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A Minarchist Challenge To Anarcho-Capitalists

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Spideynw replied on Mon, Dec 28 2009 12:59 PM

Aster_Lacnala:

Spideynw:

AJ:
That is well and good, but the question is whether I am correct that valid logical reasoning from any such axioms will inevitably lead to absurd/abhorrent results.

Killing animals is abhorrent to some and two men having sex is abhorrent to others.  So what?  That does not mean it should be illegal.

Violating someone's rights is abhorrent to some.  Does this mean it also shouldn't be illegal?

Just because someone finds something is abhorrent, do you think it should be illegal? 

Your question does not follow.  You said violating the rights of someone else is abhorrent to some.  And then, "Does this mean it also shouldn't be illegal"?   Which is the same as, "does this mean it also should be legal"?  I did not say that because someone finds something is abhorrent, it should be legal.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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You are correct, I got my negatives mixed up.  Let me try to re-explain.

Killing animals, gay sex, and rights violations are all considered immoral by some people and moral by others.  Is there some reason why the first two should be legal, while the third should not be?  And if we grant that all should either be legal or illegal, since they are simply moral judgements, then we must either restrict the killing of animals, forcibly separate two men having sex, and uphold people's rights... or we must allow people to kill animals, allow men to have sex with each other, and allow violations of people's rights.  Who draws the line?

People don't like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run, don't walk. We're in their homes and in their heads and we haven't the right. We're meddlesome. -- River Tam

I aim to misbehave. -- Malcolm Reynolds

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AJ replied on Mon, Dec 28 2009 2:07 PM

Spideynw:

AJ:
That is well and good, but the question is whether I am correct that valid logical reasoning from any such axioms will inevitably lead to absurd/abhorrent results.

Killing animals is abhorrent to some and two men having sex is abhorrent to others.  So what?  Does that mean it should be illegal?

By "abhorrent," I meant to include things that most people (even libertarians) probably think should be illegal.

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AJ replied on Mon, Dec 28 2009 2:17 PM

Aster_Lacnala:

In traditional logic, an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but considered to be either self-evident, or subject to necessary decision. Therefore, its truth is taken for granted, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other (theory dependent) truths.

(From Wikipedia).

Just so we are clear, the NAP is not an axiom.  It is a principle.  The fact that it is dependent on definitions is proof of that. 

Thanks for that, but all axioms are of course dependent on definitions. All logical systems are axioms + definitions. The NAP can be interpreted as a guiding principle OR as an axiom. My comments are meant to apply to the instances when it's interpreted as an axiom.

Aster_Lacnala:
Furthermore, it is a moral argument - there is an understood "Violating rights is immoral" underpinning every argument relying on the NAP.

I would say that "immoral" is included in the definition and concept of "violating rights." Rights are here generally being discussed in the normative sense, rather than the de facto sense or the legal sense (except Spidey, who I think may be speaking of rights in the legal sense).

Aster_Lacnala:
Spidey's axiom (if I got it right): Things that can think critically can own property.

If that's Spidey's starting point, as well as "Things and people that can't think critically are homesteadable as property," then - with the definition of "owning property" including the idea that an owner can rightfully do anything he wants with his property - we arrive at his infamous conclusions which need no elaboration from me.

Aster_Lacnala:
My axiom: Things that are members of a species, in which the average biologically mature member can consider abstract ideas, can own property.

Including themselves, I assume...right?

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Spideynw replied on Mon, Dec 28 2009 2:17 PM

AJ:
By "abhorrent," I meant to include things that most people (even libertarians) probably think should be illegal.

So how is majority opinion relevant to truth?  Or do you think the market panders just to the majority?

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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AJ replied on Mon, Dec 28 2009 2:42 PM

Let me put it this way: Start from any absolute, universal axioms you like and reason validly from them, and you will eventually arrive at something YOU yourself find morally heinous, awful, unthinkable, absurd. I cannot prove this, for obvious reasons (I have no idea what you value - maybe there is nothing you find absurd), but that is essentially what I'm suggesting.

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Spidey, the market doesn't pander to the majority, but not everybody will find a service they feel fits what they want.  In order for a business to be economically feasible, it has to provide products or services at a price marginally lower than its customers value them, but marginally higher than the costs of supplying them.  Because of the U shape of cost curves, there are points where the costs outweigh the consumer value of something - at these points, businesses will not produce.  This is why you don't have, for example, a roasted skunk restaurant - while some people would be willing to pay for them, it wouldn't be enough to make it economically feasible to offer on the market.  Only if enough people wanted roasted skunk, or those that did were willing to pay extremely high prices, would the market provide it.

So, while it is feasible that an arbitration service would arise that would favor infanticide, you probably couldn't afford it.

