Sunday, August 10, 2008

This is going to get messy...

Eugenics and related stuff is always a difficult subject, but I am going to jump into this fight between Timmy and Calabamat anyway because, basically, they are both missing some basic points.

Calabamat is proposing some kind of eugenics (I would link, but someone seems to have omitted to do so, and I can't find the blog. UPDATE: thanks to Mr E, here's the original post).
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.

Timmy is as outraged as I have ever seen him, and opines thusly...
This idea of egg and sperm donation is missing the whole damn point about evolution. It doesn’t work at the species level (nor even more absurdly the national). Each and every one of us is the result of individuals (over a 3 billion year time span to boot) attempting, and for those of us here of course, succeeding, in passing on their own genes. Not the genes of the species, nor those of closely allied species or even people. But of the genes of those parents.

That’s why eugenics of this sort is repugnant: because it runs counter to the most basic motivation for the having of children there is. To have one’s own children.

Put it another way around. Someone is seriously suggesting that the poor and dim should labour all their lives to rear the children of the rich and bright.

OK, let us lay down a few very simple rules.

First, the human race is outside evolution. Evolution, as we understand it, does not happen spontaneously. Mutations happen spontaneously, yes; evolution does not. Why?

Because (roughly speaking) mutations are disadvantageous; those that have an advantage do so because the environment changes and thus equips the creature in question to survive better than the rest of the population. For the mutation to survive, it has to be brought out through fortunate breeding (provided that breeding is possible).

Evolution happens through the process of natural selection; in order for natural selection to occur, previously fitter members of the population have to be selected against (or the mutation has to have a breeding advantage—which often means a survival advantage) over the others in the society.

For this to happen, there needs to be a change of environment and this is the nub of the problem: we humans create our own environment. Those who would otherwise die without breeding—those with mental illnesses, cystic fibrosis, other genetic diseases, etc. etc.—no longer do so. We take care of the sick; medicine and social awareness keep the genetically "weak" alive and breeding.

Indeed, our Welfare State ensures that those who are stupid and lazy, ill and unfit are not only maintained in life, but also able to breed. Indeed, we encourage them to breed through child benefit payments, housing and other such bribes.

Human beings are, by and large, no longer affected by selection pressure and so are outside evolution.

So, whilst Timmy is right in that our biological urges provide the driving force for procreation, it is not this that, in an entirely rational person, leads to a better society.

The real point here is that the only reason that someone like Calabamat can call for a programme of eugenics and be in any way justified is because people are no longer called upon to look after their own children: we are. And by "we", I mean the rest of society.

Having a child in our society—whilst the urge might be driven by selfish genetics—it is no longer required that you actually care for your child. So, remove all child benefits and we will no longer be able to call for such restrictions.

As I have pointed out before, whilst we are supported (even potentially, e.g. the NHS) by the state, then you must obey the state—you and your life belongs to the state.

But, since the state has no money but what it takes from us, you must also allow that those who pay for your child (whether you want the money or not) can propose that you are not allowed to have a child.

Both sides in this debate are misguided, because both sides are assuming forces that no longer exist. 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.

Remove the forced funding of those children, however, and you remove the right of other people in society to dictate what or who those children should be.

UPDATE: The Elusive Pimpernel weighs in...
I firmly believe that the decision to have a child should lie with the parents. But having a child is not a right - by which I mean its not the job of the state to provide funds for the basic environment - food, clothing and shelter.

If prospective parents can’t afford to provide those things themselves then I for one would hope that they’d think twice before bringing a child into the world. To do otherwise is, in my opinion, irresponsible and, frankly, a failure at the first hurdle. They are putting themselves before the child and it's an indication that they are not yet ready to raise a child responsibly.

Quite.

42 comments:

Toque said...

Or if you read Dawkins you might think that natural selection works at the molecular level rather than the level of the individual, and we individuals are mere conduits for molecular arms race.

jgball said...

Dk, who gets to tell Polly that her daughter has been selected to breed with a Morlock. Sorry dear, we have run out of binmen again and it is for the good of the State after all. Here's a link.
http://cabalamat.wordpress.com/2008/08/10/eugenics-is-nothing-to-be-scared-of/

Devil's Kitchen said...

Toque,

No, no, no; you have misread Dawkins. His contention is that the urge to breed, to propagate our genes is at the molecular level. It's a hypothesis that I have a good deal of sympathy with.

