IEET > Rights > ReproRights
A Majority of IEET Readers Oppose Parental Licensing
May 18, 2011  

In a poll that was split almost exactly evenly between five different answers, only 40% of respondents said they were in favor of requiring prospective parents to first obtain licenses. Another 40% oppose licensing but would like to see more parental education opportunities, while the remaining quintile says we’re out of line even to discuss the matter.

Should prospective parents be required to obtain a license before having children?

Poll results


This poll, conducted from May 3-18, 2011, was stimulated by the strong reader reaction to a recent IEET article entitled “Ban Baby-Making Unless Parents Are Licensed.”




COMMENTS

I am quite happy with these percentages - it proves that there’s significant concern regarding the topic my essay addressed -
(Ban Baby-Making Unless Parents Are Licensed).

Over 80% of people answering the polls agreed that there is a need to do something to protect children and improve families,
with 40.52% agreeing (with me) that licensing is a viable solution.

My thanks to everyone for participating in this survey.

I’m blown away by the combined 40% in favor - can you tell us about the surveyed sample?  self-selected obviously, but how many took the survey?  any other information that would indicate how representative the results are, vis-a-vis the larger scheme of things?

Interesting how close it was.

To me, the first two choices are inherently the same, with the only difference being mandatory physical alteration (vasectomies).

And the next two choices seem almost identical to me.

This would still leave it almost evenly split between the Authoritarian and the Egalitarian camps.

But the 5th choice tips the scales in favor of non-Authoritarianism, but it also forces me to wonder if the fact that there was 1 more choice favoring non-Authoritarianism affected the results in any way.

In any case, it makes me feel good that fewer people trust Authority.

In my paradigm, Authority itself is the root cause of human suffering.

for iPan—

for me choices 1-2 represent “Positive, Effective Action”
choices 3-4 are “Weak-Willed Waste of Time”
5th choice is “Blind Denial” or “Stymied by Anarcho-Libertarians”

I am pleased with the survey’s result -
as is Peg Tittle, the author of the book that I based my argument on.  Public opinion seems to be moving towards acceptance of parent licenses

@Hank
I’m merely glad that accelerating technology will soon render these things moot, long before the deluded Authoritarians can doom us all to eternal serfdom 😉

“Authority itself is the root cause of human suffering.” - Well said Ipan!

You know I used to think that (about authority).

But that was (1) when I was only seeing that I was more competent than people IN authority - and not seeing that I was more competent than others around me (such as is the case for teachers, pilots, physicians, and so on), and (2) before I realized that those others, when not subject to authority and who seemed to have little of their own, were causing injury to me.

“You know I used to think that (about authority). But that was (1) when I was only seeing that I was more competent than people IN authority - and not seeing that I was more competent than others around me (such as is the case for teachers, pilots, physicians, and so on), and (2) before I realized that those others, when not subject to authority and who seemed to have little of their own, were causing injury to me.”

My interpretation of “authority” is an ultra-literal one.

For example, you say: “before I realized that those others, when not subject to authority and who seemed to have little of their own, were causing injury to me.”

and I would respond that those causing injury to you are exercising authority over you.

As an illustrative example, let’s say someone punches you in the head. Obviously, you would choose not to be punched in the head, but this person is circumventing what you would choose for yourself (not being punched), thus interfering with your autonomy.

Force and fraud are the two attributes of authority.

Modern authority is interesting, because it arises as a result of the attempt to limit authority.

We give police authority, because we do not want “criminals” to take authority - either of our bodies, or our possessions.

We trade a little liberty for a little freedom, and it’s the details of how much and when and who that we always argue over.

To me, when I view it as a whole, it appears that we are paying people $20/mo to prevent someone else from stealing $5/mo, it’s a Pyrrhic victory. But try prying that out of anyone’s cold dead hands.

We oppose crime because crime is authority over our persons. But then we go down this slippery slope where those appointed to use authority to combat authority become racketeers.

It always works out this way. I have not seen a single exception to this in any civilization since the dawn of agriculture.

All government is a racket.

Power corrupts, for the very seeking of it is indication that power itself is desired.

