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[P]
Breeding Licenses

By DoomHaven in Op-Ed
Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 05:07:16 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The document looks at the usefulness of breeding licenses, why they would be implemented, how one version could be implemented, and what problems breeding licenses will or could have, if implemented.


The Reasons For Breeding Licenses
Population control

We are living on a planet with finite resources. Ultimately, we will reach, and probably exceed, the limits of humans that our current ecosphere can sustain. While there are no reliable numbers on how many humans this planet can viably sustain; but by making the assumption that this planet has finite resources, there must then obviously be a point to which the planet just cannot hold or feed any more people. And while the only long term solution is expansion off-planet, this option will not be available in the near future. As well, human population is exploding. Worse yet, this solution will also have the need of population control, assuming that most off-planet habitats will be extremely limited in resources (IE: space stations, moon-bases). As such, unless properly maintained, the human population may exceed the resources needed to survive them.

Failing Societal Infrastructure
Taking the United States of America as an example, there are several indicators that parents may not be properly raising their children. Child crime rates are very high, as are cases of child abuse. Parents have shown great enthusiasm of having their children's freedoms curbed in order to control them; many schools have strict security measures in place to discourage major violent acts perpetrated by children against the school or other students. The government enacts restrictive measures, mainly on the Internet and Drugs, to help the children. While their measures may be a thin-veiled stab at basic freedoms of the basic American, they leave a very real precedent: "We already have enplaced these laws that restrict your freedom for your children's good; the next logical step was to control breeding".

The basic premise of these failings of the American parents is not that the average American is not "good parenting" material, but that they do not spend enough time with their children. They would rather have restrictive laws governing what their children watch on TV and at the theatres, rating systems on video games, and software to help keep their children from downloading naughty things from the internet.

As well, a large secondary premise of the failings of the American parents is that because of rampart divorce, family stability is waning. This has been suspected of having serious negative effects on the upbringing of children.

Lastly, I am not an American, nor do I want to limit this discussion to Americans or America only. However, assume that any general references here to culture or laws are referring to American laws.

Implementation of Breeding Licenses.
As stated, the biggest problems Breeding Licenses are trying to solve are keeping the world population manageable and making sure that parents spend enough time with there children. As well, it must be lenient such that every person has the chance of passing the requirements, such as to breed. That said, let us move on to a brief description of the process needed to acquire Breeding Licenses, with in-depth pieces of each section to follow.

The first step to acquire a Breeding License will be application by the prospective *married* *couple*. After application, the couple will have to meet two major requirements:

1) Passing the "volunteer program". Applicants must volunteer twenty (20) hours a week, for each spouse, for a minimum of four (4) years prior to conception, at various government-sanctioned charities. The first two years should be with general charities (the Salvation Army, for example), and the last two should be with specific child-based organizations (day-cares, orphanages, child-care centers), and specifically with children. As well, some of the 20 hours per week should be set aside for courses designed to help parents learn about the various aspects of parenthood.
2) Putting aside $10 000, per couple, per year, for the duration of their requirement period, to whatever agency controls the Breeding License program (called, during this document, the Breeding License Board). This money must be returned at the end of the program to the parent, even if they fail the first requirement.

After meeting the above requirements, parents are given a permit to have one (1) child. This permit is valid until they have that one child. The permit cannot be traded or sold. There is no time limit on the permit, and guarantees that, those any means necessary, can have one child. If the child dies within a year, the permit allows them to have a replacement.

The Breeding License, and even the children, will be removed in the following extreme cases:

1) Fraudulent activities are uncovered during the volunteer program.
2) The parents are found guilty of abusive practices on any child.
3) The parents enter a period of legal separation during a period of time after child birth (or adoption) equal to the time spent in the volunteer program.

In-Depth Notes - Timing of the volunteer program.
The volunteer program meets three of the requirements of the problem: prevention of population explosions by putting time restrictions on the frequency of birth, and determining if parents will be spending enough time with their children, and keeping the bar low enough so that every person has the ability to obtain a Breeding License.

Prevention of population explosions is met by keeping the parents in a volunteer program for a minimum of four years prior to conception. As well, an additional limitation will be placed that parents cannot apply for an additional license until a year after child birth/adoption. Thus, the smallest period of time between child births is six (6) years and nine (9) months.

Continuing on this vein, the minimum time spent in the volunteer program will not always be four (4) years; it should increase as the couple petitions for additional children. Four (4) years should be the minimum amount of time for prospective parents for their first and second child; six (6) should be the minimum for the third and fourth child; and eight (8) should be the minimum for any addition child above four (4).

Determination that the parents will be spending enough time with their children is the next requirement that the volunteer program meets. It is based on the understanding that if parents are willing to put twenty (20) hours each a week for the right to procreate, that they will put the same amount of time in child-rearing. Admittedly, twenty (20) hours of time is a rather arbitrary number, and there is no guarantee that parents will actually spend that amount of time on their child. However, by making it mandatory, it at least shows that the prospective parents *can* put the time in needed to raise a child.

Another interesting point of the volunteer program is that it mandates that *both* parents must put in equal amounts of time to the program. This might negatively affect the stereotypical "bread-winner" and "stay-at-home-parent". Should both parents actively participate in the child-rearing? While the obvious answer should be "yes", the "bread winner/stay at home parent" may produce a more stable family unit. Long term research will be needed, obviously; as it stands, this implementation of Breeding Licenses will mandate equal sharing of parental responsibility in the child-rearing process, because the potential gains brought by this equality could outweigh the potential losses from further eroding the stereotype.

The mandatory teaching including in the twenty (20) hours a week is a very delicate subject. While there should be enforceable standards of the quality of the material taught, there should not be governmental censorship of material. Despite the moral overtones that Breeding Licenses would be associated with, the government should never dictate morality! So, in the end, the problem becomes: how do the parents get objective information about parenthood? Should there be an organization that rates the material and/or agrees on a syllabus for the teaching? Should there be a large public forum (K5?) for discussion and dissemination of the large pool of information written on child-rearing? Should there be trained counselors to assist couples on specific questions?

The best solution would be trained counselors, with a safety net of public forums for discussion and dissemination of information. Counselors should be trained as objectively as possible, and should be mandated to keep up with the most current research in the field of child raising. Lastly, counselors should be responsible to verify that the parents are putting in their time during the teaching aspect of the volunteer program. Public forums should be face-to-face as much as possible, with a collection of accessible, moderated, and archived discussions on the Internet.

There needs to be a process of making sure that the parents are putting the needed time during the volunteer program. Their should always be a supervisor, at the charity, who is ultimately responsible to make sure each prospective parent is putting in their time and putting in a bare minimum of work, and to report abuses of applicants to the Breeding License Board, who can enforce the rules with punitive actions.

Money
As for the money aspect, the main reason that $10 000 was stated was based on the arbitrary finding that it costs, on average, $180 000 to raise a child to age eighteen, which averages to $10 000 a year. Again, this is a completely arbitrary number value. This money is hopefully not to limit breeding to the rich, but to make sure that the parents can afford average costs child-raising incurs.

This money should NOT be payment to have children, but should considered "held in escrow" and be given back to the parents when the leave or pass the volunteer program. Thus, when the child is born/adopted, they have a minimum of $40 000 to place in a nest egg, or to outfit a nursery, or to cover expenses on.

The money held in escrow by the Breeding License Board could be utilized by the Board as a potential income source by investing it. While this might cause issues with the prospective parents, on the grounds that the government should NOT be making money from their money, two very effective counter-arguments can be used: 1) "Would you rather pay more taxes?", and; 2) in the purist financial sense, children are a financial liability; children offer no financial rate of return on the $180 000 the parents would spend on them. Thus, they should not expect to have any rate of return on the money held in escrow. However, this doesn't mean the Board itself should not be able to.

Punishment
Punishments for any infraction by the parents should be removal from the program, and maybe additional years barred from re-application. Additional time can range from a one year to permanent ban on re-application, determined by the type and number of the abuses the parent is found guilty of.

Punishment for any infraction by the employees involved with the Breeding Licensed Board, or by people empowered by the Board is their permanent ban from acquiring a Breeding License, on top of being fired, fined, and in worst-case scenarios, incarcerated. This system must be run abuse-free if it is ever to be run at all! There are too many problems that can be caused if the system is corrupted, most importantly ethnic cleansing and a loss of faith in the public.

Punishment for any couple having a child without a license will be confiscation of the child.

Punishment for any medical professional knowingly assisting in an unlicensed birth, or failure to report an unlicensed birth, or to offer assistance for a family to have a multiple-child birth, will be removal from the profession and additional punishments depending on the circumstances.

Additional notes of worthy
If parents have a multiple-child birth, and only have one license, they will be allowed to keep all of the children, unless it can be proven that they purposefully caused the multiple birth to circumvent these regulations. In that case, they will be allowed to keep none of the children.

Any time already invested in the volunteer program by prospective parents will be cleared if they leave the volunteer program, by passing the requirement, personal choice or by punishment. A parent cannot claim previous time in the system and use it toward another attempt to a Breeding License; application for a Breeding License sets the time on the volunteer program for the individual to zero, no exceptions.

Couples must be married to apply for Breeding Licenses, and say married to keep their valid license (and therefore, their child) for a period of time *at least* equal to the period of time spent in the volunteer program. While there are members in this forum that question the institution of marriage, there must be a legitimate method of defining a couple. Marriage is the best standard way of accomplishing this. If a couple can stay married for the minimum nine (9) years needed to have one child (four before, one during conception, and four after), it demonstrates a commitment and stability more conducive for a child to grow up in. While there is no statistically evidence to state that unmarried families are worse than married families for child-rearing, there has to be a standard to adhere to for family stability. Marriage is the only current standard, though common-law is becoming very prevalent. Even if this is a rather arbitrary restriction, a long-term marriage is the best way of assuring family stability

Problems
The main problem of Breeding Licenses would be public acceptance. By the default of having sexual organs, most people believe it is their right to use them to reproduce. Again, using the USA as an example, most Americans would either say that it is they God Given Right to Procreate, or that Breeding Licenses are Un-Constitutational. As for the former, the Christian God does state to Eve "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children". Should we assume that He has placed His own breeding restrictions with this act? As for the latter comment, where in the Constitution does it guarantee the American people the right to breed?

Continuing on, what about the age-old argument concerning a woman's right to do what she thinks with her body and unborn child. How does the precedent of "Roe vs Wade" apply here? Bluntly, I do not have the legal expertise to understand the ramifications of this.

The next problem involves how this system, if misused, could become an instrument in ethnic or class cleansing. Because you are regulating childbirth, it would be very easy with a concerted effort to effectively eliminate an entire ethnic group by preventing them the opportunity to breed. In fact, unless the numbers of successful applicants exactly matched the demographics of the country by race and class, accusations of this magnitude will be made.

The only methods to prevent this abuse are to enforce rigorous process checking, full public accountability, and tremendous punishments of system abuse.

The next problem is making sure that there is enough charity work to go around, especially with children in the later stages of the volunteer program. One of the main reasons that specific charities involving children was placed during the last two years is to weed out weak applicants during the first two years so that there is less prospective parents needing child-specific volunteer work.

Unfortunately, this might not be a problem, which is as worrisome in itself. It is very likely that the number of illegal births will be very high, and that there will be a surplus of confiscated children compared to prospective parents.

Conclusion
I believe, that eventually, and maybe even in my life, breeding restrictions and licenses will become a harsh reality. I also believe that my breeding license system, though far from perfect, is far better than the system that will probably be implemented. Breeding licenses could be a very scary idea, and in the wrong hands...it would be horrific.

Aside from the above, the main reason I wrote this down and posted it here was because this is something I have been considering for over a year, and I need peer review. What do you think of the ideas above? Do you think that this culture and society is going downhill, and a main reason being bad children? Do you think that we are going to run out of resources to keep expanding the population as we are doing? Do you think my system is the best cure? Is there a better one?

Admittedly, breeding licenses is a rather extreme idea and measure. Unfortunately, the implicit statement becomes that anyone that actually implements it would be a rather extreme individual. Would an extreme individual make the system fair? What other *extreme* views does this person have? And why did you idiots elect this person?

I am not an extreme person; I try moderately hard to live by the following coda: "Any idea, not matter how *right* it is, is wrong when taken to the extreme. Including this one."

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Poll
Do you think this Breeding License is a good idea?
o Yes, definitely! 12%
o Maybe, but not as such. 15%
o No, I like breeding! 43%
o Only if they were retroactively applied to the parents of spammers. 15%
o 3000 words are to much to read; DoomHaven needs to summarize! I mean, even this choice is too long and... 12%

Votes: 171
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o no reliable numbers
o exploding
o restrictiv e laws
o naughty things
o rampart divorce
o serious negative effects
o "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children"
o Constituti on
o woman's right
o Also by DoomHaven


Display: Sort:
Breeding Licenses | 255 comments (237 topical, 18 editorial, 1 hidden)
Scary (4.63 / 19) (#1)
by enterfornone on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 06:22:13 AM EST

Can't say I agree. I think you will find most problems with population occur where laws like this would be impossible to maintain (countries that are more concerned with food and medicine than licences). In countries like the US I would expect most child abuse and neglect occurs with unwanted pregnancies, people who are willing to jump through the hoops you describe will be great parents, but enforcing these rules on the rest will be difficult.

How do you police it? Enough people are having unwanted pregnancies now and there is no way to stop it. You have to deal with that plus those who want children but don't want to do it by the rules. What do you do with all these confiscated children? Do you fine the parents to fund their care? Will women be tempted to have abortions if they know they can't pay whatever the penalty is.

Who gets to be in the program? Do lesbians and unmarried women have the right to have children?

Editorial: I don't agree with what you are saying, I think it's insane and would never work. But it's a well written article and an issue that would make for good discussion. +1 front page.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Quick response (1.33 / 3) (#2)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 06:24:22 AM EST

lesbians, yes; but only if married (to another lesbian, if need be).

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Married? (2.50 / 2) (#6)
by kaemaril on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 06:45:35 AM EST

Are same-sex marriages legally permissible in the USA? I know they're not in the UK, but I'm just interested...


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
Probably not (2.00 / 3) (#9)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 06:55:17 AM EST

But, honestly, I would NOT want gay couples prevented from taking part from this. Hopefully, if this ever got actually *done*, same-sex marriages would be legally recognized.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
No, they're not (none / 0) (#125)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 01:21:25 PM EST

There are no same-sex marriages allowed in the US at this time. In fact, many states have passed so-called DOMAs, or Defense of Marriage Acts, which state that they will not recognize same-sex marriages from another state. Some 34 states have passed this, and the fedgov as well.

However, in Vermont, civil unions between same-sex couples are allowed. They have all the same implications as marriage, just a different name (and it specifically does NOT carry over into other states; it being recognized in other states is common law anyways).

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]

Its up to the state (none / 0) (#160)
by delmoi on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 09:16:02 PM EST

I think it is in a few states, but not the nation as a whole.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
What about China? (3.33 / 3) (#4)
by tftp on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 06:43:08 AM EST

I think it's insane and would never work.

As I understand, a similar system is already used in China to control the growth of population. Indeed, it looks quite weird as part of Western lifestyle, but who knows...

[ Parent ]

China (4.60 / 5) (#18)
by ism on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 08:39:44 AM EST

A "one child - one family" policy has been in effect since the 1970's. If a second child was born, there would be a fine, and the child would not be allowed to enroll at the better schools. This worked in urban areas, but in rural areas, labor (read: extra hands) is more important than fines, and this policy has not worked as well.

Newer measures include family-planning "education" and birth control. There are allegations of involuntary birth control and abortion. This also creates the problem where less-valued female firstborns are killed (by the parents, not the government). This leads to the marriage problem, where there is a disproportionate number of men to women.

There is also a large socioeconomic problem. Since rural families are the ones creating more children, the less-educated, poor population is expanding more rapidly than the more-educated, richer urban population.

This is not to say the urban adherents are any well-off. Because most children are only children, they tend to be pampered and have less, let's say, motivation. They are a problem in terms of education, and thus, the workforce.

Other countries are encountering a population problem (India, Mexico). It will be interesting to see how more democratic countries deal with it, and what lessons can be learned from China.

My personal belief is that China (and India and Mexico) has problems because they have a large poor, uneducated population. We are not seeing these problems in the United States and Europe because many of those countries have or are shifting to a service industry. In essence, the population is generally more well-educated, and in general, have fewer children. I think the interim solution is family planning education, until other countries have the bulk of their population upwardly mobile. China has the added difficulty of being under Communist rule, as this is detrimental to personal wealth.

I am rather optimistic and believe that socioeconomic and technological progress will evolve at the same pace as the world's population and will ultimately solve the problem. One day we will colonize outside this planet, we will master all our resources (earth, our solar system, our galaxy, the universe), and possibly the laws that govern everything. This day may be very far away, but the rate of progress has been accelerating tremendously. We will get there because we can.

[ Parent ]

same there as here. (4.50 / 2) (#64)
by marrq on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 06:01:16 PM EST

Since rural families are the ones creating more children, the less-educated, poor population is expanding more rapidly than the more-educated, richer urban population.

I'm not sure about the urban/non-urban, but at least in developed countries we have the same problem: the poorer and less educated masses doing most of the breeding.


/dev/md0: ***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED *****
[ Parent ]

I wouldn't use China as a positive example. (4.66 / 3) (#24)
by hjones on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 09:58:41 AM EST

By all accounts, the regime there is very unstable, and threatened to the point of hysterical paranoia. And I'm not aware of any good evidence that their population control methods are actually working.
"Nietzsche is dead, but given the way of men, there may still be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will be shown. And we -- we small-minded weaklings, we still have to vanquish his shadow too." - The Antinietzsche
[ Parent ]
Yes, it works (3.66 / 6) (#48)
by zerth on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 02:50:32 PM EST

> And I'm not aware of any good evidence that their population
> control methods are actually working.

Actually, it's working quite well. China just doesn't know it yet.

Currently, the male to female ratio is something like 40:1 nationally.
Locally, it can be as bad as 400:1. One of my sociology profs does a yearly trip to China and was constantly going on about how wife selling has become a big industry. In about 10 to 20 years pop. growth is going to drop like a piece of lead.

Rusty isn't God here, he's the pope; our God is pedantry. -- Subtillus
[ Parent ]
Male-Female Ratio (4.00 / 1) (#97)
by efarq on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 06:42:26 AM EST

Given that China's population is circa 1.27 billion (see China Population Information and Research Center for further information), a 40:1 ratio suggests about 1.2 billion men to approximately 30 million women. A 3:2 ratio seems rather more plausible, if indeed there is such an imbalance.

I'd be curious to see where the 40:1 ratio statistic comes from.

[ Parent ]

Um... (2.00 / 2) (#107)
by spraints on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 08:44:17 AM EST

Actually, it's working quite well. China just doesn't know it yet.

From what I've heard, female babies in China are very likely to be abandoned because parents want to have boys. I would guess that that is a large part of the reason that it has become popular in the US for couples to adopt little girls from China. I would contend that any system that results in the abandonment of any child, born or unborn, is not a success.

Currently, the male to female ratio is something like 40:1 nationally. ... In about 10 to 20 years pop. growth is going to drop like a piece of lead.

I'm going to propose an imaginative and extreme viewpoint. What if 500 million Chinese men grow up, realize that all their Chinese sisters ("rightful wives") are in the US being tainted by liberal Western society, go on some xenophobic rampage and make a 3500 mile crater over Omaha, Nebraska? That'll probably take care of overcrowding too...



[ Parent ]
This is completly false (4.00 / 2) (#162)
by delmoi on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 09:22:54 PM EST

According to The CIA world fact book

at birth: 1.15 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

The ratio is 1.06/1, not 40/1. You are a fucking idiot.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Can you cite these figures? (5.00 / 1) (#171)
by odaiwai on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 11:22:54 PM EST

My experience in China is that you're speaking rubbish. My wife is Chinese, born on the mainland in the mid 70's. She's the eldest of six childrenL: four girls, two boys. While large families are frowned on, it's mainly governmnet employees who are the focus of the restriction. In practice, if the child inspector came around, he'd find all the kids out playing and wouldn't know who was who.

I have heard that the One Child Policy is more strictly applied closer to Beijing, but I've just got so much lai see to hand out to newphews and nieces in the next few days... :(

dave "Kung Hei Fat Choi!"
-- "They're chefs! Chefs with chainsaws!"
[ Parent ]

Stop, you're frightening me... (3.66 / 9) (#3)
by kaemaril on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 06:40:42 AM EST

I think that this idea, if indeed it is one you share and are not merely playing devil's advocate, makes you a scary, scary person :)

I voted +1 section, 'cause even though it's an idea that frightens the life out of me, it's a story that's well-written, interesting and should cause some debate.


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


I do believe it in, just not extremely (2.33 / 3) (#7)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 06:47:10 AM EST

And thank you for you kind words about the quality of the article

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
RE: I do believe it in ...... (4.00 / 2) (#10)
by kaemaril on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 06:56:50 AM EST

Wow. A reply within ten minutes. That's pretty fast, even for the internet :)

I'd like to know, though...

How can you believe in licensing the act of procreation in a non-extreme manner? Most people I know would consider licensing that pretty extreme, however you cut it. I mean, OK, attaching, say, the death penalty to it would be really extreme, but the concept itself is pretty extreme to begin with...


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
Reply in 10 min, or your next one free (1.50 / 2) (#12)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 07:07:31 AM EST

This was a big article for me, so I am kind of doing the "breathless anticipation/voting counting" thing. I'll grow out of it; I'm only twenty-X years old...

> How can you believe in licensing the act of
> procreation in a non-extreme manner?

I really can't. If there is backlash to my proposal, it will *be* extreme, because most people believe that my proposal is extreme. If the majority of people thought, "Hey, that's a good idea", I wouldn't worry about my idea being "extreme". But, because of the huge gulf between my proposal and the norm, it is a very extreme idea.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
frightening (3.83 / 6) (#8)
by reel_life on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 06:54:44 AM EST

Love bureaucratic style?

While I do not agree with the 'breeding license' idea, I do think that a policy will eventually be needed to encourage population control. A sane version of CHINA'S ONE-CHILD POLICY perhaps.

Studies have shown that poor, under-educated and rural families tend to have more children. While educated, wealthy and urban families tend to have less. My ideal proposol would be a LARGE tax cut or other monetary reward for couples and single parents with two or less children. Why? Because as everyone knows -- money talks, no matter where you live.

Madness takes its toll on everyone. Please have exact change.

Quick replies before off to bed... (2.00 / 3) (#11)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 07:01:18 AM EST

> Love bureaucratic style?

GAK! NO! I just wanted it to look and read "professionally" because the idea of it is so outrageous, so extreme, that trying to write it informally would undercut the seriousness I hope people would infer from reading it.

Tax cuts/hikes are probably the most feasible way of making non-mandatory poplulation management policy (IE: X% of income is taxed for 0-2 children, Y*X% of income is taxed for Y children, where Y > 2).

Breeding Licenses would be mandatory, though...

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
seriously (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by reel_life on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 07:36:39 AM EST

I do think this was a good 'professional' write-up. And, yes, written informally, it would have likely flopped. BUT as one rarely comments, this is definately a discussion starter.

> Love bureaucratic style? --- It was just the first thing that popped into my head after reading it.

I believe that any mandatory population management policy, such as breeding licenses, would be met with great opposition. While we are human and capable of higher thought, we are still just animals with the instinct to reproduce. The 'breeding licenses' policy would essential allow politicians and bureaucrats to try to control our inherent instincts for reproduction.

With a non-mandatory policy such as tax cuts/hikes, we, as individuals, would be in control of our own reproduction instincts. A tax cut/hike policy would essentially rely on our ability for higher thought to encourage self-control of our reproductive instincts in exchange for financial reward.

Madness takes its toll on everyone. Please have exact change.
[ Parent ]

one child - one family (4.33 / 3) (#19)
by ism on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 08:45:22 AM EST

As i've said in another post under this article, the fine levvied against families in China with more than one children is worth having that extra child. A family already making no money has no use for a tax cut. An extra hand to do work is more valuable.

[ Parent ]
ok, but (3.00 / 2) (#22)
by reel_life on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 09:56:12 AM EST

They might not have a use for a tax cut/hike since they pay no taxes and have no money. I mentioned tax cut in my earlier comment originally because it is a quick, easy understandable concept by anyone who pays taxes. But I also careful to include 'or other monetary reward' in the comment also. Would the same families have no use for money?

The whole ideal non-mandatory population management policy I spoke of earlier boils down to a basic concept --- financial reward for decreased reproduction. This is not the same as saying the would be punished or fined for having more children. But rather that they would be rewarded for having less. For instance, if they had a third child, the reward would cease. It would be a families choice (or lack of precautions) to have that third child. A financial reward would just a non-mandatory gentle way of encouraging a decreased birth rate.

My ideal proposal is just that -- ideal. Because if you consider it seriously, you bring up such topics as 'where would the money for the reward come from for this?'

I believe that education is also method of decreasing population, but to rely on just education alone, it would have to be nearly mandatory. Which brings me to the point--you can not force people to learn if they do not want to learn.**flashbacks of memorizing material for exams in school**

Madness takes its toll on everyone. Please have exact change.
[ Parent ]

more frightening (3.60 / 5) (#31)
by blp on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 12:00:00 PM EST

What a fucking awesome idea! Penalize people who need more money to raise there families. This is such a good precedent for the tax system, we will have people pay more based on their inablility to pay.

Honestly, with all sarcasm aside, the good thing about this proposal is that it will help greedy people, who think only of themselves, from having many children.

I can no longer sit back and allow: Communist Infiltration, Communist Indoctrination, Communist Subversion and the International Communist Conspiracy to sap and inpurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
[ Parent ]

read carefully (3.00 / 2) (#55)
by reel_life on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 03:45:02 PM EST

from above------"My ideal proposol would be a LARGE tax cut or other monetary reward for couples and single parents with two or less children"

You assume that poor people aren't greedy too? Do you think poor people like being poor? How is having more children than you can support and feed unselfish? I tend think it is more selfish to have more children for increased manual labor, the feeling of accomplishemnt, or the need to feel loved.

