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Locke and the Rights of Children Locke firmly denies Filmers theory that it is morally permissible for parents to treat their children however they please They who allege the Practice of Mankind for exposing or selling their Children as a Proof of their Power over them are with Sir Rob happy Arguers and cannot but recommend their Opinion by founding it on the most shameful Action and most unnatural Murder humane Nature is capable of First Treatise sec56 Rather Locke argues that children have the same moral rights as any other person though the childs inadequate mental faculties make it permissible for his parents to rule over him to a limited degree Thus we are born Free as we are born Rational not that we have actually the Exercise of either Age that brings one brings with it the other too Second Treatise sec61 On top of this he affirms a postive non-contractual duty of parents to provide for their offspring But to supply the Defects of this imperfect State till the Improvement of Growth and Age hath removed them Adam and Eve and after them all Parents were by the Law of Nature under an obligation to preserve nourish and educate the Children they had begotten Second Treatise sec56 Apparently then Locke believes that parents may overrule bad choices that their children might make including self-regarding actions Leaving aside Lockes duty of self- preservation his theory permits adults to do as they wish with their own bodies But this is not the case for children because their lack of reason prevents them from making sensible choices To permit a willful child from taking serious risks to his health or safety even if he wants to is permissible on this theory Parents and other
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