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Author Topic: Political Philosophy and the rights of a child
LetterRip
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What implications, if any do political philosphys have on the rights of a child?

I was thinking about the libertarian protection of property rights, and by extension of personal rights (since the persons mind, soul, and body are the property of that person). Does the child own themselves? If so can the inadequate rearing of the child be considered destruction of the childs property? If the child does not own themselves, who does? The government , the parents?

I'm thinking that the child owns themselves, but that the parents, through the process of concieving the child have entered into contract with the child as care takers of that childs property.

The government might be considered a third party to the contract which is obligated to assume the contract in the event that the parents are unable or unwilling to.

Of course this also raises questions as to what obligation the child has as consideration for this contract (to provide joy to the parents? To care for them in their dottage? To provide tax revenue and or support for the government?)

Incidentally, this view would make Kentuckians position of generally mandatory state education more consistent with libertarianism.

Just thought I would share some ramblings...

LetterRip


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LetterRip
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Some other implications...

Should those who give up their child for adoption or abandon the child, etc. be taxed at a higher rate?

Should the estate of an individual who dies and whose child enters state custody be taxed at a higher rate?

LetterRip


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Baldar
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Given that children have little or no rights, it behooves the state to mandate extra protecitons for them. The reasoning behind children not having rights is specifically tied to the established ideal that they cannot necessarily reason logically at the point of being children. Rights are considered (generally) as the positive of responsibility. You have a right to vote, the assumption being you are responsible enough to vote. I believe society places more value and less responsibility on children so that even libertarians seek a more local communal (familial) attitude in caring for children while socialists take a more national federal approach to caring for them. All however have the aim that society's future depends on the well being and upbringing of the child.
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LetterRip
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Baldar,

the exercise is to see to what degree the raising of a child can be justified from the views of various philosophical stances.

While the state and individuals may ultimately rest the 'extra protection of childern' on grounds of expediency, fairness, common sense, or some other premise, I think trying to derive such protection from the first priciples of a philosophical stance is useful.

LetterRip


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JonathanTheOmnipotent
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Children are a serf class. They get protection for doing their job, which entails preparing themselves to become a productive member of society (and may or may not include washing the dishes). At varying ages in different states, the child is allowed to choose to continue that protection, or drop out of high school, get married, and most likely live on the brink of poverty for the rest of their life.
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JonathanTheOmnipotent
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PS: The contract of servitude may be extended past eighteen by going to college. The university partially becomes the guardian while the student is on the school's property. And living in a dorm, many more liberties are taken away, under the assumption that these students are irresponsible, such as not allowing extension cords, pets, candles, etc.--all in the name of protecting the student. They tell me I'm a man, but apparently incense is dangerous for me.
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JonathanTheOmnipotent
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All of which reminds me of a joke...

So this kid as to do a project on politics. He's not quite sure what exactly "politics" are, so he asks his father for some help. His father says, "Hmm...let me give you an example of it, around the house. You can consider me the government, since I make the money; your mother is the economy since she decides where to spend the money; you're the people since we protect and provide for you; the maid is the workforce; and your baby bother is the future."

The kid says, "Well, I'm not sure I understand, but I'll sleep on it."

That night, he's woken up in the middle of the night by his baby brother, who is screaming and crying; his diaper needs to be changed. The kid goes to his parents room and knocks on the door. There's no answer. He knocks again, but still there's no answer. He then looks through the keyhole, and sees his dad in bed with the maid. He goes downstairs and finds his mother passed out on the couch with a half empty bottle of scotch in her hand, so he just goes back to bed.

The next morning, he says to his dad, "I think I understand politics now."

"Shoot, son."

"Well, the government is screwing the workforce, while the economy is asleep, the people are being ignored, and the future is going to shlt."


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Pete at Home
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quote:
Should those who give up their child for adoption ... be taxed at a higher rate

???????

WTF? Adopted children do as well or better as children raised by their biological parents. Why would you want to penalize someone who had the courage and humility to give their child a better life than they could provide?

As for the involvement of the state -- just look at the difference between children raised by traditional parents vs. children raised by the state in terms of homelessness, employment, education, and health. Any questions?


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Pete at Home
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quote:
The government might be considered a third party to the contract which is obligated to assume the contract in the event that the parents are unable or unwilling to.

That assumption is hardly consistent with Libertarianism!

Not being a libertarian, I hold that although it is not the OBLIGATION of government to assume responsibility for neglected or abandoned children, that it *is* strongly in the interests of government to do so if it has the means to do so.

As true libertarians recognize, the obligations of government are limited to protecting the borders of the country, keeping the peace, and upholding civil and property rights. What libertarians fail to recognize is that protecting the borders, keeping the peace, and upholding civil and property rights are easier to accomplish in a prosperous society than in a destitute society, and therefore measures to improve prosperity are warranted if they can be afforded.


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LetterRip
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Pete,

I'm just trying to see what the logical implications are of the philosophy, I don't neccissarily advocate taxing those who put up children for adoption, even if it were a 'logical' result of my philosophical leanings.

