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“We’ll PAY You Not To Have Kids”
James Hughes   Jul 28, 2013   Huffpost Live  

On July 26 IEET Executive Director J. Hughes joined lawyer Thomas Morris, behavioral economist Gary Charness and Barbara Harris, founder of Project Prevention to discuss the ethics of Project Prevention’s mission: paying men and women addicted to drugs to use contraception or have vasectomies and tubal ligations.

Dr. Hughes statement on the question:

Barbara Harris’ initiative is an ethical one insofar as it reduces the suffering of the people it convinces not to have children, of the potential children they might have had, and of society in general. Paying people with severe mental health and substance abuse issues $300 to have vasectomies or implant IUDs or long-term contraception is not the same as the eugenics of the early 20th century. Instead of using racist, pseudo-scientific ideas about the inheritance of criminality to enforce involuntary sterilization, this program makes the perfectly reasonable assumption that it would be better for the person struggling with the problem, and for any children they might have, if they make a voluntary choice to not have children.  Reversible forms of vasectomy would be preferable to irreversible forms, as IUDs and contraceptive implants are preferable to tubal ligations, but in general we need to presume that people with these problems are capable of exercising informed and free consent. If they aren’t capable of making this decision then they aren’t capable of consenting to sex that could lead to pregnancy. To deny them the opportunity to make a choice between compensation and their fertility is to infantilize and patronize them.

On the other hand this program will have no measurable impact on poverty, mental illness or substance abuse in general so long as it is a nonprofit initiative. It would have to be a federal program to have a measurable impact, just as the legalization of abortion in the 1970s had a measurable impact on lowering the incidence of unwanted children, which in turn reduced juvenile delinquency and crime in the 1990s.  The impact of poverty on children is as severe as the impact of being raised (or not raised) by parents with substance abuse problems. Even a federal program offering compensation for contraception is unlikely to have much of an impact on poverty since only serious structural reforms in social welfare, education and public employment will move that needle. At best this would be a useful adjunct to larger reforms.




COMMENTS
This sounds like an absolutely great program with a very valuable service. I fully support it.
Indeed this would be a highly cost effective, (cheap), short-sighted solution to the problems of drug abuse, propagation of harmful drugs, continued support for drug cartels, poverty and escapism.


Paying drug addicts not to have kids or to agree to sterilization is tantamount to bribery and coercion, and in fact does nothing to solve the problems of addiction for those addicted?

Better the monies be spent innovating safe recreational drugs, and on education against misuse of harmful drugs and addiction?

Paying to support drug addiction is also another insidious way of perpetuating poverty and need of state assistance to ensure ongoing control of populous?

Why not just give the addicts a bag of goodies, I'm sure if you time it right, (before Turkey), most would sign away any future rights for literally nothing?


It's a shame to read this, instead of a more "techno-progressive" solution that promotes the innovation of safe and legal drugs that would aid to destroy illegal drugs cartels, their powers, corruption, and murderous exploits. Especially since safe recreational drugs use has been promoted in other articles?

To reiterate, this is not a Techno-progressive solution.
Cygnus, I couldn't agree with you more. In fact, I'd take it another step and say that this program combined with the conditions faced by those addicts and those diagnosed with mental health problems that would be attracted by a $300 bonus (which would really only attract people form poor communities) is a form of force or coercion that is comparable to the force used under forced sterilization. Though certainly different than forced sterilization, it is derived from a basis in the same system of logic - that these people should be punished because they face these struggles or that somehow we would inherently benefit from these people not having kids. This is incredibly fucked up and shares common roots with eugenecists, and should be a grave concern for anyone who calls themselves "ethical". Expect a future piece from me on this.
@Cygnus

I agree that the innovation of safer drugs, and the legalization of cannabis and general redistribution of wealth and opportunity, are all a part of the technoprogressive answer to drug addiction. But that doesn't make this initiative a bad one. You support family planning in general, I presume, even though the family planning choices of many people are effected by unemployment, poor mental health service provision, bad laws, crappy TV and patriarchy. We don't have to fix all those things to support family planning, although we should also fix all those things in addition to family planning. That's why I was at pains to specify in my response above that this is ethically defensible, but wholly inadequate as a solution.
@ James

I don't agree it is "ethically defensible", nor any defense for the vulnerable. None of any of those things you mention above have solution in family planning, certainly not poverty and especially not unemployment! save perhaps one; global population control?

Certainly being stoned is adverse to rationality and any kind of "planning", but the problem to tackle is being stoned in the first? What about addicts and abusers of safe or minimal drugs use? Are these types to be scrutinized also?

