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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Should society require people to earn a license before becoming parents? (Page 3)

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Author Topic: Should society require people to earn a license before becoming parents?
Joe Schmoe
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quote:
Originally posted by SwampJedi:
I was rather strong myself - after all, I did say that I'd take up arms against any administraton that implemented this plan.

Maybe there's a better way to explain the utter loathing I'd feel towards living under such a system.

I think you put it well. Maybe I should have just quoted you because thats how I feel too.
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OpsanusTau
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Okay, so obviously licensing childbearing as such is kind of a bad idea for many reasons.

But the government does provide lots of benefits to people who are raising children. I think that someone could probably make a reasonable case that the government could legitimately withold those benefits from some parents, right?

I mean, I don't think that the government has any right to tell me what I can or can't do with my own body and childbearing equipment. But it's possible that the government might have a right to evaluate my potential parenting qualifications, and if they are found wanting, to tell me that they will not be subsidizing any child I might choose to have.

I don't even know what *I* think about that, though. Seems iffy.

I was also thinking the other day, while doing some stuff with the big ol' herd of goats and their kids, about parenting (or, in this case, mothering) as a biological trait. Which it obviously is, to some degree. There are whole breeds of animals that are known for in general producing capable, attentive mothers.
Even among our goats, there are a couple of does who have triplet kids, and take excellent care of all of them; there are also a couple who only have one, and lose them constantly, and don't really keep them clean and well-fed.

So it seems reasonable to expect that among humans, some people would be naturally better parents than other people. And on the one hand, it might make sense for the government to invest more of society's collective resources in those parents - who are, after all, far more likely to rear healthy and well-adjusted offspring to adulthood.
On the other hand, "good parent" is probably not the only characteristic that one wants to select for. Many brilliant and critically important people both had terrible parents and were terrible parents, and society does need brilliant and pivotal people.
On a third hand, people are not livestock and should not be treated as such. (And please don't anybody think I was proposing any such thing. All of this is really meant only as fodder for thought.)

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javelin
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Sorry, Joe - you weren't in the vitriol area.
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javelin
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quote:
I mean, I don't think that the government has any right to tell me what I can or can't do with my own body and childbearing equipment. But it's possible that the government might have a right to evaluate my potential parenting qualifications, and if they are found wanting, to tell me that they will not be subsidizing any child I might choose to have.

I don't even know what *I* think about that, though. Seems iffy.

So, they find out you've had an abortion in the last five years, and denies you benefits?

[ January 11, 2006, 02:14 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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OpsanusTau
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Well, if that turns out to be one of the criteria for refusing benefits (and I can see arguments on both sides for that one) - then yes.

I was thinking more along the lines of actual parental aptitude, though. Attentiveness. Capacity for responsibility. Liking children. Possibly financial stability. Breadth of pelvic girdle. General reproductive health. Etc.
I don't really know how some of these could be tested, but I'm sure there could be a way.

I kind of don't like the idea, but it at least seems more sensible to me than the government just telling people they can't have babies - which is obviously totally unenforcable except by means most people would not countenance.

edit...
quote:
So, they find out you've had an abortion in the last five years, and denies you benefits?
I assume that's the hypothetical me, right? Because I haven't.

[ January 11, 2006, 02:22 PM: Message edited by: OpsanusTau ]

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Joe Schmoe
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quote:
Originally posted by javelin:
Sorry, Joe - you weren't in the vitriol area.

Thanks Jav. [Big Grin]
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Joe Schmoe
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quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:

I was thinking more along the lines of actual parental aptitude, though. Attentiveness. Capacity for responsibility. Liking children. Possibly financial stability. Breadth of pelvic girdle. General reproductive health. Etc.
I don't really know how some of these could be tested, but I'm sure there could be a way.

Err... dare I ask how the gov would determine fitness in these areas? [Eek!]

I could maybe see looking at a persons records to make a determination. Things like if the parents are felons, lost custody of prior children, etc.

I'm not sure how much I like even that much snooping, but it seems a lot more feasible than checking peoples "Breadth of pelvic girdle." [Wink]

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SwampJedi
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OpsanusTau, do you differentiate between "bad" parents and "abusive" parents?

A thought struck me about a comment earlier in the thread. Someone compared fathers restricting daughters' sexual access to the government restricting reproduction. I don't think there can ever be an "in kind" comparison here. The father can do what, exactly, to his daughter (legally) if she defies him? Very little, depending on her age. The govenment can kill you if you break the rules.

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Everard
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"I could maybe see looking at a persons records to make a determination. Things like if the parents are felons, lost custody of prior children, etc.

I'm not sure how much I like even that much snooping,"

Hrm. THose things tend to be public record.

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
Well, if that turns out to be one of the criteria for refusing benefits (and I can see arguments on both sides for that one) - then yes.

