Is it possible to imagine that anyone not of a sadistic disposition could possibly perform an action in awareness that, after the passage of some decades, another human being would, as the result of said action, die in torment and in terror? Surely not. And yet nothing seems to be more widely accepted, and more looked on as natural, than just this. All parents, without exception, act as if it were right and proper for them to procreate children who, within the space of a few decades, will have imposed on them, as a consequence of this procreation, the torments and terrors necessarily befalling dying human beings.
One might consider, however, by way of a partial moral exculpation of antinatalistically unenlightened parents, the fact that these latter, in their imposing of the agonies of death upon their progeny, are subject to that same irrational distortion of future events as most human beings, in other situations and as regards evaluation of other aspects of the future, tend to be subject to: we clearly generally incline toward viewing a negative event which will occur with absolute certainty, but only in a few decades’ time, as less grave a matter than an event which will take place within a few days or months from the present moment.
Thrusting others into a state such that they have to suffer death, then, counts among those “remote impositions” to which we clearly apply quite other moral yardsticks and other criteria of rationality – namely, irrational ones – than we apply to “proximate impositions”. Perhaps because we believe that time will somehow provide a solution to the problem in question. In the case of that inevitable fate of decline and death that overcomes each begotten human being, however, there can be no “solution to the problem” but at best a shorter or longer postponement – unless, that is, one is so cynical as to look on the fact that parents will have, in most cases, slipped free of their responsibility by dying (>Primortality) before the children they have begotten have to face death and the agony of death themselves. The “solution” here is cynical because the infernal pains that one imposes upon a human being by begetting him do not become more bearable just because they are to be suffered through some 85 years from the moment of the begetting and not five months or five minutes from it.
Further questions arise in connection with this. Would parents beget a child if it were certain that it would die at the age of five months much in the way that many old people are dying right now? If not, then why not? Because such a brief life would “not be worth it” for the parents – or “not be worth it” for the child? But why should that imposition that is mortality be less a matter of moral concern and hesitation if it comes to realization only after the elapse of 25, 55 or 85 years instead of after the elapse of just five months?