He has never (or not in the writings that I have seen) proposed that natural selection works at the molecular level (other than spontaneous abortions and failed conceptions, of course).

DK

leg-iron said...

Another issue missing from calabamat's idea is that if everyone in the world is super-bright, if everyone is capable of, and aspires to, the top jobs...

...who's going to sweep the floor? Who's going to run the canteen? Who's delivering boxes and taking boxes away? Who's emptying the bins? Who's ploughing fields and milking cows?

To function, a society needs only a very few super-bright people. It needs a lot of less bright people who will get in there and build stuff to the bright one's directions.

It's no good having a society where everyone has brilliant ideas but nobody's building the things they've dreamed up.

It only takes one person to think up the idea of DVD, but it takes a lot of people to make it real, ship it, sell it and use it. If they're all too busy having their own ideas, we wouldn't ever get that DVD made.

We can't all be super-intelligent. If we were, we'd die out.

knirirr said...

Human beings are, by and large, no longer affected by selection pressure and so are outside evolution.

I see what you're getting at, but I don't think that that's the case. For one thing, sexual selection will still be going on. I.e. even if we were completely insulated from "nature" then our own sexual preferences still create selective pressure. this is an enjoyable book on the subject.

Concerning Dawkins, his views often seem to be criticised but his gene-centric view of evolution is not at all unreasonable. I filled a doctoral thesis with such views and got away with it.

Ken said...

Hang on a moment. Procreation is a two person job. Why only test the IQs of the women? Surely if they have a child with a smart man, it evens out?

Also IQs are at least partially about nurture. I think this angle of attack is silly. I am in favour of tackling the insane incentives given by the present welfare state but it shouldnt be based on this bizarre attempt at eugenics-lite.

The problem is that a civilised society should not allow single mothers to starve on the streets, but we also shouldnt be encouraging people to become single mothers. Or at the very least to discourage them from having ever larger numbers of kids to gain from entitlements.

knirirr said...

He has never (or not in the writings that I have seen) proposed that natural selection works at the molecular level

He does discuss intragenomic conflict in The Extended Phenotype.
In any case, selection could occur at any level where some sort of genetically-encoded function has an effect on "fitness" (however you define that).

Budgie said...

And so we see that "evolution" inevitably leads to eugenics. Kill off our unfit as the Nazis did or just sterilize them as the Swedes did? Your 'A' level starter in Dawkinism.

The Remittance Man said...

I have no problem with putting stupid and anti-social people out of our misery. But to be fair I'd give their kids a few years opportunity to prove themselves unlike their parents before offing them too.

knirirr said...

And so we see that "evolution" inevitably leads to eugenics.

We see nothing of the sort. It is statism that leads to eugenics, for such is the immorality of the statist that they will cite any justification if it improves their opportunity to exert control over others.

Ian B said...

Ah, eugenics. The Progressives tried it a century ago, they've never really given up on it despite that awkward business with that nice Mr. Adolph "Big State" Hitler, and it's on its way back. Getting a progressive to burble this eugenic bullshit is easy. You don't even have to trick them into it; they're rather proud of their daring to "think the unthinkable".

It's class conceit of course. Always was, always will be, as is the fundamental driving force of the progressive ideology, which is "us clever folks with our sociology degrees should run the world because the cattle aren't up to it". Do we really need another reason to dismiss it?

As to the "burden on the state" argument; yes, yes, other peoples' children are indeed a burden on the state. That's because the lefties made them a burden on the state. But they aren't anywhere near as big a fucking burden as the kleptocratic progressives infesting the non-jobber network, even if they only manage to breed a feeble aspie after their state funded IVF.

Really, they'd fucking love to get this one going, and now we're up to our arseholes in the Third Way, they'll probably succceed, though they're likely to call it something like "reproductive nudging".

This is a class war people, truth be told; and our new ruling class of unproductive parasites fucking despise us. They want to sort out which of us are worthy to join them, and soylent green the rest of us. We're heading for some very dark times indeed.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

I'm with leg-iron. Not everyone is bright enough to decide how the rest of humanity should live their lives, like us superior bloggers obviously are. Some people will wind up doing menial things, things that us superior bloggers would never want to stoop to. And so, I think that in so far as these people exist to make the lives of us superior bloggers easier, we should allow them to live.