If you asked someone with true leadership skills to take a position of authority (some office, or whatever), they’d tell you to get lost. Real leaders don’t want authority over you.

This gives us such a simple test for corruption: if a person seeks office, they are corrupt.

We can only trust those in a position of power who did not voluntarily choose the position.

Philosopher Kings, of which there seem to be none in today’s world, or they’re hiding.

Imagine the following scenario:

I’m a business man, and in the region I do business in thieves have been stealing, on average, $100 worth of goods from me every month.

Along comes a stronger man, and offers to protect my business from these thieves, but he charges $150/mo for his services.

It looks too simple this way, but that’s because the system we have is immensely complex and fills thousands of volumes.

This is what all government amounts to.

People have been convinced this is a good idea by spreading the costs around, hiding the costs, and catering to their vindictive natures.

It seems that people would rather have $150/mo stolen from them “lawfully”, than $100/mo stolen from them “unlawfully”.

This behavior is validated by game theory, where people will willingly take a loss in order to punish “cheaters”.

That’s social norms.

The larger pattern is that it doesn’t actually work out in the long run. Hence, empires fall, laws don’t fix social problems, and people continue to suffer.

Lao Tzu had it right.

The more you let go of the common good, the more common good becomes.

All legal systems ultimately boil down to zero sum games.

ptittle,
if you read the comments underneath the polls, you will learn something about the poll takers—not much yet something.

Something which has concerned me over the years, the decades, is the lingering evasiveness of the ‘60s era, the era when h+ began fitfully to seep into public consciousness. Peter Wicks comprehends how the somewhat greater idealism of the past can be promoted; nevertheless it is always a surprise to realize how so masny simply do not want to know what is going on at the bottom, because although corruption is trickle-down, the wealthy can afford to take perhaps better care of their families; or at least they can afford decent health care.
Unfortunately, the situation at the bottom, that is the underclasses is bad—the way the poor think is very bad. So I try to stay aware that improving healthcare, and limiting bad parents from giving birth to shall we say bad seeds, ismerely for starters.

for iPan - you’re always mentioning Lao Tzu so here’s a link:
http://taoism21cen.com/Englishchat/essay5.html
there have been 5 Taoist emperors in China,
a tiny number, some were alright, others were terrible.
Lao Tzu’s anti-authoritarian teachings didn’t catch on in his native land and, sorry to tell you this, but I don’t think their going to have much impact on the West either, 2,500 years after his death.
I think Lao Tzu’s an interesting poet and philosopher, but applying his notions to politics hasn’t been effective

No, perhaps Tao—but not Lao or Mao!

What I have been attempting to write is:
to not observe exactly what is transpiring at the bottom is akin to flying an airplane on instruments without looking out the plane’s window.
Though, again, corruption is in fact trickle-down it does not mean there is anything much virtuous about those at the bottom. EVERYTHING
I have seen indicates such.

Thank you for the link Hank.

Did you read it?

I was uplifted by it, for those examples where Taoism was actually grasped by the human actors in the drama, China had PEACE.

This link supports my cause.

The primary difference today is, we are CYBERTAOISTS, or as Terrence McKenna might label us, TECHNOPAGANS.

Kallisti
namaste

“Lao Tzu’s three treasures, frugality, kindness, and no competition were adapted as ethic principles during these golden years. In ancient time the tax rate was about ten per cent. During these years, the tax rate was reduced to three per cent, and tax collection was stopped altogether for many years. To follow the Taoist natural way, there was nothing to be busy about in the country for several decades. People became rich and the government had a big surplus. In the central government, the money was left over for years so that all the strings along which the coins were chained rotted. There was no way to count how much money was there. Grains were piled up year after year as they all rotted away. It was no surprise that the government stopped tax collection.”

iPan—I am glad that you like the link and it is fine with me that you are fond of Taoism.  I am also happy to have someone to talk about Chinese government with.  Here’s another link that describes the present Beijing reign as a struggle between Confucianism and Legalism:
http://balneus.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/modern-chinese-government-confucian-or-legalist
I think it’s important for Westerners to realize that China has its own long history of political philosophies, and we shouldn’t just simplify it as, “non-democratic”
The “individualism” that’s emphasized in Western political philosophies will undoubtedly slow down acceptance of Parent Licenses - that appears to be a much smaller factor in China.

