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dadmonson

Should Children Be Able to Eat Free? (Parents don't have to pay)

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Discuss:

From Bernie Sanders Twitter: 

"I don't think it's radical to say schoolchildren should not have "lunch debt." If we can give tax breaks to billionaires we can guarantee free, universal school meals to all our kids."

Under what conditions should children eat free (their parents don't have to pay) -- in school and in other places?  Would this be different in a completely free market?

 

Edited by dadmonson

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The slave decides not his master's wishes. If the majority wishes children to have "free lunches," then they shall have "free lunches." That's how it works in a democracy.

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3 hours ago, dadmonson said:

Discuss:

From Bernie Sanders Twitter: 

"I don't think it's radical to say schoolchildren should not have "lunch debt." If we can give tax breaks to billionaires we can guarantee free, universal school meals to all our kids."

Under what conditions should children eat free (their parents don't have to pay) -- in school and in other places?  Would this be different in a completely free market?

 

What he says is Communist.

If the parents of a child cannot provide the necessities of life to the child: shelter, clothing, food etc. then they should not have custody of the child.  It’s really a no brainer.

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41 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

What he says is Communist.

If the parents of a child cannot provide the necessities of life to the child: shelter, clothing, food etc. then they should not have custody of the child.  It’s really a no brainer.

People are acting like if you are against Bernie you are a proponent of child hunger. https://twitter.com/mamastekait/status/1233208622232018944?s=20 

Edited by dadmonson

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1 hour ago, dadmonson said:

People are acting like if you are against Bernie you are a proponent of child hunger. https://twitter.com/mamastekait/status/1233208622232018944?s=20 

Acting like or saying such things would be very stupid.   As with all stupid arguments ... others either believe them because of their own stupidity, or simply don’t buy them because they are smarter than that.  

Take a poll on such a thing and you accurately and directly measure “stupidity” in the populace.

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4 hours ago, dadmonson said:

Under what conditions should children eat free (their parents don't have to pay) -- in school and in other places?  Would this be different in a completely free market?

I don't see why it would be much different as far as the service itself. Clearly it wouldn't be paid by the state, but I think it would make sense that going to school would include meals. Public schools should do that as well. In the long run I would abolish public schools, but as long as they exist, feeding the kids should be part of what they do. Education is not a typical service, it is not a service to the parents or the kids per se. It is instead hopefully a service intended to teach kids how to think on their own, how to deal with the world on their own, and all the things in the development of a child. Good eating is part of that development.

If parents fail, education should pick up the slack, and morally speaking, I think this should be the case in a free market. How to end public education is a different question.

3 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

If the parents of a child cannot provide the necessities of life to the child: shelter, clothing, food etc. then they should not have custody of the child.  

The question wasn't what to do about the parents. Besides, you said they should not have custody of the child. This implies that at some level, a school should at least temporarily provide food for the kids who do not have adequate care. If the state should take away someone's kid for not being able to provide, then the state should provide at least food to the kid (it isn't the kid's fault). But there are also countless reasons that a parent might be able to barely provide, including statist interventions in the market that can cause or exacerbate poverty. Taking kids away would probably make statism worse. 

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On 2/29/2020 at 4:31 PM, Eiuol said:

Besides, you said they should not have custody of the child. This implies that at some level, a school should at least temporarily provide food for the kids who do not have adequate care. If the state should take away someone's kid for not being able to provide, then the state should provide at least food to the kid (it isn't the kid's fault). 

"At some level," can be the emotional level. What is the principle behind this? First of all, based on what ethical or legal principle "should" the state take away the child? Secondly, is  a child born with "the right to be taken care of"? Or is this the right of an "available caretaker" to take the child away from the inappropriate parent?

I am not proposing anything nor do I have a clear answer, this is a question. The libertarian  position I have heard seems to be children have sub-rights, based on their parents. They don't have rights like an adult, almost to the point that a parent can kill the child. This is heinous, emotionally speaking. But then, if there is no one to take care of the child, or no one wants to, has the state the right to force someone at random to take care of the kid?

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11 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

But then, if there is no one to take care of the child, or no one wants to, has the state the right to force someone at random to take care of the kid?

