Children

Conversion Therapy and Other 'For the Children' Measures As Efforts to Curtail Liberty

In the name of children's rights.

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In the twilight of his administration, with all that stage-managed hope of 2008 having long turned to dust, Obama needs all the whoops he can get. And he got a fair few with his expression of contempt for conversion therapy—the pseudoscientific, psychobabbling attempt to turn gay kids straight by bombarding them with Biblical scripture. 

In response to a WhiteHouse.gov petition calling for conversion therapy to be banned, Obama's people said they shared the petitioners' concerns about the "devastating effects" such therapy can have on "the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer youth."

The petitioners want a conversion-outlawing "Leelah's Law"—named after Leelah Alcorn, the 17-year-old trans girl who killed herself in December after her parents sent her for therapy—and Obama is sympathetic to their pleas. As part of "our dedication to protecting America's youth," the Obama team "supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors," the statement said.

 Protecting American youth, including gay ones—who could be against that? Only the cold-hearted and possibly homophobic, surely?

Actually, it depends on who's doing the protecting, and what they're protecting youth from. And in the case of officialdom's growing agitation with conversion therapy, we have a pretty clear case of the state wanting to protect youth from their own parents' beliefs, from their parents' way of thinking, and from their faith.

The Obama lot can doll this up as a nice, liberal idea as much as they like, but there's no disguising the threat it poses to freedom of religion, freedom of association, and the rights of parents.

 All of us—bar perhaps those on the fringes of Christian evangelism—will balk at some of the stuff that happens at conversion-therapy sessions. Based on the mad, outdated idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder, some religio-therapeutic meddling with gay teens involves making them undergo humiliating rituals, like stripping naked in front of others to generate a sense of sexual distance from bodies of the same gender. There are reports of teens being given nausea-inducing drugs to make them think the junk of their own sex is gross rather than attractive.

Listen, if young people are being made to rip their clothes off by so-called experts, or are given dodgy drugs, then there's a case for intervention—perhaps a knock on mom and dad's door to ask them "WTF?".

 But the tag "conversion therapy" covers so much more than those clearly perverse antics. As a Guardian piece says, it can sometimes involve intensive praying sessions—an attempt to "pray the gay away"—or "talking with church leaders or visiting religious camps."

Even counselling sessions that involve only speech—no drugs, no nudity—are sometimes dragged under the conversion-therapy heading. So one-on-one sessions between a concerned Catholic priest and a teen giving off gay vibes could be counted as a stab at conversion, if the priest's aim is to turn the teen straight.

A university in Ireland recently banned Catholic counselling for gay students, on the basis that its offer to help those students "move beyond the confines of the homosexual label" counted as homophobic conversion. Might there be similar bans on religious speech in the U.S. if a future administration clamps down on conversion therapy? Will we see the outlawing, not only of the stripping of youngsters, but also of intense Catholic chats, eccentric religious camps, certain forms of proselytization? 

If we invite the authorities to police conversion therapy, we throw open the realm of religious liberty itself to their watchful eye. A top-down war on all the stuff that gets collapsed under the title "conversion" would seriously dent the freedom of religion. 

Parents must be free to communicate their beliefs to their children. That's a central part of religious liberty: the right to raise one's kids according to one's own moral, spiritual convictions. 

Yes, this will often mean parents telling their children stuff that the rest of us—mainstream, largely secular society—would rather they didn't, whether it's that Jews killed Christ, other religions are BS, or that being gay is wicked. But that's life. That's liberty. Giving people the freedom to voice and spread only those ideas that have won mainstream society's approval is not freedom at all—it's state-enforced thought, it's tyranny.

The administration's move against conversion therapy speaks to one of the major threats to liberty today: the utilisation of children by the authorities, or campaigners, as a means of undermining the freedom and autonomy of adults. Ours is becoming an era of in loco parentis, where those with power are increasingly using kids as a moral shied for their intolerant clampdowns on the behaviour or beliefs of adults.

There's United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron's desire to turn off the porn on all Britons' home computers in the name of protecting children; the European campaign group Child's Eye Line, which seeks to remove sexual imagery from public life to prevent the pollution of kids' minds; the growing international campaign to have circumcision banned—which would mean an end to Jewish boys, in essence—on the basis that it's "child abuse"; the rising number of police clampdowns, in both Europe and America, on parents who—horror of horrors—allow their kids out alone, and on it goes. "Saving children"—whether from moral pollution or physical threat—has become the top rallying cry of those who really want to interfere in and rearrange the adult worlds of words, images, ideas, morality, parenting, home life, and community life.

This isn't new, of course. As Marjorie Heins showed in her 2008 book Not in Front of the Children: Indecency, Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth, for hundreds of years various officialdoms censored and controlled society under the guise of preventing "harm to minors." But such child-fronting cynicism by aspiring authoritarians appears to have intensified in recent years. The more that the old, traditionalist, moral arguments for controlling what we think and do have fallen into disrepair, the more the illiberal have been forced to shove children to the front of their censorious campaigns and to holler: "Won't somebody please think of the children?" Emotional blackmail as a stand-in for moral authority.

And it's the same with the proposed clampdown on conversion therapy: here, too, officials paint themselves as the decent protectors of youngsters from harm, when in truth their urge is to restrict the expression of certain religious ideas and the rights of association of those parents and adults who, I'm afraid to say, think homosexuality is bad.

It's time liberals called into question the very idea of children's rights. Of course children must have the same legal protection from harm or harassment as adults. But they can't have rights in the same way we do—like the right to serve on a jury, the right to vote, the right to leave home and shack up with hippies—because they lack the moral capacity to exercise those rights and to take responsibility for their behaviour.

Which means that most pursuits of so-called "children's rights" really involve adults, usually quite powerful ones, exercising rights on children's behalf, normally as part of a culture war against raunch, or religion, or parents themselves. It's the exploitation of children to the end of curtailing pesky liberty. It's the undermining of rights—real, adult rights—in the lingua franca of rights. Activism doesn't get much more cynical than this.

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  1. Off-topic because it’s Sunday: I stopped by CNN.com this morning and this opinion was front and center.

    From 1995 through 2000, according to statistics from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, right-wing extremists were responsible for at least 47 different terrorist acts, conspiracies or plots.

    However, during the past six years, from 2009 through 2014, right-wing extremists in the U.S. were involved in at least 42 actual or attempted terrorist acts.

    In other words, right-wing violence today is actually at or very close to levels during the days of the Oklahoma City bombing.

    The source is the ADL, and I wonder how many these “actual or attempted terrorist acts” were FBI set-ups.

    1. Why don’t they just classify Islamist terrorists as “right-wing” – that should result in some fairly scary statistics.

      1. Yeah, without the definition, that claim is flat out bullshit:
        ‘One in five Americans is starving’ = one in five Americans might possibly have gone to bed hungry one day last year.

        1. Or one in five Americans lives in a food desert

        2. ‘One in five Americans is starving’ = one in five Americans might possibly have gone to bed hungry one day last year.

          Even better, “at risk of hunger”. By all rights, that should include every human and animal on the planet.

        3. On in five women are raped at college every year.

          1. To hear the SJWs tell it, I thought it was one in five every day.

            1. Well, if all sex is rape…

    2. Okay, so, taking those two somewhat arbitrarily bounded data points, “right-wing terrorism” as they define it has fallen by 25% since the mid-90s.

