I firmly believe that existing sentient beings have more rights than non-existing sentient beings. Or to be more precise: Existing sentient beings have all human rights, including the right of continued existence, whereas non-existing sentient beings are fictional and have no rights at all.
That being said, I cannot ignore the fact that there will be future generations of sentient beings. They may be fictional right now, but they are coming into existence every day, confronting us with fait accompli.
I am not implying that overpopulation is inevitable; rather I’m asking hypothetically, if it was inevitable, would this create an ethical obligation for pre-existing sentient beings to perish in order to make room for newly created sentient beings?
And do we pre-existing sentient beings have the right to act in self-defence?
So, if pre-existing sentient beings have the right of self-defence, which I personally strongly believe they do, wouldn’t that include preventing other sentient beings from creating more sentient beings? We’re getting into dark futurology territory pretty fast here.
I don’t think that bringing a sentient being into this world forfeits its creator’s right of existence. Or in laymen’s terms, I don’t agree that parents must die once their children are of legal age. Especially if that wasn’t specified in the generational contract agreed upon. Right now, there’s no such contract anway, except perhaps an unspoken one, because until now, it was never necessary. People aged and died anyway, one way or another.
We can certainly discuss whether this will change in the short term; it’s debatable right now. But as long as our technological civilzation continues on its path, it absolutely will change at some point. We’re going to have to answer those hard questions sooner or later.