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Minors: Rights And Children

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The point, which I hope you'll see when you think about this more, is that actions result in obligations, even once you've decided to wash your hands. When a female has sex (old style) with a male, things can happen and the female may need to decide whether to have an operation. If she does, the consequences are fairly mild. Compared to, say, the consequences of having to copy with a fetus carried to term. There is still an obligation, which is tougher than it was 8 months before, but not one that is infinite.

To an extent I agree. But in the bad dog case, I think it's more an obligation to society as opposed to the dog. A person has to prevent initiating harm to others, and IMO this would include to a degree preventing one's dog that's known to be vicious from roaming free.

On the other hand, I only see an obligation toward a child when a person has consentually agreed to taking care of the child (not merely to birthing him) and virtually no obligation here to society.

I'm not 100% on believing some mother that abandons her child at birth should face no legal penalties, but I do largely lean that way. I don't personally agree with such a mother's action though.

While I agree choosing to be a parent creates obligations, why would birthing someone create an obligation?

Sorry. To clarify what I meant: Some of the examples given seemed to focus on degree rather than principle. When I gave my examples I attempted to use extremes of degree to showcase the principle involved.

No prob. I'm usually all over the place anyway. :)

1. The mother intentionally creates a child.

2. The mother knows the child will starve and die--i.e. suffer "harm" by any reasonable definition of the word--without assistance.

3. The mother refuses to assist--i.e. "abandons"--the child upon birth.

Just because you know that children in Africa are starving and you refuse assistance does not trigger an obligation. You had nothing to do with their condition. However, in this case the child would not even exist but for the mother's actions and assuming no intervening acts or some other arguably responsible party (e.g. a rapist). I fail to see how this is not "causing" harm, when the mother creates the very object that will be harmed. Can you expand on this?

I wouldn't say it "causes harm" in the sense that the mother is at fault for the child's predicament. If life is a value (Objectivist-ly THE value,) then the only way one can value it is through conception/birth. I don't see why a woman granting someone the capacity to value should obligate that woman to more actions.

It's perhaps unfortunate that newborns have needs and can't survive on their own, but that's just the way it is, I guess. The only alternative here is exist (and be at the mercy of charity) or not exist.

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As a short summary, his position is that if a parent chooses to bring a child into the world, knowing that the nature of a child is that it cannot survive without assistance, the parent or parents are morally obligated to provide that assistance until the child can take care of itself. He goes further to say that should the parents fail to provide a minimal amount of care for the child (and he lists elements of that care), that the state should intercede, and that the parents could be guilty of some form of child neglect.

One problem I have with that is it seems to say that

once a child is conceived, if the mother chooses to birth the child, but not minimally provide for someone to take care of the child, the mother should be prosecuted. But...

flat-out killing the fetus via abortion is acceptable, but birthing the child and leaving him to whatever or whoever comes along is not acceptable?

If killing the conceived is not wrong, why would abandoning a child at birth be wrong - at least in that scenario the being has the chance someone will pass by and take care of it?

This suggests to me, that if for no other reason than his sense of life, he thinks we should not be leaving helpless children out in the streets to die or become feral.

I agree with that on a moral level, but I'm not so sure about that on a legal level.

Refraining from initiating force is not the standard of morality. The standard is the life of man, a rational being, and what his nature as a rational being requires. An inherent part of that nature is that man enters the world with a rational faculty, but without the knowledge of how to use it and without the physical ability to act. Just as man the adult has rights, vis-à-vis other men, determined by his nature as an adult, so a child has rights, vis-à-vis those who created him, determined by his nature as a child. The child’s right vis-à-vis his parents is the right to a minimal level of material support until he reaches a defined age.

If you deny this, then please answer the following questions: Why would the nature of man the adult be a legitimate source for defining his rights in relation to other men, but the nature of man the child be ignored in defining his relationship to those who created him? If the requirements of an adult rational being are relevant, how can the requirements of an infant rational being be irrelevant? Justify why one case is treated one way and the other case is ignored.

This, to me, seems to delve into that tricky question of: why does creating someone obligate further actions? I assume you agree that me giving a bum, a dependent with the capacity to alter his situation, a sandwich doesn't create any further obligations on my part. So why would giving a dependent even more needy (unborn) something even more valuable (the capacity to live) be treated differently?

