“I didn’t ask to be born!!!” is a phrase teenagers often hurl at their parents during an argument. It’s meant to be shocking and upsetting, but most teens don’t actually believe this. And even if they do feel that way, usually they’ll grow out of it by the time they hit their twenties. But not Raphael Samuel. That’s because the Mumbai-based businessman is suing his parents for giving birth to him without his permission.
Go ahead and grab a drink for this one.
Samuel admits that it’s impossible to consent to your own conception and birth, at least until time travel is invented. Nevertheless, he insists that parents should not have children because the child has no say in any of it.
Samuel has filmed a series of Youtube videos making his case. Appearing in sunglasses and a huge fake beard, Samuel argues that having children is inherently selfish. What begins as a night of fun for the parents results in a lifetime of toil and misery for the child. “Isn’t forcing a child into this world and then forcing it to have a career kidnapping and slavery?” he asks in one video.
Samuel also thinks that parents should have to pay all their children’s bills for their entire lives.
Despite the lawsuit, Samuel says he and his parents get along great. “I love my parents, and we have a great relationship, but they had me for their joy and their pleasure,” he told The Print.
How are the parents taking it? Better than you might think! In a statement, his mother, Kavita Karnad Samuel said that she and his father “admire [their] son’s temerity” to live his beliefs.
But the real reason the lawsuit doesn’t bother them is probably because they’re both lawyers. And if the case ever went to trial, they definitely wouldn’t go easy on him.
Not that winning the case would be very difficult for them. “If Raphael could come up with a rational explanation as to how we could have sought his consent to be born, I will accept my fault,” she explained.
Raphael Samuel is far from the first person to demand his parents pony up for having them. In 2018, young New Zealanders participated in a meme asking their parents to cover their bills since they didn’t ask to be born. (It went over like a lead balloon that’s filled with asbestos.)
But for Samuel, it’s not really about the money. He’s part of a larger movement called “anti-natalism,” which believes that life is inherently miserable, and that parents should stop procreating. Last year, Samuel started an anti-natalist Facebook page called Nihilanand, where he shares anti-childbirth memes. So far he’s gotten over 5,000 likes.
Samuel says his anti-natalist feelings started when he was five years old:
“I was a normal kid. One day I was very frustrated and I didn’t want to go to school but my parents kept asking me to go. So I asked them: ‘Why did you have me?’ And my dad had no answer. I think if he’d been able to answer, maybe I wouldn’t have thought this way.”
Anti-natalism is a growing movement in Samuel’s native India, where overpopulation is a constant problem. About 1.5 million children are born in India every month.
Anti-natalists sometimes refer to themselves as followers of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, (VHEM), which also goes by the nickname “Stop Having Babies.” VHEM followers promote a child-free existence both for the sake of unborn children, and for the good of the planet.
“Due to over-population, we have more consumers of natural resources, and we are destroying nature for our self-interests. Science, technology and money are not helping in keeping these resources alive,” says VHEM proponent Akash Varia.”I want to reduce my carbon footprint and do my best to improve the quality of life.”
Samuel hasn’t said whether his lawsuit is pursuing monetary damages from his parents, or just an admission of wrongdoing–probably because the suit hasn’t gotten that far, and there’s no way it ever will. “I know it’s going to be thrown out because no judge would hear it,” he says. “But I do want to file a case because I want to make a point.”
To date, he has yet to find a lawyer willing to take his case.
It’s unlikely that Samuel will ever receive his day in court. Until that happens, he’ll have to be content with posting memes, and harshing the vibe at people’s baby showers. Like he did at this community center on February 10th:
Actually, maybe the dude has a point. Have you ever played baby shower games? That’s reason enough to never have children.