“Your parents had you instead of a dog.”
While some millennials are indicting capitalism for their emotional and professional burnout, one 27-year-old man lays the blame on the people who gave him birth.
Raphael Samuel, an online persona from Mumbai, India, announced last week the he plans to sue his parents for giving birth to him “without consent.”
Unlike some of his embittered peers, Samuel is happy with his life and upbringing.
“My life has been amazing,” he told The Print, an Indian news website. “I love my parents, and we have a great relationship.
But there’s a but. “But I don’t see why I should put another life through the rigamarole of school and finding a career, especially when they didn’t ask to exist,” he said.
Answering questions on his YouTube channel Tuesday, Samuel explained that he wants “people in India and around the world” to understand that “they are born without their consent.”
This fact, according to Samuel, carries moral implications. Nobody chose to be born and therefore cannot be responsible for it. Therefore, children “do not owe their parents anything,” Samuel asserted on YouTube.
Conversely, to his mind, parents have a lifelong obligation to take care of their children.
“If we are born without our consent, we should be maintained for the rest of our lives. We should be paid to live by [our parents],” Samuel opined.
The motivations for having a child are selfish, he added: Parents either “[get] a certain joy from having [kids]” or they did so by “mistake.” Either way, it was not the child’s wellbeing that was considered at conception, he claimed.
“There is a myth in India that we should respect our parents,” he said. “This is absolutely false. You must respect a person’s actions.”
Samuel, who hides behind a comically fake beard and a large pair of shades, has made a name for himself by proselytizing the anti-natalist gospel (the belief that humans today are better off not being born) on his Facebook page, Nihilanand, where he calls for the end of procreation with vibrantly colored memes.
“Parents are hypocrites,” touts one meme. “Your parents had you instead of a dog. You are their entertainment. You owe them nothing.”
Samuel did not immediately respond to Pluralist’s request for an interview, and it is hard to tell how deeply held his convictions are.
Followers of the anti-natalism movement oppose childbirth for myriad reasons, from a belief that, all things considered, life is a net negative (listen to neuroscientist Sam Harris‘ discussion with philosopher David Benatar), to the conviction that population increases drain the world’s resources and render it uninhabitable (which makes the offense of giving birth twice as bad).
Anti-natalists also tend to support abortion ― which has lately reemerged in the US culture wars ―at least until the development of consciousness, though there is disagreement within their ranks regarding when this happens.
In India, a country with a booming population of 1.3 billion people, anti-natalism is a veritable subculture, that sometimes goes under the brand of the “voluntary human extinction movement.”
“This is a completely voluntary, nonviolent movement,” Pratima Naik, a 28-year-old engineering student and member of the movement, told The Print. “We don’t want to impose our beliefs on anyone, but more people need to consider why having a child in the world right now isn’t right.”
Humanity has a long and rich history of ideological self-abnegation dating back at least to ancient religious asceticism. In his 1997 novel, “American Pastoral,” Phillip Roth’s famously eviscerated the excesses of this mentality in 1960s counterculture with the character of Merry Levov, who becomes a Jain so dedicated to nonviolence that even the “murder” of plant life required by a vegan diet is nearly too much for her to bear.
Ironically, today’s liberal culture, with its extreme emphasis on the individual and female consent, is rife with such impulses, e.g. confessions of “white privilege” and radical activism on behalf of the environment or animal right
All that prevent the spread of anti-natalism, 34-year-old Alok Kumar told The Print, is the persistence of a “taboo” around valuing life.
“Everyone is aware of how much we suffer in life,” he told The Print. “Many of the women I met actually agreed with me (on being child-free). But they kept silent. Either they were too afraid to tell the truth, or they wanted to please their own parents.”
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