Yet I'm willing to make a compromise, call it $600 bucks?

Thanks @wcstrong for being another voice!
@James

This is great. I always thought this was a good idea and wondered if there were any programs actually going on. It is sad seeing first hand (family and friends) the crap children have to go through with parents who are constantly in and out of jail or rehab. I think if you just once produce a drug addicted baby, you should not have the option to continue procreating.

Don't get me wrong, I am empathetic as a recovering drug addict myself and I realize it is a brain disease,

However it may not be your fault with the connectome and genome you received but you are responsible for your recovery.
OK, if we insist on looking at this argument sympathetically from the point of the child, let's apply some logic?

By preventing addicts occasion to become pregnant, yes we are preventing the future sufferings of a child, by preventing the life of the child from the first - so it's not the child we are really concerned about, (despite our own delusions) is it?

It is rather the burden on society we are really concerned about?

Save the monies to use to educate, support, and overcome drugs abuse and addiction. Failing this, use the money for the battle against illegal drugs cartels and trafficking, (which is less effective)?


Cygnus has expressed in interest in the "burden on society" so here's a link for FAS expenses:

http://fasdcenter.samhsa.gov/publications/cost.aspx

Expenses like this take away funding that COULD be spent on many other projects, like social services, or transhumanist goals like longevity research, AI development, etc.

I have 2 friends who are midwives - they would 100% support this measure - they have delivered too many babies damaged by toxic wombs

plus - here's a conversation a friend of mine heard on the city bus:

A Very Pregnant Woman is drinking Whiskey on the bus, her bottle is half-hidden in a paper bag.
Her friend says: "You shouldn't be drinking that! You're pregnant!"
SHe says: "I'm just having a sip here."
Her friend says: "They already took away two of your kids with the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome."
SHe says: "I know I know but I won't drink the whole bottle."

Cygnus has ideas on how to spend public monies to solve this problem but those ideas have not worked. People are still addicts, and they still have children. When a better idea arrives, let's use it. Until then, this idea seems excellent.

And.. for wcstrong... "ethics" ? You can not take the moral high ground here. Future human beings are being poisoned - we can stop that for $300 per person. Seems UNethical to me, not to do it.





"This sounds like an absolutely great program with a very valuable service. I fully support it."

Agreed, plus the detractors here are protesting too much, approaching this emotionally. Wesley knows v. well paying $300 to someone not to have children does not make the dispenser a "eugene"icist. (Perhaps a Eugene Debsicist?) Disregading the issue for a minute, Cygnus and Wesley are being a bit contrarian. Congratulations to them, they have a good future ahead of them.
Hank I also liked your idea a couple years ago of licensing parents to have children as well.



"Cygnus has expressed in interest in the "burden on society" so here's a link for FAS expenses:"

Have I? I do not see where I have enquired?

"Cygnus has ideas on how to spend public monies to solve this problem but those ideas have not worked. People are still addicts, and they still have children. When a better idea arrives, let's use it. Until then, this idea seems excellent."

So? Your point is?
People are still addicts - my whole point!

This is not a better idea proposed here, just a short-sighted, short-term and "cheap" solution, that is in danger of becoming policy if we don't speak out against such.

Kindly do not "place words in my mouth", and in drawing "your own" conclusions and context from what I say, (please read again if you are unsure or unclear). Ask if you are uncertain?

If you wish to speak to me directly do so, I will not tolerate the "trolling" or bullying tactics from either yourself or others any longer here at IEET.

Regarding your anecdote, this is not amusing, (if is indeed intended to be), and merely misdirects from the conversation, (if it is true at all?)

Cygnus -

I put "burden on society" in quotation marks because it is your phrase in your 07/30 comment.

In the same comment you talk about the need to "save the monies to use for...." so I also referred to that.

I didn't put words in your mouth, in fact, I directly referred to your quotes. And I did so because I wanted to speak directly to you --

so, all in all, ???!!!????!!!???! I have no idea why you'd be upset by that. ???!!!???!!?!?


"I will not tolerate the "trolling" or bullying tactics from either yourself or others any longer here at IEET."

Let's ask Pee Wee Herman if he ever got miffy with Big Bird/the Cookie Monster trolling and bullying. A man can't be gentle all the time unless he rooms on top of a gay bar and never goes outdoors.
What is more and more striking is the pettiness of issues: we are aware of existential threats --though most of us not being scientists, engineers, we don't know enough-- yet you fret about paying addicts to not have children? As petty as the pro-'life' (anti-abortion) acting as if abortion is the end of the world. Naturally, if this issue is important to you, it is important but wherein is the proportionality? Besides, the real issue is poverty, not addiction, children, paying addicts to not have children; or for that matter paying Donald Trump to not have children. Can't avoid the suspicion you are grandstanding on this issue, Cygnus. Does that make me a bully, a troller?
I may sound like a pro-lifer to you, but that's because you both miss the point, again, and again, and again… let me try to spell it out once more, (It's already stated above).