  2. Yes, this will often mean parents telling their children stuff that the rest of us?mainstream, largely secular society?would rather they didn’t

    Perhaps a minor quibble, but as many are fond of pointing out, ostensibly in refutation of the idea that Christians can ever possibly be persecuted in the United States, “mainstream” American society is pretty overwhelmingly religious, not largely secular.

    It would probably be wise for psychiatry writ large to avoid planting the idea in the public’s head that pathologizing otherwise innocuous behavior and subsequently ‘curing’ it with a combination of drugs and mental/emotional manipulation is unethical. The only real difference between “conversation” therapy and any other type is the popularity of the ‘illness’.

    1. *conversion, not conversation.

    2. And the success rate of the treatment. And the research (meaning double blind controlled trials or at least RCTs) backing that treatment. Psychology isn’t nearly as rigorous as it ought to be, but it blows conversion therapy out of the water.

    3. And the success rate of the treatment. And the research (meaning double blind controlled trials or at least RCTs) backing that treatment. Psychology isn’t nearly as rigorous as it ought to be, but it blows conversion therapy out of the water.

    4. It would probably be wise for psychiatry writ large to avoid planting the idea in the public’s head that pathologizing otherwise innocuous behavior and subsequently ‘curing’ it with a combination of drugs and mental/emotional manipulation is unethical.

      Look, 50 yrs. ago, when TOP MEN declared it a mental defect, they were wrong, OK?

      Now, new TOP MEN have looked into the matter with less religiously motivated heads, it it, universally and without exception, an immutable personality trait, and that any and all efforts to influence or alter it, for *any* reason(s) are doomed to failure. Failure that’s detrimental to both the individual and society in general.

      Until it’s in the states’ best interest to apply social pressure one way or the other, then newer TOP MEN with even clearer heads will be appointed.

      And *they* won’t be *wrong* either, got it?

  3. Yes, I do worry about the restrictions on the personal liberties that such laws do entail. And yes, the law should distinguish between between forcing drugs on a young person and a one-on-one chat between a priest and a teen. But, on the other hand, I do believe that many forms of conversion therapy are child abuse. I tend to think that the rights of the child to not be abused trumps the rights of the parents to impose their values to their children. There is a difference between teaching values and imposing them by force. Conversion therapy seems to be a forcible imposition of values.

    1. There is a difference between teaching values and imposing them by force.

      What we need is a person with your infinite wisdom in every home to ensure that the line between teaching and forcing is never crossed.

      1. What we need is for the teen to have a legal recourse if he/she doesn’t want to go to conversion therapy.

        If that menas the teen has the right to call CPS and tell them that their parents are trying to force them to undergo unwanted and medically unnecessary treatment, then GOOD.

        1. My dad made me go to boy scout meetings. They were medically unnecessary too.

          1. Oh my god, the horrors of a world in which parents can’t force their kids to join the boy scouts.

            1. To which I repeat my prior statement. I wonder if it’s occurred to either of you what would happen if you disagreed with one another on what constituted child abuse when you’re locking up parents for ‘forcing’ their children to do things.

              1. This goes back to Ken’s question below. What exactly are we talking about? Is this a case of sausing physical pain, or are LGBTQXYZ@# kids being “forced” to sit in a room while someone talks to them? If it’s the latter how is it any different from a parent deciding what school to send his kid too?

                1. If the kid objects to the school, why should the parents get to choose the school?

                  You think it’s totally ok for parents to (say) lock their kids up in a military reform school because they think they are too disobedient?

                  1. What’s the alternative Hazel? Lower the age of adulthood? Fine, we can have the same argument about 15 year olds. Let the state decide how children should be raised?

                    1. I think we need to define realms of increasing autonomy that kick in as the child reaches certain thresholds of development.

                      Obviously this is a grey area for libertarianism, because libertarianism has never really dealt with the child/parent relationship or the rights of children very well. The “parents own their children” approach is morally wrong and causes harm to the children involved. Children are morally entitled to be treated more like autonomous individuals by the state than like property.

                    2. Children are morally entitled to be treated more like autonomous individuals by the state than like property.

                      Why? Show your work.

                    3. Why? Show your work.

                      Well, why are you entitled to be treated more like an autonomous individual? Show your work. And in the mean time, please turn all your property over to the local soviet so that they can be sure you’re not misusing it.

                    4. It’s not just libertarianism?no -ism deals with this, unless it’s some “-ism” that consists of following the very particular pronouncements of some guru. You can try to formulate rules, but then you’re going to have to draw arbitrary lines in all the grey areas?& there’s practically nothing but grey areas in dealing w children.

                    5. The “parents own their children” approach is morally wrong and causes harm to the children involved.

                      And your alternative? As letting children decide how they should be raised is stupid and I’m sure the state with all their guns and Top Men would cause all involved more harm.

                      And BTW – children have legal options today. A friend of mine (not due to conversion therapy) had bad home so legally emancipated herself at 16.

                      But irrelevant really, as you keep ignoring the fundamental problem – who decides which therapies or which teachings are child abuse?

                      Do you seriously not see the downside?

                    6. You hit the nail on the head. This is a grey area. During that “shush” interview Rand Paul had I was in agreement with him until he said “parents own their children”. Children aren’t property. They are, as you said, autonomous human beings. Having said that, they don’t have the intellectual capacity or mental maturity to run their own lives.

                      I think the best people in the vast majority of cases to care for and guide children into adulthood are the parents of that child. Therefore, a great amount of deference should be given to parents in the raising of those children. But that doesn’t mean that society can’t put certain boundaries on the choices parents can make. Those boundaries include physical abuse and neglect. Certain techniques that are used by some conversion therapists unquestionably fall into these categories.

                      As I said previous, there is a difference between teaching values and forcibly imposing those values on your children. You can teach your children that homosexuality is wrong because a book that claims the sun goes around a flat earth says it is wrong. If they come to share and replicate that opinion, fine. But you can’t torture or otherwise abuse or neglect your child if they form a different opinion.

      2. I think we can all agree that certain techniques used in conversion therapy can be banned outright if they involve inflicting physical pain or discomfort with the desire to associate that pain or discomfort with homosexuality. Why shouldn’t there be a law against using electroshock therapy or vomiting inducing drugs to try and turn a person straight? Why not give due process rights to teens whose parents want to send them to reeducation camps out of the country?

        As Lenore wrote in the article you linked to:

        Imagine the very worst home a child could grow up in: No food in the fridge, parents strung out on drugs, the children covered with scabs and beaten regularly. You would want someone to step in and save the kids.

        1. As Lenore wrote in the article you linked to:

          Imagine the very worst home a child could grow up in: No food in the fridge, parents strung out on drugs, the children covered with scabs and beaten regularly. You would want someone to step in and save the kids.

          Sure, but irrelevant to conversion therapy, as the difference between bigoted teachings and a home with no food and regular beatings is so vast, Superman would need two leaps.

          1. Actually, it is not necessarily irrelevant. Conversion therapy has and does include highly abusive techniques.

            1. I suspect the “highly abusive techniques” you mention are already illegal, being as they are highly abusive. So, yes, it is irrelevant.

    2. “[…]But, on the other hand, I do believe that many forms of conversion therapy are child abuse.[…]”

      Yep, the gov’t schools do that on a regular basis; I think we need to put an end to it.
      Why, I heard some school kids yapping about how the teacher assigned projects for “earth day”!

      1. Sending children to public school is child abuse. Filling a child’s brain up with bad ideas.

        Making gifted children sit there all day bored out of their mind in classes made for children 3 std deviations lower in IQ is also child abuse.

