February 26, 2024

How about licensing parents?

Hi there,

Some time ago, I recall writing an article
about a loopy proposal to licence parents. There were too many incompetent
parents around, ran the argument. Bringing a child into the world was a
privilege, not a right, and the government ought to issue licences to people
interested in having a family.

I see that the idea has surfaced again. A
British sociologist recently contended on the BBC that unfit parents should be
sterilised (see below). “Perpetrators should be prevented from producing any more
children and from multiplying their victims,” he said.

And the grumpy old professor isn’t alone. A
German and British academic have just written a paper (see below) in which they argue that if
gay and lesbian reproduction is regulated because it makes use of technology,
how about natural reproduction? There are too many fecund and feckless females
out there. They need to be regulated and indoctrinated with compulsory
parenting classes.

Such proposals seem mostly daft, in my
view, but they have a grain of sense. Children are best cared for within a
stable marriage. Once that breaks down, as it has, inevitably there will be
calls for the government to step in. The notion that the state can’t regulate
personal morality evolves into the feeling that the state has to regulate
morality if the person won’t.

Any ideas?

Michael Cook