The proof that there is an obligation on the part of the parent to support the child is the same as the proof that there is an obligation on the part of every adult to refrain from initiating the use of force. Both obligations are valid and stem from the same source: man's nature as a rational being.

But it doesnt seem to stem solely from the child's nature. The argument is also dependent on the nature of the mother's relationship to the child, as opposed to any non-parent's relationship. Unless we can show why the parent (and not non-parents) is obligated on some level to aid the child, it'd seem that the argument would have to say that everyone (parents and non-parents) is obligated, or that no one is obligated.

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On the other hand, I only see an obligation toward a child when a person has consentually agreed to taking care of the child (not merely to birthing him) and virtually no obligation here to society.
This obligation to society crap can disappear down the oubliette immediately, I agree. The obligation is not to society, but to the child. It's good that we've agreed to that. Given the premise (which I presume was utterly clear from the get-go) that a woman has the right to an abortion, then if she choses to not have an abortion, that is pretty clear acceptance of the obligation to care for the child. Whether or not she regrets that decision, she has at least made that decision, to allow the birth. You have no obligation to be responsible for the vicious dog before it becomes your dog. Once you accept the dog as yours, you have accepted the obligations of dog ownership. That's why it is vital that dogs not be forcibly imposed on people, and the same with children.
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Given the premise (which I presume was utterly clear from the get-go) that a woman has the right to an abortion, then if she choses to not have an abortion, that is pretty clear acceptance of the obligation to care for the child.

As an aside, what about societies that existed before abortion was a technology that existed, or ones in which it is outlawed? Would your statement apply to such contexts?

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A woman usually has 9 months to decide whether or not to give birth to a child. It doesn't just happen that in one day's time she all of a sudden says, "Hmmm, I have this child, what should I do with it?"

I used to be against abortion, but thanks to the logic and explanation of some folks on this site, and some that were previously here, I found a reasonable philosophical explanation for why abortion was not necessarily immoral, and why it shouldn't be illegal.

However, once a mother has gone 9 months, and actually gives birth to a distinctly separate volitional being (who supposedly has rights by virtue of that fact, and who is now an ACTUAL, as opposed to a fetus which is a POTENTIAL), knowing that it's nature is that it cannot care for itself, which is the very nature of EVERY newborn human (it's not simply a matter that it's "unfortunate" as hunterrose suggests), then I think she has CHOSEN an obligation to either provide care for that child, or find someone who will provide care for it. I don't think it's necessary for her to tell anyone, I have committed to myself to taking care of this child or finding someone else who will.

Otherwise, newborn individuals have NO ACTUAL RIGHT TO LIFE. No rights exist for the newborn individual IF the gaurdianship of those rights lies OPTIONALLY in the hands of it's creator.

In this context, I see the omission of action on the part of the parent(s) to take care of the child (or find someone who will) as being the same as committing an act to kill or attempt to kill the child.

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As an aside, what about societies that existed before abortion was a technology that existed, or ones in which it is outlawed? Would your statement apply to such contexts?
Good question: however, I know that even rather primitive societies knew of abortifactants that would terminate pregnancies, so this isn't really a technology issue. If indeed a woman does not have a choice in bearing a child, then the fact of giving birth is no evidence of having made a choice.
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Life is not always a value ... not without regard to context.

The only exception of which I am aware is when a person is and is expected to always be a net burden on his family. This is a subset of the situations when it would make sense to allow him to die.

... you make the libertarian error of assuming that any action that does not involve the initiation of force is moral.

Please do not call me a libertarian. I am well aware of the importance of a proper philosophical basis for individual rights.

Please do not impute ideas to me which I do not hold. I know that there are actions which are immoral even though they do not initiate force. I have never said otherwise.

If the requirements of an adult rational being are relevant, how can the requirements of an infant rational being be irrelevant?
When you say "requirements", do you mean needs? One does not automatically have a right to whatever one needs.

What a person needs to survive and reproduce as a rational being is HIS ultimate ethical purpose. It is not the purpose of rights or of other people.

The basis of rights is inherent in this: "... man must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself." -- Ayn Rand, VOS, page 30.

Caring for a disabled child might be sacrificing yourself to him.

Failing to care for him is certainly not sacrificing him to yourself.

It is in essence saying, children DO NOT have rights.

No. Children have the same rights as adults: to not be killed, to do what they think will advance their interests (if it does not violate someone's rights) without interference, to own property, etc.. The only difference is that adults are presumed to have enough knowledge to consent to certain risky actions while children are not.

