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Think of the children arguments.

Joined
Aug 26, 2010
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4,577
#1
I'm going to be pretensions and put this in the philosophy section. It's totally not because I noticed both politics and psychology were taken by active threads that would kill this one.

This thread is to discuss the effects and validity of think of the children arguments. I swear to god if this turns into a transgender thread I’m going to fight somebody.


So Australia has been having the same sex marriage vote/”debate” along with various privacy and terrorists debates and something grayman posted recently all referenced children and their protection/what’s best for them.

A lot of new rules and policies and anti-rules and anti-policies and justification often come with “Think of the children” clauses.

Now I want to point out we should think of the children. If we didn’t think of the children we would have a lot of dead or maladjusted children in the world. Most people don’t want harm to come to children and a few people even like them. People can however use TOTC arguments to push their own moral agenda and ideals even if they are wrong, and they can push them maliciously to gain power in other ways. (Such as spying agencies and anti-encryption laws) They can even push them with good intentions and be right, however cause issues in other areas.

Often the arguments aren’t completely wrong either, in fact they almost never are. However they often reference fringe cases or minority cases which are not indicative of the whole.

I haven't had enough time to think about it so I was wondering. What’s your opinion of TOTC arguments? Which ones do you find as most egregious and which are acceptable? What are you willing to sacrifice in other areas to legitimately protect the children? Is it inherently manipulative in it’s appeal and should be replaced with TOT adult arguments?
 

Hadoblado

The choicest fuckboi
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#2
I guess I take it on a case by case basis?

It takes advantage of people's tendency to think in moral absolutes. I personally value 'thinking of the children' a lot, seeing their interests as elevated above those of adults. But if someone uses that sentiment to further their own agenda, I am likely to look down on them and probably dismiss them and their position out of disgust.

As far as I am aware, I found no problem with the way Grayman raised the issue of children and the opt-in age for sex reassignment. It's a legitimate concern.

If someone were to raise it for the 'vote-no' campaign, I'd be pretty harsh in my dealings with them unless they had information I'm currently unaware of.

Basically I see it as an extremely low tactic if the concerns of the children are not the driving motive.
 
Joined
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#3
I guess I take it on a case by case basis?

It takes advantage of people's tendency to think in moral absolutes. I personally value 'thinking of the children' a lot, seeing their interests as elevated above those of adults. But if someone uses that sentiment to further their own agenda, I am likely to look down on them and probably dismiss them and their position out of disgust.

As far as I am aware, I found no problem with the way Grayman raised the issue of children and the opt-in age for sex reassignment. It's a legitimate concern.

If someone were to raise it for the 'vote-no' campaign, I'd be pretty harsh in my dealings with them unless they had information I'm currently unaware of.

Basically I see it as an extremely low tactic if the concerns of the children are not the driving motive.
Yeah I had no problem with that specific case as it is an issue. What actually is correct regarding that issue is a different thing but in that case it's fine to raise.

My parents, who know I'm gay and are getting very good at ignoring it, raise it a lot in regards to same sex couples being allowed to have children. Citing statistics regarding child outcomes and safety. Again if that was purely the concern I wouldn't mind so much. Now if their statistics are accurate that's another question. I mean. I do see the edge case, it's probably easier to find two paedophiles with the same preferences if they are the same sex. There is possibly a higher likelihood of that edge case abuse if all things normalise. (It becomes as easy to adopt/foster as same sex as not same sex)

I think they genuinely have that concern but it's probably also tainted by their other biases. At what point is it really bad. Like if someone says think of the children they'll have to learn gay shit in school and genuinely believes it's a problem where would you draw the line. Is intent or method the primary issue?
 

Hadoblado

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#4
I think of it as bad, but not really bad.

I'm not going to lie, my initial assumption before reading anything on this was that it would be suboptimal for homosexuals to raise children. The way vicarious conditioning works, the effects of growing up without one parent or the other etc.: intuitively it just seemed like it would be worse at addressing the needs of the child.

