June 4, 2009 at 4:06 am #6320
I did… and then I defined what one was. To say that a man, with all he eons of evolution, can take the role of a woman, and complete it without any loss is naive. To flip that around would also be wrong. Men are men, and women, women, each having their own strengths and weaknesses. You toss children into the mix, and you get a team working together for the greater good, each balanced with the others. When one actor is missing, the play cannot go on as written, and adjustments need to be made. This makes it sub-optimal. Now, is it possible to overcome these challenges, Mr. Obama… certainly, but the more of these units that exist, the less balanced the entire civilization becomes, and they are more easily destroyed, either culturally, or physically. To surive, the community must be strengthed… and the community is a collection of these core units. To strengthen the community, you must have as many units in balance as possible.
That sounds awefully, uhm, collectivistic. Even if we accept your assertion that on average, man/woman couples do a better job of raising children, and you might well be right, are you willing to extend that logic, including the consequences you derive from it?
I bet intelligent people do a better job raising children, by almost any metric you can think of. Whatever homosexuals are doing suboptimal, no doubt it is dwarfed by this factor. Should the government impose a minimum intelligence bar for having children?
Need I go on?
Yes, this is exactly right. I totally agree that a man and a woman is the optimal way to raise children. As is having both parents highly trained in child rearing. As is having them be independently wealthy and free to spend lots of time with their children. As is having them be perfectly healthy. As is having them be very even-tempered, and able to cope well with loss of sleep.
There are many things that make for better or worse conditions for raising children. That does not mean that one should make the best conditions for raising children the foundation or core of a society. Just like any other aspect of life, there are costs to all benefits, and regulating that we do everything perfectly means we make everything really expensive. Kids are robust, they don’t do well when neglected or abused, but all the evidence I have seen shows that there is little to no difference in outcomes throughout the whole range of amazing to bad parenting. Outcomes = genes + luck. Not genes + luck + parenting. I know its weird, but that’s what the science says.June 4, 2009 at 1:27 pm #6322
Kids are robust, they don’t do well when neglected or abused, but all the evidence I have seen shows that there is little to no difference in outcomes throughout the whole range of amazing to bad parenting. Outcomes = genes + luck. Not genes + luck + parenting. I know its weird, but that’s what the science says.
Couldn’t disagree more.
Patri, where exactly in the mix of genetics and luck do you find your libertarian background comes from? I’m not saying you are “just like your father” because you’re not. But much of who you are is who your father is. Not genetically speaking, for your preferences and your world view are not genetic pre-dispositions.
I would venture to guess that you never would have considered seasteading if it were not for your upbringing. If you want to chalk up the parenting you received as luck that is up to you… but I’ll say this: Tovar is a lucky boy. This conversation is personal. These aren’t ideas we’re talking about… they are the foundation of our world’s future… they are our kids.
I agree though that it is difficult to “regulate” parenthood and I’m not for the regulation of such things. However, shame on us all if we do not “encourage” the best out of all those we know. Telling someone that making choice A is a “good decision” is a mistake if choice B is an optimal way of doing things.
Independantly wealthy, large amount of free-time, and perfect health are not exactly something that we choose for ourselves. Often these are aspects that we get dealt to us by the deck of cards that is life. An even temper, a focus on raising a child rather than spending time on oneself, and having a spouce who is committed to these same aspects… these are things we do get to choose.
Make due where you find yourself lacking… but choose to make the best decisions where-ever you can.
-JasonJune 4, 2009 at 4:57 pm #6328
There’s very little scientific evidence that genetics plays any significant role in behavior, and especially not anything as idiotic as “IQ” or the like. There are interesting exceptions, for instance there are genetic markers that predict alcoholism because certain people have different genes that program their responses to alcohol consumption. You could probably find similar genes for food consumptions as well.
However, something like “world view” or anything like monetary or academic success in society would be extremely strained to find a real genetic marker. The idea that it is genes is a fantasy that people who benefit from a socially stratified society like to circle jerk with each other to hide the fact that their dominance is the result of luck, or even worse and more likely corruption.
Even things like sexual preference are almost definitely not genetic, unless you accept that heterosexuality is massively selected for. Otherwise, duh, it would run in familes and such families would eventually die out for gay genes. The most compelling evidence suggests that it’s congenital having to do with circumstances in your mother’s womb, but not genetic, and just as likely environmental.
Parenting is a REALLY big deal when it comes to the way children turn out. My next door neighbor’s children are bright, curious, and academically ambitious. However, their parents are complete failures. They recently took them out of school for the last two months to go to Mexico and hang out. That’s how much they value education. The other night their oldest kid asked my son if I could give his father a job, his father who doesn’t speak English, has no desire to learn it, and can’t even do simple arithmetic. You can see these bright children slowly slipping into their parent’s poverty inducing patterns. It’s not genetic, but it’s definitely cultural.
