Why I Will Never Have a Child – Antinatalism and ethics

I don’t ever want to have a child. I haven’t been private about this, but I haven’t really been public either. I talked about why I don’t want to have children, and why I think it would be unethical for me to have a child.


2 thoughts on “Why I Will Never Have a Child – Antinatalism and ethics”

  1. Interesting topic. I agree with some of your points but also have some question/comments:

    1. Do you think it is unethical for all people to have children or just for some? If it’s unethical for all people and all people would follow through, wouldn’t that lead to human extinction? If so, would you argue that this is what we should aim for? If not, how should we go about procreating (who should have children and how many)?

    2. If I got you right you are saying that nature made us want to have children but that this is a bias and that it might actually lead to suffering (to the parents and child and/or to other living creatures now or in the future). You might be right, but the bias is real. Real in a sense that a lot of people want to have children even after reading that this probably want make them more happy. Not to have children will make them feel bad. So in this case one should be careful to attach this kind of thinking to a certain movement like veganism or EA since it can be extremely off-putting. Who wants to join a movement where you have to justify wanting to have children (“be careful” ≠ never ever even talk about it).

    3. Random thought but I liked an argument by Bryan Caplan (author of “Selfish reasons to have more kids”) who said that research might be right that on average having children will not make you more happy but being a grandparent will make you more happy. Seems like a very reasonable assumption backed by a lot of (anecdotal) evidence from my observation.

    1. Thank you! Thinking on the margin, I would say that yet I think for most people it would be net bad to have a child. However, I don’t think everyone acting this way would be necessarily good (it depends on whether you think human extinction is bad or not). I think we could do with not having children being more the norm than it is today, but if we reached a scenario where population (not population growth) was getting disconcertingly low, I may change my mind about what is best on the margin.

      Regarding the bias, that’s a good point. It’s an evolutionary desire, but real nonetheless, and if someone would enjoy having a child, that’s worth taking in to consideration. I’m not as worried about the second part of your second point. You could easily argue from an EA perspective that going on more holidays than you need for R&R and productivity, and yet this doesn’t seem to be putting many people off. I guess children is a somewhat more sensitive topic though.

      Interesting you mention Bryan Caplan, someone else mentioned them in relation to this and I vaguely recall hearing a podcast interview with them.

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