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Author Topic: Must new members be 18?  (Read 20622 times)

JasonPSorens

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2003, 04:25:49 pm »

There's no denying there's a downside to having no age minimum. The only question is, which downside is preferable: having member's kids signed up to skew the vote, or disallowing rational, thinking people like me a vote based solely on age?

There's no question there's a downside to this policy... I just see downsides to all the alternative policies too.

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How about we allow anyone to vote, regardless of age, the same way we already allow them to regardless of race, gender, etc? That doesn't seem arbitrary at all to me.

Obviously, some age limit must be set.  We couldn't allow infants to vote.  So then the question becomes, What should that age limit be?  For most of the history of the US, the age to vote in political elections was 21.  I think it was wise of the Founding Fathers to set this age limit, as a hedge on pure democracy, even though it was unfair to some.  Eventually, it was recognized that with policies like the draft affecting the very lives of people 18-21 years in age, the age limit for voting in political elections was lowered to 18.  Obviously, the FSP election is not a political election, but shouldn't it also be a solemn affair, removed (as much as we can make it) from demagoguery and populism?  If so, mightn't there be justifications for restrictions on who may vote, even if they are unfair to some?
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Aaron

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2003, 12:32:19 am »

Obviously, some age limit must be set.  We couldn't allow infants to vote.  So then the question becomes, What should that age limit be?

What????? WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!

Come on, Jason.  You have a PhD. from Yale.  You ought to be able to do better than that.

We can't allow infants to vote.  That seems to be your premise even though it is written after instead of before your conclusion.   Obviously, some age limit should be set.  This conclusion drawn from your premise is not obvious to me at all.  Please educate this Starbucks barista who flunked out of college.  What is the reason for not wanting infants to vote?  Is it the infant's chronological age?  If so I could see how your conclusion could follow your premise.  I would assert, however, that it is the cognitive capacity (or lack thereof) of the infant that is at issue here--NOT it's chonological age.  Therefore, the question does not become What should that age limit be?  It becomes, what level of cognitive capacity is required for an individual to "deserve" the right to vote?

The rest of your argumentation is dubious as well.  So you had a problem with teenagers and parents disagreeing on whether the teens should be members or not.  Interesting that you did not mention which side of the debate the kids and parents were on.  Did the kids want to join and the parents refused permission? Or were the parents trying to force their kids to sign to get more votes?  If it were obvious that it was the latter, you could have rejected their signatures based on the fact that they weren't really committed to being "activists" and you could have left the (phony, by the way) "age rule" out of it.  If you were not sure, you should have interviewed the teens to determine their level of committment and made a case by case decision based solely on your perception of their level of committment.  Too arbitrary?  What if an adult signs up and says on this forum, "I am a racist and I plan to promote hatred and bigotry in the free state."  Will you allow him to vote?  I hope not.  Is that any less arbitrary?  How about if a fraternity gets together seven or eight hundred college kids to sign up and all vote for North Dakota as a prank?  Will you send them ballots?  I hope not.  The common thread with these examples is that I have no problem with the board denying membership to someone based on the reasonable belief that they are not committed to participating in the manner described by the AGREEMENT.  This should be the ONLY criterion.

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I'm aware that there are many people under 18 who are capable of making decisions like this one, and GimmeFuel sounds like such a person.  But how can we make exceptions?  


That question is non-sensical because it presupposes that a rule exists to which an exception might be made.  In this case, NO SUCH RULE EXISTS!  rhull asked where to find policies not stated in the participation guidelines and you directed him to the FAQ.  Well, let's look at the FAQ:


Q. Who is welcome to participate?

A. Anyone who can agree to the clause in the Statement of Intent which says that you should support the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of citizens' rights to life, liberty, and property. In essence, this includes everyone who wants to cut the size and scope of government by about two-thirds or more. Put in a positive way, most FSP members support policies such as abolition of all income taxes, elimination of regulatory bureaucracies, repeal of most gun control laws, repeal of most drug prohibition laws, complete free trade, decentralization of government, and widescale privatization. People of this disposition may go by many names: "classical liberals" (not the same as modern liberals at all, but followers of Thomas Jefferson and similar thinkers), libertarians, paleoconservatives, constitutionalists, voluntarists, etc., etc.



