Any Rand believed that the US was the greatest country where individual rights were sacred. She denounced the initiation of physical force against the individual as immoral and illegal. In the US it is still legal and acceptable for a parent to use physical force to discipline their child. How is this not a moral and legal contradiction?

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    So is that any Rand, or just Ayn Rand?:) And aynway, it's only legal up to a point, although maybe there's too-wide a gray area about that. But, for one blatantly crossing-the-line example, in a still-developing story, just two days ago these parents were arrested on torture charges, telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/16/… So it ain't all legal like you're suggesting. – user19423 Jan 18 '18 at 6:13
  • Ayn Rand tended to be a bit cherry-picky about which rights for which individuals were sacred. – Alex Jan 18 '18 at 12:02
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    @John Forkosh. 'And aynway' - great pun..Humour makes a change among the comments. Best - Geoff – Geoffrey Thomas Jan 18 '18 at 13:10
  • I'm a bit lost here. Ayn Rand said something; America has some sort of other policy. Ergo moral and legal contradiction? – virmaior Jan 31 '18 at 14:19

Rand is making a comparative judgement. If corporal punishment is practised in the US, this by her own standards is a defect in the US recognition of individual rights as sacred since it involves physical force against the individual and she disapproves of that. But other countries may be more defective - violate more rights more drastically. The US could - just could - be the greatest country where human rights are sacred in the sense that it has the best record. That doesn't imply - and nor need she - that the US is perfect in its respect for individual rights. If corporal punishment is a blot on the US's rights-respecting record, the US's record may still be the best. So Rand is not necessarily caught in a contradiction, legal or moral.

This is not to defend her position. It is just to indicate how she could coherently make her claim - support her belief - about the rights-respecting pre-eminence of the US despite its ongoing use of corporal punishment.

  • Although Rand didn't write a lot about child-rearing, and I don't know if she ever expressed an opinion on corporal punishment, she did acknowledge that parents necessarily need to 'infringe' their children's rights in many ways, until they mature. They aren't born with full autonomy. Parents have control over their children's speech, who they associate with, etc., and that's not necessarily a flaw in the law. It's by design. – Ask About Monica Jan 18 '18 at 17:42
  • @ kbelder 1. Thanks for this comment. I'm inclined to reply that the possession of rights does not depend on the status of full autonomy. Certain rights do hold only between fully autonomous agents, e.g. contractual rights. But I don't see how a child would lack the right to be protected from violence just because it was not a fully autonomous agent. The most that would follow from a child's lack of full autonomy would be a right by certain adults to constrain or control its behaviour. Not a right to inflict violence on it. That's my take. Is yours still different ? – Geoffrey Thomas Jan 18 '18 at 17:51

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