On children’s rights and position in society:

On children’s rights and position in society:

Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children published by Dutton in 1974.

From page 1:

This is a book about young people and their place, or lack of place, in modern society. It is about the institution of modern childhood, the attitudes, customs, and laws that define and locate children in modern life and determine to a large degree what their lives are like and how we, their elders, treat them. And it is about the many ways in which modern childhood seems to me to be bad for most of those who live within it and how it should and might be changed.For a long time it never occurred to me to question this institution. Only in recent years did I begin to wonder whether there might be other or better ways for young people to live. By now I have come to feel that the fact of being a “child,” of being wholly subservient and dependent, of being seen by older people as a mixture of expensive nuisance, slave, and superpet, does most young people more harm than good.

I propose instead that the rights, privileges, duties, responsibilities of adults citizens be made *available* to any young person, of whatever age, who wants to make use of them. These would include, among others:

  • 1. The right to equal treatment a the hands of the law- ie., the right, in any situation, to be treated no worse than an adult would be.
  • 2. The right to vote, and take full part in political affairs.
  • 3. The right to be legally responsible for one’s life and acts.
  • 4. The right to work, for money.
  • 5. The right to privacy.
  • 6. The right to financial independence and responsibility-ie., the right to own, buy, and sell property, to borrow money, establish credit, sign contracts, etc.
  • 7. The right to direct and manage one’s own education.
  • 8. The right to travel, to live away from home, to choose or make one’s own home.
  • 9. The right to receive from the state whatever minimum income it may guarantee to adults citizens.
  • 10. The right to make and enter into, on basis of mutual consent, quasi-familial relationships outside one’s immediate family-ie., the right to seek and choose guardians other than one’s own parents and to be legally dependent on them.
  • 11. The right to do, in general, what any adult may legally do.
  • end of John Holt passage

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