I was thinking more along the lines of actual parental aptitude, though. Attentiveness. Capacity for responsibility. Liking children. Possibly financial stability. Breadth of pelvic girdle. General reproductive health. Etc.
I don't really know how some of these could be tested, but I'm sure there could be a way.

I kind of don't like the idea, but it at least seems more sensible to me than the government just telling people they can't have babies - which is obviously totally unenforcable except by means most people would not countenance.

edit...
quote:
So, they find out you've had an abortion in the last five years, and denies you benefits?
I assume that's the hypothetical me, right? Because I haven't.
Yep - definitely not pointed at you. I'm saying that this would quickly cross over into that area.
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Everard
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There are obviously the same dangers to this proposal, vis a vis suing, as there are to the other earlier proposals.
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OpsanusTau
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Oh, gosh. It's not something I've thought through or anything, guys. Just an idea that I thought I'd put out there.

I don't have any idea how the government would go about setting standards. I'm sure if we wanted to do that, we could think of criteria to use. And then if you meet the criteria, you get your tax credits and free education and whatnot; if not, you don't.

I don't think I *like* the idea at all, actually. But I do think that it seems more within the legitimate power of the state than is telling people they *can't* have children.

As to abortion, jav - well, I can already smell this turning into yet another one of Those Threads if anyone gets started about that. But I don't think that having had an abortion is actually necessarily a marker of maternal unfitness; I would hypothesize that there's functionally no correlation, but it might also be that having had an abortion in some or many cases is a marker of maternal fitness.
(And no, don't anybody bother responding angrily to that. Start a new thread or something.)

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flydye45
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I agree with OT. I wouldn't have a problem with the government stating it would deny benefits to what it considered poor parental risks. But they already do that with welfare recipients who have too many children, don't they?

And pulling it into another thread, the same could be said with drug legalization. Smoke em if you want to, just forget government jobs, welfare benefits, federal education benefits etc.

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OpsanusTau
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quote:
I agree with OT.
Nuh UH!
Has that ever happened, fly?
Let's get some confetti on that.

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javelin
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Ops - I brought "that word" into the discussion because finding and creating agreement on what makes a good parent sounds easier than it could ever possibly be.
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OpsanusTau
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In some sense, I absolutely agree.

But...in another sense, I think there might be some quantitative or qualitative measure that could evaluate the "investment risk" (as it were) of the people who turn out to be:

a crackhead mom with six accidental children

a single mom with two children and supportive grandparents involved both financially and emotionally

a married couple who both work minimum wage jobs and have two kids

a married couple, the man a corporate thingy and the woman a society lady, who let their children be raised by a succession of underpaid nannies

Yeah, I know it would be more difficult in practice - everything is. And I'm not even sure that it would be a good idea in any sense.
But like I said, I think it is *a* way the government could be involved in evaluating and regulating parenting capability.

edited to add:
When I was talking about goats earlier, what I meant to get across was that some aspects of being an effective parent are not very subjective. I mean...we can recognize them in animals of a different species, for Pete's sake.
And so regardless of specifics (do I let them watch Barney, or just Sesame Street? can they date when they're fourteen, or do they have to wait until they're eighteen? do I hit them, or send them to their rooms? do they have a curfew, or do they have to call and say where they are?), there is a certain similarity to all Effective Parenting.

[ January 11, 2006, 07:48 PM: Message edited by: OpsanusTau ]

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javelin
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I agree, logically, we should be able to do that Ops - but we won't. It'll become politicized. People who are against certain living styles will commission studies that show, definitively, that a homosexual couple is the worst possible environment for parents.... etc. etc. - and policy will be enacted based on these studies.
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OpsanusTau
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Oh you are SO pessimistic, javelin.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by The Drake:
quote:
Originally posted by Everard:

I'm just curious when it WAS big on personal responsibility?

When you froze to death if you didn't chop enough wood.
Being from Florida (what is this freezing thing of which you speak?) I was thinking along the lines of when you starved to death if you didn't grow your food.
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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
Oh you are SO pessimistic, javelin.

[Wink] [Razz] [Big Grin]
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flydye45
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Yeah, OT. Don't think I didn't feel the rumble in the space time continuum as well. [Big Grin]
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scifibum
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quote:
Find a cheap and reversible way to sterilize everyone at birth. Don't worry about licensing people to have it reversed. If they care enough to have it done they pass.
didn't read all the way through the discussion so far, so i'm hoping this isn't redundant or otherwise hopelessly too late...

but to the above quote I have to respond..."And hope that some unexpected event or condition doesn't impact our ability to reverse the sterilization." Let a war or natural disaster make a serious dent in our industrial/technological capability, and we could be a bunch of sterile aging surprised looking folks hoping we can get back to the right level of medical technology before we all die (and those in less progressive parts of the world move in to take our place) Or do you have a theory on how sterilization might be induced and reversed without a reliance on a high level of technology?

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