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Should anarchists be bringing new life into the world?

Submitted by ziq in Anarchism (edited )

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. My first introduction to anarchism was through VHEMT, a group that pledges to not reproduce in order to safeguard the planet's future (the 'extinction' moniker is only there to attract eyeballs).

But if people like us aren't reproducing while reactionaries are, doesn't that make the world a worse place to live in? And if there's any way for humanity to save the world, won't it be spearheaded by people that have been raised to be conscious of their footprint and to given the nurturing they need to overcome the pitfalls of the neoliberal existence?

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tnstaec wrote

I don't plan on having children. One reason is how dystopian society is. Another is that there are far more humans than are sustainable. Some radicals have tried to argue that overpopulation is a capitalist conspiracy or something? But you can't deny the numbers. We crossed 7.5 billion this year. Seems like we only just reached 7. We are literally eating the biosphere to death.

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Tequila_Wolf wrote (edited )

I think life under capitalism is not generally worth bringing into existence, and so it's one major reason I won't be having kids. (though that absolutely doesn't translate into a recommendation for others not to bring people into existence.)

Either way, while I think there's a decent argument for it generally, the utilitarian logic behind much of anti-natalism isn't very good.

To respond to your two questions:

  1. Our not reproducing won't cause trouble if we're adopting instead. This point pretty much resolves the overarching concern you have, for me. (And yeah, I think it would be hard to justify bringing kids into the world for as long as there are orphans)
  2. You may possibly be more able to make a broad impact on environmental issues if you aren't focused on the welfare of your biological dependents.

(As an aside, that's interesting; my intro to veganism was Benatar's Better Never To Have Been. That said, he's a terrible human of the very scary sort)

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ziq wrote (edited )

adopting

This is why I've been thinking about this subject. My partner and I are interested in adopting because putting a new life into an overpopulated world with scarce resources is such a questionable thing to do, but I've been researching it and the bureaucracy involved in adoption is just depressing (and expensive).

I also don't live in a country with any orphans (very family-based culture, people take care of their relatives), so would have to adopt from overseas, which is even more complicated and wrought with moral issues, which is making me wonder if reproducing is better than the alternatives.

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tnstaec wrote

I've gone thru the same thoughts. I think I have a good parenting instinct. Adoption seemed like the obvious choice, until I learned how wide-spread and common child trafficking for adoptions is.

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Tequila_Wolf wrote (edited )

I hadn't considered that; where I am from there are many orphans.

I'm not sure if you live in Europe, but perhaps it's less problematic to find potential children for adoption in other European countries?

Given that I don't know much about your personal situation, just from what you've said I'm understanding that you're pushing between three options:

  1. Have no child(ren?), but struggle with the fact that you want one.
  2. Struggle with high adoption bureaucracy and costs for some time, adopt a kid. This kid benefits from a family, you get to raise a child, and no new life is brought into the world.
  3. Have a biological child, by bringing life into a worsening world full of intense suffering.

My own thought is that just with this information there's no clear answer. Depends how much you want a kid, how hard it really would be to adopt locally, and how well you envision being able to take care of this kid (and maintain your revolutionary character).

I guess I'd suggest trying out the adoption process and going from there.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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ziq wrote (edited )

That wasn't really my point, it was that anarchists aren't as likely to be abusive assholes, so they'd hopefully make better parents, while reactionaries create nothing but misery in every life they touch. The more people that haven't been abused by horrible people and indoctrinated into multigenerational abuse cycles, the better the world will be.

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ConfettiEggnog wrote

Isn't this the essence of racism, xenophobia and so on: "anarchists" "can't" or "aren't" while "reactionaries" "are" and "can". Than from the "us" vs "them" populists some will be selected to write the official dogma of who is "us", because "them" is everyone else.

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MarkVale wrote

there is plenty of resources for our population to live in a sustainable environment. the main problem is unplanned exploitation and production, and suburban sprawl. this is thanks to capitalism. you should not strive to submit to assimilation but rather keep living your life in spite of the oppression happening around you. it goes without saying that if adopting is something you can do then it is preferable, but if you want to procreate don't let your enemies dictate if and how that'll happen.

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Defasher wrote

While that might be true, that in an ideal world where capitalism doesn't exist, things would be sustainable, capitalism does exist and so there's nothing sustainable about the world we live in.

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amongstclouds wrote (edited )

I decided against having children long before I even realized I was an Anarchist. This is mainly due to the enormous burden it would place on my plans for helping all of humanity in whatever way possible -- the world is also going to be in a very bad position 20-30 years from now, if not sooner -- why would I want to bring a living being into this kind of suffering?

I want to make things better for people and if I had a kid I would be too distracted with taking care of THEM.

I have considered adoption though.

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chaos wrote

I think it depends on your circumstances. If you can afford it, then I think it's the best way to ensure humanity has a future that extends further than Kekistan.

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Chomskyist wrote (edited )

But that assumes upbringing has any effect on the child's eventual personality. Most radicals I know had reactionary assholes for parents, and the kids responded to that toxic environment by going left.

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Naokotani wrote

Social concious people should have babies. They often don't because they are socially concious, but those are the people we want to raise children! Alternatively, you could adopt...

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[deleted] wrote

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ziq wrote

we're piled together like hive creatures instead of spreading out

Great point, and this adds to the issues we face, when that many people are right up against each other, fighting each other for resources, it's a recipe for misery.

Where I live there's a very low population density, and people are much happier and live less stressful lives.

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[deleted] wrote

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zod wrote

So true guys. It also creates bad habits when people are so disconnected from nature, they forget that their actions affect every ecosystem.

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ConfettiEggnog wrote

So the obvious answer would be: make more children so the low density area will have the high density area blessings.

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ConfettiEggnog wrote

  1. Marriage is done for making children, as I assume it wasn't just a scheme to leave your secretary your many ranches and oil rigs after your death in the next few months.

  2. Not taking contraceptive measures when sexually active means wanting to have a child.

  3. Not terminating the pregnancy spells the same.

Do you really believe the first child was "accidental"?

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hentai wrote

Mine told me this last weekend that she's ready to start reading Chomsky. It brought a tear to my eye!