Intergrating a non-mandatory policy like this in a country such as the United States, would most easily be done in the form of,YES, tax cuts. Perhaps the child tax credit we see now in the US would be the same if you had 3 or 50 children.



Madness takes its toll on everyone. Please have exact change.
[ Parent ]

Overpopulation and child abuse are value issues (2.91 / 12) (#13)
by Eloquence on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 07:12:42 AM EST

What we define as overpopulation and child abuse can largely be attributed to two causes:

  • unfair distribution of money - more money going out of third world countries than going in, about 350 people holding 50% of the world's wealth etc.
  • values that are, in the long term, suicidal for a society: anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-sexuality

Considering how hard it is - politically - to change either of these two, your "breeding licenses" may indeed become a reality sooner or later in the US.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!

Wow... (2.00 / 3) (#15)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 07:19:56 AM EST

I never even thought of it that way...

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Overpopulation not an issue in developed countries (4.60 / 23) (#16)
by goonie on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 07:29:10 AM EST

If you care to do some very simple research, in most (all?) developed countries, the birth rate has fallen below replacement levels. So one of the essential premises of your article (that overpopulation is a problem that requires extreme measures to control) is nonsense. Getting contraceptives to those who wish to use them, and getting and keeping people (particularly girls) in school so that they are aware that there is more to life than babies, will do the job just fine.

In any case, this has to be just about the dumbest idea I've had floated on K5, and there have been a few stinkers.

That's fair... (2.40 / 5) (#41)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 02:11:08 PM EST

But what about the *other* basic premise, of parents doing a lousy job? Honestly, IMO, that's the main reason to implement Breeding Licenses. What is your view on that?

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
"Child abuse" rates historically low (4.00 / 4) (#59)
by goonie on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 04:17:04 PM EST

While I don't have any statistics on the issue, I'd be prepared bet the proportion of children in the US who are well fed, properly educated, and mostly free from physical and psychological dangers is higher now than at just about any other time in history anywhere in the world.

[ Parent ]
Yes, that would be hard to find those stats (2.00 / 2) (#65)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 07:03:13 PM EST

I would not be sure that would agree with you on that point. However, do you think that the your point naturally proves that children have good parents?

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Abuse vs. Death... (none / 0) (#163)
by delmoi on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 09:28:15 PM EST

Which would you rather have, a life with some abuse in childhood, or none at all.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
My choice. (none / 0) (#223)
by marrq on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 07:15:16 PM EST

I'd have much preferred to not be thrust into this life. I don't have contact with my parents anymore in part because of their horrid raising of me.

And before you give the standard "feel free to kill yourself" line that usually follows one saying they'd rather of not existed, you're missing the point of non-existence. Now that I exist, I have to deal with a biological will to live, as well as my own cowardice of dying. If my parents hadn't tried to breed (my sister was lucky enough to at least have been an accident) a 2nd child, I wouldn't be stuck spinning my wheels in a pointless life waiting for the courage to kill myself.

Life isn't cinnamon and sugar for all of us, and an inept pair of parents is a more likely recipe for a life of shit instead of rice pudding.


/dev/md0: ***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED *****
[ Parent ]

Large Families Considered Good (none / 0) (#253)
by sigwinch on Thu Feb 01, 2001 at 07:43:36 PM EST

The saying goes that at least some children should be raised by people with experience. I.e., by the parents of large families.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Other works (3.37 / 8) (#21)
by QuoteMstr on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 09:41:20 AM EST

Various science fiction eithors (Niven, Haldeman, et. al.) have written about the implications of a government-controlled breeding program. It might be worthwhile to take a look at these if you're considering such a proposal --- they are generally well thought out.

Quite (3.00 / 3) (#25)
by itsbruce on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 10:16:39 AM EST

Various science fiction eithors (Niven, Haldeman, et. al.) have written about the implications of a government-controlled breeding program.

John Brunner in particular was obsessed by it, not that I'd recommend his neo-Darwinist, almost Survivalist approach.

New Layout Delenda Est

A Theodore R. Cogswell fan, by any chance?


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
Breeding Licenses in Science Fiction (2.50 / 4) (#37)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 01:53:29 PM EST

Haldeman's breeding license in "The Forever War", the one I am thinking of, wasn't a breeding license per se, but everyone was created, and created as homosexual.

Niven's, in "Neutron Star" was based on intellect, genetic stability. Neither of those would allow everyone the opportunity to breed like my system does, though I would love to say to so many people: "Hey, you are too stupid to breed!"


My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Ringworld Universe (2.75 / 4) (#44)
by QuoteMstr on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 02:22:03 PM EST

Wasn't there a eugenics board in the ringworld universe?

[ Parent ]
Don't know... (1.66 / 6) (#62)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 05:39:11 PM EST

...never read it.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Yes...and in more... (4.50 / 2) (#81)
by Miniluv on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 09:56:57 PM EST

Eugenics was the fundamental criteria for being approved to have children by the UN in the N-Space novels of Larry Niven. In addition there was a "birthright lottery" to take up the slack and keep population levels stable.

This, however, was only prevalent on Earth. The colony worlds: Shahst, We Made It, etc were all interested in increasing population and thus had no restrictive laws. One of the best references for finding out about the population laws is Ringworld, followed by the Crashlander short story series.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

Louis Wu, Intercourse, Pao, and The Iron Dream (none / 0) (#255)
by anonymous cowerd on Sat May 12, 2001 at 10:44:26 PM EST

Niven's special criteria for allowing breeding, if I remember right, was not so much intellect per se as accomplishment, especially the variety that also leads to personal wealth. He had sort of a fantasy that rich boys with high IQs (Niven himself was a rich boy with a high IQ) should be let to breed with other men's wives, and those other men, genetically inferior, should be humbly grateful for the honor of the favor. Yeek, kinda naked and icky I think. Guess I'm just a little squeamish about diving so deep down into another person's id, though I'll do it anyway if the artist is good enough - Niven isn't, I think, but the great, mad Andrea Dworkin is.

Speaking of breeding licenses in SF! In Jack Vance's Languages of the Pao the Breakness dominie Palafox goes Emeritus - their future-world euphemism for "megalomaniacally mad" - and plans to people an entire planet exclusively with millions upon millions of his own offspring. And don't forget the extermination of the natural human race (by radioactive poisoning) and the subsequent Phoenix-like creation of a new homosexual master race by way of mass-cloning the dictator Jagger, which decorates the rockin' end of Lord of the Swastika, 1953 Hugo winner by emigre SF writer Adolf Hitler - that is, Norman Spinrad's fantastically deranged 50's SF parody The Iron Dream.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

breathe deep, breathe high, breathe life, don't breathe a lie
[ Parent ]

Space colonization is not a solution. (3.83 / 6) (#27)
by claudius on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 10:51:29 AM EST

And while the only long term solution is expansion off-planet...

Space colonization, even if possible today, would not be a long-term solution to the population problem unless an economical form of faster-than-light transport can be achieved. Consider the amount of "colonizable space" (read planets or moons) that is accessible via sub-light-speed transportation: The amount of such space cannot expand faster than geometrically with time, with the upper limit on the volume of known, colonizable space expanding as t^3. However, the growth of a population that is not resource-starved is, to first order, exponential with time. Eventually, exponential growth, no matter how slow, will exceed the geometric increase in the number of habitable planets/moons, and we will face the population explosion problem once again, albeit on a larger scale.

Either we learn to slow our population growth (already achieved, to a large degree, in most developed countries), or else we run out of resources and leave the matter to events such as war, disease, and starvation to rectify the population so that it is in concert with available resources. My guess, based on my observation of how many SUVs are on the road in the U.S. when we know full well that oil is a limited commodity, is that the latter will ultimately control the population level.

(1.66 / 3) (#40)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 02:04:57 PM EST

If only you were not right about space colonization...

And if only you were not right about leaving it up to war, disease, and starvation. What's better, those three or breeding licenses?

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
The Chinese example. (2.50 / 2) (#61)
by claudius on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 05:02:35 PM EST

It's mighty hard to reply to posts if they have no "Subject" line. I wonder if this is a bug in the Scoop code....

And if only you were not right about leaving it up to war, disease, and starvation. What's better, those three or breeding licenses?

I think if you examine the example of China and its handling of population control, you will find that leaving it to starvation is not so outrageous, at least for the short-term. During the Cultural Revolution Mao pushed for as rapid an increase in population as possible. This led to major problems due to the inability of most every infrastructure to handle the increased burdens placed on them. Busses and trains couldn't cope with the load, starvation and disease were common, there were shortages in most every consumer good. After Mao died it was safe to speak of the error of his population policies, and the "one child per family" laws were enacted. Most Chinese who remember seeing people starve to death still view these policies as necesarry to ensure that tragedies such as Mao's "Great Leap Forward" are not repeated.

I'm confident that when the problems of unchecked consumption lead to large-scale suffering, then people will change their systems of values to accommodate postitive change and to accept some kind of government control over how many children they can have. People generally don't make hard decisions, however, until they are forced to do so, so I don't anticipate seeing "reproduction licences" in the West until then.

[ Parent ]

China and your whole last paragraph (1.00 / 1) (#188)
by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 02:16:20 AM EST

Thanks for the information about Chinese reproduction laws! I didn't know the details.

Re: your last paragraph.

If we reach that state, would you consider my reproduction licenses valid? If not, what would *you* propose?

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Where to begin? (3.66 / 6) (#28)
by ajschu on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 11:02:44 AM EST

So many problems with a plan such as this came to mind as I read that I scarcely know where to begin. The argument that jumped right out at me, though, focuses on religion.

The religious aspect of such a program, I believe, makes it impossible to implement on a nationwide scale. The Catholic Church, for example, frowns rather heavily on birth control and especially on abortion. In such a case, restrictions such as these would be a prohibition on any intercourse between married partners. Forcing a couple to choose between birth control and their religion, to me, seems like a violation of the First Amendment.

The First Amendment is primarily thought of as "Freedom of Speech," but it also prohibits the Federal Government from legislating any restrictions on the practice of religion. What are the stances in other religions on this issue? I am Catholic, so this is what I know...would this be an issue in other world religions?



My response to your comments, (1.50 / 4) (#43)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 02:20:06 PM EST

This stuff is just copied and pasted from the article:

"...Again, using the USA as an example, most Americans would either say that it is they God Given Right to Procreate, or that Breeding Licenses are Un-Constitutational. As for the former, the Christian God does state to Eve "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children". Should we assume that He has placed His own breeding restrictions with this act? As for the latter comment, where in the Constitution does it guarantee the American people the right to breed?

"Continuing on, what about the age-old argument concerning a woman's right to do what she thinks with her body and unborn child. How does the precedent of "Roe vs Wade" apply here? Bluntly, I do not have the legal expertise to understand the ramifications of this."

If you re-read the article, look for the above, and feel free to follow the links.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
I will not be a slave. (5.00 / 2) (#123)
by jimhill on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 12:08:55 PM EST

There is no right to reproduction (note: I choose to use the term "reproduction" as it is less inflammatory than "breeding", which carries overtones of eugenics) granted by the US Constitution. However, you and (alas!) many Americans misread that document. The US Constitution does not grant rights to people to do anything -- it recognizes those rights as being inherent to the human condition. That's what makes them rights and not privileges. The First Amendment, for example, does not grant the right of free speech. It _recognizes_ the right of free speech by explicitly restricting the government from interfering with the right. With that in mind, most would argue that reproduction is a right as fundamental as speech or worship. I agree with many who have argued that the quality of your writing deserves a mod-up, but the idea represented by it makes me physically ill. I don't have any kids, nor am I in a relationship which might lead to kids (intelligent red-haired women with a yen for fat bespectacled engineers are encouraged to submit a photo and list of hobbies and interests) but I would someday like to have a couple of little rugrats around the house. See, the human animal is just that: an animal. We might be smart enough to throw ICBMs at one another instead of fecal matter, but we are still driven by the most primal of urges: feed, fight, flee, and fu^H^Hreproduce. To deny or even to (try to) regulate an aspect of our most basic selves is to enslave humanity as surely as in the bondage of labor that the civilized world cast off as a moral atrocity. It is tempting to say that because we have the power and the ability to do a thing, that we should. It is tempting to say that there are too many people and will only be more and that we should in some way intervene. But your plan requires that someone decide who is or who is not worthy to live. Make no mistake: there is no moral difference between "you are not fit to reproduce" and "you are not fit to consume food and oxygen". As awful as it is to think that our population explosion may be rectified by conflict, famine, disease, it is more awful to think of humanity reduced to the hollow existence of birth, school, work, death. So I reject your plan. I reject it at the fundamental level. This is not the same thing as rejecting family planning policies or even government practices intended to promote a "healthy" population. But the idea of "licensing" or "regulating" -- no. A thousand times no. Let freedom ring through a baby's cry.

[ Parent ]
Don't be a slave to freedom? (1.50 / 2) (#127)
by DoomHaven on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 01:28:10 PM EST

I choose to use the term "reproduction" as it is less inflammatory than "breeding"
In retrospect, I wish I could go do a "s/Breeding/Procreation" on the whole article.

See, the human animal is just that: an animal. We might be smart enough to throw ICBMs at one another instead of fecal matter, but we are still driven by the most primal of urges: feed, fight, flee, and fu^H^Hreproduce. To deny or even to (try to) regulate an aspect of our most basic selves is to enslave humanity as surely as in the bondage of labor that the civilized world cast off as a moral atrocity.
I will assume you are not a Roman Catholic? What is your view on the Roman Catholic view that dis-allows birth control? Understand that the oldest sect of the Christian faith has been enacting "edicts" the "regulate an aspect of our most basic selves" for centuries. This definitely doesn't rationalise my viewpoint, but the nasty precedent is already there.


My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Religion (none / 0) (#164)
by delmoi on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 09:35:23 PM EST

I'm not sure that argument holds up, actualy, if such a monstrosity as this were implemented. If someone's religion requred them to kill and eat people, or to molest their children, we would still not allow them to do it. If DoomHaven could convince enough people that reproducing was 'wrong' then he could consevably lump unlisensed breeding in with the other two.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Faith Healers (none / 0) (#196)
by Kugyou on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 10:22:43 AM EST

Your argument sort of dies in the face of legal precedent. Parents have been brought up on charges of felony child abuse or neglect for letting their children die because they say that their faith dictates that faith healing is the only allowable option. Die, remember, not just 'be sick for a while'.

They have been acquitted because the courts could not go against their religious beliefs.

Prisoners have exacted exorbitant demands on the prison system, claiming membership in some church that demands a special diet or special treatments, or allows them to escape ceratin types of punishment. So a church/state debate will hold, with possibly dire consequences. Of course, to touch the comment one above yours, the Catholic Church says that intercourse for purposes other than breeding is lust and therefore a sin.

-----------------------------------------
Dust in the wind bores holes in mountains
[ Parent ]
Basic Freedom (4.22 / 9) (#32)
by HypoLuxa on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 12:37:22 PM EST

Instead of arguing the merits of the actual program, take a look at whether or not the very concept of the government restricting breeding is acceptable. Some of you who have watched my previous posts probably know where I'm going to come down on this issue :)

Regardless of how ideal of a program you can develop, and regardless of how much the interests of the child and society can be served through it, it is wrong to restrict the freedom of individuals. You can make a logical case for "betterment of society" for shooting indigent homeless in the head, but it still doesn't make it right. There are a lot of things that the government can undertake to make a more perfect society, but they come at the cost of personal freedom. I know that this is a really cheap shot, but controlling population for the good of society has been the reasoning behind Hitler's "Final Solution", massacres in Cambodia, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, and countless other atrocities.

It comes down to a very basic question of rights of individuals vs. the betterment of society. I beleive that the moment a government passes from protecting it's citizens from abuse and hardship to trying to create and control societal structures, personal freedom is lost. I believe that there is no argument more persuasive in controlling population than the rights of the individual.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen

I disagree... (2.00 / 5) (#46)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 02:30:38 PM EST

IMO, betterment of the *species* (definitely NOT a society subset of the species, but of the *ENTIRE SPECIES*) supersedes any right of the individual. Period.

And while I agree that it would be great to have the maximum amount of personal freedom and rights and what have you, in the end, I would rather know that the species would survive than knowing I lived *free*.

The cheap shots weren't as cheap as you think. Any enforced program that limits breeding of humans has the ability to be used for ethnic cleansing. Let me quote the article you are commenting on:
The next problem involves how this system, if misused, could become an instrument in ethnic or class cleansing. Because you are regulating childbirth, it would be very easy with a concerted effort to effectively eliminate an entire ethnic group by preventing them the opportunity to breed. In fact, unless the numbers of successful applicants exactly matched the demographics of the country by race and class, accusations of this magnitude will be made.

The only methods to prevent this abuse are to enforce rigorous process checking, full public accountability, and tremendous punishments of system abuse.

So, while I really do not appreciate the allusions to Hitler or Pol Pot, I understand, and fully agree, that this could be a horrible problem.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Well then (4.33 / 3) (#52)
by itsbruce on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 03:34:17 PM EST

IMO, betterment of the *species* (definitely NOT a society subset of the species, but of the *ENTIRE SPECIES*) supersedes any right of the individual. Period.

Your arguments have been called Fascist elsewhere on this page but that statement certainly qualifies.

IMO any system based on the sentiment you express here would be harmful both to the individual, to society and to the species as a whole.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
Show me why. (3.00 / 2) (#80)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 09:24:20 PM EST

IMO any system based on the sentiment you express here would be harmful both to the individual, to society and to the species as a whole.

I live by the ideal that if I am wrong, and someone shows me the error in my ways, that I am obliged to change my viewpoint.

That said, show me why your quoted viewpoint is right. My view has never been questioned; you are the first person to do so, and I honestly want to know why you believe a view contrary to my view. If I am wrong, I want to know about it before I make a (bigger) ass of myself.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Re: Show me why. (3.66 / 3) (#122)
by Khalad on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 12:07:25 PM EST

What you must realize is that, in all of your theorizing and speculation that, you haven't taken into account human nature.

When a policy like this one would be kept in check only by the good will of the originators, there are major problems with sustaining it properly and in the manner intended. Even if we were to concede that your ideas about controlling overpopulation are workable and acceptable (I do not), there is an implicit assumption that we would be able to implement them exactly as intended.

Human beings are unfortunately prone to error and abuse. Those in power often tend to fall into corruption; it is simply human nature. It takes great restraint to avoid abusing one's power, which is why it is easy to decay into chaos than to erect a stable and organized government. A new government tends to fall apart rather than stabilize; idealism, no matter how strong, tends to fall apart under the immense pressure of creating a government. We've all seen the movie where the young, idealist politician/lawyer/whatever turns into a grouchy pessimist (realist?) in the end, right?

China as an example of failed childbirth regulation has already been given; its policy on childbirth is too simplistic and holds too many hidden consequences to serve its intended purpose. In my view, the undesirability of any such proposal is reflected directly by the inherent complexity needed to make it "maximally beneficial."

Trying to maximize the benefit to humanity is a theoretical ideal based on a mathematical mindset. Mathematics are unsuited to dealing with issues where the complexity of a problem impairs our ability to analyze it in depth. It's the same idea that makes me wonder about the usefulness of developing a Grand Unified Theory of the universe: even if we do, would the theory serve a practical predictive purpose? Or are would we simply be incapable of understanding it in depth?

But I digress. To control ourselves well we must recognize our inherent inability to understand social problems well in a theoretical context. Most theoretical models for social behavior, such as communism, suffer from their very simplicity. Emergent behavior (i.e. the unintended consequences of an idea) tends to destroy the simplicity we try to rely upon, and since we are not capable of deep formalized analysis of problems in any reasonable time frame, practical but imperfect solutions are needed. That is why our Constitution is a relatively short document, but the application of it--the immense body of law--grows ever more elephantine and cumbersome. We like to laugh at lawyers who create thousand page documents detailing the export regulations on tobacco products, but we should realize in a higher sense that this is a consequence of our inability to provide simple theories that really *work*. Simple theories are simply complex ideas in disguise.

My personal philosophy has evolved into avoiding the easy rejection of common sense and ideas. I think most simple ideas actually do work best. Individualism. Fundamental, undeniable human rights. Guaranteed freedom of speech. Democracy. And so on. When we try to deny these principles we often find ourselves in trouble: not because our ideas are wrong (e.g. freedom of speech hurt others), but because in practice it's not possible to understand all of the ramifications of our theories. Simplifications like 'freedom of speech' don't work perfectly, but given our abilities they work as well or better than error-prone (but seemingly sensible) ideas like censorship. Whenever we try to add exceptions we complicate the matter even more than we intend. The slippery slope fallacy tends to work when we are dealing about human nature rather than logical arguments.

To apply this to your argument, while the right to bear children may not be absolute (are any rights absolute? what is a 'natural' right anyways?), we must at some point agree upon fundamental rights we will grant eachother so that we may all be satisfied. When we undermine the absolute nature of these rights, we risk not knowing the full consequences of our actions. Social theories are ultimately quite vulnerable to the faults we don't see. It's taken us thousands of years just to get to the point of recognizing the rights of others, and of developing democracy well. If brilliant men like Karl Marx can make such grave mistakes, and develop such unsustainable theories, we must admit that we are all suspect and that we must be cautious of any potentially dangerous idea, even if it seems reasonable enough.

To work solely for the benefit of society and to ignore individual rights risks one missing the forest for the trees. Who are you to say what is better for society, for the human race? If you remove personal freedoms from *all* individuals, how is that beneficial to society? If we live, but live unhappily, is that beneficial? And how can you assume that there is no solution to overpopulation but to regulate breeding? To attempt to "solve" the problem assumes that the problem is great enough to cause great harm if left unchecked. That is quite an assumption to make, given the "necessary harm" your proposal would create.

I just think the issue you are attemping to deal with is far too complicated to handle so simplistically. Any attempt to remove personal freedoms should do so only with the greatest of reservation. Once you take away individual rights, it's difficult to return them.

You remind me why I still, deep in my bitter crusty broken heart, love K5. —rusty


[ Parent ]
I wish I would have replied to you first (4.00 / 1) (#235)
by DoomHaven on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 02:06:51 AM EST

After spending 3 days responding to people who accuse me of being sociopathic; defending, arguing, and changing my ideas around, conceding points, winning them, I come to a post that is the Poster Comment for what This Site is All About, and I don't have the wit, or mental energy, to gather together a worthy reply to begin to match your eloquence, your elegance, and your intelligence. That I must, humbly, look up and read this, and simply say: "Thank you".

Maybe tomorrow? I can only hope.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
This is why. (none / 0) (#137)
by itsbruce on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 03:25:09 PM EST

Dedicating your own life to the improvement of your fellow human beings, whether those immediately around you or humanity in general, is philanthropy.

Seeking to control others and deny their freedoms, on the grounds that you know best what will help the species, is Fascism. Man is a questioning, reasoning, intelligent animal. Your plan treats humanity like cattle, with priveleged, "superior" individuals breeding them for desired traits. It's not only repulsive but doomed. Intelligent and reasoning individuals will oppose you, violently if it comes to that. Others, just as intelligent and reasoning, will support you but it's the opponents that count. In order to "improve" the species you'd have to take arms against many of it's best individuals.

We're not cattle. You simply can't treat us that way and hope to get anywhere.

If you think I'm over-reacting, here's what you said again:

IMO, betterment of the *species* (definitely NOT a society subset of the species, but of the *ENTIRE SPECIES*) supersedes any right of the individual. Period.

You say that your plan is for the betterment of the species. So any individual who opposes that plan is opposing the betterment of the species. Therefore, by your own logic, that person forfeits all rights - "any right of the individual. Period." In opposing you they lose the right to free speech, the right to life, even.

Not what you meant? Then choose your words with more care because it is what you said.

My view has never been questioned

I can't think of a positive interpretation of that statement.

Note:
Even with philanthropists, I would trust those who choose to help the people around them far more than those who choose to serve "the species". Helping those around you requires humility, honesty and pragmatism. Helping "Society" or "The Species" allows a person to justify any cruelty against the individual. Much as you try here.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
Whoa! (1.00 / 1) (#189)
by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 03:11:18 AM EST

Your plan treats humanity like cattle, with priveleged, "superior" individuals breeding them for desired traits
Where did you get *that* rubbish from? Did you even read the article before posting? Where do I say "superior"? What are the "desired traits" I am "breeding" "individuals" for?

Yes, *betterment* was the wrong word. *Survival* was the word I should have used. Sorry about that. In fact, I even clarify my words by saying, later in the post: "I would rather know that the species would survive than knowing I lived *free*."

Where do I say that my reproduction licenses are for the betterment of the species? It may be implied, but I never say it directly, nor do I say it now. I offered reproduction licenses as a solution to two specific and perceived problems, not for the general cause of species betterment. If you are trying to beat me over the head with my own words, at least get them *right*.

Yes, a person that stands in the way of the species survival should have their rights taken from them and killed. I am not saying it's pretty, or the killing should be taken lightly, but that it is necessary. What, you think it's okay for people to do for freedom (a la WWII), but not okay to die for the species?

I can't think of a positive interpretation of that statement.
How about, "Hey, that's a great idea, species survival is more important than personal freedoms!"?
Helping "Society" or "The Species" allows a person to justify any cruelty against the individual. Much as you try here.
Much as I try here? Do you know what your main logical error is? You honestly believe that you are absolutely right, that your belief in the importance of personal rights is correct to the ultimate degree. You are quite simply wrong. Name me any belief or moral that you hold to be true and good, and I will show you that your belief is not universal nor absolute. There has never, and will never, be anything that is absolutely morally right, or absolutely morally wrong. Pure good and pure evil are not set in stone. DoomHaven's First Axiom of Morality: "Morality is a moving target". To assume that morality is a constant is ludicrous. I simply shake my head at you. Morality changes; it has since the dawn of civilization, and will continue to do so until the twilight of humanity. DoomHaven's Second Axiom of Morality: "Morality is not constant across cultures, it is not constant within a culture over time, and it is not even constant within members of a given culture at a given time". You don't need any further proof of that last part than this forum.