    3. There is a difference between teaching values and imposing them by force.

      Unless it’s the government imposing my ideas, then it’s all the same and all good.

    4. Just to be clear, you are for removal of all Jewish boys, in essence, from society. That is what you are saying? Really!? I… have to disagree with you on this one.

      1. You know who else was for the removal of all Jews from society?

  4. The ADL is to the SPLC as HSUS is to PETA.

    The same means to the same ends.

  5. A top-down war on all the stuff that gets collapsed under the title “conversion” would seriously dent the freedom of religion.

    Not only freedom of religion but also plain freedom of conscience. Can a parent attempt to “convert” a child seeped in socialism? Would forcing your 12 year old to read Hayek or Bastiat be conversion therapy? Could a parent force a child who believed in God to read Richard Dawkins? Or Darwin, for that matter? If a parent believed that their child was meant to be gay, could they take them to straight conversion therapy? Wouldn’t dieting be conversion therapy for fatties? Have I been possessed by Judge Nap while writing this comment?

    1. Are you serious?

      1. Does this look like a joke?

        1. PM|4.19.15 @ 11:06AM|#
          “Does this look like a joke?”

          I was channeling Boxer and joshing MG; sorry…

          1. I was just going along with the answering every question with a question thing. It actually was a joke.

            1. PM|4.19.15 @ 12:51PM|#
              “I was just going along with the answering every question with a question thing. It actually was a joke.”

              Sarc meter is in for a tune-up…

              1. After a thread full of Bo and Hihn my sarc meter just shuts off. I didn’t get the joke either until it was pointed out and I rarely disagree with PM.

            2. “I was just going along with the answering every question with a question thing. It actually was a joke.”

              At first, I thought that both you and Sevo were being serious and I considered several responses. What if I had? What if they made no more sense than the original post? What if I start drinking right now, will I be drunk by 5?

      2. Some of his examples are a little hokey, but let’s use public education and environmentalism as an example. Or gun control, for that matter. Or any of a litany of compassionate causes for poverty or redistribution. Or the anti-drug crusade. I recall many extra-curricular causes from gradeschool alone in which I was expected to participate. It all boiled down to indoctrination. What use have kids that young got for Amazon rainforests or water conservation? And yet it’s taken as a matter of course that they’re exposed to every manner of granola-crunchy pet cause in the name of (heavily lopsided) civic awareness. Amp it up with the move to tattle on your parents for owning guns or drug paraphernalia. Before too long I’m certain we’ll see a variety of identity-related crimes parents may inadvertently commit that warrants intervention by the school. Did Jayden want to wear a dress to school but mommy wouldn’t let him? Does Apple want to play kickball but daddy drives her to ballet twice a week? Did grandpa use an ethnic slur? I have little doubt public schools would step into the role of conscience police without too much reflection, and impinging practices like conversion “therapy”, as odious as they are, only helps lubricate that process.

    2. Shouldn’t these questions start with “What if”?

    3. What about all the lesbians I am trying to “convert”?

      1. Why would you that? Who’s gonna make my porn?

    4. A top-down war on all the stuff that gets collapsed under the title “conversion” would seriously dent the freedom of religion.

      As they say, that’s not a bug, that’s a feature. Progressives want to crush religion. (Well, Christianity, at least. And probably Judaism. Islam gets a pass.)

  6. Another off-topic because it’s Sunday: Plastic bag ban proposed in Postmouth, NH.

    “If I can’t stop this with that many signatures, nothing will,” said Brighton, who collected signatures from shoppers outside a grocery store. “It’s a freedom of choice issue. People don’t want to be told by the government, even local government, what to do.”

    Brighton believes that if the ordinance is passed in Portsmouth, other communities will draw up similar bans.

    “I know Portsmouth is the Cambridge of New Hampshire, but I can see this catching on in places like Concord,” said Brighton.

    1. I want to say Portland Maine Northern Mass is proposing a similar ban.

  7. OT, because DEG started it:

    The Constitution We Don’t Understand

    The U.S. Congress no longer passes most federal laws, rules, and regulations. Instead, about 99 percent of the rules we must live by issue from an army of unelected federal bureaucrats. Using a classic duck-and-dodge strategy, Congress routinely enacts legislation that purports to solve a genuine problem, but then delegates to these executive-branch bureaucrats the power to make the legally binding rules that determine the law’s real-world impact.

    What could go wrong?

    1. It’s Erm?chtigungsgesetzen all the way down.

      1. gesundheit

      2. Who know who else used lengthy concatenated nouns to make life hellish for other people?

        1. H… Husserl!

          (think Voraussetzungslosigkeit)

          1. Mary Poppins? But I think that was an adjective.

      3. Einsatzgruppen?

    2. OT, because DEG started it

      I’m a bad person and I revel in it.

    3. You’re not allowed to agree with that site because it’s right wing and will give Bo a sad.

      1. Buck Fo.

  8. How about we convert them into not being idiots instead?

  9. At ten cents a bag it is kind of a toss up whether or not I pay Safeway for my garbage bags or buy one time use Hefty ones.

    1. Ten cents a bag? Willie Nelson remembers a time when a dime bag actually cost ten cents.

  10. What are we talking about with conversion therapy?

    Are we talking about using electro-shock and nausea inducing drugs?

    Or are we talking about a bunch of Christians getting together and trying to pray the gay away?

    Seems to me there are important distinctions between those two approaches, and it isn’t necessarily what they’re trying to accomplish that distinguishes them.

    It’s how they go about it.

    Seems to me that banning something like this because of what it’s trying to accomplish is sure to miss the point. Fundamentalists certainly aren’t going to stop trying to turn their gay kids just because professionals are no longer helping them. Saying you can’t use electro-shock or nausea inducing drugs on children is another matter.

    1. I’m interested in hearing how Muslim Americans deal with gay children. I think the progs’ heads would explode if they knew.

      1. Reality tends to have that effect. Progressives go to great lengths to avoid knowing as much as possible.

  11. Sorry, but I think Reason is way off on the wrong path on this issue.

    The correct libertarian position should NOT be that parents have a right to force their teenage children into “conversion therapy”. TELLING your children about your beliefs does not entail forcing them to undergo psychological treatment they don’t want to undergo. Especially not a 17 year old on the cusp of adulthood.

    The correct libertarian position should be to empower the teen to make his or her own decisions on the matter. That doesn’t mean a federal ban on conversion therapy, but it does mean limiting parents rights to order their children around as they progress towards adulthood. A position that is far more sensible than granting parents absolute control right up until age 18.
    NOT to give the state power over their children, but to give children increasing freedom as they become adults.

    In other words, the child should have consent to such treatment and if the parents punish the child for not going, that’s ok grounds for state intervention.

    Parents that violate the (increasing) rights of their children to make their own decisions as they approach maturity should be treated as aggressors.

    1. “TELLING your children about your beliefs does not entail forcing them to undergo psychological treatment they don’t want to undergo. Especially not a 17 year old on the cusp of adulthood.”

      How do you feel about parents sending their children to rehab?

      1. How do you feel about them sending their kids to rehab for smoking weed?

        1. Why would that change the situation in any way?

          1. Smoking weed is a harmless activity. Sending kids to a psychiatric facility unnecessarily isn’t.

            I’m recalling any number of movies in which oppressive parents lock their teens up in mental wards because they don’t like the way they are acting, here.

            Whose side do you want to be on? The freedom of teenagers? Or the freedom of parents to oppress their children?

            1. “Smoking weed is a harmless activity.”

