Lafollette’s thesis and argument is that we should require all parents or potential parents to procure a license prior to having children. Just as we have licensing programs for anything potentially very harmful today, we should also have one for being a parent. We license drivers, doctors, gun owners, and many other types of potentially harmful practices. So why shouldn’t we also license parents?
Hugh’s argument is structured as this:
P1: Any practice or act that can cause considerable harm should be regulated.
P2: Parenting can lead to significantly bad harm.
C1: Parenting should be licensed.
If C1 follows naturally from P1 and P2 as I think most would see, then me must either object to P1 or P2 if we think that C1 is false, or be able to show an exception. An attack on the second premise plainly doesn’t stand. A maltreated or abused child is a very bad thing is it not? We have punishments for people that do so. And therefore wouldn’t the prevention of something like that be a good thing? The other options are an objection to the first premise, or an exception of the conclusion. The only exception to the conclusion would be that people have a ‘Right’ to children. Although this is true, there is a statute that should reign here just as it does in the right of freedom of speech or religion. If abusing the right can lead to considerable harm to one’s self or another, then the right is not present.
Now that Lafollette has demonstrated that a parent licensing program should be in effect and is desirable, he refutes 5 common objections to the implementation of the program.
The first is that we don’t have the means of testing what is a ‘Good Parent’. While this may be true, it’s not what is required by the program. What IS required is that you not be a ‘Bad Parent’ to get a license. And surely we can tell who or what a bad parent is.
Second, there is no way or predicting who will mistreat their children. This is...