My advice to you: get off the high moral ground; tomorrow, it could be a muddy barrows. People who ride high moral horses often must kiss better their own saddle sores.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Upside down (none / 0) (#216)
by itsbruce on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 05:35:24 PM EST

Yes, a person that stands in the way of the species survival should have their rights taken from them and killed.

And you wonder why people have taken exception to your words here. That's a psychopathic statement. "Betterment of the species superceds any right of the individual". And you've defined that betterment, so you get to define who has a right to live or die. That's the result of your own logic.

[Me quoting you:] "My views have never been questioned"
[Me:] I can't think of a positive interpretation of that statement.
[You:] How about, "Hey, that's a great idea, species survival is more important than personal freedoms!"?

I can't think of any way that you can have read my post and honestly not understood that I was referring to your arrogant assertion that your views have never been questioned. Can't see an honest answer at all.

What, you think it's okay for people to do for freedom (a la WWII), but not okay to die for the species?

Fighting in your own defense is one thing. Killing to satisfy your own definition of the best path for the species is quite another. You bring up World War II and yet fail to see the irony that only one side was fighting for the "betterment of the species".

Do you know what your main logical error is? You honestly believe that you are absolutely right, that your belief in the importance of personal rights is correct to the ultimate degree.

Bullshit. I'm not the one taking the absolutist line and saying that anyone who opposes what I say deserves to die. That's your argument. I'm not making any absolutist claims for my beliefs, simply saying that the extreme to which you have taken yours is lethal.

I'm not arguing for any moral certainties at all. Yours is the absolute position: judging everything from the overall viewpoint of the species, justifying everything from that overarching position, denying any rights in the face of that that is an absolutist, extremist position.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
s/Betterment/Survival , like I said *before* (none / 0) (#232)
by DoomHaven on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 01:03:12 AM EST

First and *foremost*, let's set the record straight. You seem to *still* be clinging to the fact that I think, in every case, that "Betterment of the species superceds any right of the individual" despite the fact that I said:
Yes, *betterment* was the wrong word. *Survival* was the word I should have used. Sorry about that. In fact, I even clarify my words by saying, later in the post: "I would rather know that the species would survive than knowing I lived *free*."
Now, I will simply assume you missed that (or you are an illiterate buffoon), so let me say it again:

"Betterment" was the wrong word. *Survival* was the word I should have used. Let me continue by saying that I made a huge mistake in saying "betterment", and re-iterate that I am profusely sorry for the confusion caused here.

Let me even *replace* the word "Betterment" with the word "Survival" in the sentence in question, in case you really aren't bright enough to do it yourself:

"Survival of the species superceds any right of the individual".

There, *is* *that* *better*? *Do* *you* *understand* *now*? I hope that this does *not* need to be repeated.

Continuing on, I do not ultimately believe that "Betterment of the species superceds any right of the individual", in every case. However, in some cases, maybe it does. By using this forum, I have lost the right of free speech, being that "Any comment may be deleted by a site admin", to use the *privilege* of posting here. But...but...I have a lost an individual right! They...they can't *do* that! Yes, they can. And despite that, or even because of that, I still post here.

By posting here, you yourself implicitly agree to that; that it is okay for the K5 crew to "supercede" *your* "right" to free speech, at *their* discretion, for the "betterment" of the K5 *society*. Nuff said. Thanks for playing! We have these beautiful consolation prizes for the runner-up!

And you've defined that betterment, so you get to define who has a right to live or die.

If AND ONLY IF betterment equals survival! If not, then that's a logical fallacy based on your bad data. I do NOT condone the death penalty for people who simply prevent the *betterment* of species, or personally disagree with me.

Fighting in your own defense is one thing.
Well, at least we agree on *something*. I just extend that argument, if you are hampering the species' survival, and because I am a subset of that species, you are hampering *my* survival; thus I have the *right* to defend the indirect assault on *my* survival.

Killing to satisfy your own definition of the best path for the species is quite another.

<sarcasm>D'oh, it was there *all* *along*, paragraph 15 clearly states: "Parents who have illegal children, or are Inferior By Writ Of The Law, or Other People Who Vaguely Disagree With Me will be Dragged Behind The Barn and Summarily Shot." No *wonder* you think I'm psychopathic! Do *I* have egg *all over my face*! A big "oops" here! Sorry!</sarcasm>

You are completely correct: killing to satisfy *anyone's* definition of the "best path" is wrong. I guess am glad that I NEVER SAID IT, or that I DO NOT BELIEVE IN IT!

The rest of your post just meanders down this path: DoomHaven said that surv^H^H^H^H "betterment" (yeah, betterment, he's never corrected it to "survival" TWICE already) of the species is paramount. If you honestly believe that, then arguing with you has no point.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Stock control program (none / 0) (#219)
by itsbruce on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 05:56:46 PM EST

Where did you get *that* rubbish from? Did you even read the article before posting? Where do I say "superior"? What are the "desired traits" I am "breeding" "individuals" for?

You've defined a set of traits (economic success etc) and behaviours which judge who can breed and who can't. You've also made pretty clear that the requisite behaviours are part of your definition of what constitutes a decent citizen - logically enough, you'd want to reward the decent citizens with the breeding priveleges, not the "bad" ones.

Now, what society is going to let the bad citizens rule it? You honestly think people on the "cannot breed" list are going to become the officials, rulers and judges? (Or, from a more cynical viewpoint, that the officials, rulers and judges are going to go onto the "cannot breed" list).

You've defined who is "good" and gets to breed and, inevitably, who gets to choose who is good and gets to breed. Those who do that choosing are running your stock-breeding system. If you can't see the implications, more fool you.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
s/Breeding/Parenting *and* who runs this mess? (none / 0) (#230)
by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 11:40:43 PM EST

First and *foremost*, you really seem to be balancing this half of your agrument on one main point: DoomHaven said "breeding". For the record, in retrospect and after reading the comments and my own words and intent, I really that "breeding" is not only the wrong *word*, but the wrong *idea*. Read my words carefully; my system places absolutely no restrictions on reproduction at all, nor does it place any restrictions on the choice of a "breeding" partner. My system allows anyone to *have* as many children as they physically can. My system simply prevents parents from *keeping* and thus *parenting* their children, after the fact, unless they have a license. Thus, the genetic *traits* are never put in to question; the child becomes a ward of the state, unless, hopefully he/she is adopted.

My "defined traits" were based on my beliefs that A) having a child costs *money* (feel free to debate that!), and; B) parents who spend *time* with their children raise better children. The specific values assigned to MONEY_PER_YEAR, YEARS_IN_PROGRAM, and HOURS_PER_WEEK were completely arbitrary (I will assume you understand what "arbitrary" means) and in no means set in stone in my own system or in my own mind; in fact, that was one thing this whole comments section didn't comment on: alternative values for those variables (though the MONEY_PER_YEAR got close). I most definitive do NOT consider those values as end values; they were just simply better than X, Y, and Z. As such, bluntly, there is not even a definite defintion of a *good parent*, just guidelines that, hopefully, could have been and must be refined.

Though get it through your thick head that "breeding" is the wrong word and idea. I am NOT trying to create a Master Race or genetically pure children; anyone who can prove that they can put Z hours a week and X dollars (or even P% of their income) a year for Y years will be allowed to parent a child. Ultimately, it is *that* *simple*.

Now, the "fun" stuff:

No, I don't think that "Z hours a week and X dollars (or even P% of their income) a year for Y years" makes you a good citizen, nor do I ever state that. That idea is ludicrous! I think, however, that it my criteria implicitly states that you would make a better parent than the *lack of* criteria that we *currently* use. Do I meet the current requirements to have a child in this society? Do you think I *should* be allowed to raise children, simply because of that? <BIG QUESTION>If not, what requirements do *you* think I should meet, and should I meet those requirements on my own initiative, by government encouargement, or by government mandate?</BIG QUESTION>

Now, what society is going to let the bad citizens rule it?

Har! You call the current crop of government "good citizens"? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, you dumb schmuck! That's *all* I have to say about that!

You honestly think people on the "cannot breed" list are going to become the officials, rulers and judges?

Yes, I do. Because *I* am on that list, currently; and I will vote for them, regardless.

If you mean, specifically, on the Parenting License Board, then no, for one simple reason. Because of the obvious need to prevent system abuses, the Parenting License Board would have the power...nay...the *responsibility* to punish people *within* the system for abusing said system. The *minimum* *punishment* for that is a permanent ban from ever parenting a child, as well as being fired. Period. I said *minimum* *punishment*, too. Though, in retrospect, the idea to have people who are permanently banned from parenting to sit on some sort of an advisory board would have merit if it wasn't for the fact that the only way to get permanently banned from the system is to abuse it.

Honestly, do you know who *I* would like see help run this system? You. Dead serious. Understand, fully, the implications of that.

> You've defined who is "good"

No, I haven't.

Those who do that choosing are running your stock breeding system.

After the words I have wrote, I can categorically deny that my system is a "stock breeding system". If you *really* think that, then I have nothing more to say to you; go stockpile guns for the Apocalypse or something.

> If you can't see the implications, more fool you.

Too see *all* of the implications of my system is impossible; that's another reason I posted this here, to see what other people would think of the consequences of this program. Yes, I have wondered about how easy my system would be used as an instrument for ethnic/class cleansing. That's why the requirements are so black and white, that's why I clearly state that the numbers given are arbitrary (and I should have said need review), that's why I make punishment so high for people *within* the system (it's much higher for prospective parents).

I don't expect I have seen the last of you, though?

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Darwin..... (none / 0) (#231)
by Zapata on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 11:54:08 PM EST

"Hey, that's a great idea, species survival is more important than personal freedoms!"

Personal freedom does not conflict with survival of the fittest. Feel free to survive.

If the planet becomes too crowded and resources too depleted, we'll eat the weak. It's happened before, I'm sure it could happen again. I have 'faith' in the human race's desire to continue.

One hundred and ten years ago, sex was *not* discussed. Recently it was fashionable to buy books on how to do it correctly. Who knows what our attitudes will be in another 100 years. Maybe at some point, sex will have two purposes. Entertainment and food.

I cook a wicked roast. Never carved a baby, though.

"If you ain't got a camel, you ain't Shiite."


[ Parent ]
*Weak* Stomaches and Proof of First Axiom (3.00 / 1) (#233)
by DoomHaven on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 01:11:03 AM EST

"We'll eat the weak"? "Never carved a baby"? It's ideas like this that truly make my system feasible.

Your first three sentences in your fourth paragraph verify my First Axiom.

The rest of this article I can only hope was in poor satire.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Heehee... (none / 0) (#243)
by Zapata on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 05:31:09 PM EST

"The rest of this article I can only hope was in poor satire."

No, the whole thing was just a quick counter-troll. Seems to have worked :)

"If you ain't got a camel, you ain't Shiite."


[ Parent ]
insanity. (4.00 / 1) (#103)
by thomas on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 07:50:04 AM EST

IMO, betterment of the *species* (definitely NOT a society subset of the species, but of the *ENTIRE SPECIES*) supersedes any right of the individual. Period.

Here in New Zealand, it is a fact that people of Maori descent make up roughly 40% of prison inmates, yet only 12% of the general population.

Therefore, by your reasoning, since crime is bad for the species, and since Maori people seem to have a higher tendency towards crime than non-Maori... perhaps we should just lock up anyone of Maori descent in order to drop the crime rate?

Statements like this are used to justify such atrocities as the WWII Holocaust.

War never determines who is right; only who is left.
[ Parent ]

To thine own self be true... (none / 0) (#112)
by theboz on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 09:36:27 AM EST

I don't know where that quote came from but I think it applies. Noone should have the right to tell another how to live their lives. In a basic sense, freedom is the ability to do whatever we want, as long as it doesn't impose on someone else's rights. That's why stealing is bad. Having children does not impose on anyone else's rights except when a screwed up government that supports public education and welfare is in power. I think if the government was to do the intelligent thing and ditch public education and welfare and cut taxes it would work. I should not have to pay taxes so someone else's kids can go to a dirty run-down building and listen to a person who wasn't smart enough to work anywhere else talk about history that never happened and leave out important things. I shouldn't have to pay for some lazy-ass person that wants to sit in their trailer and pop out babies and watch Jerry Springer all day. However, what I do support is private schools. If we could have private schools, with some government oversight of funding to help keep them cheap, the parents could choose the good schools for their children. Also I would think it would give more incentive for quality people to teach. Instead of welfare we should rely on charities. There are a lot of non-profit organizations that are actually helping people. I'd rather donate money to go towards cancer research than to lazy people. If the government would cut the existing, broken programs and not continue to take that amount of taxes out, we could afford to give more to the charities of our choice.

The point is that government doesn't work in these situations. People like you who have their mind polluted by how it works now don't see that the purpose of government is not to restrict things. The job of government is to protect rights and freedoms. We haven't had that in many years, which is quite unfortunate.

Another thing is that I think this article is very ignorant. You have ignored the fact that the birth rate has slowed tremendously in the U.S. as well as other developed nations. I would agree that the quality of people has decreased, but I don't think your solution would fix anything. I'd agree with those that say your idea is "evil" not of religious reasons but because it restricts freedom so much. It sounds like you are fairly young and have not learned much of the world yet. You probably hear your news from TV which presents life in a false manner. I'd say that with time you will learn the truth that life is not as bad as we think, that George W. Bush is not going to destroy the world any more than Bill Clinton, and that drugs, guns and sex are not destroying life as we know it. Leave suburbia for a while and learn about how the rest of your country works. If you go into the slums of a major city, and also the backwoods of the country you will have a better idea of how diverse life is in the U.S. You would see that people can raise kids in abject poverty and be ok, and some who devote all their time attention and wealth to their children can have bad kids. No amount of money, community service, classes, or anything can really force people to be good parents. I would think experience is the best teacher, as well as help from friends and family. Maybe you haven't experienced what it is like to grow up with good parents and with a strong family with your cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. However, noone has the right to prevent the rest of us from experiencing that either.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Barbaric to say the least. (3.53 / 13) (#33)
by rebelcool on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 12:40:29 PM EST

This is how the Chinese do it, but even they're not barbaric enough to take an unlicensed child away after it has been born.

What will we do? Follow china's example and as an unlicensed baby is being born, thrust a syringe full of formaldehyde into its just-appearing skull?

This is something no civilized nation or person should ever consider.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

And yet people continue to be blind (2.85 / 7) (#34)
by Inoshiro on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 12:41:01 PM EST

If you have a pet cat, and don't spend an hour or two giving it attention each day, it'll find its own ways of entertaining itself. If you leave the house for a day and don't have someone watch the cat, it'll get into cupboards looking for food, or claim things left out as toys.

Children are just that much worse for the behaviour. Why? Curiosity is stronger in humans, children have a much higher intelligence, and human parents are supposed to be more attentive and provide more of the environment.

One thing these bad parents don't seem to twig onto are their own children's personalities. Kids will attack other kids if they're not taught properly, not because of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Doom (stupid CNN stock footage). Children learn by observing their parents, and acting how their parents acted when they're not around. This is subtly different from how they act when the parents are around.

Bad parenting is bad parenting. Having restrictions on a child's freedoms is like locking your pet cat in a cat cage when you go to bed to ensure the cat won't get into trouble while you're asleep. It's cruel, restricts freedom, and isn't neccesary if you're a good parent. But the US doesn't seem to have very many good parents.



--
[ イノシロ ]
Double-ugh! (5.00 / 3) (#71)
by Mr. Excitement on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 08:31:18 PM EST

But the US doesn't seem to have very many good parents.

Ugh. That's like saying, "the world doesn't seem to have very many smart people".

At least try to take into account that in both cases, the stupid people and the bad parents tend to stand out far more than the decent majority, and what seems to be true is often quite far from what is.

What seems to be the case from my perspective is that the vast majority of people quietly go about their lives in a decent manner, despite the rare, contrary needle-in-a-haystack that seems so good at generating blind pricks.

;->

1 141900 Mr. Excitement-Bar-Hum-Mal-Cha died in The Gnomish Mines on level 10 [max 12]. Killed by a bolt of lightning - [129]
[ Parent ]

comments (4.14 / 7) (#35)
by klamath on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 01:15:27 PM EST

My general response to this idea is that breeding licenses are really unnecessary. Like most serious issues in mankind's history, I'm sure we'll screw up the issue, and overpopulate (if we haven't already). But at some point, the issue will become a serious inconvenience to everyone -- or if you'd like to simplify things, to the Randist "men of action". The problem will then be solved, either through colonization of other planets, utilization of more of the Earth, or improvements to argricultural techniques and similar technology. But attacking the problem piecemeal isn't going to solve anything -- with one country implementing this idea, you'd have people cheating the system, breeding "underground", or simply leaving the country for a more liberal nation. And there's the obvious problem that I doubt the government knows the "correct" or "best" enviroment to raise a child -- and I'm alarmed that they could enforce these standards on all prospective parents. For the same reasons I think government regulation of the economy is generally a bad idea, I think the government should stay out of population control.

Passing the "volunteer program"
I have serious problems with this. Volunteer activity is NOT a universally recognized "good thing" -- ask any Objectivist. Volunteering doesn't make you a better person, and I don't see why someone who spends 20 hours per week volunteering would necessarily spend 20 hours per week with their children. Doesn't forcing people to volunteer kind of defeat the whole purpose?

Putting aside $10 000, per couple, per year, for the duration of their requirement period
This is effectively class descrimination (which you claim you'd like to avoid). There are many people who would be unable to afford this (especially given the 4 year duration and no interest). Does that necessarily make them "bad parents"? Is it really the government's right to decide?

Replies (2.50 / 6) (#60)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 04:55:25 PM EST

with one country implementing this idea

I have no problems make this a global law, aside from actually trying to implement it (but that would be hard enough make it only apply to the USA).

But attacking the problem piecemeal isn't going to solve anything

Agreed, but how am I "attacking the problem piecemeal"? Please expand this point.

Volunteer activity is NOT a universally recognized "good thing"

You are correct; but it's not about volunteering, it's whether or not the parents are willing to put the time in to raise a child. IMO, parents today do NOT put enough time in with their children to install proper values, that is, proper in the parent's eyes (and no-one else's!). The volunteer program was a solution to this.

But you are right, volunteering isn't the be-all-end-all for putting this time in. In fact feel free to replace volunteering for charity with anything that meets the following criteria:

1) Does not make the parents money or give them any peripheral financial gains. Parents rarely make money during the time they spend with their children (and they shouldn't, IMO), so they should not be reaping any financial rewards from their actions during the "volunteer" program.
2) Is easily verifiable. There needs to be an accountable method of proving that you spent 20 hours doing *something*. The twenty hours a week per parent is a fundamental aspect of the breeding license program because it shows the parents are willing to put time in for their future children.
3) In the last half of the program, time should be spent with children, preferably in orphanages/children confiscation centers. Three main benefits here: children in the orphanage receive the bonus of extra "parental" influence, parents receive "on the job" *self* training with dealing with children, and that their would be a greater chance of parents bonding with an orphan and adopting (giving the orphan a home) as opposed to conceiving on their own.
4) Must have a positive effect on society. This is purely an arbitray criteria. In fact, feel free to argue against it, because I just put that in because it is my personal preference that the parent's time be spend doing something beneficial to society.

Doesn't forcing people to volunteer kind of defeat the whole purpose?

Call it "conscription" then. It becomes a semantics battle, really.

Before I continue, thank you for your harsh criticism on the volunteer program. This was exactly what I needed to hear, because I really didn't like the fact I have nailed down spending the 20 hours a week working for charity. You made me think about what exact criteria I wanted for the those 20 hours a week that prospective parents were suppose to spend doing *something*. Thanks again!

This is effectively class descrimination (which you claim you'd like to avoid). There are many people who would be unable to afford this (especially given the 4 year duration and no interest). Does that necessarily make them "bad parents"? Is it really the government's right to decide?

Yes, that was a huge worry! The quick and dirty response is, "well, if you can't afford that, then you should breed anyways". Yes, that's wrong. But, in my opinion, it costs *some* money to raise a child; I will admit that I got the $180 000 from a "Calvin and Hobbes" cartoon. So want do you do? It costs money to have a child...

As well, I did say that $10 000 was completely an arbitrary number.

Does that necessarily make them "bad parents"? Is it really the government's right to decide?

Is it really the government's right to push laws to government internet porn "for the children's sake"? Is it really the school's right to prevent children to dress how they want to? Where does the "government's rights" stop? What is the precedence already put forward? And why am I spouting anti-government propaganda?


My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
You need a license to drive -- (2.10 / 10) (#36)
by MicroBerto on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 01:51:54 PM EST

My high school psychology teacher once made a very good point while we were going over child developement --
"You have to get a license to drive a car -- but any yahoo can have a baby and ruin a life"
Personally, I don't care about population control or anything. It's the mere fact that there are too many people that are too stupid/incompetent/busy/irresponsible/dangereous to have a child, and they should not have one.

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
Ah yes (4.80 / 5) (#49)
by skim123 on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 03:08:20 PM EST

It's the mere fact that there are too many people that are too stupid/incompetent/busy/irresponsible/dangereous to have a child, and they should not have one

And what if some commission deemed you to fall into this category? Then what? You would likely sing quite a different tune. It's offensive to think that you have any right to be able to tell others what they can or cannot do with their lives.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
What other rights should the "stupid" be (4.66 / 3) (#53)
by itsbruce on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 03:39:29 PM EST

Personally, I don't care about population control or anything. It's the mere fact that there are too many people that are too stupid/incompetent/busy/irresponsible/dangereous to have a child, and they should not have one.

Following this premise to it's logical conclusion, perhaps the stupid should be prevented from crossing the road or voting, to mimimise the harm they can co.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
Be denied, that is (3.00 / 1) (#57)
by itsbruce on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 03:45:50 PM EST

This has happened to me several times, using several different browsers.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
This is a very bad idea (4.00 / 13) (#50)
by Anonymous 6522 on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 03:24:29 PM EST

Frankly, I think breeding licenses are a very bad idea, I don't like to idea of the government having the power to dictate requirements for me to have children simply on ideological grounds. It's trusting the government with too much power.

I also find some of your ideas particularly disturbing:

> Punishment for any couple having a child without a license will be confiscation of the child. Why should the government take a child from its parents just because they failed to do all the paperwork, donate labor to "government sactioned charities", and give a large sum of money to the government? What did the parents do to the child? All they did was fail to deal with some government bureaucracy.

I can see these "governmet sanctioned charities" turning into "the government" because some bright lawmaker sees it as a way to save money on the next budget.

> Putting aside $10 000, per couple, per year, for the duration of their requirement period, Some people don't make enough money to save 10k a year, buy food, and have shelter all at the same time. Basically this would limit legal reproduction to the well off. I know you say that you "hope" that this won't limit breeding to the rich, but it will. No low-income people will be able to afford to have children, but they will anyway. The governemt will come in and take all those kids, but there won't be enough people willing to adopt them. They'll be put in orphanages. Is this better for the child? To go put them in a large instituion when they have parents willing to take care of them, but too poor to afford the fees?

> Punishment for any medical professional knowingly assisting in an unlicensed birth, or failure to report an unlicensed birth, or to offer assistance for a family to have a multiple-child birth, will be removal from the profession and additional punishments depending on the circumstances. Let's punish those who try to help the children now, and it's illegal to have twins?

This is a facist policy if I ever did see one, it would turn our society on it's head, and send to government looking where it has no busness. It also demonstrates what can happen if you look at one problem too closely and ignore the rest of reality.

Replying (2.00 / 1) (#77)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 09:03:50 PM EST

and give a large sum of money to the government
Whoa! That large sum of money is returned to them! It isn't just stolen!

What did the parents do to the child?
They broke the law. It is a heartless thing to say, even I know that (and, it depresses me), but that's the truth. If your parents were both criminals, and were arrested, you would be taken away from them, even if they were excellent parents to you.

I can see these "governmet sanctioned charities" turning into "the government" because some bright lawmaker sees it as a way to save money on the next budget.
This has already been altered, see quote #30.

RE: the cash

First, the cash is held in escrow. They will be returned the money in the end. I say that in the article!
Second, I also say, in the article, that the money value is purely arbritary. Please, read the article before posting!
and it's illegal to have twins?
<sigh>From the proposal that you obviously didn't read:
If parents have a multiple-child birth, and only have one license, they will be allowed to keep all of the children, unless it can be proven that they purposefully caused the multiple birth to circumvent these regulations. In that case, they will be allowed to keep none of the children
Do you understand, now?

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
SEE QUOTE #60 not #30 (1.00 / 1) (#78)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 09:09:34 PM EST

<Blush>, sorry!

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
financial analogies (4.50 / 2) (#88)
by vsync on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 01:46:28 AM EST

Whoa! That large sum of money is returned to them! It isn't just stolen!

Like Social Security, then?

First, the cash is held in escrow. They will be returned the money in the end.

Ohhhhhh... A lockbox!

--
"The problem I had with the story, before I even finished reading, was the copious attribution of thoughts and ideas to vsync. What made it worse was the ones attributed to him were the only ones that made any sense whatsoever."
[ Parent ]

You still have to give the money to the government (3.40 / 5) (#118)
by Anonymous 6522 on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 11:39:34 AM EST

10k a year is a lot of money, and many people cannot afford to give that money to the governmet even if they get it back. And while it's in that governmet holding account it does nothing for them, it doesn't even get interest!

In regards to "quote #60" (don't you mean comment) You think it's ok for the governmet to make it a requirement that you work for them, for free, for 20 hours a week?! Also your "children confiscation center" idea is even more vile than your "breeding license" program.

[ Parent ]

Let's get the money situation figured out. (2.00 / 1) (#190)
by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 03:23:21 AM EST

Yes, 10k is a lot of money. What would you say is acceptable? 5k? 1k? 20k? 0k?

The money I spend on my (currently fictional) children doesn't gain any interest, either, after I spend it. Please remedy this.