I consider the purpose of forming a society in the first place. The purpose is basically to benefit everyone in society, to help people survive and flourish through the advantages that a group has over an individual. There needs to be some understanding, though, that the group won't harm the individual and the individual won't harm the group. An adult who can't support himself is a drain on the group. If there is no hope of recovery, then he's probably going to remain a drain for the rest of his life, and therefore the group has no interest in maintaining his existence. It's up to individuals who care for him personally to give him charity. If none exist, that's a real shame. With children it's different. Children are not mature adults. They can still develop into very productive individuals who will not be a drain on society. Indeed new individuals, if raised right, might be the next leaders and innovators of the group. So there is this great potential, and therefore great reason to help them with the group's or society's pooled resources. In a state that collects involuntary taxes, those resources exist in the form of government welfare programs. It would be different in a society that pools resources voluntarily. We would have to decide how to use the resources, and that, in my opinion, should include taking care of orphans and neglected children, due to their great potential for fulfilling the purpose of forming and maintaining a society.

Edited by MisterSwig

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9 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

It would be different in a society that pools resources voluntarily. We would have to decide how to use the resources, and that, in my opinion, should include taking care of orphans and neglected children, due to their great potential for fulfilling the purpose of forming and maintaining a society.


So the argument is the likelihood of future benefit from the child. But this is like an investment that can go well or bad. Where does the right of the state to force a person to invest in something come from? (if there is such a thing, it would justify taxes as we know them) 

Where does the right to mandate "take away" the child come from? The fundamental problem with the argument is that is justifies use of force. Use of force is only justified as defense. What harm is being defended against?

Furthermore, this touches on the issue of abortion too. Some will be able to argue the same thing: Society has to save "potential" babies because the welfare of each individual is at stake.

A more understandable argument would be that it hurts a human to see a baby killed or wither away. It's Painful to experience. But we can't justify setting up a rule simply because it hurts most of us "adults" who have that painful experience. People kill trees or pets in their yard hurting the feelings of the neighbor, and it is tolerated.

It all boils down to the responsibility and the ownership (rights).

The only "owner" that might have a leg to stand on is the right of the "ready and willing caretaker". In this case, the deserving caretaker. Usually you deserve if you "earn", or are given property by a rightful owner, or if you find unowned property.

The reward, the value here is the "having the child" to bring up.

In the case of the state having the right to take a child away, the child is deriving its rights (this protection) from something other than the parent. Something in society, but what is that?

The idea of "the deserving caretaker" is theoretical right now, it can be explored and expanded on because the caretaker is an adult with rights rather than a child or pet that derives rights from parents. 

Would this deserving caretaker have an (ownership) right to the child? 

Childbirth is like a fruit coming from a tree. Who has the right to the fruit? A child is not going to be eaten like a fruit but rather taken care of. So picking the fruit is not justification for you owning the fruit, in this case you have to be able and desirous to pay for the maintenance of the fruit for a long time.

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56 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Where does the right of the state to force a person to invest in something come from?

I'm not sure what you're getting at. In my post, I was pointing out that if the state were to take away someone's kids, that obligates them to take care of the kids at least on some level to stop negligence. I made no claim about where the money comes from, and wherever the money did come from, the state would still be obligated to take care of the kids that they took away. But I take SL's point as hyperbole; it might be enough to find a better and willing the guardian. But in the absence of any guardian whatsoever, and if the state can take away a kid, then the state is already obligating itself towards the kid at least a little bit. I think it follows with similar logic that insofar as the state has public schools, the state is already obligating itself towards kids to at least feed them. 

1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

What harm is being defended against?

This is why I disagreed with SL, because there is no rights violation per se by not being the best parent. I would only advocate taking kids away in the case of abuse. From there, we can find justification for food programs in public schools. 

21 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

They don't have rights like an adult, almost to the point that a parent can kill the child.

I can't tell if you're saying that short of killing a child, it should be legally permissible to do anything to a child, including emotional abuse, child pornography, or even selling the child? 

 

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1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

Where does the right of the state to force a person to invest in something come from? (if there is such a thing, it would justify taxes as we know them) 

I don't think there's such a right. The government has the Constitutional power to tax, but that's different from a right, and it's different from a proper use of taxes, no matter how they're collected.

1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

Would this deserving caretaker have an (ownership) right to the child? 

Ownership with restrictions based on the nature of a human child. As the child matures it has the right to gain increasing levels of independence from its parents or guardians. Also, in a social context, society has an interest in the safety of children, as it has an interest in the safety of all members of society. Even if a toddler lacks rights, it still has the potential for acquiring rights, which can be protected.

This is, of course, similar to the "potential" argument against late-term abortion. However, a fetus is not yet an individual human being. So there is the problem of it still being a physical part of the mother. That is not an issue with separating a child from the parents after it's born.

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52 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I would only advocate taking kids away in the case of abuse. From there, we can find justification for food programs in public schools. 

