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Should the State punish abandonment of small children and severily dis

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I would like to know your opinion about it.

My question is not whether abandoning a small child or severe disabled first-degree relative to their fate is ethical or unethical.

My question is whether a right is being violated, and therefore the agent of such an action should be punished accordingly by the Law.

 

In general, we know that the need of person A does not imply an obligation from person B.

While acting directly on person A to kill him is an obvious violation of his right to life, is the omission to take care of them also a violation of a right, in circumstances where we are the parents or first-degree relatives of a person unable to take care of himself? 

Why?

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

Edited by Hotu Matua
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The parents do have an obligation to their child up to a certain age because they were the ones that brought them into the world. So abandoning the child is immoral and should be punished.

 

As for the disabled relative, it would depend on the situation. Given your statement "abandoning a severe disabled...relative", it would depend on the circumstances under which you took responsibility for the relative. For example, if you accepted responsibility and moved in with the relative to help take care of him indefinitely - but then one day you decided you wanted to move to Florida and left him unable to take care of himself - yes that would be immoral. It would be your responsibility to find someone else willing to accept responsibility. Whether or not it should be punished by the state again depends on the circumstances.

Edited by thenelli01
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It's an irrelevant question, in the case of children. Adoption and charity will easily take care of unwanted children. In fact in many countries there's an unfulfilled demand for children. The parents should have an obligation to properly arrange a legal adoption (especially so that the adoptive parents have the certainty of an official document by which the child becomes theirs). 

 

Failure to do that should result in the parents being held legally responsible for any harm that comes to the abandoned child. There should even be a small penalty for the mere failure to properly transfer parental rights, even if nothing happens to the child as a result. But that's about it. The state has no right  (or reason) to force parents to raise unwanted children. And whenever the state puts up barriers to adoption proceedings (like Russia recently did, by banning American adoptions), they are the rights violators, not the parents who wish to give up a child for adoption but are prevented. 

 

In the case of disabled relatives, the state once again has no right to force anyone to take care of them.

 

P. S. Ruveyn is misusing the term "contract". There are no contracts here.

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It's an irrelevant question, in the case of children. Adoption and charity will easily take care of unwanted children. In fact in many countries there's an unfulfilled demand for children.

 

Have anything to back that up? ("Adoption and charity will easily take care of unwanted children")- adoption and charity exist now, and there are still startling orphan statistics. I know in America foster care is paid for by the state, but is that the sole reason why there's so many "unwanted children"?

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Have anything to back that up? ("Adoption and charity will easily take care of unwanted children")- adoption and charity exist now, and there are still startling orphan statistics. I know in America foster care is paid for by the state, but is that the sole reason why there's so many "unwanted children"?

Regarding the American stats, 18yos aren't children. Do you have a stat on how many unwanted, abandoned (as opposed to temporarily removed from a home) three yos there are?

 

As for figures from third world countries, I don't think there's any point in discussing what the ideal laws on parenting obligations ought to be in third world countries. I think not killing children's parents with machetes would be a more reasonable first goal post towards solving the problem. Once third world governments manage that, then we can maybe talk about other measures they might need to take, like allowing easy foreign adoptions (or even just expatriations, by charities and churches - plenty of countries would take these children out of hellholes like Sub-Saharan Africa). Then, if orphans are still a problem (I don't think they would be), we can talk about further solutions.

Edited by Nicky
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I'm going to go out on a limb and say I think that it should be illegal for the state to punish people for not wanting to take care of others.

"Not wanting to" - sure, the government shouldn't regulate feelings. However, if you take on obligations, fail to fulfill them, and the result is loss of life or bodily harm, you should be punished. I think this is easy to understand for children, but this also applies to taking care of disabled persons.

An example would be you signing papers or agreeing to take care of your brother (or anyone) after discharging him from the hospital. However, you bring him home, leave him there for a week alone, and as a result of you failing to give him his medicine, he dies. That should be punished because as a result of you not fulfilling your obligation, your brother lost his life.

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Here is a snippet I got from Wikipedia on the English Law concerning undertakings;

 

 

Duties arising out of a relationship

It has long been held that a parent owes a duty to their child to ensure they do not suffer any unreasonable detriment to health or safety. Thus a parent who omits to feed or properly care for their child may face criminal repercussions for subsequent death or injury. An early example of this principle was given by the case of R v Gibbins & Proctor,[16]where the court ruled that it was so self-evident that it did not require analysis or authority.[17] In upholding convictions for murder resulting from two parent's starvation of their child, Darling J quoted from the earlier case of R v Instan,[18]a case of similar neglect for a vulnerable individual, that:

"There is no case directly in point, but it would be a slur upon, and a discredit to the administration of, justice in this country if there were any doubt as to the legal principle, or as to the present case being within it."
[
19
]

Following R v Gibbins & Proctor, and the passing of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, it became a criminal offence to neglect a child in a way which would likely cause injury or risk to health. It is still likely however that following the more recent case of R v Stone & Dobinson,[20] a conviction for manslaughter or murder would arise, where the neglect or lack of care by a parent is either intentional, or grossly negligent.[17]

Other instances in which a duty may arise include spousal relationships, and family relations, where they are of sufficient proximity.[21] A recent case affirming a duty to a spouse is R v Hood,[22] where the Court of Appeal upheld a husband's conviction of gross negligence manslaughter, where had failed to summon medical attention to his wife – a sufferer of osteoperosis – after she fell and broke a number of bones. Familial relationships have been found to infer a duty to act where the proximity of the two family members is that of the same household, as shown by the cases of R v Stone & Dobinson and R v Chattaway,[23] where neglect for an elderly sister and a daughter resulted in convictions of murder and manslaughter.