Where do you get that I am mandating that parents have to work *specifically* for the government? There are four requirements, which I will state here as you seem to be having problems *finding* comment #60:

1) Does not make the parents money or give them any peripheral financial gains. Parents rarely make money during the time they spend with their children (and they shouldn't, IMO), so they should not be reaping any financial rewards from their actions during the "volunteer" program.
2) Is easily verifiable. There needs to be an accountable method of proving that you spent 20 hours doing *something*. The twenty hours a week per parent is a fundamental aspect of the breeding license program because it shows the parents are willing to put time in for their future children.
3) In the last half of the program, time should be spent with children, preferably in orphanages/children confiscation centers. Three main benefits here: children in the orphanage receive the bonus of extra "parental" influence, parents receive "on the job" *self* training with dealing with children, and that their would be a greater chance of parents bonding with an orphan and adopting (giving the orphan a home) as opposed to conceiving on their own.
4) Must have a positive effect on society. This is purely an arbitray criteria. In fact, feel free to argue against it, because I just put that in because it is my personal preference that the parent's time be spend doing something beneficial to society.

Now, where was this working-for-the-government requirement again?

If you don't like the "confiscation" name, rename it. State Ward, it is now.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Interesting (3.08 / 12) (#58)
by djkimmel on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 04:02:24 PM EST

This is an idea that I've thought about for a long time. The only problem with it is that I can't convince myself that it is the right thing to do. Whenever I've argued this view with someone, I've always spent more energy trying to convince myself of the arguement than anything else.

On one hand, I think this kind of thing would be good for population control and making sure that bad parents don't have kids. On the other hand, there are quite a few people who would make good parents that wouldn't make it through your requirements.

And what about adopting? What requirements would be placed on potential adoptors under your system?

When it comes down to it, this would be completely impossible to implement. If a law like this was enacted, the public outcry would be deafening. By enacting a bill like this, the political party in power would be committing suicide.

The enforcement of this law would be next to impossible. And even if enforcement WAS possible, can you imagine the institutions that will need to be built to house all "illegally born" children? What kind of drain on the economy would this present? Going by your numbers, each child represents an $180,000 burden that would be shifted from the child's parents to the taxpayers, and I KNOW that many people would not stand for that.

But, in the end, I think that doing this to reduce the population would be a success. And I think that it will be good for my country too. Canada's economy will really start to pick up after many American citizens and businesses cross the border to escape this oppressive law.
-- Dave
Adopting, etc. (1.00 / 1) (#76)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 08:50:14 PM EST

And what about adopting? What requirements would be placed on potential adoptors under your system

Adopting would be the same process; in fact, if parents pass the requirements, and are unable to conceive, they can use the license to adopt.

And even if enforcement WAS possible, can you imagine the institutions that will need to be built to house all "illegally born" children?

All too clearly. The worst part is? If the government was serious about hauling away babies, do you know how long it would take before people caught on, and realise the severity? In one generation, the majority could all be trained to think that this is okay. That is too scary!

Unfortunately, if the people could be conditional to accept *that*, they would probably accept a worse system. That is one of the main reasons I wrote that, because I am afraid of those worse systems.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Hmm... (none / 0) (#85)
by djkimmel on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 12:15:54 AM EST

Adopting would be the same process; in fact, if parents pass the requirements, and are unable to conceive, they can use the license to adopt.

This presents an interesting problem. I know people who would make fantastic parents, but wouldn't be permitted to adopt under a system like this.

One question I have about "married couples" from the article - Does the sexual orientation of the couple affect the outcome of your selection process? Would a married gay or lesbian couple be allowed to adopt? What about sperm banks, to allow a lesbian couple to concieve their own child, or surrogate mothers, to allow a gay couple to concieve their own child?

All too clearly. The worst part is? If the government was serious about hauling away babies, do you know how long it would take before people caught on, and realise the severity? In one generation, the majority could all be trained to think that this is okay. That is too scary!

Unfortunately, if the people could be conditional to accept *that*, they would probably accept a worse system. That is one of the main reasons I wrote that, because I am afraid of those worse systems.

The scariest part about this is that you're probably right. If they could get a system like this past, either in stealth or full public view, they could easily get away with murder and call it democracy. I suppose the real question is, can they get away with it?
-- Dave
[ Parent ]

Child support (none / 0) (#170)
by kraant on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 10:36:23 PM EST

The enforcement of this law would be next to impossible. And even if enforcement WAS possible, can you imagine the institutions that will need to be built to house all "illegally born" children? What kind of drain on the economy would this present? Going by your numbers, each child represents an $180,000 burden that would be shifted from the child's parents to the taxpayers, and I KNOW that many people would not stand for that.

That ones easy. Given the precident set by child support payments. The parents who were "irresponsible" enough to breed would have to field the cost. The taxpayers would be quite happy with that solution.


--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]
Pure evil (4.66 / 24) (#63)
by ghjm on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 05:50:18 PM EST

First, let me get this out of my system: This entire proposal is such arrogant, invasive, judgemental nonsense that it practically made me throw up to try to read it. There is no reason to believe that overpopulation is a serious problem in the developed world. Nor is there any particularly good evidence suggesting that parents are solely or even primarily responsible for the percieved ills of society's children. Assuming today's children are actually "worse" than previous generations (which I strongly dispute), why do you lay the blame with parents without first considering the effect of the school environment, the media focus on advertising and selling to children, the lack of meaningful opportunities for positive social involvement outside the home available to teens and tweens, etc? In other words, what suggestive evidence do you offer that this unconscionable invasion of basic human rights you propose would have any beneficial effect whatsoever?

That having been said, I would like to point out a pretty fundamental flaw in your proposal, regardless of what you think of its morality or usefulness. What happens to second children? Sure, parents wanting a first child might have time to do all this volunteer work, financial contribution, etc. But what about once they have their first child, and want a second? Assuming they can find and pay for childcare so they can get out to your forced labor camps (sorry, I guess I should say mandatory volunteer work), this is parent face-time your program is directly stealing from the first child. You are also forcing the family to live in relatively poor surroundings because even with the new expenses of the first child, they must continue to contribute into the pool for the second child. And no matter what they do, they can never have two children closer in age than four years, to the great detriment of children's opportunities for meaningful sibling relationships.

In short - your proposal, at great social cost, solves nothing and creates vast new problems. I can only conclude that you have never given one moment's thought to the human crisis you would be creating for the family, and that's probably the most frightening thing about this. I would offer as a counter-proposal that instead of licensing procreation, we should license the franchise - with, I can only hope, a mandatory and indefinite exclusion applied to the author(s) of this document.

-Graham

Thank you (3.45 / 11) (#70)
by Phage on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 08:24:48 PM EST

I am so angry with the sheer stupidity of the remarks in this article that I do not trust myself to speak coherently on this subject.

You have covered at least some of the points that are worth mentioning. More occur to me as I write.
I would only disagree with your header. This is not "evil" this is just a wonderful example of over-weaning arrogance mixed with a complete lack of either foresight or compassion.

Or, this could just be the biggest wank/troll/leg-pull of the year....


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros
[ Parent ]

This is not a test (2.00 / 4) (#74)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 08:42:09 PM EST

Or, this could just be the biggest wank/troll/leg-pull of the year....

No, I posted it up to generate serious discussion. Honestly, if someone put something like this up, and said two days later, "Ha! Fooled you! YHBT!", I would be front and center in the angry mob.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Pardon ? (2.90 / 10) (#82)
by Phage on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 09:57:24 PM EST

Is the fact that this was a serious topic supposed to make me feel better ?


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros
[ Parent ]

In retrospect... (1.33 / 3) (#84)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 10:26:20 PM EST

probably not.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
you're excused. (none / 0) (#224)
by marrq on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 07:23:53 PM EST

Is the fact that this was a serious topic supposed to make me feel better ?

No, but I'm sure it makes DoomHaven feel worse that you can't see how this could be a serious topic for discussion. Reading the responces has certainly brought me down.

While I don't think more govenment is a good solution, or even if there is any situation better than it is currently, I certainly would have thought that some people might be able to notice that life as we know it is not ideal.

Personally I think the thing to do is sterilize everyone. Sure the youth in "civilized" society will have a bitch of a time as there eventually becomes too few people to keep things running (power, plumbing, etc), but it would save a lot of pain in the future.

And yes, I admit that it would also cut out a lot of good, but I guess that I'm the sort of utilitarian who believes in the reduction of bad as opposed to the maximazation of good. I believe society's term for such a utilitarian is "sociopath." (sigh)


/dev/md0: ***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED *****
[ Parent ]

Reply (1.66 / 6) (#72)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 08:36:25 PM EST

why do you lay the blame with parents without first considering the effect of the school environment, the media focus on advertising and selling to children, the lack of meaningful opportunities for positive social involvement outside the home available to teens and tweens, etc?
Honestly: my subjective and limited personal experience. But those are really valid points. I never thought about them. How would we deal with, say, media focus? Would you consider that a major problem for children? Should there be laws in place to protect children from the dangers of oppressive schools, for example.

But then, that was a point in my submission. How much control do we give the government to protect our children? When does that control become to great? Will it reach a point when the government can just move in and take full control of our children?

Will it make breeding licenses more acceptable if I say that the government mandates breeding, but then, once you have your child, NEVER INTERFERES WITH YOUR RIGHT TO RAISE YOUR CHILD AGAIN?
In other words, what suggestive evidence do you offer that this unconscionable invasion of basic human rights you propose would have any beneficial effect whatsoever?
No suggestive evidence whatsoever. Though, where is it a basic right to reproduce? Do sterile people have this right? And why is this "unconscionable"? Watch your words; my viewpoint is extreme, I will admit. But so is yours.
But what about once they have their first child, and want a second?
Those time periods are purely arbitrary; they can be juggled around. It might be a great idea that the first "go" through the system allows parents to have two children. Thanks for pointing that out.
they can get out to your forced labor camps (sorry, I guess I should say mandatory volunteer work)
Actually, I have changed this idea somewhat, check out comment #60 to see.
to the great detriment of children's opportunities for meaningful sibling relationships
Got proof? And if we allow two licenses, first time through, this "problem" is eliminated.
In short - your proposal, at great social cost, solves nothing and creates vast new problems

In the short term, I would agree. For the long term, honestly, I believe you are wrong.
I can only conclude that you have never given one moment's thought to the human crisis you would be creating for the family, and that's probably the most frightening thing about this.

I have considered it. This has been my mentality. What if for reasons I have stated, or reasons I never thought of, breeding licenses become legal? How would you enact them? Honestly, from that angle, my submission was the best way to enact something that even I believe is very frightening.

I would offer as a counter-proposal that instead of licensing procreation, we should license the franchise - with, I can only hope, a mandatory and indefinite exclusion applied to the author(s) of this document.

This is pure flamebait. I feel bad wasting all of the above writing on a mere troll.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Simplistic solutions (3.33 / 3) (#83)
by ghjm on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 10:25:24 PM EST

But then, that was a point in my submission. How much control do we give the government to protect our children? When does that control become to great? Will it reach a point when the government can just move in and take full control of our children?

I wish you'd framed the question this way to begin with. If that really is the point in your submission, the answer is trivially simple. In all cases, act in the best interest of the child. The government can never disown its absolute moral duty to the best interests of the child; therefore, it can never accept less than total control over the lives of its children - at any time, government authorities can step in and take full control of a given child, should they determine it is in the best interests of the child for them to do so. If parents also act in the child's best interests, parental and government action ought never come into conflict.

Will it make breeding licenses more acceptable if I say that the government mandates breeding, but then, once you have your child, NEVER INTERFERES WITH YOUR RIGHT TO RAISE YOUR CHILD AGAIN?

No, that would make things worse. Now instead of simply introducing an unnecessary and harmful government program, you've also removed a beneficial one. While everyone has a natural right to reproduce, parents have no absolute right to raise their child. Instead, parents have extensive responsibilities to their children, and should they fail in those responsibilities, government can and should take appropriate action.

It seems to me that what you're trying to do here is take the messy, complex, human issues that arise from raising children, and resolve them before the children are born; or in other words, you expect that your breeding program will produce a smaller number of higher-quality children. It should be obvious that this won't work.

Though, where is it a basic right to reproduce? Do sterile people have this right? And why is this "unconscionable"? Watch your words; my viewpoint is extreme, I will admit. But so is yours.

Of course it's extreme. You're talking about basic human rights. I'm extremely in favor of them. I don't know how I could argue the point of whether reproductive rights constitute basic human rights; there is no absolute right to breathe applicable to a drowning man, yet access to oxygen certainly constitutes a basic human right. Would you accept the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as authoritative on the subject? If so, how do you interpret the phrase "found a family" as it appears in Article 16?

For the long term, honestly, I believe you are wrong.

Would you care to provide details of exactly what you believe the comprehensive long-term costs and benefits of your propsal might turn out to be?

What if for reasons I have stated, or reasons I never thought of, breeding licenses become legal? How would you enact them? Honestly, from that angle, my submission was the best way to enact something that even I believe is very frightening.

Okay, then you need to take a hard look at your own ethical responsibilities in this matter. It is not acceptable to collaborate with something you find to be wrong, even if you believe it to be inevitable. If you believe breeding licenses to be wrong, you must continue to fight against them even (and especially) as they gain favor and therefore legal grounding. For a great example of this sort of thing, read about the career to date of Richard Stallman.

This is pure flamebait. I feel bad wasting all of the above writing on a mere troll.

I have to say, I'm still not convinced this whole article isn't a troll. But I don't see it as flamebait to suggest that if we license the right to reproduce, that we also license the right to vote. And I certainly don't think it's unreasonable that if we were to license the right to vote, convincing public evidence of disdain for normal human compassion should result in a revocation of voting privileges.

-Graham

[ Parent ]

i finally got the deal... (3.00 / 1) (#100)
by fluxrad on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 07:14:15 AM EST

the article isn't a troll.

the article is a normal attempt at moral segregation from a contraversial subject. I have to say i finally understand where DoomHaven is coming from (no, i don't AGREE with him, i just realized how this idea came to be). Think of it this way: Have you ever been given a hypothetical that was so absurd that you rationalized it? Perhaps, how to most efficiently kill someone (no, i'm not insane...just stay with me here). Or, perhaps, the least painful way to kill yourself. Perhaps this has some correlation to the "victim/victimizer" transposition that takes place among many victims of severe crimes (most noteably, a hostage begins to empathize with their captor).

I do not feel that the question of "breeding licenses" is immoral. There is obviously no morality contained in DoomHaven's argument. Being that everyone would agree, taking away an individual's right to reproduce is in violation of every possible moral/ethical code humans have. No, the argument presented by DoomHaven is an amoral one.

This, however, does not make it excuseable. (i hate bringing the WWII argument in here but it's extremely apropos given the subject matter) A highly probable conversation that occurred between Nazis in the 1930's would have been along the lines of "sure, killing the jews is morally wrong, but - if we were to do it, how would we go about it?" The allusion may be a bit far fetched, but in almost every instance in human history, the separation between intellect and emotion has had dire consequences. Neither can stand alone.

Oh well, i suppose the aspect of this article i find most frightening is that we are all taking part in a discussion of this nature. To argue for or against the validity of something so unthinkable and orwellian as this is nearly a crime in and of itself. I feel the sudden urge make sweet love to a woman with child-bearing hips.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
You are three quarters right... (none / 0) (#239)
by DoomHaven on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 02:52:41 AM EST

Yes, that you are correct to think that my idea would be run as a purely *amoral* idea; there is really no way to *morally* justify my stance; if you believe that my idea is "good", you will agree with me; if you believe that it's "bad", you will disagree.

And, to a lesser degree, unplugging yourself, morally, from such an "unthinkable" idea *is* a bad idea, *for today's morality*. However, society's morals are not constant (and never have been, and probably never will), so it isn't completely unthinkable that one day, the question wouldn't be "Should we do this?", it would be "How would we do this?". Today's moral high ground may be tomorrow's stagant swamp. "The future isn't what it used to be" - J. Michael Straczynski

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
good argument. poor premise (3.00 / 1) (#244)
by fluxrad on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 11:46:51 PM EST

And, to a lesser degree, unplugging yourself, morally, from such an "unthinkable" idea *is* a bad idea, *for today's morality*.

i find it hard to believe that a person who is as intelligent as you would seem to be could possibly find it in his ability to come to terms with popular morality.

my morals have been defined by two things: most noteably science, inasmuch as i believe that if you act in such a manner as to inhibit the survival of your own species, you are acting in an immoral fashion. and, seconly, by my own emotions. This would be more along the lines of, treat others as you would have them treat you. I cannot bring myself to beat the crap out of someone (even though this would not necessarily have a negative effect on our species as a whole) because i would not want the same done to me. On the other hand i would fight for my own survival. That, however, is a different topic for a different thread.

Perhaps, sir, your morals have been defined by something else. However, i refuse to believe that your own would be so transient as to change with the winds of time. Could you honestly tell me that 20 years from now, so long as society deemed it acceptable, you would have no problem with murder, rape, or theft?

I think perhaps the disdain others have shown you comes from the fact that, while you don't advocate breeding licenses, you exude the stench of facilitation, or at least acquiesence. If and when breeding licenses actually do exist, i will act in accordance with my own (not society's) morals as i currently do with many laws in existance that i find immoral (or, at the least, oppressive), and i will break that law.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
bit of a rant (none / 0) (#226)
by marrq on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 07:43:11 PM EST

In all cases, act in the best interest of the child.

And is it never in a child's best interest to have not been born in the first place? Not all abusive parents are law breaking criminals who would have had a black market kid even if there was a breeding program. My parents are fairly lawful people, and such a system probably would have prevented my birth. At least I can take small comfort in having had a vasectomy thus guaranteeing that I won't pass on the meme of bad parenting, nor bring an unhappy being into this world.

Granted, I won't bring in a happy one, but consider this... if someone came up to you, and offered to flip a coin, heads he'd give the person you care for most a more blissful environment (material things like house,car,money as well as making them smarter/improving the body), but if tails came up, they'd get a debilitating incurrable, painful disease. Also, you are not allowed to consult this person before you flip the coin. I know that I wouldn't flip it.

And yes, I know that this isn't an exact parallel to breeding. Perhaps it would be better to say you roll a 1d20 and if it comes up 20 they get good stuff, 1 they get bad stuff, and 2-19 nothing happens. about 90% of the people seem (to me) to be unthinking/feeling couch potatoes, 5% really are happy, and 5% are really unhappy. I wouldn't roll that die, and admittedly, I think poorly of people who do roll the die without even considering that a negative result could come out.

I'm so sick and tired of the meme that every new life can only be a good thing and that more people is good. The birth of a child should not be a joyous event, but one of reflection, especially for the parents.

convincing public evidence of disdain for normal human compassion should result in a revocation of voting privileges.

Excuse me, but if you think that the continued allowing of inept parents to bring beings into an existence which can only be pain is good, I think that you've just disqualified yourself from voting on that "human compassion" issue. (/me spits)


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[ Parent ]

Token reply (none / 0) (#240)
by DoomHaven on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 02:57:59 AM EST

In case you actually care, I would have to say, that at the time of my post, your post is the single most meaningful post that I have not replied to. Hopefully, tomorrow, I can reply to your post; but as it stands, I have burnt myself out replying to everything else that I can't simply counter your logical arguments with the same.

Feel free to post any additional points that you may have missed to the end of this reply. Rest assured, your post is definitely worth a good response.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
tongue in cheek. (none / 0) (#225)
by marrq on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 07:27:59 PM EST

Watch your words; my viewpoint is extreme, I will admit. But so is yours.

Yes, but while ghjm's view is extreme, but is shared by the majority, so it is obviously right, which makes you obviously wrong, and a nut who should be locked up. After all, a billion xtians can't be wrong, right? Or was that a billion hindu's can't be wrong? Eh, it's one of the two ;)


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[ Parent ]

I will hope/assume... (none / 0) (#238)
by DoomHaven on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 02:31:15 AM EST

...that you are joking. If so, that was a really good one!

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
More mocking than joking. (none / 0) (#246)
by marrq on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 03:06:35 PM EST

Specifically I was mocking the (incorrect) viewpoint that if one's opinions are the same as the majority of people that they are correct. That's mainly why I brought up the issue of a billion xtians and a billion hindus. They can't both be right, but there's a lot of people who think their religion is correct.

(and note, there is a difference between believing in something, and thinking/knowing it is true. I *believe* there is no god. I *think* we see a rainbow in the sky because of the way different frequencies of light get refracted while passing thru water droplets. I would be incorrect to "know" that there is no god)


/dev/md0: ***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED *****
[ Parent ]

Religion (3.50 / 8) (#66)
by SwampGas on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 07:15:45 PM EST

I believe I saw a comment from someone else speaking about the Catholic church....it can go beyond that seeing as though the bible covers more than Christianity.

I'm no biblical scholar, but I do recall hearing this: "be fruitful and multiply". Not "be fruitful when you obtain your license".

I couldn't find it in Genesis. (1.66 / 3) (#69)
by DoomHaven on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 07:44:38 PM EST

The only quote I could find was the one I used.

Wait, come to think of it, God told that to Noah after the Flood. Grrrr, I want to use that in the article! Damn it!

You are right, though. God did say that, too.

Though, I am not Christian. As well, in a non-Christian country, are you saying that Breeding Licenses would be okay?

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Married couple requirement (4.00 / 6) (#73)
by WispFox on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 08:38:19 PM EST

'The first step to acquire a Breeding License will be application by the prospective *married* *couple*.'

I have a major problem with this requirement. Same-sex couples are not allowed to get married legally. The above statement therefore prohibits any same-sex couple, no matter how wonderful parents they might be, from having (via donated sperm, or egg and womb) or adopting children.

My second major complaint would be with the removal of the child from its parents if the parents have a child without the license. It's not precisely good for a child to lose its parents, especially if said child then ends up in some sort of a government-run facility.

The idea of a breeding license, I agree with, simply because many people should not be parents. And most of them tend to have way too many of them.

Putting it into practice, however, allows for entirely too much governmental involvement in the way that a family is run. If they can regulate that, what can't they regulate?

Replying to myself (none / 0) (#75)
by WispFox on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 08:42:36 PM EST

Apparently someone else already brought up lesbians. Teach me to not read comments before posting.

Note: +1 because I'm sure this will (has!) foster lots of discussion.

[ Parent ]
Priorities... (none / 0) (#94)
by B'Trey on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 06:01:02 AM EST

Let me see if I understand this. You don't have any problem with the IDEA of someone else deciding who is and isn't a fit parent but you're bothered by them deciding what is and isn't appropriate sexual behavior?

[ Parent ]
Hello really delayed response (none / 0) (#254)
by WispFox on Wed Feb 07, 2001 at 08:26:16 PM EST

Note: it was not the idea of someone else deciding who is a fit parent (that is where my trouble with the concept has always come in), but the idea of being able to reduce the rediculous number of children being born. Especially the ones that aren't *wanted*.

[ Parent ]
What a modest proposal... (4.66 / 9) (#79)
by evro on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 09:23:20 PM EST

You may want to take it a step further -- after all, what do we do with all the unwanted people we have now?
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"
Unfortunately... (2.33 / 3) (#92)
by B'Trey on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 05:57:49 AM EST

Swift's essay was satire. This appears to be either a troll or a serious proposal.

[ Parent ]
An Incredibly Bad Idea (4.25 / 8) (#86)
by Logan on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 01:13:24 AM EST

As a rabid Libertarian, this idea strikes me as bad in principle. If I and some female want to procreate, there's nothing you can do to stop us other than offer incentives or coercion, and I would never stand for coercion. If you wish to offer incentives, however, I can think of more effective methods than the ones you proposed, which would require no coercion, no bureaucracy, and no enforcement (which in itself is coercion).

There are generally three reasons a couple will have a baby. The first reason is because they want it, and are capable of providing for it. These babies are, for the most part, not part of the problems you described, because they will grow up in a loving environment. The second reason is because they have some incentive to. Examples would be because the parents need labor (such as on poor farms), or because the government subsidizes larger families (such as some forms of welfare). To remove these incentives requires a wealthier society (which results from a free society; look at the US) and ceasing to subsidize families. If it's not profitable to have a child, and you don't want to raise a child, then there's no reason to intentionally have one, is there? The third reason, of course, is not really a reason -- that is, by accident. There are obvious solutions to the problem of accidental births, such as increased awareness of contraceptive methods (and sex in general) as well as public acceptance of abortion. To achieve this we simply have to break ourselves out of our traditionally sexually repressive societies and look upon sex and conception as functions which we can control.

We can negate the need for "breeding licenses" by simply eliminating incentives for procreation (beyond that of personal desire to have children) and dealing with sex and procreation in a rational, intelligent manner. Once we transcend into a society where conception is a manageable function fully controllable on the part of the woman (from enhancing the possibility to detracting from the possibility to eliminating the fact through abortion), everyone will have personal control over how they contribute to the world's population. Once this is achieved, simply remove the profitability of having children for no reason, and we will have a world where the population is effectively however big we require it to be. Without having to subject anyone to the humiliating, demeaning, and immoral process of begging for permission to procreate.

Logan

KISS it (3.00 / 5) (#87)
by losthalo on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 01:42:44 AM EST

Instead of trying to mandate a license to procreate, and then punish those that break the law (good luck with that, you'll make the War on Drugs results look -good!-), develop a long-term, reliable method of birth-control that is reversible. Then apply it to everyone, and require your license to procreate; license = access to the reversal process. Instead of -that-, how about developing said good birth control, make it freely available, and prevent all those unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. Finance it for the Third World. Put people in control of their reproduction, get all this past the Catholics, and you'll have Something. No more population worries. Freedom works better than coersion. Open Source Reproduction! Bruce von Nagel "First it was, didn't know what the box was. Then it was, didn't open the box. But we do keep finding each other."

Sweet Jebus (4.60 / 15) (#90)
by mdxi on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 02:08:04 AM EST

While I am all for intelligent population control, and while I agree with the sentiment that many people are inadequate parents, everything in this piece is downright frightening.

