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Do children have property rights independent of parents?

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 thenelli01
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If by "full rights as citizens" you mean everything from a right to life to a right to drink. drive and vote, then you are essentially deriving the moral from the legal, i.e. state regulation.  You stated earlier...

 

So if "the latter is properly based on the former", there must be a moral concept for an age of maturity which the legal is properly based on, correct?  Can you present it??  What I'm looking for is a persuasive moral argument that delimits X year olds without a right to property, from X+1 year olds with a right to property.

 

I actually think this has been discussed elsewhere on this board, so I won't go into it, but for instance there is a specific legal "line" but not a moral one--but the legal "line" shifts as well (a child can emancipate at an earlier age).

 

Morality is derived from the nature of Man--as an adult, not a child. If humans only lived to be 10 years old and we had magic "parents" taking care of us the entire time, the nature of Morality would be entirely different.

Edited by CrowEpistemologist
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I actually think this has been discussed elsewhere on this board, so I won't go into it, but for instance there is a specific legal "line" but not a moral one--but the legal "line" shifts as well (a child can emancipate at an earlier age).

 

Morality is derived from the nature of Man--as an adult, not a child. If humans only lived to be 10 years old and we had magic "parents" taking care of us the entire time, the nature of Morality would be entirely different.

So there's a legal variable 'X age' that initiates a moral right to life and property, is this correct?  How is this different from asserting that morality is derived from the legal status of Man--as a citizen??

 

In terms of our agreement that the proper relationship between the moral and the legal is for the latter to be based on the former, and that you concede there's no moral argument delimiting X year olds without a right to property from X+1 year olds with a right to property, doesn't your introduction of state regulated age limits for fundamental moral rights place the cart before the horse??

 

Also, if morality is derived from the nature of Man--as an adult, not a child, why punish children for behavior they are presumed not to be capable of until they are adult?

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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So there's a legal variable 'X age' that initiates a moral right to life and property, is this correct?  How is this different from asserting that morality is derived from the legal status of Man--as a citizen??

 

In terms of our agreement that the proper relationship between the moral and the legal is for the latter to be based on the former, and that you concede there's no moral argument delimiting X year olds without a right to property from X+1 year olds with a right to property, doesn't your introduction of state regulated age limits for fundamental moral rights place the cart before the horse??

 

Also, if morality is derived from the nature of Man--as an adult, not a child, why punish children for behavior they are presumed not to be capable of until they are adult?

 

You have it backwards. There's a nature of Man, from which we derive morality, and nature isn't fully realized until they are older (and not I'm not using a specific age on purpose). In edge cases (viz. mental disability) there are some people whom never fully obtain the full definition of a "man" and thus never fully have rights comparable to that of a normal adult.

 

From these principles, we can derive a legal framework which approximates the moral goal. Since we're talking about edge cases, and things subject to a specific context, and human judgement of same, then we cannot simply define the rules for this in a few sentences..

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You have it backwards. There's a nature of Man, from which we derive morality, and nature isn't fully realized until they are older (and not I'm not using a specific age on purpose). In edge cases (viz. mental disability) there are some people whom never fully obtain the full definition of a "man" and thus never fully have rights comparable to that of a normal adult.

 

From these principles, we can derive a legal framework which approximates the moral goal. Since we're talking about edge cases, and things subject to a specific context, and human judgement of same, then we cannot simply define the rules for this in a few sentences..

What you're talking about is assigning rights according to competence (as an adult), which reduces the right to life to something like obtaining a license to drive a car.  If competence is the measure of all rights, It follows that children ought not wear clothes until they can dress themselves, eat until they can feed themselves, and generally remain confined to crib until they can crawl out of it; and that the elderly are stripped of rights as they lose the ability to perform as a "normal adult".  It also transforms the role of a guardian of rights to a provider of rights, which presumes withholder of rights as well.

