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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

No, actually, it's not all about us

After somewhat obsessively reading the entertainingly hysterical forum-chat attacks on antinatalists that have been linked though Jim Crawford's blog over the past couple of years, and after recently being trolled extensively (also entertainingly) as an antinatalist in the comments section of Andy Nowicki's review of my book NVSQVAM on the AR blog ( ; it's a thoughtful and lovely write-up but my god, I had no idea such a large percentage of the male Internet population never gets laid, ha ha), I feel qualified to make a generalization about pronatalist arguments.

To wit: breeders* (or would-be breeders) will, upon encountering antinatalist ideas, angrily grasp and sling the closest ad hominem fecal mass, whether or not they know anything about the, er, homo in question.

One of the preferred dismissals is to assume and declare that anyone who avoids creating life must lead a particularly shitty one, and is merely having a tantrum out of his or her pathetic personal bitterness. Or conversely, that anyone with a negative life philosophy must have a terrifically privileged life, and is simply lying around being angry out of spoileditude. Though some trust-fund babies are no doubt unjustifiably sullen, and some antinatalists suffer terrible diseases which illustrate far too clearly to them the horrors life is capable of inflicting on its inmates, I get the feeling that most antinatalists are in fact ordinarily fortunate people.

Most of the antinatalists to whom I've spoken or whose posts I've read seem to hold down jobs (at least intermittently, during the past few economically inclement years) which we like or tolerate or hate to varying degrees; most of us have a decent level of education, whether gained through autodidactic methods, universities, or both; I for one, while disgusted with the current global economy and my own treatment at its hands, have been enormously lucky in some of the non-economic gambles life prods us to take.

I've been overall quite lucky in love and friendship, particularly at present; I'm terrific at keeping myself entertained, and while I'm too viscerally disgusted by the glad-handling and dissembling skills that a better economic life would seem to demand to successfully develop them, I do get along with my fellow humans quite well when I engage them on a sincere and not a business level (and even when the levels are mixed). I'm talented at work that impassions and entrances me, even if deep down I know all endeavors are pointless; I'm quite easily entertained, and I get probably more pleasure than the average yay-to-lifer from the oft-lauded simple things like pets, books, sunsets, good weather, walks, conversation, and fellow-feeling.

I may display some depressive and crotchety traits due to my relentless realism, but neither anhedonia nor schizophrenia has darkened my doorstep, and my sense of humor has yet to fail me in a tight spot. I do not live in a radioactive mud hut in Cambodia, nor do I live in a shiny condo that Daddy paid for; I'm neither a 40-year-old-virgin nor a genitally surfeited rock star. I've never been able to afford a car, but I live in an urban area with somewhat functional public transit; I can usually eat something reasonably close to what I want to eat, although the fact that I genuinely love peanut butter toast really helps; I enjoy good health except for my fragile knees, asthma, allergies, and chronic mysterious stomachaches; I'm nearsighted, but my prescription is exactly the same in both eyes, a rare bit of good luck within the bad which frees me from having to keep track of which side of the goddamn contact lens case I've stuck which lens in.

In short, a human of average fortune. Neither privileged nor especially miserable. I may object to life in principle, but I do a pretty fair job of enjoying my own, even if sometimes all I'm savoring is the tang of irony.

So why would I cruelly deny my ovarial fruit the chance to share in those kitties and sunsets, if I'm so content with my own lot?

Because I'm capable of realizing and appreciating how lucky I am. Because I'm aware of the suffering of others. More vitally, because I'm capable of realizing how fragile my luck is, and by extension how precarious a life I would offer my offspring, no matter how rosy things looked when I decided to get knocked up. The Greek tragedies have much to teach on that front, but simple daily observation of the sports pages should be enough to drive home the point that no winning streak lasts forever, no matter how great you are; to paraphrase a recent Onion bit, every athlete eventually loses his grudge match with Time. Christ, look at old Brett Favre. Tomorrow you could go nuts the way he did, or get cancer. Wouldn't cancer and pregnancy be fun to go through simultaneously? And what a lovely story that would make for your motherless child to tell her friends.

This precariousness should be particularly easy to understand for Westerners who are currently in their prime. A decade is a long time in the global economy, and it's going to take two of them for the baby who's currently safe in your middle-managerial, yoga-toned womb to grow into a full-fledged worker bee. If things seem tough now that a salary freeze has forced you to trim your caffelatte consumption, just think what might be by the time Junior is flat-out working for the Chinese.

Do you suppose I'd feel differently if I were living in a more perfectly stable place and time? No doubt I would. But I wouldn't think differently.

* My use of this term is indeed pejorative, though not in the usual sense; while gay pride-ists (as though being born with ANY set of genes justified the folly of human pride) use it to refer snidely to heterosexuals, whatever their actual reproductive behavior, I use it to refer snidely to anyone who deliberately makes children, including gay people.