Whoops!  You forgot to add, "except for the people we are going to exclude in a subsequent answer to a frequently asked question."


Q. Is there an "age limit" to joining? Are retired people welcome? Are there any "good health" requirements?

A. All are welcome in the FSP. We already have members in a wide range of ages, and encourage those with life experience to join our efforts. We have no health requirements -- it's none of our business, and we appreciate any support we get from liberty-lovers in any stage of life. We do ask that you be at least 18 years of age to sign up.



Hmmm.  Maybe you should have put "require" instead of "ask" if you wanted us to think of it as a "rule".  

Just because you were able to cower the parents (and teens?) into backing down when this issue came up previously does not mean that you have established the existence of a "rule".  If you and/or the board decide to exclude GimmeFuel, you will do so in an ex post facto manner.

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1) Even though many individuals under 18 are fully capable of making their own decisions, even these are at a time in their life when it will be difficult to make a long-run commitment like this one.  In college, you come across new ideas, choose new career paths, and you may decide you want to do something totally different with your life.  Even if you think the Free State idea is a great one, tying yourself to it before you've begun your independent life doesn't seem like a credible commitment.

Do you really believe this, Jason?  If so you had better take my name off the membership list.  If GimmeFuel has zero "committment credibility", then mine is WAY in the negative at this stage of my life.  If this is a good reason to exclude someone from this project, then this criterion easily disqualifies me.  You had better get on the phone quickly and start interviewing the membership to determine their reliability.  I bet many more than just I will be disqualified as well.

Quote
 
Gimme,
While I don't think every family in the FSP should be allowed to register all of their adolesents, to sway the vote, I firmly believe that a 16 year old, who realizes the value of the FSP and seeks membership on their own should be allowed to join.
Lloyd

Sorry, I have to disagree with the first half of this one.  First of all, I already outlined above how Jason could have handled the situation if the minors were not really committed to the cause.  And if the kids put on a good show of being "committed to activism"?  I say let them vote!  It's a secret ballot.  They may not vote the way their parents do.  The suppositional argumentation for assigning an arbitrary chronological minimum age reminds me of the folks up in arms about the possibility of a whole bunch of NH residents signing up to vote for NH.  First of all, it hasn't happened in sufficient numbers to skew the vote (in either case).  Secondly, if the latter did happen, I would have two things to say:  

1.  GOOD FOR THEM!  Politics is marketing.  If the best marketers think we should move to NH then maybe we should move to NH!  

2.  THAT'S DEMOCRACY, FOLKS!  Many on this forum have gone to great lengths to assert that we intend to work completely within the system in order to change it.  Well, that system includes the principle of democracy.  Democracy by its very nature means that people will be allowed to vote even if there is a consensus that they are not smart enough or well informed enough to vote wisely.  

Here we are all worried that too many members will vote based on where their relatives live, where they will make the most money, which state is prettiest, etc. instead of which state offers the project the best chance for success.  And here you are disenfranchising a member for something so irrelevant as his chronological age.  I am outraged.



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GimmeFuel

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2003, 01:27:15 am »

There's no question there's a downside to this policy... I just see downsides to all the alternative policies too.

Look back at my previous post; I agree with you that all possible policies have downsides. My point was that the downsides inherent in lowering the age limit are better than the downsides inherent in the current system. Currently, you have people who truly believe in the Project, but are denied from being members and having a vote. If the age minimum was changed, the downside would be that people who may not fully believe in the Project could be forced into voting by their parents.

Obviously, some age limit must be set.

This is not at all obvious to me. Would you mind explaining your reasoning? If it truly is obvious, one would think it would be easy for you to explain it.

We couldn't allow infants to vote.

Apples to Tang. Infants voting has nothing to do with age and everything to do with intelligence. Here we are talking about those who are considered too young to vote but have enough intelligence to do so.
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larry

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2003, 04:10:11 am »

Jason,

I figure infants ain't gonna have an interest in voting.