I'm honestly appalled that someone could think this way and calmly put forth a plan to remove all privacy from people's lives (because that's what this would pretty much require) and violently penalize biological drives. Perhaps you should go a step further and suggest a Breathing License to take a care of all those pesky unlicensed breathers we have meandering around today.

As some posts below indicate, population growth in most developed countries is either near-zero or negative (Japan). We don't need fascist controls over reproductive issues in countries where the government structure exists to support such a plan, we need better education, agriculture and economies in the rest of the world.

The amazing flat tone of all the replies (handily labeled 'Reply' in most cases) is almost as chilling and makes me think one of two things: either this is a big hoax/social engineering job, or DoomHaven is one (1) governmentally certifiable sociopath of the highest calibre.

--
SYN SYN NAK

Titles, privacy, and sociopathic ideals (1.00 / 1) (#131)
by DoomHaven on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 02:04:25 PM EST

First, the reason most of my titles are marked "Reply" is because of the sheer volume of specific points and questions I have responded to (and the very high number of individual points per post), as well as the character limitation on a title. Also, I am mentally burnt out; between writing the article, and replying to people, that I don't even bother to throw together a half decent title.

Privacy: I fail to see how this affects privacy. Please expand.

This isn't a joke. I am putting this out as a serious discussion piece.

It's funny: while the government shouldn't be allowed to say who is okay to become a parent, they not only can "certify" "sociopaths", but actually have have a "calibre" system for them.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Re: privacy (3.00 / 1) (#149)
by SEAL on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 07:26:29 PM EST

Privacy: I fail to see how this affects privacy. Please expand.

Many people view certain rights to be beyond their government's sphere of influence. The right to raise a family may fall into this category. What you are talking about essentially boils down to getting permission from the government to have a child.

When you speak of "confiscating" children, you can't expect to be taken seriously. At least not in the U.S. In fact, I'm surprised you didn't research into China a bit more. They have implemented restrictions on # of children per family. But I wouldn't say their government is too concerned with individual privacy.

- SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]

Let me rephrase that (1.00 / 1) (#187)
by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 02:08:14 AM EST

Okay, I understand that; you cannot privately decide to have a child; of course then this will affect privacy.

But that sentence should have read:

Privacy: I fail to see how this removes privacy. Please expand.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Satire (3.00 / 1) (#208)
by mdxi on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 01:23:27 PM EST

It's funny: while the government shouldn't be allowed to say who is okay to become a parent, they not only can "certify" "sociopaths", but actually have have a "calibre" system for them.

Now I know you're a troll. It's called "satire" (or, variously, "sarcasm", "parody" or "mocking"). But you already knew that. HTH, HAND! :)

--
SYN SYN NAK
[ Parent ]

I don't understand? (none / 0) (#234)
by DoomHaven on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 01:50:19 AM EST

Now I know you're a troll. It's called "satire" (or, variously, "sarcasm", "parody" or "mocking"). But you already knew that. HTH, HAND! :)
Sorry, I don't understand. How have I proved myself a troll? What is the satire you refer to? What is "HTH" and "HAND"?

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Overpopulation and Parenting (4.70 / 17) (#91)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 05:41:54 AM EST

This whole sordid idea is based on two flawed sets of assumptions.

Firstly, there is no population problem. No, not even in the third world. Populations in the western democracies are actually starting to fall. If anything we need more people to maintain our standard of living. As to the third world, it is a common misconception that their problems are due to a lack of natural resources. Instead, they are usually due to mismanagement, poor government and war. Consider: we can grow food, we can recycle metal after its used once, and we can use alternative energy sources even after all the oil and coal are gone. The limit is ingenuity, not some ill-defined concept of "carrying capacity". See the works of Julian Simon for more information on this.

The second, and far less forgivable, misconception is that you, or anyone, knows how to bring up children "better" than their parents. I do not accept that parents automatically know how to bring up kids, but not do I accept that the state does. Although it is a complex and difficult issue, we must respect people's autonomy, and therefore work from the liberal first principle that unless someone is actually doing harm, the law should not be turned against them. Its clearly not the case than "underqualified" parents are always harmful, and I see nothing in your program that gaurantees good parenting.

It may be the case, though I do not believe it, that the current generation of children are "worse" than previous ones, and that this is the fault of the parents, which is even more dubious. If this is so, and you believe you know what the problem is, it is your responsibility to go out and persuade the parents of the rightness of your views, not to dream up idle plans for a totalitarian birth control policy.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[braces self for mud slung] (2.16 / 12) (#93)
by Pimp Ninja on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 06:00:25 AM EST

Well, i confess that i was totally unsurprised by the responses that i've read so far. Nearly to a man they've been the usual predictable "This is evil" line.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but what world are you people living in? Am i the only one who's noticed that a good percentage of people are really really poorly equipped for parenting? God... It seems to me that for every friend i know who is a great parent to their child or children, i know 3 or 4 who are neglectful, abusive, and incompetent at it. And it shows in the behaviour of their children. Is this the sort of thing that we want for our childrens' world down the line? Sure, the crap that we're raising now won't affect us too much, but our kids are going to bear the brunt of our bad breeding.

Now, i'm not in total agreement with this program that DoomHaven has put forth, not by a long shot. But the fact remains that without some change, our childrens' children are going to be raised by one of the most morally devoid generations of parents in the history of man. [hyperbole acknowledged] Anyone who's read my postings at all will note that generally i lean on the side of rabid libertarianism. That being said, i also realize that with liberty comes responsibility, and that liberty is a privilege, not a right. Given that, it seems to me that the freedom to have children, as with all responsibilities, should be taken away if one does not earn it.

And my god, is this post ever a rambling, schizophrenic mess :)

Anyway, that's my .025


-----

If we demand from them without offering in return, what are we but better-
dressed muggers holding up the creative at the point of a metaphorical gun?


Horrors... (4.00 / 3) (#95)
by B'Trey on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 06:07:24 AM EST

Someone proposes a fascist proposal that seeks to completely abolish one of the most fundamental human rights, and all everyone can talk about is how evil it is. You need some serious perspective. Your great grandparents were saying the same things about your grandparents and their evil jazz music.

[ Parent ]
poor defense (3.66 / 3) (#101)
by fluxrad on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 07:34:24 AM EST

who are you to tell me how to raise my own child?

who are you to tell me which is more important, the state or the man? (I think) You live in a country which was founded for the good of the individual, rather than the good of the group.

You know. It's funny when i think....every non-parent (and most parents) i know tell me what a shitty job everyone else is doing of raising their kids. To each, they are the worlds greatest parents and everyone else should be locked up or sent to a Dr. Spock seminar.

And finally, if you think government sponsored good-parenting is the answer, than you have already lost your humanity. But, most importantly, if we have come so far as to need authoritarian intervention to police ourselves from ourselves, then we have no need to do so, for it is a hopeless battle.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
If liberty is a privilege... (5.00 / 1) (#111)
by dennis on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 09:33:59 AM EST

....it's not liberty at all. If you tell me "you can have liberty, on the condition that you do x,y and don't do z" then I have no liberty. You can make x,y,z anything you want, expand the list whenever you want, and keep telling me I have the privilege of liberty as you hammer on the chains.

[ Parent ]
Old, old complaints (none / 0) (#138)
by itsbruce on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 03:29:53 PM EST

But the fact remains that without some change, our childrens' children are going to be raised by one of the most morally devoid generations of parents in the history of man.

That's not a fact, it's an opinion. Lamentations about the state of the current generation are as old as history. Ancient writings are full of them. Much of the Old Testament is a parental rant.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
Jonathan Swift proposed something similar (3.50 / 4) (#96)
by ChazR on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 06:35:37 AM EST

Check out Jonathan Swift's "A modest Proposal"

Two simple words. (3.11 / 9) (#98)
by scumbag on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 06:45:50 AM EST

The general population will have just two simple words for any kind of forced/regulated population control.

Fuck off.....

Oh? (1.00 / 1) (#214)
by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 04:11:47 PM EST

Then why don't Roman Catholics tell their church that? Especially the priests/nuns/etc that have to take vows of celibacy?

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Holy Moses (3.90 / 10) (#99)
by fluxrad on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 06:48:34 AM EST

how the HELL did this get on k5?

Breeding licenses?????? are you CRAZY?!?!?!?!?

1)How do you stop people from reproducing? you think we're all just going to sign a piece of paper that says "fuck it, temporarily sterilize me for the greater good." Need i remind the k5 reading public that the catholic church (a MAJOR opponent of birth control) has a teensy weensy presence on this planet. they might have something to say about "breeding licenses"

2)You bet your sweet ass that reproduction is a right. whether or not it is god given is not an issue. (BTW - the birth/pain issue is a pretty weak argument for natural or supernatural dissuasion. I, personally, am a fan of having sex. If you don't think sex absolutely ROX, then their's something wrong with you. physically or mentally.) - indeed, perhaps we are becoming overpopulated on this planet. that's ok. let's find another one to rape and pillaige as well. But the moment we start throwing people in prison, or forcing abortions because the woman got pregnant is an absolute absurdity.

THE most fundamental freedom in our pathetic lives is the freedom to procreate. Humans, as a species, have a duty to continue their species in as much abundance as possible. If overcrowding is that much of a problem we will either A) fix the problem (colonization: don't laugh at terraforming, it could happen in the next 500 years) or B)die in record numbers until earth reaches equilibrium once again. I have no problem with either of these. But if you tell me that i no longer have the right to propagate my species, or even my single family tree - then you have taken away that which defines me. In essence, you have taken away the only immortality that we, as humans, have. What seperates us, then, from an emotional void? We are no longer humans, but methodical machines, setting amoral rules for our species' survival. (Will retarded people be granted licenses. What about genetic testing.)

hey - fuck it. let's just finish what hitler started and create a master race while we're at it. no one will think anything's wrong with that!

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
China - lessons learnt? (none / 0) (#102)
by Mr Tom on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 07:38:35 AM EST

Whilst I agree with the original post in terms of the fact that there is a situation to address: namely uneducated poor people have more kids than educated rich ones, and cause an undue burden on society. (Bit of a simplified precis there, but...)

China's 1-child policy worked in terms of reducing population growth, but led to thousands of cases of infanticide, as parents found that there one (and only) child was of the wrong sex. And now, there's a huge problem where there are far too many men in China. Basically. so that's not going to be a good plan.

Legislating in this area would be utterly unenforceable, and have more ethical/moral implications than playing football with a baby's head.

So about all you can (and should) be doing, is making having large numbers of children socially unacceptable. which is happening. Birth rates are falling, quality of life is going up. No-one's pissed off.

Of course, this is all in developed countries, where healthcare is good enough to ensure that virtually every child you have will grow to adulthood. In the 3rd world, there are much more pressing issues than this: AIDS, war, healthcare, education. Solving those problems will do much more to stabilise birthrates than a blanket "one child"-type law.

In short - yes, there are too many people. But the solution is not to make making people illegal, it's making it unnatractive. People will always do whatever they want, regardless. So you need to foster a society in which health is good, education is strong, and individualism is the norm.

Of course, it could be argued that the USA only has one of those.....


-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.
[ Parent ]

I agree (3.83 / 6) (#104)
by pallex on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 08:31:15 AM EST

But i think we should go further. We need thinking licences. Some people just think the wrong things. In a few years we`ll be able to wire someone up to a pc and see what they are thinking about; shortly after it`ll be possible to have portable ones. Then we can stop people on the street, and ship`em downtown, where they can be compulsarily entered into `idea rehab`, where their thought processes can be realigned into more decent ways of thought.

I'm surprised.... (4.11 / 9) (#105)
by Zapata on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 08:35:35 AM EST

... that no one has called this a troll. It's got to be the most elaborate one I've seen. Someone did suggest DoomHaven was playing devils advocate. Maybe that's the new PC term for troll.

"If you ain't got a camel, you ain't Shiite."


Population control vs. citizen control (4.00 / 5) (#106)
by blixco on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 08:41:32 AM EST

The proposal sounds pretty nuts, to be sure. If over population is that much of a concern (and it should be) we can start giving incentives (tax breaks, education vouchers) to make life easier for those who have fewer kids while not punishing those who have more kids. Even this is imperfect, but you're talking about something that has a lot of potential for abuse and has only been explored from a genocidal perspective.

The Fear is that this would generate a racist skew in who is allowed to have children and who isn't. There's room for abuse, and it would be abused. We can't trust our government as far as we can overthrow them, so I would bet that the numbers would be skewed to, say, slow the growing numbers of hispanics in this country (currently a majority where I am from). Perhaps more disturbing would be to control the numbers in favor of a certain voting class or consumer type (for the sponsors). Fine grained control over future voters, demographics that are skewed to help out the major advertisers and backers of campaigns...what a system!

It'd never happen, even though it sounds like something the government would come up with in a crisis. This country has a few too many issues around fertility and reproduction....we keep trying to outlaw birth control in schools and abortion. I just don't see Joe Sixpack sitting idely by while the G men take away two or three of his kids.

On the plus side, as far as trolls go, this one was pretty long.

-------------------------------------------
The root of the problem has been isolated.
Two separate issues (3.37 / 8) (#108)
by Mawbid on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 09:02:47 AM EST

As many have noted, population growth levels out as a society advances, living standards and education are elevated, and people focus on their careers and idle pursuits. Overpopulation is only a problem while there are countries without McDonalds restaurants, and don't kid yourselves they'll be around for much longer.

The other issue, the "you need a license to drive, but any idiot is allowed to breed" issue will, however, continue to exist after McDonalds has assimilated the entire globe.

In absence of the first issue, I believe the current system, where anyone can have a child and anyone who neglects or abuses their child can lose it, represents the only viable solution. It's not the perfect solution, but neither are breeding licenses.

Finally, I'd like to express my disappointment in those who responded DoomHaven as if he were some sort of monster for thinking up this scheme. The scheme is objectional to most of us, it's not something we would like to see happen. But sometimes we have to do shit we don't like. If the overpopulation problem is real, we have to deal with it. If you don't like any of the solutions, you still have to pick one. It's a hard choice. We see these hard choices everywhere. Energy, for example. If too much is being used, usage must be cut or more power plants built. You want to burn more fossil fuels? You want a nuclear plant in your back yard? You want to remodel the landscape to make a dam for a hydroplant? You want to live in a forest of windmills? Probably none of these, but you still want to power your Athlon, right? Don't piss on those who are willing to make hard choices.

Growth leveling and a big Thanks! (1.00 / 1) (#186)
by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 02:03:00 AM EST

Yes, a lot of people mentioned that growth in first-world countries is leveling off. But: what if consumption still increases?

And thanks for the defense in your last paragraph; that is *exactly* my mentality. Your last paragraph sums it up better than I did and could.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
You're missing the problem (none / 0) (#222)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 06:26:27 PM EST

This proposal is absurd because it hasn't been thought-through. Here's why-

Is overpopulation a problem?

How many is too many? is 5 billion people too many? how about 10 billion? Why?

Are things getting worse?

I don't think so. Child abuse is nothing new, neither is alcoholism or violent crime. Many studies have shown that crime is actually dropping.

Is lack of food a problem?

In 1700 there was a 3 to 1 ratio of farmers, today there is a 1500 to 1 ratio as a result of machinery and better farming methods. As genetic engineering improves, that ratio will increase further.

Are new children the problem?

Birth rates have declined in most countries in the last century. The average life expectancy, on the other hand, has increased by about 30-40%. Why should we restrict the birth of the young, when we can accelerate the death of the old.



[ Parent ]
Solution: Make birth control available (4.57 / 7) (#109)
by Sherman Peabody on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 09:26:27 AM EST

and the women of the world will jump for it. They will gladly take it. Lets face it, the two biggest population problems come from India and Africa.

When people have gone to rural India and explained to women that they could take a little pill and not get prgneant any more, they overwhelmingly decided to do it. Why people in our new current government (John Ashcroft, for one) have a problem with this I don't know. Why can't we offer birth control as a service to the world?

The chinese option is a scary one.

P.S. This is flamebait if I ever saw it.



I'm curious (4.00 / 1) (#114)
by kostya on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 10:12:19 AM EST

Why exactly do you think the woman will jump at birth control? You just state that they will. You give no reasons as to why. It just seems "self-evident" from your post.

The reason I ask is because most Third World nations have a problem with child mortality rates. Many families are large simply to beat the statistics--that is, to have enough children so that a good number will survive long enough to help the family survive economically.

So I wonder if your logic is really true. Would women jump at it? Have you considered emotional, religious, and social issues that encourage large families? What about the need for a son as an heir in many societies (especially China)? What specifically would make women in these incredibly different societies leap at the option of birth control? Life is very different there and the pressures and realities of such a life often shape their decisions.

I'm just curious to see what your reasons are.

Something you might also consider is that birth control pills violates many culture's religious beliefs (due to how they work). Natural birth control methods (Billings Method comes to mind) are extremely effective, easy to teach, and cheap. Perhaps these would be a better option over the pill--especially in countries that have a hard enough time purchasing antibiotics.



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Brith control (none / 0) (#157)
by DarthZeth on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 08:48:41 PM EST

In my High School Sociology class we were watching a video about the 50's that included a section on the invention of "the pill". one of the people involved in the creation of the pill reportedly was swamped by desperate women looking for a way out of endless baby-making. This is not trying to prove a point of veiw, considering that it lacks a look into the cultural and religious backgrounds of the people looking for a 'way out' its just ment to shed a little light. while some people swould reject the principle of birth control pills, other may embrace it. also, if "the pill" is introduced in time to catch on right before a medical and economic up swing of a nation/economy then it would work out to lower birth rate and moratality rate all in one... of course, that cant be planned by anyone, it would just be nice if it happened that way.
"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from mistaken conviction." Blaise Pascal
[ Parent ]
Aids will make it's mark (2.66 / 3) (#110)
by Sherman Peabody on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 09:29:44 AM EST

Right now, as we all sit comfortably, there are over 10 million Africans infected with HIV. Their fate is sealed since they can't afford the drugs to keep themselves alive. This will be the single largest challenge to sub-saharan Africa in the next decade.

Any thoughts on how to handle this and what it will mean to the world?



Drugs delay the inevitable (none / 0) (#115)
by substrate on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 10:26:03 AM EST

AIDS is terminal, their fate is sealed even if they do get drugs. The former basketball player, Magic Johnson has AIDS and is getting the drugs. The disease will kill him too.

We already know how to prevent AIDS, we also know how to reduce the probability of transmitting AIDS (since preventing AIDS - abstinence - is unrealistic when applied to society as a whole) through the use of condoms. In terms of knocking down the disease, spending money on condoms and education on their use would have the most impact.

In the mean time spend money on a vaccine (VAXGEN is in the final stages of clinical testing on one vaccine) or a cure. A vaccine or cure would probably not immediately help Africa, they can't afford it.

[ Parent ]

Massive public health problem (none / 0) (#142)
by twit on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 04:04:56 PM EST

I daresay that it'll be a massive public health problem, but by and large restricted to the third world, where massive population displacement has destroyed the family system and the means to stop the epidemic are unavailable.

Likewise, it will become a massive economic problem. Someone with AIDS in the first world can live for years even decades, possibly to a natural term (as the previous responder seems to have forgotten, everybody dies eventually). They will go on producing and consuming. Someone with AIDS in the third world will suck up resources for a couple of years as they gradually waste away. These countries will suffer from declining populations, declining GDP's and economic productivity, etc. If they're bad now, they will be much worse in a decade.

Those countries will almost certainly go through massive social upheaval through the time. Many neighbours will go to war, sensing each other's weaknesses, and there will be civil wars. Perhaps even continent-wide wars.

None of this is good. But there is a bright side, I think. Africa and the third world will probably recover inside a few generations, once treatment or better yet a vaccine becomes available. Look at WWII - the planet ended it with 100 million more people than when it started, despite the carnage in europe and asia. I should think that Africa will recover from AIDS quickly enough, when social changes and medical changes (and, yes, economic changes) make it possible.

[ Parent ]
...not africa... (none / 0) (#247)
by JohnHopfrog on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 06:11:44 AM EST

I suggest you check your data again. The population problem is in no way related to africa - considering the growth, population and land mass.

-John

[ Parent ]
Chaos and evolution (4.25 / 4) (#113)
by jabber on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 09:41:25 AM EST

The only reason evolution works as well as it does is because it is fundamentally chaotic, and greedy in nature. As soon as you begin selective breeding, as you would do with any sort of controlled breeding license, you introduce a preconceived and slanted notion of what 'fittest' means. As soon as you define 'fittnes', you'd better be able to control your environment so that it doesn't change under you, making your 'master race' unfit for survival.

While I do have mixed feelings about the effect of modern medicine on the 'fittness' of humans (allowing the handicapped, disabled or somehow genetically disadvantaged (ALS, MS, diabetic, etc) to pass on their traits), I do not think that we as a race/species stand to gain anything for our progeny by (arrogantly) defining what makes one person better than another. Case in point - Stephen Hawking.

On a related issue, the development of genetic manipulation will allow parents to control some (likely not all) aspects of their children. This is similar, but not the same, since there will less likely be a unified mandate on what 'fittness' entails. Individual parents will raise various sorts of superstars, and nature will decide whether they are breeding themselves out of the gene pool. A governmental or global sanction on 'fittness' has been tried before, and failed misarably.

The Chinese have a strict policy on multiple children, but not on who can and can not have them. And even there, I'm sure that every other person is below average.

Breeding licenses are a horrible idea that guys like George Carlin and Dennis Leary make into something funny - if you're going to follow the advice of a stand-up comic, may I suggest Bill Cosby?

But it would make for an excellent Sci-Fi book.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Mandatory volunteering is not volunteering (4.62 / 8) (#116)
by flieghund on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 10:51:28 AM EST

Aaarrgghhhh!

My high school implemented a mandatory (as in, required for graduation) "volunteer" program for the graduating class after me. It struck me as stupid then just as the suggestion above does now.

volunteer: A person who performs or offers to perform a service of his or her own free will (emphasis added)

Compelling people to "volunteer" in return for a reward of some kind guts the entire concept of volunteerism. If you volunteer expecting to receive anything other than the feeling of having done a good deed, you're in it for the wrong reason. (Ayn Rand's arguments notwithstanding...)

Maybe you want to change the term from "volunteer" to something else? I think "Mandatory Social Service" would be a lot more in line with truth-in-advertising.

A second issue I have with this whole so-called volunteer requirement is the time commitment. You state that this is to ensure that the parents will be able to commit enough time to raising their child. In my admittedly limitted volunteer experience, most places prefer volunteers during "normal working hours," i.e., nine-to-five, or when you should be working. There are few positions (again, in my limitted experience) available for nights and weekends -- certainly not enough to provide for the masses of people who would fall under your proposed program.

So, that means I have to drop to half-time status in my job. If my employer doesn't fire me (which is unlikely, I wouldn't expect to keep the same job), the minimum that happens is that I'm making half as much money as I used to. Assuming that I'm able to find a half-time night job to supplement my half-time day job, that means that I'm working, volunteering, and working most of the day and night, leaving almost no time for any personal needs (exercise, hobbies, etc.). Compounding this is the fact that most half-time jobs don't provide benefits such as health and dental care, so those become out-of-pocket expenses -- which are already being stretched! And, on top of all of this, I'm expected to put away $10,000 a year?! It doesn't matter that I get the money back if I have to live in poverty in the meantime. If you figure that an average person can pack away 15% of their gross income each year for savings, that means you (between you and your spouse) would have to make $67,000/year, or about $33,000 each. My mother has never made that much money in a single year, nor has my father, and yet they had enough to raise me well, buy me nice things (as well as nice things for themselves), buy a house, and send me to college. Computer geeks seem to forget that there is another side to society that doesn't make $60K/year as an entry level position...

The $180,000 figure is, as statistics tend to be, very misleading. I'm assuming that it represents the mean average, or total amount spent divided by total number of children. I'm sure you'd get a different value if you took the mode (most ocurring value), and a different one yet if you took the median (value located in the middle of the list of all values). But we'll go with it because it's what you chose to use.

I understand why some people would say that the $180,000 "invested" in a child brings no return on investment... but I would guarantee that those same people do not have children. If it had cost a million dollars to raise me, my parents would have gladly paid, because they love me, and they felt I'm worth it. (Plus, now that they're both getting older, it's going to fall on my shoulders to support them.)


Using a Macintosh is like picking your nose: everyone likes to do it, but no one will admit to it.
"Volunteer" and $$$ (1.00 / 1) (#172)
by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 12:19:34 AM EST

I changed the volunteer program, please check comment #60 out. You are right, it's not volunteer; it's mandatory. Call it the conscription program, if you want.

> But we'll go with it because it's what you chose to use.

GAK! I threw that number out as a purely *arbitrary*. What would you consider a more median, mode, or mean number? Would a percentage of income be better? If so, name the percentage. If you don't like the number, change it; don't just complain! If it *really* irks you, then put in *zero*!


My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
Consolidated reply (none / 0) (#200)
by flieghund on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 10:29:17 AM EST

Any dollar value you choose will be arbitrary, unless it varies by couple according to some kind of formula. But even then, there would be cries of unfairness, so really, any value you choose under any method will be met with some kind of resistance.

Just as a helpful hint for future articles: Calvin & Hobbes is an excellent source for philosophical meanderings, but I'd choose something more official (e.g., scientific research) for pulling facts such as how much it costs to raise a child. Though I admit that I myself have heard the $180,000 number tossed around outside of comic strips, my original statements stand -- that's a raw statistical value and meaningless without its associated context.

Sorry to have gone off on the whole volunteer thing... I just get really irritated when people call any work done for charity "volunteering" even when it is required or paid. On the flip side, I am often bewildered by charity organizations that make unreasonable (IMHO) time requests of their volunteers...

A child can in fact make a financial contribution to a family. For starters, there are tax breaks for dependents (children). Once a child reaches a certain age, he or she can assist the parents in household chores. Parents can set aside pre-tax income for educational IRAs, to ease financial burdens when their child enters college. When the child gets a good, high-paying job, he or she can send money home to help support his or her parents. I'm not trying to claim than any of these would offset the cost of raising a child, but I don't feel that they should be ignored as positive financial influences.

