Should Parents Need a License to Procreate? A Moron Says Yes.

Hugh LaFollette, “Licensing Parents Revisited,” Journal of Applied Philosophy.1

The premise of his article is that the legitimacy of professional licensing is well-established and the practice should be expanded to parents.

While one could argue that it doesn’t follow from professional licensing being applied to various professions that it should be expanded to parents, this article is really illustrative of why libertarians should oppose professional licensure outright.

It’s a slippery slope from licensing florists to licensing parents, be it for procreation or raising children after the fact.2 Once you concede the legitimacy of some licensing, then more outrageous nonsense inevitably follows.


  1. Anytime you see the words “applied philosophy” or “applied ethics” together and the article isn’t written by a libertarian, it is safe to assume it contains some nonsense like environmental socialism, Big Brother or nanny statist stuff like this or national health care or other social-welfare programs, calls for government to make businesses more socially responsible, and so on. 

  2. No offense, my home state of Louisiana. Why we need to be protected from bad floral arrangements is beyond me. What professional licensing is really about is restricting competition in order to protect existing players in the market; which, not incidentally, is what the state-granted monopoly privilege called intellectual property is about too. Licensing procreation will effectively be a eugenics program. And requiring a license to parent will amount to a massive social engineering project controlled by the politically-connected few. 

4 comments… add one

  • After reading your first point (1) I was shocked that your licensed to teach. We have licenses to TRY to keep morons from being doctors, and people like you from teaching our youth. To keep parents from telling a 10 year old to drive the car to the store for them, and to ensure that the proper training has been received before playing in the psyche of the general populations mind. Why a license is needed for floral arrangements is beyond me, but I know I wont be attending your classes or a school you work for.

    Reply
  • banning post,

    “After reading your first point (1) I was shocked that your licensed to teach.”

    You mean my first footnote? It’s not the “first point” in an argument; it’s an observation… in a footnote.

    Oh, and I’m not licensed to teach (unless you count having a PhD). A teaching license is not required to teach college-level courses.

    “We have licenses to TRY to keep morons from being doctors, and people like you from teaching our youth. To keep parents from telling a 10 year old to drive the car to the store for them, and to ensure that the proper training has been received before playing in the psyche of the general populations mind.”

    Licensing will not guarantee this and it is not necessary to promote good service.

    Reply
  • This website’s title heading should read: “Property – Prosperity – Peace – Logical Fallacies”
    The slippery slope argument is simple-minded at best.

    Reply
    • futureboy,

      Hardly. It’s been proven by history. Look at all of the occupational licensing there is in this country alone. As I wrote, “Once you concede the legitimacy of some licensing, then more outrageous nonsense inevitably follows.” Even if the first licensing of an occupation seems reasonable, it’s a sure thing that less reasonable, even ridiculous, licensing will be enacted in the future.

      Also, I recommend reading “Mechanisms of the Slippery Slope” by Eugene Volokh.

      Reply

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