You argument falls of it's own weight.  

As I see it, with your very big tent strategy, you have
invited adults into the FSP who should have no vote.

If a person expresses a desire to vote, that's enough
for me, and I figure it ougtta be enough for you.

Stuffing the ballot box is a very different question, and has
nothing to do with age.

I'd take a vote from "gimmiefuel" over "amazing alfredo" any
day, no matter the age.

With her plea, I figure the Board ought to call a special meeting, to give at least one "infant" the right to vote.

Just trying to give you fuel, "gimmie fuel", cause you diserve
it.  And anybody who can't see that is blind.

libertarinan larry
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2003, 09:46:20 am »

We can't allow infants to vote.  That seems to be your premise even though it is written after instead of before your conclusion.   Obviously, some age limit should be set.  This conclusion drawn from your premise is not obvious to me at all.  Please educate this Starbucks barista who flunked out of college.  What is the reason for not wanting infants to vote?  Is it the infant's chronological age?  If so I could see how your conclusion could follow your premise.  I would assert, however, that it is the cognitive capacity (or lack thereof) of the infant that is at issue here--NOT it's chonological age.  Therefore, the question does not become What should that age limit be?  It becomes, what level of cognitive capacity is required for an individual to "deserve" the right to vote?

Okay.  Now what is your idea for determining the "cognitive capacity" of each member who signs up on our website? ;)
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rhull

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2003, 12:12:53 pm »

I haven't been able to find this policy on the web site. I've always thought the "Participation Guidelines" were all inclusive. Could you point me to where I might find policies which are not included in the participation guidelines.

http://www.freestateproject.org/faqs.htm

Hmmm, so a FAQ=Policy. :)

In my orginal response to GimmeFuel I stated I didn't find any age exclusion. I still can't find any.

The FAQ states: "Q. Is there an "age limit" to joining? Are retired people welcome? Are there any "good health" requirements?

A. All are welcome in the FSP. We already have members in a wide range of ages, and encourage those with life experience to join our efforts. We have no health requirements -- it's none of our business, and we appreciate any support we get from liberty-lovers in any stage of life. We do ask that you be at least 18 years of age to sign up."

The term "all are welcome in the fsp" means everyone is welcome regardless of anything. The last sentence "we do ask that you be at least 18 years of age to sign up" could be interpreted to be age exclusionary. However I think if you wish to convey something which is absolute, the word "must" or "shall" should have been used rather than ask. Its sort of like a speed limit sign which "asks" you to do 25.

Also I don't think an entry in a FAQ constitutes a policy. The FAQ should *reflect* the policies which have been laid out in the controlling documents, bylaws, participation guidelines, etc.

Here is section 7 of the FSP bylaws dealing with this issue:

VII.            Statement of Intent

A.    The FSP shall circulate a Statement of Intent, indicating that the signer will: a) move to the state designated according to the rules laid out in the Participation Guidelines (which Guidelines shall reflect the provisions set forth in these Bylaws); b) work toward a society in which the sole role of civil government is the protection of persons’ rights to life, liberty, and property.  The Statement shall become void three years after signing should the designation of the state not have occurred by that time.

B.     The Statement of Intent is not a contract and is not intended to be legally enforced.

C.     The FSP shall not require dues or contributions of any kind for the right to sign the Statement of Intent and to participate in the move.

D.    Participation Guidelines.  Once 5,000 people have signed the Statement, voting shall commence on a state where all participants should move.  All sufficiently small states, as determined by the Directors or a committee set up by the Directors for this purpose, shall be considered.  The voting shall proceed according to Simple Condorcet’s Method (a method of voting whereby voters rank all candidates, and candidates are then compared against each other in pairwise contests, the only unbeaten candidate being the winner – if no unbeaten candidate exists, the smallest-magnitude defeats are eliminated until one candidate is unbeaten).  All signers of the Statement of Intent have the right to participate in the vote; no one who has not signed the Statement of Intent may participate.  All ballots shall be made available for verification to all voters after the voting has concluded.  Postal and electronic ballots shall be valid methods of voting.