Post-post is right: the “people at the bottom” are not downtrodden saints: they are homo sapiens like the rest of us, and often with very bad attitudes.

@iPan…we’re back to the autonomy vs connection debate aren’t we? Pure autonomy is a myth in any case: we are interdependent, so in the broad sense you seem to be using we are all continually exercising “authority” over each other.

It’s fine to be inspired by texts from the past, but in the mean time there’s a real world out there in the here-and-now. I don’t entirely agree with Hank that Lau Tzu’s anti-authoritarian teachings aren’t going to have much impact in the West: in one sense they already are, precisely in the form of the “Anarcho-Libertarians” that he decries.

On another thread we discussed the thermodynamics of bureaucracies and legal systems. Now you say that “all government is a racket” and that “real leaders don’t want authority over you”. You appear to be unwilling or unable to imagine that people could ever seek office out of a sense of responsibility or a desire to do good.

Sorry iPan but I have to support Hank on this one: this kind of naïvété/cynicism (I believe these are synonyms) is dangerous, and all the more so because (unlike Burt’s extreme views on reality) it is widespread.

Let’s not get hung up on -isms. Every line in the Tao Te Ching is contained in it’s first line: ‘The Tao that can be named is not the Tao’. Hence, ‘A Taoist government that can be named a Taoist government is not a a Taoist government’. And, ‘A Taoist that can be named a Taoist is not a Taoist’.

What I was pointing out to Hank, from the link he provided that he thought showed some flaws in Taoism, is that the the period where they most closely subscribed to the philosophy (and even then not completely), we observe the following:

“Lao Tzu’s three treasures, frugality, kindness, and no competition were adapted as ethic principles during these golden years. In ancient time the tax rate was about ten per cent. During these years, the tax rate was reduced to three per cent, and tax collection was stopped altogether for many years. To follow the Taoist natural way, there was nothing to be busy about in the country for several decades. People became rich and the government had a big surplus. In the central government, the money was left over for years so that all the strings along which the coins were chained rotted. There was no way to count how much money was there. Grains were piled up year after year as they all rotted away. It was no surprise that the government stopped tax collection.”

Abundance emerges when their is minimal authority!

I couldn’t ask for better proof.

@Peter
I believe that real autonomy only emerges from interdependence. This is why I am not a Libertarian. I take the more radical position of anarcho-pacifism. Absolutely no authority over Others. I cannot even oppose those who take authority over Others with my own authority, because I have forsworn authority to do even that.

I would never attempt to pass a law that said, ‘You shall not pass laws’, because that would not be in keeping with my non-authoritarian stance.

The thing about the government being a protection racket is simply math: you are paying more than the market value for the service.

My simple illustration was meant to hammer home this point: governments are the equivalent of paying someone $150/mo to stop the hypothetical theft of $100/mo.

Game theory experiments show that people will consistently choose this, even though it isn’t rational (in the rational self-interest sense). It costs more to punish than to replenish, but we do it anyway.

Modern governments have simply learned to hide these costs by massive distribution of them. If people really understood the true costs, they’d be enraged (and often are - hence protests, rebellions and revolts).

What I’m trying to point out, is that government cannot, even in principle, ever get better than this. It’s not mathematically possible.

Even if people have good intentions going into government, they are still like the people hooked up to the Matrix. Most people start a career as a cop with altruistic goals, but the corruption of power seeking never fails. Never.

As far as “real leaders don’t want authority over you”, that comes down to a super-literal definition of leadership.

A ‘leader’, by definition, is one who paves the way forward, one who is on point, the one at the front of the group.

What we have in place of leaders today are drivers. The driver sits on top of the carriage, spurring us forward, to pull him along.

A leader leads by example, for literally speaking, there is no other kind of leadership.