If prospective parents can’t afford to provide those things themselves then I for one would hope that they’d think twice before bringing a child into the world. To do otherwise is, in my opinion, irresponsible and, frankly, a failure at the first hurdle. They are putting themselves before the child and it's an indication that they are not yet ready to raise a child responsibly.

Jesus fucking Christ, I can't believe I'm reading such fascist bullshit on a Libertarian's blog. Mind you don't all disappear up your own arrogant, "I'm not a parent" arsehole while you're about it. Has this person ever actually had sex?

Sometimes these things just happen, you know: condoms go pop; pills fail to work; and not all women are ready to abort their children because it's the rational thing to kill their kid. Sometimes you just muddle through it, it's tough but it makes you a better person and your kid values things a lot more.

I appreciate that single people feel offended that they have to make allowances for people with kids and have to cross-subsidise them, but a) they'll be paying your pension someday, will you be moaning about them then? and b) until you have kids of your own, don't try to apply your weltsanschauung to the business of being a parent. You just look like an idiot who has no idea what he's talking about.

Anonymous said...

Why should you get any special privileges just because you shat a baby out ?
Society today seems to be ordered on the basis that people who have spawned screaming shit machines get special treatment.
Toddlers shouldn't be allowed on aeroplanes with their parents first, they should be stuck in the hold, in cat carriers so they don't make everyone elses lives a misery with their constant whining.
I'll continue to park my 4X4 in " Parent and Child " spaces and continue to invite people who complain to try and take it out of my face if they feel that strongly.

electro-kevin said...

Not all physical or behavioural evolutionary traits are for the better.

Dawkins tells us, for example, that in the case of mutual grooming there are altruists, cheats and grudgers.

Allow me to explain:

Grooming removes parasites which could be harmful to the longevity of the host and thus prevent him passing on his genes. For the good of the group and the individual it is good to be rid of parasites so mutual grooming takes place.

Then cheats emerge in the population who recieve grooming but do not give and have more time to breed and become more numerous. Their offspring fail to groom and the group population drops off through disease to the point that the only survivors will be those with the mutational trait of holding grudges against the cheats who refuse to reciprocate.

They win because they have time to groom AND time to breed.

Thus intelligent social interaction is born and intelligent behaviour is advanced however microscopically.

We are at the stage in British society where the cheats are breeding at a faster rate than the hard working altruists.

We are simply following a well trodden evolutionary path and as you can see we have a long way to go before we come back full-circle - if at all.

Jones said...

Hey, but has anyone noticed how quite bright people can have stupid progeny and vice versa? The issue is not as simple as the pro eugenics side of the argument might like to think.

As for using IQ as the measurement, werl, yerss, but human intelligence is a lot more complex than just an IQ test. If it weren't, all the 'clever' people would be terrifically rich, wouldn't they?

Martin said...

DK,

Interesting post.

The really striking thing about eugenicists is their lack of humility - the vile anonymous commentor who described children as 'screaming shit machines' might one day be reduced to a permanent vegetative state as a result of a nasty accident in their 4 x 4; who will empty their bedpan? The invitation to take it out of your face might one day be met, by someone even more vile and aggressive - that day, your own aggression might just be revisited on you in spades.

I have a particular perspective on debates of this kind, which is that children are a gift, not a burden; as humans, we have no right to interfere in the reproductive processes by which we ourselves came to be here; and we should all of us be grateful for what we have, and stop tryin to deny it to other people.

Martin said...

DK,

Interesting post.

The really striking thing about eugenicists is their lack of humility - the vile anonymous commentor who described children as 'screaming shit machines' might one day be reduced to a permanent vegetative state as a result of a nasty accident in their 4 x 4; who will empty their bedpan? The invitation to take it out of your face might one day be met, by someone even more vile and aggressive - that day, your own aggression might just be revisited on you in spades.

I have a particular perspective on debates of this kind, which is that children are a gift, not a burden; as humans, we have no right to interfere in the reproductive processes by which we ourselves came to be here; and we should all of us be grateful for what we have, and stop tryin to deny it to other people.

Old Holborn said...

If you want to see what supposedly intelligent people shit out as children, go to Center Parcs and revel in the production of little drones that is taking place.

I'm with Ian on this. I have no problem with mouth breathers breeding just as I have no problem with chinless academics breeding. Just don't ask me to pay for it all.

Old Holborn said...