Ultimately, I think the biggest flaw in your proposal is the concentration on time and money. Free time and money to burn do not good parents make. I have friends and acquaintances who come from all walks of life, from the girl who grew up in poverty with a mother who had to work four jobs to make ends meet, to the guy with surgeon parents who buy him a new custom-made Audi every four years. Overwhelmingly, the people I know who grew up with parents who loved them -- regardless of the amount of time said parents spent with their child, and regardless of the financial situation of the family -- those kids grew up to be the most well-adjusted, "normal" kids I know. If you want a test for qualified parenthood, dump the time-and-money tests and develop some kind of test for love. Good luck, BTW.


Using a Macintosh is like picking your nose: everyone likes to do it, but no one will admit to it.
[ Parent ]
Love vs time? (1.00 / 1) (#202)
by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 10:44:50 AM EST

Honestly, while I believe you are correct that *love* is the ultimate indicator of a parent, that the tests for *lovingness* (is that even a word) would be impossible to define. Time, on the other hand, is *very* easy to benchmark, and a strong indicator of *love* (in my opinion).

Lastly, the money value was purely arbitrary, a formula or a percentage would probably be the best idea.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
100% Agreement (4.52 / 17) (#117)
by baberg on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 11:03:16 AM EST

Know what? I absolutely, 100%, completely agree with this. The government should be able to control how we reproduce. I mean, after all, they have done such a good job with the rest of the tasks we have entreated to them... Education, the War on Drugs, maintaining peace...

But you know what? I don't think that your plan goes quite far enough. There can still be people who will have dangerous, "back-alley" births. They will become pregnant in secret, and have somebody give birth to their children in a secluded location where the cries of the newborn baby cannot be heard.

I therefore propose that, at birth, all people are sterilized. Sure, a small percentage will be kept fertile in order to provide sperm and eggs for the next generation, but that would be about 1%, and their only occupation in life would be to donate sperm and eggs (depending on gender). These eggs and sperm would be controlled (naturally) by the government, and sent to "Fertilization Plants" where they would undergo treatment, including the fertilization of the egg, as well as bombardment with radiation that induces the egg to split in a process called "Bokanovsky's Process." Therefore, people will no longer be jealous of others, because, in fact, they would be twins (but really, more like 64ths)

While still inside of the Fertilization Plants, they would be treated for various illnesses like typhoid and sleeping sickness. Further, I propose that we establish varying classes of individuals. For lack of a better name, we shall call them, in rank, Alphas, Betas, Gammas, and so on. Alphas will hold the highest ranking in our brave new society, a veritable utopia, with Betas below Alphas, and so on.

Let's mass-produce embryos! Let's all join together and enjoy rampant sex without worrying about making people pregnant! Let's all revel in the great wonder-drug, Soma! And when an outsider comes into our society, let's point out how backwards his own beliefs are and drive him to suicide!

(The above rant is used with all due respect to Aldous Huxley)

THX 1138 (3.00 / 1) (#121)
by rebelcool on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 11:54:14 AM EST

Excellent movie that has something like this..where sex is illegal and everyone is required to take drugs to keep them submissive. One of george lucas' first. Go rent it and enjoy. (Yes, thats where the name of THX audio standard came from, was the name and protagonist of this movie, played by Robert Duvall)

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

More situations to think about. (4.75 / 8) (#119)
by Mashx on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 11:40:31 AM EST

Just some questions to Doomhaven...

  • What happens to the child(ren) in the case of the parents divorcing?
  • What happens when one of the parents dies?
  • What happens to all the children snatched away from parents without licences etc?
  • Who will PAY for all these children?
  • If a couple have a licence but are then unable to conceive, can they use a surrogate mother?

    Don't you think that if a couple fail the 'volunteer' program that they will just go ahead anyway and just try to hide the child, depriving the child of any normal life? This subject reminds me of circumstances in two books, one being 'Brave New World' by Aldous Huxley and also 'The Chrysalids' by John Wyndham. Both have groups of people that live outside society, and I can see that any breeding licence would create this, as well as possible huge amounts of civil conflict. There are just too many scenarios to cover in order to bring this into effect.

    One point that I have to ask though is if it has to be a married couple that obtain a breeding licence, then is this for the actual procreation, or for the raising of the child? If it is for the procreation, this negates the possibility of same sex couples having children, and this isn't what you wanted is it? So I assume that you intended it to be for raising the child. So in what cases do you think that a same sex couple should 'obtain' the child? Could they only have a child from the orphanage/'illegal' children? Or could one of them use someone else as a donor, in which case, how are they viewed in terms of the breeding licence?

    Lastly, how would this be instigated globally? How would you FORCE a country to do this? The only way I can think of is by threatening war, and any world leader doing this is either going to have to have the ultimate weapon, and total control over his people, or be completely suicidal. I think that this won't happen, and the human race is more likely to use up the resources it has, and die out, leaving the locusts to smile and get fat.

    I hope this hasn't been giving you nightmares for the last year or so, or that you're partnerless, and just getting jealous of those that have... ;-)
    Woodside!

  • Hopefully answering your questions... (2.50 / 2) (#128)
    by DoomHaven on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 01:49:17 PM EST

    > What happens to the child(ren) in the case of the parents divorcing?

    If it happens within the first X years (where X the amount of time in the volunteer/conscription program), the child is taken by the government. Anytime after, normal divorce happens.

    > What happens when one of the parents dies?

    The single parent keeps the children.

    > What happens to all the children snatched away from parents without
    > licences etc?

    Wards of the state.

    > Who will PAY for all these children?

    Wihjle I did include a quick note about the financial sustainability of the system, you are right in saying and that there may be too many illegal children that this will get very expensive.

    > If a couple have a licence but are then unable to conceive, can they use a
    > surrogate mother?

    Yes, they can use any means necessary to conceive/adoption a child.

    I agree with your first paragraph; that if parents are disillusioned with the system, they will try to circumvent it.

    > or for the raising of the child?

    Actually, in retrospect, it would be for *acquiring* the child. Once you pass the requirements, you get a license to that allows you to raise one child. While it is assumed that the parents will want to do this "naturally", there is no reason why adoption, surrogates, artificial insemination, etc, couldn't be used. Rest assured, I have no desire to prevent gay couples from raising children.

    Global instigation? Hell, I don't even know how to implement this nationally!

    hope this hasn't been giving you nightmares for the last year or so, or that you're partnerless, and just getting jealous of those that have... ;-)
    Nightmares? No, not as such. Jealous of having a *partner*? Yes, I'll admit it, I am single and hurting because of it. But I definitely don't think I am capable of being a parent, yet. In fact, by my own licenses, I wouldn't be able to "breed".

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    Mostly answering them but.... (none / 0) (#241)
    by Mashx on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 07:36:08 AM EST

    >What happens when one of the parents dies?

    The single parent keeps the children.

    I can forsee some nasty cases happening. Person wants child, can't be bothered going through licence, marries widow/er, kills off widow/er, marries someone else... There is so many different cases to try to cover. (Course, it takes a twisted mind to come up with these.. :)

    >What happens to all the children snatched away from parents without licences etc?

    Wards of the state.

    What I meant was that as wards of the state, what happens to them? I was thinking that there is going to be a lot of children, and those couples that do have licences will most likely want their own child, if their licence is per child. I suppose some of those nearing the attainment of their licence could look after some of the children as part of their 'coursework' but there would be many more children than possible foster parents in this case, otherwise being a foster parent would be a circumvention of the licence...

    Global instigation? Hell, I don't even know how to implement this nationally!

    Hmm. Thinking about it, it could only be done on a global scale or not at all. It could never be implemented in a single or group of western world countries, as most of the population would just migrate, even if it was forced through as a law, which is highly unlikely. In the poor nations, it would never work because there is no infrastructure in place for the care of the children born sans licence, and the lack of education for a large portion of the population: thinking of the slums of Rio de Janiero and all the street kids there, a proportion of whom are dumped on the streets by the parents that cannot afford them..

    Being a parent boils down to three facets of a person/personality as far as I can tell: split it into the mental and physical, and emotional. Mentally, a person will more often than not become more capable as they grow older, but physically the opposite is true once they get past their prime. Emotional is pretty obvious. Finding the balance is the key, and course, it's different for everyone. I realised after reading the article that by the time my dad had reached my age, he had been married a couple of years. There is only one girl I have gone out with that I would have married two years ago, but I'm glad I didn't have the chance, as it wouldn't have lasted, and it shows I wasn't ready for that let alone being a parent.

    Anyway, thanx, and if you continue to think about it, maybe post the criteria to obtain the licence in a few months? Even though it is a cliche, a pet dog would show someone is capable of care, if not moral education: have to think of something else for that!
    Woodside!
    [ Parent ]

    Tragedy of the Commons (4.33 / 12) (#120)
    by squee on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 11:46:43 AM EST

    Put "Tragedy of the Commons" in a search engine, go and read it. If this story had been posted on Slashdot you would have had people quoting it left right and center.

    You must really trust your government to even suggest this, your system would be harder to succesfully (fairly) implement than Communism.

    This just wont and cannot work, because the few that abuse it will spoil it for everyone else.
    Breeding restrictions, sounds familiar. Can you say "Final Solution". California had an Eugenics program at the start of this century and it served as an example to Nazi Germany.
    This is not something we want to start again. I would refuse to live in any country that implemented this system, even if it did not initially apply to people of my social group, ITS INSANE.
    "Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it."

    How do you determine who deserves to have children? Survival of the fittest has not applied for about 100 years. There is a genetic condition (anemia i think) which protects against Malaria, but in the developed world it tend just to kill or cripple males. What we today consider a genetic flaw or defect, the pondscum of the genepool could be tommorows magic gene that saves us from a pandemic. There are some very rare people incapable of contracting AIDS, it is unable to attach to their receptors to a genetic flaw/mutation.
    To put it in terms of software variety is good, there is room enough for Windows, Linux, BSD each in their own place, if you are not a Windows user you were probably very glad of variety when the Melissa virus hit.
    If you like a good sci-fi movie then try watching the film "Gattaca".

    Please think carefully, and think differently.


    --
    Just because im paranoid doesnot mean they are not all out to get me.

    Sickle Cell Malaria (4.00 / 1) (#134)
    by itsbruce on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 02:46:51 PM EST

    Is what you refer to and yes, it is a good example of how simplistic and stupid Eugenics is.


    --

    It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
    [ Parent ]
    Slashdot and deserving children (1.00 / 1) (#185)
    by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 01:58:37 AM EST

    If this gets posted to Slashdot, bluntly, then the shit is really going to hit the fan. I choose this forum to discuss this for the simple reason that it is a relatively private forum with a really high SNR. Because of that, I got some valuable peer review that has implemented changes I wish I could put in the article, and a good feel to what people actually think about my ideas.

    At Slashdot, all bets are off.

    > How do you determine who deserves to have children?

    Meet the requirements. Re-read the article. Then go over the comments. If confused, then ask again. Though, genetics and intelligence are not requirements.

    > Please think carefully, and think differently.

    Please *read* carefully, and *post* differently.

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    Blame Canada (3.00 / 1) (#193)
    by inpHilltr8r on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 04:30:15 AM EST

    Alberta sterilisation act, 1928 to 1972, 2822 involuntary sterilisations officially authorised.

    Check that last date again.



    [ Parent ]
    Are you nuts? (2.71 / 7) (#124)
    by Vesuve on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 01:09:38 PM EST

    This is one of the most idiotic things I've ever read, and I'm absolutely stunned it made it up as a story. No government or entity of any kind could possibly be justified in asserting control over the reproductive desires of the population. What nerve to think that I should have to ASK PERMISSION before having kids?!? This is just silly, and a big waste of time. Morons.

    I feel like Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory (2.22 / 9) (#126)
    by MantorpCity on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 01:26:41 PM EST

    AIDS is already taking care of limiting the undesired people in this world, just as the scientists that created it had planned.

    Why only give licenses to married people? What if you're not religious or you don't want to go through a ceremony that means nothing to you?

    Dumb topic anyway, this could never happen in any democratic society, and no true democracy on earth has a problem with overpopulation.

    Sig? no thanks I'm trying to quit.

    Marriage (none / 0) (#130)
    by matthead on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 01:59:54 PM EST

    So don't go through a religious ceremony. Marriage is also a legal state - all you have to do to be recoginized by the government as married is sign some licenses. Well, not exactly, but I don't know what all is involved.


    --
    - Matt
    I'm at (0.3, -2.5). Where are you?
    [ Parent ]
    cause...symptom (2.16 / 6) (#129)
    by speed reada on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 01:52:42 PM EST

    boy oh boy...considering the writing styles Id say that most of you are either adults or very educated young adults, and the reason that is alarming to me is because, and I may have missed a post, none of you were bright enouph to look at the causes of bad parents...it seems that in the world at large we have an attitude of " the sink is overflowing, let's make a bigger sink. instead of turning off the fucking water". in north america, hell all over the world the G. seems to think that the way to make society work smoothely is to control all aspects of it, because people are stupid and will screw up if you let them. but the fact is this: people are not given the oppertunity to become well rounded thinking indeviduals that care about thier fellow person and communities. the world is basically capitalist and that in it self says that capital comes first, how could you expect someone to be a good parent if all they know how to do or care about is making money. or on the other end of the spectrum how can people become good parents if they have to work almost all day to pay for outragious housing costs and inflating prices on all products. sure you could say "how come they didn't go get a good education and then get a good job then have kids?". well since so much money is taken out of schools and alot of the time people have to work at the same time to help pay rent with their parents than they either drop out or fail because they aren't focused on school...or you could point out that only in a select group of job categories would it be possible to make enouph money to furnish your "license", and the fact is to get the education required for those jobs costs alot of money in the first place, and if your a minority (and though you didn't write it Im sure you were thinking about minorities) than getting a lone for school is harder than if your white...I could go on forever, I could point out how the system (at least in north america) is actually against parents, that it mistrusts parents, doesn't give them the benefit of the doubt, and is suspicious of parents who teach their children ideas that stray from the norm....my point is basically this...if you want only good parents to have kids, make a world where everyone is responsible, honest, caring, intelligent, and couragious. when you let people achieve their potential...they do...when you try to control them into not screwing up...they screw up and then rebel this goes out to anyone out there who thinks that controlling anyone in any way works: if you control someone they will rebel if you put limitaions on someone they will fight untill they are free, always...this is an undeniable historical lesson...even in societies that were harmonious that had rules, the only reason they worked was because those people CHOSE to follow the rules because those rules made sense to them. you can't force people to learn

    Three things (4.10 / 10) (#132)
    by trhurler on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 02:17:54 PM EST

    First, this is absurd. You would laugh if your neighbor told you you couldn't breed without his permission, so why do you think it any different when 280 million of them say so? Because they can force you? That's pretty twisted.

    Second, this is absurd. You think you could ever implement such a thing? I'm willing to bet the majority of people in the US would sooner fight a war against the whole world than submit to such a plan, and could win it handily.

    And third, this is absurd. Who, and by what right, would be in charge of this ridiculous faux-eugenics program of yours, and what would keep them from abusing it? The answers, of course, are rich, powerful lawyer types, by right of being in power, and nothing at all, respectively. Hitler had similar plans.

    Oh, hell, I'll add a fourth. There is a trivial alternative solution to the overpopulation "problem." Wait a while. Sure, there'll be lots of dead people, but that solves the problem in as fair a manner as it is going to be solved in. The idiots who keep breeding at ridiculous pace will die off in massive numbers while those of us with zero population growth will only suffer temporarily. Of course, one could call this inhumane, but is it less humane than a loosely disguised eugenics program?

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    By the numbers (1.00 / 2) (#182)
    by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 01:35:17 AM EST

    1) And if 280 million people could legally remove your child, and do, are you going to stop them? And survive?

    2) Implementing this would be hard, admittedly.

    3) <Sigh>, did you read this?
    Punishment for any infraction by the employees involved with the Breeding Licensed Board, or by people empowered by the Board is their permanent ban from acquiring a Breeding License, on top of being fired, fined, and in worst-case scenarios, incarcerated. This system must be run abuse-free if it is ever to be run at all! There are too many problems that can be caused if the system is corrupted, most importantly ethnic cleansing and a loss of faith in the public.
    Honestly, do you know who I would hire to help? You. Why? Because, people like would make *damned* sure that the system wasn't been abused. And, if you did abuse the system to sabotage it, for the ironically delicious revenge of punishing you as above.

    a trivial alternative solution to the overpopulation "problem." Wait a while. Sure, there'll be lots of dead people, but that solves the problem in as fair a manner as it is going to be solved in.... one could call this inhumane, but is it less humane than a loosely disguised eugenics program?

    This is a major reason I posted my article; because there are worse solutions than mine. Like yours! It is far less humane than mine; at least I am trying to make a difference. Just leave them to die? That is irresponsible, at best, and apathetic at worst!

    What, you think they will just sit there and starve to death peacefully? Hell no, they will fight for food! And what happens when the starving masses start ripping the food out of your children's mouths? You can't stop all of them; after all, they will have strength in numbers...

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    Poll Suggestion (3.66 / 3) (#133)
    by MAXOMENOS on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 02:42:51 PM EST

    Do you think breeding licenses are a good idea?
    • Yes, I like this idea!
    • Yes, but not in the form you propose.
    • No, I like breeding.
    • No, I think that what you're proposing is elitist fascist nonsense fit for the Third Reich. What we should be doing instead is improving the quality of people's lives through better overall education and through distributing birth control.
    • No, I think that what you're proposing is elitist fascist nonsense fit for the Third Reich. What we should be doing instead is encouraging a stronger moral code.
    • Get a life, asshole. Sheesh.

    We need an ODMG implementation that's open source. ObJectBridge is one candidate, and it needs volunteers.
    Why be fascist about it? (3.75 / 4) (#135)
    by bjrubble on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 02:57:09 PM EST

    As others have pointed out, in any country with enough resources to make this work the population has already stabilized.

    Encouraging good parenting, OTOH, is well worth attempting even (or especially) in places like the US. What I don't understand is why it has to be a fascist, punitive system.

    The government already runs many programs to encourage good parenting. Most of them are medical -- prenatal programs, free immunizations, etc., and they are very effective because they just make it easier to be a good parent. I'd like to see this extended, to the point where the government actually rewards good parenting.

    (Note that in the strictest sense rewarding good parents is the same as punishing bad parents, because all parents pay equally into the system, but the good parents get it back. This is a very simple psychological principle that I think is too often neglected in policy. The carrot is mightier than the stick!)

    So how would the government reward good parents? Start with simple things -- you get your kids to the doctor regularly and they're healthy, or they attend school every day with no discipline issues, and you get a tax break or just cash from the government. Extend as desired -- undoubtedly the exact type and structure of some rewards will be highly contentious (ie. do you get a reward for your kids attending church?) but there's a wide swath of uncontroversial good parenting practices to start with, and I think you could do enormous good just with those.

    My ultimate goal in this would be to bring back the stay-at-home parent. With enough incentives, a parent who stays at home and raises children well could generate enough income to make that lifestyle feasible. I think that would be pretty cool.

    Gov't encouragement: give an inch, lose a yard? (2.00 / 2) (#181)
    by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 01:14:33 AM EST

    What I don't understand is why it has to be a fascist, punitive system.

    I agree that there have been several excellent non-mandatory programs mentioned so far in these comments, yours included. The problem, unfortunately, they lead into the government involvement at the family level. Where do you draw the line? Honestly, if you start enacting these kind of programs, how long is it before it becomes *acceptable*? Imagine *feeping creaturism* applied to these social programs. Scary, eh?

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    Just a few questions for you DoomHaven (3.62 / 8) (#136)
    by Oxryly on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 03:06:41 PM EST

    DoomHaven -

    Would you be here today had breeding licenses been instituted before your birth?

    Would any of your friends be here? Would any of the people you look up to be here (teachers/professors/etc..)?

    Would the people who've made the world a better place be here (Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Stephen Hawking, the Dali Llama, etc.. the list goes on and on)?

    You spend so much time crafting a solution for the bad parents of today... what about their children?

    Does growing up in poverty in a broken home guarantee that you will never improve the world with your presence? ...that you will never be a great friend or companion? ...that you won't have a positive impact on other peoples' lives?

    If you want to take on population control and not destroy the world, you have a LOT more work to do...

    Oxryly

    Just a few answers for you, Oxryly (2.00 / 1) (#165)
    by DoomHaven on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 09:50:34 PM EST

    > Would you be here today had breeding licenses been
    > instituted before your birth?

    No, my parents divorced within 4 years of my birth; by my own rules, I would have been removed from both parents at the age of 2. Continuing on, I have good reason to doubt that my parents met any of the criteria to be allowed to keep me at birth.

    Continuing on, as it stands, I cannot meet my own requirements to have children. I am not married, nor can I afford $10 000 a year or 20 hours a week of my time to be allowed to have a child.

    May there be an understanding here: these aren't here so that only I and my elite group can be allowed to have children, and all you mere commoners get bred out of existance in X years. These are just as restrictive, if not more restrictive, on myself as they are on everyone else.

    Would any of your friends be here? Would any of the people you look up to be here (teachers/professors/etc..)?
    Would the people who've made the world a better place be here (Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Stephen Hawking, the Dali Llama, etc.. the list goes on and on)?

    I don't know.

    You spend so much time crafting a solution for the bad parents of today... what about their children?
    <sarcasm>That's next week's article, this one was 3090 words! --OR-- Hey, if you think I have all the answers, then please send a cheque or money to the Church of DoomHaven care of...</sarcasm>

    The children today I don't know how to help. Hopefully, this will help the children of tomorrow, if need be.

    Does growing up in poverty in a broken home guarantee

    Honestly, no, there are *never* *any* guarantees in life. However, statistics so that a child raised in a broken home has *less* of a chance.

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    I believe Hitler would have signed his own bullet (none / 0) (#250)
    by Mantic on Tue Jan 30, 2001 at 06:06:32 AM EST

    The kind of people who really make such ideas a reality are surely more commited than this simple answer. But it's a start.

    I said in another reply that this kind of regulation is in accord with my own beliefs. I'm pretty honest about being the last person anyone would want in a political office. I can say for certain that a system of my devising for gengeneering (which wasn't a dirty word before Hitler came along, btw, hence my duplicitous mention) would indeed prevent births such as my own. The thing is, would you miss me? ;)

    When one starts thinking on the level of society and world population it's easy to dismiss the importance of the individual, even, perhaps especially, when that individual is yourself. It could be a pretty fine line between altruism and tyranny when one given such authority.

    [ Parent ]

    Quit solving problems that don't exist. (3.14 / 7) (#139)
    by weirdling on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 03:34:07 PM EST

    Just like the global warming people, you've assumed the problem does exist now or at least will at some future date, so must be solved now, although the extent of the problem, the contributing factors, and the relationships they pose are at best imperfectly understood and at worst wild-ass guesses.
    Some numbers have been crunched in this area, and the majority of over-population induced famine is caused by poor farming methods. It is entirely possible to feed the entire world from the state of Kansas. We're not even properly farming the entire midwest yet and haven't touched the Urals, and both Alaska and Siberia can grow lots of wheat.
    I would say that 20 billion is a conservative estimate based on current farming trends and 100 billion is possible with better farming methods. Total system population max with current forseeable tech would be 250-300 billion, including those living in space habitats and on Mars and so on.
    Of course, global warming will get us first, if it's real, that is...
    I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
    Please Clarify (5.00 / 2) (#147)
    by Mr.Mustard on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 06:45:43 PM EST

    Are you saying that it doesn't matter that people are starving to death because we have populated more than we can currently support because, in theory, we could farm better and support a whole lot more people?

    If that is your position, would it also be fair to say that the "homeless problem" in the U.S. isn't really a problem because there is plenty of land in the U.S. for everyone to have a place to live, in theory?

    Overpopulation became a problem when people started to die. It doesn't matter to me what this planet can support if we farmed the midwest United States better. Just because we could do better in theory doesn't change the reality. I'm willing to bet that your average starving child agrees with me.

    Mr.Mustard [ fnord ]
    [ Parent ]

    Well said, good sir! (1.00 / 1) (#158)
    by DoomHaven on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 08:52:26 PM EST

    Touche!

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    starving to death (3.66 / 3) (#184)
    by delmoi on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 01:47:07 AM EST

    Are you saying that it doesn't matter that people are starving to death because we have populated more than we can currently support because, in theory, we could farm better and support a whole lot more people?

    There is far more then enough food produced to feed everyone on the planet. Unfortunetly, some contries do not have working governments....
    --
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    [ Parent ]
    Once again... (3.00 / 1) (#213)
    by weirdling on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 03:55:53 PM EST

    Your implication is that it is somehow someone else's fault that these countries either refuse to use better farming methods or have non-functional governments.
    Case in point: Rwanda, where I lived for a year and a half. In this country, no one even uses compost piles. With modern farming methods, the country would be able to feed itself for a very long time. However, with their current methods, they teeter on the brink of starvation and have caused massive deforrestation.
    Now, is this my problem? Is it yours? Is it the UN's? Actually, there is very little that can be done because the Rwandaise see no reason to change. Famine isn't widespread due to the periodic war or ethnic cleansing. There's no societal pressure to change, and the UN and the rest of the world are very far away.
    Now, as another poster has already put it, none of the third world can afford draconian birth control policies, much less string together more than one generation of stable government, so the only countries that could enact such a plan are the ones that can easily feed themselves without any undue effort.
    I think your analogy with the homeless was particularly apt. I realize the situation is more complex than this response can cover, but in the current economic climate, there isn't any reason someone should be homeless. Homelessness is often a matter of choice than a matter of force. For some reason, the person is either incapable of living in this society or would rather not. However, it can be easily demonstrated that restricting new births won't reduce the number of currently homeless, as there won't be a significantly tighter job market than right now, and those people are homeless in the current job market.
    Rwanda is very much the same; If we reduce our populations, it won't help Rwanda because we already ship them lots of grain for aid; in other words, we already ship them a hefty surplus and the only thing that keeps us from sending more is how much money the US government wishes to spend on them, as we could easily produce ten times as much food as we do.