 

I suggest the nature of man excludes no men, specifically children and elderly, and that relying on the variable of age to bestow and dismiss a moral right only entitles the strong to abuse the weak.  Moreover the distinction of a legal age to enjoy a moral right to property is unnecessary because the right to property already allows owners to discipline children and care for elderly as a consequence of establishing rules of behavior for the use of their property.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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What you're talking about is assigning rights according to competence (as an adult), which reduces the right to life to something like obtaining a license to drive a car.  If competence is the measure of all rights, It follows that children ought not wear clothes until they can dress themselves, eat until they can feed themselves, and generally remain confined to crib until they can crawl out of it; and that the elderly are stripped of rights as they lose the ability to perform as a "normal adult".  It also transforms the role of a guardian of rights to a provider of rights, which presumes withholder of rights as well.

 

I suggest the nature of man excludes no men, specifically children and elderly, and that relying on the variable of age to bestow and dismiss a moral right only entitles the strong to abuse the weak.  Moreover the distinction of a legal age to enjoy a moral right to property is unnecessary because the right to property already allows the owner to discipline children and care for elderly as a consequence of establishing rules of behavior for the use of his property.

 

Your reasoning is persuasive.

 

I believe reasons may be wasted  at this time.

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You have it backwards. There's a nature of Man, from which we derive morality, and nature isn't fully realized until they are older (and not I'm not using a specific age on purpose). In edge cases (viz. mental disability) there are some people whom never fully obtain the full definition of a "man" and thus never fully have rights comparable to that of a normal adult.

 

From these principles, we can derive a legal framework which approximates the moral goal. Since we're talking about edge cases, and things subject to a specific context, and human judgement of same, then we cannot simply define the rules for this in a few sentences..

 

 

Let us imagine a hypothetical which teases apart issues of "punishment", "discipline", and all issues surrounding "parenthood" other than property, from issues directly associated with property.  Also lets dispense with current modern STATISM entirely (and the regulations associated therewith).

 

 

Imagine you as a child of age X are given a sum of 1 million dollars (a certified check) by an eccentric billionaire, for something you said to him in the park.  (Yes he is likely a little foolish but the gift is given voluntarily).  After you deposit your money in your account somehow your parents gain access (without your consent) and take the money.  they spend, destroy or squander it, etc. or otherwise deprive you of the VALUE of the property.

 

All of the following are merely specific examples to the main question, which is the one to be answered: 

 

On what objectivist principle would a proper minimalist objectivist government whose role is the protection of individual rights, refuse to recognise the transfer of property rights in the gifted money to the child?

 

 

0.  On what objectivist principle would a proper minimalist objectivist government "grant" the right of ownership of one person (absent consent or the right to consent) in whole or in part by another person or of wholesale or "partsale" ownership (NOT mere possession) of one person's property or "right to property" (absent consent or the right to consent) by another person?

 

1. In a proper objectivist society at what age do you have the right to approach the minimalist objectivist government (which protects your individual rights to property) to get your money back from the parents?

 

2. At what age would you have had the moral right (were there no government to delegate your powers of the use of retaliatory force) to seize, by force, the property taken from you without your consent?

 

3.  In a proper objectivist society would the eccentric billionaire be able to approach the minimalist objectivist government to have the money returned to you? 

 

4.  What would you and the eccentric billionaire need to do, in a proper objectivist society, to ensure a gift is given to you without interference from third parties, including your parents?

 

 

Since the issues are "simple" these questions should be easy to answer.

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[...]

I suggest the nature of man excludes no men, specifically children and elderly, and that relying on the variable of age to bestow and dismiss a moral right only entitles the strong to abuse the weak.  Moreover the distinction of a legal age to enjoy a moral right to property is unnecessary because the right to property already allows owners to discipline children and care for elderly as a consequence of establishing rules of behavior for the use of their property.

 

That turns morality into a floating abstraction. Morality is based on the essential nature of man, but it is a generalization (as any abstraction is) based on attributes which are important in this context. The way in which we determine this is by observing said humanity and drawing abstractions from it. Most people have certain levels of senses, of self-determination, and so on. Children and some adults do not.

 

Physical strength and weakness are not essential attributes of Man in the context of morality. Clearly Stephen Hawking is fully a Man in the context of defining the basis of morality. However, Muhammad Ali, with his unfortunate disease, may no longer be.

 

Also, for the tenth time, I'm not relying on "the variable of age". Clearly age is a common factor, but the basis of morality is the nature of man, and that nature is based on the normal adult nature, not children, not the mentally disabled, etc.

