Were human beings, starting from today, to cease procreating with one another, the human race would die out within the span of about a hundred years. And this dying-out of humanity as a result of such “natal abstinence” is indeed the long-term objective of antinatalism. There is more, however, to the moral theory of antinatalism than just this long-term objective. This moral theory begins in an engagement with individual people and in the attempt to convince them, through reasoned argument, that it is better to reconsider any intention that they may already have formed of begetting a child, or indeed to refrain from forming any pro-natal intention in the first place. From the anti-natalist viewpoint, anything which results in someone’s reflecting upon their decision in favour of procreation and natality, or in their not making such a decision, or in their reconsidering and revising such a decision once they have made it, is an ethical success. If we succeed in bringing about through our work the reconsideration and revision of even one single “pro-natal” decision, then this work will have been more than worthwhile. Because to do this is to bring it about – to mention here only a tiny fraction of all that we might potentially mention – that there will exist one less human being than there might have: one less human being, that is to say, who, had he or she in fact come into existence, would have had to suffer illnesses, torment and persecution, witness the decline or death of parents, relatives, friends and beloved house-pets and finally – as last survivor, perhaps, and in unaided solitude – become old, sick and frail themselves before death overcomes them too.
Since the present handbook adopts a stance in favour of a world without children and eventually even of a world without human beings, it is inevitable that some of its readers will be inclined to level against its anti-natalist author(s) the accusation of “hating children” or even of “hating human beings” in general.