Property and Children (was Rights, etc.)

From: Corwyn J. Alambar (
Date: Tue Oct 03 2000 - 14:28:18 MDT

Something I've had a major issue with for a very long time (since I was
affected by this particular worldview, in fact), s the tendencies of
cultures to treat children as property. This principle is enshrined
in English at least (maybe someone else knows if the word 'disowned'
carries the same connotations in other languages).

Many laws predicate on this principle - including and especially those
that deal with the right of children to work, to own property, and to
ener into legal, binding agreements. A child until the age of 16 in the
US cannot enter the workforce legally, no matter how competent they can
prove themselves (unless it's farm labor, in which case the lower limit
is 14). If they CAN find work, most banks in the US won't allow them to
open a savings or checking account without a parent's signature (and
therefore the parents' authority to withdraw money from that account
at will), so the obviou and easily accessible means of keeping asserting
control over one's own life is denied.

Children in the US are treated as non-citizens - even felons have more
rights than a 16 year odl in this country. A child is not covered by the
core rights enshrined in the constitution, even those that are designed
to thwart abuses by the state (children in public schools are subject to
all manner of abuses - from blatant censorship of unpopular views or those
critical of the authority figures, to unrestricted, warrantless searches of
their person and possessions.) Is it any wonder that children growing up
today are often more apathetic towards the continuing erosion of their
rights? These are the people who will eventually be voting, and policing
our streets, and making our laws. It seems we're instilling in them a
very Machiavellian mindset - and no one in a policy-making position seems
to notice or care.

(personal rant warning, skip if you'd like)

The question of who gets to school a child is also critical, and one where
this mindset is very apparent. If a parent chooses, their child will be
schooled wherever the parent pleases - even if that means that a child's
formative years are spent under the watchful eye of a priest or minister,
who works to assure the child's indoctrination in their particular brand
of freedom from critical thought. The damage from this sort of
indoctrination can last a lifetime.

(end personal rant)

I will freely admit to not knowing how to overcome this particular
mindset, but as to the damaging effects I'm sure it's fairly clear. Any
>H means of childrearing may wish to take this idea into account. If we
expect children to grow up into adults that respect the rights of others,
we need to treat them with care - "Do as I say, not as I do" is no longer
acceptable - I'd dare say it's fascism in progress.


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