Time Heals All Wounds, And Then Kills the Patient
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Wed Jan 2 21:56:03 2013
Passing Stolen Goods to Children

I've been thinking a lot recently about the issue of when people break laws or otherwise behave unjustly to better the lot of their children. One prominent example would be sneaking into one of the few countries in the world with citizenship-on-birth as a legal principle, in order to give birth to the child there and set its citizenship in a place with a higher standard-of-living.

I've come to the conclusion that the American citizenship laws are off here and would like to see them corrected, limiting birth citizenship to instances where at least one parent is a national, and limiting the government services available to non-national long-term residents while providing specific paths to acquiring nationality for particularly desirable would-be citizens.

Still, that's not the law right now, and we're looking at a more general problem; the passing of unearned privilege across generational boundaries (which may be broader than my initial phrasing). More ideally, wealth would be shallow enough that it doesn't tend to persist so strongly across generations in families here. Likewise with concrete privileges, although this has a complicated relationship with nationality. I am comfortable seeing nationality as being a matter of defining the edge (or at least one kind of edge) of the society we're dreaming up, and using that to excuse the seeming conflict there; others might question that.

This happens even more often on a community level; one example would be in Israel where the state is encouraging settlers to take more land that's generally considered Palestinian in the hopes that if sometime down the line it seems prudent to undo the land grab, the people who are performing the acts won't entirely be the people who benefit, and so "punishing them" (lessening their lot, really) would seem unjust.

Unblamable, unredressable harm, complete with doe-eyed children, coming from people breaking laws of various sorts; there may be no general solution for these problems except to remove the motivations as soon as possible and be willing to lessen the lot of the unacceptably advanced to dissuade more such abuses, but the problem is frustrating because the method is so sly.