This is why, previously, I’ve mentioned those token efforts that politicians will on occasion make, hammering the first nail into a house, or sleeping for a night with the homeless.

It’s a symbolic gesture of leadership, ultimately empty, but these people at least understand the symbolism behind it.

It’s about not asking others to do what you would not do yourself.

There was a time when great leaders were at the forefront of their armies. They fought alongside their men.

That’s leadership.

George Bush didn’t lead the charge into Iraq, he drove us into it, while he sat safely at home.

Obama didn’t lead the charge into Osama’s compound in Pakistan, he ordered others to do it.

“Do as I say, not as I do”

or

“Do as I do, not as I say”

There is only one kind of leadership, and this is why I’ve also mentioned Philosopher Kings from time to time.

I do not have a problem with following someone. I have a problem with force and fraud.

Show me a Philosopher King (or Queen), and I will follow him/her. By choice. By reason. By respect.

No other way.

Reality is inherently uncertain (Godel and Heisenberg).

Authority is an attempt to provide ourselves with a sense of certainty.

Let’s compare government to child rearing.

Presumably, the point of child rearing is to enable the child to be more independent (or more interdependent in a meta-sense).

One does not wish that the child would remain dependent upon the parent perpetually (or at least, I would hope not - obviously there are neurotic cases where parents do this subconsciously anyway).

Likewise, a government should make as it’s #1 goal it’s own obsolescence. It’s very purpose should be to lead society to a state where the State is no longer needed, because society has matured to that point.

But, as far as I can see, the governments we have and have had, do not actually do this.

We argue about how much government we should have, not about it’s shelf life.

We need a movement to actually set some kind of deadline for removing government, not in a willy-nilly fashion, not through a bloody revolution, but through a rational process of reducing government until it is gone.

It needs to approach zero. I would be content if we were actively pursuing this. Rather than setting a fixed point of government, we should simply recognize that less is always better, and then talk about how we can begin to move it in that direction.

As long as we are actually moving towards negative government (approaching zero), I would be content with things, but right now we are not approaching zero, we are growing government.

And proposals like Parental Licensing are doing exactly that, expanding government/authority, not reducing it.

So my question for Hank is, would you want your own children to be forever dependent upon you? To only be able to do those things you allow them to do?

Or do you want to nurture their own independence and ability to choose with wisdom?

And, do you see society as somehow different from your own children?

If we accept that the goal of parenting is to foster independence, then we should also accept that this should be the goal of society as a whole.

That would mean actively pursuing the dissolution of government, by seeking out those means by which we can wean people off the “necessary evil” and not perpetuating it by concocting justifications.

iPan - yes, I would indeed like my children to be independent, as soon as possible, tomorrow would be alright.  But I don’t think a Taoist/Anarcho-Libertarian society can provide for independence as quickly as a social liberal progressive society. 
  Some of the Taoist kingdoms I directed you too were successful, but they were all a very long time ago, and overall, their performance was middling.
    I think Denmark that Joern has let us know about has an enviable system.

I’m not a parent, but I doubt many parents would see the primary purpose of child rearing to be to enable the child to be more independent. Presumably what you want is rather to ensure that the child reaches adulthood (safely) with the tools and prospects he or she requires to flourish.

iPan I will agree with you on one point: historically speaking government has largely been an instrument of oppression. Unlike in the case of child rearing, this was not because the masses were undeveloped and unprepared to survive and flourish in the world without the tutelage of the government, at least not until the governing elites put them in that childlike state. It wasn’t even because power corrupts: to have corruption you first need something, some kind of ideology or goodwill, to be corrupted. These people were just homo sapiens doing what homo sapiens do in the absence of civilizing forces such as religion.

Fortunately religions featuring compassion at their core came along, but they DID get corrupted, and themselves turned into instruments of oppression. But then purer, less corruptible idealogies came along, such as democracy, freedom and human rights. As a result of these civilizing influences, governments have to varying extents, and with much backsliding, become tame, and are no longer instruments of oppression to the extent that they have been in the past (for example when America wrested its independence from the English aristocracy), at least not everywhere. In the mean time society has evolved such that government plays a crucial role in maintaining order and prosperity, and is (in some cases, and again with much backsliding) increasingly taking the form of participatory, self-organizing governance, as opposed to democratic but still very hierarchical representative democracy.