 

Morality is not given to you by God or whatever. It is based on a specific observed nature.

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4.  What would you and the eccentric billionaire need to do, in a proper objectivist society, to ensure a gift is given to you without interference from third parties, including your parents?

 

 

He'd put it in a trust to be accessible by the child when he is legally an adult. This is done all of the time.

 

In your example, there is an adult present with a specific set of wishes--namely, the billionaire.

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He'd put it in a trust to be accessible by the child when he is legally an adult. This is done all of the time.

 

In your example, there is an adult present with a specific set of wishes--namely, the billionaire.

 

This is the unstated premise (perhaps something I overlooked in your previous posts):

 

You believe that in a proper Objectivist society there should be the concept of a "legal adult" ("legal" being with reference to the laws of the proper Objectivist government which has been set up according to Objectivist principles) which kicks in upon reaching a certain age (like the age of majority of current modern STATES), or if dealing with mentally challenged who are nonetheless slowly progressing, upon their crossing some mental threshold.

 

 

In your ideal Objectivist society (NOT any current modern state):

 

What IS the "ownership" status of the "certified check" when it is handed to you as a child?

 

What IS the "ownership" status of the FUNDS deposited into your account as a child?

 

What IS the moral status of the action of your parents DIVESTING you of the VALUE of the money without your consent?  (when they took it, squandered, spent or destroyed it)

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Also, for the tenth time, I'm not relying on "the variable of age". Clearly age is a common factor, but the basis of morality is the nature of man, and that nature is based on the normal adult nature, not children, not the mentally disabled, etc.

Honestly I don't see how you avoid embedding the legal variable of age into whatever moral concept is derived, given that you limit deriving morality from the nature of an adult man, who's neither too young, nor too old, i.e. age X, where X remains undefined according to any moral concept.  The inevitable result is that the foundational right to life is based on a legal variable.

 

Morality is not given to you by God or whatever. It is based on a specific observed nature.

Here were are close to agreement, in that I would subjugate God to Nature, i.e. Nature's God, or simply Nature; morality then being derived by observations of Nature's Man.

 

In any case, I appreciate the patient clarifications of your position and am willing to let it go at that.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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Honestly I don't see how you avoid embedding the legal variable of age into whatever moral concept is derived, given that you limit deriving morality from the nature of an adult man, who's neither too young, nor too old, i.e. age X, where X remains undefined according to any moral concept.  The inevitable result is that the foundational right to life is based on a legal variable.

 

Here were are close to agreement, in that I would subjugate God to Nature, i.e. Nature's God, or simply Nature; morality then being derived by observations of Nature's Man.

 

In any case, I appreciate the patient clarifications of your position and am willing to let it go at that.

 

Because age is not an essential attribute of Man in the context of morality, however, things that are essentials in this context can and usually are effected by age.

 

Moreover, you keep getting this backwards (and then superimposing that on my own view): the legal should be derived from the moral, not the other way around...

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It's just not accurate to describe what children have as "property rights". If your 14 year old is rude to his grandmother at dinner, and you take away his bicycle as punishment, there's no part of a direct definition or even an analogy that equates this to him being a "criminal" whose rights are being removed by due process.

Really?

So if I run granny over while driving drunk, and the state confiscates my car and fines me into oblivion for it, that isn't retaliatory force either, huh? . . .

If it's your bike (you bought it; he uses it) then it's identical to a landlord's right to evict naughty tenants.  If it's his bike (he bought it) then it's retaliatory coercion, identical to a fine or prison time.

No resemblance to due process? 

What are you smoking?

 

Hmm...  To say the rights of children are middle ground implies a hierarchy of rights, and I don't agree that a parent's right to property is any greater than a child's right to property in terms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  A landlord/parent legitimately has administration of possession as a consequence of their right to property, but that doesn't mean tenant/children surrender ownership of their personal effects simply because they reside with the landlord/parent and obey the rules of the house.

There is, actually, a hierarchy of rights.  It's a crucial aspect to politics and it ties into our other discussion, on the Threat to America.  If you'd like we could elaborate on that a bit more.