E.    Once 20,000 people have signed the Statement, the signers shall move to the state decided upon as expeditiously as possible and absolutely within five years of the achievement of the 20,000-signer threshold.  Should the Statement never attract 20,000 signers, no signer shall be held responsible to move.


7.d. Deals specificly with who may participate: " All signers of the Statement of Intent have the right to participate in the vote; no one who has not signed the Statement of Intent may participate."

There is no age reference or exclusion.

If GimmeFuel has signed the "Statement of Intent" he is a member and has a right to participate in the vote.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2003, 12:13:40 pm by rhull »
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anarchicluv

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2003, 08:40:38 pm »

For all those who can't seem to find where it states you must be 18 to join, please read the "join page" (http://www.freestateproject.org/join.htm) thoroughly.

I will leave all the quibbling to you guys and simply state that I support the age limit 100%.

Jeremy
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Robert H.

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2003, 10:43:07 pm »

The term "all are welcome in the fsp" means everyone is welcome regardless of anything. The last sentence "we do ask that you be at least 18 years of age to sign up" could be interpreted to be age exclusionary. However I think if you wish to convey something which is absolute, the word "must" or "shall" should have been used rather than ask. Its sort of like a speed limit sign which "asks" you to do 25.

The guidelines also indicate that the FSP can expel members for unacceptable behavior, so people are not welcome in the FSP "regardless of anything."

The intent behind that statement in the FAQ is really quite clear, and, as it happens, we're not even talking about a misunderstanding or an ambiguity in this situation.  GimmeFuel has clearly indicated an understanding of what that statement in the FAQ means.  See below (emphasis mine):

Quote
I'm 16 years old and I strongly believe in libertarian principles and the FSP. I'm currently registered as a Friend of the FSP, because it says I must be over 18 to register as a member. Is this requirement really necessary? I'll be 18 in a little over a year and a half, so I'll have no problem moving within the five-year timeframe after the Project reaches 20,000.

Not a chance. Just because I'm younger than most, doesn't mean I will allow them to deny me a voice. I'm going to sign up now, and when my ballot comes attach a letter to it explaining the situation and giving my phone # and e-mail address. I am confident they'll count my vote; any truly freedom-loving organization would not discriminate against people based solely on an arbitrary age minimum.

This is a person who clearly understands the intent presented in the FAQ and is deliberately going against the system because they don't agree with it.  So, let's not treat this like it's an ambiguity in the language of the FAQ.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2003, 10:44:41 pm by RobertH »
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rhull

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2003, 01:47:32 am »

The term "all are welcome in the fsp" means everyone is welcome regardless of anything. The last sentence "we do ask that you be at least 18 years of age to sign up" could be interpreted to be age exclusionary. However I think if you wish to convey something which is absolute, the word "must" or "shall" should have been used rather than ask. Its sort of like a speed limit sign which "asks" you to do 25.

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The guidelines also indicate that the FSP can expel members for unacceptable behavior, so people are not welcome in the FSP "regardless of anything."

They do? Are we looking at the same website? :)

I see a reference to people who are not welcome in the FAQ. I can't find anything about unacceptable behavior or expulsion in the guidelines. This is beside the point. The issue was about age not behavior. The first sentence of the answer to the "age" question in the FAQ states "All are welcome in the FSP." This means everyone is welcome regardless of age(anything). Then it goes on to expound about how "we appreciate any support we get from liberty-lovers in any stage of life.". Again this an all inclusive statement. The last sentence "We do ask that you be at least 18 years of age to sign up." could be interpreted to mean those under 18 may not sign up.


Quote
The intent behind that statement in the FAQ is really quite clear, and, as it happens, we're not even talking about a misunderstanding or an ambiguity in this situation.  GimmeFuel has clearly indicated an understanding of what that statement in the FAQ means.  See below (emphasis mine):

Quote
I'm 16 years old and I strongly believe in libertarian principles and the FSP. I'm currently registered as a Friend of the FSP, because it says I must be over 18 to register as a member. Is this requirement really necessary? I'll be 18 in a little over a year and a half, so I'll have no problem moving within the five-year timeframe after the Project reaches 20,000.

