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abandoning children?

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murder on what basis?

and what if people notice but no one cares?

I think what you are trying to ask is something like this: are there positive obligations involved in parenthood? (Instead of positing hypothetical scenarios, it's sometimes better to just state the question clearly.)

To this, I think the case can be made that child abandonment isn't compatible with Objectivist ethics because the child was placed into the position of vulnerability by the parents, so the parent does have an (voluntarily-undertaken) obligation to take positive action on behalf of the child. Thus refusing to feed, clothe, shelter, etc. a child would be a violation of the child's rights. People can voluntarily choose to place one another in positions where positive action is required such as the failure to take would result in the death of one of them without resort to any kind of deontological duty.

A good paper on this would be Long "Abortion, Abandonment, and Positive Rights: The Limits of Compulsory Altruism," especially section VI. The Right Not To Be Abandoned: A Derivative Positive Right.

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I think what you are trying to ask is something like this: are there positive obligations involved in parenthood? (Instead of positing hypothetical scenarios, it's sometimes better to just state the question clearly.)

To this, I think the case can be made that child abandonment isn't compatible with Objectivist ethics because the child was placed into the position of vulnerability by the parents, so the parent does have an (voluntarily-undertaken) obligation to take positive action on behalf of the child. Thus refusing to feed, clothe, shelter, etc. a child would be a violation of the child's rights. People can voluntarily choose to place one another in positions where positive action is required such as the failure to take would result in the death of one of them without resort to any kind of deontological duty.

A good paper on this would be Long "Abortion, Abandonment, and Positive Rights: The Limits of Compulsory Altruism," especially section VI. The Right Not To Be Abandoned: A Derivative Positive Right.

Actually, I'm trying to hint at a connection to abandoning other types of individuals to a state of economic destitute.

But that's an interesting take on it. If we are going to use this approach then it seems like there is the following problem (I read the part on abandonment, but the rest is TL;DR):

to what degree must the child be able to take care of himself before the parents can let them go without violating their rights?

Now in my example the child starved to death, but what if I showed that my 7 year old can survive by begging on a street corner? would it be alright to abandon them then?

edit:

also there seems to be this problem: does one have to be absolutely certain that there is going to be another caretaker? or does one only have to be reasonably certain?

If i give a baby to a foster parent, then that would discharge my obligations.

But is it ok to do the following: abandon a baby in a large city on a busy street, where I am under the impression that there is a 90-95% chance that someone will notice and take care of the baby? Does that discharge the obligation?

Edited by Puzzle Peddler
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so what are your thoughts on this?

Most parents want their kids, especially after having taken care of them for 7 years. So this situation is unlikely. However, in the event that a parent abandons their child, that is why objective laws are created. Most of your questions have to do with specifics that would be determined by law, after rationally considering circumstances such as abandonment. After the laws are created, they are known to parents and the penalties for breaking them should come as no surprise.
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Most parents want their kids, especially after having taken care of them for 7 years. So this situation is unlikely. However, in the event that a parent abandons their child, that is why objective laws are created. Most of your questions have to do with specifics that would be determined by law, after rationally considering circumstances such as abandonment. After the laws are created, they are known to parents and the penalties for breaking them should come as no surprise.

yes they have to do with the specifics of the law, because this is the "law forum" if I'm not mistaken.

aside from that, how does a judge "rationally consider the circumstances" in this kind of situation? Do you mean the decision to abandon has to be economically rational or something else?

Edited by Puzzle Peddler
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yes they have to do with the specifics of the law, because this is the "law forum" if I'm not mistaken.

aside from that, how does a judge "rationally consider the circumstances" in this kind of situation? Do you mean the decision to abandon has to be economically rational or something else?

Sorry, I didn't notice the forum.

I'm certainly no expert on law, mostly because it gets too technical for my interest. Hopefully someone better can jump in and answer for you. But in general, a base law will be passed against which a judge may pit case-by-case. So, an example would be a teenager becoming responsible for himself at 18. There will be cases on both sides of that age that are exceptions, but generally, a person is self-sufficient at 18, and so a law is created that "frees" parents, so to speak. If a parent kicks a kid out on his 18th birthday, the law says, "OK." If the kid is severely retarded, that would constitute an exception, but the base law is still in place for most cases.

EDIT: The important part is that a law is objectively created where a reasoned person can agree, "Yes, most people can become self-sufficient at 18."

Edited by JASKN
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also there seems to be this problem: does one have to be absolutely certain that there is going to be another caretaker? or does one only have to be reasonably certain?

But is it ok to do the following: abandon a baby in a large city on a busy street, where I am under the impression that there is a 90-95% chance that someone will notice and take care of the baby? Does that discharge the obligation?

It's illegal for you to abandon your child for any reason, unless he is a newborn and you leave him safely in a designated spot (ie: in a hospital or police station). This falls under the 'abandoned [newborn] infant protection act.' If you abandon your child and he's not a newborn, you'll get a felony. If he dies because you abandoned him, you'll be responsible (and charged with negligence, at least). It varies from state to state, but here is the Texas law that covers it.