 

But that's not what Crow's talking about.  He doesn't mean that a parent's rights override their children's; he's saying that children actually have no rights at all.  He still considers them to be the property of their parents, although he's stopped using those words for it.

 

The terms criminal and due process are appropriate for describing and justifying the actions of a parent taking possession of a child's bicycle as punishment; presuming the child knowingly disobeyed a parent's rule, i.e. acted criminally, the parent is justified to take possession as a matter of establishing guilt and punishment, i.e. due process.

I'm not sure I agree on the rightfulness of this.

It probably deserves another thread, but I'm not entirely comfortable with the blatant coercion exercised by most parents today, in order to enforce obedience.  I've always thought that a parent should be like a teacher, who helps their child to understand WHY something is right or wrong; not an arbiter of physical force.

But I absolutely understand that sometimes coercive parenting is a necessity (my son still isn't two, yet; I'm hoping to phase it out quickly) which makes it tangential.

 

Suppose your dependent mother is rude to your 14 year old?  Would you be equally justified to take away her car keys as punishment??  If not, why???

If she's dependent on you then, I would say, absolutely.  You pay for the car which makes it yours.

 

No. She's an adult. Adults have full rights as citizens. Children do not.

Did you miss the word 'dependent'?  That would be understandable (no sarcasm intended; it truly would be).

If not then I reiterate- what are you smoking???

If confiscating your son's bike is justified by your paying for it (which would be just) then it also entitles you to confiscate anyone's car which you pay for.  If not then you're using a tribal model of the family-unit in which children can be sacrificed to their parents' every whim, at any time, for any reason.

 

Which leads us back to coercive parenting.

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Morality is derived from the nature of Man--as an adult, not a child. If humans only lived to be 10 years old and we had magic "parents" taking care of us the entire time, the nature of Morality would be entirely different.

So it's moral for children to steal or evade reality?  Is it immoral for them to be maturely virtuous?

I really don't know where to start, with that statement.

 

You are saying outright that children are not human beings.

 

If children aren't human then they have the moral and legal status of animals. . .  Would you like some burgundy with your man-veal this evening?

 

Also, if morality is derived from the nature of Man--as an adult, not a child, why punish children for behavior they are presumed not to be capable of until they are adult?

Further:  Do we punish troublesome animals in the wild?

If a gopher makes swiss cheese of your lawn, do you give it a lecture and send it to bed without supper?  No.  You shoot it.

 

So what, if not some degree of rationality (of HUMANITY) makes it immoral to shoot naughty children?  Is it immoral to shoot your 14-year-old for being rude?

 

There's a nature of Man, from which we derive morality, and nature isn't fully realized until they are older (and not I'm not using a specific age on purpose).

This implies that children DO have some degree of rationality, and if you concede that then my conclusion logically follows.

 

What you're talking about is assigning rights according to competence (as an adult), which reduces the right to life to something like obtaining a license to drive a car.  If competence is the measure of all rights, It follows that children ought not wear clothes until they can dress themselves, eat until they can feed themselves, and generally remain confined to crib until they can crawl out of it; and that the elderly are stripped of rights as they lose the ability to perform as a "normal adult".

Actually, if you replace 'competence' with the rational faculty then that's the essence of my argument; rights are derived from and depend on man's MIND.

 

In your example, there is an adult present with a specific set of wishes--namely, the billionaire.

Hey, Crow?  Your tribal premise is showing.

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If you make all of your children's decisions for them, they cannot learn to make their own.  You CANNOT run their lives- or even assume the right to do so!

Parents who use their children as puppets to be manipulated by coercion, at will, and molded into a carbon copy of themselves. . . Raise 18-year-old children who cannot retain a full context around any decision.

And a parent who claims the right to confiscate anything from and inflict anything upon their children- up to and including forcibly capturing them when they inevitably run away- is, in my opinion, a monster.

 

"An attempt to achieve the good by force, is like an attempt to provide a man with an art gallery at the admission cost of his eyes"  -Ayn Rand (paraphrased)

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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Because age is not an essential attribute of Man in the context of morality, however, things that are essentials in this context can and usually are effected by age.