    I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
    [ Parent ]
    The world's population is out of hand (3.11 / 9) (#140)
    by imperium on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 03:38:10 PM EST

    While this isn't a very nice solution, at least Doomhaven's had a go at it, probably with the aim of provoking a decent discussion on the issue.

    Sadly, most of the negative comments have simply replied with religious, libertarian or practical reasons why this scheme won't or shouldn't work. Where was the flood of better ideas?

    Many of those comments also point out that Western countries have stable or even declining population numbers, and imply the rest of the world should just be more like us. However, the real problem is not the sheer numbers, but what these people do. A child born in the West will consume, on average, tens or even hundreds of times more resources than a child elsewhere.

    We are the problem, my friends. Read the reports. If we simply encourage the rest of the world to be more like the West, we'll have an even more serious problem. I read somewhere that we'd need six planets just like Earth to support such a gargantuan desire to consume.

    I don't like Doomhaven's solution, but the lack of concern about the problem of endless growth in population and consumption, especially from libertarians, scares me. People, our actions affect everyone else, and Crowley's "Do What Thou Wilt" has to become "Do What Thou Wilt and Hurt None Other".

    I prepare myself to be moderated down for having an unpopular view...

    x.
    imperium

    Well excuse me for objecting (4.00 / 1) (#141)
    by itsbruce on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 03:56:15 PM EST

    to sentiments like this:

    IMO, betterment of the *species* (definitely NOT a society subset of the species, but of the *ENTIRE SPECIES*) supersedes any right of the individual. Period.

    (That's from here and the main submission is full of that crap.)

    Sadly, most of the negative comments have simply replied with religious, libertarian or practical reasons why this scheme won't or shouldn't work.

    As I said, excuse me for objecting to proposals and statements that teeter on the Fascist (and frequently tip over).

    We are the problem, my friends. Read the reports. If we simply encourage the rest of the world to be more like the West, we'll have an even more serious problem.

    Simplistic and illogical. There's no reason why the growth of developing nations has to ape that of the first world. It's not a straight choice between starvation or glut. I happen to work for a development agency: our emphasis is very much on appropriate technology and sustainable development.

    I don't like Doomhaven's solution, but the lack of concern about the problem of endless growth in population and consumption, especially from libertarians, scares me.

    Illogical and unfair. Objecting to Doomhaven's proposals is not an automatic sign (or any kind of sign) of lack of concern.

    I prepare myself to be moderated down for having an unpopular view...

    Presumptious. Ignores the possibility that you may be moderated down for expressing your views poorly. Did I say "possibility"...


    --

    It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
    [ Parent ]
    Population *consumption* vs *size* (1.00 / 1) (#169)
    by DoomHaven on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 10:31:36 PM EST

    Interesting idea; but then we enter a ground that is even worse: what is excess consumption? Rest assured, having the government tell you when to have children is nowhere *near* as bad as the government telling you how much you can consume. I mean, I eat to survive, I need clothes so I don't freeze! I don't have to have children to survive!

    But the yardstick to measure overpopulation is a great idea; it is a more meaningful measurement of human sustainibility on this planet than simple population numbers.

    That the two reasons I modded your post up: your post shows that there may be reasons for my licenses that I have never thought of, and that it allows me to see what "other alternatives" there are to my proposal.

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    consumption in a broader sense (4.00 / 2) (#194)
    by imperium on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 05:50:05 AM EST

    Doomhaven, I'm not trying to prevent you from having enough clothes or eating to live: I mean such things as the urban SUV, the third TV, the endless consumption of fossil fuel. Just you keep on eating what you want!

    x.
    imperium
    [ Parent ]

    Feeping Creaturism of Consumption Laws (1.00 / 1) (#199)
    by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 10:27:24 AM EST

    The original point still remains: you are allowing the government to tell you what can buy, and how much you can buy. That is as bad, if not worse, than restricting reproduction; especially if it is decided that the average first-world person is overconsuming food. Isn't there a national problem of obese people in America? Bet you anything that is caused mainly by an overconsumption of food.

    But, yes; a good, quick solution would be limiting purchasing of *material* *wants*. Just watch how you define it.

    But thanks for not ripping the food out of my mouth!

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    Whatever (3.00 / 3) (#183)
    by delmoi on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 01:36:48 AM EST

    I read somewhere that we'd need six planets just like Earth to support such a gargantuan desire to consume.

    Well, we could simply consume less. And when the need arizes, I would really hope that we would try that first....
    --
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    [ Parent ]
    free will? (none / 0) (#228)
    by alongfield on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 10:25:07 PM EST

    Does "do what thou wilt and hurt none other" happen to include not hurting other by preventing them from performing a basic requirement of life? My idea of hurting none other includes not forcing my biases and ideas on them. Also, just a general fact, but the US alone could support most of the "poor" population of the earth with its food surplus. And if disaster results from overpopulation, people *will* die, and the population *will* fall. And you didn't prevent people from having the ability and basic human function of reproducing. Should people also be licensed before they are allowed to prepare food? They might do it wrong, and could even cause someone to die because of it! Perhaps we should be licensed to sick, since that is a major contributor to so many problems in the world. Basic idea, you have no right to license something biological. You can't license the reproduction of bacteria, nor should you be able to. This is part of having free will, and of having our "rights" to freedom in a society.

    People are not property. If you want to "hurt none other", then you cannot remove biological and natural (and instinctual) functions as reproduction. This isn't a "right" of any sort. It isn't granted; it is. No body, no person, and *certainly* no government should control such a thing, no matter the consequences. If our own reproduction causes our deaths, so be it, but no person has the right or fair ability to make a judgement over something like who is allowed to have offspring.


    This is more a comment focused at the article's author:

    By refusing the life requirement of breeding to people, the author is restricting and degrading the gene pool. So a poor person, or busy person, or a person that does not wish to spend 12% of their life "volunteering" for others, 24% of their life working, 33% sleeping... leaving 31% for other things, could not have offspring. That 31% would include 32 hours on the weekends. That leaves about 3 1/2 hours a weekday for your own life. Not much of a life, by the end of that B.S. requirement. This is to say that people wanting children should have no experience as a free person for the four years prior to having children. How can someone raise a child with such restricted knowledge of the world around them? Not to mention you'd have a large society of very mentally unstable people. *That* can't be good for a child. People break without downtime, and I don't mean sleep.

    [ Parent ]
    This is facism at its finest (3.20 / 10) (#143)
    by DJBongHit on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 04:17:27 PM EST

    One of the definitions of facism is "putting the good of society over the good of the individual." That's all I have to say about this.

    ~DJBongHit

    --
    GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

    er, no... (none / 0) (#215)
    by eataTREE on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 05:10:29 PM EST

    Fascism (note spelling) is a form of authoritarian government typified by the organization of society along paramilitary lines, also by personality-cult adulation of a single supreme leader. Examples from this century would include the regimes of Mussolini, Hitler, or Franco. Fascism isn't just a generic term to be applied to ideas you don't like; learn your definitions if you want your arguments to be taken seriously.

    "Putting the good of society over the good of the individual" is collectivism, a principle that every society (rightly) practices it to some extent. For instance, in North America you aren't allowed to drive on the highway at 200 MPH, even if you really really want to, because it would put the lives of others in danger. If there are no limits to individual freedom, the result is chaos. Not that I'm endorsing the draconian and restrictive breeding-license scheme proposed above, but to suggest that individual freedoms should NEVER be limited for the sake of the public interest is silly.

    [ Parent ]
    Skip the hypotheticals, it's been done (4.28 / 7) (#144)
    by error 404 on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 04:36:58 PM EST

    Details are starting to come out from several countries, but there have been a number of instances of large-scale forced removal of infants from families that were "clearly not good enough". Single mothers, or non-european ancestors.

    Now, the criteria proposed here, while stricter, seem more fair. But the consequences are pretty much the same. So take a look at those situations. I don't recall the details, but as a starting point for research, I think two of the places where this kind of thing happened were Canada and Australia. In each case, the children were placed with adoptive parents who apparently were led to beleive the process was voluntary all around. And the programs were run by charities with govornment approval or at least careful looking in the other direction.

    One thing I noticed in the article that I didn't see anybody mention in the comments is the way the child is treated exclusively as an object. There seems to be no consideration of the fact that a child is a person. In particular, the penalties affect the child at least as much as the guilty parent. I'm told, by people who have known both, that even rather sub-standard parents are preferable to even pretty good institutions. And the plan would result in rather more confiscated children than licensed adoptive parents. Now, I'm all in favor of making it far easier to remove a child from an abusive parent than it is right now. But the criteria really has to be the best interests of the child, not punishing the parent, not the convenience of the administrative body.

    Yeah, it is kind of weird that you need a license to drive, but not to have kids. On the other hand, driving is possible because roads, and the govornment owns the roads. No license needed when you only drive on roads you own.

    The problem is that we don't breed humans. We breed livestock when there are economic reasons to do so. We are wild animals (yeah, we socialize each other, but we are no less wild than a pack of wolves that has it's own order, or a reef of coral) and we reproduce mostly for messy irrational wild animal reasons. Maybe that's bad. I happen to not only like it on a personal level, but I think there is a deeper good involved that can't be derived through reason. In any case, it doesn't matter whether we like or not, or whether it is a good thing or not, that is just the way it is. And we can't do anything about it without causing more pain than most of us can imagine, and losing more of our humanity than we can afford.


    ..................................
    Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
    - Donovan

    You got me.... (1.00 / 1) (#156)
    by DoomHaven on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 08:30:12 PM EST

    One thing I noticed in the article that I didn't see anybody mention in the comments is the way the child is treated exclusively as an object. There seems to be no consideration of the fact that a child is a person. In particular, the penalties affect the child at least as much as the guilty parent.

    My first thought after reading this: "D'oh!". That is, offhand, the biggest hole uncovered by my proposal by the K5 audience.

    As it stands, I can only offer the following partial fix for this.

    If children are put in orphanages or child care centers, or if you want to be blunt, child confiscation centers, you have the prospective parents work there for 4 years instead of charities. Unless the number of children out-number the parents buy a ratio of, say 2 to 1, this allows the children to have a foster parent for (hopefully) four years, and, in a best case scenario, the parents bond and adopt the child instead of having their own.

    If that magic ratio, pulled conveniently out of my rectal orifice (and being, by virtue of that birth, both purely arbitrary in nature and suspiciously stinky to boot), is crossed by a large margin, this whole system would simply fall apart and become, at best, a large government orphanage; and at worst, creation of government sanctioned "Perfect Citizen/Soldier" factories.

    But yes, that is the best I can offer, and as far as I can see, the biggest barrel I have been put over. There really isn't a point of doing this if it does a worse job of upbringing a similar number of children than the system previous.

    What would you suggest?

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    The more I read this thread... (5.00 / 2) (#167)
    by duffbeer703 on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 10:08:50 PM EST

    The more disgusted I become.

    The number of people here you agree with your concept is absolutely unbelievable.

    I'm just curious, would my girlfriend have survived your holocost?

    Her father worked in a paper mill for a low wage. He was killed in an accident and the family recieved $5000 before she was born.

    Her mother graduated from high-school and worked as a receptionist at a high school. She might make 20k a year, but she managed to raise three kids somehow in a tiny 150-year old house.

    Today, her brother is a construction worker, her sister a bartender, and Jen is about to get her degree to be a teacher. She managed to pay for school with help from her brother, and a generous scholarship that gets from the gas station that she works at.

    I suppose in your eyes, she shouldn't be alive right now. After all, her dad was just an unskilled laborer and her mother a clerical worker. Both uneducated, but they had managed to 'breed' three children.

    The biggest 'hole' in your 'modest proposal' is that you are willing to shut the door on the lives of human being becuase they don't come from a white, suburban lifestyle.





    [ Parent ]
    simple answer? (3.00 / 1) (#176)
    by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 12:45:18 AM EST

    The more disgusted I become.
    Then quit reading it! Are you really that stupid? And this isn't a holocaust; I am NOT killing people.

    I suppose in your eyes, she shouldn't be alive right now. After all, her dad was just an unskilled laborer and her mother a clerical worker. Both uneducated, but they had managed to 'breed' three children.
    My father is a father barely making ends meet. My mother is a farm-wive who has worked more odd-jobs to keep the farm alive than I have fingers on my hands. I wouldn't be alive if my own system was enacted; and I can't breed by my *own* measure. Your point?

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    Not a holocost, heh? (none / 0) (#220)
    by duffbeer703 on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 06:04:55 PM EST

    Your argument holds no water. Saying "I wouldn't be alive if my own system was enacted; and I can't breed by my *own* measure." in no way justifies your argument.

    Here are a few things for you to think about:

    How would this policy of yours be enacted?

    Who would convince religous believers that they cannot have children unless they pay your tax?

    How would this law be enforced?

    Why do you think that it is better for more affluent people to have kids?

    A country that you might have heard of called China has a policy similar to yours. They allow one child per couple, no more, no less. After nearly a decade from it's enactment, this policy was a complete failure, with the exception of the cities. Since China is primarily a rural nation, this was unacceptable.

    In the last 15 years, however, population growth in China have dropped dramatically. Why? Becuase thousands of children are aborted, murdered at birth or abandoned by state edict. Succeeding in having a second child results in you losing your job, being kicked out the party, and moving to the end of the line for better housing and such.


    How would YOU punish those who dared to have a child without a license? Take the child away? Execute the parents? Imprison or fine them?



    [ Parent ]
    'A Modest Proposal' (2.00 / 1) (#168)
    by duffbeer703 on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 10:11:33 PM EST

    I feel like such a fool for falling for this.

    You have written a great modern-day version of Johnatan Swift's "A Modest Proposal". I cannot believe that nobody on this whole board, including myself made the connection sooner.

    Well done.

    [ Parent ]
    Oh? (1.00 / 1) (#175)
    by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 12:35:52 AM EST

    Oh, silly me, it was right there in paragraph 10 in my proposal all along: "Illegal children will be eaten." No wonder everyone keeps comparing this to Swift's work...

    A lot of people said that; at least *read* the comments if you are going to troll.

    It's a shame I can't enact "Trolling Licenses"....I guess there is always *next* *week*.

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    If anyone is the troll here... (4.00 / 1) (#218)
    by duffbeer703 on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 05:46:42 PM EST

    You are. This entire article would qualifies as a troll for many.

    A sane, rational person would have no trouble making a coorelation between "A Modest Proposal" and your submission. Since you seriously believe this 'proposal' of your own, it's clear that you have issues to work out.

    Maybe instead of trolling message boards, you should consult a psychologist or other mental-health professional. They can help you work through the anger and bitterness that you exhibit.



    [ Parent ]
    What I would suggest (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by error 404 on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 12:34:17 AM EST

    is that the world is a messy, imperfect place.

    And that's the way it should be.

    You notice that few people are up to the challenge of parenthood. As an experienced parent who knows several other parents, I feel pretty confident in my analysis:

    Not a damned one of us is worthy. Not one.

    So we can either go the Shaker route to extinction, or we can muddle along as best we can, screw up and try to recover, try to do better, do better, screw up again, and somehow the kids will mostly be OK.

    There are a lot of improvements to be made. There are some people who should not be parents. We have badly flawed legal mechanisms in place to deal with them. We need to improve those. But the basic assumption has to be that any given adult who choses to be a parent has the right to try.


    ..................................
    Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
    - Donovan

    [ Parent ]

    Worthiness? (1.00 / 1) (#180)
    by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 12:55:56 AM EST

    You raise a good point, but I have a quick question: in your opinion, what would have made you *more* worthy to be a parent? What would you tell me about parenthood if I asked you, right now, what would make me a worthy parent(which I am, actually)?

    But the basic assumption has to be that any given adult who choses to be a parent has the right to try.

    That was the main reason I went with "volunteer program" for the main requirement for the license. All you need is to put in the time and effort, beforehand, to prove that you would be a worthy parent. In my opinion, that is the defining attribute of a good parent: effort. Not wealth, nor intelligence, nor social graces. Effort.

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    Effort? (4.00 / 1) (#195)
    by error 404 on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 10:19:23 AM EST

    Apparently, you haven't attended many youth soccer games.

    Most of us would do better if we didn't try so hard. The best parents are pretty much just having fun. I know when I'm at my best I'm the responsible adult, but relaxed and having fun.

    One problem with the community service (it ain't volunteering if you have to do it) is the "precious child" phenomenon. Parents who have gone through a huge effort to have a child sometimes (not always) end up treating the child in ways that, well, don't help the child grow emotionaly. A licensing system that causes an entire generation of precious children? Sure, %90 turn out OK, but that other %10 ---- yeeesh.

    If you really want the answers, work in a day care center for a year or two. Pay attention to the parenting styles, what works and what doesn't.
    ..................................
    Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
    - Donovan

    [ Parent ]

    I think you meant Time (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by error 404 on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 10:25:12 AM EST

    Effort in parenting tends not to be a very good thing. But it does take time.

    There was the idea of "quality time" a few years ago. The idea was that you could spend a little time with your kids and somehow make the time count more, by a focused effort. It doesn't work. It takes time, not effort.
    ..................................
    Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
    - Donovan

    [ Parent ]

    Bravo (1.60 / 5) (#145)
    by GreenCrackBaby on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 05:40:36 PM EST

    As expected, people are jumping all over your idea. My wife and I often joke that such a thing is needed. However, we both realize the unpracticality of such a task, as well as the moral and societal issues that this brings up.

    It's too bad really. Within North America, the dumber people are outbreeding the intelligent people. If you believe that intelligence is partially/wholly a result of genetics, then it's not hard to see where the N.A. human is headed for.

    Besides, our breeding paterns will soon be controlled by corporations anyway ("Our profits are declining." "Breed some more consumers then.").

    Pure intelligence is not everything (4.00 / 1) (#154)
    by itsbruce on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 08:11:21 PM EST

    the dumber people are outbreeding the intelligent people

    That misanthropic thought has been repeated a lot in this discussion. Many sentiments like it were expressed in the Elitism story. It gets me down. I think it's an easy shot.

    Some points:

    1. Pure intelligence is hardly the only quality that benefits society. Altruism, empathy - I don't do Christmas cards so I won't do a list but I hope you get the picture.
    2. There are too many glib assumptions about intelligence. What's often held up as intelligence is often mere articulacy and confidence.
    3. It's easy to dismiss strangers, seen en masse, as dumb. Closer acquaintance can surprise.

    The implicit (or sometimes bald) idea behind such statements is that a society that makes room and provision for a whole range of people of varying ability and intelligence is a society that weakens itself. I don't find that logical (even less than I find it pleasant). The assumption is that our ancestors were exposed to harsh evolutionary forces and grew strong, the weak dying in the struggle, whereas we cosset ourselves, protect the weak and so dilute the species.

    That's kindergarten evolutionary theory and doesn't hold up. The archeological evidence shows that our earliest ancestors did their best to look after the sick and lame. If that's such a debilitating characteristic for a society, how has it survived all those millenia of ruthless evolution? How has the huge range of characteristics we see today been preserved through that, if so many of them are negative?

    It also ignores the fact that the most dangerous and complex environmental factor that human beings have ever had to face is - other human beings. We haven't become any less complex or tricky to deal with. A sabre-tooth tiger has nothing on a tax attorney.

    What I'm trying to say is this: a society that depended purely on intelligence and strength would be a crude and doomed affair. Your neighbours are more complex - and contribute more - than you might think.

    If you believe that intelligence is partially/wholly a result of genetics, then it's not hard to see where the N.A. human is headed for.

    The N.A. human, like the rest of us, is part of a subtle pattern whose outline we can barely discern thus far. With any luck, those willing to forgo such easy judgements may help provide a clearer picture.


    --

    It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
    [ Parent ]
    Intelligence is a lot though (4.00 / 1) (#178)
    by GreenCrackBaby on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 12:47:35 AM EST

    It's easy to dismiss strangers, seen en masse, as dumb. Closer acquaintance can surprise.

    Of course. I don't think I was trying to imply that intelligence should be the only quality used to "trim" the gene pool, so-to-speak. However, if you've ever watched shows like Cops, you'll quickly realize that the "slime" of our society tend to gravitate towards unintelligable. Chances are, if you see someone who really shouldn't breed, they'll be part of that "below 100" that makes a 100 IQ average.

    [ Parent ]

    If I watch COPS (5.00 / 1) (#221)
    by itsbruce on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 06:11:02 PM EST

    I'm as likely to be watching the illiterate and the uneducated as the unintelligent. The three are not synonymous.


    --

    It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
    [ Parent ]
    If you watch 'COPS,' that says something about you (none / 0) (#249)
    by Mantic on Tue Jan 30, 2001 at 05:46:15 AM EST

    Ditto for most of what i broadcast on North American television.

    Certainly it doesn't reflect well on your level of intelligence ;) but also, your assumptions about the slime" of society... I am unsure which you mean: the poor folks whose names are publicly slandered or the police officers who strut and preen while further degrading them?

    [ Parent ]

    Whoa, there! (3.00 / 2) (#155)
    by DoomHaven on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 08:12:51 PM EST

    I didn't say anything about *intelligence* being a factor here; only token amount of financial security, and a large amount of *diligence*. And while, on one purely sick plane of thought, I would love to go to certain people and tell then, "Hey, you're too stupid to breed!", that is even *less* feasible then my plan. There is no solid method to measure intelligence, for one. Two, there is no solid proof *intelligence* is the most important trait of a good parent.

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    DoomHaven: Write about what you know (3.87 / 8) (#146)
    by MidnightLog on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 05:55:14 PM EST

    Doomhaven,

    One of the first things they taught us in writing class is to write about what you know. You're not doing this. You admit that you are not an American, but your commentary focuses on children and parents in the USA. Why don't you write about the situation in your country?

    In addition, its clear to me that you aren't a parent, so why are you writing about parenting?

    You may have some experience with volunteer organizations (although your suggestion of twenty (20) hours a week, for each spouse, for a minimum of four (4) years seems like more than most working couples could do), so why don't you write about that?

    You don't seem to have much grasp of household economics either - Putting aside $10 000, per couple, per year, for the duration of their requirement period would be difficult for most couples to do. It would mean that couples that are preparing to be parents would either rent or live in smaller, less expensive homes and drive older, less reliable cars. It seems like you still live at home with your parents, so why don't you write about that?



    To understand what's right and wrong, the lawyers work in shifts ...
    What I know (2.00 / 2) (#151)
    by DoomHaven on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 07:53:03 PM EST

    My country is home country is Canada, but I currently live in the US. Does that count as knowing the country? As well, how hard would it be to change the failing societal conditions to realistically use Canada? Or England? Or, in 100 years, the Moon?

    I am not a parent, correct. However, I know, because I always had a parent around in the house until I was semi-self-succificient, that having a parent always around helped me and my brother grow up as children. In cases, that I have came across, where there wasn't a parent around, it generally lead to troubled youth. My thesis was based on that: parents who spend time with their children raise good children by default, simply because their children are being parented by the parents. Not by the TV, or the Internet, or by gangs, or by no-one, but parented by their parents.

    I have corrected my view about volunteer organizations, please see comment #60.

    $10 000 was a purely arbitrary number, that I, alone, simply cannot afford. It was picked based on another purely arbitrary number. I through that number in simply because it costs, on average, exactly $X dollars per year per children. I let X = 10 000 simply based on that arbitrary number. X can equal anthing from 0 to 10 000, IMO. I do understand household economics; I currently am balancing a monthly budget, and am making very ugly decisions on buying a car (when, if my payments are X, it's weiners and beans for the next 3 years; however, if I make lower payments over 4 years, I can afford weiners, beans, *and* SPAM).

    A quick question, then: do you think today's parents could afford larger, more expensive homes and drive never, more reliable cars if then didn't currently *have* children? Do you think parents take a quality of living decrement by having children? If so, what is wrong with spreading that hit over an additional four years?

    I most definitely do NOT live with my parents. I currently live alone, in my own appartment, thank you very much. Not only do I not live in the same house as my parents, but I do not even live in the same *country* as my parents.


    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    Why are you so angry and bitter? (4.50 / 2) (#166)
    by duffbeer703 on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 09:51:09 PM EST

    Society has been 'failing' since cavemen figured out how to complain about much better 'the good old days' were.

    Ancient Romans complained about the overcrowding of the empire, and that empire had difficulty feeding itself about 2000 years ago.

    At that time, the human population of the entire planet was under 250 million persons. Now there are five billion of us and most of them eat well.

    The productivity per farmer in the United States has increased by more than an order of magnitude in the last hundred years, to the point where there is a glut of food on the world market, and farmers are going broke because TOO MUCH wheat and milk and beef and cantalopes are being produced.

    Human beings starve to death becuase of politics, not food shortages. The famous Ethiopian food crisis was caused by a civil war. Warlords were selling the food that western nations were donating to purchase arms.

    And where is this societal collapse that is happening all of the sudden? When did society not have problems?

    You THINK crime is higher than ever, and children are turning to gangs or crack or whatever at an ever increasing rate because YOU SEE IT ON TV. Fifty years ago you did not hear about a 14 year old killing his family because the media did not harp on such things. You never heard about teen pregnancy because it was a disgrace and kept secret.

    Nobody has any right to tell me or anyone else when I can have a child. Having kids is as much a part of life as breating, eating or sleeping. Who in the hell gave you the right to say "you're too poor to have a kid"?

    I sincerely hope that someday you realize that impressing people with money and collecting tv's and computers doesn't mean a damn thing in the long run.

    [ Parent ]
    And they accused *me* of being a troll... (1.00 / 2) (#173)
    by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 12:29:51 AM EST

    Sheesh!

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    An apology of sorts (5.00 / 1) (#205)
    by MidnightLog on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 11:23:10 AM EST

    DoomHaven,

    I would like to apologize for the crack about you living at home with your parents. I went too far. Your article offended me (quite a bit) and I wanted to offend you.