              Not so harmless if your kid gets arrested. Parents of real, not theoretical, children worry about that sort of thing.

              1. Smoking anything is not harmless, but Hazel knows that.

                1. smoking cock is harmless (if the owner of the cock doesn’t have a transmissible disease) and if your parents don’t send you to conversion therapy.

            2. Your “Any number of movies” is a difficult argument to refute. That’s how I came up with my plan of spreading cold viruses to as many people as possible to protect the earth from immunodeficient Martian invaders. So far it’s worked great.

              Anyway, I vote for freedom of parents to oppress their children. Abusive parents can be dealt with, legally and by direct societal means. Abusive governments who can act like they’re everyone’s parents are much, much worse.

          2. It doesn’t, but any red herring will do when you don’t want to attempt the mental contortions necessary to criminalize parenting because you don’t like the way some parents treat their gay kids.

            1. So, letting teens have freedom = “criminalizing parenting”?

              I guess that libertarianism = “criminalizing government” too?

              1. No, sending parents to jail for telling their kids what they can/cannot/must/must not do = “criminalizing parenting”. You know, the part where you want to make the most basic function of being a parent a crime.

                There’s an important difference between a government as it relates to the independent adults whom it governs ostensibly by their own consent and a parent as it relates to a dependent child, but that you need that difference explained to you is evidence enough that any attempt would be pointless.

                1. Where did I say anything about sending parents to jail?

                  I am talking about giving teenagers legal recourse if their parents try to force them to go to gay conversion therapy. That is IF the parents persist in this abuse THEN the kid maybe gets emancipated (if close to age 18) or put into a foster home.

                  I said nothing about jail time.

                  1. Where did I say anything about sending parents to jail?

                    Presuming that such unenlightened parents might object to your libertarian state taking their kids away from them, I’d imagine some level of force or punishment would have to come into play, yes?

                    I am talking about giving teenagers legal recourse if their parents try to force them to go to gay conversion therapy.

                    The thing is though, “conversion therapy” in many (probably most) instances is exactly like a million other things that parents can try and force their kids to do. We generally don’t send armed men to separate children from their parents when the children object to those ostensible offenses, because we recognize that children are not adults, and it isn’t our place to involve ourselves in their care unless they are coming to actual harm.

                  2. Yes, you are talking about putting parents in jail. “Legal recourse” means, in the end, “armed men take you to prison and if you protest too vigorously home they execute you on the spot”.

                    As a libertarian, you know that, right?

            2. “Smoking weed is a harmless activity.”

              In your, opinion others disagree. They have every right to disagree and to set the rules of their own home.

              “Whose side do you want to be on? The freedom of teenagers? Or the freedom of parents to oppress their children?”

              There’s so many fallacies in this I don’t know where to begin.

              1. Sure, and the child should have the right to leave that home.

                I’d argue that a child at any age should pretty much have the right to say “my parents are abusive and I no longer want to be in their custody”, and put themselves into CPS custody and go to a foster home.

                1. So as soon as little Johnny decides he doesn’t want to do something his parents say he has too( including eating vegetables, stop playing in the rain, going to school, or just not getting enough attention) the state can kidnap him at gunpoint? That’s your libertarian solution? And what happens when Johnny realizes he fucked up, and ruined not only his life, but also the lives of his parents and possibly his siblings?

                  Hazel, I’m sorry your dad was an asshole. I really am. My wife’s dad was an asshole too. He was so much of an asshole that he spent 15 years in prison, but my wife realized she had to move on with her life. Maybe you should too.

                  1. It’s not exactly “kidnapping” if it’s the child’s choice. And obviously I would make clear to the kid that he only gets one or two chances to do this.

                    Also, of course kids run away from home ALL THE TIME. So this is really just providing them with a safe place to run away to. Kids that run away from home too many times generally get put into state custody anyway, because they usually turn up some kind of abuse.

                    Again, my solution is to put more power into the hands of the children not the state. More individual rights for people at a younger age isn’t un-libertarian, any more than laws against assault are un-libertarian.

                    (PS. It was my mom that was the asshole, my dad was nice, but he sadly died when I was 17, which left me in the custody of my abusive mother.)

                    1. Children can’t make choices like that. They are physiologically incapable of comprehending the long-term ramifications of demanding a new family because they don’t like the values of their existing family. They are emotionally and psychologically incapable of even knowing what that means.

                      This seems obvious to me. I’m not sure why you don’t get that or are pretending not to.

                      Your personal experience was that your mom was an asshole. You were 17. You couldn’t do the math and figure out that you had a matter of months before you were out of there, and another 80 years to live on your own terms?

                    2. Again, my solution is to put more power into the hands of the children not the state.

                      … by empowering children to turn themselves over to the care of the state when they get pissed off at mommy and daddy.

                    3. And if you believe the stats, turning children over to the state (CPS foster care) leaves them more at risk to be physically abused and raped than they were at the hands of their parents. To use your example, letting little Timmy be raped in foster care because he has a right to not drink his milk seems counter productive to me.

                    4. Hazel,
                      what you’re saying is stupid

                      and you know it

                      kids run away from home all the time, FOR STUPID REASONS. It’s often a big mistake, and you know it

                2. So kids who squawk about their parents are free to become wards of the state. Sounds libertarian to me.

                  1. No, what you’re demanding is that the state be empowered to arbitrarily make children into wards of itself. Which is about as not-libertarian as it’s possible to be.

    2. I honestly don’t know at what point children should have more responsibility for themselves and decisions made on their behalf. I can’t think of a system that wouldn’t be abused by the state at some point to restrict parents and their beliefs. There are some 12 year olds out there that have more reasoning and thinking skills than a most 25 year olds. There are also some 30+ year olds I wouldn’t trust to decide between an apple and poison. I agree 100% with your idea but the ability to have a way to decide it just isn’t available. Right now I have to treat it with the old porn test. I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.

      1. The state can’t restrict the parents beliefs unless the child objects to those beliefs.

        If a child gets old enough to say “Hey mom, I don’t believe in God, and I’m not going to church anymore” I honestly don’t see any good reason why the parents should be allowed to compel the child to go to church. if you’re punishing your child for making a personal decision about faith, that’s abuse.

        1. The state can’t restrict the parents beliefs unless the child objects to those beliefs.

          “Drink your milk, timmy”

          “I don’t like milk! I don’t have to drink milk!”

          “Drink it or you’re grounded, timmy!”

          *SWAT team busts down the door and hauls mom off to jail after shooting the dog*

          Are you seriously this stupid?

          1. What if the kid is lactose intolerant? Maybe he has a good reason for not wanting to drink milk.
            What’s so horrible about letting him not drink milk?

            1. Are you seriously this stupid?

              Question answered I guess.

              1. Do you seriously think the more libertarian position here is that parents should get to force children to do whatever they want, right up until age 18? because MILK?

                1. Well, I thought the libertarian position might be to leave the state out of parent-child relationships unless actionable harm comes to the child, in which case the child or another adult would have standing to seek relief (which is pretty much the case now). But you’ve since convinced me that the state should confiscate children from their parents whenever the child objects to a parental command, because LACTOSE INTOLERANCE.

                  As I said, question answered.

                  1. The child should have the right to seek relief from an oppressive home. That’s a bit more than the child merely objecting to a command and the state jumping in. The child has the right to make a decision whether they want to either (a) obey the command , or (b) leave home entirely. They have to go seek government help to get out of the situation.

                    In some cases, especially ones involving gay conversion therapy, (b) is probably the more attractive option to many children.

