CALiberty Constitution

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    What about the children?

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    Sean Lowrie
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    Posts : 11
    Join date : 2010-04-08
    Location : Dinuba, CA

    What about the children?

    Post  Sean Lowrie on Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:09 am

    Now here’s something that’s GOING to be contentious, I can smell it.

    Libertarian philosophy, of which Jeffersonian philosophy is an old type of, deals very well with the rights of individual adults and is very well suited to creating a just society, safeguarding liberty, promoting prosperity, etc. It does not deal well with children. More statist philosophies deal well with children relative to the way they handle adults, but are all around bad for liberty.

    So what to do about the rights of children? What can be defined, what can and can’t be decided for them, and how, by whom, in what circumstances, etc?

    At current we arbitrarily say that people become adults at age 18, and but proscript drinking until age 21, equally as arbitrary. It’s no secret some people are adults by age 14, and others don’t make it until 28.

    I read an interesting article in the wake of the Haiti earthquake disaster on Mises.org, a place I highly respect. It was a republishment of something Murray Rothbard had written in the 70s I think it was.

    He argued that parents exercise the duties and rights of self-ownership ON BEHALF of their children, UNTIL children can exercise the rights and take on the responsibilities of self-ownership for themselves, at which point they are adults. Custody is not awarded to parents for purely biological reasons, traditional reasons, or because it was merely expedient for the State. Custody is the parents because it is most apt to be in the child’s best interest while they are incapable themselves. When a parent fails their duties, or abuses their privileges over the other person (their child), all rights of self-ownership revert to the child, who may seek a new guardian or attempt to take on responsibility themselves. As for the test, he said it was simple, when they run away they’ve very obviously denied their parents the right of guardianship; they’ve taken it back for themselves.

    The person who posted the article then went on to suggest this may be elegant for the unfortunate Haitian orphans of the disaster. The free market could take care of it. Kids, with the help of beneficial organizations, could sell the rights of guardianship quite literally to the highest bidder, so long as the rule of law prevents extortion, predation, and slavery. It was argued that it would be far from a nightmare, but serve to put these orphans in homes that both care (they took the time to go search) and have the means (were the highest bidders.) If the new parent was a screwup, they could runaway again, and well, that’s a pretty obvious termination of contract.

    I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea, but wasn’t appalled either. I’d like to read up more on the proposition. I am certain though that it would put most people off their lunch and into an almighty furor.

    Where am I going with this then?

    Well, this is the only liberty-minded proposition I’ve run across for dealing with children and their inalienable rights and undeniable inabilities.

    Bear me some rope here, so I may hang myself with an idea I’m going to run out and see what is thought of.

    Perhaps in California, children should be treated in a like fashion as was suggested in the article I read. Upon some test, or passing some one or two of a number of agreed upon tests of self-ownership, a child becomes an adult. By what exact method I’m unsure, possibly petition to the county court to emancipate, or deposition to local police or sherrif, or I’m not sure. At that point they’d become adults, whatever their age be.

    Here’s the concerns I immediately think of.

    1. By what is empirically known about human development with great certainty, people don’t pass through a threshold of “child” to “adult” in such abrupt terms, and any law that pretended that they do would be naïve and very likely to have nasty unintended consequences. Perhaps a child becomes a legal adult towards the end of that process, and before it should be given more and more leeway by their parents. The rule of law would have to accommodate such leeway, not give one-size fits all labor laws and such as is currently the case. And, if anything that John Taylor Gatto has argued is true, we might find once the cult of cumpolsory schooling dies, that people become mature at a younger age and the rebelliousness and wrecklessness of teens is found to be a symptom of stifling laws, not something that is part of being a teen. That would suggest that, at least at first, such age guideposts or whatever the method is should not be entrenched in California constitutional law, but left to the counties, to be entrenched later when a new stability is found. But, no revolution has a memory that long and it would never been entrenched as the rest of the inalienable rights are. And, in any case, I’m very wary of giving more excuse to continue the rule of inscrutable “experts” over the rest of us. After all, who are we to question the knowledge of a scientist? Those people turn “science” into a tautology as bad as most religions, not a mindset of inquiry and tentative knowledge. Anycase…

    2. The sexual aspect of things. This will be the great bugbear of the debate, I see it coming a mile away. Many people, me included, do not approve of screwing up someone’s life because they went to the prom, they both said yes to it, and he was 18, she was 17. It’s ridiculous and unjust. However, everyone of decent character agrees children should be left out of sex. Where to draw the line? Does one size fit all? I bet you one size, or age, doesn’t fit all! However, that’s going to get people very fired up and mad. If we take my above proposal to logical conclusions, there might be some 13 year old girls doing adult things while there are 22 year old women still off-limits, and who is going to check someone’s “proof of adultness” before going to a dinner date? I smell much trouble brewing, but, alternately, if someone really has their self-ownership than no one has right to tell them, no, they’re too young to sleep with someone else. That would be antithetical to all this liberty biz I’ve been talking about. However, no one is going to accept the logical conclusions of liberty and a variable age of majority, and we’d again be left with the inconsistencies and antagonism against inalienable rights that the current one-size-fits-all law has.

    And now fellow Californians, I pass this hot button issue onto you. Myself, I’d be interested in any books or articles on the subject of liberty and children that I’m ignorant of.

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