Another thing we cannot choose is who gives birth. Much as it pains me, morons do have children. Unless we accept state control of our breeding which I sincerely hope will never happen, then that’s what we’re stuck with.
The problem is that stupid people who have children often have stupid children, because intelligence is largely inherited. Then these stupid children often end up being in the 20% of people at the bottom of society who are functionally illiterate. OK, many people who’re illiterate could be literate if the education system was better, but they’re still going to be a bit thick, and so they’re unlikely to be suitable to do work in the high technology sectors of industry that the Britidh economy is going to increasingly rely on.
So it seems to me that it could be very beneficial to society if the state did control, at least to some extent, human reproduction. (And in fact it does already, for example it says that people who are under 16 aren’t allowed to have sex, nor are people who are close kin allowed to marry each other. So if you’re in principle against laws that say who can reproduce and with whom, then to be consistent you would have to oppose all such laws.)
I’m talking about a very “light touch” form of state control here. I propose that the least intelligent 20% of the population be discouraged from breeding. I’m agnostic how we would define who falls in this category — maybe it could be an IQ test, or be determined by educational qualifications, or a simple test of basic literacy. Whatever scheme is used, one must bear in mind that people will try to game the system. (By the way, I’m not claiming that IQ tests are a particularly good way of measuring intelligence — I don’t think they are — but I do think they’d be good enough for our purpose.)
What sort of “discouragement” do I have in mind? For example, we could tell stupid women that getting pregnant will not get them a council house, nor would they get child benefit. Stronger discouragement, such as compulsory sterilisation, would be counter-productive since most people would find it morally repugnant.
As well as discouraging the least intelligent from breeding, the state could intervene at the top end too, by having a pool of sperm and egg donors, who would all be of high intelligence, in good mental and physical health, and not genetically prone to diseases. British people come in a wide variety of races, and we’d want our donors to reflect tihs diversity, so parents can have kids that look like they could be genetically theirs.
People who’re infertile would be able to make use of this pool, without cost, but so would the wider population too and it’s quite likely there would be significant take-up. After all, many parents have told me how clever their children are, but no-one has ever bragged to me about how stupid their kids are, so I conclude that many parents want to have clever kids. Come to think of it, no-one’s ever bragged to me about how ugly their kids are either, so we could put physical beauty on the list of desirable attributes for the sperm/egg donor scheme.
In fact, under this scheme, there’d be no reason to prevent/discourage the least intelligent 20% from having children — merely ones that carry their genes. And any two humans are 99.9% genetically identical anyway, so their children would carry 99.9% of their genes anyway.
Some might say this is an illiberal or right-wing policy. I disagree. Consider if someone is handicapped by being born into a poor family, so they don’t have a good chance in life; people on the political left would regard this as unfair and think that the state should remedy this by such measures as state-funded education, and in thre long term make sure every household has enough money to prevent social exclusion. Similarly, if someone is handicapped by being born with low intelligence, that person — through no fault of their own — will not have a good chance in life. To remedy this unfairness, doesn’t it make sense to make sure that as many as possible are born with a good intelligence?
As well as the fairness argument, there is also the efficiency one. Clever people are better for the economy. Were the steam turbine, the jet engine, the computer, or the world wide web invented by clever people or stupid people? Are Britain’s most productive workers characterised by cleverness or stupidity? These questions answer themselves. Most British people want Britain to be a successful and prosperous country (not least for reasons of self interest).
Oh and before anyone accuses me of being a fascist or a Nazi, neither Fascist Italy nor Nazi Germany had a program like I am describing, with these attributes:
1. non-coercive, i.e. no compulsory sterilisation
2. focussed on intelligence rather than on totemic attributes such as “looking Germanic” in the Nazi case
3. including a sperm/egg donation system open to the wider population so that all would-be parents could use it if they wished
However, repugnant though I find his ideas, Calabamat is actually more right than Timmy: whilst we all pay for the children born into this society, we have a stake in those children’s lives.
The Elusive Pimpernel, however, takes Tim’s side:
I agree completely with the anti-eugenics stance – it should not be for the state or any appointed body to determine who can and cannot have a child.