As an example, in Indiana you'll get a Class A felony if you deprive your dependent of necessary support, (and you are at least 18 years old), and that results in the death of your dependent who is less than fourteen 14 years of age. [1] (The age of the child matters. I think in Texas the age is 15, and in IL the age is 13.)

"Class "A" Felony: A Class "A" felony carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between twenty (20) and fifty (50) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00. Examples of a Class A felony include Dealing in Cocaine, a Narcotic Drug or Methamphetamine in an amount over three (3) grams, Armed Robbery resulting in injury, Kidnapping, Rape and Child Molesting." [2] That's serious stuff.

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It's illegal for you to abandon your child for any reason, unless he is a newborn and you leave him safely in a designated spot (ie: in a hospital or police station). This falls under the 'abandoned [newborn] infant protection act.' If you abandon your child and he's not a newborn, you'll get a felony. If he dies because you abandoned him, you'll be responsible (and charged with negligence, at least). It varies from state to state, but here is the Texas law that covers it.

As an example, in Indiana you'll get a Class A felony if you deprive your dependent of necessary support, (and you are at least 18 years old), and that results in the death of your dependent who is less than fourteen 14 years of age. [1] (The age of the child matters. I think in Texas the age is 15, and in IL the age is 13.)

"Class "A" Felony: A Class "A" felony carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between twenty (20) and fifty (50) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00. Examples of a Class A felony include Dealing in Cocaine, a Narcotic Drug or Methamphetamine in an amount over three (3) grams, Armed Robbery resulting in injury, Kidnapping, Rape and Child Molesting." [2] That's serious stuff.

yes of course it is currently illegal, but how does one justify + specify this law under Objectivism (some other version of capitalism), that is the question.

The argument against it is that by banning abandonment you are forcing parents to give their own children an economic handout. 2046 offered a solution which I agree might work for newborns, but the follow up problem is how to pin down exactly where one crosses the line if the child is somewhat grown up but not completely (if that's even possible).

Edited by Puzzle Peddler
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It's illegal for you to abandon your child for any reason, unless he is a newborn and you leave him safely in a designated spot (ie: in a hospital or police station). This falls under the 'abandoned [newborn] infant protection act.' If you abandon your child and he's not a newborn, you'll get a felony. If he dies because you abandoned him, you'll be responsible (and charged with negligence, at least). It varies from state to state, but here is the Texas law that covers it.

As an example, in Indiana you'll get a Class A felony if you deprive your dependent of necessary support, (and you are at least 18 years old), and that results in the death of your dependent who is less than fourteen 14 years of age. [1] (The age of the child matters. I think in Texas the age is 15, and in IL the age is 13.)

"Class "A" Felony: A Class "A" felony carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between twenty (20) and fifty (50) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00. Examples of a Class A felony include Dealing in Cocaine, a Narcotic Drug or Methamphetamine in an amount over three (3) grams, Armed Robbery resulting in injury, Kidnapping, Rape and Child Molesting." [2] That's serious stuff.

The OP is asking about what law would be under an Objectivist government, not the current state.

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The OP is asking about what law would be under an Objectivist government, not the current state.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Edit:

The argument against it is that by banning abandonment you are forcing parents to give their own children an economic handout.

That's ridiculous.

Edited by mdegges
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But that's an interesting take on it. If we are going to use this approach then it seems like there is the following problem (I read the part on abandonment, but the rest is TL;DR):

to what degree must the child be able to take care of himself before the parents can let them go without violating their rights?

Not degree, the law would decide an age when a child is developed enough to take care of himself. The parents' obligation ends at a certain age.

Now in my example the child starved to death, but what if I showed that my 7 year old can survive by begging on a street corner? would it be alright to abandon them then?

No. 7 would definitely not be the age when a child is developed enough to take care of himself.

edit:

also there seems to be this problem: does one have to be absolutely certain that there is going to be another caretaker? or does one only have to be reasonably certain?

If i give a baby to a foster parent, then that would discharge my obligations.

But is it ok to do the following: abandon a baby in a large city on a busy street, where I am under the impression that there is a 90-95% chance that someone will notice and take care of the baby? Does that discharge the obligation?

The parent needs to be absolutely certain that there will be another caretaker. Just leaving a baby on the street isn't passing on the responsibility through a consensual agreement, it is leaving a baby on the street when his well being is still your obligation hoping someone will pick him up. In addition, if parents are planning to give up their child, part of their obligation is also to make sure that they are giving them to someone who is qualified. That is not the same as leaving the baby on the street where any nut or predator can pick him up.

Edited by Matt Giannelli
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Not degree, the law would decide an age when a child is developed enough to take care of himself. The parents' obligation ends at a certain age.