Not a chance. Just because I'm younger than most, doesn't mean I will allow them to deny me a voice. I'm going to sign up now, and when my ballot comes attach a letter to it explaining the situation and giving my phone # and e-mail address. I am confident they'll count my vote; any truly freedom-loving organization would not discriminate against people based solely on an arbitrary age minimum.

This is a person who clearly understands the intent presented in the FAQ and is deliberately going against the system because they don't agree with it.  So, let's not treat this like it's an ambiguity in the language of the FAQ.

The FAQ could be worded more precisely. For the sake of arguement I'll agree with you for the moment. But lets look deeper than the FAQ. The "Statemet of Intent" and the "FSP Bylaws" make no mention of any age exclusion. Here is a snip from 7.d. of the bylaws:"All signers of the Statement of Intent have the right to participate in the vote; no one who has not signed the Statement of Intent may participate."

If the intent was to exclude those under 18 it would have been very simple to include wording to that effect in the Bylaws.

For me the "Statement of Intent" and the "FSP Bylaws" trump the FAQ. Do you think we should be guided by the FSP Bylaws or the FAQ?
 
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larry

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2003, 04:01:54 am »

Jason,

This human, unlike infants, and ballot box-stuffers, has petitioned
for her rights!!!!!!

Petitioners are always the first.

If you and the Board cannot see the validty of her petition, I figure
you can't see much.

Now, that does not mean, as a general guideline, that you need to
change the age requirements for all, until you get a flood of petitioners, with good arguments.  No, as I see it.

But this human, petitioning you, will have reached the "age of maturity", whatever the hell that is, with most humans never reaching it, by the time the move is announced.

She has petitioned, and is obviously no infant.  

As I see it, her petition should have already been granted.
What the hell are you waiting for???

libertarian larry

I support the rights of all petitioners who claim them, so long as
they profess to love liberty, unlike some adults in the FSP.





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MajesticLeo

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2003, 07:25:36 am »

I support the age requirement also and don't find the language ambiguous.

I am however concerned that Libertarian Larry is determined to force a sex change on Gimmefuel. 8)
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2003, 08:31:10 am »

Hmmm, so a FAQ=Policy. :)

Well, yes... The part about excluding racists and violent people is not stated in the Participation Guidelines, but is a good policy.  All of the criteria for the format of the ballot and the casting of the ballot and the counting of the ballot are "policies," but we couldn't specify them all in advance, so they're not part of the PG.

Quote
7.d. Deals specificly with who may participate: " All signers of the Statement of Intent have the right to participate in the vote; no one who has not signed the Statement of Intent may participate."

There is no age reference or exclusion.

There is implicitly, in that we ultimately have the right to decide who may sign the Statement of Intent.

Quote
If GimmeFuel has signed the "Statement of Intent" he is a member and has a right to participate in the vote.

Well, the question is whether we should accept the signature.  Again, we can't accept the signatures of everyone (people just having a joke, aforementioned racists & violent people, infants and young children are obvious examples).
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rhull

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2003, 11:44:51 am »

Hmmm, so a FAQ=Policy. :)

Quote
Well, yes... The part about excluding racists and violent people is not stated in the Participation Guidelines, but is a good policy.  All of the criteria for the format of the ballot and the casting of the ballot and the counting of the ballot are "policies," but we couldn't specify them all in advance, so they're not part of the PG.


I'm not suggesting the PG should cover every single issue or contingency. I do think the PG should have the all the guidelines for the participants, specificly what criteria is needed to participate and anyone that fulfills that criteria may participate.

 
Quote
7.d. Deals specificly with who may participate: " All signers of the Statement of Intent have the right to participate in the vote; no one who has not signed the Statement of Intent may participate."

There is no age reference or exclusion.

Quote
There is implicitly, in that we ultimately have the right to decide who may sign the Statement of Intent.

I'll agree with you that as a private organization you have an absolute right to exclude anyone you wish. But I don't agree there is implicity in the bylaws or any founding documents. Founding documents need to be followed for what they say, not what they don't say.

