The Reasons For Breeding Licenses
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.
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.
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
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.
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."