Thus the need for legal guardians to act in lieu of those who aren't competent; not as property usurpers, but as protectors of others property.  This has nothing (or at least little) to do with actual ownership until the guardian presumes to claim something unearned, e.g. ownership of gifts that belong to others.  Parents get away with this all the time because parents are presumed to be acting in the best interest of their children, which means protecting their child's right to life.  However if a child's right to life has yet to be recognized, what is there really to protect?

 

Age is not essential to the evaluation of a right to life, period.

 

Moreover, you keep getting this backwards (and then superimposing that on my own view): the legal should be derived from the moral, not the other way around...

Then you are misunderstanding;  I've stated at least twice that I agree with you that the legal should be derived from the moral;  we are copacetic on that issue.  When you assert that the moral is dependent on a legal variable (age), I get tripped up in the obvious contradiction that presents;  how does a moral derivative (the legal) come to be embedded in the moral in the first place?

 

Essentially you, et al, propose to derive the legal from the moral by seeding the moral with the legal, i.e. stacking the deck.  If one presupposes the right to life can only be derived from the nature of adult males, one gets a right to life delimited to adult males... and then has to go back and emancipate a race or a gender... or an age.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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When you assert that the moral is dependent on a legal variable (age),

 

I never said that, implied it, or otherwise. I've said this about 15 times now. I don't know what else to say except that maybe you are arguing with somebody else who isn't here whom you are confusing with me.

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Don't use big words you don't understand.

The implication being that I couldn't possibly know what the tribal premise is, because it doesn't apply to your ideas about children.  Right?

 

The Ayn Rand lexicon had this interesting tidbit about that:

"The basic premise of crude, primitive tribal collectivism [is] the notion that wealth belongs to the tribe or to society as a whole, and that every individual has the 'right' to 'participate' in it."

So when I refer to that premise, I'm referring to the essentials: the notion that someone else can be sacrificed to your whim.

 

Obviously I didn't mean that children can be bought and sold like a car, etc. I merely meant that parents have full rights over what a child does, where they go, etc. etc. If they run away, they can call the police and have them return their child. Etc.

Have you spent too long in the Nanny State to remember what real ownership means? :-)

. . .

 

And yes, in some cases the US and in many places around the world, adults are treated like children...

It's just not accurate to describe what children have as "property rights". If your 14 year old is rude to his grandmother at dinner, and you take away his bicycle as punishment, there's no part of a direct definition or even an analogy that equates this to him being a "criminal" whose rights are being removed by due process.

Adults have full rights as citizens. Children do not.

Morality is derived from the nature of Man--as an adult, not a child. If humans only lived to be 10 years old and we had magic "parents" taking care of us the entire time, the nature of Morality would be entirely different.

 

Now you tell me how these comments compare to the tribal premise.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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Crow Epistemologist, I think our entire problem revolves around precisely this.

 

Earlier in this thread I made a conjecture about child prodigies who compose symphonies, to which you responded:

In the context above within which I was speaking, a "child" meant somebody who was not yet engaged in productive work as would be compensated by the outside world. In this case, if I recall, a child actually maintains certain legal rights as well. As others here have mentioned, whenever you talk about "children", you are talking about a variable, context-driven line between "child" and "adult".

Meaning that when we refer to "children" we refer to entities who are like men in some respects and like newborn infants in others, correct?  Because I would wholeheartedly agree with that.

And if we agree about that then it logically follows that we should treat children as if they were infants in those cases and respects in which they are like infants, and like adults in those cases and respects which merit it.  Correct?

 

Because if you would agree with that then we essentially agree and the rest is just nitpicking over the details.

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Crow Epistemologist, I think our entire problem revolves around precisely this.

 

Earlier in this thread I made a conjecture about child prodigies who compose symphonies, to which you responded:

 

Meaning that when we refer to "children" we refer to entities who are like men in some respects and like newborn infants in others, correct?  Because I would wholeheartedly agree with that.

And if we agree about that then it logically follows that we should treat children as if they were infants in those cases and respects in which they are like infants, and like adults in those cases and respects which merit it.  Correct?

 

Because if you would agree with that then we essentially agree and the rest is just nitpicking over the details.

 

Yes, I think that's what I've been saying since the beginning.

