"Because human beings are separate from animals in this regard. Human beings have the right to decide their own reproductive behaviour, or at least this is the general consensus."
Not quite. Humans have a greater ability to choose their sexual/reproductive partners than other animals. The ability, though, is not a right. I have the ability to decice more effectively who I want to kill (compared to, say, a tiger which only hunts for food). Does that give me the right to just kill people at will?
"You completely ignore this fact, but it's very important. Many responsible people are unable to have children, for whatever reason, and hence it's common for children to be taken from 'bad' parents and given to 'good' foster parents. But you knew this."
But you imply too much. Responsible parents should have their genetic material passed on. That's why I'm fine and dandy with better reproductive technologies. If you're not a responsible parent, how much of that is lack of intellect springing from inferior early-age learning abilities and how much is from a lack of nurture? I'd say that if you can determine the child is perfectly capable (decent genes), then transfer them to a loving home where they will get the resources they need to grow and thrive. For those who are born and bred mouthbreathers, maybe a sterilization will be good. Free sterilization! Sex with no danger of children! I know they'd love that.
"Mandatory sterilization, unless you obtain a reproduction permit? If you're saying that most people are wrong for being opposed to such an idea, then I must stress to you that perhaps there is a reason your opinion is in the minority. "
In a perfect microcosm of civilization where I could experiment with ideas, I'd answer this by having a national gene bank. Before sterilization, people would be able to store enough material for dozens of children. When they want a child (and are found to have been responsible people), they could have an egg fertilized and implanted. The remaining genetic material could be used to screen for problems which could be fixed via gene therapy so that the current and future generations need not by hurt by some genetic disease. People who aren't responsible would also be helping because, like the others, before they were sterilized, they contributed genetic material.
My views are a little socialist in this regard. With a properly managed social healthcare system, this could be a reality. For familiies who have accidents (such as a spinal cord cutting), braindead embryos could be grown, and the stem cells from them used to treat the patient. Another benefit this system has is that abortions need not be a problem anymore (since the two sides, the right to choice, and the no-choice people are not changing their minds soon). No accidental pregnancies are possible.
Lastly, and this is most confusing to me, how exactly is licensing people to have children going to improve the genetics of the human race, unless the licensures are based on some genetic measure, and not (as you suggest) on some measure of "social responsibility""
Nonsense. In the "ideal" I outlined above, people who are socially responsible are allowed to have children. And because of the genetic banks, any genetic diseases can be corrected. I'm improving the genetics by not forcing people to die or be killed off to improve the overall genetic quality, and because of the social restrictions, I'm also dealing with the base causes of strife. No longer do poor children have to steal, etc, to survive..
I'm abstracting away reproduction. We're not animals anymore, so why use rutting for children rather than just fun? We have a greater freedom in choice. So why not have society as a whole work towards bettering itself by sharing the goal of having children who will be loved and nurtured properly? Not based on money, not based on the inborn ability to have sex. And for those who are born sterile, but are otherwise good people, they can have a child based on the genetic material of people who have fine genes, but are unfit parents. This will break the cycle of people becoming like their parents (ever listened to the Offsring song "Way Down The Line"?).
I do agree with your point about cultural differences. Which is why you're free to leave the planned reproduction culture at any time. It'd just be nice to see humanity vary its ideaologies. Not that it can do that effectively on one planet. Any time someone decides to not be a democracy (etc), the US either invades them, invokes UN sanctions on them (despite not having paid UN dues), or starts a revolution inside them via the CIA.
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