                    1. Emancipation is a legal hurdle that allows children to part ways with their parents. It’s a hurdle for a reason, the same reason that the fourth amendment (allegedly, anyway) presents a hurdle to intrusive policing: because treating these scenarios lightly and making them easy leads to more social distress, not less.

                      You’re acting as if there’s an easy answer to how we should address a rightfully thorny issue. The interface of family and society is not so black and white that you or anyone gets unmetered say in it. A good society owes the family a degree of deference in the matter, just as it owes individuals a degree of deference in all decision-making. The U.S. rejected any deference in making bad decisions with regard to drug use and we all suffer for that policy. Let’s not be so hasty to do the same in this case.

                    2. I’m not saying it’s an easy answer. But the “easy answer” the article is espousing seems to be that parents get absolute control to force their children into gay conversion therapy until age 18, and if they don’t like it, well, it sucks to be them.

                      Granting the child increasing control as they reach adulthood is not black and white, I can’t say I could pin down exactly where the lines should be, but it is a more libertarian direction to go in though.

                      And it’s far past time that libertarians developed a better approach to children’s rights than just deciding that parents own them.

                    3. The child should have the right to seek relief from an oppressive home.

                      Considering your views on lactose as a tort, one wonders what might constitute “oppressive” in your view.

                      Children, or other adults on their behalf, should have the right to seek relief from actionable harm. I doubt that very much of what you and the petulant children for whom you speak believe constitutes “oppressive” would rise to that level.

                    4. If I lock you in a room in my house (grounding you) until you agree to drink something, is that no longer a tort because “well it’s only milk”? Why does that change if we happen to share DNA?

                    5. “The child should have the right to seek relief from an oppressive home.”

                      Who gets to define “oppressive”?

                    6. He has already defined oppressive to him. I just don’t think it rises to the level of having the state threaten rape cages and death. I feel sorry for his shitty childhood and could only wish that parents would be enlightened enough to not push their religion and smother their children but its a far cry from wanting the state involved in parenting.

                  2. unless actionable harm comes to the child

                    I think an argument can be made (by someone with more doctor-y experience than me) that conversion therapy IS “actionable harm”. That is the core of this issue.

                    1. Sticks and stones….

        2. Why can’t you just restrict the use of electro-shock therapy on children?

          Why can’t you just restrict the use of nausea inducing drugs in aversion therapy?

          Why can’t you just leave it at that?

          Fundamentalist Christians don’t want their children to be gay, and there isn’t anything the government can do or needs to do about that.

          Stop them from using electro-shock and nausea inducing drugs? Yeah, I can see that.

          But why use electro-shock as an excuse to lash out at fundamentalist motivations when banning the use of electro-shock on children for the purposes of conversion therapy would do?

          “If a child gets old enough to say “Hey mom, I don’t believe in God, and I’m not going to church anymore” I honestly don’t see any good reason why the parents should be allowed to compel the child to go to church.”

          Yeah, we already have an age for that. And it’s 18. Why are you trying to reinvent the wheel?

          Do you think children should be able to decide they don’t want to go to school anymore–no matter what their parents say? Don’t you think parents should be allowed to compel their children to go to school?

        3. I honestly don’t see any good reason why the parents should be allowed

          Hey Hazel, the good news is that you don’t need to find “a good reason” because it’s none of your damned business what parents should be “allowed” to do or not to do in the raising of their kids, absent crossing a certain (admittedly arbitrary) line into physical abuse.

    3. I agree. “Conversion therapy” is not about having a nice chat with a pastor; it is psychological abuse aimed at making a young person hate himself. It has no scientific basis. Kids should have recourse to escape abuse.

      1. “It has no scientific basis.”

        The right to raise your children as you see fit is pretty fundamental, and the idea that people shouldn’t be free to raise their children in ways that don’t have a scientific basis is pretty absurd.

        Do you think parents should be free to raise their children Catholic?

        Are there any other rights that are only rights so long as they have a scientific basis?

        Does freedom of religion only protect smart religions? Does the right to free speech only protect smart speech or does it protect stupid speech, too?

        1. Religion doesn’t excuse abuse.

          1. Alleging religious abuse doesn’t excuse the need to demonstrate actionable abuse. It’s a repugnant practice but, thankfully, fairly infrequent, and not at all worth setting a terrible precedent whereby other parental decisions may be called into question. Especially when we already have safeguards in place to address actual cases of abuse.

          2. And begging the question doesn’t prove a point.

          3. “Religion doesn’t excuse abuse.”

            Nice dodge, but it’s still a dodge.

            Your disapproval of other people’s religion doesn’t excuse you violating their freedom of religion or their right to raise their children as they see fit.

            Once again, if somebody wants to ban electro-shock therapy or nausea inducing drugs in conversion therapy, I can see how that could be a violation of a child’s rights. Parents don’t have the right to beat the gay out of their children either.

            Why not just settle for that and leave out the silly part–trying to use the coercive power of government to impose your own “scientific” beliefs on fundamentalists?

            1. Psychological abuse can be just as life-destroying as physical abuse.

              Libertarianism holds that government exists to protect people from force and fraud.

              Conversion therapy is both force and fraud.

              1. Begging the question.

                Begging the question.

                Begging the question.

                Strike two.

              2. “Psychological abuse can be just as life-destroying as physical abuse.”

                You should stick with this argument. It’s vastly superior to the suggestion that people don’t have religious rights or the right to make choices about how to raise their children–unless they’re both grounded in science.

              3. “Libertarianism holds that government exists to protect people from force and fraud.”

                You’re trying to use the coercive power of government to force your values on fundamentalists.

                Libertarianism holds that if government has any legitimate purpose at all, it’s to protect our rights. I hold that our rights are all about choice–they’re a right to make a choice for ourselves. Fraud is a crime because it deprives the victim of the right to make a choice for himself.

                But we’re talking about children who don’t have the right to make many choices for themselves–certainly not about whether they go to school, where they sleep at night, who their friends are, what their parents teach them about God, etc.

                As I’ve already said, an important part of being a responsible parent is making children do things they don’t want to do. You’re certainly not going to be able to stop fundamentalist parents from teaching their gay children that homosexual sex is wrong, that homosexuals are going to hell, etc. Is that what you’re talking about as psychological abuse?

              4. “Conversion therapy is both force and fraud.”

                Fundamentalist parents trying to pray the gay away because it’s from the Devil–that’s your idea of psychological abuse?

                Because I’ve already disqualified both electro-shock and using drugs to induce nausea as part of aversion therapy. I think they both probably qualify as abusive.

                In your world, would fundamentalist parents even be allowed to express their disapproval of homosexuality to their gay children? Or is that psychologically abusive?

                In your mind, is it psychologically abusive for fundamentalist parents to pray with their gay children that they won’t give in to temptation?

                Is that what you want to make a crime?

                1. In your world, is it fine to harangue and harass a kid to the point that he hates his life enough to commit suicide, so long as they use their religion to justify it?

                  Conversion therapy is demonstrably harmful.

                  1. So what. You could translate a huge range of parent-child relationships as “harmful”, but the state still would have no business inserting itself in that relationship.

                    Simply saying, “Ick its bad” is insufficient for claiming the state has some mandate to Police every nuance of parent-child relations short of actual violence.

                  2. “In your world, is it fine to harangue and harass a kid to the point that he hates his life enough to commit suicide, so long as they use their religion to justify it?”

                    There at least three obvious fallacies in that statement.

                    Let’s focus on “begging the question”.

