Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Time Share Children

Two kids in Virginia recently were suspended from school for playing with guns on private property outside of school hours. This is another instance of the MacGyverization of America's children, an attempt to teach them that there's absolutely nothing worse in the world than a gun. This has two purposes: it makes them cower in fear of those who have guns and it makes it certain they will never use a gun themselves. This is very desirable to those who would use guns to rule over us.

Equally troubling in this article is the one boy's mother's quote. "My son is my private property. He does not become the school's property until he goes to the bus stop, gets on the bus, and goes to school."

I disagree that child ever becomes the "property" of the school, but I also disagree that the child starts as the "property" of the parent. Kids have a weird legal status. Within some non-natural boundaries, I can do whatever I want with my kid, but outside of those boundaries I cannot, and the placement of those boundaries changes with popular opinion. So in ancient Rome and Israel, a parent could kill a child. Now he cannot. In more-recent times, a parent could sell a child. Now he cannot (aside from some weird implications of how adoptions work, but nobody involved wants to think of it as "selling"). Within my lifetime, a parent could seek (or not seek) appropriate medical care for a child. Now he cannot. And just a few years ago, a parent could name the child after historical figures he admires. Now he cannot.

What's wrong with this march of children's freedom? Well, the stated goal of some advocates is to remove all parent decisions that don't pass muster with the collective. We homeschool our children to (in part) keep them from being indoctrinated with the wrong opinions of the social majority. We teach our children religion. There are those who view both as forms of child abuse.

I've blogged before about the bad situations of some kids and the limited ways in which we can respond. I don't expect to solve the conundrum in one (or two) blog posts. But I think this mother does herself and her son a disservice when she speaks in terms of children as property. Once you've conceded that argument, you've granted that you hold title to your children--like all your other property--at the mercy of the state. I hold that my position with respect to my children is not that of a property owner and cannot be transferred to the state voluntarily or by force. There should be a legal mechanism to recognize when a parent has forfeited his right to his position, but it requires a society with similar morals. A means of leaving a society does not exist, but since the days of John Locke all arguments of individual liberty have been based on that idea. Without it, we're all just the state's property, children and adults alike.

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