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Old TCS Posts 2

...and it's not as though the child has the *practical* freedom to leave the relationship if they don't like the rules the parent chooses to live by.

Whose fault is that?
From context, we know the intent of this question is to say that it's the child's fault for not being an adult yet, and therefore it's not the parent's fault or problem if his child doesn't like "my rules or move out."

Let's reconsider who's fault it is. The parent created a dependent. And hasn't yet changed that dependent into an independent person. So who's fault is that? The parent's. This is a result of his decision and he should take responsibility for it.

I'm not saying the parent did anything wrong, it's just that he chose to cause the situation and is thus responsible for it. On the other hand, a young child had no choices which would let him be financially and otherwise independent of his parents, so blaming the child is ludicrous.
Any act of definition is a selection of axioms, and is therefore not subject to reason. If someone disagrees with your choice of axioms, reason cannot come into play to convince them to change their mind, outside of inconsistent axioms. In the case of property, you're restricting the actions of someone else. If they disagree with your definition, one or the other of you will have to capitulate when it comes to those restrictions.
The right way to approach axioms is that they are just ideas, about which we might be mistaken. If someone else points out a problem with one of our axioms, or suggests a reason an alternative would be better, we should consider it and be open to changing our mind. In this way, a person with different axioms can have a fruitful discussion with us.

What prevents reasoned discussion from being effective is not choosing different axioms, it is holding them with a closed mind. If we refuse to reconsider our ideas which we call axioms, that is the cause of the problem, and if we don't, there is no difficulty.
Force may be justifiable in those cases where incompetent use is a danger not just to oneself but to others

I agree. What I don't agree with is the notion that people should be presumed incompetent.

Then you can come up with your own examples to support it. For me, in my community, it all depends on what risk one's incompetence poses to one's neighbors, I think. In some cases, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, in others the pound of cure might be so cheap it doesn't matter.
Using contextual clues, we can tell that the issue is whether to use force against your children on the justification that their incompetence might create a danger to others. For example, if your child picks up a gun, but isn't trained in gun safety, then you can force him to put it down.

First of all, how often does this happen? (And if your young child gets ahold of a loaded gun, that is your mistake for leaving it lying around on the floor.) When do small children have the power to hurt people? It's pretty rare. They are just looking for an excuse so they can oppose the TCS principle that, "it is possible and desirable to raise and educate children without either doing anything to them against their will, or making them do anything against their will."

Second, they bring up the specific issue of whether children should be presumed incompetent on account of their age. Why presume? What is their to gain by it? Why not use our knowledge of the child to evaluate what he is competent at? Sadly, the answer is that the poster wants to say, "it all depends" and hide behind vagueness, so that he can maintain that "sometimes, in some situations" children should be coerced. He doesn't want to offer a plausible example. It's hard to think of an example where it isn't blatantly the parent's fault (like letting a toddler have a weapon). If child would be dangerous in possession of something, shouldn't you keep it on a high shelf or behind a lock? There, problem solved without coercing child.

I think the ounce of prevention, which is worth a pound of cure, is to make children obedient. With this simple step, all dangerous situations become safe. When child gets a loaded gun, now we can just say, "Put that down, son," and he'll obey. This obedience "just in case" is necessary for our neighbor's safety. In what specific situation? Umm, it depends on what you consider a risk, and where you live, and what your children's personality is, and stop asking me for details I'm busy teaching my child to listen.

Notice that this kind of bad, vague arguing and failing to listen to reason (as explained by me) is just the kind of thing these people accuse their children of, and use as a justification for force. Well, as far as I am concerned, they are ignorant, and don't listen to reason. So by their own logic, shouldn't I force them to listen, for their own good?
Nor do I understand how non-coercive parenting can be effective with a very young child who has an unusually strong temper and little to no self control. It's not that I prefer coercion. Yet in certain situations reasoning with a child just isn't a viable option and immediate action is necessary to contain the impending violence.
See what I mean? Parents claim they have to use force to defend themselves against their violent three-year-olds. Absurd!

And look at the excuse implied: it's not the parent's fault, the child was born bad. It isn't that the parent has failed to teach self-control, and temper control, it is the child's fault (somehow). The child was born with original sin. He's already going down the path of wickedness by resisting his parent's wise, reasonable ideas.

Back in real life, tempers are not inborn, they are cultural. "Lack of self control" is the same. These traits, which are supposed to justify mistreatment of the child, were in fact taught to the child by the parent (unintentionally).

This should not surprise us. No one designs a lesson plan to teach "turning into your mother". Yet, many women discover that, at some point, they learned how to act like their mother. And the best explanation is that they learned it from their own mother. That's why people usually turn into their own mother and not someone else's. As this illustrates, parents often unintentionally teach major ideas, even to children who consider it a bad idea and do not want to learn it.

Also notice how this poster is asserting something in the mode of, "I don't want to coerce my child. But my child forces me to do it. He has power over me. It's his fault, not mine." This is upside down. The parent is the one with all the power and control.
In such situations, force must be meet with force. The child is not exercising his better judgment. He is out of control. It may take years to develop enough self control to handle such a strong temper. In the meanwhile, there must be constraints placed on such a child's behavior. Certain types of inappropriate behavior can not be tolerated.
This paragraph directly follows the previous quote. In it, the poster's motivations are even more clear. You see, three year olds are very dangerous. If parents aren't authorized to use force, they would be killed or maimed. Non-coercive parenting would be like hunting angry tigers and cannibals without a gun. That's suicide! Don't do it!

More philosophically, the idea is that until the child's original (inborn) sin (lack of self control) is defeated, he is not a real person. He is dangerous. But after you beat the sin out of him by force (but only using force if he won't obey peacefully), it's all smiles and puppies. He's a person (adult) then, and you can get along peacefully.

Very telling is how the poster fails to give an example of a type of behavior that cannot be tolerated. Are we talking about back talk? Refusing to share his gameboy? Not wanting to visit Grandma? Beating up his frail parents? Or what? The poster simply wants us to imagine whatever we would feel justifies violence, and then agree with him that, in general, violence against children is sometimes necessary to protect parents from intolerable behavior.

Besides, the phrase, "inappropriate behavior," is a give away. It reveals we are talking about mundane things like the child being rude.

Elliot Temple on December 28, 2007


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