People don't like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run, don't walk. We're in their homes and in their heads and we haven't the right. We're meddlesome. -- River Tam

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Spideynw replied on Mon, Dec 28 2009 3:43 PM

Aster_Lacnala:
Spidey, the market doesn't pander to the majority, but not everybody will find a service they feel fits what they want.  In order for a business to be economically feasible, it has to provide products or services at a price marginally lower than its customers value them, but marginally higher than the costs of supplying them.  Because of the U shape of cost curves, there are points where the costs outweigh the consumer value of something - at these points, businesses will not produce.  This is why you don't have, for example, a roasted skunk restaurant - while some people would be willing to pay for them, it wouldn't be enough to make it economically feasible to offer on the market.  Only if enough people wanted roasted skunk, or those that did were willing to pay extremely high prices, would the market provide it.

Do you have any empirical evidence?  Or is that just conjecture?  Are you sure it is not just because there is absolutely no one that values eating roasted skunk?  Is that why no one eats feces?  Just too expensive to serve?

Aster_Lacnala:
So, while it is feasible that an arbitration service would arise that would favor infanticide, you probably couldn't afford it.

Really?  And the reason again as to why it would be so much more expensive to defend infanticide in a court as opposed to anything else would again be?  Or is this just more conjecture on your part to "prove" your point?

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Spideynw has applied conditions to Rothbard's axiom of self-ownership, one of two axioms used to develop the NAP.

Spideynw's two conditions:

1. The being may be any sentient being rather than just human.

2. The being must be able to reason.

Rothbard has covered children under "potential self-ownership", conceding that children are not able to reason as well or not at all compared to adults.  He has not, however, stripped the child of self-ownership.  Parents act as agents of the child, and must not aggress against the child.

Some suggest that disciplining a child, bathing a child, or any number of things that may cause the child to cry or to resist from the action, such as feeding, is aggression.  How does a reasonable parent know whether or not an action is agression?

One simple method of determining whether an act is agression is to apply the act to an adult human.  Murder is aggression, killing may or may not be aggression depending on the circumstances.  Rape is involuntary by definition - as is having sex with someone who is unconscious.  Sex must be consentual.  Force or the threat of force is aggression.  And so on.

The parent, in the capacity of agent, has also voluntarily accepted a role that requires more that just the application of the NAP.  Incest, whether it's consentual or not, is wrong.  This is a moral rather than a legal concept.  As agent to the child, the parent has voluntarily accepted the role of developing both the logical and moral character of the child in order that potential self-ownership may develop into self-ownership with respect for the NAP and having some form of morals.

The argument then goes to what morals are deemed suitable.  This depends a lot upon the culture, and may even be subjective.  If incest is not immoral in a culture, then parents would be permitted to have sex with their own offspring as long as it is consentual. 

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Spideynw replied on Mon, Dec 28 2009 4:18 PM

twistedbydsign99:

Spideynw:
If it is because they do not consent to it, what do they ever consent to?

They consent to eating when they are hungry, sleeping when they are tired, playing when they want to play. To go against their consent requires a moral argument.

So you do not agree that consent implies reasoning abilities?  If you do agree that consent implies reasoning abilities, are you saying babies can reason?  If you do not agree, then is it not just as wrong to do things to animals without getting consent?  I mean, they can consent to being pet and stuff.  So how is killing them, without getting their consent, just as wrong?

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Spideynw replied on Mon, Dec 28 2009 4:22 PM

K.C. Farmer:
One simple method of determining whether an act is agression is to apply the act to an adult human.

Would you agree forcibly bathing another adult is aggression?  What about forcibly changing another adult's clothing?  What about forcibly locking an adult in a room?  How about forcing another adult into your car?

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Spideynw:

K.C. Farmer:
One simple method of determining whether an act is agression is to apply the act to an adult human.

Would you agree forcibly bathing another adult is aggression?  What about forcibly changing another adult's clothing?  What about forcibly locking an adult in a room?  How about forcing another adult into your car?

This would be aggression, but parents are allowed to do things which would be otherwise illegal because they aid the child in reaching a state of moral agency.

Bathing children is helping them.

Changing their clothes is helping them.

Confinement can be justified for various reasons.

This is very simple.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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Spideynw replied on Mon, Dec 28 2009 4:31 PM

E. R. Olovetto:
This is very simple.

And it is not subjective how?

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Spideynw replied on Mon, Dec 28 2009 4:46 PM

.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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AJ replied on Mon, Dec 28 2009 5:04 PM

Yeah, I think there is a lot of "being arbitrary" going on in this thread, and in these types of discussions on the forums in general. It seems to me a necessary consequence of trying to reason from simple but absolute starting axioms.