What you advocate feels right to me. But I don't know how to make the case. Based on what principle should they be taken away? Based on what obligation (non contractual which mean duty) does one take care of a child that is not theirs (parentally)? If there is no self interest of anyone, isn't this a duty? Or perhaps the child has a right to it.

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How do we reconcile these two directions:

12 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

in my opinion, should include taking care of orphans and neglected children, due to their great potential for fulfilling the purpose of forming and maintaining a society.

and

36 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:
2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Where does the right of the state to force a person to invest in something come from? (if there is such a thing, it would justify taxes as we know them) 

I don't think there's such a right. The government has the Constitutional power to tax, but that's different from a right, and it's different from a proper use of taxes, no matter how they're collected.

On one hand, the state ought to invest in potential productive humans, on the other hand (spending tax money) "investing" (forcing the taxpayer to invest), is not a proper use of taxes. (in this case investing in them)

As long as some of this is in the self interest of someone, one can have someone be responsible. But when we talk about the state should do this or that, responsibility become undefinable. Statements like "maintaining a society" without indicating "who" in that society is benefiting and who is doing the work creates moral ambiguity.

Edited by Easy Truth
investing in the sense of forcing the taxpayer to invest in these children

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21 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

On one hand, the state ought to invest in potential productive humans, on the other hand (spending tax money) "investing" (forcing the taxpayer to invest), is not a proper use of taxes. (in this case investing in them)

I think you're mixing up the collection of taxes with the use of taxes. Should a nation not use taxes for the military (or police or courts) because those taxes were collected by force?

Edited by MisterSwig

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3 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:
23 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

On one hand, the state ought to invest in potential productive humans, on the other hand (spending tax money) "investing" (forcing the taxpayer to invest), is not a proper use of taxes. (in this case investing in them)

I think you're mixing up the collection of taxes with the use of taxes. Should a nation not use taxes for the military (or police or courts) because those taxes were collected by force?

I don't want to get on a tangent but the answer is no, money obtained by force is immoral. It should be given back. (if you want to discuss that it will have to be a different thread)

The original question I have still stands and it is related to the OP. Should we feed the children. In the case where we care about them, of course. But if the children are not ours, ones we have no emotional connection with, the argument I have seen is that they are potentially valuable and that money should be spent on them because of that. (or some investment on them should be made with public money)

But some children will not seem potentially productive in the long run. The argument is utilitarian and ultimately may mean euthanasia for those that can't grow up to be productive. So I am trying to see what are "any of the participants" in this thread basing their humanitarian position on based on objectivist values.

I think it is all based on feelings. It feels right to take care of children. There is no logical principle articulated.

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21 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

I think it is all based on feelings. It feels right to take care of children. There is no logical principle articulated.

By virtue of being human, children have a right to life. The most I am saying is that because they are children, protecting the rights of children is a little more nuanced, because it requires more than removing the threat to them. But anyway, in the same way that the state has a moral and legal obligation to defend your rights, the state has some moral and legal obligation to take care of children if nothing else is an option at all for taking care of them. 

So although the funding itself is improper, I think is perfectly valid for children to "eat free" if parents cannot pay, especially since statism is sometimes a cause of poverty. As you said, the state should "pay back" what it took, which is what it would be doing. The only question is if it should be across the board, or a specific bracket of the population. 

And even in a free market, there would be ways for children to eat free, and that would be a morally good thing, and the funding would be proper, and it would be up to the schools to provide it. The state would only be involved in extreme cases where there might be abuse involved, or other cases like I stated in the first paragraph.

Edited by Eiuol

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14 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

I don't want to get on a tangent but the answer is no, money obtained by force is immoral. It should be given back. (if you want to discuss that it will have to be a different thread)

What should be done with the taxes that aren't given back? I think it's understood that taxes should be voluntary. But we're not living in that world right now.

25 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

But some children will not seem potentially productive in the long run. The argument is utilitarian and ultimately may mean euthanasia for those that can't grow up to be productive.

I don't think you can do ethics or politics from a focus on the worst case, abnormal, or emergency scenario. The standard is a child with potential for independence and productivity as an adult. If this is not achievable, then you're in the area of emergency or abnormal decision-making.

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24 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

By virtue of being human, children have a right to life. The most I am saying is that because they are children, protecting the rights of children is a little more nuanced, because it requires more than removing the threat to them.

And the devil is in the details. Yes, it is nuanced.