The "rule" I laid out addressed only the causation question. Isn't causation a question of metaphysics rather than ethics?

When an entity acts, it causes certain things to happen. When it does not act, it causes nothing. Thus a person does not cause harm by not providing care.

As for creating the child, you have to understand that harm is a relative term. There is no condition worse than non-existence. So no one can be harmed by 'taking them out of a state of non-existence' into existence, regardless of how miserable or short that existence might be.

Most adults, at least in America, do not directly depend on others for their short-term survival.

Why would the rule be different for short-term than for long-term survival? Would you compel someone to provide care for an adult who needed it for his short-term survival? If so, who and why?

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No. Children have the same rights as adults: to not be killed, to do what they think will advance their interests (if it does not violate someone's rights) without interference, to own property, etc.. The only difference is that adults are presumed to have enough knowledge to consent to certain risky actions while children are not.

No, that is not the only difference. The other very real difference is that EVERY newborn individual has by it's nature NO ability to invoke any of it's rights, or any ability to do anything that advances it's interests, other than cry, poop (which it of course it can't do without food) and sleep, which alone are insufficient skills to advance it's life or interests. It does NOT have in any concrete sense, that which it cannot invoke for itself, nor that which one would not invoke for it by proxy. It has no way to invoke it's right not to be killed, and your position is that no one has any obligation to gaurd the child against being killed (in this particular context) by the inaction of a parent by not providing some minimal sustainance and guidance. Rights do not exist, if they exist ONLY in theory. Based on your position, there is no real existence of these rights for newborn individuals.

I realize you disagree with the premise that a parent bears any responsibility or obligation for the choice to bring a newborn individual into the world. I realize that you do not agree with the premise that a parent's inaction is the same as killing it, but I think that is exactly what it is

These are perhaps unresolveable differences in our views, so I will cease simply repeating my position and reasoning unless I have something new to add or I choose to address a question directed to me.

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Please do not call me a libertarian. I am well aware of the importance of a proper philosophical basis for individual rights.
I did not call you a libertarian. I said you are making a libertarian error. You've provided no argument that I can see to prove that child abandonment is ethical. Instead you challenge others to demonstrate why it would be wrong. This exposes that fact that your premise is that one may take any action provided it does not initiate the use of force.

When you say "requirements", do you mean needs? One does not automatically have a right to whatever one needs.
I did not say "needs", I said the requirements of man's nature. But by switching to the word "need", you are able to evade my entire argument, and instead switch to attacking the straw-man notion of people having rights to have their needs fulfilled.

The basis of rights is inherent in this: "... man must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself." -- Ayn Rand, VOS, page 30.
I suggest you read Miss Rand's article, "The Rights of Man" if you want the Objectivist derivation of rights.

Caring for a disabled child might be sacrificing yourself to him.

Failing to care for him is certainly not sacrificing him to yourself.

This is the same error in another form. Not sacrificing others is not the standard of morality, just as not initiating force is not the standard of morality.

You have failed to address the argument I gave for a child's right to material support from its parents. Of course, since you have previously declared your right to, and intention to, ignore any argument you choose, this should not surprise me.

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This, to me, seems to delve into that tricky question of: why does creating someone obligate further actions? I assume you agree that me giving a bum, a dependent with the capacity to alter his situation, a sandwich doesn't create any further obligations on my part. So why would giving a dependent even more needy (unborn) something even more valuable (the capacity to live) be treated differently?
The act of having a child, unlike the act of giving the bum food, creates a new rational being. And I am arguing that the nature of that infant rational being gives it a right to minimal material support from those who chose to bring it into existence.

Before we go further, let's see if we agree on the source of rights and what they mean.

Consider your hypothetical bum. I assume you agree that the bum has the right to life, and you have an obligation not to kill him, that is, you have an obligation not to initiate the use of force against him, even if you have never had any interaction with this guy at all.

Do you agree that the bum has such a right? If so, why? Where do his rights come from? How do we decide what his rights are?

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The act of having a child, unlike the act of giving the bum food, creates a new rational being. And I am arguing that the nature of that infant rational being gives it a right to minimal material support from those who chose to bring it into existence.

Before we go further, let's see if we agree on the source of rights and what they mean.

Consider your hypothetical bum. I assume you agree that the bum has the right to life, and you have an obligation not to kill him, that is, you have an obligation not to initiate the use of force against him, even if you have never had any interaction with this guy at all.