When you paint human moral interactions with a broad brush you're bound to need to go back and make corrections - in this case that would be all these ad hoc, arbitrary, and/or subjective revisions and additions to the basic axioms. And you will have to keep on doing it, over and over again. 20 years of hard revision later there will still be logically necessary results of your theory (a theory, let us remember, that is intended to be absolute) that will revolt even you. Either that or at some point you will call it good, live with the implications and maybe even fool yourself into thinking you don't find them so abhorrent. That's simply the nature of the program of trying to design absolute ethical precepts.

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Spideynw:
So you do not agree that consent implies reasoning abilities?  If you do agree that consent implies reasoning abilities, are you saying babies can reason?

We can reason that they want short term needs alleviated, such as hunger and sleep. And no babies cannot reason, that would imply they could know why they are hungry or why they are tired, or see differences in degrees of hunger and so forth. The axiom I'm assuming is that a baby cries when it doesn't get what it wants, this allows for empiricism. So its a slam dunk when you agree with what the baby wants. When you don't agree such as the case of a bath, you need a moral argument. I should wash the baby because cleanliness is a requirement of health and health is in accordance with my role as a gaurdian.

Spideynw:
If you do not agree, then is it not just as wrong to do things to animals without getting consent?  I mean, they can consent to being pet and stuff.  So how is killing them, without getting their consent, just as wrong?

Well I would say its wrong to eat a pet which possesses a similar guardianship element.

 

 

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Spideynw:

E. R. Olovetto:
This is very simple.

And it is not subjective how?

Arbitration has arbitrary elements to the proceedings. Is that all you have as an objection? Go ahead and show me some "non-subjective alternative", if that is your bone of contention.

There are continuum problems for sure. Rape and murder of innocent children is clearly evil though. It could be a more interesting discussion if you concede that children have rights. Also, this whole argument of yours assumes that the pedophile father doesn't have a wife or she doesn't care about his actions, making your hypo even less important.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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Aster_Lacnala:
I was thinking last night, there is a possibility we haven't considered, and one that was quickly rejected that shouldn't be.

First, does everything consist of property?  If we allow the existence of things which are not property, and thus cannot be rightfully owned, then it is very plausible that humans fall into this category.

But they do as self-property.

 

Aster_Lacnala:
Taken to the example of children, could children be said to be collectively owned by the community?
No. Two people provided the material for the child, and one person carried the child. There is simply no possible way that a community could own the child.

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Spideynw replied on Mon, Dec 28 2009 11:28 PM

E. R. Olovetto:

Spideynw:

K.C. Farmer:
One simple method of determining whether an act is agression is to apply the act to an adult human.

Would you agree forcibly bathing another adult is aggression?  What about forcibly changing another adult's clothing?  What about forcibly locking an adult in a room?  How about forcing another adult into your car?

This would be aggression, but parents are allowed to do things which would be otherwise illegal because they aid the child in reaching a state of moral agency.

Bathing children is helping them.

Changing their clothes is helping them.

Confinement can be justified for various reasons.

This is very simple.

This would be aggression, but people are allowed to do things that are otherwise illegal because they aid others.

Bathing adults is aiding them.

Changing an adults clothes is helping them.

Confinement can be justified for various reasons.

This is very simple.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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filc replied on Mon, Dec 28 2009 11:28 PM

Spideynw:
o you know what a strawman is?  Because waiting for an answer is not one of them.

Indeed. You've fabricated this question about defining an obvious line of when a child's rights are violated. It  is entirely a strawman design to allegedly prove a point. It is a question you constructed which supposedly disproves the "Guardianship" camp. The question does not prove or disprove your thesis however. What it does prove though is that you subscribe to a dichotomy that children's rights can either be violated or that they cannot, by either existing or not. The belief that there is a distinct line in every child related action which can be defined as a violation of rights or not.

Inter-human relations are not so clearly defined so it seems a double standard that you expect inter-human-child relations to be so clearly defined.

Your whole argument fumbles however when the logical application of property rules are applied to human beings. Such is, the right to homestead non-rational agents by your criteria. 

First the criteria is arbitrary, and homesteading people is arbitrary. Your mindset in this regard seems primitive and you are so stubborn about the discussion you seem unwillingly to see how other alternative views may accommodate you further in your personal conflicts about raising children.

The truth of the matter is your entire premise is built apon an assertion. You may call it axiomatic but it is simply an opinion you hold. It is not self evident as Human Action is. It is simply an assertion, that you will be incapable of proving to be correct logically. Since, in this regard, you desire to work outside of the realm of logic. I cannot continue to debate it.

The truth is I do not have the logical aptitude at defending the "Guardianship" concept and I don't even know if that is the correct answer. I am not stuck on this notion that there is a single absolute in the way of raising children. Still I know that your entire premise is just as much of an assertion as mine. So for the reasons I cannot argue my own assertion, I cannot accept yours. Both ours are simply assertions, and I would prefer to live in a world where chiildren are respected. Disciplined, and addressed accordingly as children yes, but respected and loved. 

