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Author Topic: Must new members be 18?  (Read 20689 times)

anarchicluv

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #30 on: July 31, 2003, 12:28:18 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.

The join page states:

We also ask that you be at least 18 years of age to sign the Statement of Intent.

It seems to me you're picking that statement apart to fit your desires.  It really is grasping at straws to say that this statement isn't clear in its intent.  I'd say it was the polite way of saying "you MUST be 18".

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?

Please don't put words into my posts.  Nowhere did I say that those under the age of 18 weren't dependable, responsible, or as freedom-loving as the rest of us.  I think Jason (and others) has given all the explanation that needs be given on this subject, so I won't bother to restate them here.  

You seem to be an intelligent and interesting person, and we'd love to have you join us.  But I feel that the age limit was set for very good reasons and it shouldn't be changed (especially this late in the game).

Jeremy
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GimmeFuel

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2003, 12:51:14 am »

The join page states:

We also ask that you be at least 18 years of age to sign the Statement of Intent.

It seems to me you're picking that statement apart to fit your desires.  It really is grasping at straws to say that this statement isn't clear in its intent.  I'd say it was the polite way of saying "you MUST be 18".

And I'd say it was a way of saying "Since most of the change in the Free State will be through voting, and you can't vote until you 18, we want the majority of our members to be able to vote. It's OK if you're not old enough, though." Several other people in this thread have expressed similiar misconceptions about that sentence. That ambiguity is the entire reason I posted here in the first place. It's easy to debate the ambiguity of "ask"; we're doing it right now. It's much harder to debate "New members must be 18", however.

Please don't put words into my posts.  Nowhere did I say that those under the age of 18 weren't dependable, responsible, or as freedom-loving as the rest of us.

Nowhere did I quote you as saying those things, either. You said you supported the age limit, and I asked why, with a few possibilities.
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Aaron

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2003, 05:08:41 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? ;)


Minimum Cognitive Ability Required to Sign the Statement of Intent=Enough to be Capable of Expressing a Desire to Participate

I'm willing to compromise, though.  How about:

Minimum Cognitive Ability Required to Sign the Statement of Intent=Enough to be Capable of Eloquently Providing a Reasonable Assurance of Casting a Well Reasoned, Serious Vote

This will weed out the 12 year olds and most teenagers I know, but not GimmeFuel.   (Well, maybe a really, really, really exceptional 12 year old...)

I would like a proponent of the age limit to address the issue brought up earlier about the way this policy encourages dishonesty.  I believe it was rhull who pointed out that all GimmeFuel (who is male by his own assertion) could have just kept his mouth shut.  This point is especially troubling to me since Jason later admitted that admission policy is de facto "don't ask don't tell".  I am familiar with the primary effect of the original "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy.  Having lived on an aircraft carrier, I can assure you that it was an excuse to let enlistees gay bash.  Everywhere I went all I heard was faggot this, faggot that, let's go beat up some faggots, etc.  But god forbid you glance sideways at a black, a woman, or an asian american.  You would be in front of the captain facing restriction and pay reductions.  It was impossible to get in trouble for gay bashing as a direct result of the "don't ask don't tell" policy, and the policy was supposed to help gays and lesbians.  And I'm not talking about just my shop.  This is on a ship with 6,000 sailors and marines.

Now Jason, I'm afraid I must insist on pinning you down on something.  Is your insistence on a minimum age a philisophical position (along the lines of, "disallowing minors to vote is an archtypal example of a policy that reflects libertarian ideology) or is it a pragmatic/logistical issue?  You have mentioned previous problems, but you have not responded to my suggestion for handling similar problems in the future.
"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?"
You haven't addressed these questions, or indicated how prevalent those situations have been.

You also mention the text of the ballots that have already been printed.  Here is a cost free solution:  Have the board unanimously vote that the wording is a mistake and that it is okay to cross it out before signing and submitting the ballot.  The decision will be based on the fact that by adding wording that does not appear on the statement of intent or the participation guidelines to the ballot, I have the right, as do all members, to "withdraw my consent" since it is, in effect, a change in participation guidelines.

I will submit my ballot with the words "that I am at least 18 years of age" crossed out.  If you do not count my and GimmeFuel's ballots, I reserve my right to withdraw my consent.

