Re: Raising kids [was Re: Freedom or death? ]

Paul G. Bassett (pbassett@hermes.Netron.COM)
Thu, 14 Aug 1997 17:58:28 -0400

The discussion about how to raise kids leads to the more general
societal question of how values and authority should override
individuals whose judgement in certain situations may be impaired.

Children are generally assumed to lack good judgement, especially when
very young. But we all are like children in situations where we cannot
know some or all of the important outcomes of our actions, or where we
are aware of the outcomes but we attribute very different values to
those outcomes than do others who care about the outcomes and/or us, or
where we differ in the assessement of probabilities of various outcomes,
or all three.

Who/what is going to act as the parent in such situations? Who gets to
decide who is the child and who is the parent? Do "parents" have rights
to impose their wills on "children?" I will take a Devil's Advocate
position and say that (even in a post-human society) one of society's
most important functions is to be the "meta-parent," deciding the
policies that provide good answers to the above questions. As a
meta-parent society must strike numerous balances among competing values
and ignorance of outcomes. Else the resulting chaos and anarchy will
reduce the society's potential to achieve win-win outcomes, and to avoid
self-destruction (assuming self-destruction is something to be

Does this make me pro-government? No and Yes. Governments as we know
them today by and large abdicate their responsibilities to be good
meta-parents. But some form of self-regulating authority and enforcement
is clearly needed, just as real parents are.


Paul G. Bassett, I.S.P.
Senior Vice President, Research
Inc. 99 St. Regis Cr. North
Toronto, ON CAN M3J 1Y9

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