Despite your warm heart your premise paves the path of a world where humans can be discarded proprerty and dealt with as much. You cannot claim that children are property, by your premise, without also accepting that various mental states of humans of all ages could be subject to homesteading as property.

Further more your criteria for a rational-agent is entirely arbitrary as man has not the tools for measuring ones competency of various sorts. Modern testing is some of the most arbitrary testing around. There are 8 year olds who are more adept than 23 year olds. There are 40 year old adults who have less mental, and responsible capacity than their 18 year old cousins. Not to say that those 40 year olds are not intelligent and do not offer something of value under the division of labor, but that they were raised fostered under a different environment.

If we hold your premise as a truism our decisions of who is and who is not homesteadable becomes entirely arbitrary. It also becomes un-economical if alleged non-rational agents are removed from the division of labor.

So while I may not be able to argue much more for the "Guardianship" camp, I can at least say that your premise fails far more in nearly all aspects. In definition, and in practice. Your whole argument makes little sense. 

I only hope you understand my concerns about your thesis and would be willing to address them. Though I have asked about these concerns numerous times and you have been quick to skip them.

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I'm giving up on this thread.  There are so many issues that it brings up it is impossible to answer them all in one post.  Further, Spidey has taken up the strategy of asking for an answer to one question, and then insisting your answer is wrong because you didn't answer all his arguments.  When you answer those, he comes back and claims you never answered the first one.

I can say this discussion had made me think a lot.  I have always held the attitude that if I find a position untenable at its logical extremes, it should be discarded, or at least modified.  Given this, I can no longer hold to the statement, "It is always immoral to violate someone's rights."  If I did, in my unconscious diver example I would have to let my neighbor drown - it would be the right thing to do.  This, of course, leaves the question of when, and for what reason, it is okay to violate someone's rights, because as Spidey noted you can't lock people up to get them to quit smoking.

People don't like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run, don't walk. We're in their homes and in their heads and we haven't the right. We're meddlesome. -- River Tam

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Spideynw:

E. R. Olovetto:

Spideynw:

K.C. Farmer:
One simple method of determining whether an act is agression is to apply the act to an adult human.

Would you agree forcibly bathing another adult is aggression?  What about forcibly changing another adult's clothing?  What about forcibly locking an adult in a room?  How about forcing another adult into your car?

This would be aggression, but parents are allowed to do things which would be otherwise illegal because they aid the child in reaching a state of moral agency.

Bathing children is helping them.

Changing their clothes is helping them.

Confinement can be justified for various reasons.

This is very simple.

This would be aggression, but people are allowed to do things that are otherwise illegal because they aid others.

Bathing adults is aiding them.

Changing an adults clothes is helping them.

Confinement can be justified for various reasons.

This is very simple.

2 year olds can't bathe themselves, but adults can. Aren't you embarrassed giving such stupid responses?

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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Stranger replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 9:21 AM

E. R. Olovetto:

 

This would be aggression, but parents are allowed to do things which would be otherwise illegal because they aid the child in reaching a state of moral agency.

Bathing children is helping them.

Changing their clothes is helping them.

How the hell do you know that it is? Maybe the children want to be dirty and smelly. You are violating their rights by forcing them to bathe!

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Stranger:

E. R. Olovetto:
This would be aggression, but parents are allowed to do things which would be otherwise illegal because they aid the child in reaching a state of moral agency.

Bathing children is helping them.

Changing their clothes is helping them.

How the hell do you know that it is? Maybe the children want to be dirty and smelly. You are violating their rights by forcing them to bathe!

Confused

I guess it is purely arbitrary that I make a distinction between raping and feeding children.

Two year olds can't dress themselves, go to work, and buy their own houses with bath tubs. Once they grow up and can, they can decide to bathe or not. Until then, the parent chooses.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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Stranger replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 9:58 AM

E. R. Olovetto:

 

I guess it is purely arbitrary that I make a distinction between raping and feeding children.

Two year olds can't dress themselves, go to work, and buy their own houses with bath tubs. Once they grow up and can, they can decide to bathe or not. Until then, the parent chooses.

So in your words, the parent owns the child.

Good.

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Conza88 replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 9:59 AM

Spideynw:
Conza88:
Can I ask.. have either of you read Block's paper?

No.

That much was obvious. At least you admit it. Why not? Too busy sexually abusing your children?

Haha, ok.. that was too far. Or was it? Did you listen to any of the podcasts on parenting? I don't have kids, and I found them helpful for when dealing with them. I'm sure if you actually do (listen to them), the benefits would be more than ten fold in comparison to what I got out of it.

