Monday, May 22, 2006


The Injustice of the "Family"

One of the bedrock notions of libertarianism is “self-ownership” or the exclusive right to control one's life. The obvious political implication being that no other individual (or group of individuals) has the right to tell you what to do with your life. That means no more government bossing you around. But what about parents?

In the traditional Anglo-American household, parents tell their children what they can and can not do. They tell them what to eat, how to dress, and even when to speak. If the child disobeys, it is well within the law to punish him. And if the child runs away, the parent can track him down and drag him back to bondage. This is all considered by many to be “within the rights” of the parents. BAH!!! What rights are these that allow you dominion over another human being? These “parents” are nothing more than modern plantation owners and the good children who mind their parents are nothing more than Uncle Toms. It is slavery, sanctioned by society and the state!

How else can a rights-loving libertarian view this situation? Are these children not human beings? And if they are human beings, don’t they have the same rights of self-ownership adults have? Obviously, these children ARE human beings and therefore they DO command the same rights as other human beings.

And if these children have the same rights, then they deserve the same freedoms as everyone else! That means NO MORE PARENTS! Anything less is INCONSISTANT with libertarian philosophy and nothing more than ENDORSING domestic tyranny!!! Clearly, if you love the foundations of freedom, you must HATE the modern family!!!

I think the consequentalists solve this one easily. If an individual is not physically or mentally capable of being autonomous, then being beneath the umbrella of a family is better than that of the state's. I think it is a fair assumption that families tend to act in the best interest of their own, whereas the state does not have that information. So, we choose a family-driven over a state-driven plantation. The rights-based approach is much more difficult.

I think your points are consistant with many of the past philosophers who felt that infanticide was justified, because the children were not yet rational beings (and therefore not human beings). As soon as they are, then what authority does a parent have over the child? Deciding when the chains should come off, is rather arbitrary.

I like the imagery and the colorful language. Very nice.
I think the answer might be easier. Simply create a contract with your kids.

A parent can say: "If you want to live here, eat here, and be clothed/supplied by me, you'll do as I say."

Unfortunately, if the contract is broken and the kids DO leave the house, etc., the parents get hauled off to jail for neglect.

Hmmm a contract where you give up certain liberties in exchange for services. Sounds familiar. Maybe you're on to something.

But seriously. When will this contract be drafted? From the moment of birth? Those would be some interesting nagotiations, I'm sure.

If not at birth, when? And how do you justify holding the child against his/her will until that time?

And should we be concerned that children of certain ages (2? 10?) might not be in the best mental state to nagotiate???

If we shouldn't be concerned, then why aren't contracts valid if they are drafted while one of the parties is drunk or mentally incopasitated?

And before you answer, would you really want to live in a world where people can make contracts with you immediatley after you've had surgey?

I'm sure you would never nagotiate against your own best interests when you're on pain killers.

Just like I'm sure little Timmy, who can't read or write or even count, would never screw himself over in nagotiations with adults that have 10x his mental abilities.
You don't hate you?
Actually, the rhetoric I was going for...

"You don't hate you?"

The rights argument trump card. ;)
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