Do you agree that the bum has such a right? If so, why? Where do his rights come from? How do we decide what his rights are?

Sure, I'd agree; I more or less agree with your usage of rights - rights based on rationality, and the right to not have force initiated against oneself as the ultimate right.

I think our disagreement is on whether creating a new rational being is a violation of the new being's rights. For all other beings, we agree that they have no right to receive support from another - only the right to not have force initiated against them.

I can see a argument for the right to receive support if 1)one is wronged (restitution) or if 2)somone agrees to be guardian for a child on condition that they not mistreat (e.g. abandonment, refusing food) the child.

But a child certainly isn't wronged in being created, and I find it questionable to say that the mother, in choosing to birth the child (as opposed to abortion,) has implicitly chosen to be or search for a guardian for the child.

How can we say such a mother has implicitly accepted these conditions if she doesn't explicitly accept these conditions, assuming her consent is relevant? Or perhaps more importantly, if she doesn't consent to providing guardianship at birth, what would be the basis for making her decision to birth and abandon an illegal one?

I don't think your argument is 1). I believe your argument is something similar to 2); but how would you resolve these questions of consent?

While I agree that rationality is a valid basis for conferring rights, I don't see how any capacity of dependence or created-ness should be fundamental enough to confer additional rights.

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You've provided no argument that I can see to prove that child abandonment is ethical.

What is ethical for the parents to do is what is in their rational self-interest. Usually, that would be to take care of their child. But there might be circumstances (which I previously mentioned, i.e. a child with a major defect and not enough resources to take care of another without abandoning the first) in which it would be in their interest to abandon it.

I suggest you read Miss Rand's article, "The Rights of Man" if you want the Objectivist derivation of rights.
A "right" is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context.

....

... the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action -- which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life.

This is a passage from "Man's Rights". I do not see anything in it that entitles the child to support from its parents. Do you?

You have failed to address the argument I gave for a child's right to material support from its parents.

I assume that you are referring to the following:

What does this mean in the context of a child? The "self-sustaining and self-generated" action the child must take is to undergo a process of acquiring knowledge and growing, both physically and mentally, so that he may eventually initiate the adult act of sustaining his own life. This initial action is an absolutely necessary and inescapable precursor to the full exercise of his right to life – every child begins life with the right to take this action. If a child does not have a right to take this action -- without which he cannot possibly ever exercise his right to life in an adult sense -- then he cannot be said to have a right to life.

Granted.

And – based on the principle that adults are responsible for their actions – the adults that created the child have the obligation of providing the material support required for him to initiate and sustain the process of learning and growing. The act of creating a rational being brings with it the obligation – the chosen obligation – of helping that rational being exercise its right to life.

Why? This is where your argument breaks down.

Where in the Objectivist Ethics does it talk about man being "responsible" for his actions? These are weasel words which have no definite meaning and allow you to commit a logical fallacy.

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While I agree that rationality is a valid basis for conferring rights, I don't see how any capacity of dependence or created-ness should be fundamental enough to confer additional rights.
What "confers additional rights" in the case of a child is the same thing that confers the rights of an adult: the nature of the entity involved.

Why do we bother defining rights? Why do we need such a concept? We need it because the nature of man is such that he can only survive by using a process of reason to produce what his survival requires. He cannot live any other way. (Some may default on this process and live by stealing from others, but unless someone, somewhere is thinking and producing, everyone, everywhere will eventually perish.) Thus, the nature of man imposes a requirement: if he is to survive by thinking and producing, he must be free to do so. Ergo, he must have the right to engage in those actions, and we call that the right to life.

So, the purpose of rights is to protect man's ability to survive as his nature dictates he must. We have seen that when rights are not protected or acknowledged, the result is mass death, as in the old Soviet Union.

However, there is a problem. No one is born with the capacity to exercise this right. Everyone must grow mentally and physically, and in the absence of material support, at least for the first few years, they will surely perish.

So what do we do? Some of you conclude that children have no more rights than adults, end of story. This leaves you in the position of saying that man has a right to life, but he has no right to develop the capacity to exercise that right. I see no way to sustain that position.

If the nature of man means that he can only survive in a certain fashion, and if man's survival is important enough to derive and enforce the concept of rights, why on earth would we ignore the nature of children and what their survival requires? By their nature, children, too, can only survive in a certain fashion: namely, someone must provide material support.

