Mencap has a slight problem here

Campaigners at the learning disability charity Mencap have called on an internet dating site to remove “hurtful” and “discriminatory” language.

They say OkCupid poses a shocking and offensive question as part of its screening process, asking: “Would the world be a better place if people with low IQs were not allowed to reproduce?”

Amy Clarke, who works for Mencap and has a learning disability, said: “I am very upset that OkCupid could ask a question about whether people with a learning disability should be allowed to have children. This is not OK.

“It is shocking and offensive.” By asking the question, she said, “they are making it seem like it is OK to say yes, which it is not”.

So, the actual question is part of their process to see whether people are compatible. The dating site asks you, are kittens cute, do unicorns gambol down sunbeams and should dim people have children. They then try to match you to people who share at least some of your views so that you’ve something to talk about inbetween bumping uglies.

So, rather choppy weather in teacup sort of thing to get offended about. But there’s rather more of a problem to this:

A mother of six with an IQ of 70 should be sterilised for her own safety, the Court of Protection has ruled.


The secretive Court of Protection will rule on the woman’s case on Tuesday, in a rare open hearing scheduled because of the overwhelming “public interest” in understanding the case.
She is due to give birth by caesarean section on Wednesday and could undergo an operation to sterilise her at the same time, if the court agrees.


The British Court of Protection says it needs further medical and psychiatric reports before it can rule on whether or not a 21-year-old woman with “significant learning disabilities” should be forcibly sterilized. The woman, identified as “P,” is scheduled to give birth to her second child this week via C-section. P’s mother, who currently cares for her daughter and grandchild, asked that the court order her daughter to be sterilized to avoid future pregnancies.

Whether or not this should happen is not my point here. That point being that the current law of the land already includes the option of sterilising people, in however exceptional the circumstances, for being too dim. And sorry folks, it’s entirely acceptable to ask whether the law of the land should be as it is or not. Whether as a survey about what the law should be or as a screening filter for those who wish to bump uglies.

We could run this the other way: abortion is generally legal in the UK. Would it be shocking and offensive to ask people whether they approve, disapprove, would never allow, whatever, one before people start to bump uglies?

27 thoughts on “Mencap has a slight problem here”

  1. It would be a courtesy if net tax contributors were consulted as to whether they were willing to increase the numbers of the idle, feckless and irremediably dim.

  2. I’d settle just for the State to stop PAYING people to have children,v ia benefits. We practice reverse eugenics in the UK and I don’t hear any charity complaining about that.

  3. Ljh,

    I’m trying to think how this would have played out in a pre-benefits/get-married-first world. Would they have still have the kids but some of them got adopted, or would they have been more locked up for their own safety.

  4. Stigler: I spent a year working with adolescents of sub 70 IQ in a no benefits country. While they were under the guardianship of their parents a lot of (often much loved) girls were pragmatically sterilised as the responsibility for raising grandchildren would have been their parents and that pregnancy and birth would have been traumatic.

  5. Clever/industrious people work themselves half to death in order to support a decent post-tax lifestyle. They end up too shagged out to shag and don’t replace themselves.

    Idle thickos* suck up the taxes of the clever & industrious which enables them to breed like rabbits.

    Result: nation gets more stupid and lazy with each generation.

    *not just council estate denizens, many in the state sector

  6. SE, indeed. That’s hard enough for the sensible to get their heads around, never mind those with learning difficulties.

  7. The two child rule on new child tax credit claims effectively comes in at the end of June 2016, and it’s getting almost no publicity. Perhaps the charities daren’t say anything as it’s a broadly popular change.

  8. So Much For Subtlety

    There is a slight difference here. As I understand the law, parents have no right to sterilize their children. The mentally deficient have rights.

    But the State can and does. The mentally deficient only have rights with respect to their families.

    Because, obviously, the State cares for them better than their parents can or do.

  9. Matthew L

    “PZ Myers is ignorant about economics and goes too far on the social justice thing, but he does know his stuff about evolutionary biology.”

    PZ Myers is a grade A idiot. He couldn’t persuade a smackie to help themselves to some free smack. But, agreed, he could probably give a proficient enough outline of the principles of evolution to a class of 15 year olds.

  10. Philip Scott Thomas

    In what reality is sterilising the mentally deficient not out and out social eugenics?

    Marie Stopes advocated birth control

    “…to counteract the steady evil which has been growing for a good many years of the reduction of the birth rate just on the part of the thrifty, wise, well-contented, and the generally sound members of our community, and the reckless breeding from the C.3 end, and the semi-feebleminded, the careless, who are proportionately increasing in our community because of the slowing of the birth rate at the other end of the social scale.

    These cases are, allegedly, for the victims’ “own good”, rather than society’s good. Does that make it any more acceptable?

  11. Matthew L,

    Idiocracy is a comedy.

    We can surmise that it’s unlikely to become reality since no society on earth has already done so. Although it makes for an interesting alternative theory on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

    Besides, any nation which succumbed to Idiocracy levels of ineptitude would slowly find itself taken over by immigrants. That’s clearly not happening anywhere.

  12. Bloke in Costa Rica

    The policy of sterilising the mentally sub-normal is obviously not applied terribly rigorously, given that I have it on good authority that Richard Murphy has successfully spawned.

  13. I dunno, is it better to answer the question or take the chance of being matched with someone who gives the opposite answer?

    But yeah, storm in a teacup, and Mencap are entirely wrong. It’s perfectly OK to ask the question, or even to answer ‘yes’. Free country, you’re not obliged to be likable to everyone in it.

  14. I have no problem with the question on a dating site. I would prefer to have a follow-up that asks if you favor yourself being sterilized if someone else decides you aren’t mentally competent. We could make a hypocrisy index that would be useful in finding a similar thinking mate.

  15. Wouldn’t it be easier and quicker if they asked the question “are you a bit of a cunt?” and saved a lot of time and bother?

  16. “I would prefer to have a follow-up that asks if you favor yourself being sterilized if someone else decides you aren’t mentally competent.”

    The average national IQ would jump overnight as suddenly the tests have a bit of an edge.

  17. Bloke in North Dorset

    My wife is a Mensan and I’ve been to a few lunches and other functions. Believe me, IQ is not the measure that should be used to decide whether or not someone is fit to procreate. You wouldn’t believe how many credulous fools you can get in one room.

    I’ve had to bear discussions on crystallography, lay lines, one guy who drinks silver finnings …….

  18. Bloke in North Dorset

    PS I should say my wife finds them just as boring as I do, but we hav met a few nice people.

  19. The Myers link: paragraph after paragraph of moralistic hectoring and sanctimonious posturing. Quelle surprise.

  20. Andy M>

    “Although it makes for an interesting alternative theory on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.”

    It’s not a bad one, but a more interesting alternative is that there wasn’t really a decline and fall of the Roman Empire at all, so much as a triumph so complete that it superseded the Empire.

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