Martin

"children are a gift, not a burden"

You haven't met my brood. The little shits wrote FAT ARSE in black marker pen on my arse last night night whilst I was sleeping. Another brillo pad in the shower this morning.

SACKERSON said...

What seems to be successful in our current society, might not be so in a different context. It seems intuitively obvious that a meritocracy will entail a class of people at the bottom who "deserve" to be there; but what if our abstract and hyper-protective society breaks down?

Besides, how do you disentangle nature and nurture, when those who are in a more privileged position will do everything they can to help their offspring survive and thrive?

Serf said...

To those who think that talk of pensions is a relevant argument here, wake up and smell the coffee.

The people that are being talked about here are not going to work, pay taxes and support you when you are old. Neither will they be emptying your bedpan. Instead they will be spending money that could have gone on your pension on smack and Nike trainers.

Whilst the idea of the state choosing who can have children is abhorrent. However, so is the current system that encourages the least suitable people to have more than average number of children.

We need an end to the incentives. Thats all.

the a&e charge nurse said...

Yes, the planet is starting to feel a little bit over crowded nowadays - and having killed off so many other species I suppose it's inevitable that some commentators think we should add a few humans to the list as well ?

By the way, is the idea of genetics to make the world a better place ?

I thought most of the maiming and killing was driven by religious or political ideology ?
Don't forget many of our political masters attained better then x5 'O' levels at grade B, or above.

Dodgy Geezer said...

2 points....

1) "First, the human race is outside evolution...there needs to be a change of environment and this is the nub of the problem: we humans create our own environment"

Even if this were true, no matter what, the human is in an environment. Some will respond well to the ability to change their environment, some badly. You can't get away from evolution...!

2) "I’m talking about a very “light touch” form of state control here."

Wow!! the Holy Grail!! State Control which only ever operates a 'light touch'! What the libertarians have been looking for for centuries!

Can you tell us how you have managed to ensure that, once the mechanism for a 'light touch' in controlling our reproduction is in place, you can guarantee that no one will ever change that to a 'heavy tough'? Aahh, thought not...

Anonymous said...

Natural selection: most men will still choose to mate with the blonde bird with big tits. As to whether having children is a right and should society contribute… Whilst many who find themselves at the bottom of the pile aren’t necessarily the sharpest knife in the drawer, they often prove a determined and cunning lot. If you’re not prepared to help them out (buy them off? - depends on how you look at things) with a few benefits, they will undoubtedly resort to doing ‘whatever it takes’ to feed their families. Truth to tell, I find it hard to victimise those poor schmucks who lost out on the genetics lottery when so many of our ‘brighter’ characters leach off of the state via well paid non-jobs in public service. In the old days we subsidised ship yards and car plants in order to keep people off the streets. The job titles and work scope may have changed, but the necessity to provide for people still remains. None of the alternatives are particularly attractive.

Letters From A Tory said...

Sorry but your analysis is incorrect. We do not need a change in environment for natural selection to take place - this is an incorrect statement.

It is perfectly possible that in the absence of any environmental changes, a gene mutation might cause someone to develop an immunity to a particular disease - which will substantially increase their chances of survival. HIV resistance in Africa is a classic example of this.

Devil's Kitchen said...

LFAT,

"It is perfectly possible that in the absence of any environmental changes, a gene mutation might cause someone to develop an immunity to a particular disease - which will substantially increase their chances of survival. HIV resistance in Africa is a classic example of this."

In these terms, a disease such as HIV is an environmental change.

DK

the a&e charge nurse said...

The devil is correct viruses ARE an environmental change.

So far. so good.

it is the clumsy assertions which attempt to relate Darwinian principles to the Welfare State that I have problems with.

Take countries with no welfare state such as Ethiopia.
The population in Ethiopia has virtually doubled since 'Band-Aid', why ?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2000/apr/11/ethiopia.comment

In fact the global population has more than doubled in the last 40 years - how many of these territories have a welfare state ?
http://www.worldometers.info/population/

No, this little more than another tedious exercise in chav bashing [wrapped up in some rather unpleasant eugenic extremism] - if the libertarians are to offer genuine hope for a better political system, then the first lesson has to be that it's constituents belong to a very broad church.

Old Holborn said...

Libertarians are not offering a better political system. They are asking to be left alone by political systems.

Rob said...

The idea that someone could trust the State to decide who can have children and who cannot, in the "interests of the Nation", must be credulous as fuck or just bonkers.