 

Now, I don't know where the "tribal premise" stuff came from, except perhaps to imagine I was advocating that one treat other adults as you would your own children, which I don't, and I further don't see how I could have implied such a thing--unless you substituted the words, "unrelated adult" in place of every instance of my using the words, "your own children".

 

Yes, Ayn Rand was against slavery in any form. However, she would not, for instance, be against the "forced labor" involved in demanding your own children to their chores, work on the family farm (in a limited way as not to harm them), do their homework, and so forth. Children are a middle ground from the standpoint of rights because the are a middle ground from the standpoint of the nature of Man from which those rights are derived. If it were technologically possible for a 3 year old to fully sustain themselves (in every way) without any help from their parents then we could potentially dub this person an "adult" and afford them full rights as such. In today's practical world, full independence from parents doesn't usually occur until a child is out of high school, which happens at age 18 or so. Our current system has a default ("18 years of age") which of course could be wrong in individual cases in either direction, but is fine in this context as most interactions here are not disputed. We have a legal mechanism (emancipation) to cover exceptional and/or disputed cases as well.

 

So... the answer to the OP's original question is, "no" insofar as you define a "child" an entity incapable of fully self-sustaining action. While this almost always is associated with a particular age range, age has nothing to do with it per se...

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Earlier in this thread I made a conjecture about child prodigies who compose symphonies, to which you responded:

Meaning that when we refer to "children" we refer to entities who are like men in some respects and like newborn infants in others, correct?  Because I would wholeheartedly agree with that.

And if we agree about that then it logically follows that we should treat children as if they were infants in those cases and respects in which they are like infants, and like adults in those cases and respects which merit it. 

And accordingly, children don't have "full rights" in the sense of having rights in some regards but not in the same way as adults. You are making Crow's point. If you say that this is why children have rights just as adults do, it's a weak analogy: http://www.fallacyfiles.org/wanalogy.html

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I never said that, implied it, or otherwise. I've said this about 15 times now. I don't know what else to say except that maybe you are arguing with somebody else who isn't here whom you are confusing with me.

 

I believe we are in agreement on the following:

Nature of Man > derive > Moral Concept > derive > Legal Concept

 

What I think you are doing (correct me if I'm wrong) is the following:

Nature of Man > derive > Essential* Nature of Man > derive > Moral Concept > derive > Legal Concept

*Essential Characteristics: X, Y, Z

--

My point is, whatever characteristics (age, fittness, cognizance) you use to reduce the scope of the Nature of Man, reduces the scope of the derived moral concept to those same characteristics.  There may be good reasons for narrowing the scope to essentials, for example the operation of vehicles requires a  level of physical/mental ability that younger/older individuals may lack, so age becomes an essential characteristic >> GIGO >> the presumption of age (as an essential characteristic) delimits the derived moral concept to individuals of a certain age; the result being that some younger/older individuals who have the physical/mental ability to operate vehicles are legally discriminated against by a presumption that excluded them from consideration.

 

With regard to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness being foundational rights presumed essential to survival, reducing the scope of the Nature of Man, for whatever reason, guarantees those outside the scope will face greater legal challenges to survive.  This isn't intended to misrepresent your position, so please clarify any errors for me...

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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I believe we are in agreement on the following:

Nature of Man > derive > Moral Concept > derive > Legal Concept

 

What I think you are doing (correct me if I'm wrong) is the following:

Nature of Man > derive > Essential* Nature of Man > derive > Moral Concept > derive > Legal Concept

*Essential Characteristics: X, Y, Z

--

My point is, whatever characteristics (age, fittness, cognizance) you use to reduce the scope of the Nature of Man, reduces the scope of the derived moral concept to those same characteristics.  There may be good reasons for narrowing the scope to essentials, for example the operation of vehicles requires a  level of physical/mental ability that younger/older individuals may lack, so age becomes an essential characteristic >> GIGO >> the presumption of age (as an essential characteristic) delimits the derived moral concept to individuals of a certain age; the result being that some younger/older individuals who have the physical/mental ability to operate vehicles are legally discriminated against by a presumption that excluded them from consideration.