What say someone else, another adult - had sex with your child. Your legal response would be, what? They used your property without permission? So you would file for damages, instead of assault?

Spideynw:
Because he can theorize how the majority will rule in an anarchist society?  He completely debunks the idea that markets provide to every person, not just the majority?

Red herrings.

Spideynw:
Does he explain how the abortion debate is resolved?

It's the Libertarian solution, 3rd alternative - pro property rights approach you've never heard of, nor taken the time to understand.

It resolves the abortion debate imo, yes.

Spideynw:
I am still waiting for your answers to these questions.

Do me the courtesy of pointing out what is wrong with what I wrote & actually offer a response.

Conza88:

Children are potential self owners, but until the child "demonstrates that he has them [full rights of self-ownership] in nature",  the parents have first claim to "trustee" or "guardianship rights", which involves overseeing the child's growth - "It must therefore be illegal and a violation of the child's rights for a parent to aggress against his person by mutilating, torturing, murdering him, etc." - Which would be a blatant violation of the "trustee" / "guardianship" of the child, is it not?

Feeding, bathing, clothing them - would not be a violation of  the "trustee" / "guardianship". Since that actually constitutes taking care of the child. There are no positive obligations on the parents however, but if they choose to abandon the baby, they must actually do so. Throwing your jumper into the closet does not constitute abandonment.

Spideynw:
For those of you that think small children have rights, could you please outline how a parent knows if he is violating the child's supposed rights? 

"For those of you that think adults / animals / children have rights, could you please outline how an individual knows if he is violating the adults / animals / children's supposed rights? (assuming they have them)"

The use of reason.


In natural-law philosophy, then, reason is not bound, as it is in modern post-Humean philosophy, to be a mere slave to the passions, confined to cranking out the discovery of the means to arbitrarily chosen ends. For the ends themselves are selected by the use of reason; and "right reason" dictates to man his proper ends as well as the means for their attainment. For the Thomist or natural-law theorist, the general law of morality for man is a special case of the system of natural law governing all entities of the world, each with its own nature and its own ends. "For him the moral law ... is a special case of the general principles that all finite things move toward their ends by the development of their potentialities."[14] And here we come to a vital difference between inanimate or even non-human living creatures, and man himself; for the former are compelled to proceed in accordance with the ends dictated by their natures, whereas man, "the rational animal," possesses reason to discover such ends and the free will to choose.[15]

[15] Thus Copleston:

Inanimate bodies act in certain ways precisely because they are what they are, and they cannot act otherwise; they cannot perform actions which are contrary to their nature. And animals are governed by instinct. In fine, all creatures below man participate unconsciously in the eternal law, which is reflected in their natural tendencies, and they do not possess the freedom which is required in order to be able to act in a manner incompatible with this law. It is therefore essential that he [man] should know the eternal law in so far as it concerns himself. Yet, how can he know it? He cannot read, as it were, the mind of God... [but] he can discern the fundamental tendencies and needs of his nature, and by reflecting on them he can come to a knowledge of the natural moral law.... Every man possesses ... the light of reason whereby he can reflect ... and promulgate to himself the natural law, which is the totality of the universal precepts or dictates of right reason concerning the good which is to be pursued and the evil which is to be shunned (Ibid., pp. 213–14).

Spideynw:
You all seem to claim that a parent killing or having sex with a small child is violating the child's rights.  Is killing someone or having sex with someone always wrong?

What does killing or having sex with a child, have to do with guarding / protecting them? If you answer "nothing", you'd be correct.

The initiation of physical aggression, i.e invasion, is wrong. Murder is not justified (though self defense is), rape is not justified (though consensual voluntary actions between two individuals are). It is wrong however to compare a potential self owner, with a full self owner.

Feeding a child is over seeing the duty of "trustee" / "guardianship".

There is however, not positive obligation on parents to feed, bath, whatever their children:

Even from birth, the parental ownership is not absolute but of a "trustee" or guardianship kind. In short, every baby as soon as it is born and is therefore no longer contained within his mother's body possesses the right of self-ownership by virtue of being a separate entity and a potential adult. It must therefore be illegal and a violation of the child's rights for a parent to aggress against his person by mutilating, torturing, murdering him, etc. On the other hand, the very concept of "rights" is a "negative" one, demarcating the areas of a person's action that no man may properly interfere with. No man can therefore have a "right" to compel someone to do a positive act, for in that case the compulsion violates the right of person or property of the individual being coerced. Thus, we may say that a man has a right to his property (i.e., a right not to have his property invaded), but we cannot say that anyone has a "right" to a "living wage," for that would mean that someone would be coerced into providing him with such a wage, and that would violate the property rights of the people being coerced. As a corollary this means that, in the free society, no man may be saddled with the legal obligation to do anything for another, since that would invade the former's rights; the only legal obligation one man has to another is to respect the other man's rights.