If the nature of man, as an adult, justifies the right to life, i.e. the right to think and produce, then the nature of man, as a child, justifies the right to material support. I see no way to claim one and not the other.

Bear in mind the distinction between the nature of a being versus an accidental, or unusual circumstance. A bum who has ruined his mind with drink and cannot now perform useful labor cannot claim the same status as a child. His condition is not a function of his nature; it is not an inescapable, normal part of human life. Whereas, a child's helplessness is a function of his nature, and is an inescapable, normal part of human life.

The right to life is a crucial protection. But it has little meaning if one does not have the right to develop the capacity to exercise that right.

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You've provided no argument that I can see to prove that child abandonment is ethical.

What is ethical for the parents to do is what is in their rational self-interest. Usually, that would be to take care of their child. But there might be circumstances (which I previously mentioned, i.e. a child with a major defect and not enough resources to take care of another without abandoning the first) in which it would be in their interest to abandon it.

"Refraining from the initiation of force" is not the standard of morality. "Not sacrificing others" is not the standard of morality. And "what is in one's rational self-interest" is not the standard of morality.

In any event, you are now making a much more restrictive claim than your original "I am also a monster" claim, in which you implied that supporting a child is strictly optional and may be withheld in the event of parental dissatisfaction. Now, you are saying that child abandonment is moral only in some situations.

A "right" is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context.

....

... the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action -- which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life.

This is a passage from "Man's Rights". I do not see anything in it that entitles the child to support from its parents. Do you?

Yes. While children are not mentioned, what is mentioned is the purpose and derivation of the concept of rights. And I see no reason not to apply the concept to children in the same way and for the same purpose as we apply it to adults.

There are (at least) two possible reasons Miss Rand does not mention the rights of children. One possibility is that she agreed that they possess no rights beyond those of adults, and may be left to die at the whim of their parents with the government ignoring the issue completely. That would shock me and make me rethink my position -- but I grant that it is a possiblity.

The other possibility is that she considered it so obvious that children have a right to support from their parents that it did not need to be mentioned. That would not suprise me at all.

Where in the Objectivist Ethics does it talk about man being "responsible" for his actions? These are weasel words which have no definite meaning and allow you to commit a logical fallacy.
Are you saying that man is not responsible for his actions?

And when did these become weasal words and lose their definite meaning?

Edited to shorten quoted material.

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If the nature of man means that he can only survive in a certain fashion, and if man's survival is important enough to derive and enforce the concept of rights, why on earth would we ignore the nature of children and what their survival requires? By their nature, children, too, can only survive in a certain fashion: namely, someone must provide material support.

I'm not so sure about that one. I can understand children having the contractual right to support from their parents and their parents alone. The way that you are deriving the rights of children makes those rights universal; and one could easily say that I would be obliged to pay for someone else's child if they died or abandoned them.

I don't accept that.

I have more to back this up if necessary, but first I'd like to see your response in case I'm just misunderstanding you...

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I'm not so sure about that one. I can understand children having the contractual right to support from their parents and their parents alone. The way that you are deriving the rights of children makes those rights universal; and one could easily say that I would be obliged to pay for someone else's child if they died or abandoned them.

I don't accept that.

I have more to back this up if necessary, but first I'd like to see your response in case I'm just misunderstanding you...

Since the children were created by their parents and no one else, their right to material support applies to their parents, and no one else. I do think, however, that if parents die or otherwise become unable to support their children, the state should step in and provide support until a foster home can be found. Since, properly, government financing is voluntary, this means no one is ever forced to support someone else's child.

This, I grant you, means that children's rights differ from adult rights in two respects: they are rights to objects (not just to actions), and they are rights that can only be invoked against thier parents.

However, I still think this is more rational than the notion that we have the right to life, but not the right to develop the capacity to exercise that right.

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Since the children were created by their parents and no one else, their right to material support applies to their parents, and no one else. I do think, however, that if parents die or otherwise become unable to support their children, the state should step in and provide support until a foster home can be found. Since, properly, government financing is voluntary, this means no one is ever forced to support someone else's child.

This, I grant you, means that children's rights differ from adult rights in two respects: they are rights to objects (not just to actions), and they are rights that can only be invoked against thier parents.

However, I still think this is more rational than the notion that we have the right to life, but not the right to develop the capacity to exercise that right.

I semi-disagree.