 

With regard to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness being foundational rights presumed essential to survival, reducing the scope of the Nature of Man, for whatever reason, guarantees those outside the scope will face greater legal challenges to survive.  This isn't intended to misrepresent your position, so please clarify any errors for me...

 

 

Perfect.

 

 

CrowEpistemologist

 

 

I am reminded of the question asked at the debate between Yaron Brook and Miles Rapoport on the proper role of government which is appropriate to repeat here:

 

"Does your life belong to you?"

 

Does a child's VERY life, liberty, and right to pursue happiness belong to him/her?  If not who owns it and if so does not that imply ownership of a person?

 

Theft by the government or society (majority rule 50% + 1%) is not OK according to Objectivism but theft by parents IS?

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My point is, whatever characteristics (age, fittness, cognizance) you use to reduce the scope of the Nature of Man, reduces the scope of the derived moral concept to those same characteristics.  There may be good reasons for narrowing the scope to essentials, for example the operation of vehicles requires a  level of physical/mental ability that younger/older individuals may lack, so age becomes an essential characteristic >> GIGO >> the presumption of age (as an essential characteristic) delimits the derived moral concept to individuals of a certain age; the result being that some younger/older individuals who have the physical/mental ability to operate vehicles are legally discriminated against by a presumption that excluded them from consideration.

 

With regard to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness being foundational rights presumed essential to survival, reducing the scope of the Nature of Man, for whatever reason, guarantees those outside the scope will face greater legal challenges to survive.  This isn't intended to misrepresent your position, so please clarify any errors for me...

 

Logical fallacy. If some A is B, that does not imply that all B is A. Age is not an essential characteristic of Man in the context of morality. However, there are parts of the essential nature of Man in the moral context that may be affected by age (along with sickness, injury, and so forth).

 

And yes, essential attributes play the role of reducing the number of referents of an abstraction. That's what they are for. Chimps don't have individual rights. It's because they lack certain things that most mature humans do not.

 

And yes, both a five year old and a grown-up with severe mental disabilities would absolutely face a lot of legal (and other) difficulties surviving entirely by themselves in (any) society.

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Logical fallacy. If some A is B, that does not imply that all B is A. Age is not an essential characteristic of Man in the context of morality. However, there are parts of the essential nature of Man in the moral context that may be affected by age (along with sickness, injury, and so forth).

Agreed; thus making it unnecessary to narrow the scope of the Nature of Man to adults (age specific).

 

And yes, essential attributes play the role of reducing the number of referents of an abstraction. That's what they are for. Chimps don't have individual rights. It's because they lack certain things that most mature humans do not.

Screening by species is appropriate for understanding the nature of a particular species, e.g. Man; but if we were studing the nature of Apes, it wouldn't be necessary to exclude those who can't peel their own bananas in order to validate those who can.

 

And yes, both a five year old and a grown-up with severe mental disabilities would absolutely face a lot of legal (and other) difficulties surviving entirely by themselves in (any) society.

No one survives entirely by themselves in society because everyone experiences moments of incapacity during their lives.  The question is whether these moments of incapacity are significant enough to dismiss consideration of rights to life and property, such that only the momentarily fit are entitled to live and own property.  Given that Man is a mortal and fallible being, narrowing the scope of the Nature of Man to exclude those who are momentarily enfeebled is both misleading and unnecessary.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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Does a child's VERY life, liberty, and right to pursue happiness belong to him/her?  If not who owns it and if so does not that imply ownership of a person?

 

The question doesn't help anything. Rights don't derive from self-ownership (I don't even think self-ownership makes sense as a concept).The idea is that children don't have anything to be stolen by their parents. So taking away your kid's bike, cigarettes, XBox, gardening tools, books, computer, etc isn't theft even if the kid acquired it via income from a job. A parent does have moral authority over their child, provided that a parent is not abusive or otherwise inflicting permanent *damage* on the child. It's really that simple. As much as it'd be convenient to say children have rights and just have an implicit agreement to do what their parents want if the child wants to stay in the parent's house, that's not how rights work anyway. I'm not sure what the argument is against? My position and Crow's seems to be that sure, you can make analogies with rent/agreements/etc, but that doesn't mean children do have rights in the full sense of the term.

Edited by Eiuol
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