February 28, 2007

Rights of Ownership

Filed under: What the hell?,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 11:59 pm

It frightens me a little to see so many folks, especially on the NYRA forums, clinging religiously to this idea that your rights and privileges are and should be completely forfeit under the jurisdiction of some other person. Okay, I’m sure that made no sense. Let me explain.

One example is whenever the subject of public versus private schooling comes up. We’ll have a news story posted about a student’s rights being violated at a private school, and some folks will ring in saying the school has every right to do it. And I’m talking about some serious stuff. Getting suspended for wearing hair a certain way, for one. Getting expelled for making fun of the principal outside of school. Crazy. What happened to free speech rights? Oh, right, they don’t exist. You’re not in a government sponsored institution. You’re in a private school, which in this case is treated like somebody’s house.

Similarly, it has been argued on our hallowed forums that businesses have every right to not allow kids under 16 in their stores and other such obviously discriminatory rules. Why? It’s their business. They should run it as they want, and if they choose to discriminate amongst their clientele, they have that right. After all, if we don’t like it, we can choose not to shop there.

Granted, I suppose it is government imposed age restrictions we’re more realistically trying to combat. We just hope the others will follow suit of their own volition.

But what if the government’s power got severely limited? If we were to get the voting age lowered, the age of majority lowered, and other stuff, then, legally and publicly, age discrimination would be wrong. Or at least the age would be a lot lower. As far as the government is concerned anyway. If it is public property, age discrimination is wrong and illegal. Sweet!

But a lot of the “owner means god” mentality of our forums members tends to be paired with the idea that government power needs to be nearly eliminated.

So, if I understand right, we want youth rights, but we realize people, including those who own property and businesses, might not like that idea. While we disagree with them for having that idea, we believe they should be allowed to enforce it on their business property. And in wanting the government more limited, turning public property into private property in many cases, then there would be more property subject to whatever the prejudicial whim of the owners. And it is already established that, in this case, our fight for youth rights is currently one on a public and government front.

So, are you people TRYING to make the fight for youth rights even more impossible than it already is?! :dubious:

I have more on this subject, but I’ll get to it later.


  1. You understand right.
    I don’t want us to be like the black civil rights movement, us at the expense of individuals in general.

    Comment by Conor — March 2, 2007 @ 9:06 am

  2. That’s right, though I would add two things:

    First, affirming the rights of young people to control their own lives means affirming that they have the right to choose their own schools, or at least to refuse to attend schools with rules they find objectionable. Thus, for example, if you don’t like that school X requires you to pray, you have a right not to go to school X, but you don’t have a right to go to school X AND not pray. So if requiring prayer appeals to few or no students, schools that require prayer will go out of business or change their rules. But if there are a lot of students who think such a mandate serves them (either because they’re afraid they’d neglect prayer without someone requiring it, and want to be protected from making such a “mistake,” or because they think people who pray make better schoolmates), then I see no reason such students should be denied the opportunity to attend a school of the sort they prefer. Under present laws, however, it is reasonable to argue that such schools should not be permitted, in order to protect students from being forced by their parents to attend them.

    Second, it seems to me that the right to decide with whom to do business is an important individual right. I do not support giving people the legal right to violate such moral rights–that seems inconsistent with supporting those moral rights in the first place.

    Comment by Alexander — March 2, 2007 @ 9:12 pm

  3. Oh, and a third thing: It is certainly a good goal to change the culture so that people of all ages discriminate against businesses that discriminate against the young. Changing the law to recognize youth rights would be a big step in that direction.

    Comment by Alexander — March 2, 2007 @ 9:15 pm

  4. It seems to me that a business that denies doing business with youth is equal to a business that denies doing business with a black person.

    Comment by Katherine — July 23, 2007 @ 6:02 pm

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