Population Control in the News? Dan Brown’s “Inferno” and Michael Arth’s Child Credits Bring China-Like Attitudes to America

Population control is sure coming up in popular culture here lately.  Bestselling author Dan Brown recently released his latest Robert Langdon thriller Inferno that features a scientist fixated on saving the world through population control.  Now, Michael E. Arth, a former unsuccessful Democratic governor candidate in Florida back in 2010, is advocating a China-esque child limitation law system in America.

In classic politics, Republicans are jumping all over Arth’s “child credit” proposal.  They are likening it to China’s policy and all of the well-publicized atrocities that go with it.  In China, there was a major problem with couples being concerned about the sex of their babies and what it meant for their family’s bloodline.  Pair that with an over-the-top approach to dealing with unauthorized children, and China gets a major black eye.  However, despite all of that, no one is debating that the strategy worked.  But is there enough of a problem in America to warrant a one-child limitation.

Arth’s strategy actually provides more options than that.  By his plan, each person, male or female, would have a 1/2 of a credit to have a child.  When you put that together with a person of the opposite sex, you then have a full credit, meaning you can have the child.  People that choose not to use their credits can sell them to people that wish to have more children.  The idea is that if people can afford to buy the credits they can then probably afford to have the additional child, limiting births that just tax existing public assistance programs.

Obviously, there are tons of problems with the plan.  The most obvious is what do you do when someone has a baby anyway?  In China, they make that solution a lot simpler.  In America, we have no qualms about allowing abortions, but once the baby makes that all-important transition a half-foot out into the world, it’s cold-blooded murder.  So, butchering newborn babies of parents would probably be frowned upon, despite the fact that if they just killed it a few days earlier, it would be considered perfectly acceptable to the pro-choice crowd.  Still, there would be a huge dilemma, and America doesn’t have the hard and strong types that can just off a baby without a second thought.  In China, apparently they can always find a way to make it happen.

There are plenty of other problems, too.  There would be a human rights outrage over the whole thing.  There would be a concept that rich people are being allowed to procreate and poor people are not.  Of course, that’s not really true.  Every person would have their 1/2 to use if they wish, so no one would be technically excluded.  But there would be an outrage because poor people that cannot afford to feed more than one child would still be upset that rich people, that could afford to feed multiple children and raise them, would be allowed to have more children.  It leads to a much bigger question in our society:  Is procreating a basic human right?  Even if you can’t afford to support the child?  Children?  Is it child abuse to have a baby when you know you can’t afford to take care of it?

Don’t worry.  Arth’s policies have absolutely zero chance of ever seeing the light of day.  America is content allowing its people to “go forth and multiply” fruitfully, and the government has had no qualms about continuing to put more money in the pot to support those that decide to continue to have children despite not having the financial means to support them.  In our society, there is no social responsibility for anything you do.  If you have sex and become pregnant by accident, you don’t have to live with the consequences.  You can abort the baby and pretend like it never happened.  If you decide to have the baby, but you can’t afford to support the child, don’t worry about that either.  The government will step in and make sure that your baby is taken care of.  Either way, you don’t have to feel the sting of responsibility.  And then you get to be the “caregiver” of a child that you may very well teach this same mentality to so it can all just keep repeating.

But what happens when the government can’t afford to support all of those babies?  What happens when those babies start having babies?  Honestly, whatever your feelings about abortion, one thing is for sure:  women who have abortions are probably doing the rest of the nation and the government a huge favor.

Maybe China’s philosophy isn’t as crazy as it sounds.  But then, they have a new problem on their hands now.  They have slanted the gender percentages hugely in one direction and now have an aging population with less children out there to help take care of them.  Everything has a consequence.

2 thoughts on “Population Control in the News? Dan Brown’s “Inferno” and Michael Arth’s Child Credits Bring China-Like Attitudes to America”

  1. 1. Birth credits are a choice-based alternative to the China One Child Policy that would be fair and accomplish the important goal of slowing the self-destruction of humankind.
    2. People who are well-off already don’t have more than one child on average in developed countries. People who only have one child or less generally become better off.
    3. If you already have more than one child when the birth credits program starts, the children are grandfathered in. You only have to buy credits for extra children. If you have children without paying, you would fined (like a traffic ticket). It could hurt your credit, your ability to have a driver’s license or other things. It’s no worse than what we do now when someone doesn’t pay their credit card or doesn’t obey traffic laws.
    4. Birth credits won’t see the light of day anytime soon for two important reasons: A. Politicians are not rewarded for thinking of long term solutions–especially controversial solutions that balance individual rights vs. rights held in common. B. The business interests that control politicians and public policy want more consumers. This doesn’t mean we should ignore the most important threat to humankind.

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