"It would not be unreasonable, by analogy with a motor vehicle licence, that a permit to reproduce should also be needed with a minimum age of, for example, twenty-five, and a proof required that the parents are of sufficient maturity and financial resource to take proper care of the child. Young, sexually active, but emotionally immature teenagers would need help."
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Too Many People (London and New York: Calder Publications and Riverrun Press, 1994), p.113.
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Reader comments about this quote:
Move to communist China, and your wish will come true. I guess since the State owns us, they have the right to licence everything we do. Unbelievable.
 -- Mike, Mount Holly, NC     
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    And those who would oppose this are the same ones who no doubt see no harm in turning their daughters into baby factories before they even get a chance to set aside their dolls. Everyone deserves a chance to grow up before they become responsible for another human being.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    Is it reasonable to require a permit to have children? And we should sterilize undesirables? Oh my god, worse than socialist, it's Nazi. Reston, to end "baby factories" you end welfare and their incentive (free $) is gone.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
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    Following Anonymous from Reston's logic throughout today's blog, he/she shall be neutered immediately. All governmental licensing is wrong, especially considering today's topic. Licensing has not stopped drunken fatalities (review all 50 states), improved construction quality (compare Texas to Nevada) or ameliorated {:-) had to use the word for the day} the human experience in anyway.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    All efforts to license and regulate should first be put in practice with Congressional leaders and government employees. Sterilize the Kennedy's and the Bush's first.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Don't you think maybe students should learn about the responsibilities of parenting in school first? It isn't even a priority.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    The concept of licensing, properly applied, comprehends the state's/society's attempt to compel correct action, where the person tends to fail to act correctly. People do often fail to act correctly, and should be self-compelled to act correctly. The state/society attempts to control incorrect acts, which it can do only in a pathetically inadequate way, when it can do so at all; the state/society attempts to do what it cannot do, does not know how to do, and what it inevitably fails to do. But too many people act wrongly. Licensing of parents would be a failed attempt to correct the pathetically failed institution of parenting, resulting from, or correlating with, the degradation of society at large.
     -- David L. Rosenthal     
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    Adding to the above, welfare dependents who continue to have children, knowing that they are creating wards of the state, should be penalized for their antisocial behavior, the same as if they had robbed public funds from the cash drawer of a government office.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
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    Thanks, Reston, for being one of the few sane voices on this blog.
     -- Dick, Fort Worth     
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    Dick: We would all appreciate a reasoned explanation of your determination. It is not that I claim not to be crazy, but only that the good intentions reflected by Reston's comment fail to consider the greater reality of the state's incapacity. The failure of society to produce good parents must result in its incapacity to regulate parenting. Is that unreasonable?
     -- David L Rosenthal     
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    David, I appreciate your reasonable and courteous reply. I would argue that the state has failed in matters of war, of equal justice, of common welfare, and many other areas. But that doesn't mean that it is incapable of merit of any kind. Our Constitution (state) has at least kept us better protected than having no government. Do you not believe that the regulation of driving has made the public safer? If that is so, why wouldn't a regulation of parenting be beneficial. My feeling is that consideration for the welfare of children should be given a high priority. And religion has nothing to do with it, except that if one is Christian I can hardly see how that concern could be denied, for it is a moral and humanitarian issue.
     -- Dick, Fort Worth     
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    Dick, no, I don't really see how licencing of drivers has made the public safer. I, as a parent will require far more driving skill of my children (because I love them) than the state does or ever would. The purpose of licencing by the State is a matter of control, not public safety.