Applying our theory to parents and children, this means that a parent does not have the right to aggress against his children, but also that the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts coerced upon the parent and depriving the parent of his rights. The parent therefore may not murder or mutilate his child, and the law properly outlaws a parent from doing so. But the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child, i.e., to allow it to die.[2] The law, therefore, may not properly compel the parent to feed a child or to keep it alive.[3]

Where Block comes in, is that when the guardians no longer wish to "guard" the child, or be it's "trustee", the "right" to raise / guard the child should be transferred. That is if they are going to abandon the child.

Spideynw:
If not, then why is killing or having sex with children always wrong?  Is it because they do not consent to it?  If it is because they do not consent to it, what do they ever consent to?  If they never consent to anything, then does that not mean that everything a parent does to a child is violating it's rights?  I am just very confused at how you determine when a child's rights have been violated.

In answer we may point out that their [natural law] view identifies value not with existence but rather with the fulfillment of tendencies determined by the structure of the existent entity. Furthermore, it identifies evil not with non-existence but rather with a mode of existence in which natural tendencies are thwarted and deprived of realization.... The young plant whose leaves are withering for lack of light is not nonexistent. It exists, but in an unhealthy or privative mode. The lame man is not nonexistent. He exists, but with a natural power partially unrealized. ... This metaphysical objection is based upon the common assumption that existence is fully finished or complete. ... [But] what is good is the fulfillment of being.[30]

[30] Wild, "Natural Law," pp. 4–5. Wild continues on p.11:

Existence is ... not a property but a structuralized activity. Such activities are a kind of fact. They can be observed and described by judgments that are true or false: human life needs material artifacts; technological endeavors need rational guidance; the child has cognitive faculties that need education. Value statements are founded on the directly verifiable fact of tendency or need. The value or realization is required not merely by us but by the existent tendency for its completion. From a sound description and analysis of the given tendency we can infer the value founded upon it. This is why we do not say that moral principles are mere statements of fact, but rather that they are "founded" on facts.

On pp. 2–4, Wild says:

The ethics of natural law ... recognizes prescriptive moral laws but asserts that these are founded on tendential facts which may be described.... Goodness ... must ... be conceived dynamically as an existential mode, the realization of natural tendency. In this view, the world is not made up of determinate structures alone, but of determinate structures in an act of existing which they determine toward further appropriate acts of existing.... No determinate structure can be given existence without determining active tendencies. When such a tendency is fulfilled in accordance with natural law, the entity is said to be in a stable, healthy, or sound condition – adjectives of value. When it is obstructed or distorted, the entity is said to be in an unstable, diseased or unsound condition – adjectives of disvalue. Goodness and badness in their ontological sense are not phases of abstract structure, but rather modes of existence, ways in which the existential tendencies determined by such structures are either fulfilled or barely sustained in a deprived, distorted state.

The child's ability to consent and reason exists, but it is in a primitive state.

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Conza88 replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 10:00 AM

Stranger:
E. R. Olovetto:

This would be aggression, but parents are allowed to do things which would be otherwise illegal because they aid the child in reaching a state of moral agency.

Bathing children is helping them.

Changing their clothes is helping them.

How the hell do you know that it is? Maybe the children want to be dirty and smelly. You are violating their rights by forcing them to bathe!

Ohhh ok, so the child can reason now? Wink

The property owner (parents) set the rules for the household (their property), that which adults must obey as well.

"Anyone who lives on this property must be clean & not smell". If the child doesn't like it, they can leave - i.e be free to run away, thereby displaying their full rights.

If they are to be evicted, it must be by the gentlest means possible. Just like the trespasser in real life, and the fetus in the mothers womb.

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Stranger replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 10:02 AM

Conza88:

 

The property owner (parents) set the rules.

"Anyone who lives on this property must be clean and not smell". If the child doesn't like it, they can leave - i.e be free to run away, thereby displaying their full rights.

So far we have easily agreed on that. What isn't settled is why other property owners should have the power to come and seize the child from the property. This is what the "children have rights" crowd claims.

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Conza88 replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 10:13 AM

Stranger:
So far we have easily agreed on that. What isn't settled is why other property owners should have the power to come and seize the child from the property. This is what the "children have rights" crowd claims.

Forgetful?

Could you or Spidey address this please... considering ya'll ignored it earlier.

trulib:

LS - the Block / Kinsella position that Daniel is talking about is nuanced, but I believe it is a sound argument.  I will try to put it in my own words but I implore you to read Kinsella and Block on this issue.  I believe this uncomfortable area of libertarianism - parental obligations - has been solved, from a practical, legal perspective.  Child rape is illegal, and so is child neglect, under libertarian law.

