really worth all the trouble. I think that this is something that at some point all of us who exist very long answer in our own ways.
The person who commits suicide is answering the question with a definite “No, my life is not worth experiencing the pain I am in.” Many others are saying “Yes, my life is happy enough to continue it for awhile longer.” or maybe they are saying: “I really would like to die but all the methods of death that I know about are extremely painful.”
I find that in general my life is generally full of suffering for a variety of reasons such as financial stress and being terribly upset at the suffering of all the non human animals at the hand of carnist humans who torture and kill them for reasons of either ignorance or selfishness.
My life also contains some happiness. The things that make me happy are dancing, playing video games, playing chess, pool, or other fun games with friends, and sometimes just listening or singing to music.
I think that in general each person weighs their own suffering with their happiness and determines that one is greater than the other. However there is another question far more important that is often over looked.
Are others experiencing more pleasure or pain as a result of my existence? This is something I ponder daily but of course is one I cannot answer, only the other animals can answer that question personally of whether they like my existence and how much pleasure or pain I bring them.
I can only guess what someone’s answer will be to the question. I can take a pretty educated guess that my mother, my co-workers at Hy-Vee, and a few others would answer that they are better off as a result of who I am and what I do.
However, I want to end this post by bringing it back to the conflict and how I hope to resolve it. I could be right or wrong about this but the key issue is that I know I don’t have a free will and can’t blame myself for how I feel.
I have come to the current conclusion that it is always wrong to procreate. Even IF the person who comes into existence absolutely loves their life and experiences bliss all the time and then dies a painless death, it’s still a gamble with someone else’s life and they cannot agree to it.
Imagine a woman who is raped by a man and yet somehow experiences great pleasure from it even though she never agreed or consented for it to happen in the first place. Suppose she then goes and declares that rape is a good thing because SHE liked it. The obvious problem with her logic is that just because she enjoyed something that she didn’t consent to does not mean that others will enjoy it.
I think that the natalist who argues against anti-natalism is basically doing the same as the hypothetical woman I just mentioned. They are saying: “I enjoyed my life so I’m going to make new children because their lives will be happy like mine was!”. It’s a decision based on a belief that they CANNOT have evidence for. It’s the belief that they somehow KNOW the future experience their child will have. They can’t have access to such information. None of us can.
Now I want to apply this to the topic of abortion. Both the decision to kill an unborn child or to let it be born and live out its life are both decisions based on information that none of us have access to. We cannot know whether that child will be glad that they came to exist or if they will suffer greatly and commit suicide at a young age or perhaps die from a car accident or terrible illness.
Since we cannot know what the outcome of these types of decision in terms of pleasure and pain, what we’re basically doing is trying to play baseball in the dark. We’re emotionally feeling and guessing where the ball is and swinging wildly trying to hit it.
Since we cannot know the outcome of these decisions, how do we rate the morality or ethical status of an action? That’s a question for you to ponder and answer in your own way. Meditate on that for a moment.
I will provide my own answer to how I answer this question and make my moral decisions. It is immoral to do something to someone else that I would not want done to myself. In short I basically try to follow the golden rule. Since I do not even want someone else to take an action which MAY cause me suffering, I think it’s wrong to even take a risk in the first place that affects someone else.
And after all this consideration, I’m back once again to the conclusion that the only logical solution is to promote celibacy and/or sterilization so as to not impose the suffering on a woman of having to choose whether to kill her child or let it live. Either way, making someone choose something that they don’t want to is a crime in and of itself.
In an average scenario a woman may not want to be pregnant. She also probably does not want to kill her child either. So whichever she chooses she will be unhappy and experience regret and wish she could go back and choose the other option. It seems that the real suffering here is the “burden of choice”. I am against imposing suffering on the woman in the first place.
So naturally it all goes back to avoiding unwanted pregnancy. It’s the only solution that people are likely to agree to. If they don’t agree that steps need to be taken to avoid women becoming pregnant in the first place, then there is no further discussion to be had.
As a final note, I personally never saw the abortion debate as a “women’s rights” issue. The reason for this is because if all the men went on strike and refused to have sex with them, the women couldn’t get pregnant even if they wanted to. So what’s really going on as that this is about a man’s right to choose whether or not he wants to impose suffering on a woman he has sex with and additionally the potential suffering of children which are created as a result.
It seems that my logic concludes that a man having sex with a woman is always wrong unless there is zero percent chance of her becoming pregnant and that she also consents to the chance of being infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
And in the end I still feel that I’m both an anti-natalist but at the same time anti-abortion. I’m against the idea that we should be given a choice which has the potential to cause suffering to us and others. For this reason, I stay with my preferred label: “anti-choice”.