If people actually followed the wording of founding documents, there would be no need for the FSP. :)


Quote
If GimmeFuel has signed the "Statement of Intent" he is a member and has a right to participate in the vote.

Well, the question is whether we should accept the signature.  Again, we can't accept the signatures of everyone (people just having a joke, aforementioned racists & violent people, infants and young children are obvious examples).

Yes, the question is should the signature of someone be accepted if they have agreed to all the conditions of the "Participation Guidelines" and the "Statement of Intent"  but they have been around for 5,844 days instead of 6,574.5 days.

I'm not suggesting joke signatures should be accepted. But just out of curiousity how are joke signatures or racists or violent people filtered out? There is no "Are you violent" question on the statement of intent. Is there an active effort to apply these policies or is it more along the lines of "don't ask don't tell". :)

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JasonPSorens

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2003, 12:02:10 pm »

Yep, it's basically a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.  Though if someone says he heard about us from Stormfront - yeah, I'll question him!

There's another issue to consider here, which is that the ballot packages have printed already with the age-limit language.  To change that now would require one or two thousand dollars.  (And we're hoping to get the ballots out in the mail today; they're already several days later than we wanted.)
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GimmeFuel

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2003, 12:05:15 am »

For all those who can't seem to find where it states you must be 18 to join, please read the "join page" (http://www.freestateproject.org/join.htm) thoroughly.

Would you point me to exactly where on that page it says I must be 18? I can certainly see that they ask me to be 18, but the wording is not absolute.

I will leave all the quibbling to you guys and simply state that I support the age limit 100%.

Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but may I ask why?

Am I, as a minor, somehow less freedom-loving than everyone else?

Are all minors not dependable, whereas anyone over 18 can be counted on for anything?

The intent behind that statement in the FAQ is really quite clear, and, as it happens, we're not even talking about a misunderstanding or an ambiguity in this situation.  GimmeFuel has clearly indicated an understanding of what that statement in the FAQ means.

Actually, there is one hell of an ambiguity. The FAQ "asks" you to be over 18, while the scanned ballot (http://freestateproject.org/images/scanned_ballot.jpg) has you sign a statement certifying that you are over 18.

So: is the FAQ wrong, the ballot wrong, or are minors allowed to join as members but not vote? If minors can sign up but not vote, then the bylaws (http://www.freestateproject.org/corpbylaws.htm) are wrong, as they clearly state in VII.D "All signers of the Statement of Intent have the right to participate in the vote".

This is a person who clearly understands the intent presented in the FAQ and is deliberately going against the system because they don't agree with it.  So, let's not treat this like it's an ambiguity in the language of the FAQ.

Even if there was no ambiguity, why is deliberately going against the system because I disagree with it such a bad thing? Most of greatest changes in history have happened exactly that way. Just to name a few, you've got Civil rights, Women's rights, the end of Prohibition, the abolition of slavery, the Protestant Reformation, as well as the Revolutions of dozens of countries.

If I disagreed with the system but just sat there and accepted it, I wouldn't love freedom nearly enough to be part of the FSP, would I?

I support the age requirement also and don't find the language ambiguous.

See above for my reasons why it is ambiguous.

Well, the question is whether we should accept the signature.  Again, we can't accept the signatures of everyone

Obviously not everyone, but all the examples you give aren't related to my situation at all.

people just having a joke

These people have no intention to fulfill their commitment to the FSP. I do.

aforementioned racists & violent people

They would disrupt the freedom we are trying to create in the chosen state. I can't see how young people would do the same.

infants and young children

They lack the cognitive capacity to understand the FSP and what it stands for, or what their commitment actually means. My cognitive capacity is fine, thank you very much.

are obvious examples

And are also weak examples. Can you provide any more that are examples of people who truly love freedom, and would be able and willing to fulfill their commitment, but would be denied membership otherwise?

I see my situation as somewhat like that of a prison inmate. Suppose someone in prison (for a nonviolent crime, such as drug use) wanted to join the FSP. He'll be released in two years, which means he can easily move in the allotted time period. He wants to join and have a ballot in the state vote. Should he be allowed a vote? If not, why not?
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