    My country is home country is Canada, but I currently live in the US. Does that count as knowing the country?
    Living in a country is necessary (but not sufficient) for understanding it. It is helpful to know a little bit of your background, however.

    I am not a parent, correct. However, I know, because I always had a parent around in the house until I was semi-self-succificient, that having a parent always around helped me and my brother grow up as children.
    It was clear to me that you weren't a parent because I'm a father and IMO, not too many parents would come up with a plan like this. I do agree that having a parent around for children to spend time with is very helpful. I don't think that having both parents work is necessarily a problem, however. There just aren't a lot of simple answers when you're a parent.

    A quick question, then: do you think today's parents could afford larger, more expensive homes and drive never, more reliable cars if then didn't currently *have* children? Do you think parents take a quality of living decrement by having children? If so, what is wrong with spreading that hit over an additional four years?
    I think its clear that couples without children have more disposable income. I also think that couples who want to have children generally plan ahead and try to get a house thats large enough and a car that is reliable enough. I don't think the government should punish the couples who do plan ahead by forcing everyone into the same mold (for their own good). Damn, now I sound like a Libertarian. Anyway, my point is that, although personal responsibility is rare, it shouldn't be illegal.


    To understand what's right and wrong, the lawyers work in shifts ...
    [ Parent ]
    A quick exchange of apologizes... (none / 0) (#237)
    by DoomHaven on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 02:19:25 AM EST

    Your apology is accepted on the grounds that you accept the following from me: I apologize for offending you with my idea. It wasn't meant to offend, let me assure you, but if you did take offense to it, sorry.

    If there were simple answers to being a parent, they would be mandatory already.

    Anyway, my point is that, although personal responsibility is rare, it shouldn't be illegal.
    Do you mean, instead:
    "Anyway, my point is that, although personal responsibility is rare, it shouldn't be mandatory/enforced."

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    Oy Gevalt!!! (3.20 / 5) (#148)
    by tlaclair22 on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 06:48:45 PM EST

    The underlying theory at work here is that government is a benefactor of mankind. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Let's take a second and review the 20th century, the bloodiest century in the history of mankind. Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Ho Chi, Hitler, Castro, Cauceascu, Tito (not Jackson), Hussein, Milosevic, et al. Historical butchers every one, and in our own time in our own country we see the slaughter of innocents at Waco and Ruby Ridge. Learn this: Governments do one thing efficiently, kill. Rue the day when they are issued a license to determine who lives and dies..........

    If not by government... (1.00 / 1) (#152)
    by DoomHaven on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 07:58:52 PM EST

    then by who? Who would you trust to run this, assuming it had to be run?

    Further on, then, do you believe that government has the right to interfere, encourage, or limit, at all? Would a tax drop on families of 1 or 2 children be fair? Would a tax *hike* for families of 3 or more be fair? Social net checks for a a family with a "stay-at-home" parent? Do you think that the government is allowed to remove children from an abusive home? Or do you simply believe that government is a purely evil organization?

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    Debunk (3.00 / 1) (#161)
    by tlaclair22 on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 09:19:19 PM EST

    First and foremost I decline to cede the point that the world has too many people. Please read the following article...... http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=14186 More often than not the chicken littles of the world are nothing more than toadies for some over-reaching government with it's eyes on the big prize. Total Control. But to answer your questions: I don't wish to see any govt intrusion or coercion in the field of reproduction. If the worlds population becomes too great it behooves individuals to become engines of change and progress. I do not support any tax based on one's income and confiscated before it ever reaches the earners pocket. Income taxes are slave taxes and are their implementation and enforcement are inconsistent with living as a free man. I only support govt intrusion into family matters in the most extreme cases of abuse. This is a tough decision and not one I take lightly. The removal of a child from a home must be done only at the local level and with the utmost respect for parental rights. We have reached a time when children can be removed from the home on the most specious grounds, such as a complaint from an anonymous source regarding spanking. Orwell lives, no? But let me state again, the total State is mankinds greatest enemy, George Washinton's quote "Government is like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master." is a trenchant remark, indeed.

    [ Parent ]
    The solution is easy (3.25 / 4) (#150)
    by Brandybuck on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 07:26:42 PM EST

    The solution is easy. No need to implement a cliched dystopia. The more affluent and educated a society is, the lower its birthrate. Even in affluent societies, like the US, the birthrate is significantly higher among the lower economic classes. Why this is so I have no clue. But it is there. So just boost the economies of the poorer nations and the problem shrinks without having to resort to mandatory abortions and/or sterilization.

    So how do you boost an economy? Well, taking a look around at the world, it's easy to see that governments are bumbling idiots when it comes to helping an economy, though they are quite efficient at hindering one. My observation shows that those governments which have implemented mandatory abortions and sterilizations are also the poster boys of economic fuckups.

    A good start, but... (2.00 / 2) (#153)
    by DoomHaven on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 08:04:59 PM EST

    This is part of what I was looking for; for the above problems, I propose that we solve them with Breeding Licenses. Now you say, assuming that this is problem, you can solve it *this* way, instead.

    Though, what then would be your plan for boosting the economy? While you state that the economy should be boosted by the government, you kind of trail off on who would do this, and how it would be done. Please, continue your train of thought.

    As well, you don't address the second problem, of poor parenting.

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    Boosting economies... (5.00 / 1) (#177)
    by Brandybuck on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 12:46:40 AM EST

    I could have talked quite a bit on creating a robust national economy, but it's really off topic, so I didn't. But I gave you the clues. The more a government interfers/micromanages its economy, the worse that economy is (in the long run). The solution is to let a free market economy operate, limiting any government involvement to enforcement of uniform law, minimal "safety nets", etc.

    I don't want to get into capitalism versus socialism, because that kind of stuff doesn't really matter. If you ask any economist, they will tell you that market economies *work*. Where they disagree is to how to fix the imperfections of a market economy. Nothing in reality is perfect, especially when it comes to human interactions. Market economies are inequitable, prone to the vagaries of misperceptions, and have all sorts of weird corner cases. But they still work, and history shows that free markets work better than government micromanaged markets.

    And for some bizarre reason, the wealthier a nation the lower its birthrate. The more you are able to afford to raise children, the less you tend to have. Cross reference with the "hemline" economic indicator :-)

    [ Parent ]

    education versus birth rate (5.00 / 1) (#203)
    by khallow on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 10:53:33 AM EST

    Ah! I've been away too long! You may want to consider a more marketable name like "Child Welfare Shares". After all, the phrase "Breeding License" evokes the images of kennels and dog and cat shows. Now on to more serious considerations (I apologize for the length)...

    First, your plan is implemented in a bad way. It creates a government agency will incredible powers. In decending order of importance, you have an agency which: 1) decides who can breed, 2) is given a lot of money by the couple that wants to breed, 3) has the power to remove a child from a family, 4) has power over charities (ie, who gets those 20 hours a week), 5) enforces a certain type of family structure and possibly a weak form of eugenics control.

    Let's give a few scenarios (US-based) of how such a system could be abused. A couple are outspoken critics of the government. The Breeding License Board refuses to grant the couple a breeding license. Indirectly, the couple is informed that if they publically repudiate their views, then they can eventually acquire a breeding license.

    A polygamous Mormon marriage (in this case two women married to a man) is refused a license merely because the family unit is not a couple. The board refuses to reconsider the case despite evidence of fidelity (they have stayed married for a number of years, demonstrate strong morals and "family values", and the fact that one of the women swears in court that she will devote full time to caring for the child (most normal marriages cannot provide a full-time partner). Of course, I'm assuming that polygamous marriages eventually become legal.

    For-profit charities spring up to take advantage of people needing to do 20 hours a week. For example, there might be a Silicon Valley entity that purports to give college scholarships to outstanding minority high school students. They do enough of that for the Breeding License Board to turn a blind eye to their other activities. Namely, employing programmers for 20 hours a week at vastly reduced wages (you can't get them for *free*) as contractors for local businesses. Some Sillicon Valley companies rely almost exclusively on cheap contractor labor from this charity. The programmers in turn qualify for the 20 hours of charity work a week that they need to acquire or maintain their breeding license.

    Finally, a rich stock broker in New York City pays a Board-approved charity $1000 a month for the "charity" to certify that he and his spouse have worked 20 hours a week at that charity. He also doesn't have as much difficulty getting breeding licenses (being a fine outstanding member of society). Eventually, the charity is exposed as a fraud. No parents are charged with fraud because the law enforcement officials realize that first they must proceed with cases against every parent who benefitted from the charity (otherwise charges of favoritism would probably sink the case), and second that virtually all cases would be delayed indefinitely by the defense (at least until the child in question has grown up and can't be taken away from the parents) or even acquitted. So hundreds of rich families benefit from this loophole without legal consequence.

    So that sums up a good portion of my beefs with your current plan.

    I also have a comment to make on the correlation between higher education, greater wealth per capita, and lower birthrate. It is interesting that this exists. I.e., one would think naively that with greater resources and security that one would have more kids. Here are my suspicions on why this doesn't occur.

    First, bearing children is a difficult and hazardous activity. Also, most children need care at least till they get into nursery school or kindergarten. That often means that a mother is unable to work at least a couple weeks (a month or two being more likely) before the birth, and no heavy work for much longer than that. Afterwards, at least one of the parents (usually the mother) is occupied with the child for a year or more.

    A common practice is to have two or more children in quick succession to minimize the cost of having children to the family (economy of scale). That's why spacing them every four to six years as proposed might be a really bad idea.

    A commonly cited reason for lower family size is the perception of improved survivability of the child. Ie, a parent in Africa can expect infant mortality rates exceeding 1 in 4 (as I recall, could be wrong!) in some places. More children means more chances for grand children. On the other hand, with a very low infant mortality means that it could be in your best interests to have less children and spend more resources on the children that you currently have.

    Each child brings with it a large price tag. Not just expenses of providing for the child (medical, clothing, food, schooling, etc), but also the time a parent must spend on the child. This time cost is particularly expensive (I assert) in modern society. Ie, a mother may lose several years of productive employment to have children and be further behind in salary than people who don't have children or don't have to spend time to care for them.

    Single women (who are becoming increasingly common all over the world) are harder hit by these factors. An educated women is more likely to either put off having a child or adopting a child. Either activity will slow the birth rate.

    As has been pointed out here, wealth allows you to purchase birth control devices. I wager that wealthy families are less likely to have unplanned pregnacies.

    Finally, modern society has developed an adversion to children. I understand that this is particularly true in Germany, but it was pretty obvious when I was in college. A number of derogatory terms have been coined for children in the US ("rug rat" and "carpet ape" come to mind).

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    Reason for "inverse" birthrates. (5.00 / 1) (#229)
    by dmaxwell on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 11:24:19 PM EST

    Poor countries with high birthrates have low per capita incomes and no tax base for a "safety net". If you are unable to hustle for the necessities of life in such a country, you are basically screwed. The people who live in these places want to be taken care of in their old age. One or two children can not take care of their elderly parents; they can barely take care of themselves. If one has many children and grandchildren then the family unit just might have the resources to care for their elderly. This is practical because not too many people live long enough to get old so there are a great many children supporting the infirm. In prosperous societies, children are a financial burden. They must be fed, closed, housed, educated and time must be made to take care of them above and beyond that. In poor societies, children are an asset. They basically have to take care of themselves at a younger age than their prosperous counterparts and are obligated to respect and care for their elders.

    [ Parent ]
    Resources (3.40 / 5) (#159)
    by delmoi on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 09:14:08 PM EST

    When the amount of people that the earth can sustain is reached, the human population will stop growing. This may seem obvious, but it seems to be a point missed by many. There is absolutly no need resort to dystopian mesures to curb the human growth rate. There is no reason to inflict suffering on people now to prevent an imagined suffering later.

    Also, as other posters had mentioned, the population growth rate is lower in contries with better economies. The economies of most parts of the world are getting better, so the overpopulation issue probably isn't going to be as big as you think it will be

    Finaly, if you could actualy enforce your policies (There is no way people are going to stop fucking, what are you going to do, require manditory abortions? that every woman go on the pill?), the population rate would plummet, probably going into the negatives. If this happened, the economy would go into the shitter in a few decades, as our nation became overburned with old people, and not enough young'uns to support them. Your solution would make things much worse then they already are.
    --
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    I can't decide... (2.91 / 12) (#191)
    by inpHilltr8r on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 04:13:58 AM EST

    ...if this is some perverse facist bullshit, or the back story to a bad sci-fi film.

    Moon bases and off planet colonies (2.66 / 3) (#192)
    by lonesmurf on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 04:20:22 AM EST

    Here's a question for you: Do you really think that reproduction on space stations and off-planet colonies will be unregulated?

    Think about it, the resources available to us now a so vast that them drying up seems unthinkable (hence the short-term thinking of most people in power). On newly colonized places, the obviousness of the shortage of resources will necessitate the throttling back of human reproduction to compensate for the lack of food.

    Now that this train of logic has been followed, let me take it one step further, closing the circle: it has been established that in a situation where resources are limited, reproduction should be regulated so that there is not a population boom that dooms everyone. Why is it that this applies to space stations and colonies, but not here on earth?


    Rami

    I am not a jolly man. Remove the mirth from my email to send.


    Moon bases and off planet colonies don't yet exist (none / 0) (#207)
    by bgarcia on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 11:38:05 AM EST

    I think the problem is the form of the regulation.

    Some forms of regulation are acceptable to most people. Tax incentives, giving an oath, and peer pressure can be used to regulate reproduction. Even expulsion from the base (given that there is some sort of shuttle between the base and earth) could be considered. Few people would object to these methods.

    But what happens if regulation means that the "unauthorized baby" must be eliminated? Even if the parent(s) are ok with this, there will be other people who are not. I do not think that regulation would be tolerated on such a base if this was the means of enforcement.

    Also, I think that regulation is much more tolerable on a base when you could simply ship people back to earth as punishment, rather than require capital punishment.

    [ Parent ]

    your "indicators" of child mis-rearing a (4.40 / 5) (#197)
    by sethg on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 10:24:01 AM EST

    Taking the United States of America as an example, there are several indicators that parents may not be properly raising their children. Child crime rates are very high, as are cases of child abuse.
    BZZZT! Thank you for playing.
    • In the United States, since the early 1970s, the homicide arrest rate for juveniles (ages 10-17) has gone down 35%. For children under 10, it's gone down 74%.
    • During that period, the rate of teenagers arrested for serious felonies has gone down 19%, while the rate for adults aged 30-49 went up 74%.
    • The murder arrest rate among children age 6-12 was 2.0 per million in the 1960s, 2.6 per million in the 1970s, and 0.6 per million in 1999.
    • In a 1976 survey, 5.4% of high-school seniors said they were injured by an assailant with a weapon at school. In a 1999 survey, the figure was 4.0%.
    • In the past ten years, teenagers have had the lowest per capita increase in HIV infection rates, while the 30-to-49-year-olds have had the highest.
    For more statistics, see here. This essay is also instructive.

    Those are great statistics! (1.00 / 1) (#201)
    by DoomHaven on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 10:39:33 AM EST

    In America, I will conceed all of those points. Now, what about another country? What do the *world* statistics look like?

    Are you saying that if those numbers start rising, that my plan should be put in effect?

    Do think better parenting is the cause of those statistics? Perhaps lower standards of police enforcement is a major contributing factor. Or tougher government laws. Am I guilty of tying "bad parenting" to the wrong indications?

    But, in the end, I have to concede those points. Presently, my system would have serious flaws. Honestly, though, get back to me in 50 years.

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    now you have a homework assignment (5.00 / 2) (#210)
    by sethg on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 01:51:21 PM EST

    In America, I will conceed all of those points. Now, what about another country? What do the *world* statistics look like?
    As the person making the proposal, you have the burden of proof. I'm sure that if you talk to a reference librarian, you can find comparative crime statistics across countries. Also, as long as you're in a library, you can find books expounding competing theories of the causes of violent crime, and books on the history of morality of eugenics.
    Are you saying that if those numbers start rising, that my plan should be put in effect?
    No, I'm choosing only one of the many reasons that your plan is bogus. Aside from trivial facts about population growth and juvenile crime, you might want to spend some time considering:
    • With all the causes of crime out there, and all the resources that the government could use to address the problem, how much should be devoted to ameliorating bad parenting?
    • Even if children should be shielded from bad parents, why not use a less coercive program to provide alternatives -- e.g., subsidized and professionally-run day-care programs?
    • Do the countries with bad-parenting problems worth addressing also have the resources required to enforce a license-to-procreate program?
    • If the citizens of a country have the foresight to vote your plan into existence and cooperate with its enforcement, why would they need it in the first place?


    [ Parent ]
    *puke*. (3.33 / 6) (#204)
    by bscanl on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 10:59:46 AM EST

    Sick shit. You seem vaguely coherant, hopefully someday you'll become enlightened. This planet can house many many more billions, look at the waste you see around you.
    War and fucked up dictators are the only things that cause famine, poverty in the third world is caused by short sighted economic decisions, you should be using your intelligence on solving the problem, not choosing how people should live, a "solution" to the symptom.

    Everybody is worthy to do with their bodys as they choose, in my opinion, and everybody deserves the right to be human, and do what all our
    (mothers and fathers)^BIGNUMBER have done.

    If you believe that these licenses are going to become a reality, then you should be doing everything you can to prevent this potential dilemma. I don't beleive anything like this will happen in my country, and if it started happening in "free" countries which allow you to emigrate, then people will flock to countries which do.

    The problem is ... (3.00 / 4) (#206)
    by Bisun on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 11:27:07 AM EST

    The problem is that one must be able to trust the regulators. Not just now, but in the future also. Now I personally wouldn't trust the current administration for anything. Vote fraud is only one reason among many. But the prior wasn't that much better (so far). So who is going to be running this system?

    The day after the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.... (3.80 / 5) (#209)
    by Monster on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 01:36:15 PM EST

    ....I read this. While I do not want to get into an Abortion Debate here (largely because my own position is somehow simultaneously offensive to "both" sides as the debate is normally framed) let me say that I think people own their own bodies, and have the right to control their own reproductive functions.

    Now, the word "right" has become confused by all sorts of interest groups claiming new ones all the time, so let me clarify that the word means the freedom to live your own life the way you see fit (whilst respecting others' freedoms to do likewise). In a free society, your freedoms/rights are not to be violated except as punishment for you violating someone else's.

    We make certain allowances for mentally handicapped individuals who, having attained the age of seniority are nevertheless considered to remain minors, but this is the exception. It requires that certain legal hurdles be cleared by the person proposing commitment or its equivalent.
    A person who's been convicted of abusing children might rightly have his freedom to produce more of them curtailed. The infamous Susan Smith, currently incarcerated for having killed her own children, would have no cause for complaint if the law required her sterilization as a condition for release in a few decades.
    • Liberty presumes that you are competent to make your own decisions until proven otherwise.
    • Licensure is the opposite of liberty, presuming that you are incompetent until proven otherwise (but, in a representative government, are somehow still competent to elect people to make those decisions for you).
    Either you own yourself, or someone else (the state, or its appointed guardian in loco parentis) does. So as not to risk invoking Godwin's Law, I'll go no further with this line of thought, presuming as I do that you're competent to complete it on your own.
    SVM, ERGO MONSTRO
    Godwin's (none / 0) (#217)
    by ksandstr on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 05:37:05 PM EST

    Mentioning Godwin's law is also invoking it, since everybody knows what Godwin's law means.

    You lose. Thanks for playing.



    Fin.
    [ Parent ]
    overpopulation and "right" to bear child (2.00 / 4) (#211)
    by aphexddb on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 02:30:43 PM EST

    Its easy as humans to think we can control our environment. We can move the face of the earth to suit our needs and we have internet pr0n. We as a species are not lacking for many comforts. In the grand scheme of things we are merely like a population of rabbits, except we have to predators. While I agree that procreation is a very peronal and important right, it becomes irrevelavent in a case of total over population. Envision the planet 200 years in the future. (and lets be realistic, not many people will be spacefarers) Hundreds of billions of people with not enough food to go around. Like any other species be it rabbit or wolf, people will start to die. The people out there having 10 kids will be stealing resources (read: life) from the people having 1, 2, or no children. Its so incredibly easy to claim having as many kids as you want a right in this day and age. But sometime in the future people are going to make some hard choices. At that point for the sake of humanity the choices of the individial don't mean squat. So to all you who are shouting so powerfully about the "fundamental right" to bear children... you are fucking everyone else over in the long run.

    Constitutionality (4.40 / 5) (#212)
    by Paul Harm on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 02:59:42 PM EST

    (nb: IANAL) You asked where in the constitution one finds a "right to breed." I think you will find it in at least a couple of places.

    Amendment IX

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    The ninth amendment provides that those rights which have been commonly held, are retained. For example, this was, partly, where the "right to privacy" was found to exist in the Roe v. Wade decision. I think it reasonable to believe that a right to procreate existed before the constitution.

    Amendment XIV

    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    This is the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment. This clause has been found to eliminate many laws that discriminated along racial, gender, ethnic, and, yes, economic lines. You can read more about it at the Constitution Center. I would be very surprised if your "baby tax" could pass an Equal Protection test.



    Inherently Classist (4.50 / 4) (#227)
    by threemile on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 08:10:24 PM EST

    Your requirements of 20 hours a week per parent and $10,000 per year virtually ensure that only the upper classes will be legally allowed to procreate. It just about gaurantees that only the rich can have more than one child as well. Think about it - who has an extra twenty hours a week to spend volunteering while they work to sock away an extra ten grand per year? Now think about that second child - who would have enough free time to be able to spend twenty hours a week volunteering, holding down a job, AND taking care of a child? Only those wealthy enough not to work or those who can afford full time child care (having volunteers take care of children so that you can "volunteer" in order to have more children amounts to little more than someone else raising your child, probably canceling out the benefits of time sacrifice as a restriction). While you state that these figures (money and volunteering time) are completely arbitrary, you have in fact laid out the framework for only the elite to breed. While I am concerned about overpopulation, there is also a part of me which believes that fucking ourselves out of creation is nature's way of handling us. If we can't accomplish a maintainable population through education and personal responsability maybe we don't deserve to be here any more. Resource depletion, some disease and famine, and away we go.

    Change the numbers around then! (1.00 / 1) (#236)
    by DoomHaven on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 02:13:43 AM EST

    Fine! Change the numbers around! How much money do you think is acceptable? A flat rate or a percent of income? How many hours a week?

    Don't think that doing this for a second child is acceptable? I have already stated somewhere else in these comments that it would be a good idea to give two licenses away after the first successful pass through the system.

    If the numbers are your biggest beefs about this system, then give me better ones; don't just rant on about how the specifics of the system are horrible!

    Honestly, it's the thought of "fucking ourselves out of creation is nature's way of handling us" that scares me enough to consider this kind of measure.

    My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
    [ Parent ]
    It's not the numbers (4.66 / 3) (#242)
    by threemile on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 01:05:57 PM EST

    While the specific numbers are outrageous in my mind, you seem to have overlooked the point that this sets up the FRAMEWORK for discrimination. How difficult do you think it would be for those numbers to change to favor the upper classes?

    Even though I trust all of your intentions for creating this system and am impressed with the amount of time and thought you have spent on this issue, I cannot for one second support the dismissal of such a basic human right. This is why I state that education would be a better solution in my mind, and until it has been proven that education is not enough or is insufficient, we should not even consider such drastic measures.

    One last comment on the specifics (which you seem to appreciate so much ;) - As far as giving away two licenses after one successful pass through the system is concerned - That would leave families raising two children each. It would be interesting to see if this actually helps the problem of overpopulation when you factor in the amount of people who have more than 2 children (as well as those who have <2) and compare it to the ideal number of people for sustainable existense on the planet.

    [ Parent ]
    *yawn* (4.00 / 4) (#245)
    by Eivind on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 07:55:06 AM EST

    Long. Full of misconceptions. Pointless. Ill-structured. Bad idea. Neither original, nor well thougth-out. There's about a zillion problems with this idea, I don't think I'll even bother pointing them out, since most of the readers here are doubtlessly capable of that themselves. Would be nice if people would vote utter crap like this down though, like it is basically anything that's long gets posted.

    Breeding Licenses, yes! Never happen, though... (5.00 / 1) (#248)
    by Mantic on Tue Jan 30, 2001 at 04:47:05 AM EST

    I agree that financial stability must be established, although the current systems for guaging fanances are drastically flawed (the whole credit system is out of hand). The notion of stuffing a fund for four years is more appealing than any more likely method, but any assurance of stability is better than none. Money is important -- and if anyone who stumbles upon this gets the notion that I'm some upper-class moneybags, forget it. I'm so near the poverty level my wallet is starving, and I am making sure I don't wind up bringing children into the world until I can do better for them than I got (it's called 'upward mobility' and I think a lot of people forgot about it). The whole balance is off in the US now with the poorest section of the population cranking out the most offspring, and it's getting on the third generation of single teen motherhood where I live. This is bad.

    Charity. Just because I would cherish my own child does not mean I want anything to do with someone else's hairy little monkey. Doubt I'm alone in that. But I'd do it if I had to.

    Truth is, I doubt we'll see such legislation, ever. Especially not in any democratic nation. Personally I would welcome it, even with much harsher restrictions and reqirements. I'd also welcome some serious evaluation of genetic compatibility among prospective couples to prevent a lot of the tragic stories that are all too common anymore.

    But the alternitive, what we will get, will be worse.

    A better way to regulate over breeding by humans! (5.00 / 2) (#251)
    by MistWraith on Tue Jan 30, 2001 at 09:30:12 PM EST

    A one person one offspring policy would be optimal for population stabilization. Any extra population spots opened up by persons opting out of the breeding process, through criminal acts or by choosing not to breed, could be given out in a lottery.

    uhhh, I don't think that word means what you think (4.00 / 1) (#252)
    by xyloplax on Wed Jan 31, 2001 at 07:19:17 PM EST

    Don't you mean "rampant" instead of "rampart"?

    Breeding Licenses | 255 comments (237 topical, 18 editorial, 1 hidden)
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