Thoughts & Observations

An analogy...

An Elderly man says:

Thank you for mending my broken leg, Doctor. But I need pain killer!

Doctor says:

No. You can suffer.

Elderly man:

Why... I'm penniless, but I need help!

Doctor:

It's suppose to be that way.

Elderly man:

But Why?

Doctor:

The pain killer costs me the $$, so it is not your decision.
It does not matter, since you are old.

Should the elderly should be regarded with less value and dignity as they become more depended on the government, or another person for support?

"Of course not!",

all will say, "I may be that person someday". We cannot approve of that discrimination, as we could not honestly disapprove when it is visited on us. But, will we all agree that age discrimination is immoral no matter if it's upon people who are...

young, or old?

Is it not true that basing rights on age is the advocation of age discrimination?
Too often we forget the "second class" status of youth, once we hit the magic number 18. Advocates of age restrictions believe it's OK, but only as long as it does not apply to them, as long as they do not have to worry about it.
In reality, age discrimination is an ancient double standard truly reminiscent of the Class Society. Aristotle once wrote,

"The justice of a master or father is different from that of a citizen, for a son or a slave is property and there can be no injustice to one's property."

Today, we can see that ethically all things are to be considered based on the autonomy of the individual. So, does the fact that a child is a forming individual mean that he/she is in any way less valuable, less deserving of individual, human treatment?
I choose to say NO.

What do you choose?

"Are Children Property?"

A Superb article about the double standard which supports youth oppression, and on what we should do.

Compelling look at the disadvantages child sexual abuse victims face in court, due to their lack of Civil Rights.

You will be moved when you...

... see the face behind the story of abuse which Arthur himself writes about, and continues to face.

You can help prevent the death of every third baby...

When a baby will die every 20 seconds by abortion, then the Pro-life cause should qualify as an important youth rights issue. That's one third of all infant deaths, and over 1 and 1/2 million babies vanquished each year...


The status of youth rights reminds me of the status of women's rights a few centuries ago. They were property and could not withhold consent to marriage as they had no rights. Similarly, today, youth are not entitled to cherished American rights (the freedom to assemble due to curfews, etc.) for the first one-fourth of life.

Youth are truly second class citizens.

Unfortunately, little do we relate, nor fully realize a form of discrimination until it is visited on us personally. For instance, many of us (who will want a car) will realize how high the price of auto insurance is, which is levied to all people under 25 (and unmarried) due to statistical data which reflects that younger people tend to be in more wrecks. However, many other advantages of being an adult are denied to minors which may, or may not be realized depending on how much young people want to exercise their rights. Of course, you could raise the question, "Why should minors have all their rights when they are not supporting themselves?", and in principle I think they should be treated as individuals with equal rights in the Mentor/student model ideally, and gradually become a very strong relationship, or, at least, similar to that of a relative who is somehow unable to support his/her self, and is staying for an extended time.

In Europe in age of adulthood is 16

Ideally adulthood would be based on the qualities and desires of the individual, but, if it must be based on age, 16-17 is more "in tune" with todays more "grown up" youth. Example: the European model in which the age is 16. Perhaps a system does need to have an automatic point for adult rights to begin based on something as impersonal as age (except in special cases), but a more perfect system might see all people bringing their case for emancipation before a court before obtaining their "adult" rights. Of course, the only thing that would make that happen would be if the young person paid the cost of his/her court determination, unless of course you are poor. And what about a criminal drug addict? How long would he be a dependent? In any case a system would have it's flaws, but anything as impersonal as our current system will allow for the angst of many individuals.

Spanking as "training" or physical abuse?

The world is making progress by becoming aware of spanking as a form of physical abuse. On May 19, 1996 Italy's Supreme Count ruled that corporal punishment is no longer an acceptable way to discipline children, and proceded to uphold the conviction of a man who spanked his 10-year-old daughter with a belt.
The case began in 1990 when a girl in a small, northern town went to police and complained that her father hit her with his belt for doing poorly at school. The man was sentenced to 20 days in jail, though it was unclear if he would have to serve it as, in Italy, light sentences for first convictions are often suspended.

"Punitive measures whether administered by police, teachers, spouses or parents have well-known standard effects:
(1) escape -- education has its own name for that: truancy,
(2) counterattack -- vandalism on schools and attacks on teachers,
(3) apathy -- a sullen do-nothing withdrawal. The more violent the punishment, the more serious the by-products."

B. F. Skinner, Ph.D., author, Professor of Psychology,
 Harvard

Making a point by inflicting physical pain is undesirable, and poor message to send. An enlightening overview by "Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education" (PTAVE) called Plain Talk about Spanking offers beneficial reading for people everywhere. And, Spanking - a shortcut to nowhere... is a psychologist's compelling look at why people spank, and the ill affects.
I would, also, point out that in cases when a child is not getting enough love from their parents they may do things that will bring about a spank, just to get the attention they are not getting in a positive manner. Also, some parents would define a child as anyone who is under 18, and would, also, proceed to spank a teenager. In some cases the rational is do to extreme religious beliefs, though the believer in that same religion in Europe would only spank up to age 16 due to European definition of adulthood as age 16. In these cases it is clearly physical abuse, and should be dealt with as such by any person aware of it.

Divorce

Some people support the position that the divorce of parents, with children, should be hindered to prevent harmful trauma to the youth, and some think that divorce should be easy to avert the psychological stresses associated with an atmosphere of conflict. Ideally, it would seem that it needs to be a per family decision made by counselors, or by ethicists, lest we risk the blanket, "one right for all", approach which may either completely destroy families, or harm members of a family caught in the vice of being "forced" together, respectively.
I would make note of the fact that children may be suffering from the stress of families forced together, and that the right-wing push for "family values", though a "nice" sounding attempt to keep healthy, respectful families, will in truth blindly continue to screw the lid down harder on the pressure cooker of unstable units which remain families. Pro-family advocates, and "experts" have rallied around the wrong flag in their cry for a "solution". This step backwards will, foreseeably, continue to preserve the time honored tradition of youth oppression.

Goto next section, What legally constitutes abuse legally, and possible actions to take.

Return to Youth Rights Contents