                    Even after you’ve been called out, you keep doing it.

                    Do you understand what begging the question means?

                    1. Even after you’ve been called out, you keep doing it.

                      To bad we can’t eject him for arguing balls and strikes.

                    2. Do you understand what begging the question means?

                      Like most people, I don’t think he knows. Or cares. Which, really, let’s be honest, is the real tragedy here. I mean, it’s a handy rhetorical tool. It’s a very handy expression. And it’s a mark of sophistication. Frankly, it’s a tragedy the term isn’t better regarded.

                  3. “Conversion therapy is demonstrably harmful.”

                    I’ve probably come out against electro-shock and nausea inducing drugs at least five times already in this thread. Do you know what conversion therapy is?

                    The question is whether trying to pray the gay away is by itself abusive to the extent that fundamentalist parents praying with their gay children to resist temptation should be prosecuted as a crime.

                    Lots of things are harmful. Teasing a child for being ugly is harmful. Calling your children stupid can be harmful. Feeding your child nothing but Fruit Loops for breakfast is harmful.

                    Opening a pizza restaurant next to yours and offering better pizza at a lower price can be harmful to you.

                    A society in which people aren’t allowed to do things unless they’re in the best interests of everyone else is a totalitarian society. Other people don’t exist for your benefit, and neither do their rights. You may not trample on other people’s rights just because they’re harmful. Murdering racist rapists is a crime–even if murdering them benefits the rest of society. Harm or benefit is not a sufficient standard to criminalize something.

                    The question before us is whether fundamentalist parents praying with their gay children that they resist temptation is child abuse and should be prosecuted by the government as child abuse.

                    What is your answer?

                    1. Ken,

                      Normally my eyes glaze over at your endless paragraphs when I think you could be concise and make a better point. Today however I don’t believe you could have made your point with less verbage. And there is no way my limited vocabulary would have made these points near as well.

                    2. I am Jack’s Serial Intellectual Dishonesty

                    3. Should we consult with the Westboro Baptist Church for an unbiased, expert opinion? /sarc

    4. Sometimes people who don’t have kids should really just shut up. You only have the perspective of having been a kid to go on, you lack the other side of the image.

      And it is a huge lack.

      Kids belong to their parents because they made them. There is no clearer way to say this. In general. if you try to take kids from their parents, those parents will do horrible things to you if they catch you. If you do not have children this feeling is almost impossible to fathom. Those kids are a part of you.

      And yes, it is a feeling, and probably a whole lot of base animal instinct. There is very little of rationality behind it.

      The state, in most of it’s forms, re-inforces this by holding parents responsible for not just the actions of their children, but also their wellbeing and the foundations of their ability to function in society.

      And I want to stress–‘re-inforce’. Parenting is, in many ways, built in. It’s one of the starkest reminders that humans are animals that there is.

  12. It’s time liberals called into question the very idea of children’s rights. Of course children must have the same legal protection from harm or harassment as adults. But they can’t have rights in the same way we do?like the right to serve on a jury, the right to vote, the right to leave home and shack up with hippies?because they lack the moral capacity to exercise those rights and to take responsibility for their behaviour.

    Translation: Teens are too stupid and immature to make their own decisions. So parents should have absolute control over those decisions.

    How exactly is this a libertarian argument? And where have I heard it before?

    Oh right, I’ve heard it from progressives, who think adults are too stupid and immature to make their own decisions, so government should force them to make the correct ones.

    Why is 18 years old some sort of magic line where suddenly people get to make their own decisions and not be oppressed and compelled to do things that other think are for their own good?

    1. Children can’t be held responsible for the decisions they make in the same way.

      They can’t even be held responsible for the contract they make–unless it’s for necessities like food.

      Why would people who can’t be held responsible for the decisions they make in the same way have the same freedom to make choices as the rest of us?

      1. First of all, it’s not true that children can’t be held responsible for their activities. We hold them responsible all the time for actions that actually harm others. For instance, by trying them as adults.

        Secondly, in this case we’re talking about victimless crimes. Not going to gay conversion therapy harms NOONE. If you’re against governments punishing people for victimless crimes, why is ok for parents to punish teens for victimless activities?

        1. “We hold them responsible all the time for actions that actually harm others. For instance, by trying them as adults.”

          This is what “the exception that proves the rule” is all about.

          If there’s an exception to the rule, then there must be a general rule, right?

          Minors are typically not held after they turn 18.

          Contracts with minors are unenforceable unless they’re for necessities like food.

          We’ve recognized as a society–for hundreds of years–that children don’t have the same capacity for decision making as adults and should be treated differently because of that.

          They still have rights. You can’t just arbitrarily abuse their rights. And if you want to argue against abusive aspects of conversion therapy (like I have), then by all means do so. But because we don’t like fundamentalists is no reason to completely reinvent everything that’s evolved about the way we protect parents, children, and their rights.

          Conversion therapy changes nothing. If something like electro-shock therapy violates their rights, then it should be against the law. Meanwhile, parents making their children do things they don’t want to do is part of what it means to be a responsible parent, and what you’re doing is crapping all over that–apparently because you don’t like fundamentalists.

          1. And I’m saying that children should have MORE rights. Heck maybe contracts with minors *should* be enforcable. We do let them have jobs, after all. A teenage can buy a car if they want. They can serve in the military. They can get married at age 16 in most places. That’s a contract, isn’t it?

            But somehow they aren’t responsible enough to know if they want to go to gay conversion therapy or not?

            1. Any right to make a decision that you are giving to a teenager you are necessarily taking away from the parent. Compare the potential number of use cases of truly asshole parents vs the use cases of teenagers being teenagers.

              1. Any right to make a decision that you are giving to a teenager you are necessarily taking away from the parent.

                No, you can’t take away a right the parents never had to begin with, and people don’t have the right to force other people to do things.

                1. Parents don’t have the right to control their children, to forbid certain behaviors and compel others? Are you talking about theoretically or practically? I suppose to the ‘children are people too’ crowd my children have a ‘right’ to decide when to go to bed or that they don’t want their flu shots, but in practice they certainly do not get to exercise that right.

            2. Military service and marriage before the age of 18 both require parental consent. Employment rules for minors are completely different from the rules for adults. Cars are ordinary property.

              The question of whether any individual kid is smart enough or responsible enough at X age to perform Y activity can’t be encapsulated in law. It’s simply not practical to adjudicate every parent-child dispute on a case-by-case basis. Age of consent laws, licensing laws, contract laws, drug laws, and other such age restrictions reflect this. Rather than have a court case every time a kid gets pissed off at their parents, it’s easier and much, much less intrusive for the state to simply defer to the adult. You can have a discussion about social mores and reform of such age restrictions, but what you’re proposing is impractical and an infringement on the rights of the party in the equation that is indisputably an adult.

            3. A car title has to be in an adult’s name, at least in PA. They can’t join the military until they’re 18, unless the parents give permission. They can have a job, if the parent allows them.

      2. “Why would people who can’t be held responsible for the decisions they make in the same way have the same freedom to make choices as the rest of us?”

        This, and more importantly their parents hold responsibility for taking care of them until they turn 18. So even when a choice a child makes is not a matter for the courts, it can result in an additional legal burden for the parents until the kid is old enough. Pregnancy is a good example.

    2. Translation: Teens are inexperienced and rely on caretakers to help formulate the philosophy by which they will make their decisions. So parents, as legal guardians with the various liabilities and obligations attending that status, should have a say in how their teens conduct themselves.

