Thursday, November 13, 2003

Sarah Fitz-Claridge has a post that's essentially a transcript of a speech she gave, on the subject of the right-wing libertarian weakness for private-sphere authoritarianism. That is, the endorsement of any abomination, so long as it is not practiced by the state. I'm mostly sympathetic, but she badly muddies her message by throwing the notion of "children's rights" into the discussion. You can agree with her points against tyranny-by-contract, while not buying into her insistence that children have the same set of rights as adults. I am basically hostile to the notion that children possess full agency. They aren't chattel, but there's a hell of a distance between chattel and citizenry. Her speech conflates adults and children, and proceeds on the assumption that women's agency and children's agency are equal and linked concepts.

Childhood is a transitive condition, a phase through which an entity passes on the way to adulthood. Ethnicity and gender are essential conditions which characterize an entity throughout its existence. They're incommensurate, and to treat them as if they are commensurable is a mistake of the first order.

Via this week's Carnival.

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