So while I can’t answer for Hank, I certainly do see society as different from children. Society has already, in the best of cases, tamed government so it is an instrument of peace, prosperity and social justice. This really happens. The anarchist dream (-isms can be useful as a way to describe and identify concepts and guiding principles) remains for the moment a pipedream, a valuable inspiration for the future, but not a model that appears to be immediately applicable to address urgent issues such as the blight of badly raised children.

Just to add: the core reason why I do not think we should be aiming for zero government is that government can and sometimes does play a positive role, reflecting not dependence or oppression but rather self-organization and *inter*-dependence. I don’t mind if you decide to value autonomy over connection and become a hermit, but there is a difference between genuine autonomy and denying our interdependence. Shrinking government will not alter the fact that we are 6.7 billion people sharing the one planet, depending for our very survival not only on each other but on a fragile ecolo-econo-geopolitical system in which government plays a crucial role. You might as well try to “shrink” one of your vital organs and then try to run a marathon.

@Hank
Well, of course, that’s what we’re doing here, discussing the *shortest* possible path.
I only have one request, if you don’t mind, I don’t like my position be associated with Libertarians, they are, in my mind, wannabe anarchists at best.

@Peter
You mention valuing autonomy over connection, while I see that connection is only possible through autonomy.

Let’s just say that I feel autonomy is a prerequisite for interconnection, or interdependence.

“Communication is only possible between equals” (I forgot who said that - I want to say Robert Anton Wilson, or Terrence McKenna, or maybe even Tim Leary)

As to the pragmatism of it all, all I can say is that social media (see Clay Shirky) is implementing what I am talking about every day in countless ways.

Still quite a ways to go, I agree, but we’re getting there faster all the time.

@Hank
I am also envious of the Scandinavian countries right now =)

“Some of the Taoist kingdoms I directed you too were successful, but they were all a very long time ago, and overall, their performance was middling.”

Exactly!

In ancient China, they managed abundance and reduced taxation to 3% without the aid of modern technology!

Just think what we could do now.

If ancient Chinese could do it, then presumably it ought to be even easier for us to do it.

I see you point about autonomy and connection iPan. I don’t actually agree that communication is only possible between equals, although there’s much a like about the idea. I agree to some extent that social media are implementing what you are talking about, and I see this as a further example of society “growing up” and replacing brittle, top-down, and to some extent oppressive forms of government with self-organised governance.

I guess what I object to, and maybe I’m just being tetchy, is this implication that bureaucracies are fundamentally and inevitably “bad”. in one sense I don’t care: I get paid anyway, nobody told me being a bureaucrat would make me popular, and in the mean time I’m looking for ways (not least using social media and…blogging) to find better, more satisfying ways to achieve financial abundance and serve the common good. But still I think there’s merit in trying to be precise and accurate, and in this context I just can’t buy the idea that bureaucracies are, at least for the time being, playing a crucial and positive role - as well as the negative roles we agree they also sometimes play.

You’ve made me think, though: much as I find merit in the idea of mandatory licensing (in the softer option 2), it’s true that even talking about introducing such a measure to some extent reinforces the idea that traditional governance models are the only or best way to regulate human behaviour. The decisions we take in the present determine which futures remain available to us, and may well be that the best ones actually DON’T lie downstream of further discussion of this option. I’d be interested in Hank’s views on this.

Let’s do it for the children!!! I don’t know what to say. After all I’m no expert. I can say that when I was under-age, so to speak, I wanted nothing in the way of humane-treatment policies granted from on-high like those PETA wants to give to animals in a feed lot. “this, or that, is most appropriate, or least abusive” and so forth. If our civic infrastructure could be designed to be accessible to teenagers, adolescents, young children etc. (and it easily can) then we wouldn’t have to worry so much that our parents should be domestic geniuses.