Doesn't a child having a right to life, imply a right to the labor of others? If a school etc should be required to feed them, then one is acknowledging that these children do in fact have a right to other's labor. And therefore: they do have a right to free food.

Or is it the other way around. The "deserving caretaker", the one that is willing to give the free labor, the one who finds it in his or her interest to do so, the one who would enjoy doing it have a right to the child if the child is orphaned?

In fact, the "deserving caretaker" does describe a loving parent. The right to be responsible for the child, in a sense the right to own the child, emanates based on the love the parent has for the child.

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8 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:
54 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

But some children will not seem potentially productive in the long run. The argument is utilitarian and ultimately may mean euthanasia for those that can't grow up to be productive.

I don't think you can do ethics or politics from a focus on the worst case, abnormal, or emergency scenario. The standard is a child with potential for independence and productivity as an adult. If this is not achievable, then you're in the area of emergency or abnormal decision-making.

You are using the principle out of context. The emergency argument is basically that an ethics should not be based on an unlikely situation (emergency).

The argument here is that if a child should be taken care of because of his utility in the future, that would also mean that the child ought to be discarded if there is no utility, if he will not be productive. It is just moving logically forward with the premises and finding an absurd conclusion.

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8 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

You are using the principle out of context. The emergency argument is basically that an ethics should not be based on an unlikely situation (emergency).

I'm saying it is unlikely that a child will have no potential for becoming a productive member of society. Whether that potential is achieved is another matter. But unless there is a severe disease present, the potential is the norm. And even in those cases, often they can be corrected or mitigated with advanced medical solutions.

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9 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Yes, it is nuanced.

It is nuanced in the sense that they require more in order to have their rights respected. The hard part is when every and all caretakers utterly fail, such that the state must remove the children from the abusive situation. Because they are not at fault, and they have been directly harmed by violation of their rights, the state should in some minimal regard provide something to children who lack any appropriate caretaking.

 

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The question is still "should they eat free".
If it were "should they eat", that is a no brainer, children should eat. In fact all humans should eat.
But when "free" is added, it means take the money from someone. Or force someone to take care of them.
The the question becomes "should some be forced to pay for children that they may not care about".
Similar question arises regarding taxation. (another question which I will leave out is "does one have the right to abandon a child?")

One could make the case, there is no reason to "not care about a child", they are all of value. But some are and some are not.

If there question were "should people be free to take care of them if they are abandoned", that would be an easy yes.

Implication is that this (child eating free) is an exceptional case where initiation of force is justified because ... (no clear answer)

In a free society, there is no duty to feed children for free. But they probably will be, especially where there is abundance. But beyond that there is a natural tendency and desire to alleviate pain in others. It will depend on resource availability.

But up until this point in the discussion: the answer to the question "should they eat free" is no. It may change if some principle that makes sense is brought up.

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16 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

The question is still "should they eat free".

The original question was about universal free lunch for schoolchildren, not feeding orphans for free. Besides, you're not really feeding the orphan for free. You're trading on his actual and potential values. He has value as an individual person, and he has potential value to society as a productive adult. In addition to being a source of companionship and pleasure to other children and the adults now, he will also grow up and one day start paying into the system that raised him. This is why I began by considering the purpose of forming a society. It is the key to understanding such problems as this. We don't form societies in order to let helpless children die.

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4 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

This is why I began by considering the purpose of forming a society. It is the key to understanding such problems as this. We don't form societies in order to let helpless children die.

"Forming a society" is too collectivist. It's like "we" form a society as a collective. The individual action is lost.

Each of us joins a society/group based on the benefits it has for our self.

One coherent argument to make would be "if I were a parent, and my children lost their parents, I would like the people around me to have a system in place to take care of my children". There are two choices. Either I get some sort of insurance in place, i.e. I pay for it. Or we all unanimously agree that someone has to take care of them". In these cases, there is voluntary and unanimous agreement.

This is in principle and in a free society.

One of the comments you have made before is 

12 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

But we're not living in that world right now.

The world we live in is simply a description of what exists. We're talking about what should be which can go against what exists. Just because we have involuntary taxation or involuntary redistribution of wealth does not make it right, it does not justify that it is the way it should be. The fact that liberty does not exist does not mean it is somehow irrelevant.

Society, simply by its existence, does not create a duty to take care of others, including children. Children are and should be taken care of based on the love and affinity that people feel toward them. VOLUNTARILY. All people should not be forced to pay for children's schooling or their school lunches.

If they should be forced to do what is good for them, then you are justifying all sorts or leftist initiatives including social security, medicare etc.

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