Bro, it was like 7 in the morning when I saw this.
Being that I'm part cat, you know curiosity got the best of me~nya.
StopHavingKids.org is an organization that promotes antinatalism since March 2021. Fundamentally it appears they want people to think critically before having children.
This idea by itself is actually sound. I think people need to think more before making ANY life-altering decisions.
But of course, it's never that simple with any of you.
If you've kept up with any of my literary work, you know that one of my philosophies is prioritizing communication among other things; including critical thinking.
The optimist in me knows that people can come up with better ways of expressing their thoughts and feelings.
Hence my personal pillars are Patience, Gratitude, and Courage. It's a winning formula so far and I always welcome people to ask me about it.
Now, when I saw that this movement also encouraged critical thinking, I got excited. Whoever started this must have strong points and a nearly bulletproof philosophy to promote this kind of concept.
No one can sincerely be this passionate about this kind of 'radical' idea without exploring every possible flaw with it and, most importantly, being transparent about those flaws; as I and other critical thinkers have done with their personal philosophies.
For any idea to work and truly stand the test of time, it has to be sustainable and morally upright. And I don't mean the kind of "righteousness" that is subjective - otherwise, it'll fall apart.
So, SHK and friends, I have sincere questions/concerns about the movement. I'll be quoting some points directly from your site in bold letters.
Note: I won't be quoting every little thing, mainly the points I have problems understanding.
"We want a future where those who choose to live a childfree lifestyle are able to do so and are not stigmatized, attacked, or questioned for their morally neutral choice to not create new humans."
Right off the bat: Who is attacking you and why don't you want to be "questioned"?
The first thing critical thinkers do when encountering anything new is question it. This shouldn't be a surprise.
Any individual or organization that takes its beliefs or practices seriously would never shut down dialogue, as long as the exchange isn't hateful. Now, if your goal is simply for others to "mind their business and leave you alone" then why promote this so aggressively? You obviously want support and want to convince people to an extent, right?
Well, then you have to provide answers and answers only come from being questioned.
Also, what does "morally neutral" mean? Is this another phrase for "harmless"?
There's a real danger in even attempting to become a "harmless" being - I talk about this in the 'Courage' chapter of my book. Every single one of our actions AND inactions affects the world and people around us in one way or another. This is inevitable.
The very definition of morality is to discern right from wrong - there is no "in-between".
For that reason, I doubt antinatalism is "harmless". Low-impact? Maybe, but that's another conversation.
"There is an unconscionable amount of needless suffering and death in the world. Birth serves as the catalyst for it all."
Birth serves as a catalyst for everything we will ever experience.
Yes, this includes the evils of the world such as pain, suffering, and death. But it also allows for pleasure, love, and your ability to promote your ideas and website.
You can't have one without the other.
In the 'Read More' section of that, it goes on:
"Antinatalists consider intentional human reproduction (besides exceptions related to force) an irreversible, unnecessary, indefensible, and enduring form of harm, regardless of circumstances, situations, or consciousness in living."
Quick note: I noticed that this group of antinatalists doesn't consider animal reproduction a problem, only human reproduction. They also don't consider themselves"nihilists" or "miserable".
Question: Can wild animals, such as boars or wolves, also be considered unnecessary and enduring forms of harm? If not, why not?
As far as the whole "nihilistic" or "miserable" comments, I wouldn't say SHK is any of those. But to say all of humanity is responsible for nothing but suffering is a rather pessimistic view of the world.
You can be a pessimist and be happy with that choice. Let's call a spade a spade here.
I don't know though, for an organization rooted in "truly caring for others", there sure is a lot of focus on the negative aspects of childbirth.
If this weren't true, why even attempt to defend it in the FAQs?
So telling people that they cause more harm than good and they shouldn't add to the pile of problems is considered "peaceful, compassionate, mindful, empowering, and love-based"? I wonder what's the alternative to that.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to encourage critical thinking about a life-changing decision such as having a kid. That by itself is fine.
But there's so much more to unpack here because SHK isn't simply about only promoting antinatalism.
The slight arrogance in the rhetoric of "how many people are dedicating their life to such a noble cause?" should make that very clear.
This is also from the "SHK is Negative" section of the FAQs and supports what I just mentioned:
"We must strive to break these cycles of violence, inequity, and destruction by abstaining from having children, helping to improve already existing life and the world at large, ending the dissociation and compartmentalization between systems and humans, developing the strength and moral obligation to embrace responsibility for our actions, and acknowledging the unnecessary harm our actions cause, so that we may be fully aware of the gravity of our “personal choices.” "
So in the same breath of an "all-loving, compassionate message" they shift blame to external factors such as "the system", capitalism, and other horrors for humanity's suffering.