Some parents (fathers) would love to be kings of their castle, with serf children as their artifact legacy. Do the kids really have to wait for the singularity to be freed from this ego trip? We really can’t give young people the personal power that would liberate them from the need to have the perfect nuclear family that no-one has? All the power has to rest in the hands of our omniscient birth-givers and their G-D given dominion of “child”-rearing?

Bad “parent”-ing is an issue because we make it an issue, just like bad-husbanding would be a huge problem if women were still sublimated to men. Would you prefer a license for male partners to a women’s movement?  Hey, why not? Only, its too late for that one.

“I guess what I object to, and maybe I’m just being tetchy, is this implication that bureaucracies are fundamentally and inevitably “bad”.”

They are simply fundamentally inefficient. That “badness” comes on an individual level, and I am aware that many have good intentions.

But good intentions can be corrupted or co-opted by a system that does not work.

“You’ve made me think, though: much as I find merit in the idea of mandatory licensing (in the softer option 2), it’s true that even talking about introducing such a measure to some extent reinforces the idea that traditional governance models are the only or best way to regulate human behaviour. The decisions we take in the present determine which futures remain available to us, and may well be that the best ones actually DON’T lie downstream of further discussion of this option.”

Success! The meme finds purchase 😉

Yeah, my largest concern with these proposals is in fact that it makes it appear we are not approaching zero on the government number line.

I could almost be placated by any measure of progress towards zero government, as long as we were moving in that direction. My main point of contention is that the very idea of introducing new laws is not moving in the direction of less government, it is moving in the direction of more government.

Unless you count the the possibility that these laws will drive the population towards revolt, in which case in the long run it actually is moving us towards less government, but in a bad way, and probably only briefly.

I’d prefer a bloodless revolution. I wonder how much more perversion of the US constitution needs to happen before Americans revolt like they’re doing in the ME. Would this law be the straw that broke our docile backs?

Maybe, for some, that is the solution. However, I feel that that will only lead to bloodshed and the current system most likely replaced by an even more oppressive one.

So, I’d rather fight things like this at the start, before they even take hold.

I also find the sentiment that we’ll always need government somewhat cynical and pessimistic.

We can all agree that an enlightened society where no authority is needed is in fact the highest ideal, even if we disagree (and usually quite strongly) over how to pragmatically obtain and maintain it.

So, this is why I try to look at in the simplest terms I can: are we moving towards more, or towards less government.

I could be content, if only we were moving towards less, no matter how slowly. It would be progress.

But those that suggest we move towards more, seem to have an underlying cynical attitude that we can never be truly free of authority.

If they weren’t, then they would be devoting their time towards figuring out how to remove laws, not add more.

No matter how slowly. Even if we only make progress at a snails pace, making progress towards less laws is better than adding new one’s to an already overly complex, inefficient, and mostly corrupt system of laws.

Laws<——————————->No Laws

Which direction are we moving in when we suggest adding more laws?

{ Mike: for some reason, the formatting is removing all white space }

Hi Andrew—welcome to the discussion.
I am reading about IQ and children now—good parenting can provide a child with an enormously-higher IQ, according to many researchers.
This ties in with my argument that bad parenting can absolutely ruin a young life in its very beginning.  A bad environment, full of chaos, abuse, poor nutrition, and poor socialization from parents, can hamper a child for life.  A study was done - the Milwaukee Project - that elevated children’s IQ from 85-110—wouldn’t we like to see that?  Don’t we owe it to the children?

Iodine deficiency, mental retardation, and reductions in child IQ..
>> http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodine_deficiency

