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Journal Mr2001's Journal: Children are not property

I'm disgusted by a lot of the comments on this article, and that's not just a figure of speech. I feel physically sick reading some of them, and I mean, I have some strong opinions on various topics, but this is insane.

Your children are not things that you fucking own, OK? They are not your possessions. No, you don't automatically deserve to know where they are every minute of every day. Yes, they deserve privacy and free speech and every other human right. Slavery was abolished for good reason, and the fact that you had unprotected sex doesn't mean you get to own another person, you goddamn savage!

Now these "discussions", on whatever forum, always end up rolling around to the same argument: "You don't know how it is because you're only a teenager / you're only in your 20s / you're not a parent / you haven't been a parent as long as I have." I don't know if there's a name for this fallacy, but if there isn't, I'd like to christen it the My Shoes Fallacy. That is, the fallacy of claiming that your beliefs can only be properly criticized by someone who's walked a mile in your shoes. Whatever it is, it sure is common, and not just in these threads...

Hey, I'm a parent! Why should I let people who don't have kids tell me how I should treat them? They don't understand how tough it is raising kids without absolute power! Maybe someday when they have kids, they'll understand, but until then, they'll just have to take my word for it.

Hey, I'm a millionaire! Why should I let people who only make $30,000 a year tell me my estate should pay taxes on my kids' inheritance? They don't understand how tough it is having the government take a cut of that money I worked so hard for! Maybe someday when they have money, they'll understand, but until then, they'll just have to take my word for it.

Hey, I'm a musician! Why should I let people who only listen to music tell me I don't deserve the right to decide who can make copies of my CDs? They don't understand how upset I get when someone copies it without permission! Maybe someday when they try a music career, they'll understand, but until then, they'll just have to take my word for it.

Hey, I own a gas-guzzling SUV! Why should I let some shopkeeper tell me I have to pay for gas? He doesn't understand how tough it is having to fill up my tank for $50 every week!

Hey, I'm a genocidal dictator! Why should I let some peasant tell me I shouldn't slaughter his family? He doesn't understand how inferior they all seem to someone as pure as me! Maybe someday...

OK, I made those last two up.

Point is, that whole angle of attack is bullshit. Your perspective on various things might change as the circumstances of your life do, but reality doesn't. If you're sad because it costs a lot of money to fill your tank, that's too bad but your sadness doesn't override the gas station owner's right to set his own prices, right? So why should your frustration about raising kids override the kids' humanity? If you want to argue that they don't deserve human rights, fine, present that argument and it'll get ripped to shreds. But don't pretend your feelings are the end of the argument.

And who knows, maybe these assholes are right - maybe some of their critics will change their minds when they have kids. But so what? All that means is their personal perspectives changed. They stopped caring about kids' rights and started caring about making parents' lives easier. If they're right now, then they'll be wrong when that happens. Who knows, maybe even the assholes themselves were right once, before reproducing turned them into patronizing, iron-fisted control freaks.

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Children are not property

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If computers take over (which seems to be their natural tendency), it will serve us right. -- Alistair Cooke