Scenario: Social worker apologising to a child born to drugs/alcohol/psychopath/Schizoid/Misanthropy (add whatever you deem aligns with your ideals on social morality ..etc etc etc)

"Sorry you have suffered so much pain and suffering from your birth to parents of addiction/condition. The state should have intervened and protected you, by ensuring you were not born to suffer this."

Thus, paying addicts to not have children is not solving anything, it is not solving addiction, it is not solving the failures of social ethics to deal with addiction. For this we need look elsewhere, and find out where strategy is not working, and reason why, not simply dismiss "real" long term solutions, as, tried it - don't work??

Abortion? Who mentions abortion other than you?.. concentrate on what is being discussed instead of inventing conversations from you own mind.

"Besides, the real issue is poverty, not addiction, children, paying addicts to not have children; or for that matter paying Donald Trump to not have children."

You prattle on about all of the above, and then you say this? … Poverty dude! well yeah! ($300 bucks will sort 'em out right?)
How about... paying $300 not just to addicts to be sterilized, but paying it anyone - Or at least providing sterilization for free. ?

Unwanted children... there's no benefit to that. A huge percentile of children are born accidentally, and unwanted. And those children are often subjected to abuse

here's some statistics I got from childcare.com:

One-third to two-thirds of child maltreatment cases involve substance use to some degree.

Children whose parents abuse alcohol and other drugs are three times more likely to be abused and more than four times more likely to be neglected than children from non-abusing families.

As many as two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused or neglected as children.


Here's some more info on children of addicted parents:

http://www.hopenetworks.org/addiction/Children of Addicts.htm

---

Addiction has a strong genetic component. Tragic, but very true. Fixing that via a "transhumanist" solution would be wonderful.
Enuff with the $300 bucks already! = Cheap

However, IF? There comes a time when WORLD Population growth becomes such an issue, then UNIVERSALLY applied sanction for pregnancy may be worthy of contemplation, and that includes "Rich" people, All people, (but excluding addicts I guess > forever?)

Discussed this all before, yadda, yadda, yadda

Those despicable Republican statist types, "supported" by the likes of Liberal moralists, would like nothing better than to limit the population of the "Poor" and poverty stricken, to manageable levels.

If you're not "against" drugs, then you're not against the addictions that follow as consequences!

You can't espouse legalization of drugs in one breath, and rally against drug abuse with the next?

Cygnus: "You can't espouse legalization of drugs in one breath, and rally against drug abuse with the next?"

But that's like saying that one can't believe that diabetics shouldn't be thrown in jail for eating cake, but still be in favor of treating diabetes. Yes, drug addiction is a real medical problem, but the effects of drugs on the addicts and on society are made worse by the criminalization. Treating addiction as medical issue - which will become easier when we have actual cures - is far better for society. But just as one might recommend to someone beginning chemotherapy for cancer that its better not to start a family, you can treat addiction as a medical condition which obliges us to urge people to not have children, at least until they get it under control.
Well this discussion hasn't got to the sterilization of sugar freaks as yet, but looks like it may well be heading in that direction?

"Yes, drug addiction is a real medical problem, but the effects of drugs on the addicts and on society are made worse by the criminalization."

I'm not sure is it? Do people take/buy drugs just because it is against the law?
Sure enough criminalization of drugs is unregulated, yet I don't see any "war on drugs" presently, "war on terrorism" I hear a lot about? How about $300 bucks per head going towards dismantling drug cartels?

If drugs were legalized and regulated, how would this prevent "overindulgence"? Do we then re-criminalize these "overindulgences"? How?

"But just as one might recommend to someone beginning chemotherapy for cancer that its better not to start a family, you can treat addiction as a medical condition which obliges us to urge people to not have children, at least until they get it under control."

The two key words that underpin your persuasion here are "recommend" and "urge", (short of coercion, which is the term also recognized in the poll?)

Addicts may never fully control their reliance, (especially if encouraged by lack of education and apathy towards drugs use in society).

Yet it is a small step from an addict seeking medical care for drugs abuse and being "urged" to take the $300 bucks and some good advice, and being treated for drugs, waking up "sterilized" and being compensated with $300 bucks.

