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When Should the State Intervene Into the Home?

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When a street cop glances in an open window and sees a parent spanking his child?

When an illiterate parent homeschools his child?

When a religious parent forces his son to go to church?

What special rights (similar to property rights) do parents have concerning their children?

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I don't think the state should intervene in any of those cases, except taken to an extreme. 

Hurting instead of light spanking would be a clear cut case.  

The case of an illiterate parent homeschooling children reminds me of Amish and Mennonite classrooms. In fact all of your examples are found in Mennonite and Amish communities. They use spanking to rear children, they make them work in the farm from early age, and they 'brainwash' them to fear a God. But all of this is tolerated as, I believe, it should be.  

Edited by volco
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State is protector of rights. Children are also people and their rights should be protected. Of course it's a difference between mere spanking and physical or emotional abuse. The state is separated from the church and it goes in both ways. State shouldn't interfere in any matters which belong to the realm of mind, faith, ideology. If state has to prohibit parents to teach their children religion on the ground that it is irrational, mystical faith, then state also has to prohibit teaching of communism, parapsychology, belief in alien invasion, scientology, smoking, fast food chains etc...Parents don't have any rights in regard to their children, but have certain responsibilities in regard to their well being. The obligation follows from the fact that they took a conscious decision to have children. Obviously, different people mean by well being different things, but as long as child's life and health is not under threat, state shouldn't interfere. 

Edited by Leonid
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What is sad leonid is that the so called "secular" left seems intent on attempting to prohibit people from smoking, using fast food chains, being subjected to advertising. 


One thing I have begun to appreciate is how perfectly the principle of the separation of church in state explains the classical liberal position on other issues. Treating matters of race and enterprise the same way as matter of religion, the state should be an entity that pays no mind to those issues. 


If the Left was around during the protestant reformation they would have exacerbated the situation in the same way that they do with race, culture, and enterprise today. 

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The responsibilities of the state versus the responsibilities of parents regarding children  has got to be among one of the most treacherous areas of governance traversed in these litigious times.

As Leonid points out, corporal punishment, such as anything ranging from a spanking, to a slap to the head, to a severe beating, may be a subjective matter of opinion or interpretation. Justice demands the child be spared life-threatening or permanently damaging treatment. As Hairnet points, the slippery-slope of Big Brother jeopardizes the freedom of the parent(s), or at very least, diminishes parental authority. Among working-class people given the custodial responsibilities of parenthood, a voluntary duty to be sure, most bristle, if not rage at the idea of having their authority usurped by the "cops." I could relay many humorous stories, yet I find it sad and disturbing to think about the long-term direction current trends in law are taking us. I'm not even sure I want to weigh in on this matter; the subjectivity of it and the variables are almost limitless.

All I can do is say, kids are more resilient than we grown-ups give them credit for, and some people should never have kids.

Happy 2014, and be careful when procreating. :sorcerer:

Edited by Repairman
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