Who has the most at stake when we have children? The children, given the impact on their lives. One would think, then, that in designing family planning systems our governments – which undertook that task in the mid-20th Century – would make them child-centric. They did not – largely because that would have entailed investing heavily in each child, and cooperatively giving each child a fair start in life, or things like minimum levels of well-being, equity relative to other children, an effective voice in their democracies, and a natural world.
Instead governments, and the interests that control them, lied and intentionally misinterpreted Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the right to have children. They treated the act of having children as something self-determining for the parents, rather than other-determining, for the children we have. They did so, employing the concept of privacy, not to protect people but to protect their concentrations of wealth from collective obligations to invest in all children.
Governments and special interests opted to ignore basic values and the needs of future generations, and embrace a strategy that would ensure population-based economic growth, exploiting children as consumers, workers, and other forms of economic input. They used people to create profits. The move converted politically empowered citizens into consumers, workers, and taxpayers with almost no influence over the systems they are subject to. These concentrations of power used people against people, filling the word with uneducated and vulnerable followers wiling to give up values, like democracy, for higher incomes. These concentrations did not produce actual and objective value as much as they exploited patriarchal policies mass producing people in violation of human rights, including the right to participatory systems from which we could reasonably asses values, costs, and benefits. Every crisis we face today, from the population-driven climate crisis, to the overcrowding and poor public health that causes pandemics, to massive political and economic inequity, flow from this maneuver, or the scam one Nobel Laureate recently described.
Empirically, the most just and effective response to these crises is to target the growth-based concentrations of power, and their modern adherents and beneficiaries, to limit and decentralize their power into future generations, through Fair Start distributions of wealth as ecosocially equitable family planning incentives and entitlements. We can go into a future ridden by climate and other crises with more and more unprepared and unequal people, or with fewer and highly prepared people. There is no real choice to make here.
How can do we we proceed? How can we bend this arc of growth?
We all grew up with the myth that we were abstractly “constituted” in nation states by founding fathers in the past. That is inaccurate. For human rights and democracy to make any sense, it is more accurate to say we are constantly and physically constituting, as new generations join the dynamic “We the People” of us. For those things to make sense, we have to correct the self v. other determining lie, discussed above. Again, think a switch to child-centric and values-based family planning, or physically constituting through a just creation (or re-creation) norm – the norm which no other norm can precede.
Think getting past the systems of coercion and incentive that the scam described above maintains, the systems by which we are determined by others. Instead, imagine reaching the self-determination/actualization of democracy where our voice matters and we trust the people around us. In this process we find a binary distinction between those free people sufficiently other-regarding to constitute democracy through child-centric collective family planning, and those who are not – people who in the end we we would reasonably exclude from constituting, or precons. A classic example would be those who reject the values above and who see people as a resource, rather than an end in themselves. If the creation of persons represent the truest border of human power – to follow a “one border” thesis – we can envision precons on one side, and free people on the other. And whether someone or some group embraces child-centric and fair family planning is the test.
If we don’t approach it that way, consensual governance – and political freedom – become impossible. We are left without a way of maintaining relative self-determination, and freedom from others.
Government and its rules derive from people, who derive from their creation. A just creation norm is the ultimate obligation, and there are no just systems without it. Put another way, to be free people we have to first orient the formation of power relations around the justice of child-centric and fair family planning, over the inevitable resistance of the precons described above.
That makes Fair Start, or intergenerationally constituting groups of free and equal people, the first and overriding human right (or the ongoing first election by which we choose the people from whom government derives), overriding the government-issued property claims that protect concentrations of wealth and power, and allowing us to free ourselves by all means effective. It means that if would-be parents are willing to embrace child-centric and collective planning, and step up and make demands to protect their children’s future, we can target for appropriate resources the people and concentrations of power to compensate us and future generations by passing over the power they gathered in violation of right to be free (or relatively self-determining, to be accurate).
This is not an abstract proposition. Imagine a group of people, in quantity and quality, you would need to host an effective constitutional convention. That is what a truly free and equal “We the People” means, and falling fertility rates globally signal a sea change in our species that makes a shift to a qualitative, people-not-population, and Fair Start revolution feasible. Bending the arc of growth around this change, towards values and equity, is an act of self-defense, defense of others, and liberation.
These facts are indisputable: 1) Many benefitted from the scam describe above by placing costs – ecological and social – on others, in violation of multiple universal human rights that allow us to constitute as free and equal people. 2) In order to most justly and effectively compensate future generations, who should be treated as a majority and whose rights matter, for those violations we have a fundamental right to target those most responsible and who benefitted the most from blocking the process of constituting. They hold power over us and future generations because people with guns defend the status quo, and not because it is just. 3) We best do that by taking and using portions of their concentrated power and wealth, measured against the relevant fundamental baseline, to constitute free and equal groups of future people via the effective vehicle of Fair Start incentives/entitlements.
In other words these entities, like Exxon, should pay for the costs they externalized on others. And they must do so by complying with the first human right – Fair Start.
Take action: Fair Star will be urging the Biden Administration to issue an executive order that would require U.S. firms to disclose their past, present and future role in promoting that Ponzi demography and the harm it caused. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to participate.