Abandonment / Continual Homesteading Theory

Imagine a land area made up of numerous allotments.  Each one is being tended carefully by their owners, growing food.  Except one allotment.  This allotment is overgrown with weeds and litter and is a disgrace to the neighbours.  The owner is a man named Bob, and no one has seen him for 5 years.  The neighbours have tried to contact him, but he has vanished.  One neighbour, Alice, decides that enough is enough, she is going to assume ownership of Bob's allotment, clear it up and grow food on it.  Is this an act of aggression by Alice?  If Bob turns up the next day and accuses Alice of aggressing against his property, is Alice guilty, under libertarian law?

Maybe, but maybe not.  If Bob's absence had been 5 days, rather than 5 years, clearly this would be aggression.  But what if it had been 20 years, or 100 years?  What if Bob's grandson suddenly appears to claim his land?  Does the libertarian court award the allotment to Bob's grandson, or to the current owner, Alice's granddaughter?  There has to be a boundary somewhere; there has to be some time when we say 'this allotment has been abandoned'.  Determining exactly how long it takes for an allotment to be abandoned is a continuum problem, to be solved by market competition between courts. 

In some sense, then, Bob has a 'positive obligation' to maintain his land - otherwise he may lose it if someone else is claiming it.  In a way, he must continually homestead his property - otherwise he loses his rights to keep the land. 

Applied to Children

Block applies this idea of abandonment / continual homesteading (I think that's my term, not Block's) to children.  Parents own the rights to bring up their child, because they homesteaded that right.  But if a parent abuses or neglects the child, it may lose the right to bring up the child.  The parents must continually homestead the right to bring up the child, if they want to keep it.  If someone else is claiming it (for example a 'Friends of Babies' organization), they may have a better claim to the upbringing rights of the child.  Specifically, when a libertarian court declares 'this child has been abandoned'.

"The only way to attain homestead rights to the child after giving birth to it is to bring it up in a reasonable manner.  Were the parents to instead abuse their child, this would not at all be compatible with homesteading it. If so, they would lose all rights to continue to keep the child".  (Block, bold mine)

The libertarian courts will have to work out a boundary delineating what is reasonable and what is not.  This is no different to a court determining what is a reasonable claim to have homesteaded an allotment, or how long before an allotment is to be considered abandoned.  Neglecting a child for 10 minutes does not constitute abandonment, but neglecting it for a week while it starves to death certainly does.  The courts will decide, and since the courts are competing for customers, no reputable court will set the boundary at the extremes of 10 minutes neglect, or one week neglect, because most people (I conjecture) believe that the proper time when a child should be rescued from neglectful parents woud lie somewhere in between these extremes.  No court will want to have a reputation for taking abused or neglected children from their parents too soon, or too late, or when the abuse/neglect is only mild. 

The Scenario

So here's how things would go:

  1. Bob rapes his 3 year old daughter.
  2. Evidence of the rape is discovered, by chance, by a nursery nurse.
  3. The nurse calls the 'Friends of Babies' organization.
  4. 'Friends of Babies' knock at Bob's door and start asking him questions.  Bob starts getting nervous, but denies it.  Friends of Babies are confident in their assessment that Bob's lying, so they break into his house and forcibly remove the child from him.
  5. Bob calls his PDA, telling them an evil gang has taken his child away from him, for no good reason.
  6. Bob's PDA investigates.  There's a trial.  If Bob is found innocent, 'Friends of Babies' are guilty of child kidnap.  If Bob is found guilty, the libertarian court declares that, by raping his child, Bob loses the right to continue bringing it up.  Rape is not consistent with homesteading the right to bring up a child, so Bob's right to bring up his daughter is declared abandoned.  The court awards the right to bring up the child to the other claimant: the Friends of Babies organization.
  7. The Friends of Babies organization rehomes the child, perhaps with a relative, or finds adoptive parents for it.
  8. Friends of Babies publicizes the fact that Bob is a child rapist.  He is added to all the (privately-produced) sex offenders registers.  Voluntary actions, such as boycotts of Bob, make Bob's life a misery.

 The rest of the scenario I have not read about anywhere, but I think the scenario would continue thusly:

  • Bob's daughter grows up and claims self-ownership.
  • If she wants restitution or retribution for being raped as a child, she may bring a claim against her father.  The libertarian court will decide on a suitable punishment for Bob, for the crime of child rape. 
  • The burden of proof to show that the sex was consentual (should Bob wish to make this defense) will be prima facie on Bob.  He will have to prove that his daughter made an informed decision to have sex.  No sensible court would be convinced of this in the case of a 3 year old.

 

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Spideynw replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 10:24 AM

Conza88:
Could you or Spidey address this please... considering ya'll ignored it earlier.

