Again Paula Bennett moves into very dangerous territory suggesting the government wants the ability to issue court orders preventing some people from having children. She stops just short of calling for mandatory sterilisation of citizens. Just.

As in the case of offering free contraception to women and their daughters on benefits, this proposed change does not change how the government acts in reality. Currently the government already removes babies just after birth or at birth from some citizens; 148 in 2011 and 177 in 2010. Simply telling people “don’t have more children” and offering contraception will not prevent births and so the government would be left with… removing the babies at birth. Which it already does.

This again begs the question; if this proposed change will not change government actions towards these same people, then why the proposed change at all?

One answer which fits logically is that it seeks to legalise government involvement in citizens reproductive rights. Once government is legally allowed to tell us whom among us will be allowed to have children, and who cannot, the next step is to enforce this difference through forced sterilsation.

“First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

– this quote is attributed to Martin Niemöller, a German who originally supported Hitlers rise to power.

My main reason for opposition to this policy is it allows government to go where no government should ever go. I agree that people who have abused and killed their children should certainly not have more children, but the state already does remove such children from their parents.

Our economic system has for generations now created inequality. The wealth gap is growing ever greater and will continue to do so as long as our money is based upon interest bearing debt. This is the logical outcome.

If a society allows a growing number of it’s population to be impoverished and excluded from wider society this will breed resentment and a higher crime rate among the disadvantaged. It breeds an “underbelly” in society. Left for too long, anything of three generations or longer, and this underbelly becomes entrenched.

The answer as the wealth gap grows is not to penalise and control the poorest citizens. The cause of the problem will not be solved by doing this, it will only allow society to slide towards dictatorship.

The answer is to address the underlying cause of inequality which is the very structure of how our money works. I have written about this extensively, see the category on this blog “money and the economy”.

A restructuring of the economy to allow near or full employment would allow all citizens to participate fully. It would all but eliminate child poverty and allow the poorest of parents to provide for their children with a decent weeks work. Once the poorest members of society can provide all of the necessities for their families then most of them would do so. Crime would reduce, education participation would increase. Not all problems would be solved, some are too far entrenched in behaviours over generations to be reversed so simply, but the state could then have funds to focus on support and assistance for parents.

Just as it takes three generations at minimum to entrench disadvantage, it would take three generations at minimum to reverse the problem.

I would much rather live in a society which seeks to address the causes of our problems rather than uses knee jerk reactions to the symptoms of our problems. I would much rather live in a society which cares for and supports parents than one which punishes us when we get it wrong and constantly judges us on our performance… oh wait, that’s the society I live in.