"Ethical" Coercion
OCPF Implementation

We exist in strange times.  Rapid population decline, (RPD) rather than rapid population expansion, ensures the good future.  Universal “one child per family (OCPF) behaviors earns the human community tremendous benefits. If we don’t implement OCPF very soon, the window for obtaining these benefits closes.

The people who have come to this point of view have assumed the responsibility of trying to obtain these benefits for everyone’s children. Which means obtaining OCPF practices from all future parents on the globe.

SKIL Notes 41- 44 outline processes for implementing OCPF.  However, as soon as they were circulated friends correctly identified ethical complications.

The only ethically uncomplicated way to get every person to come to a OCPF behavior is for each to come to that conclusion using their own commonsense. That is, they have the minimum levels of cognitive ability which help them conclude OCPF is their best alternative. 

By “minimum level,” I mean “analogous to” the minimum levels of cognitive ability that keep a person from stepping in front of a rushing bus.   Obviously, at that level of cognition no external coercion is required to get people to choose the best alternative.

However, RPD and OCPF only appear as the best alternative when using levels of temporal inference cognitive abilities, which appear absent in most individuals (see SKIL Note 10 and 15.) Absent these abilities, the “second-child-behavior” does not create a view of a horrendous future and the best alternative remains more than one child per family.   

Therefore the plan, outlined in SKIL Note 41, followed the “stop smoking on airplanes model of change.” In this model, a subgroup of airplane riders developed a working (if not absolute) majority to ruminate (if not vote) for no smoking on airplanes.  Their argument was the air inside an airplane is shared and it is inappropriate for the smoking subgroup to foul it.  It took a while but the non-smokers eventually coerced the smokers to stop smoking on airplanes.

The question is,  “Was it ethical to take away the smokers' rights?”  It seems, at least to most people today -- using whatever cognitive abilities they have to reference the injuries caused by second hand smoke, that the smoking ban was less unethical than the smoker’s unethical behavior that polluted shared air.

There is a parallel ethical construction connecting the act of " smoking on airplanes" and the act of "having a second child." 

If the second child creates terrible future conditions, which are not seen by the procreating parent, then these parents think it is unethical for the group to ban their behaviors to have a second child. 

On the other hand, the group, who sees the terrible conditions produced by having the second child, thinks it is unethical for the parent to saddle everyone’s progeny with the problems of a system overloaded with the consumption of second children. 

There are unethical aspects to both behaviors. The quandary is to find which act is more unethical.

Using a majority, simple might makes right seems to be operational here.

If we had a vote today, normal people (voting as if the future liability of the second child was non-existent) would conclude that any parent, without hindrance from the group, should choose the number of children that seems best for them as individuals.

If the plan in SKIL Note 41 creates a majority of people who believe “having a second child creates a bigger liability in future conditions” than “the liability created by parental lose of procreative choice,”  then a new vote would elevate social, physically, or operationally coercive OCPF policy above individual rights.

Democracy creates ethics. At one extreme it works wonderfully well. Traffic laws control driving speed, and intersection behavior for the common good. At the other extreme, drug and prostitution laws control behavior that has little to do with the common good.

In between these extremes, when democracies elect leaders on a near 50-50-vote, it means near half of the people in the US had to accept the ethical decisions of the other half.  To pick easy examples from the current Bush administration consider the curtailing of federal funding for abortion and stem cell research.   The ethics of nearly half the nation were subordinated to the ethics of the other half.

In this light, are RPD/OCPF policies resulting from a majority vote so different? Does the group, directing personal procreative decisions of individuals, suddenly overstep some line drawn in the sand established at birth?  I don’t think so. Especially since having a second child has so much to do with the common good (see SKIL Note 31.) However, lets look at some of the hard choices that will have to be made using a majority established ethic.

The mechanics of implementing RPD/OCPF means influencing 60 million new potential parents that come of age each year.  After an RPD/OCPF majority exists, many of these potential parents will join the moral and intellectual high ground of their community and choose OCPF.  However, there will be individuals whose procreative choices will not be affected by this RPD/OCPF culture.  What are the ethical, or on balance ethical, policies that might be used to alter their behavior? 

Is it ethical to give OCPF families more goods and services than multi-child families. Is it ethical to take away goods and services when a family has a second child? Both of these have been used in China.

Is it ethical to isolate the RPD/OCPF communities from the communities that allow “two or more children per family” (see SKIL note 6?)  Is it ethical to watch as OCPF communities rise endlessly to better times while the others fall to ever more terrible conditions?

What is the relative ethics of forcing a couple living in the RPD community to move to the other, possibly more miserable community, if they have a second child? Is it ethical to force a child in an RPD community to join his parents in the distressed community?  Or is it more ethical to separate them and not force the innocent child into worse conditions.

What is the relative ethics of universally vaccinating everyone with birth control?  Then, when a couple wants to produce their single child, they could obtain from the group a one-time antidote, which would allow pregnancy.

These are only a few of the many unethical behaviors associated with implementation of OCPF.  But then again multi child family behaviors, which create civilization collapse and the death of 90% of the global population, seem pretty unethical too.


Jack Alpert (Bio)     mail to: Alpert@skil.org      (homepage) www.skil.org      Other position papers

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