The objection is often made to antinatalists that they overlook what a wonderful time we experience already at the very start of our lives, in our childhood – so wonderful, indeed, that grown-ups find solace in recalling it throughout all the rest of their lives. Scientific research into childhood, however, has yielded quite another picture of this stage in all our lives. Thus, we read in the foreword of a book which sheds light on millennia of childhood experience: “The research results presented here are, unfortunately, deeply depressing. They testify to the long, sad history of the mistreatment of children which began in primeval times and is still today not at an end.” (Willam L. Langer, foreword to: Lloyd deMause, The History of Childhood) It has only been since as recent an era as the 18th century that there has begun to arise – in the Western world, at least – such a thing as a humane attitude to children.


On the Drawbacks of Being a Child

“He told Dimple that childhood was a kind of affliction, certainly physical and possibly mental. Children were at a hopeless disadvantage; they were unsuited for the world. They were short and ungainly and stupid, half-people… They needed constant attention and they couldn’t communicate their needs. All they could do was wait for it to pass, years of waiting until the blight was gone.“ (Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis)

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