Anti-natalism: The Current Against The Birth Of More Human Beings

A philosophy of life in which it is defended that the human population decline or become extinct.

For centuries the idea of leaving offspring and making the society you live in expand has been seen as a good thing.

However, in recent times, a way of thinking is becoming popular according to which having children is undesirable, not only because of demographic problems related to overpopulation, but also because of a kind of nihilism and vital pessimism closely related to a belief: human species should cease to exist. It’s about anti-natalism.

What is anti-natalism?

Antinatalism is an ideology from which the birth of more human beings is seen as a political, ethical or social problem. Fundamentally, from this ideological position it is encouraged not to leave offspring or reproduce in any way.

So it is not an anti-sex or suicide-friendly movement; it is simply argued that the human population must decline or even disappear due to natural causes once it has reached the point where no more people are born.

The origins of this philosophy

The first anti-natalists appeared in the 19th century with the publication of the works of Thomas Malthus, who detected the presence of demographic crises produced by the imbalance between available resources and the amount of population.

Thus, anti-natalism was a position closely related to economics. However, with the development of existentialism, this idea became something that was part of a philosophy of life.

Pessimistic anti-natalism

The anti-natalists that appeared in the twentieth century, unlike the previous ones, drank from a philosophical, not an economic principle. They started from the fundamental question about what is the meaning of life and concluded that, just as we can choose to make our life something worthwhile by creating meaning for our own existence, it is also legitimate to assume that we should not forcing others to come into existence and make such decisions, which can be very painful.

Thus, the anti-natalism that draws on existentialism starts from the idea that living is essentially no better than not doing so, and that even the act of creating life can be criticized. Somehow, anti-natalists take into account the worst possible situation (one in which only a minority can make their lives worthwhile) and act consistently when judging whether having children is good or bad.

Avoid possible suffering

At present, this type of anti-natalism is reflected in people or couples who decide not to have children so as not to give the possibility of having an unhappy son or daughter. It is also embodied in the work of writer and professor David Benatar: Better Never to Have Been.

These positions have a lot to do with the way in which the quality of life of our societies is perceived or the way in which it is judged how well or badly others behave: how much they help each other, to what extent they lie, etc. They are not decisions made introspectively, but looking around and reflecting on whether the place where you live is appropriate to bring life to the world.


Another variant of the way of thinking linked to anti-natalism is based on misanthropy. The idea here is not based on a rational economic or political decision, but a moral one; As it is based on the idea that the human being is despicable or, in any case, something opposite to the good, the logical thing is to defend that no more births take place.

This way of thinking has been used both in political movements linked to animalism and veganism as well as in environmental groups, although its influence is very limited. It is intended to protect all the good that exists in nature by preventing humans from corrupting it, either by degrading the planet’s ecosystems or through animal exploitation.

For example, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is an example of extreme anti-natalism motivated by reasons linked to environmentalism: it offers itself as an organization in which efforts are coordinated to make the human population decrease until it disappears, leaving nature free from influence. of civilization.

Philosophy of life or disorder?

The radical ideas of some anti-natalists can make many people wonder if this is all part of a mental disorder. The truth is that no: anti-natalism is simply an unusual ideology, and does not appear from delusions or hallucinations; Anti-natalists tend to be well-educated people with preserved mental faculties, like any other group.

In this sense, pretending to attribute their way of thinking to mental illness is rather an attempt to minimize their opinions through stigmatization for political purposes.

However, antinatalism is related to mental health, since where it occurs it is very possible that a discomfort difficult to define and of a decidedly psychological nature is experienced; after all, anti-natalists who are not for Malthusian reasons exist because they experience discomfort that they do not want on others. For this reason, these sophisticated ways of thinking and so linked to abstract ideas are a challenge that must be addressed from the world of  psychotherapy.

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