I guess that’s my politically incorrect post for today.June 10, 2009 at 3:02 pm #6407
A community shouldn’t be driven by what’s best for kids. Some of the most onerous impositions to freedom are, supposedly, “for our children”. It takes a village. Blah, blah, blah.. But, individual parents should sacrifice. As libertarians/individualists, if there is a moral imperative outside our own self in this world, surely dedication to your child must be it. That being said, I don’t think a danger free home and parade of worldly goods is good parenting — quite the opposite.
Genes provide a spectrum of outcomes, and this spectrum is relatively narrow. The extremes are not good and bad. Maybe the spectrum is 3 or 4 dimensional or a Vin Diagram of sorts. However, considering the vast size of the spectrum, the outcome for the individual child is meaningful. So, parenting matters and, personally, I’ll be looking for a kid-friendly Seastead. I’d like to help create a kid-friendly Seastead.
Jason DunnJune 10, 2009 at 3:52 pm #6412
Children, and child rights, is one of the issues that has always held me back from libertarian systems. Children cannot enter into contracts, they cannot be bound by the NAP, so they need adults to protect and care for them. The adult should be able to care for their child in ANY way they chose, without government interference. Outside parties cannot interfere to defend a child that is being agressed upon, since the aggression is not directed at the outside party. So how do you prevent things like child abuse?
Existing systems do that by putting in place laws, defined and enforced by a central authority (government), to protect the child until said child is old enough to protect itself. I don’t see how this existing method works in a libertarian context.
You would assume that religious morals and religious systems would provide a buffer, putting in place a moral code that would prevent the abuse of children without the need for laws. But that hasn’t worked, has it?
Parenting works, but society needs to put in place some structure as to what type of parenting is acceptable. By that, I mean that each society has an idea as to what kind of adult it wants that child to become. If you have a pure warrior society then good parenting is killing sub-standard babies and putting kids into the Agoge to make them superior warriors. This structure is not defined by religious organizations or genetics, it is defined by a strong central authority. That is the foundation that defines how the building will look when it’s complete.June 10, 2009 at 5:27 pm #6422
Good points. My take is, the relation between partents and their children is effectively a property relation, untill such time as they can fend for themselves. That sounds authoritariany, but given the alignment of incentives, there isnt really that much of a problem. My partenting will probably be quite libertine; but the bounds i do set will be enforced in an entirely undemocratic way. ‘Because i say so’ will be the final argument, and i will not pretend otherwise. They are going to have to trust in the fact that i will act in their best interest, and as long as i really do, there isnt much of a problem.
The problem begins when we think other people are not acting in the best interest of their children. It is rare, because parental love is rather universal, and best interest not all that subjective, but it does happen nonetheless. In general, acting as a group of people has the effect of moderating out the crazy stuff. Now that is more or less what we are trying to get away from, but im not trying to get away from people, im trying to get away from groups of people that i didnt choose myself. If i choose to become part of a group of people, id expect our social contract to contain some bounds on this property right over ones children.
Now that doesnt stop anyone outside your group from doing stuff your consider crazy, but in that sense, an explicit social contract is no different than an implicit social contract. Girls were being circumcised before seasteading came along, and seasteading isnt going to change much about it either way, as far as i can tell.June 10, 2009 at 7:57 pm #6429
I don’t see much of a problem with libertarianism and children. A parent who chooses to conceive a baby (because it is a choice, babies don’t just magically appear) has implicitly entered into a contract with the child to provide a good upbringing, and should be considered innocent of any wrongdoings or neglect in this duty until proven otherwise in a court of law as determined by a jury of peers. What exactly constitutes neglect or abuse will be determined by the court on a case by case basis. Defining neglect and abuse is pretty much self-evident.
Basically, if you think someone is abusing their children report it to the police and let the courts decide. This is how all crime is dealt with in a proper legal system after all, and I don’t see how having special governmental divisions or bureaucrats assigned to children is going to provide a more just outcome.
And regarding children entering into contracts, they cannot. Children are exempt for obvious reasons and I’ve never heard of a libertarian who thinks otherwise. It is assumed that the freedom in a free society applies only to adults. Children can only do things that their parents allow them to do.June 10, 2009 at 10:15 pm #6440
If I choose to beat my child senseless whenever I want, what concern is that to anyone else in a libertarian society? I’m not aggressing against you, so it’s none of your business. In fact, if you come into my house and try to stop me it will be YOU who is violating the NAP and aggressing against me, and I would be well within my rights to respond with appropriate force.
