Since I turned 35 (last year), I like to fantasize about what I’d do if I were elected Supreme Leader of the United States of America. My fantasies are exaggerations of possibility, of course, but I like to think they’re reasonable exaggerations, which are technically feasible and almost socially & legally possible, as opposed to god-like changes. Here are a few of my bigger ideas / fantasy campaign promises:
Mandatory Sterilization for All
This is less about population control than it is about addressing the problems of abortion and unwanted children. There’s such heated debate about whether abortion should be allowed, wouldn’t it be better to stop the root cause of this, which is unwanted pregnancy? Here’s the concept:
- Develop lifelong but reversible sterilization techniques (or perfect existing techniques)
- All children are sterilized, using this reversible procedure, before puberty (perhaps at 7 for girls, 8 for boys).
- Currently unsterilized adults will be “grandfathered in” but may participate in free sterilization if they wish.
- Children may not have their sterilization reversed; only adults may apply for this procedure.
- Any adult may apply to have their sterilization reversed – they must simply show up in person, with their secondary genetic material provider (partner or surrogate) and fill out forms similar to getting a driving learner’s permit. There is no test.
- While application for sterilization reversal is free, there is a waiting period:
- 12 months for adults 18-24
- 6 months for adults 25-34
- 3 months for adults 35+
- After the waiting period, the applicant(s) must return, again with their secondary genetic material provider (or reapply, if there is new secondary) and the operation will be performed.
- After sterilization reversal, re-sterilization procedure is free, does not require a second person and has no waiting period. This is strongly recommended, but not required.
- Immigrants would be required to undergo the sterilization procedure upon getting a long-term (6mo+) visa or any type of citizenship (e.g., green card) or apply for a waiver if they’re planning to have kids immediately. They would later be able to apply for sterilization reversal as well.
In short, sterilization would be the default state, but reversible, so there would never be unwanted first children, but anyone who really wanted to have kids could do so (after the waiting period, which should minimize impulsive mistakes). This would radically reduce the instances of unwanted pregnancies (and likewise abortions) and enable us to better care for the rare cases of abandoned children and struggling single-parent families.
This would also have the benefit of [slightly] reducing poverty and population growth.
The efforts at gun control in this country have been epic failures. Even where some states have strict gun control, there is no border security between states, so it’s easy enough to import or carry in firearms from less restrictive states. However, guns aren’t the only way to tackle the problem of excessive gun violence and accidental gun-related deaths; after all, it’s not really guns that kill people, it’s the bullets that come out of them.
Comedian Chris Rock has a routine where he suggests we make bullets really expensive, like 1,000$ each, which I think is a great idea, but that could never fly at that amount. However, I think there could be another way to encourage gun users to exercise more caution by appealing to their budgetary concerns. Here’s the concept:
- Develop a non-lethal “training” bullet that is relatively cheap and can be used for target practice and “fun” shooting. This type of bullet will not penetrate a human being’s clothed skin at 20 feet and will disperse on impact – it may hurt, but will not kill. Existing “rubber bullets” or paintballs might be re-purposed for this (must be same shape and fit for regular guns, though).
- Institute a national per-bullet tax of $0.50-1.00. This is small enough to be reasonable (wouldn’t prevent anyone from buying a dozen bullets), but large enough to discourage people from dangerous behaviors like:
- stockpiling lethal ammunition
- leaving lethal bullets loaded in the chamber of a “not in use” gun
- using lethal bullets to shoot at inanimate objects (or in the air)
- using excessive amounts of lethal bullets or foregoing target practice
- Institute ammunition transfer restrictions:
- Bullets may never be sold to children; only adults can purchase these.
- Bullets may not be given away for free; they can only be sold with a special bullet vendor’s license (and with the tax).
- Ammunition is excluded from inheritance law – if someone dies and ammunition exists within the deceased’s property, it must be turned in and it will be destroyed.
- When anyone violates above rules, all ammunition will be confiscated and destroyed and a $1,000 per-bullet fine will be issued.
- Law enforcement organizations and private security firms, like regular citizens, will have to pay the per-bullet tax. They will be strongly encouraged to develop and use non-lethal methods of enforcement (tasers, pepper-spray, fire hoses, smoke bombs, etc.). This extra expense may inspire development of better long-range non-lethal weaponry (e.g, electrified taser-like arrows).
- Any new lethal projectile type ammunition will have a 100$ (or more) “per shot” tax levied.
- Larger type munitions (rockets, grenades, etc.) should also have tax, proportional to their relative destructive power. However, the US military (but not private contractors) would be excluded from such taxes (on bullets also), at least for the short-term. They would be encouraged to develop non-lethal large scale incapacitating devices that could gradually replace our lethal war weapons.
- The tax money from ammunition sales and fines could be used to fund enforcement and any extra could be used to for gun safety programs or to help with national budget/deficit.
In short, gun control would not change, but bullets would be taxed and limited such that their usage should be radically reduced. Moreover, this will help us move away from extreme violence and more towards peaceful (or at least non-lethal) solutions to problems.