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Better Never to Have Been?

17 August 2012

This post, “I wish my mother had aborted me,” popped up in the Shakesville part of my feed reader the other day.  I’m sure it’ll be making the usual rounds.  I’m sure it’ll upset a lot of people, including some people who are down with abortion rights and choosing our choices and all that.  It’s an important piece, not because this is the first (or second, or thousandth) time someone has argued the position Beisner is arguing, but because of where it’s posted.  The Guardian is a major paper that, despite what people who don’t know what they’re talking about might say, isn’t actually an arm of the loony-left Communo-Nazi bleeding-heart-fascist nanny-gestapo.  The people who read this article, however their opinion of it turns out, will at least be faced with a similar anecdotal emotional appeal to what Beisner describes.  I wonder how many of them would tell the author to her actual analogue-world face that her life and her mother’s hardship are all Worth It because of… something or other they’ve decided is the objective measure of life’s worth.  

In a similar vein, there is also David Benatar’s book, Better Never to Have Been: the Harm of Coming into Existence.  I haven’t read it yet, so I can’t comment on any specific arguments he makes in it, but the general theme is pretty clear from the title.  Basically, since we know that suffering is unavoidable for all living things, the ethical decision is to avoid bringing more beings into the universe.  Living things that don’t exist can’t possibly know if they’re missing out on anything, so nonexistence does them zero harm.  Here is an interview Benatar did with Redi Direko of Radio 702 / Cape Talk.  Everyone who’s thinking about having kids should have a serious chat with themselves about the possible outcomes for their individual child as well as the long-term/far-reaching ramifications of more people in the world–particularly when those children require sucking more resources into the centers of capitalism/Global North.  But that’s all a can of worms for another day.

Anyway, in solidarity with Beisner, I’m going on record as someone who caused unforeseen hardship to her parents that, by many measures, would be considered a net loss for all of us, and that could’ve been avoided by choosing abortion.

And just think, no one would have to read my posts!  A win for abortion rights and a win for the furious tears of privileged gasbags everywhere!

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 18 October 2012 14:14

    Thank you. And you would be shocked what people seem willing to say. If I had a dollar for every person who told me that I should go abort myself, I could give the Gates Foundation a run for its money.

    • 18 October 2012 15:46

      Whoa, thanks for commenting. It’s truly horrible what people are willing to say, and no doubt having the courage to publish your piece has added significantly to the vitriol directed at you. In my experience and listening to other people’s stories, much of the worst stuff comes from the sort of people who go on about “respect for life.” Those who believe that suffering is a gift can sure get generous if you argue against their philosophy.

      Anyway, I’m sorry for all the crap you’ve had to put up with.

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