Not only that, but they're also shifting the blame to unborn children by pooling them into the same category as guaranteed criminals and "cogs in the machine" - without even pausing to imagine they may not even turn out that way.
So which one is it, SHK? Are ALL humans guaranteed to be the root of all problems or not? Is it "the system" created by humans that is the problem? Why not focus your energy on that instead of pretending to promote antinatalism?
"As with anything else, someone can be an antinatalist without identifying as one. It should be noted that antinatalism is purely a personal stance, and it doesn’t equate to taking reproductive rights and freedoms away from people."
Why have a whole movement for it if it's not an "identity"? Why do people have names at all? Live up to your name. It's part of living courageously.
Again, if you're this confident in your beliefs and practices, you should be proud to say who you are and what you represent - an antinatalist. Consequently, your default position as a public organization or movement should be to educate those who might disagree with you, especially if you hope for them to support your cause one day.
They go on to admit in the FAQs that we should "...acknowledge the unnecessary harm our actions cause, so that we may be fully aware of the gravity of our “personal choices.”
So you're admitting that personal choices DO have an impact. What happened to "moral neutrality" or "harmlessness"?
See, it stops becoming a "personal stance" when you have billboards and campaigns throughout major cities asking people to "speak out against" something you're not in favor of.
You must aware of the gravity of your "personal" stance.
It's like the term "moral neutrality" or lime juice and baking soda. The very definition of a 'movement' is to move. To change.
What are you trying to "move"? Who are you trying to change or influence? It's not just personal. Call it what it is.
Here's an example: I have a personal preference to not consume (too much) dairy.
I don't have an entire website, t-shirts, or "movement" for it because it's not that serious and I don't wish to convince anyone about my "morally neutral" choice.
Once I decide to dress up like a cow and urge people in the streets to stop milking my udders for their pleasure, it becomes public.
"Are Antinatalists Selfish? No people or the Earth are being directly harmed by someone not coming into existence, but bringing someone into existence will bring about continuous avoidable harm for the person being born and others."
SHK mentions that "personal choices" have an impact. They also claim that SHK is a "personal stance". So how can they possibly reason that no people or the earth are being directly harmed? Are they being indirectly harmed in that case?
It's the whole "my choices don't hurt anybody" argument again.
If you really want to take that route, why not just say that bringing someone into existence is "mostly harmless"? Even then, your choices are "mostly harmless" in reference to how far your perception goes and how far in advance you're thinking.
Here's a critical question: If everyone in the world collectively stopped having kids today, how many years do you think it'll take for humanity to reach the ultimate vision and mission of SHK?
Will that goal be reached within a single lifetime? Because that would be our deadline.
All joking aside, I want you to really consider that question. You can't sincerely be promoting massive world change and not have a massive plan for the future.
Otherwise, your plan becomes unsustainable and your ideology falls apart.
"Having children is antithetical to harm mitigation—each new human is a gamble with guaranteed harms and, at best, questionable benefits to the living and natural world."
Morality is binary. You're either objectively right or wrong. Gambling is binary in the sense that you either win or lose. This is where "breaking even" can be relative and gambling/trading psychology comes into play. That's another conversation.
So how can "every new human be a gamble" but at the same time have a guaranteed outcome? This is contradictory.
Furthermore, how can you possibly guarantee that someone's actions or inactions will be either totally harmful or questionably beneficial unless they actually happen?
They can't happen without birth and we can't predict the future. Since we're using gambling and trading psychology and analogies, you would understand that past performance is not indicative of future results.
With this in mind, we can give equal weight to childbirth being a good one or possibly being a bad one. As an optimist, I'll have to lean toward it being a positive birth.
If SHK isn't "negative" as they claim, then they would also be hopeful for the best possible outcome for ALL life.
But they don't do that.
SHK's point of view is that birth is a catalyst to all suffering on Earth and therefore an "enduring form of harm, regardless of circumstances, situations, or consciousness in living". This can only suggest that any byproduct of living/existing, including the promotion of this movement, is also an enduring form of harm since everyone involved takes advantage of the "system" they're so openly against in some form or another.
Therefore, they can't possibly be "morally neutral". This "personal stance" absolutely has an impact. Is that the "noble" cause they're advocating?
"Why not make a guaranteed positive impact by helping life that’s already here and in need rather than taking a gamble with creating new life that wouldn’t have otherwise been deprived by not existing?"