If the parents die or default, the child must still be responsible for his own existence. I have mentioned before that there are MANY options for private companies to provide the kind of support that children need. I don't at all see the necessity to make the state step in and pay for the support of a child, and I emphatically do NOT buy the argument that "if a state is voluntarily funded, then nobody is forced to do X."

(Something is either a proper function of the state or it isn't. The method of funding the state doesn't validate invalid functions)

I do not accept that children have natural rights to objects and not just actions. They may have contractual rights to such, but those are only to limited individuals, not to everyone in general.

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An addendum to the above:

Why is a state created? Because the use of force must be placed in objective hands so that the random violence of anarchy does not ensue.

In the case of orphans, the use of force is not involved. There is no reason to involve the state any more than the state is needed for power plants, roads, the mail, etc. One could say that having roads or power plants or the mail service or not-having-orphans-starve is important to you. That doesn't make those things necessarily the province of the state.

The only argument I've heard that justifies state involvement is the one that states that if I refrain from giving my money to help an orphan, that I am initiating force against him. But, as I have said, I don't accept that premise.

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I semi-disagree.

If the parents die or default, the child must still be responsible for his own existence.

But in what sense can a 2 year old child be "responsible for his own existence"?

I have mentioned before that there are MANY options for private companies to provide the kind of support that children need. I don't at all see the necessity to make the state step in and pay for the support of a child, and I emphatically do NOT buy the argument that "if a state is voluntarily funded, then nobody is forced to do X."

(Something is either a proper function of the state or it isn't. The method of funding the state doesn't validate invalid functions)

Yes, and defending rights is the valid function of the state. And if the state is voluntarily funded, then in what sense is someone forced to finance against their will? What is it about that statement that you do not buy?

I do not accept that children have natural rights to objects and not just actions. They may have contractual rights to such, but those are only to limited individuals, not to everyone in general.
Then please justify why the nature of man (as an adult) is sufficient grounds to derive rights necessary for his survival, but the nature of a child is to be ignored. Why is the nature of man so relevant in one case and completely irrelevant in another?
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An addendum to the above:

Why is a state created? Because the use of force must be placed in objective hands so that the random violence of anarchy does not ensue.

Yes, and the reason it is important to avoid random violence is that man's survival as a rational being demands it. Man's rights need protection.

In the case of orphans, the use of force is not involved. There is no reason to involve the state any more than the state is needed for power plants, roads, the mail, etc. One could say that having roads or power plants or the mail service or not-having-orphans-starve is important to you. That doesn't make those things necessarily the province of the state.
Well, you must surely know that I have not argued for state intervention merely on the grounds that an orphan's fate is "important to me".

The issue is: does a child have a right to material support from his parents? If so, the state should act to protect that right if the parents default. If not, the state should do nothing if the parents leave the child to die of starvation in his crib while they go on vacation. Take your pick.

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As for creating the child, you have to understand that harm is a relative term. There is no condition worse than non-existence. So no one can be harmed by 'taking them out of a state of non-existence' into existence, regardless of how miserable or short that existence might be.

If there is no condition worse than non-existence, then it follows that ending your life because it has become too painful, e.g. because of a terminal disease, is stupid. Regardless of how miserable your existence is, it's better than non-existence, so you should stay alive to suffer?

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But in what sense can a 2 year old child be "responsible for his own existence"?

He can OWE somebody for it later.

What is it about that statement that you do not buy?
Hopefully, my next post made that clear

Then please justify why the nature of man (as an adult) is sufficient grounds to derive rights necessary for his survival, but the nature of a child is to be ignored. Why is the nature of man so relevant in one case and completely irrelevant in another?

The nature of each entity is taken into account.

The nature of man is that he must live by his own effort, neither sacrificing others to himself nor sacrificing others to himself. This is an established fact. Man qua man can survive so long as his rights are respected. These rights are something that other men respect because they themselves have chosen to survive qua man and due to the law of non-contradiction they must respect the rights of others.

The nature of a child is that it is a dependant organism that cannot survive on its own. Child qua child CANNOT survive. The only way a child can survive is if a man supports the child through his efforts. This is also an established fact.

From these two facts, you draw the conclusion that a children have the RIGHT to be supported by men. That's a non-seqitor as far as I can tell. I see only that they need it and that men can choose to give it. Not that they are obliged to.