  1. Then again, some individuals deserve to have turds with their name on it sent and Andy Nowicki is one such individual: the typical right-wing pundit, who's single-phrased mention of the antinatalist content comes as summary as "They stand for everything we stand against" and who's token Black guy's omission of White Supremacy in the racial class struggle
    somehow speaks for 'the Black side' of the race story
    ... because his Black skin makes him 'one of them', ríght? /:=)

    No, seriously: what kind of Nazi refuge is that AltRight blog anyway? Comments are so casual about terms like "Slavic hordes", "race suicide", "negrophillic ho" and "race-traitors", or about being "all for antinatalism for blacks and non-Whites in general".
    Sadly, its these kind of breeders, more prone to be inbreeders than others, that predictibly cause more needless suffering in their offspring.

    - another male internaut who never gets laid

  2. Funnily enough, Jim Crawford's book sparked off a rather surreal discussion on the ins-and-outs of antinatalism with my niece; she was far less knee-jerk about it than the typical pronatalist: unconvinced, yet openminded.

    Ironic how a thirteen-year-old can handle the topic with more maturity than the pronatalist posters you, Chip, and Jim encounter.

  3. MRDA: Well, she does have the advantage of a not-yet-fused worldview; makes some kids sponges and others delightful.

    Bazompora: The interesting thing I'm learning from reading blogs like AR is that freedom of speech, including the freedom to say unpopular (even if, one believes, justifiably unpopular) things in polite company, is more important to civilization than ever. In other words, belittling people for their beliefs makes them seek out refuges, as you say, and turns them into insular troll-populations. Some individuals are of course trollier by nature than others and will be ever full of spite, but others are trolls because they were pushed under the bridge.

  4. (And of course yet others just seem like trolls to you because they're surrounded by trolls, but actually they may be being quite reasonable and their reason just doesn't reach the same conclusions yours does. Here's a good one from Sister Y on the subject, sorta...

    1. I don't believe in trolls.

      But maybe that's just a handy veil to unabate intellectual hygiene.
      Please, don't get me wrong: I support attention to unpopular topics. But I don't think a blog like AltRight does that. No; I see them creating pornography for the racist underbelly, in Anglo and Western culture in general, to sneak off to.
      Hardly unpopular.
      Hardly polite.
      Hardly real.

      What good does it do, to pretend that the emperor wears clothes?

  5. You don't believe in trolls? There was one around here a few months back, trying to get my goat by calling me a "Jewess." Unfortunately for him, I was too amused by the sick historical irony of being called a Jew due, apparently, to the sole evidence of my Teutonic surname, to get upset.

    1. Gotta love the originality of certain kinds of folk ...

      But I maintain my disbelief in trolls. It's a label I see all too often any challenge to a popular trend accused of. It's being thrown around in a manner like "witch" was before industrialisation.

      That said,
      I do believe in arseholes.

  6. "It's a label I see all too often any challenge to a popular trend accused of."

    Wh... uh?

  7. The accusation of being a "troll" is often used to stigmatise a line of argumentation that strays too far from majority opinion, in a manner reminiscent of red-baiting in response to off-spectrum ideas
    ... at least, that was the case in the kind of forums I tended to frequent.

    I've come to see its application as a loaded catch-all to brand comments with a veneer of "due" contemptibility.

    (Mind you, I didn't say you used it in that intent; just explaining myself!)

  8. The definition of "troll" that I'm used to is something more akin to "someone saying nasty things anonymously that he may or may not actually mean, just for the fun of pissing off an interlocutor."

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. *
      Now, that would have 'due contemptibility' (without double speech marks).

      I did not get the impression though, from either author or commenters of AltRight, that the spiteful content on there was intended to 'piss off'.

    3. Bazompora,

      Are you saying that pornography doesn't have value?

      I'm only half joking, and only half because I think the discourse at Alt Right -- certain commenters (sp?) arguably notwithstanding -- is more substantial than low-hung ACLU bait. I'm not a nationalist or racialist of any flavor, but "a conversation about race" seems meaningless if we stigmatize the views of people who don't color within culturally proscribed lines. I like to hear from intellectual mutants of all shades and sizes (sometimes I even learn from them!), and I think a broader spectrum of opinion should be welcomed and encouraged by anyone who values free speech for reasons that don't begin and end with reflexive fidelity to the letter of the First Amendment.

      Andy Kaufman wasn't a troll?

    4. Erm ... who?

      I'm not for ignoring anyone; I'm just challenging the notion that all opinions should on the other hand be "encouraged". I do think that systematically skewed ideas should not be awarded the same air of legitimacy, when they've been shown to persist in willful ignorance.
      I'm for 'calling a wankfest a wankfest', allowing it to occur within safety restrictions nevertheless.

  9. I've always preferred pornography to being surrounded by people who feel so threatened they can barely stutter.

  10. Wow. White people are strange.

  11. antinatalism is for pseudo-empathetic greedy cunts like yourself who pretend to not want children because "LIFE HAS PAIN AND PAIN=BAD AND THINGS HURT AND MAKING LIFE IS WRONG" while conveniently ignoring all the positives in life. Face it Ann, the reason you dont want kids is because you think they would end up being a miserable cunt like yourself, which is total bullshit, because last time I checked some dumb white bitch who spends all her time writing books(that no one reads or respects) against natalism can tpredict the fuckin future. I will gladly kill you Ann. I fucking hate nihilists and one day I hope to coral them into one area and drop a nuke on them. That would bring me great joy and fufillment


      Shame your mum wasn't also an antinatalist, JS. Go wash the sand out of your cockslit.


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