A high school cheer-leader who sued her parents to pay her college tuition, recently lost the legal battle. She claims her parents kicked her out because they didn’t like her boyfriend. Her parents assert that their daughter left because she didn’t like their rules.
According to this article, “New Jersey judge Peter Bogaard denied Rachel’s request for $650 a week in child support, the remainder of her tuition bill at her private Catholic high school, and attorney’s fees, and said her lawsuit sets a dangerous precedent.”
Bogaard’s stated, “we have to ask ourselves, do we want to establish a precedent where parents live in constant fear of enforcing the basic rules of the house? If they set a rule a child doesn’t like, the child can move out, move in with another family, seek child support, cars, cell phone, and a few hundred grand to go to college? Are we going to open the gates for 12-year-olds to sue for an Xbox? For 13-year-olds to sue for an iPhone?”
I’d like to understand how the judge so easily dismissed Rachel’s logic, but fails to question the validity of the legal system in its entirety. After all, our courts are largely populated by petty lawsuits. There are countless television shows based around people suing each other who justify their actions with absurd logic and manipulation of laws. How is Rachel doing anything other than following the status quo? Suing is the American way.
Can we blame our children for trying to capitalize on a culture we created? Yeah, Rachel is an opportunist without a doubt, but isn’t that type of ideology applauded in American business? Why draw the line here?
Aristotle established the concept of a “good citizen” is one who follows the rules and moral grounding of one’s government. The political system dictates the values and principles throughout culture. We live in a capitalist society; therefore the “good citizen” is one who brings capital to the state and unto themself.
Government sets the example that we are supposed to follow, similar to the role of parents. Wall Street, an institution that functions on capital gains and profits, is the barometer of political policy. Acquire money, prioritize money, and protect financial interests despite circumstances, including destroying the planet and cannibalizing ourselves. As every parent knows, your children will do as you do, not as you say.
Rachel is simply following the criteria that the government has set before her: get that money, even if that means suing your parents for it.
Speaking of Ancient Greeks, it’s worth mentioning they are also the ones who initially established the legal ideology that we know as “the rule of law.” The play the Oresteia by Aeschylus is a 3 -part drama justifying why a “civilized culture” needs the rule of law.
In the heroic age, according to the story, people did not yet have a city-state, and so they were driven by the principles of vendetta. It was a revenge system – blood for blood. The story that embodies this mentality is that of Agamemnon, who kills his daughter Iphigeneia to be successful in the war at Troy. But his wife Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon, because – fuck that – he killed her daughter. Then their son Orestes kills Clytemnestra, because she killed his dad.You with me? Clytemnestra’s death couldn’t go unpunished, so furies pursue Orestes to avenge her. A trial is organized, which protects Orestes from being killed, making him the first person to benefit from trial by jury.
This pre-civilized system is replaced by a judicial system, and now people don’t take the law into their own hands.I can agree that if the vengeance approach continued we would have generations upon generations killing people who never did anything to them specifically, and it is beneficial to have degree of regulation.
But according to this story shit was kind of fucked from the beginning, right? Corruption was and will always be an element to legality because people are tried by other people and people are fallible. It is not like a jury is made out of robots with no emotional context. Jury members bring their own conditioning and prejudices to the equation.Why did Orestes get off despite his guilt? Just because he killed a woman and the jury was filled with other men who were like “well, it was just his mom”?
The legal system is important in theory, but in practice it is imperfect. If little Rachel were my daughter, I’d probably be like “what the dick”? I also think the parents have to examine their own participation in the saga beyond her not liking their rules. Rachel went to Catholic school, right? Maybe all this could have been avoided if she wasn’t sexually repressed and wanting to get laid.
(For another article on this subject that I felt was interesting and moving… click here!)