     -- Mike, Mount Holly, NC     
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    Licensing has done nothing for making anything better. To the contrary, it has empowered certain individuals to believe they are safe drivers, good shots, competent doctors, quality contractors, (The quality of construction in Texas where no license is required is generally far superior to that of Nevada where a license is required.), etc. For a judge, is it easier to say: as part of your punishment for the harm caused by your driving; "I revoke your license" or "you can't drive."? By observation and sometimes trial and error, rules of the road are set forth for safety's, and expeditious' sake as well as the general betterment of society. Driving rules are absolute (you can see the immediate harm or infringement of right) The same is not true of parenting. How will you micro manage spanking (each individual is different - one will respond years later affirmatively, another adversely) To Spock the subject, is to do a grave disservice to parenting. Certain parenting skills can be taught, (I have been in such classes) NEVER licensed; no human, individually or in concert, has authority to permit my personality or how I raise my child outside the criminal justice system (and I'm not talking Nevada's Pentateuch) Criminal laws already exist for the protection of children.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    How dare all of you freedom lovers question the authority of the State to regulate your every bodily function. Don't you know you belong to the state and are just cogs in the machine of society? You have no individual worth, afterall. Accept your fate. Submit.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    A responsible and loving adult must be raised as such from childhood with an emphasis on caring, compassion and tolerance for indifference for his fellow humans. THAT should be mandatory in ALL Parenting! I agree that Maturity and Personal Responsibility should be prerequisites to having a child. Amen.
     -- me again     
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    i think there are many opinons about censorship, but mine of ALL is right!
     -- Jennifer, CANADA     
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    Addressing those who dissagree; Have you ever been witness to the abuses of children? Child molesting fathers and psychologically disturbed mothers. I was a child of someone who should never have had children. And, yes, blah blah blah, i wouldn't be here. But nor would my brother, who, after significant abuses finally commited suicide. I am a patriot and veteran of wars and i believe in freedom and justice for ALL. Children should be raised in an environment of love and security, period. This has absolutely nothing to do with society and everything to do with the children. "Just because you feel that way, does not mean its right"
     -- "Bo", Lake Charles, Louisiana     
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    The arrogance of anyone who feels they have the right to regulate parenthood is astounding. The cowardice of those who would stand back and allow that sort of regulation is even more astounding.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Sorry, another ignorant quote. I agree with Archer, education, education, education. Roosevelt - if only you hadn't died when you did and perhaps your second bill or rights would be reality.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    I doubt that licensing has improved the quality of much of anything. More often it has been used to discourage competition in business by making it more difficult to be licensed. In Tennessee, for example, a person could not even sell a coffin until he was a licensed imbalmer and had embalmed 50 bodies. The funeral directors and their lobbyists got this law passed, and thank goodness, the Institute for Justice got this stupid law eliminated. Naturally, this convenient law protected funeral directors from competition.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    I'm not familiar with Sir Roy, so I wonder if his intention was to call attention to parenting and population issues rather than to suggest a solution.
     -- A.WOODS, Gloucester     
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    Not that I agree completely with the quote but I find it amazing that human beings can control everything except themselves. They control animal herds domestic and wild. The deer population in every state is enumerated more or less, and controlled etcetera. Why on earth cannot logical human beings discuss and reproduce their kind in some kind of logical manner.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Waffler are you suggesting the human population should be controlled as the deer population is controlled? Sure seems like it. You were born 90 years too late and on the wrong side of the ocean.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    I am suggesting that a super intelligent animal as homo sapiens thinks he is should be able to figure out that there is an otimal level of population for a limited geographic area, which this planet is. If he can do this in reference to virtually every species on the planet but cannot do it to or for himself what does it say about his intelligence or honesty. For more on this subject I suggest you google and visit ZPG Zero Population Growth and NPG Negative Population Growth, these are two educational organizations who are trying to bring intellegence, honesty and sincerity to the issue of the planets human populations, If you have any concern or thought about the non human vanishing species you can blame it all upon the fantastic success to the extent of self destruction of the human one.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Ya I zee. Und vot zen shall be ze "Final Solution"? Und, who vill decide?
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    You ask a good question J. Since you propose such a good follow on or follow up question am I to assume that you agree that something should be done? Let us get agreement where we can and take the follow up questions as they come along. First I abjure you to google the sites I named above. Let us talk some more about who should decide.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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     -- Anon      
     
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