Since then I read up on it, and still far from anything approximating expertise, I changed my mind because I found the literature concluding that homosexual parenting is fine more convincing.

It seems to me most like people who have these 'think of the children' concerns, are more concerned about homosexuals than the children. Look at the sum of their actions. Are they more likely to promote a cause in pursuit of children's interests, or the extension of rights to homosexuals? Because I see them ranting on facebook about 'vote-no'... but I've never seen them give a fuck about children's interests outside of keeping them out of the influence of homosexuals.

My thoughts concerning your parents are mixed. You're their son, they should have the flexibility to accept you and your sexuality. While on here I talk about the standard of providing evidence, that doesn't really fly when you're talking about a familial relationship.

My thoughts concerning this:
Like if someone says think of the children they'll have to learn gay shit in school and genuinely believes it's a problem where would you draw the line. Is intent or method the primary issue?
Is that they better know what they're talking about before pushing an agenda that affects children. Because if they're wrong, they're the most reprehensible kind of idiot who is in fact harming children while pretending to represent their interests.
 

Creeping Death

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#5
In general, "think of the children" arguments are intellectually lazy, underhanded and last resort. People using it have no interest in an open discussion.. it's a shallow argument and one of the most used appeals to emotion.
 

Hadoblado

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#6
Isn't that a bit of a *cough* fallacy fallacy?

The children very much do need thinking of.
 

Polaris

Radioactive vision
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#7
We assume kids are as stupid as we are when we try to speak for them.

What I have observed is that these same self-righteous and often mildly hysterical people treat children as if they are second class citizens and patronise them until they reach a 'legitimate' age, and even then they are dismissed as being too young. So I do not for a single second believe someone who uses that as an argument is genuinely concerned or actually understand what is best for children, because they do not consider the fact that children still need to make their own, informed decisions. It is fine to provide your opinion, but kids need to be aware there are other opinions out there. I would go as far as saying TOTC arguments border on child abuse, and a blatant disrespect for children's intellectual and emotional capacity.

People who use the TOTC project their own fears upon others - I couldn't think of anything more condescending or controlling. New generations look at us, and draw their own conclusions regardless of what we try to imprint upon them.
 

Jennywocky

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#8
As a parent, sure, I had to look out for and raise my kids...

... but when this type of argument is made in some kind of discussion, it usually means the argument doesn't have much weight on its own. When I've seen it used politically, it is usually used by the side that most dominates/controls its own children and is more a way to insulate children from the world and values the parents disagree with, versus actually "protecting" them from something directly harmful. (As an example, you can see it just by statistically canvassing a particular threat and realizing the people who are making the argument are not actually targeting the greatest threats to their kid but their ideological opponents.)

At best (if offered sincerely), it comes down to insular versus expansive parenting. Are you a parent who wants to lock your kid away from things you disapprove of, or are you a parent who walks with your kid to teach them how to navigate the world? There's a sweet spot in there, since a kid's maturity level does determine how much they can handle at a particular age, but typically it does come down to a control issue (the "threat" is losing control of your kid and/or not having them be a clone of you... not an actual threat to the kid's overall well-being).
 
Joined
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#9
Hmm so for those of the opinion that it's okay occasionally to legitimately protect children does this apply to other groups or is it children specific. Likewise for those who think it's never okay and almost always a control/manipulation thing.

For example the same style of argument TOTC but applied to animals TOTA for instance. Or think of the coffee drinkers, or think of the marginalised group?
 

Polaris

Radioactive vision
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#10
It's not about who or what you are protecting, but how you do it - if you are that way inclined.

There is a difference between actually protecting, and shouting hysterically about protecting, which leads nowhere. And people tend to use children in particular as leverage, because nobody wants to hurt children, right?

Also, singling out [insert organism] just creates over-focus on this one thing, which then suppresses the voices of other organisms.

Yes, there it is...the 'ism'.

When something becomes an 'ism', it becomes politicised - and rationality goes out the window.

I think there is a time and place for focus on certain issues, but it has to be addressed in a way that will communicate information so that people are free to make up their own minds. Ideally, proactive measures would lessen the need for this kind of focus, but humans are not that smart.
 