One more issue, I would like to hear from the rest of the board.  Is this a unanimous position?  Are you out there, Tim?  I know you are not bashful.  I saw that government worker thread.
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Aaron

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2003, 05:42:23 am »


The join page states:

We also ask that you be at least 18 years of age to sign the Statement of Intent.

It seems to me you're picking that statement apart to fit your desires.  It really is grasping at straws to say that this statement isn't clear in its intent.  I'd say it was the polite way of saying "you MUST be 18".

...

You seem to be an intelligent and interesting person, and we'd love to have you join us.  But I feel that the age limit was set for very good reasons and it shouldn't be changed (especially this late in the game).

Jeremy

It doesn't matter how clear the join page is (it is not).  The join page is not the statement of intent (it only contains the statement of intent) nor the participation guidelines.  Let's look at the Statement closely:


I hereby state my solemn intent to move to a state of the United States designated by vote of Free State Project (FSP) participants as specified in the Participation Guidelines of the FSP. Once this move occurs, I will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty, and property. I have read and understood the Participation Guidelines of the FSP and agree to be bound by them.

 

Honorific:   Mr Mrs Ms Miss Dr  First Name:    
Last Name:    Organization
(if applicable):    
Address 1 (required):    Address 2:    
City (required):    State:   Choose one
Zip/Postal Code (required):    Country:    
E-mail Address:    Phone:    

The Free State Project is considering these states for its move. Check the states to which you reserve the right NOT to move (if any); note that if you check all 10 states, or all 9 states other than the one in which you already live, you'll be considered a Friend rather than a Member.

 Alaska   Montana  South Dakota
 New Hampshire  Idaho   Vermont
 Wyoming   North Dakota  Maine  
 Delaware  

Subscribe to the FSP e-mail newsletter:   Yes  No  
Email me when the state is chosen:  Yes  No  
Let me know about meetings or events in my area:  Yes  No  
Where did you hear about the FSP? (Please be as specific as possible -- it really helps us target our recruiting efforts! Thanks!)    
 I Have Read The Statement of Intent and the Participation Guidelines  


Pay close attention to that last one.  On the form there is a box to check indicating that you have read The Statement of Intent and the Participation Guidelines.  Notice how it does not refer to the Paragraph Above the Statement of Intent on the Join Page.  Nor does it refer to the FAQ.  Did the folks who signed up on snail mail printed pdfs get to read those first?  No?  Well how clear is that?  It is crystal clear to me statements not required to be read in order to sign a contract are not "rules".  

The fact that no reasonable english definitions of the words "ask" and "must" would ascribe them equal amounts of clarity is just icing on the cake.


 


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Aaron

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #34 on: July 31, 2003, 06:05:52 am »

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

That is not in the guidelines, it is in the FAQ.

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.

As I stated in the post above The ambiguity of the FAQ is irrelevant since the FAQ is not required reading before signing the contract.  Since it is not required (and some signed the agreement without seeing it or the join page), no reasonable concept of "Rules of Participation"  can contain items that are only found there.

Also, just because the victim of this de facto decision at one time believed that such a rule existed; a rule that did not exist does not somehow "materialize" into existence.  "We fooled you at first, you can't take it back now!"  is not reasonable argumentation.

Likewise, the fact that past teens did not argue on this forum with Jason after he mistakenly told them (or their parents, which is it, Jason?) that such a rule existed does not make that rule "materialize" into existence either.



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John-Wiltbank

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #35 on: July 31, 2003, 12:18:30 pm »

Free the children.  Let them vote.  Gimmefuel's vote should count.  If Gandalf wanted to join he should be able to.  And others.

I understand your reasoning Jason, but we _are_ a freedom organization.  Let's do the right thing.

John Wiltbank
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GimmeFuel

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #36 on: July 31, 2003, 04:01:36 pm »

Pay close attention to that last one.  On the form there is a box to check indicating that you have read The Statement of Intent and the Participation Guidelines.  Notice how it does not refer to the Paragraph Above the Statement of Intent on the Join Page.  Nor does it refer to the FAQ.  Did the folks who signed up on snail mail printed pdfs get to read those first?  No?  Well how clear is that?  It is crystal clear to me statements not required to be read in order to sign a contract are not "rules".