How can something enter into a contract implicitly? Is that like saying “You bought my software, so you implicitly are agreeing to the EULA?” How is that libertarian?
What court of law? Who determines these laws? A jury of my peers? Proper legal system? This sounds just like what we have now. How is that a libertarian system?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe a society can exist without a strong central government creating the structure that everyone lives in. But I am no libertarian.
Would the libertarian society you envision have laws that prevent me from beating my dog?June 11, 2009 at 12:29 am #6448
Sorry to post without reading the past 6 pages, but it’s late and there’s an awful lot.
I am personally a devout atheist. Barring God proving to me that he exists (which seems to be against what many people would consider Godly), I simply am unable to believe that there is some omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force overseeing us. It goes against the physical laws I hold to be true and proven.
I can see reasoning for Agnosticism, though I see it as a refusal to make an important decision that everyone should make.
I can even, only just, accept people who believe in A god.
What I simply cannot grasp is why anyone would conform to organised religion. Even if there is A god, what possible reason is there to believe that it’s the God written about in the Bible? (I use the Bible as an example because I have the most experience with it, and because Christians seem to commit an unreasonable number of atrocities, even compared to other religions.)
It was written by men, it’s full of rediculous inconsistencies and frankly it’s completely wacky. It’s no more realistic than Scientology or Flying Spaghetti Monsterism.
I have no problem with many of its values. I’m all for loving thy neighbour, etc. But why do people feel the need to look to a 2000 year old work of fiction for guidance? Why can’t you derive your own morals and beliefs, rather than jumping on this murderous, dangerous bandwagon?
– NickJune 11, 2009 at 12:59 am #6451
If you initiate force against your child it has a right to defend itself and also to ask others to help in its defense. That the child wants help is self-evident. I will help defend it, and take my chances that any court will find my actions reasonable and just. So the court case will be between the beater of the child and those who defended it. Why is this confusing?
When you put some food on the conveyor belt of the grocery store you enter into an implicit contract of trade. Just as an example.
What court? A court just needs a guy both parties are ok with (the judge) and some jurors (ordinary people).
Who determines laws? Not important. We are assuming a libertarian society, so there is only one law required; the non-aggression principle. How we determine this is out of the scope of this discussion as far as I can tell.
Animal cruelty; good point, animals are sort of a grey area. But in general I would say that animal abuse is self-evidently aggressive. A court will decide.
I think a justice system such as this that is defined in full by just one general principle would in the end work a lot from previous court cases and the general sense of right and wrong among the populace. I think it would work just fine. I believe there is a general consensus on what constitutes genuine aggression among a very large majority of the human race, regardless of nationalities, races, religions or politics.June 11, 2009 at 2:38 pm #6458
Love your observations about the Bible. It seems interesting to me that “organized religion” is made fun of because we all basically believe the same thing and talk the same way. Yet anytime there is an athiest point of view that is put forward I hear the same phrases… “wacky”, “written by men”, and “flying spagetti monster”. I wonder… is there an athiest book you all read and draw the same expressions from?
Let’s examine your theory… everyone should determine their own morals from scratch. No religious influence. The inevitable end is a majority of people with a self centered outlook. Those unfortunates who have a disability that makes it hard to compete are trampled under the feet of society as a whole. The young are manipulated and the old are discarded. Businesses fail to flourish because every worker is looking to maximize his own take over the lot of everyone else he works with at all times. The NAP is followed up until someone can break it and take enough to get away free and clear.
“That wouldn’t happen!” right? We’ve had a fantastic example of a society build around blocking organized religion, the U.S.S.R. Now that the first generation of children from that society have grown up and control it, how exactly does that country run today? Massive corruption, violent oppression, destructive capitalism.
You know why I would like to live in a society like that? I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t subject my family and children to that. However, I myself would choose to live in such a place… your perfect society free of organized religion. I would live there because I would be bringing some organized religion with me. After suffocating for years in the darkness of such a place, the virtues of what I hold dear would attract a majority of your people like moths to a flame. So ends another secular society. People will endure such leadership for just a time.
Of course the same arguement goes for most governments run by an organized religion. Power of religious choice should never be held by government. I wouldn’t support a secular society as much as I wouldn’t support a theocracy, they both fall into dictatorships.
This is why I would encourage “secular societies” on seasteads to allow for people to organize religion as they see fit.
-JasonJune 11, 2009 at 4:05 pm #6462
I don’t know enough USSR history to comment on that, but I still fail to see why people need that book you rely so much on. It’s up to the parents and the people around the children to teach them morals, because everybody can agree on the basic morals of compassion, empathy, etc. But religion is a completely different issue.
