Apparently Adolf Hitler and his eugenics are not exactly dead. An academic in New Zealand has brazenly called for measures to discourage the educated women from conceiving and encouraging the educated to give birth to more.
New research out of last year's census shows that less educated women are the powerhouse behind the country's birth rate. "They are the anchor of our fertility rate at the moment," said Statistics New Zealand principal demographer Mansoor Khawaja.
AdvertisementStatistics showed women without tertiary qualifications who had reached their early 40s had produced 2.57 babies each. In contrast, women with a higher education were not producing enough babies to replace them and their partners, producing just 1.85 babies each. Replacement fertility is 2.1 babies per woman.
And that has raised the hackles of academics like Otago University emeritus professor Dr Jim Flynn and a world-ranked expert on intelligence.
He has solemnly warned that unless the authorities acted in time to prevent the less desirable births, the country ran the risk of dumbing-down its future population. if it does not act to boost the birth rate of its most highly educated women, says a world-ranked expert on intelligence.
He said easier methods of contraception, or even contraception in the water supply, could be used to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies to less educated women.
"The lower down the educational scale you go, the less people are in control of their lives, and less in control of planning for children," he said.
Flynn argues vigorously that race is not a determinant of IQ, but that class can be.
"There is no genetic difference between Maori and Pakeha in terms of genes for intelligence," he said.
Flynn, said in a socially mobile society such as New Zealand's, those who remained uneducated had poorer genetic material in terms of IQ. Over time poorer genes would take their toll, leading to a "decay" in genetic quality.
"If you imagine this as a long-term thing, extending over three or four generations, it would be a cause for some alarm," he said.
Unplanned pregnancies by less educated women could be reduced, perhaps by future scientific advances.
"I do have faith in science, and science may give us something that renders conception impossible unless you take an antidote," he said.
"You could of course have a chemical in the water supply and have to take an antidote. If you had contraception made easier by progress, then every child is a wanted child."
Free bottled water containing contraceptives could be provided at supermarkets. Or the government could adopt Scandavian-style policies to aggressively tackle poverty and iron out class differences. And it could also make it easier for well educated women to have babies without paying a high price in career or income.
But there were others who found Flynn's views repugnant, like Waikato University professor of demography Ian Pool.
"This is social engineering of the worst sort," he said.
Commissioner for Children Cindy Kiro said Flynn was getting into "dangerous territory if you start making assumptions that there is a direct correlation between your intellectual and emotional intelligence and your socio- economic status".
"Rather than talking about encouraging smart women to have babies and dumb women not to have babies, what we do need to do is make the commitment to good quality education," she said.
"If we are going to rely increasingly on groups of children in the poorer and less well-educated groups, then we need to lift those children," she said.