This is an excellent point. Suppose I printed out the Statement of Intent PDF (http://www.freestateproject.org/files/Statement_Intent.pdf) and gave it to one of my underage friends. Since the Statement requires you to read the PG (http://www.freestateproject.org/part_guidelines.htm) also, I'd want to have a hardcopy of that too.

Now, my underage friend could sign up with just those two documents, and nowhere on those documents does it say anything about age. Since it's possible to sign up via snail mail without reading the FAQ, those who sign up online should enjoy the same right.
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Robert H.

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #37 on: July 31, 2003, 07:31:16 pm »

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?

I agree that the FAQ and guidelines should be tightened up, although by reading both I also believe that the intent is pretty clear, and that anyone who viewed it as an ambiguity should be led to request clarification from Tim Condon.

The same wording as the FAQ can also be found on the sign-up page of the website:

Quote
We also ask that you be at least 18 years of age to sign the Statement of Intent.

So I would think anyone who goes to sign the statement of intent who is under-age would understand the intent there.

Robert H.

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #38 on: July 31, 2003, 07:54:42 pm »

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.

The statements that you made indicate that you understood the intent because you said you were determined to oppose it, so at least for you it could not be called an ambiguity.  Also, the language of the FAQ is repeated on the page where you sign-up on the website:

Quote
We also ask that you be at least 18 years of age to sign the Statement of Intent.

Quote
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".

I would say that the phrase "signers of the Statement of Intent have the right to participate" is key.  Anyone who goes to sign the SOI must see that there is an expectation that they be at least 18.  

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.

You're talking about situations that were mostly revolutionary acts where redress could not be obtained from an oppressive government.  The FSP is a private organization and, as such, is entitled to set its own participation guidelines without being accused of being anti-freedom.  Unlike government, the FSP's guidelines do not carry the force of law or the weight of coercion.  You can choose to join the FSP, or choose not to join it.  Government doesn't give you that same choice when it comes to the law, so I would say that the above examples of revolutionary movements or civil disobedience cannot apply here.  No individual rights are being violated.

You've noted this issue and asked the FSP to grant an exception.  So, let's see if they grant it, but let's also identify this as what it is: a protest against a policy, not a request for clarification of an ambiguity (at least in your situation because you've indicated that you understand the intent).

Quote
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?

Again, we're dealing with a private organization and individual choice, not law and governmental coercion.

I have no problem with age limitations, per se, but given the fact that some people mature faster than others, and that some are wiser and more experienced than others who are older, perhaps the qualification should be changed to anyone may sign up who can understand the guidelines, who will abide by the SOI, and who is individually autonomous - in other words those who are not under the authority of a parent or guardian who can legally restrain them.  It doesn't do us much good to sign up people whose parents won't let them move.  :)

GimmeFuel

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #39 on: August 01, 2003, 02:11:03 pm »

Anyone who goes to sign the SOI must see that there is an expectation that they be at least 18.

Not anyone. The printable SOI sign-up form (http://www.freestateproject.org/files/Statement_Intent.pdf) has nothing about age at all. It only requires that the signer have read and agreed to the SOI and PG. Neither of those documents has anything about age.

So, a minor could receive printouts of the SOI and PG from somebody, and know nothing about the 'age requirement'. That minor would be a signer of the SOI, and thus have the right to participate in the vote, correct? Unless you want to have different rules for people who sign up online instead of via snail mail, you must also allow minors who sign up online to vote.

It doesn't do us much good to sign up people whose parents won't let them move.

But, as I said in my original post, I will be 18 in about a year and a half. At that time, my parents will not have the power to stop me. Even if the Project hits 20,000 before I turn 18, there is still the five-year moving period. That's plenty of time for me to pack my bags.

perhaps the qualification should be changed to anyone may sign up who can understand the guidelines, who will abide by the SOI

These two sound fine to me.

and who is individually autonomous

As I showed above, just because I am not autonomous now does not mean I will not be able to move later. I would amend this to allow anyone who will be autonomous in enough time to move, or who has a parent/guardian signature stating that they will allow their child to move.
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larry

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #40 on: August 01, 2003, 08:29:19 pm »

Come On, Jason,

The rules are poorly stated, and arbitrary, as they must be,
since it's impossible to construct rules which would measure intelligence and commitment to liberty.

