Morality Should Exist

In the New Yorker and on NPR, Bryan Caplan’s views on kids have recently been contrasted with ethical arguments against having kids – that the possibility kids might suffer outweighs all their likely joys and benefit to others. Now while I could understand some obscure academics or oddball activists taking this position, I find it bizarre to see it taken seriously in the mainstream media.

I mean, really, the whole human race should go extinct to avoid the risk that some future kid might suffer at some point?! And since the same argument applies to non-humans, all life should go extinct?! How could that ever be a remotely acceptable mainstream position? Cryonics is silly, and that is not?!

Yes I know I cannot refute this claim with just an incredulous stare, so let me suggest a moral axiom with apparently very strong intuitive support, no matter what your concept of morality: morality should exist. That is, there should exist creatures who know what is moral, and who act on that. So if your moral theory implies that in ordinary circumstances moral creatures should exterminate themselves, leaving only immoral creatures, or no creatures at all, well that seems a sufficient reductio to solidly reject your moral theory. I’m not saying I can’t imagine any possible circumstances where moral creatures shouldn’t die off, but I am saying that those are not ordinary circumstances.

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