Why not make a guaranteed positive impact? Because in the context of "gambling vs. guarantees", SHK goes on to say this about making their "guaranteed, positive impacts":
"Those who procreate don’t acknowledge that the future person they are creating may not want to be born and may even one day wish they had never been born."
So if a person one day "wishes they were never born", what does that tell me about them? Are we "forcing" them to stay alive? Just like childbirth, there's no obligation to do anything in this life.
We as humans have free will to do what we want without any consequence. Our personal choices are "morally neutral" - whatever that means.
You don't have to show your receipt at the door. You don't have to birth children. You don't have to be an antinatalist, a Rogue Scribe, a man, a sandwich, or whatever.
Do what you want as long you're not hurting anyone, right?
Do what you will... Why does that sound so familiar?
Well, if absolutely nobody is forcing these people into anything, why is it then that people feel so innately perturbed by these intrusive thoughts? Where did they come from and most importantly why won't they go away?
I'll be honest, if someone ever told me they wished to have never been born, I wouldn't know how to make a positive impact on them. Personally speaking, if someone is unwilling to participate in their own rescue, there's not much that any individual can do.
Maybe SHK can give me some tips on how we can go around this since they're the ones making the claim that people "might not have chosen to be born".
Rogues, there's a plethora of things I could go on forever about SHK. Their site isn't even fully complete as of this writing, so I'll wrap this up with this last point.
SHK's proposed idea of people thinking critically before having kids is actually something I can agree with... Only if it stopped at that.
But it doesn't. Antinatalism is the smoke screen covering their real intentions of promoting abortion, veganism, victim mentality, and other practices that are hidden under the "noble" cause of not having kids to "help the existing world".
Even though they themselves don't even believe that's possible:
So which one is it? Is the world so bad that it can't be helped by future generations of younger, more capable individuals?
Instead, you're going to task the current generation of old, sick, and increasingly tired people who carry an entire basket of mental and emotional problems, who can't leave TikTok or their genitals alone for 24 hours, to "fix the world"?
Good luck with that.
In fact, why isn't the movement called "Stop Having Sex"?
If childbirth is 100% the cause for "enduring forms of harm", and heterosexual, vaginal sex is 100% the reason for childbirth, then we should stop having sex.
This is SHK's view on abstinence - which would be a lot easier to accomplish than just not having children:
I love that they acknowledge that abstinence requires high levels of willpower, discipline, and self-control.
Also, "PIV"? Cute.
So, what's the alternative to "PIV"? They go on:
Everything sounded good right until the word "sexual expression".
For one, dry humping is stupid. Two: Fingering, masturbation, and playing with sex toys imply you want a "release" of some sort. The line between "sex" and "intimacy" is not that blurry...
That's why they're called "sex toys" and not "intimacy toys".
So I have one last challenge for all SHK's members: Stop having sex of any kind until you and all your supporters achieve major change in the current world.
Sex isn't a "need". No one in the history of the world has died from not having sex. Why not promote that?
I know why. Because SHK wants their cake and to eat it too.
Sex is already pretty dangerous. Even with modern contraceptives and protection, these things can still fail.
Not to mention, having sex with multiple people causes more than just physical damage - you're becoming "intimate" with more people than you'll ever be able to comfortably manage.
No need to exchange bodily fluids to guarantee broken emotional attachments and failed relationships which are likely to form from just pleasure-seeking. Is that really caring for the well-being of others? To basically use their bodies as some kind of sexual adventure and onto the next?
SHK mentions alternatives to PIV sex, and all of those come with a lot of problems too.
Sounds like perpetuating "enduring forms of harm" to me.
It's safe to say that sex is the catalyst for all of these problems, so let's stop having it.
Now, if you can keep your genitals off someone else for more than 10 consecutive years, (which is a reasonable amount of time to achieve a positive impact) this proves that you truly don't let unnecessary urges distract you from your real goal: helping and caring for others.
However, if you can't keep your hands to yourself because you "need" to have sex or be "intimate" by means of sexual acts... Morally neutral... Whatever that means... Then you are unfit to take on the enormous task of helping the rest of the world.
To be extra clear: If you or anyone lacks the discipline, willpower, and self-control to abstain from something as simple as that, then you cannot be trusted to demonstrate the even GREATER amount of discipline, willpower, and self-control it takes to positively impact the world around you.
The world is far more complex than your own sexual urges. You can't expect me or any other critical thinker to truly believe you can handle one and not the other.
With that said, this is where SHK's entire idea collapses and I better abstain from shredding it.
TL;DR: Stop having sex and then we can talk.
Godspeed, rogues. Keep on roguing in the rogue world and all that jazz.