Children are not property

The worst modern human rights abuses are the most universally supported, and they are not motivated by hatred. They are those against children. School is slavery!

Attendance is rarely voluntary as far as the children are concerned; it is coerced by the threat of literally being imprisoned - or having your parents imprisoned! - for truancy.

The enforcement fallacy

Even if schools were humane places of learning, it would not be justified to physically force someone to go.

The loss of the concept of consent

But to suggest that schools are humane places of learning is laughable. They are places where you often need someone else's approval to *speak*, to *leave your seat*, even to *use the toilet*. When I was in kindergarten we had to "take a nap" at the end of each class while the teacher graded our homework (read: lay down and pretend to sleep and not make any noise or you'll be yelled at). And I was one of the lucky ones. Many other children have it far worse:


Several of my friends were driven nearly to suicide by school.

The incredible thing about it all is that most adults seem oblivious to all this, even though they presumably lived through it at some point. It's as if we all ritualistically forget about the abuse once we escape it.

And much of what children do in school is not effective learning but drudgery and busywork. It is absurd to think, for example, that you need to study several hours per week for a year to learn algebra. Anyone who has tried can tell you that you can learn the same amount about mathematics in a fraction of the time from free online resources such as KhanAcademy. School is just child labor, but forced and unpaid. It even takes nearly as many hours as a full time job for many children! That our government has laws restricting voluntary and paid child labor is but bitter comedy.

The favorite talking point of adult supremacists is that children don't have enough experience to make their own decisions, but then conclude not that our role is to help them gain that experience safely, but that they have no rights unless they do everything we say. Being dependent on others - especially when those others *chose* to bring you into the world knowing you would be helpless at first - doesn't give others the right to control you, any more than it's okay to force disabled adults who need help living into a room against their will and dictate their every action.

Nor is that the only widespread human rights abuse that no one cares about because the victims are the ones least able to stick up for themselves. Another example is "bedtime".

There is no dire health reason why children must sleep at any specific time, and the pretense that there is would be laughable if it weren't used as a justification for violence. It is common for parents to physically force children crying in protest to go to bed and threaten them with punishment if they get up. I was a victim of it as a child, and I have vivid memories of it, and I have seen it done to others many times, each time ashamed I didn't smack the parent and free the child.

Many people rightly criticize spanking, but that's a much smaller problem since they don't have to suffer it every day and a lot of people recognize it as abuse, whereas school and bedtime are hailed by most people as For Their Own Good. And yet you can tell even the people who preach against spanking are still affected by the double standard. They don't treat it the same way as an adult striking anyone who isn't their child. Hell, sometimes small children are physically assaulted in public by their own parents, and everyone just turns a blind eye:

The Bystander Effect - a story of my failure

This is what all forms of violence depend on: those who would defend the victim thinking that it's "not their place".

Why do we have such an oppressive society? At a time where oppression based on gender, race, and sexual orientation are fading, almost every society still treats children as literal property. The obvious answer is that children are incapable of standing up for themselves whereas racial minorities aren't, but I think there's another major reason the oppression of children has gone unchallenged: because the abusers and the abused are the same people, just at different times. The easiest way to convince someone that their abuse was okay is to give them a turn with a whip.

Other reading:

The First Prison


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