Andrew D Atkin:
In a nation where people are well fed and well housed, it is infinitely more important to halve the child abuse than to double the wealth.
This speech/statement is directed toward the New Zealand political arena, especially the ACT party (which I am a member of) and of course anyone who is interested.
Watch the 8 minute video if you prefer to listen.
Before the welfare state, welfare was given through families and charitable organisations. We always had social welfare of sorts, only it has now become centralised and nationalised. The nationalisation of welfare has had a critical effect. The stigma of receiving welfare has largely gone.
No longer is the welfare recipient directly accountable to the charitable hand. They do not have to knock on the tax-payers door, put out their hand, and say "I need your help" which is humiliating and likewise puts pressure on the individual to not get into a dependency-situation in the first place. Instead the recipient just gets an automatic WINZ payment paid directly to their account, each week. It's painless - and reliable.
The welfare state was established with good intentions, but it has led to the interpersonal separation between the giver and receiver. The stigma associated with welfare dependency has been further eroded by the fact that the modern New Zealand economy has been engineered so that so many people, including people associated with the middle-class, are also welfare recipients, to a degree. In short. When everyone's doing it, it makes it easy for you to do it too.
The final result, is we've created a specific welfare class, and we're supporting it to breed without limits. Anyone can now have as many children as they want, no matter their financial status, because the state will pick up the slack for the sake of the children, and there will be no serious stigma's associated with the event. So we hand them the cheque - and we make it easy for them to take it.
Well, okay. That's the modern game. But are we happy with it? The fact is modern welfare policy comes with a major long-term impact, as it supports people to breed who could not be described as strong, and they can breed to whatever capacity they wish. This does and has expanded the size of the classes associated with heavy welfare dependency.
Now this wouldn't be such a great concern, in a relatively rich society, if it wasn't for the fact that the welfare class, as a group, is also associated with: serious child abuse, low intelligence, criminality, poor health, drug abuse, and poor educational performance. As a society we are disproportionately investing our resources into the physical reproduction of those who are weaker - not stronger.
From a Darwinian perspective you would describe our welfare state as 'an evolution in reverse'. The stronger are being forced to support the families of the weaker, and before they can even provide for a family of their own. I for one am worried about this situation. Yes, I know. What I said is ugly and will make many eyes grow wide. But what I said is real, extremely important, and that is why I am saying it.
Now you would think the solution was simple enough. Just go back to the days where welfare recipients had to directly confront the hand that feeds them. Let painful social pressures drive personal responsibility. But of course it's not that simple.
Once you have an entrenched dependency situation, you cannot reverse it without serious distress. To remove or seriously restrict national welfare today would be to leave hundreds of families in catastrophic poverty, until our society as a whole finally adapts. That bridge would be politically impossible to cross short of an economic crises on the level of the great depression. I don't think it's an ideal solution regardless.
We just can't go up to a young woman, tell her if that she gets pregnant then she's on her own, and then in the scenario that she does get pregnant force her to abort her child or adopt it out because she can't afford to take care of it. And as long as those women know that this is the game, as it is, many will continue to get pregnant knowing full-well that the state will accommodate them - facilitating the long-range social degeneration of our society.
The only other solution I can think of to this mother-of-all social problems is the introduction of breeding licences. Insist that people meet a basic criteria of fitness before they can go on to have children. If you think this sounds heartless then think again of what I'm asking for. I am simply asking that children be born to parents who have the ability to take care of them - emotionally, physically, and within reason financially.
We test people before awarding them a licence to drive a car, and we rightly do this to be sure enough that they will not harm others when driving. So is a licence too much to ask of latent parents who might otherwise harm their children, like so many parents do? Is it really right to let anyone, no matter their status, have as many children as they want and with the state behind them in full support, no questions asked? I would describe the latter as a recipie for disaster, and in part a disaster that we have already come to.
But breeding licences are politically difficult also, of course. Because for this policy to be effective it must ultimately come with the threat of forced-contraception. If a woman gets pregnant without a licence, and by reasonable measure she is not fit to take care of her child, then there must be consequences. I say we should let her have that one child because that child is human and should be respected as such, of course, but the price of an unlawful pregnancy must be forced-contraception thereafter. At least until the woman's condition develops whereby she can be later awarded a licence.
There is the final question of rights. Does a woman have the right to breed, regardless of the opinion of the state? I would say yes, but if she wants to breed in our society then she must also conform to the conditions of our society. The wider society has rights too, as that society must live with and deal with her offspring as well.
So yes, we as a society do have the right to lay down some serious rules on human breeding, and I believe it would be wise for us to do as such. Otherwise we embrace the status quo and whatever it is that our status quo will lead us to. Personally I don't like where it's going and I want to see a change in direction. A big change.
The ideal model is one where the state backs parents to do their best for their children, because the far-reaching impact of inept parenting is more profound than any other social dynamic we know of. Where parents step down the state must step up.
But married with that policy must be some level of control, to suppress the reproductive opportunities of parents who cannot realistically be trusted to bring happy and healthy people into this world.