I addressed it a long time ago.  I will go over it again though for you.

The problem stems from the assumption that for some reason, the market for justice will result in majority rule and creation of entities such as "Friends of Babies".  It goes against all Austrian Economic theory.  It also goes against all just theory of law.  I would assume most, if not all libertarians, would understand that one is innocent until proven guilty.  To suggest some agency could  have the power to go into someone's home, and take their most valuable possession, their own children, and then require them to prove their innocence to get the child back is just ludicrous.  This is why I have no interest in reading Block.  Lastly, Friends of Babies has no standing to take the child as opposed to anyone else in the world.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Stranger:

E. R. Olovetto:

 

I guess it is purely arbitrary that I make a distinction between raping and feeding children.

Two year olds can't dress themselves, go to work, and buy their own houses with bath tubs. Once they grow up and can, they can decide to bathe or not. Until then, the parent chooses.

So in your words, the parent owns the child[, insomuch as they aid it in reaching a state of moral agency]

Good.

[corrected]

Yes, I have said that several times.

The word 'guardianship' has come about to describe this subset of 'ownership' because children are special cases. They are not mere res, but potential actor-producers.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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Spideynw:

Conza88:
Could you or Spidey address this please... considering ya'll ignored it earlier.

I addressed it a long time ago.  The problem stems from the assumption that for some reason, the market for justice will result in majority rule and creation of entities such as "Friends of Babies".  It goes against all Austrian Economic theory.

Nonsense.

If most people are able to determine that senseless murder is wrong and choose to uphold that value, will you call that "majority rule"?

I think you have some sort of deeply rooted misconception about what libertarianism is. It is not "free-will for the masses". It is not Austrian economics, despite the compatibility. It is a system of punishment, nothing more and nothing less.

Your economic reasoning is horrid if you can't see why FoB would come about.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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Stranger replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 10:37 AM

Conza88:

 

Could you or Spidey address this please... considering ya'll ignored it earlier.

We ignored it because it's ridiculous, there's no such thing as "continual homesteading". Either someone starts using fallow land and no one objects, or someone does object and that means they continue their ownership of it.

If you try to take someone's children away because in your view they aren't being raised as proper moral agents, the parents are going to object violently. Then a court has to decide who, between the parents and you, has the property right over the child.

It's pretty obvious who does to anyone but a few radical ideologues.

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Stranger:

Conza88:
Could you or Spidey address this please... considering ya'll ignored it earlier.

We ignored it because it's ridiculous, there's no such thing as "continual homesteading". Either someone starts using fallow land and no one objects, or someone does object and that means they continue their ownership of it.

If you try to take someone's children away because in your view they aren't being raised as proper moral agents, the parents are going to object violently. Then a court has to decide who, between the parents and you, has the property right over the child.

It's pretty obvious who does to anyone but a few radical ideologues.

We aren't talking about "parents not raising children up to our standards of being proper moral agents". Isn't that much clear? I guess your parents didn't teach you to have the courage to admit you've made a mistake.

We are talking about actions which are clearly evil like rape, murder, and leaving permanent damage to children. Libertarian law has no say on what foods a child eats (unless it is poisoned), what church a child is taken to (unless it is some child rape cult), or what language a child learns (unless it is cut off from the outside world completely and can't learn language).

 

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Stranger replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 10:47 AM

E. R. Olovetto:
We are talking about actions which are clearly evil like rape, murder, and leaving permanent damage to children.

Well if it's clearly evil, I guess there's no need for a court to settle the matter?

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scineram replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 10:47 AM

The fact is brutalizing small children is seen as barbaric by almost anyone. I see no substantial change happening in the opposite direction anytime soon. Hence such practices will be punished, totalitarian or limited government or none at all in existence, conservative whining to the contrary about about parental authority and the sanctity of the family unit notwithstanding.

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Stranger replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 10:49 AM

scineram:

The fact is brutalizing small children is seen as barbaric by almost anyone. I see no substantial change happening in the opposite direction anytime soon. Hence such practices will be punished, totalitarian or limited government or none at all in existence, conservative whining to the contrary about about parental authority and the sanctity of the family unit notwithstanding.

Who will pay for this punishment? Remember that in a state-less justice system, people have to provide for their own justice. They can't externalize it on the taxpayers.

How much will you pay to fight families and take their children away?

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scineram replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 10:55 AM

Anyone willing will be able to take them away.

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Stranger replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 10:56 AM

scineram:

Anyone willing will be able to take them away.

You did not answer the question. Anyone willing to fight the family will be able to take them away, but would you fight to the death to take children away from their family?

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scineram replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 11:00 AM

You don't have to fight them unless they come after you and start to fight you.

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