We could also offer the addicts $300 bucks each time they come visit, (drugs amnesty), yet I say that this would rather encourage even more bad culture?

To state my position, regardless of how this may confuse here, I am "anti-drugs" and "anti-coercion". I guess my weakness in this argument is that I am just "too responsible" for my own person.
What is difficult to accept is that an educated person such as Wesley Strong would possibly believe paying addicts to not have children is tantamount to eugenics. If Wesley were to hypothetically call up the Rush Limbaugh radio program to say he, Wesley, is a socialist, but Limbaugh countered that socialism is the precursor to Communism, you'd think it was a slippery slope argument. If I were to write here Wesley is a socialist because he secretly wants power, you'd rightly think it was a specious claim. (BTW, the supposition leftists covet power is a common one).
Paying addicts not to have children does not lead to forced sterilisation or somesuch-- unless one anticipates the possibility of a totalist future. And such is speculation- though of course not out of the question..
Don't know what motivates what Wesley and Cygnus have written at this thread.. is it from mild paranoia? Writing things for effect, to spook readers? throwing contrarian sentiments out hoping some will stick? Have to admit, I am suspicious to a severe fault; yet is this worse than some of the claims made above by others?

"Don't know what motivates what Wesley and Cygnus have written at this thread.. is it from mild paranoia? Writing things for effect, to spook readers? throwing contrarian sentiments out hoping some will stick? Have to admit, I am suspicious to a severe fault; yet is this worse than some of the claims made above by others?"

Yet worse, is that you still don't understand, (am now thinking you never will?), but am also suspicious of motivations.

You cannot conflate sterilization, bribery, coercion with "Family planning".

"Family planning" is where two parties, (couples), decide to "plan" for parenthood, using "rational thinking", and including such contemplations as finances and economic stability etc. Drug addicts getting "stoned" and having sex, and getting pregnant, (including teen pregnancies for that matter), has nothing to do with "planning".

Therefore the $300 bucks is a "bribery" payment by the "Liberal(?)" state, ($300 bucks may be deemed "big" or "quick" money for an addict, but for YOU?), or through "coercion", (we "recommend" or perhaps rather "insist" upon you taking the option and the monies). The idea proposed is merely "preventative maintenance" for "society and welfare support", (economics is the primary concern - despite voices about "children" and "suffering").

"Preventative maintenance" for "children" and "child birth" is ensuring that drugs abuse and addiction, (and other conditions), are eliminated from "rational" and caring societies?

Scenario: Drug addict gets pregnant, has child - state takes it away, protects it from suffering and harm, helps it lead a fulfilling life, (downside, negative welfare costs and burden to state). Addictions and causes not challenged, no solution emerges. Addicts have as many kids as they can manage, state continually keeps taking them away, spiralling costs incurred.

Scenario 2: Drug addicts accept $300 bucks for sterilization, no children are born, state saves a bundle - Addictions and causes not challenged further, no solution emerges, but now, more importantly, a solution to addiction is no longer a concern?

I think you're just being "obtuse" and rather playing to Liberal celebrity here? Are you really a Liberal anyhow?

"Are you really a Liberal anyhow?"

No, want to be progressive- but am backward-looking. As for example a person wants to be spiritual yet they are materialistic and unspiritual thus they gravitate to that which is the antipode to their true colors- you see it all the time.

"Scenario 2: Drug addicts accept $300 bucks for sterilization, no children are born, state saves a bundle - Addictions and causes not challenged further, no solution emerges, but now, more importantly, a solution to addiction is no longer a concern?"

Correct, but tough titty; what are we going to do about it? Politics is not the art of compromise, politics is compromise. Let's start with this: the world belongs to the wealthy, the nations we two live in belong to the wealthy albeit we do have some wiggle room. (For instance Clinton was the master politician because he possessed no morality to speak of- so he could eventually wiggle to the max. He learned how to make his opponents think they were outmaneuvering him when it turned out they were taking it in the ear).
At any rate, you are not mistaken, however you expect far too much at this time. Then again, if you knew more of what could be done about the situation, there'd be more backing up what you write on this topic, and you would not have to use as many question marks as you do. Your comments at this thread are ethically-based, unfortunately there is little pragmatism involved. Personally I cannot see any reason an addict should have children or would even want to have children, if the addict were a sensible person. My judgment call is you are taking a moral position sans expediency. In other words, if your's is a practical position, you are not doing an adequate job defending it.

"($300 bucks may be deemed 'big' or 'quick' money for an addict, but for YOU?)"

$300 is a great deal of money to any of us who are not rich. For cops, writing a summons that yields half that amount is worth it because $150 buys alot of donuts!