No. 7 would definitely not be the age when a child is developed enough to take care of himself.

The parent needs to be absolutely certain that there will be another caretaker. Just leaving a baby on the street isn't passing on the responsibility through a consensual agreement, it is leaving a baby on the street when his well being is still your obligation hoping someone will pick him up. In addition, if parents are planning to give up their child, part of their obligation is also to make sure that they are giving them to someone who is qualified. That is not the same as leaving the baby on the street where any nut or predator can pick him up.

I agree it's possible to set some sort of minimum age. But it's just that it doesn't feel like a very principled approach, different people have different abilities, some people can establish themselves at an earlier age and so on. and there is still the issue of how establish they have to be before you cut them off, do u have to: send them to college? highschool? middle school? grade school? nothing at all??

Edited by Puzzle Peddler
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sorry, my own money is my own money.

If you have kids, they are your responsibility until they either legally emancipate themselves or turn 18. Having a child is a voluntary choice. If you don't want to take care of a kid (or put him up for adoption), you shouldn't have one.

...and there is still the issue of how establish they have to be before you cut them off, do u have to: send them to college? highschool? middle school? grade school? nothing at all??

Good question. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say yes, parents will have to send their children to private school until they become adults (because parents are responsible for their children). You might say that forces parents to spend money on an education that they may not want to pay for. However, they'd have many private school options and could decide where to send their children. Failure to send your kid to scool is negligent (meaning you're not taking care of your kid- the same would be true if you didn't feed him, clean him, etc).

Edited by mdegges
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I think that there needs to be more flexibility legally when considering what exactly constitutes and education for a child. The absurditity today is that the vast majority of children have most of their time waisted being sent to highschools that teach them very little that couldn't be learned on the internet, instead of doing things that actually enhance their ability to sustain their own life. They could be developing technical skills or working during this time in order to afford a superior education later.

I see the vast majoirty of kids wanting to educate their children. Just because their might not be a law against it in an Objectivist society doesn't mean that children will be running around on the streets without supervision. This education can take many forms however. Homeschooling and apprenticeships can be just as valuable experiences as secondary education. I also expect that parents who planned on having their kids work with them would use their early childhood as an oppurtunity to prepare for that by sending them to primary schools.

I think you are worried about what the ghetto trash does with their kids. I don't think those kinds of people should ever be considered when structuring a society, they can't even make it with all the help they are getting.

I don't think we can just say "The child could afford to live on his own, and theirfore is now considered an adult". There are a lot of aspects to adulthood which revolve around more than productivity. One needs to consider sexual maturity, the child's ability to make decisions about his or her own body, and the ability ot the child to defend itself against other people's stupidity (Car accidents, law suits, beuracracy) .

Edited by Hairnet
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punishment comes from the police.

(police finds out about death after it happens)

So there's a hungry kid sitting and crying on a sidewalk for weeks. No one calls the cops to report the child abuse, no one feeds him, no one does anything. But then, when he dies, suddenly someone cares enough to call this mysterious Police that for the past several weeks did not drive or walk by this area to notice the kid. And then this Police (that, again, apparently does not come to this street ever) comes out, investigates the issue, determines what happened, a trial is conducted, and the parents are jailed for life (at a cost of many millions).

That's your scenario? That in a society where no one cares enough to make a single phone call about a starving child sitting on the sidewalk, all of a sudden millions are going to be spent on justice? Who's gonna provide that money?

Edited by Nicky
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I agree it's possible to set some sort of minimum age. But it's just that it doesn't feel like a very principled approach, different people have different abilities, some people can establish themselves at an earlier age and so on. and there is still the issue of how establish they have to be before you cut them off, do u have to: send them to college? highschool? middle school? grade school? nothing at all??

Well, the number wouldn't be some arbitrary number, it would be based on science and reason. I'm guessing the number would be 16-18. It's true that some may be developed by age 16 while the law says 18. Parents will still have an obligation until that age, but the 16 year old will have the option of trying to become emancipated. That obligation is less than the obligation to a 3 year old. If the parents consider the child to be more "developed" at age 16, for example, they can give the child more responsibilities. But they are still responsible for the basic well being of that child -- including shelter, food, health, etc.

No, it isn't based on education, it is based upon human biology.

Edited by Matt Giannelli
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sorry, my own money is my own money.

In LFC, you would still be responsible for your actions. If you choose to have children, you will be their legal guardian until they are adults or until you are able to pass that responsibility on to someone else (on a voluntary basis). No one's going to force you to raise the children if someone else is willing to do it, but they will hold you responsible if anything happens to them while you're their legal guardian.

Current child protection laws are based on the same exact principles laws in a LFC society would be based on, minus the government involvement in raising orphans and abandoned children. That part would be left to charities and adoptive parents.

But, as far as assigning blame for what happens to children, the legal guardians are the ones responsible, and by default, the legal guardians are the parents who made the decision to bring the child into the world.

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