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#11
Cool so is there like a grey area. Say there's 100% protect and 100% attack on a horizontal axis. Now cross that with like a 7 foot tall giant with no emotional issues and like a 2 year old girl on a vertical axis. (silly but trying to give examples before I run out the door)

Does the person being more vulnerable excuse more hysteria. Is like 60% protect 40% hysteria okay? Is it less okay if the person needs less protecting even if the intent is the same at 60%.
 

Hadoblado

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#12
For me children are the outstanding exception that pulls on my heart-strings.

They've not yet developed the cognitive capacity or experience to reliably make decisions to protect themselves, but they will one day. They need guidance, assistance, protection etc. in order to get to the point where they can be trusted to make their own decisions.

I don't really care about animals. Not really. I have a fondness for the cute ones, but am not swayed by their interests in the same way I am by children.

Adults can all fend for themselves for the most part.

I basically want to give everyone a fighting chance, then once people have been extended real opportunity their well-being is no longer my concern. I can't care about everyone, the line has to be drawn somewhere. I choose to draw it at the point where real opportunity meets an expectation for personal responsibility, as foggy as that may seem.
 

Polaris

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#13
I’m making the distinction between disingenuine blanket statements about protecting children and the act of actually protecting children.

I will fight to protect both children and animals, but I will not use "protect children" arguments as leverage for some dubious agenda that has nothing to do with their protection.

Like Hado said, young kids need guidance, assistance and protection. I consider these actions. We can talk about how to go about these actions. That is called protective measures. But to use kids as poster symbols for one’s own interest is different.

Is that clearer?
 

Jennywocky

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#14
^^ That.

The problem isn't in whether or not to protect the kids, it's simply that in my practical experience, the people who habitually go for that bullhorn are trying to win an issue by emotional manipulation on some level and not actually interested big-picture in protecting kids. Or their idea of protecting kids is actually mostly about inflicting their world views on them.

As a side example, it's like those who claim to be "pro-life" in my country but that only refers to being anti-abortion in practice, because once a baby is born, the interest in helping it (especially if it's from a different race or economic bracket) diminishes greatly.

Think about the "for the children" approach. You immediately become divisive and binary; you are saying that someone has to agree with you on an issue or they hate children / do not care about their best interests, not because of a debate of the issue but because you are a child hater. There is no further room for debate over methods or the complexity of an issue, you just insinuate your opponents don't give a darn about children and cast yourself as some kind of benevolent wholesome family person. What sort of monster would you have to be to not care about the children?
 

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
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Dec 12, 2009
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#15
Children are noisy and gross I dunno why people make such a fuss about their safety I mean they're replaceable for fucksake!

:D
 

cheese

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#16
I thought "think of the children" arguments are widely seen as disingenuous, which is why they're a bit of a comedic trope. The people who still use such broad arguments generally seem out of touch.
 

Hadoblado

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#17
Honestly I'd never heard of it before now. I had it sort of characterised in my head, I would groan internally if someone did it, but it wasn't a distinct category of argument.
 

Grayman

Team Ignorant
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#18
Yeah, think of the children and one of those children in a class of 20 will probably turn out to be homosexual. So would it be good for that child if you hide them away from information that could save him/her a lot of pain and suffering? No. Would it be good for the other kids id someone who prioritized gay rights over the children decided to try to subject them with homosexuality continually in some righteous effort to end inequality in the next generation? I don't think so.

As far as abortion goes, it depends if the person is of the type that says "Grow up and take responsibility for your actions" or if they are of the mind to promote adoption and engage in that area. Forcing people to have and raise children they do not want is probably not good for the children.

When it comes to adoption children are likely to receive maybe even better parents than natural parents considering all the classes, inspections, and background checks they have to go through. Plus and time they have to put in it and all while paying the medical bills of the woman that is or had born the child on top of near 30k adoption fees they are probably really serious about taking good care of that child.
 

gps

INTP 5w4 Iconoclast
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#19
I'm a bit confused.
Where does this hypothetical argument take place or get pulled as if a card in a game of censorship?
A corner bar?
A parent-teacher meeting?
A social networking forum which children -- under, say 18 -- aren't allowed to participate but perhaps CAN read/access what over-18 `adults' have written and published/made_public?

