David, thanks for your time and effort to respond in such detail.
We are usually on the same page on most stuff but this time I will
have to respectfully mostly disagree, as I do see merit and benefit
from many of the American values that Williams mentioned.
I don 't deny that there is merit and benefit
from many of the American values that Williams mentioned,
but I maintain that thay shoud be subordinated
to higher considerations, to wit: freedom of the Individual Citizen.
It may not be immediately apparent in the piece I cited, but to really read Williams with an open mind over time, a sense of what he is about does become apparent. He would stand shoulder to shoulder with you to defend our rights to not embrace such values should the government presume to mandate or enforce them, but also neither should government interfere with or discourage them.
What I take from the piece is that we have lost much with the erosion of certain traditional values that had produced a society that was less violent, freer, more civil, more pleasant, and more edifying to live in than what we frequently see now. (In other writings he has also expressed the flip side of different values that some in our society would presume to now force upon us all, and would punish us if we do not embrace.)
I don't think choosing to be courteous, civil, or conform to societal values
takes anything away from us or diminishes our ability to be our own person in the least while it does provide measurable benefits
that can be done without one group of people (e.g., the young) subordinating itself to another by means of this voluntary courtesy.
When I meet a young person, if we are to be on a first name basis,
I introduce myself by my first name. I have found that parents
ofen tell them to refer to me by my last name, but I usually say:
"no, no, no, just David" thereby to preserve a plane of equalit
and friendship, as distinct from a relationship of domination.
Williams differs from that point of vu; i.e., he wants children
to adopt behaviors which result in their implicitly inviting
There is a widespread mindset of children being PROPERTY
like the family horse. This concept was conspicuous in the debate
qua whether to grant political assylum to Elian Gonzalez.
The 13th Amendment being what it is,
it seems to me that children have the OPPORTUNITY
to be the guests
of their parents, NOT the duty
, to be their slaves.
If a child elects to leave his parents, that is DIFFERENT than
the family horse breaking out of the corral and departing hence.
When I was on-the-job taking the testimony of children,
I never talked down to them; treated them with the same respect as anyone.
There is nobody on the planet more passionate about protecting, defending, and being advocate for children than I am and there is little that produces more anger in me than those who would mistreat, abuse, or harm them in any way. As a battered child, physically and emotionally, myself, I am perhaps more sensitive to that than the average person. I have also done a good deal of work teaching and working with kids/youth.
But here I do disagree with you if I am understanding you correctly. I think to fail to discipline and instruct children is tantamount to child abuse. I think kids should understand that they are not yet adults and a respect for authority or those more experienced or wiser is a healthy thing.
It is the duty and responsibility of parents to set an example for children, to teach them, to instruct them, and discipline, not because they are property, but because they are immature humans who do not possess the intellect or self discipline to keep themselves out of trouble in many cases. There is a very big difference in taking on such responsibility constructively and in attempting to live the child's life for him or her which is destructive. To fail to provide loving instruction and discipline and the child will be a damaged person as evidenced in the high prevalence of school drop outs, gang activity, illegal activity, anti social behavior, unwanted pregnancies, and substance abuse among children who are poorly parented or not parented at all. Also I pity children who are denied nothing and never have the wonderful anticipation of achieving majority and experiencing adult things. (Disclaimer: I am speaking in trends and broad generalities here. There will always be anomalies in which poorly parented kids will turn out okay and some that have wonderful parents who won't.)
Discipline as I experienced it was destructive, but that was not what Williams was talking about. Virtually without exception, those of my generation who got 'smacked' now and then for impertinence and disrespect or antisocial conduct agree that it did not harm them in the least and they are grateful that they had parents who cared enough to discipline them.
So we may have to agree to disagree on that point.
You would probably like Williams overall though
because he is as passionately libertarian as you are.
That strains credulity, based upon the implicit assumptions
of his article. Nowhere in his article did I see him exalt liberty
nor champion freedom. Williams assumes that individual freedom
and the dignity of the individual (especially YOUNG individual)
shoud be subordinated to the well being of society.
From that, I dissent.
Well as noted, we disagree on whether children should have the same rights as and be treated as adults. But here is another of Williams' essays. Would you agree or disagree as he presumes a freedom here that would probably not be agreeable with many of our friend? In posting it, I fully expect some to misunderstand what he is saying entirely. (Remember that this is a black man who was a poor black kid who grew up under racial segregation.)
The reason I like him so much is that he thinks outside the box, much as you do, and sees things differently than most people see them.
What is Discrimination?
by Walter Williams (September 6, 2006)
There's so much confusion and emotionalism about discrimination that I thought I'd take a stab at a dispassionate analysis. Discrimination is simply the act of choice. When we choose Bordeaux wine, we discriminate against Burgundy wine. When I married Mrs. Williams, I discriminated against other women. Even though I occasionally think about equal opportunity, Mrs.
Williams demands continued discrimination.
You say, "Williams, such discrimination doesn't harm anyone."
You're wrong. Discriminating in favor of Bordeaux wine reduces the value of resources held in Burgundy production. Discriminating in favor of Mrs. Williams harmed other women by reducing their opportunity set, assuming I'm a man other women would marry.
Our lives are spent discriminating for or against one thing or another. In other words, choice requires discrimination. When we modify the term with race, sex, height, weight or age, we merely specify the choice criteria.
Imagine how silly, not to mention impossible, life would be if discrimination were outlawed. Imagine engaging in just about any activity where we couldn't discriminate by race, sex, height, weight, age, mannerisms, college selection, looks or ability; it would turn into a carnival.
I've sometimes asked students if they believe in equal opportunity in employment. Invariably, they answer yes. Then I ask them, when they graduate, whether they plan to give every employer an equal opportunity to hire them. Most often they answer no; they plan to discriminate against certain employers. Then I ask them, if they're not going to give every employer an equal opportunity to hire them, what's fair about requiring an employer to give them an equal opportunity to be hired?
Sometimes students will argue that certain forms of discrimination are OK but it's racial discrimination that's truly offensive.
That's when I confess my own history of racial discrimination. In the late 1950s, whilst selecting a lifelong mate, even though white, Mexican, Indian, Chinese and Japanese women might have been just as qualified as a mate, I gave them no chance whatsoever. It appears that most Americans act identically by racially discriminating in setting up marriage contracts.
According to the 1992 Census Bureau, only 2.2 percent of Americans are married to people other than their own race or ethnicity.
You say, "All right, Williams, discrimination in marriage doesn't have the impact on society that other forms of discrimination have."
You're wrong again. When there is assortive (non-random) mate selection, it heightens whatever group differences exist in the population. For instance, higher IQ individuals tend toward mates with high IQs. High-income people tend to mate with other high-income people.
It's the same with education. To the extent there is a racial correlation between these characteristics, racial discrimination in mate selection exaggerates the differences in the society's intelligence and income distribution. There would be greater equality if there weren't this kind of discrimination in mate selection.
In other words, if high-IQ people were forced to select low-IQ mates, high-income people forced to select low-income mates, and highly educated people forced to select lowly educated mates, there would be greater social equality. While there would be greater social equality, the divorce rate would soar since gross dissimilarities would make for conflict.
Common sense suggests that not all discrimination should be eliminated, so the question is, what kind of discrimination should be permitted? I'm guessing the answer depends on one's values for freedom of association, keeping in mind freedom of association implies freedom not to associate.