Look at Comprehensive education, for example. Run in the "interests of the Nation" or run to suit the education establishment and to impose fascistic egalitarian politics on children?

If you let this government loose on eugenics, it would be the top 20% they would prevent from breeding, not the bottom.

Old Holborn said...

ah yes. Breeding

http://www.break.com/index/redneck-video-dating-disaster.html

the a&e charge nurse said...

Now I'm confused.

If the libertarians are just a bunch of Greta Garbos [with a penchant for Chav-bashing] why bother forming a political party ?

Roger Thornhill said...

All those who want to see peoples' live subsidised, go subsidise it with your own money.

To me the simplest thing would be to not provide additional housing to those already in state funded or provided housing regardless of the number of sprogs they pop. Remove the incentive. I am not even interested in disincentivising - the point is to get the State out of peoples' faces.

Sperm banks etc are just authoritarian "brave new world" meddling, IMHO.

As for A&E's question surely it is very simple - all the existing parties are Centrist Statist Authoritarians and use the force of law to invade our lives and control us. The only way is to prise the ray-gun from their cold red fingers. The only way to do that honestly is to form a party so the action can be taken democratically and not via some "revolution".

Dodgy Geezer said...

"..Whilst many who find themselves at the bottom of the pile aren’t necessarily the sharpest knife in the drawer, they often prove a determined and cunning lot..."

The above perfectly illustrates a classic mistake eugenics supporters often make. They assume that there is an absolute 'improvement' which can be made in the human stock. But evolution is blind to our idea of 'improvement' We may think that intellectual ability is important, but being 'determined and cunning' or even plain thick may be equally important. It just depends on what the environment is. Myself, I specialise in being dodgy....

Tomrat said...

I'm with leg-iron and obnoxio - I dont want a decision as to who you put it about with...I just dont want to have to pay for the consequences via my taxes - I would happily (and do happily) give my money and my time to the cause of helping the kiddies who fit the general "box" Calabamat seems happy to place them in; these kids are the parentally unloved, the stupid and the abused/animalised that occupy the underclass - these kids are not irredeemable, they just require love and actual bloody parenting; you need only read 1 Corinthians 13 to see just how we accomplish this.

One thing I can agree on is severe welfare reform is desperately needed - I dont believe this will eventually come from the state because of the vested interests and incentives being different, i.e. they would use it to curry votes rather than help individuals. That does not mean it doesn't have its place. I dont want to be part of a system where the ability for me to procreate is determined by a box-ticking fascist.

Mr Potarto said...

So tomorrow, I decide its time to have a baby and you decide to drink on public transport.

Although you are sober, you may become drunk and piss down the back of my neck. However, I am expected to trust you not to do that.

Although I believe I am capable of bringing up a child without state help, I may lose my job and spend the rest of my life watching Trisha. You don't trust me, so I have to undergo tests prior to conception.

Why do you get liberty, but I get control?

Mr Potarto said...

I went back and read your article again, but I'm still not clear on your position.

Calabamat proposed various testing and 'nudging' for those wanting children.

Your position seems to be more philosophical.

i) The state currently supports children.

ii) Therefore, the state has a right to say you can't have children.

iii) If you want liberty, stop state funding of children.

The thing is, you're missing a couple of issues.

a) The fact that I am capable of raising children now, does not mean I will not get into difficulty in the future. What do you propose to do about that?

b) If I do have problems raising children, you appear to be suggesting my children are my problem. Presumably you don't view my children as my property to dispose of as I wish, so society still has a role to play in supporting them in some sort of environment.

Either you pay me to look after them, or you take them away and put them in an orphanage - either way, the tax-payer foots the bill.

So precisely how would your solution work? If we retain the state paying for children's upkeep, how would your system to prevent the unsuitable from birthing work? If we stop sprog-funding, what happens to the children?

Devil's Kitchen said...

Mr Potarto,

If you allow the state to fund your children, then you allow that the state has some leverage over what you do with your children, yes. Your children (or you) are in hock to the state; you are a debtor and must dance to the debtor's tune.

"a) The fact that I am capable of raising children now, does not mean I will not get into difficulty in the future. What do you propose to do about that?"

Why should I be forced to do anything about that? If you make a suitable plea, I might help you out.

"b) If I do have problems raising children, you appear to be suggesting my children are my problem."

