Jim Faber

Parent-Child Relationship: Objectivism Flaw?

28 posts in this topic

Megan, you said on the Justification thread that justice is your highest value. Does that tie in with your reason for possibly asking people (your parents) whom you don't respect, to an important celebration in your life?

That's part of the reason I am unsure whether or not to them to something important. The exact definition of justice is: "Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness." Is it more moral for me not to invite them because of the complete lack of respect between us, or is it more moral to invite them because they did raise me in a safe environment. But the latter argument seems to be basically saying, "You have to invite them, they're you parents. You have to love them, they're your parents." People seem to say that to me all the time when they find out my relationship with them, "But, they're your parents." I will not love them for simply being my parents. Anyway, I guess I'm just not really sure of what action would really be best, but I can figure that out when I come to it.

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That's part of the reason I am unsure whether or not to them to something important. The exact definition of justice is: "Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness." Is it more moral for me not to invite them because of the complete lack of respect between us, or is it more moral to invite them because they did raise me in a safe environment. But the latter argument seems to be basically saying, "You have to invite them, they're you parents. You have to love them, they're your parents." People seem to say that to me all the time when they find out my relationship with them, "But, they're your parents." I will not love them for simply being my parents. Anyway, I guess I'm just not really sure of what action would really be best, but I can figure that out when I come to it.

Yes, your parents raised you, but that was in the past; they're not raising you now. While they were raising you their reward could have been a child with a mind of her own. If they didn't see you, or didn't make themselves worthy of that reward, well, they lost, and that's justice. To treat them now, in the present, as if they had earned your respect, would be an injustice, besides being dishonest. If you want to practice justice you must first practice honesty. It would be better for you to figure out what you are going to do ahead of time, rather than let yourself be swayed by last minute emotions.

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That's part of the reason I am unsure whether or not to them to something important. The exact definition of justice is: "Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness." Is it more moral for me not to invite them because of the complete lack of respect between us, or is it more moral to invite them because they did raise me in a safe environment. But the latter argument seems to be basically saying, "You have to invite them, they're you parents. You have to love them, they're your parents." People seem to say that to me all the time when they find out my relationship with them, "But, they're your parents." I will not love them for simply being my parents. Anyway, I guess I'm just not really sure of what action would really be best, but I can figure that out when I come to it.
I'd ask myself: What is it that I seek to gain - now or in the future - from meeting my parents? What would I lose by meeting them? Is there something I can do to get what I want without losing anything?

I highly recommend to you a lecture Tara Smith recently gave titled "Passing Judgment: Ayn Rand's View of Justice". It is available at ARI's website on the registered users page here.

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