 
 
The general principle is that undertaking the care of a party which creates a dependence constitutes an actionable contractual obligation. 
 
ruveyn1
[edit]
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Here is a snippet I got from Wikipedia on the English Law concerning undertakings;

 

 

Duties arising out of a relationship

It has long been held that a parent owes a duty to their child to ensure they do not suffer any unreasonable detriment to health or safety. Thus a parent who omits to feed or properly care for their child may face criminal repercussions for subsequent death or injury. An early example of this principle was given by the case of R v Gibbins & Proctor,[16]where the court ruled that it was so self-evident that it did not require analysis or authority.[17] In upholding convictions for murder resulting from two parent's starvation of their child, Darling J quoted from the earlier case of R v Instan,[18]a case of similar neglect for a vulnerable individual, that:

Following R v Gibbins & Proctor, and the passing of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, it became a criminal offence to neglect a child in a way which would likely cause injury or risk to health. It is still likely however that following the more recent case of R v Stone & Dobinson,[20] a conviction for manslaughter or murder would arise, where the neglect or lack of care by a parent is either intentional, or grossly negligent.[17]

 

"There is no case directly in point, but it would be a slur upon, and a discredit to the administration of, justice in this country if there were any doubt as to the legal principle, or as to the present case being within it."[19]

Other instances in which a duty may arise include spousal relationships, and family relations, where they are of sufficient proximity.[21] A recent case affirming a duty to a spouse is R v Hood,[22] where the Court of Appeal upheld a husband's conviction of gross negligence manslaughter, where had failed to summon medical attention to his wife – a sufferer of osteoperosis – after she fell and broke a number of bones. Familial relationships have been found to infer a duty to act where the proximity of the two family members is that of the same household, as shown by the cases of R v Stone & Dobinson and R v Chattaway,[23] where neglect for an elderly sister and a daughter resulted in convictions of murder and manslaughter.

 
 
The general principle is that undertaking the care of a party which creates a dependence constitutes an actionable contractual obligation. 
 
ruveyn1

[edit]

 

 

First off, citing old English Law is not an argument. Second, that doesn't say that simply giving birth to someone results in a contractual obligation to last 18 years, the way you claimed in your first post. No one is arguing against punishing parents who neglect children who are in their custody. 

 

I'm arguing against punishing parents who wish to abandon a child. Abandoning is by definition giving up custody. As long as this is done in a way that allows another willing adult to take custody, there should be no punishment.

 

The suggestion that sometimes there aren't willing adults to take custody of a child is also false. Even if in some cases there aren't readily available adoptive parents, there are many charities and churches which take in abandoned children automatically and without any discrimination. 

Edited by Nicky
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First off, citing old English Law is not an argument. Second, that doesn't say that simply giving birth to someone results in a contractual obligation to last 18 years, the way you claimed in your first post. No one is arguing against punishing parents who neglect children who are in their custody. 

 

I'm arguing against punishing parents who wish to abandon a child. Abandoning is by definition giving up custody. As long as this is done in a way that allows another willing adult to take custody, there should be no punishment.

 

The suggestion that sometimes there aren't willing adults to take custody of a child is also false. Even if in some cases there aren't readily available adoptive parents, there are many charities and churches which take in abandoned children automatically and without any discrimination. 

Good old English Common law is the closest living working system approximating justice that we have today.  It is the basis of law in the United States. 

 

What makes Common Law is good as it is,  is because it was generated by real live condition and people had to make judgements,  not in the abstract, but to deal with real problems.  It is law developed by an -inductive- process.  

 

However,  look to the principle.  If A has taken actions with respect to B that has created a vital dependence of B upon A,  then A cannot justly and willy nilly abandon B to his fate,  particularly if B is a helpless child which A brought into the world.  An undertaking is in effect a contract and contracts must be honored.  If you want to avoid the obligations of undertakings  do not enter into such a relation with another person.  Do nothing for other,  let the be and let what happens to them happen.   In particular do not bring children into this world unless you are serious about taking care of them while they are helpless dependents.

 

ruveyn1

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The current framework of rights in Objectivism thought is that rights are rights to action (negative rights) and not rights to stuff (positive rights). 

However, in this situations, my disabled relative or my small child are helpless for an action that ensures their survival.


Do these people have a right to THINGS such as food, bed, clothes, books, toys, medicines?

Is one of the responsibilities of the State to ensure those positive rights are "honoured" by some persons?

 

In my view, those cases are clearly outside the current framework of rights and should be treated under another logic because they do not fit the concept of rights.

 

Remember that rights are not derived plainly from the fact that men have a rational faculty. They are derived from the existence of certain interactions between individuals with rational faculty.

Rights are a concept that is built form observing interactions between people who can act independently to survive, but who benefit from a cooperation that respects each one's freedom of mind, creation and use of what is being created (produced). 

 

As in the formation of any other concept, you take account of the differences between interaction of men who freely produce things for their survival and the interaction of other animals or entities. You then take the interactions between those men, omit the measurments of the differences in their particular  interactions and come up with the concept of rights.

 

The concept of rights would have never arised from watching two babies interact, or two bears interact.

 

In reading your opinions, which I value and thank, it appears to me that we are all talking about a whole different concept. The concept of custody. Certain entities deserve custody, and there is an objective "order of custody" that we can track. I mean, custodians can be identified.

 

This area has not been deeply explored by Objectivist thinkers, as far as I know. If I am mistaken please correct me.

 

The tricky think with custody does not lie in its ethical implications, though ("it is moral to take care of your helpless, bed-ridden, 85 year-old mother"). The tricky thing lies in the role we assign to the State in ensuring that custody is fulfilled, because that would mean that, under certain circumstances, people can be forced to provide things to other people.

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