Regrettably my posts are getting longer. OK, don’t get me wrong, of course we all owe it to the children. But not just the children, the adults too. It’s thinking about the children as a separate class of person that I’m not so sure about.  And then giving parents imminent domain over that class. Stress, abuse, poverty, these are all bad things. They’re bad for all of us. It may be too ambitious to build a culture that includes us all on an equal footing. Though, there is precedence. So, for example, in the Americans with Disabilities Act, adults with disabilities aren’t assigned licensed pseudo-parents to help them over curbs and into bathrooms but rather are guaranteed full access through modified infrastructure; battered women’s shelters require no consent of abusive partners to join. These social institutions, and others, don’t require multiple choice testing for the empowered, but rather skip over the already empowered to empower the minority directly through the extension of social technology.                                                           
Ok, so altering the parent-child power dynamic that just asks for abuse-of-authority might seem difficult given our monetary system of resource distribution. “how will the children get food?” etc., I think remaking society to abolish slavery in the south was more difficult (I didn’t say that childhood was the same as slavery, but a culture of dependence is a culture of dependence).                               
I’ll just come out and say it with a straight face: “It takes a village to raise a child.”. But it does. Don’t kids need a rich variety of loving social options? not just 2 perfect leave-it-to-Beaver overseers?                             
There will always be mothers and fathers. But a loving and nurturing society can undo the effects of stressed-out or impoverished parents, and a sick society will overcome the work of healthy, happy ones, even if they have a really high Parent-SAT score.                           
This post is lengthy already BUT, as to malnutrition, nutrition is now a commodity. As long as it is, some will starve because the free market grades on a curve.                                                 
Thank you for sparking debate on this. I don’t like putting all our eggs in one parental basket, no matter how perfect, but I’m glad to see genuine concern about young people.

Something I only just now thought of, and I’m surprised I hadn’t earlier, but does anyone wonder what the effect of Parent Licensing would be on the parent-child relationship?

What I mean is, with the increased difficulty from getting a license, there is a reasonable argument to be made that parents will have higher, perhaps neurotically so, expectations of their children.

We can see similar things in countries like India, where there is a lot of pressure to have boys.

Although not gender specific, parental licensing might place the parents in even more of a position where they look at their children as a financial investment, placing undue stress on the children.

Andrew - thanks again. I think you’re right—a “loving a nurturing society” could largely remedy the effects of bad parenting.  My other article posted now - “Tax the Churches” - expresses the hope that schools will someday be able to offer three healthy meals a day to hungry children.  And I’ll be writing a future article that proposes free universal day care for children, from a very young age.

I agree that a large percentage of bad parenting is due to the financial strains on the parents.  The more a government can help parents economically, the better. 

There’s a small demographic that regards any government involvement in parenting as “totalitarian” - but I believe most people are like you - they would like to see measures enacted that would provide help and assistance to the youngest citizenry.

@iPan…I’m still struggling with the idea that government is fundamentally bad. The meme is encountering resistance. 😊 Surely there’s an issue of quantity vs quality: you can have more or less oppressive and authoritarian, more or less democratic and participatory, forms of governance. Let’s remind ourselves what laws are, fundamentally: rules that human beings agree to, and/or are obliged to, abide by, for the greater good.

Your point about slow, peaceful revolution vs fast, violent revolution is an interesting one, but the backlash idea can work both ways: get rid of laws and government too quickly and bad things happen, provoking a backlash against the whole deregulation project. For me rules and government are like medicine: not something you want to be taking if you don’t want to, but sometimes, if the patient is sick, you need more of it not less.

One idea that’s been a bit missing from this debate so far is voluntary licensing. I tried to take the licensing idea a step in the voluntary direction on the earlier thread, but it’s still very much a debate between mandatory licensing vs information and awareness raising that doesn’t include the concept of a “license”. If you did have such a thing, peer pressure might well do the rest without needing to make it law. Couldn’t we set up some kind of non-profit org to get this going? It could be very grass-roots and bottom-up. Then Hank gets his licensing, and more importantly a solution to some real problems, and we get our movement in the direction of self-organization and less government.

Hi Peter—
I do indeed like your idea of beginning with
“voluntary license & information/awareness raising”
and your plan of starting with an NPO is a good one
http://www.kidscoop.us could do the work (it’s mine)

thanks for the idea!  want to be a board member?
meet Joern and I in Copenhagen June 2 for a Carlsberg
thanks again

Tragedy is, people cannot see in deep time.

@Hank…You’re welcome! I’ll be in Beijing early June, but pass on my best regards to Joern when you see him! I’m definitely interested in following up this idea in one way or another, so let’s keep in touch. (I can also be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))

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