Readers of this site probably won't be surprised to learn that I'm generally in favor of Larry Shirley's suggestion that parents of criminal children should be sterilized.

Charleston City Councilman Larry Shirley says the robbery of a downtown video store - allegedly by a band of kids, including one too young to be charged - is a sure sign society has gone awry, and it's time to start a "dialogue."

And one of the things he says needs to be talked about is whether bad parents should be sterilized.

"What we've got is a failure in society, whether it's in Mount Pleasant with yuppie parents or whether it's on the East Side with poor crackhead parents," Shirley said Friday. "We pick up stray animals and spay them. These mothers need to be spayed if they can't take care of theirs. ... Once they have a child and it's running the streets, to let them continue to have children is totally unacceptable." Deadbeat dads might ought to be sterilized as well, he said. ...

If a child is too young to do time for a crime, his folks ought to do it, Shirley said.

I think that last sentence serves as a fine justification for forced sterilization. Children aren't uncontrollable forces of nature -- and when they're too young to be responsible for their own actions their parents should be held accountable unless there's compelling reason why not. In addition to potentially throwing the parents in jail, sterilization seems like a great preventative measure since bad parents now aren't likely to be any better after serving their sentences.

I don't see any reason why imprisonment would be acceptable but sterilization wouldn't be. Some states allow/require chemical castration of sex offenders, and sterilization isn't much different. Leftists will argue that sterilization is a unique infringement on a person's possession of their own body, which is true, but it's disingenuous for them to promote the liberal welfare state that enables these bad parents without also giving the expansive government the ability to mitigate the negative effects of that liberalism.



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