Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Those who do not study history are doomed to euphemize it

In this post I will briefly address a meme that I have encountered several times recently, and here are some links to prove that it is a real meme that people talk about in real life.

"Should You Need A License To Have Kids?" Rimjob, Daily Kos, Dec. 14, 2005 (attached poll: 186 say "yes," 111 "no," 17 "unsure")

"I hear horror stories all the time about child abuse and child neglect. I think it's quite possible that requiring a license to have a child would put an end, or at least minimize, these issues." Fanaile Essence, "Should a license be required to have children?" ProgressiveU, Nov. 12, 2006

"The requirements to get a “I can have a child” license should be simple. Each person must take a class- a parenting program (and pass a test to prove that they learned the material), pass a drug test, pass an IQ test, and give proof that they have a stable income for at least a year." Alaesme, License to Have Children, For Our Cultural Integrity, Dec. 31, 2006

"As it is now, any persons who conceive or give birth to children can do as they wish with their children until the children are sufficiently damaged to warrant the intervention of public social agencies under child abuse and neglect laws. We carefully screen adoptive parents. We require licenses for foster parents and for day care providers. But we have no standards for the biological parents of children. Those children are not protected until they are damaged. Then our interventions often are too late to be effective." Dr. Jack C. Westman, University of Wisconsin-Madison, "The Rationale for Licensing Parents"

I've heard examples of this idea from conservatives, too - I just haven't found links to them talking about it. Anyway, this isn't a new idea, as the following quote will show:

"…And there would be certain conditions of circumstances which would preclude parenthood. These conditions, the presence of which would make parenthood a crime, are the following:

1. Transmissible disease

2. Temporary disease

3. Subnormal children already in the family

4. Space out between births

5. Twenty-three years as a minimum age for parents

6. Economic circumstances adequate

7. Spiritual harmony between parents." Margaret Sanger, "The Children's Era," delivered March, 1925 (note: I don't think Ms. Sanger intended to say that having adequate economic circumstances would make it illegal for you to have children, but she was doing a public speech at the time and we all know that can be nerve-wracking and we can forgive her for making a mistake.)

Indeed, the idea antedates even Sanger, going back to a Victorian scientist and explorer by the name of Sir Francis Galton. He founded a particular school of thought that's been out of favor for some time due to its historical application, but perhaps it's ready for a comeback. After all, maybe "three generations of imbeciles are enough."

(I hope this post has subtly and tastefully addressed my position regarding this issue without being too obtuse.)

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