" 'Family planning' is where two parties, (couples), decide to 'plan' for parenthood, using 'rational thinking', and including such contemplations as finances and economic stability etc. Drug addicts getting 'stoned' and having sex, and getting pregnant, (including teen pregnancies for that matter), has nothing to do with 'planning'."

Will have to think about this, it appears to be logical; though I sense something not quite right with what you write above. Want to reiterate in the limited space one has without writing an article on the subject: you are not technically mistaken. What this is all attempting to say is there's a conflation of morality with expediency, I hear it virtually every day in conversations, or overhearing conversations, with religious people- and not merely the uneducated religious. IMO we need a clear delineation between what is ethical and what is practical. Is there anything moral, practical, pragmatic concerning addicts having children? Or hunchbacks having children? pickpockets? Kleptomaniacs? Pyromaniacs?

"What this is all attempting to say is there's a conflation of morality with expediency, "

Rather a "contradiction", and certainly a "trade off" between morality and towards expediency here? And this trade off is certainly subject to one's "out look" towards "others". I could declare that we should offer Africa $300 bucks per unit sterilization, to prevent suffering and premature death of unborn children - is it ethical and reasonable for me to suggest this? Is this any different from what has been suggested here?


"IMO we need a clear delineation between what is ethical and what is practical. Is there anything moral, practical, pragmatic concerning addicts having children? Or hunchbacks having children? pickpockets? Kleptomaniacs? Pyromaniacs?"

Really? Isn't what is ethical the primary concern in all matters, (for society and justice at least)? For example "The ends justify the means" is a less than satisfactory "practical" application, and often used as excuse to apply quick and dirty solutions to problems, (test your atomic bomb, forsake groups to death or oblivion, disease, famine)?

Is there anything "moral" or "pragmatic" in addiction and personal gratification to excess, leading to subjugation of will? I would say not. And therefore, is there anything "ethical" for society in giving sanction to this? Or in simply not addressing solutions for drugs abuse and propagation?

You know what I think? I think govt politics, and society and it's apathy are quite "content" to use addiction as a means of control of underclass and excuse not to address poverty and its escapism?

Society is/creates it's own burden - therefore. to then complain and rally about the consequences of drugs abuse and addiction is a little like Homer holding a garden hose and screaming at passers by about all the water coming out the end?


This is where it gets fast.
My judgment call is it would be practical to offer Africa $300 bucks per unit sterilization, to prevent suffering and premature death of unborn children. Moral? would have think long on it. When I think of the near future, the next 30 yrs, just and moral are not words that come to mind. Pragmatic, yes; less violent, yes; decent, no.

"You know what I think? I think govt politics, and society and it's apathy are quite 'content' to use addiction as a means of control of underclass and excuse not to address poverty and its escapism?"

No argument there, it's a given, no need for a question mark at the end. Unfortunately I see no chance those on top will be persuaded to change the situation. Not only is it that they do not wish to-- but also they simply don't know what to do- where to start. So the bottom has to rebel to make even marginal progress. What was the Arab Spring? many things, including those at the bottom in rebellion to make marginal progress.
It ought to be mentioned there exists a pecking order in hell: the underclass is a hierarchy in itself, thugs at the top intimidating with threats of bodily harm. Thugs are a minority but their effect on their victims is more potent than the larger society's effect on the underclass. Such is why fascism (small case 'f') has been so successful, and is successful to this day. The larger society has rules albeit they are bent, warped, rules. At the bottom there are no rules.

"to then complain and rally about the consequences of drugs abuse and addiction is a little like Homer holding a garden hose and screaming at passers by about all the water coming out the end"

Right again- no need for a question mark at the end of the above, either. People don't give a rat's posterior about anyone outside their families and friends (plus certain associates) except at a house of worship, and then only fleetingly. That's why I do not oppose religion: it's only that the nexus is fleeting, as soon as the church doors close there's little/no nexus left. Only the church porter sweeping up the dirt.
What has worked so far in treating addicts is in social democracies. You live in Europe, don't you? In the Netherlands addicts are treated better however you have the same oppressive hierarchy in Holland, though it is a kinder gentler hierarchy. Addicts are treated better than in a ghetto in America yet such is not saying much. And there's still a pecking order in hell. Was in Amsterdam in '86, the addicts I talked to were satisfied with the way they were treated, the crime rate was-- from all appearances-- far lower than in N. America. All the same Holland is a smaller nation than any in N. America. So far all the humane countries are small NW European, the Low Countries and Scandinavia. Humaneness has never been instituted in large nations; humaneness has never been done on a large scale.
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