Let's try a concrete example: Suppose that a dying alien race shot their offspring across the cosmos to earth. (i.e. superman!) For the purpose of this example, their young are exactly like humans: utterly helpless, but they will grow up into adult beings which are capable of reason and independant survival.

Would you say that humans would be initiating force against the space babies if they didn't choose to "adopt" them?

Yes, and the reason it is important to avoid random violence is that man's survival as a rational being demands it. Man's rights need protection.

Then you agree that the issue of how the state is financed is not material to this argument? That something is either a proper function of the state or not and it doesn't matter for this discussion how the state is financed?

Well, you must surely know that I have not argued for state intervention merely on the grounds that an orphan's fate is "important to me".
I did not know that for sure, else I would not have pointed out that example. Clearly, you are arguing from the standpoint that a child has the universal right to be supported by others... not just by those who chose to bring the child into existence, but also potentially by those who had nothing to do with it and did not choose the obligation of caring for a child.

Is that correct?

The issue is: does a child have a right to material support from his parents?

I agree that that is the issue.

If so, the state should act to protect that right if the parents default. If not, the state should do nothing if the parents leave the child to die of starvation in his crib while they go on vacation. Take your pick.

Ah, but you forget: the state would act to enforce the contractual rights of the child. The state would in fact force the parents to care for the child.

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AisA: If you want me to notice and respond to one of your messages, it would be helpful for you to include my user-id near the top of the message either in a quote or as "jrs:".

"Refraining from the initiation of force" is not the standard of morality. "Not sacrificing others" is not the standard of morality. And "what is in one's rational self-interest" is not the standard of morality.

If we keep going long enough, maybe you will rule out all of Objectivism (joking).

The standard of value of the Objectivist ethics -- the standard by which one judges what is good or evil -- is MAN'S LIFE, or: that which is required for man's survival QUA man.

Suppose the parents have a child with a major defect; and they do not have enough resources to take care of second child without abandoning the first. Also suppose that they rationally expect that they could have a second child without a defect and raise it successfully, if they abandon the first one.

Now, consider two scenarios:

1. They take care of the first child. So they do not have a second. They grow old and die. The first child is unable to fend for himself and he dies without issue. So the parents are left with no descendants.

2. They abandon the first child. They have a second child who is normal. They raise the second child successfully. The second child is then able to take care of himself and produces grandchildren. So the parents are left with descendants.

Which of these scenarios allows the life of the parents to continue thru their descendants? Only the second. Therefore, the parents should abandon the first child. Q.E.D.

... you implied that supporting a child is strictly optional and may be withheld in the event of parental dissatisfaction.

OK, "dissatisfaction" may have been a poorly chosen word. I was assuming that their dissatisfaction was rational, not whimsical.

While children are not mentioned, what is mentioned is the purpose and derivation of the concept of rights. And I see no reason not to apply the concept to children in the same way and for the same purpose as we apply it to adults.

Indeed. But if you examine the quotation, you will see that when applied to a child, it is the child's actions which are protected. There is nothing about anyone else being required to do anything.

And – based on the principle that adults are responsible for their actions – the adults that created the child have the obligation of providing the material support required for him to initiate and sustain the process of learning and growing. The act of creating a rational being brings with it the obligation – the chosen obligation – of helping that rational being exercise its right to life.

And when did these become weasel words and lose their definite meaning?

I was hoping that you would either admit that your statement makes no sense or expand it to make it easier to examine and validate or invalidate.

What is your definition of "responsible"?

From where does this alleged "principle that adults are responsible for their actions" come? Give a citation to Ayn Rand or Leonard Peikoff.

In reality and in the Objectivist ethics, there is no such thing as "duty." There is only choice and the full, clear recognition of a principle obscured by the notion of "duty": THE LAW OF CAUSALITY.

So much for responsibility and obligation -- Kaput.

Your actions have consequences which affect you -- that is all. This gives no warrant for anyone to impose any additional "consequences" on you. Such as, taking care of a child.

Regardless of how miserable your existence is, it's better than non-existence, so you should stay alive to suffer?

You should stay alive to enjoy being aware and alive.

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Are there really NO circumstances under which you think a person could be in so much pain that remaining alive was unbearable?

My belief is that if it were truly unbearable, he would just die.

However, I must admit that since I have neither been dead nor in "unbearable" pain, I do not know for sure which is worse. Certainly, if someone felt that he had to commit suicide to escape his pain, I would not presume to stop him.

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