I tend to base my support for actions on what is likely to give the most equitable results for the least unfair actions. Ie tend to factor moral considerations in with logical considerations (besides logic can arive at bad conclusions with flawed premises, thus if we arrive at an immoral conclusion, we quite possibly started with a flawed premise...).

Since you raised the point that adoptive parents can give superior results to original parents, then transferring the contract from the biological parents to the adoptive parents is superior method of fulfilling the contract with the child. Of course we must also consider the case of the children that are put up for adoption but not adopted. It still might be argued that long term government care is superior to the care the biological parent could provide, so again this may be the superior way to fulfill the contract.

However, should there be a restriction on entering into such future contracts if the individual has historically entered into them, but did not fulfill it?

For those that put their children up for adoption should they perhaps instead be rendered unable to enter into such a contract for a period of time (ie temporary sterilization?). Or if they do not work to find good adoptive parents, or some such?

LetterRip


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LetterRip
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Pete,

quote:
That assumption is hardly consistent with Libertarianism!

Actually, the government is responsible for contract enforcement under libertarianism. Unfortuantely the contract between the biological parent and the child is unwritten, and the penalties for contract violation are not spelled out. Violation of the contract should obviously have some penalty, but what penalty is a big grey area. Also, we generally only enforce 'material breach' of the contract, and have differing penalties dependent upon severity of the breach. Some are handled under other types of law (ie killing ones child), others are only enforced sporadically (emotional abuse and neglect). The government assuming the contract was perhaps an overstep. Presumably the contract must have some provisions for transfer in the event of a material breach. Presumably the government can hold a contract in the event of a transfer where one party cannot take immediate possession. Nor is the government forbidden from entering into contracts although it should not be competing for contracts with other actors in the free market.

quote:
As true libertarians recognize, the obligations of government are limited to protecting the borders of the country, keeping the peace, and upholding civil and property rights.

You overlooked the enforcement of contracts, which is what my discussion is all about.

LetterRip


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Baldar
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All political and economic ideologies seek to do what is best for the child otherwise they could not survive as ideologies just as societies that do not provide a viable future for cannot survive given that future derives directly from children. These rules are generally implied, not obvious.

Those contracts are both written and unwritten and it is fortunate that most agreements are unwritten because writing creates a static form of rules, such static forms make it more difficult for society to adjust to the needs of the children.

Our democratic society makes it difficult to form rules (balance of power, veto's, debates) and generally has tried to keep rules to a minimum (versus total totalitarian control - totalitarian rules tell you what you can do, a relatively free society's rules tell you only what you cannot do.


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Pete at Home
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LR, if your position is that Libertarians believe in enforcing unwritten social constracts, then would your theoretical libertarian then entertain prosecution of adultery and other breaches of the marriage covenant?
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JonathanTheOmnipotent
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quote:
Our democratic society makes it difficult to form rules (balance of power, veto's, debates) and generally has tried to keep rules to a minimum (versus total totalitarian control - totalitarian rules tell you what you can do, a relatively free society's rules tell you only what you cannot do.
--Baldar

Doesn't America have the most number of laws compared to every other country?


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Pete at Home
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As I understand, JTO, most US laws are actually policies and restrictions on government and on the operation of other laws. The number of laws actually restricting everyday life is not a product of the entire legal canon.
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Everard
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Yes, we have a lot of laws.

As pete said, a large number of those laws are regulatory, rather then restrictive. Also, there are large numbers of unenforced laws on the books, especially in the eastern half of the country (more time to make bad laws...) which, if reviewed, would be removed.


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Pete at Home
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Quite true. IIRC Romboch, Virginia prohibits engagement of sexual activity with the lights on. Liberty Corner, New Jersey has laws on the books that threaten a jail term for couples who make sex noises in their car.

But while California has not been around as long as the eastern states, they make up for lost time with sheer Californian zeal. Bakersfield California law dictates anyone having intercourse with Satan must use a condom. I could probably make up a clever remark about that, but I think the law speaks for itself.


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LetterRip
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Pete,

quote:
LR, if your position is that Libertarians believe in enforcing unwritten social constracts, then would your theoretical libertarian then entertain prosecution of adultery and other breaches of the marriage covenant?

Actually adultry is often a written contract violation, which the government should enforce, however, enforcement of such contracts is at the behest of one of the contracting parties. If the parties are capable of knowingly entering into contract, then the individuals have freedom of contract and should not rely upon implied contract. We do have some implied contracts, such as that of citizenship. Hmm I found a site that mentioned the implied contract that you will pay for a meal when eating at a restraunt. Perhaps there ought to be an enumerated list of implied and enforcable contracts <grin>. This requires more thought...

Found a discussion by other libertarians regarding implied contract between children and parents
link

LetterRip

[This message has been edited by LetterRip (edited November 14, 2002).]


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maniacal_engineer
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it might be worth starting a new thread in which we have a contest to come up with the best comment on the bakersfield law.
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