Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Herbert Spencer would be proud

So, the government is pushing ahead with the Welfare Working Group's recommendation for creepy eugenics, in the form of providing free contaception to women on benefits. Contraception is a great thing - it lets people control their own fertility, and enables them to make choices about their own lives, rather than being slaves to biology. Making it freely available to all, in whatever form works best for them, would be a significant advance for human freedom. But that's not what the government is planning. Instead, they're making it freely available to some, in a form which will limit their fertility for prolonged periods, in the very specific hope that they will use it. This isn't about enabling choice - its about constraining it.

John Key thinks this is "common sense". Well, I guess it looks that way to the 50 million dollar man, concerned about the poor doing such terrible things as starting or continuing families, or worse, presuming that they are entitled to live a normal and dignified existence despite not sharing his exalted net worth. But from this end, it looks grossly intrusive, the state sticking its nose into people's bedrooms, deciding who should have children and who should not, on the basis of occupation and rich people's myths about "breeding for business". Herbert Spencer would be proud.