You've opted for a big-tent.  I disagree, but it was your call.

You have folks, members, who don't even believe in the human right to own land.

You have not exactly been petitioned by a hoard of infants,
demanding a right to vote (that's a red herring).

You have been petitioned by one 16 year-old, who is obviously very intelligent, and very committed to liberty,
unlike some adults in the FSP.

She could have lied about her age, you know.

You ain't got to reprint the ballots, all you gotta do is
"shall issue" for those few who might petition for their
rights.

I find it hard to believe that there is a single FSPer who does not want "gimmie fuel" to have a vote.

Now, it's true, Lanny Messinger and Chuck are looking under all of the beds, already convinced of vote fraud, but they long
ago resigned from the FSP.

You ain't scared of them, are you?

Rules are meant to be adjudicated, in relation to the primary goal: Justice.

Convene the Board, Jason, and adjuticate, with justice the goal, not the arbitrary rules.

NO Justice, No peace, I've heard somewhere before.

I can't believe the FSP is so rulebound that "gimmiefuel",
a single petitioner, will not be allowed to vote!

libertarian larry

Tell ya this.   If justice is not discovered in this matter, I'm
gonna contact "gimmie-fuel" and seek her advice on which
state I should vote for.  She will have a "proxy" vote, if nothing else.



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schm00

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #41 on: August 01, 2003, 09:24:39 pm »

I have no problem with age limitations, per se, but given the fact that some people mature faster than others, and that some are wiser and more experienced than others who are older, perhaps the qualification should be changed to anyone may sign up who can understand the guidelines, who will abide by the SOI, and who is individually autonomous - in other words those who are not under the authority of a parent or guardian who can legally restrain them.  It doesn't do us much good to sign up people whose parents won't let them move.  :)

Along those lines, perhaps Jason might be persuaded to modify the policy to read ...'at least 18 years of age or legally emancipated to sign up.'

IMO, assuming one wishes to recognized as an adult, they would be willing to take the necessary steps to be acknowledged as one.
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Elizabeth

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #42 on: August 01, 2003, 10:56:14 pm »

The Board already agreed, several weeks ago, based on a similar situation, that we would not allow members under 18, for all the reasons Jason mentioned.  So it's been discussed, debated, and decided already.  It's not entirely fair, but it's the best consistent solution we could agree upon.  It's not going to change for one person.
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Aaron

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #43 on: August 01, 2003, 11:37:37 pm »

It's not going to change for one person.

You mean it IS going to change because of one person.  You decided to add it to the ballot even though is is not on the statement of intent nor in the participation guidelines.  I am crossing out the portion of my ballot that has the phrase that does not appear on the statement I agreed to.  Did the board decide that my ballot and others who do the same will not be counted?  

What exactly did the board discuss, debate, and decide?  Was it a unanimous decision?  If not may I request a minority report?  Are the participation guidelines going to be amended?  If so, the (one that I know of) members who are under age could be grandfathered into participating in the vote while still preventing future problems.  

I hope you change your mind because I think after we vote we should encourage college bound high school seniors who are already members of libertarian groups to sign up and choose a college in the free state.  A large campus presence is a powerful political vote generation tool, especially at the township and county level.
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ZuG

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Re:Must new members be 18?
« Reply #44 on: August 02, 2003, 12:30:23 am »

I can see both sides of this one.

On the one hand, teenagers aren't the most dedicated and stable of people. They change their minds and views very rapidly, and for most people, their current political views will change as they grow as a person. Thus, having somebody sign the statement of intent may be a bad idea since they might back out.

OTOH, the people who have been here and posting in the forums and are dedicated to the cause should have a right to make their own decisions regarding the FSP.

In the end, I agree with the decision of the board. Those of you who are between 12-18 can sign up as friends then make the jump to actual membership on your 18th birthday, we shouldn't have moved by then. It's not like you're going to miss out on the FSP. This is a long term project, and you're free to move to whatever state you choose. Even if you aren't 18 when the move happens, you can still move to the Free State.

Not allowing you to officially join until you're 18 is not a hinderance, since you can join/move as soon as you are 18 anyway.
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Before you post that comment, think. The people you are talking to will soon be your neighbors. Would you talk to your neighbor in the way you are talking to those on the forum?
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