For me the context makes a HUGE difference.

I'm friends with a family of 3 in which the children are 6 and 7 and the adult is their grandmother of 51;
I wouldn't use my stock "And do you still believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny' in response to an adult revealing or admitting to a belief in `God' in front of children still actively believing in either SC or EB.

Part of `being' an adult for me is the ability to use Adult Concepts and Adult Language.
So when I've posted to INTP social networking groups I typically have NOT imagined children in the viewing audience.
I suppose that one of the beneficial, if not therapeutic, features of interacting with fellow ADULT INTPs is a palpable reduction in self-consciousness, self-censorship, and such which I feel I have to when among the general population including women, children, and horses ... all of which I as an adult white male can be accused of unilaterally `scaring' as if an not-appropriate uncouth insensitive churlish brute.

It's getting to the point that if one wants to exercise erstwhile `freedom of speech/expression' one has to do so with a protected-by-client-patient-confidentiality professional therapist on a desert island somewhere ... because if a 3rd party is either present or even within earshot their right to play victim trumps one's right to freedom of expression without the speaker/expressor being victimized by the party playing the victim card.

I'm reminded of a `minor' -- not of the `children' class of the OP, but an adolescent -- whose child was graduating kindergarten as she was graduating high school.
The baby daddy was roughly her age, but had the father been an `adult' he would have been up on statutory rape charges as per an obvious-to-me double standard; children MAY beget children sans an `adult' to which to attribute this `offense to children' on-par-with if not surpassing children's precious ears hearing `adult language' of the sort featured in R-rated movies.

There are many children on whose behalf any number of Social Justice Workers can take umbrage or attempt to censor other would-be peer adult Citizens -- supposed/alleged to have civil RIGHTS deprecated to mere privileges -- bestowed or not by these SJWs.
It's not that the precious children employ double standards so much as scum bag, prissy adults who can flog other adults AS IF `A' or `Thee' veritable Children's Messiah on yet another Save the Children campaign.
 

Pyropyro

Magos Biologis
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#20
On a really unspecific basis, I'm against TOTA and see the merit of TOTC arguments.

Adults are simply there to live to make the living conditions for the next generation better and die to be replaced afterward.

I think a lot of the issues we're currently facing is because adults cling to their place rather than purposely give it up when their time has come. They get resources aimed to support the young and even throw the young to wars they started.
 

Jennywocky

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#21
I think a lot of the issues we're currently facing is because adults cling to their place rather than purposely give it up when their time has come.
In the broad sense... yeah. We even have that now with the Boomers in the USA, although people are living a lot longer.

It comes down to the cycle of life. Birth -> Growth -> maturation -> decay -> death. Not that old people have to be gotten rid of, but there should be a sense of "passing things along" to the people who will soon take your place.... what you know, who you know, how to get things done, etc.

"Prometheus" really dropped the ball in a lot of ways, but I wish they would have kept full-length deleted scenes. The one they edited to hell for the release with Vicker and Weyland in his private chamber was great for this:

A king has his reign and then he dies. It's inevitable. That is the natural order of things. My god. Look at you. You used to have so much grace. I respected you. Looked up to you. You're nothing but a scared old man, and I'm tired of waiting for that last pitiful breath to leave your godforsaken mouth.
People seem to want to live forever AND hold onto power for themselves until the last breath escapes their lungs... but this leaves nothing for those in their prime. The most graceful folks know how to step back and leave space for others and spend their last years helping the next generation get established.
 

Pyropyro

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#22
@Jenny

Yeah, I'm more on the "passing the torch" thing rather than "kill all old dudes" thing :D

That's why I like apprenticeship systems. It's a close relationship between the old and new generation, provide some sense of importance to the old as they pass the torch and also provide the young with skills and experience that they will use when they are older.