      I don’t like conversion therapy, and I doubt many here do, but I like the thought of breaching the deference society gives to parents even less. Especially when it’s in the cause of affirming a politically-elevated “minority client” (as someone here put it).

      1. Teens are inexperienced and rely on caretakers to help formulate the philosophy by which they will make their decisions.

        Some teens are experienced enough to know that their caretakers are piece of shit human beings who don’t deserve the right to make decisions for them.
        So the children should have the right to renounce their guardianship.
        If they are too young to live on their own, they should be able to seek an alternate guardian who is willing to care for them.

        1. In that regard you and I disagree on very little, except (I suspect) how early and how involved the state should become in deciding on the child’s behalf when to emancipate.

    3. Just out of curiosity, are you under 18 by any chance? It’s hard to imagine anybody else having this level of difficulty differentiating between parent and government or understanding parent-child relationships, or being this emotionally invested in the ‘rights’ of angsty teens.

      1. I am 40.

        However, I grew up in a somewhat abusive home, so I know what it’s like to be a teenager with parents who try to punish you because they are trying to control who you are. My mother was extremely religious and would try all sorts of abusive shit to force me to go to church and say prayers and so forth.

        She refused to co-sign the loan forms when I went away to college, because she wanted to force me to live at home with her. (I forged the signature instead).

        I would have killed to have the option to just say “my parents are no longer responsible for me, so she doesn’t have to sign this stupid form”. But there simply was NO LEGAL OPTION to do that.

        1. I grew up with a single mother who was and is a fanatical progressive. (True story; not making a point.) I had to go to all kinds of shit with her about worshiping the goddess within and the earth is our mother and white people are a scourge on the planet and men are evil shitweasels and we don’t need them and blah blah.

          I was smart enough as a teenager to see that she was a lonely, broken soul hurt by life and to realize that there was no need to internalize that crap and I had my own mind and my own life to live.

          Empowering the state to take away the children of weirdos is no solution to weirdos parenting, Hazel.

          1. Who is empowering the state? I’m talking about empowering children to make their own decisions.

            The parents can even keep their kids until maturity as long as they respect their children’s increasing autonomy. In my world, they only get taken away if the child makes the decision that they want to leave.

            1. So in your world the children get all the authority and none of the responsibility. With rights come responsibility. Once a child has the right to decide which rules they have to follow then the parents should then have the right to drop them off with CPS no questions asked. This is not a black and white issue and I’m more willing to give the parents the benefit of the doubt than a child or the state.

              Again, I agreed with your premise above 100% but there is no way to get there without an oppressive state.

        2. My parents were fundamentalists.

          The Baptists in our area would look at our church and say that we took the Bible way too literally.

          I left home at 14 and worked my way through a boarding school.

          People still have the right to raise their children as they see fit–so long as they aren’t fundamentally violating their children’s rights.

          We can and do ban violating children’s rights without interfering with a parent’s right to raise their children as they see fit. We can ban the abusive aspects of conversion therapy as abuse–without infringing on parents’ rights to raise their children as they see fit.

        3. I figured you were probably projecting some kind of parental issues of your own, but I didn’t want to be the prick that actually came right out and said it as such.

          If your parents weren’t actually abusing you to the satisfaction of the law such that you could emancipate yourself, sorry, but it’s basically a “life sucks” situation. You wait it out until you’re 18 and then do whatever you want for the entire rest of your life. I had very dysfunctional parents as well, but I’m not willing to grant petulant children the right to emancipation-by-temper-tantrum just to spite them.

          1. I figured you were probably projecting some kind of parental issues of your own, but I didn’t want to be the prick that actually came right out and said it as such.

            Well, if we’re going to play armchair psychologist, I could suggest it’s telling how many of the commenters here seem unable to envision a parent-child relationship that’s not based purely on the parent’s ability to coerce compliance via the use of force.

            1. From the standpoint of the legal system, which is really the only frame we care about when discussing intervention and emancipation? Absolutely.

              As a matter of personal discretion, from a position of mutual trust? Of course there’s more to it than compulsion. But I don’t want to hand over the reins to CPS or the local police, like that unfortunate Maryland couple discovered, to make those distinctions for me or anyone else absent a clearly defined pattern of abuse.

        4. Your situation is unfortunate, but some objectivity is called for when deciding policy.

    4. Of course these lines are arbitrary, but what would you say is the line? Should certain 11 year olds be allowed to drive cars, carry concealed weapons, or drink? Should certain 20 year olds be denied? Who decides? Based on what criteria? You may trust the state or even the child to make these distinctions, but I don’t. The parents who spend years with a child, feed them, clothe them, care for them when they are sick, sacrifice their time and money for them, KNOW them – are still the best arbiters of the welfare of the child.

      This idea that children should be separated from their parents and raised by the state goes back to Plato’s Republic and is a major goal of communism. It seems only a matter of time before the hatcheries described in Brave New World, where humans are conceived in test tubes and raised in state indoctrination camps, become a reality. This assault on parental rights will only get worse. Its ultimate objective is to make people dependent on the state.

  13. OT: Teething is stupid. Fuck teething.

    1. Whiskey helps.

      1. If I drink till I pass out, it becomes someone else’s problem? Brilliant!

        1. Seriously, I little whiskey on the gums and the baby goes sleepy.

          To CPS:

          I don’t have minor children in my home (anymore). I don’t supervise or have any interaction with children, so no need to send your SWAT team to kill my dogs.

          1. Killing dogs isn’t part of the process, they do that part for fun.

            1. Attempts at killing dogs in our home results in return fire from Kalashnikovs.

          2. Daddy put whiskey on our gums. But then, Daddy was a doctor, so who’s going to question that? OTOH, when my parents hired a nurse to help w me when I was a baby, & they found out she was surreptitiously slipping me paregoric to KO me, they got rid of her.

            1. Wooooooow. I had to look that up. Lunatic!

  14. My .02

    1. 18 should be a hard top limit. After 18 the “child” is emancipated and may do whatever they wish.

    2. Under 18, the parent should be able legally emancipate the child if they think the maturity level warrants it.

    3. Under 18, but older than X (15/16?) the child should be able to petition the court for early emancipation.

    4. Finally, there should be some legal mechanism for the child to petition the court to overturn a parent’s wishes. (e.g. child actors whose parents are stealing their money, or religious nutjobs who won’t let their kid get cancer treatment…) Child can request another “custodian” either for a certain aspect (medical/monetary…) all the way up to replacement guardians. It needs to be at the request of the child…NOT the state, however, the court would need to approve the request.

    I don’t like the one size fits all approach of a switch flipping at 18. I’m no lawyer, but I think some of these options already exist (probably not 2).

    1. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me and I think there have been cases where No 2 has happened. I believe it was in cases where the child requested it first however and the parent “signed” off on it. In my head I’m thinking of a child actor as one of the cases. As I said above I have met some 12 year olds that I see as more adult than most 20 year olds so No 3 should be on a child per child basis without an age minimum. There are instances of child geniuses that run their daily lives without parental help.

  15. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link,
    Go to tech tab for work detail ????????????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  16. Once again we run into all these “libertarians” who apparently believe children are chattel property, no different than a lamp.

    1. Once again when I think nobody could be more mendacious than Bo or Hihn, you come along.

      1. What’s the difference between the claims by people here to the power to use physical force to make people believe the right thing and the garden variety progressive’s claim to the same power? If you can force your kids to go to church because you decide it’s for their own good, why not your neighbor’s children? Or your neighbors?