Yes, quite so. Are they not your problem? If they are not your problem, then you are acquiescing to their removal from your care, yes?

"Either you pay me to look after them, or you take them away and put them in an orphanage - either way, the tax-payer foots the bill."

Sure. But in one way, the taxpayer gives you money to raise children as you see fit, in the other the taxpayer gets to raise the children as the taxpayer sees fit.

Do you see the problem?

DK

Mr Potarto said...

"Sure. But in one way, the taxpayer gives you money to raise children as you see fit, in the other the taxpayer gets to raise the children as the taxpayer sees fit.

Do you see the problem?"


So your solution is the state raises children on the behalf of poor people???

You think the state is a better provider of child-rearing than poor people. Well, you're entitled to your opinion, but I'd be interested to see your evidence.

You are proposing the state abducts the children of the unemployed. That is your idea of libertarianism?

Devil's Kitchen said...

"So your solution is the state raises children on the behalf of poor people???"

Are you being deliberately dense? No, that is not my solution.

My point is that if you take money off the state, do not be surprised when the state turns round and suddenly tells you that it should determine how you should raise your children. It's not something I approve of, but it will happen.

My solution is that you cease paying (and that includes housing) anyone simply because they have children.

If you and your children get into trouble, you can make an appeal and, effectively, throw yourself upon the charity of others.

Now, this means that I, for instance, might well help you to buy groceries, but not cigarettes. I might help you to buy a couple of beers, but I will not pay your drunk and disorderly fine. Do you see?

"You think the state is a better provider of child-rearing than poor people. Well, you're entitled to your opinion, but I'd be interested to see your evidence."

No, I don't; in fact, the evidence shows that the state is the worst raiser of children.

"You are proposing the state abducts the children of the unemployed."

No, I am not. For fuck's sake, do you actually bother to read anything that I write? If you did, you would surely have worked out that I would never propose that.

"That is your idea of libertarianism?"

Is this your idea of an intelligent comment?

DK

Tomrat said...

Now, this means that I, for instance, might well help you to buy groceries, but not cigarettes. I might help you to buy a couple of beers...

You are a considerably more generous devil than I ;-).

Mr. Potarto,

Living in close proximity to a sink estate in the north I think you are missing the bigger picture here - the "poor" as you call them are not exactly poor; the majority of the working class are hard working individuals who just want to enjoy a different lifestyle to you or I.

There is another group though, which I quite happily term the underclass; by this I mean the group of induhviduals who despite being given every opportunity still choose to live parasitically of of others - many do not realise they are doing it but the vast majority do and simply dont bloody care.

These are the induhviduals who have dozens of kids not because they love children (they may do, though in my role as a youth leader I'm beginning to have my doubts) purely because they see a meal ticket there - I should actually correct this to say a career ticket; they get access to beer, fags, houses and some perverse form of "respect" amongst their peers and all they have to contribute are a dozen kids and a vote (or non-vote)to the politicos who never have to live near them, deal with them or worry about money in their life.

The welfare state was designed as a safety net; were you to lose your job/house you should not go hungry or be without shelter (I say "should"; the reality is because of the modern-day perverse incentives this is fast becoming a reality) - as people have grown more affluent and a better lifestyle the welfare system should naturally become less important (think about after the war; limited resources, widowed wives with children etc..) - what we see instead is that the architects realising that in order to stay in power they must continue the charade of making people think they need the state, rather the actual answer in that state needs them.

Thus we see a rise in the number of people saying "the state needs to do something about this..." and fewer people saying "what can I do about this" - the effect is that the poorest are forgotten and ignored by all, thinking the state has given them what they need; they haven't.

Mr Potarto said...

"For fuck's sake, do you actually bother to read anything that I write? If you did, you would surely have worked out that I would never propose that."


Yes, that's what I would have thought. And what you put in that final comment was consistent with your previous writing and makes a hell of lot more sense than the dribbling inanity of the original article.

Shit like this:

"But, since the state has no money but what it takes from us, you must also allow that those who pay for your child (whether you want the money or not) can propose that you are not allowed to have a child."

Laurence Boyce said...

“Human beings are, by and large, no longer affected by selection pressure and so are outside evolution.”

That, with respect, is bollocks. There’s no doubt that things get considerably more interesting and complex with humans, as compared to fungi, say. But fundamentally it’s the same deal. To think otherwise is standard human conceit.