RE: New Government?

O'Regan, Emlyn (
Thu, 26 Aug 1999 17:11:03 +1000

> I have often thought that if any part of our world should be in any way
> socialist, it should be in the area of child rearing. Children are to
> varying degrees not responsible for their ability to afford education,
> health care, and basic housing/nutrition, and should not be penalized
> for the stupidity of their parents.
> The question is: How?
> Mike Lorrey
I agree! Although I would also bring up the problems of centralized control in this area. If this was the case right now, everyone's kids would be in government institutions (school) (is this already true?). I really value the ability to be able to choose parental style myself, rather than having a majority approach thrust upon me. I think that the mainstream view of kids (as second class citizens who have to shut up and listen to their elders, and who can be discriminated against with impunity) is abhorrent. I'd worry that centralised support might mean loss of choice for parents.

(it is very strange to be bringing up the individual rights issues in response to a big-government proposal from Mike Lorrey!)

I'm sure that there are people here who would say "lets just struggle on through; soon enough we'll all live indefinitely, and we wont have kids any more, so it wont be a problem". Just for argument's sake, let's assume there are kids for a bit longer...

So paying for child rearing... at least until we go to super long life spans, children are a necessity, because someone has to do work when we are in our dotage. You can hardly fail to notice that having children in a western country is a huge financial disadvantage. Parents get the message "it was your choice, you live with it", kind of a user-pays argument. But we are all users of the next generation. I think that a lot of crap childhood experiences for kids can be traced back to the strain involved in one or two (under-qualified) people raising kids with no external support.

So it's financially disadvantageous to have kids, then people wonder what to do about the aging population problem.

I'm always amazed by the juxtaposition of some currently powerful memes:

  1. Aging population in the west, big trouble ahead
  2. There's too many people being born in the third world
  3. We've got to clamp down on immigration to stop I don't know what (losing jobs? something silly like that)

Maybe first-world countries will notice soon that importing people from the third world is actually beneficial. Maybe baby-boomers have to get older, and notice that the labour market becomes strongly inclined in the employees' favour. Actually, I like the sound of that!

The other solution, of course, is that we all live for a damned long time in peak physical health and have to drudge on in crap careers until somewhere near universal heat death (ha ha). Or Eliezer might clone himself a few billion times (but then we've got bigger problems!)


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