        1. What’s the alternative to allowing parents to force minor children to do things short of actionable harm? The state raises all children?

          1. The alternative is recognizing children are people with rights rather than property.

            1. And when little johnny doesn’t want to eat his vegetables, then what?

              1. 1. If you can’t convince a kid that’s been biologically programmed to desperately desire your approval to eat vegetables without resorting to force, you’re a shitty parent. I don’t see a reason to curtail little johnny’s rights because you’re incompetent.

                2. Being the child’s only source of income, there are plenty of methods to negotiate voluntary compliance that still respect their rights.

                3. Worst case: Johnny does not eat his vegetables. I realize this a child not eating their vegetables is a calamity beyond anything in the annals of human history, but somehow mankind will manage to go on.

                1. So if I can’t negotiate with someone who doesn’t understand logic, reason, or long term consequences then I’m the moron, not the person who expects small children to think rationally?

                  As to 3, What happens when a 4 year old decides he’s never going to school? Or learning to read?

                  Furthermore, would this mean that all breaches of law committed by children should be treated the same as adults? Should we start building jails for toddlers?

                  1. Should we start building jails for toddlers?

                    They are called ‘public schools’.

                    1. I thought Head Start was the jail for toddlers and public school was for when they got a little older.

                2. Stormy Dragon, how many kids have you raised?

                  1. Tangential question: Stormy, are you a big fan of Stefan Molyneux?

    2. I’m in an intermediate position when it comes to babies. I think they’re chattel too, but different from a lamp, instead like a pet. They shouldn’t be allowed to inflict pain on the baby, but should be allowed to kill it painlessly.

        1. I agree w them about Gandhi. AFAICT, Wellington didn’t beat Napoleon, they tied, because they’re both dead. Seriously, in the overall scheme of things, the amount of time since they each died, along w everyone they commanded, is so much greater than the difference, that difference is insignificant.

          And yeah, nobody listens to ska…for more than a few secs. before falling asleep, anyway.

      1. that’s fucking insane, and you’re a sick person if you really believe that

        this shit isn’t hard, common law has had “agency” law for hundreds of years

        how about the parents can do anything, just not anything that is harmful to the child? Seems pretty simple to me

  17. Parent-child is a relationship that’s difficult for all theorists, but it might be harder for libertarians who are used to black/white theorizing, when this is an area of gray areas. For example, do you draw a line between circumcision & clitoridectomy (“female circumcision”)? It’s just a matter of degree, once you cast aside the familiar/foreign distinction.

    1. do you draw a line between circumcision & clitoridectomy (“female circumcision”)? It’s just a matter of degree, once you cast aside the familiar/foreign distinction.

      No it isn’t. While I can not testify to it’s veracity, I read here a couple years back about how you can stretch a new foreskin on a circumcised member. I have yet to hear about women growing their clitori back.

      If you think that a man without a foreskin compares to a woman without a clitoris then you must have almost no experience with the latter.

      1. I imagine it’s a bit like the difference between an appendectomy and kali ma shakti de.

      2. OK, then, what about drawing a line between vaccinating a baby & piercing its ears for rings? Or between piercing ears & tattooing? Or between getting it a cochlear implant & making it wait until it’s old enough to decide whether it wants to join hearing culture? Or between giving it a certain vaccine & not giving it a certain other vaccine?

  18. Sure, and the child should have the right to leave that home.

    I’d argue that a child at any age should pretty much have the right to say “my parents are abusive and I no longer want to be in their custody”, and put themselves into CPS custody and go to a foster home.
    .
    Okay. Does the parent of an incorrigible fifteen year old (of either/any sex) have the “right” to say, “GTFO!”?

    1. Does the parent of an incorrigible fifteen year old (of either/any sex) have the “right” to say, “GTFO!”?

      Yes. While it isn’t easy, my parents did this when I was 16. They had to “prove” that I was incorrigible by way of criminal activity on my part but they were able to make me a “ward of the State” until I was emancipated at 17.

  19. my best friend’s mom makes $63 hourly on the internet . She has been fired for nine months but last month her income was $16725 just working on the internet for a few hours. look at here………………. http://www.work-cash.com

  20. Fact = Parents can be horrible people who can potentially traumatize and damage* children’s lives.

    (most people refer to this as “growing up”. it is found that regardless of how good or bad parents are, everyone pretty much claims to be traumatized and damaged in equal amounts anyway)

    Fact = If you think the Government stepping in between parents and children can ever “fix” this situation? You’re so fucking stupid its amazing you haven’t electrocuted yourself to death licking light sockets.

    That is all you need to know.

    1. ^^Gilmore hits the crucial point of the discussion. The government will only make the problem worse.

  21. “…conversion therapy?the pseudoscientific, psychobabbling attempt to turn gay kids straight by bombarding them with Biblical scripture. ”

    You are too kind Brendan. Everything about it from premise to end is false and immoral.

    Still, banning the ends rather than the means seems like a bad idea, mostly because it is. Exactly the kind of shit I would expect from Obumbles and his sycophants. Isn’t child abuse already illegal?

    SOP from the left. Shut them up, shut them down, force them to fall in line. They can’t win on the merits of their argument so they resort to violence.

    1. But banning the ends rather than the means is the way regulatory laws frequently work, because it usually hinges on an advertising claim someone made. Aside from controlled substances, that’s how drug regul’n works, i.e. licensing the sale of a drug, or not, depending on its intended purpose, which is almost always based on its labeling or advertising claims.

  22. They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.

    /Philip Larkin

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  24. It takes a village to convert a gay child.

  25. I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,

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  26. Its okay to teach homosexuality in school but its not okay to teach a person that they don’t have to be gay. one mixed up world.

  27. The news stories I’ve read, my kids can be seized from me by the state simply for walking down the street, gay or not, therapy or not.

    You may have the best intentions of *only* liberating children from their fundamentalist anti-gay dictators, but the rather direct and pre-existing side effects of advancing this agenda should be plainly obvious. CPS exists, and notoriously fails to rescue kids, who with no religious/sexual orientation issues involved, die of exposure or chained to radiators. They seek out children left in the horrible conditions of being left in a room temperature car for 15 min. and avoid the troubled, confused, depressed teen(s) who’s parents are quite probably already at their wits end with *whatever* issue the kid is dreaming up.

    Moves to grant the state further power, unilaterally, to do *anything* is clearly a move in the distinctly socialist/authoritarian direction. Moves to grant the state further power, in balance with the rights of the parents, only serves to expand the role of government in a non-libertarian direction.

  28. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.incomejoin70.com

  29. I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,

    ————- http://www.work-cash.com

  30. besides the obvious policy mentioned by some of the other not-fucking-retarded commenters above of just banning the use of serious things like drugs and ECT,

    how about just mandates to inform the students of things? A pamphlet the conversion therapist people have to give the “patients” that explains that modern psychology doesn’t accept that stuff anymore. Maybe a mandate that they have access to a help hotline to help them deal with the obnoxiousnessness of the conversion therapists and re-inforce the idea that there is a bigger world out there with people with differing opinions

    I always imagined that in my dream law converting public schooling into private schooling with vouchers, it wouldn’t be illegal to teach creationism, they would just have to inform the kids that the idea is in fact scientifically invalid (which it is on the most fundamental level)

  31. I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,

    ————- http://www.work-cash.com

  32. It’s very difficult for queers to pretend they’re okay. It helps if everybody else pretends queers are okay. Since some persons refuse to be so crazy, queers and their supporters seek to force persons to pretend queers are okay.

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