While there are books on atheism, I haven’t read one and I doubt most atheists have. Isn’t it interesting, then, that we all reach teh same conclusions without being told those conclusions by somebody else?
I defy you to point out one important way in which the Bible is different from the scriptures of Spaghetti Monsterism.
And if you insist on throwing out examples of failed atheist societies, then I’ll do a little research and give you a much higher number of failed religious societies. And they’re alot more dangerous to others. Without doing any research to find others, Nazi Germany comes to mind.
Also, I’d rather live in a hellish world of atheists than a heavenly world of religious folks, because religion is simply false. It’s a product of people trying to explain things that science hasn’t yet. Emphasis on the word yet. Thousands of years ago, many people believed the Sun was a god, because what else could produce such heat and light from the sky? Now we know that it’s a ball of burning gas.
Imagine what we’d know if people stopped deluding themselves and worked toward real scientific knowlege.
– NickJune 11, 2009 at 5:07 pm #6473
athiest book you all read
If you want to read some books by prominent athiest (or anti-theists as some like to be called) writers then I suggest “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything” by Christopher Hitchens and “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. Richard Dawkins also did an excellent two-part documentary called “The Root of All Evil?” for the BBC back in 2006. It is almost impossible to get, but I have a copy on my phone that I watch every once in a while.
Both of these authors make excellent cases against religion, and I suggest them both to budding anti-theists and theists alike. My views are very close to theirs…that religion once had its uses but now holds humanity back from moving to a greater destiny…and religion would probably fade away if it weren’t propagated by organized groups who need it to maintain their positions of power.
Dawkins comes at it mostly from an evolutionary biology point of view, whereas Hitchens bashes religion because of the way it lessens humanity. I actually have my copy with me and I can copy his four main points (you can also check out the Wikipedia page):
Religion misrepresents the origins of humankind and the cosmos; Religion demands unreasonable suppression of human nature; Religion inclines people to violence and blind submission to authority; Religion expresses hostility to free inquiry.
You can also always check the Church of the Flying Spagetti Monster website for more info as well…but watch out for the pirates!
EDIT: Oh, I forgot “Atheism: The Case Against God” by George H. Smith. Another good read, if a bit dry and not as colorful as the other two.June 11, 2009 at 6:31 pm #6477
In regards to the U.S.S.R. and Stalinism: First of all, Stalin was actually trained as a priest who recognized the power that organized religion could wield against the working class. His thoughts to create an athiest state were centered around two plans: to dissolve the existing VERY RICH religious organizations and nationalize their vast wealth, and to remove any competition to his new religion of the state. There can be only one opium of the people, and that opium needed to be the state.
There are two lessons I take from the failed U.S.S.R.:
1) As soon as the organized religious groups were abolished people suddenly found religion not as important. Vast numbers of people suddenly found religion to be irrelevant. This shows me that the propagation of religion is only being supported by these religious groups, and that religion would fade from history if it were not being artificially supported.
2) Just because you have an athiest society, that does not magically make it a perfect society. The U.S.S.R. wasn’t a bad place because it was athiest…it was a bad place because it was ruled by dellusional, oppressive megalomaniacs. My point is that their failure wasn’t because of the devil…they were just people who were responsible for their own mistakes. Maybe if the serfs hadn’t spent all their time praying to god for relief, and instead took their fate in their own hands and rose up against their corrupt rulers things would have been better.
In regards to religion as a source for morality and “goodness” I always quote two of my favorite people:
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”, Albert Einstein.
“Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God’s approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? That’s not morality, that’s just sucking up, apple-polishing, looking over your shoulder at the great surveillance camera in the sky, or the still small wiretap inside your head, monitoring your every move, even your every base thought.”, Richard Dawkins.
The “debate stopper” as Dawkins calls it comes from Michael Shermer:
If you agree that, in the absence of God, you would ‘commit robbery, rape, and murder’, you reveal yourself as an immoral person, ‘and we would be well advised to steer a wide course around you;. If, on the other hand, you admit that you would continue to be a good person even when not under divine surveillance, you have fatally undermined your claim that God is necessary for us to be good.June 11, 2009 at 6:55 pm #6480
Children need to be protected from physical harm including harm from their parents. It has nothing to do with a libertarian society or God. Any government that claims to protect against physical violations would have to extend that protection to children as well. There’s no difference between adult and child in that sense.
Parents have costodial rights over chilren, something that could be seen as a form of imprisonment if adults did it to each other. In a true libertarian society, perhaps this would even be put into question, that children could emancipate themselves from their parents. I think under certain circumstances older kids can legally do it in various places. It’s not an issue for most children, though, because the protection that parents provide is generally welcome, although you wouldn’t know it by the way most teenagers talk.
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