A Matter of Conscience
, by Kevin Benderman, 18 Jan 2005
A ten-year Army veteran explains why he refused to deploy to Iraq for a second time
"Why do we tell our children to not solve their differences with violence, then turn around and commit the ultimate in violence against people in another country who have nothing to do with the political attitudes of their leaders? ... Why can't we teach our children not to hate or to not be afraid of someone else just because they are different from us? ... Can't we teach our children to leave war behind in history where it belongs?"
Becker, Gary S. (1930-2014)
, by Aaron Steelman, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
, 15 Aug 2008
"For those couples that remain married, earnings can have a significant effect on the number of children they have and how much they invest in their offspring's education. In general, as wages rise, Becker argued, families will tend to have fewer children and to invest more in each child's human capital. This theory has been borne out by the experience of the United States, Western Europe, and Japan, where fertility has generally fallen as wage rates and per capita incomes have risen."
Benjamin Tucker, Individualism, & Liberty: Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order
, by Wendy McElroy
, Literature of Liberty
Bibliographical essay covering the people and radical movements that influenced Tucker in his founding and publishing of Liberty
, its major themes and contributors
"Another major debate, children's rights, pointed up a third difference between the two groups. This exchange was, at bottom, the fundamental conflict of egoism versus natural rights. The egoists claimed that rights derived from contract and, thus, were unhappily led to conclude that children were unable to contract any rights whatsoever. The British, however, had not participated in the earlier egoism controversy in Liberty and took a straight natural rights stand. To them, children had all the rights that any human being could claim."
Related Topics: American War Between the States
, William Lloyd Garrison
, Henry George
, Auberon Herbert
, Nonviolent resistance
, Freedom of Religion
, Herbert Spencer
, Lysander Spooner
, Benjamin Tucker
, Josiah Warren
Benjamin Tucker's Liberty
, by Carl Watner, Reason
, Apr 1979
Examines several of the themes discussed by Tucker in Liberty
, e.g., anarchism, natural rights, monopoly, and how his views changed throughout the years
"Later he emphasized that the child, like the adult, has no right to life but should be accorded the immunity from assault or invasion due all human beings. In May 1895, Tucker reprinted the letter of an English individualist dealing with the question of parental responsibility for support of children. Tucker agreed with the conclusion that we must not interfere to prevent neglect but only to repress positive invasion and that no person, parent or not, may be compelled to support any helpless being, of whatever age or circumstance, unless he has made that being helpless by some invasive act."
Blessings of Discrimination
, by F. A. Harper
, In Brief
Discusses the human ability to discriminate, e.g., to feel the heat of a stove, which Buddha considered an "essential" virtue, contrasting it with the policy of nondiscrimination on employment, association and other areas
"When a child is born, his development is watched with anxious anticipation by those who wish him well. He begins to laugh and scream with pleasure and displeasure about more and more things, as his capacity for discrimination increases more and more. This is not a tragedy; it is a blessing. A child without any sense of discrimination is cursed with the threat of self-destruction. ... Due to some defect or short-circuit in Beverly's central nervous system, she has no sense of pain. When she falls down, or bumps her head, or puts her hand on a hot stove, or cuts herself with a knife, there is no pain. A blessing to Beverly? No."
Book Review: Capitalism For Kids by Karl Hess
, by Carl Helstrom, The Freeman
, Jul 1988
Concise review of Capitalism for Kids
concluding with "I wish it had been around when I was a kid"
"Karl Hess has written a book for children and for those who care about children. ... As he sums up in a section for parents toward the end of the book, 'The proposition of this book has been, simply, to put in terms that young people can appreciate, the meaning of capitalism and the free market, to encourage them not only to understand it but to become a part of it, to share its ethics of individual responsibility, and its rewards—and to do it while they are very young.'"
Childhood Ends at Puberty
, by Charley Reese, 15 Apr 2006
Recounts the early life of Benjamin Franklin and argues for ending formal basic education by 13
"... we do young people a grave injustice by branding them as children until they are 18. Worse, we keep them confined in the world's most ineffective public education system. ... Basic education should be finished by the age of 12 or 13. After that, young people should be apprenticed, enrolled in commercial or vocational schools, freed to work or, if they have the IQ for college, enrolled in the university system. ... Franklin's IQ might have been high, but his experiences were the norm in his time. Childhood ended with puberty, and young men and women were expected to get about the business of life instead of trying to amuse themselves until the age of 18."
Child Labor and the British Industrial Revolution, Part 1
, by Lawrence Reed
, Future of Freedom
, Sep 1999
Contrasts the situation of "free labour" and "parish apprentice" children during the British Industrial Revolution, the latter being mostly orphans placed in the custody of parish, i.e., government, authorities
"The Hammonds divided the factory children into two classes: 'Parish apprentice children' and 'free labour children.' ... Private factory owners could not forcibly subjugate 'free labour' children; they could not compel them to work in conditions their parents found unacceptable. ... The situation, however, was much different for 'parish apprentice' children, and close examination reveals that it was these children on whom the critics were focusing when they spoke of the 'evils' of capitalism's Industrial Revolution."
Democracy and Government Schools
, by Sheldon Richman
, Future of Freedom
, Jan 2007
Discusses the current state of government education, including "creative solutions" such as charter schools and vouchers, and the influence of the "religion of democracy" in attaining a real solution
"Roughly 90 percent of American children attend government schools. ... Those early advocates of state schools saw children as plastic to be shaped according to their 'scientifically' derived model of the Good Citizen. If the inputs were to specification, then the output would be to specification. Science was to be harnessed in the service of producing ... Americans. ... But children, many need reminding, are persons, and persons are by nature complex, characterized by sometimes conflicting assumptions, preferences, intentions, expectations, and so on."
Drug Legalization: How to Radically Lower the Number of Murders in New Orleans
, by Walter Block
, 27 Jan 2007
Suggests drug legalization as a remedy to the increased murder rate in New Orleans and then considers six objections to such a plan and its potential effects
"I now wish to consider, and reject, several objections to this very sensible plan. ... This plan to legalize drugs would give a social imprimatur to abuse such substances. Children would be led to try them. No, no, no. One cannot infer approval from mere legalization of an act or substance. ... Right now, addictive drugs have about them the lure of the forbidden; youngsters are more likely to be tempted by them. Under legalization, no drug purveyors would hang around school yards, as they now do, and try to get kids to try their deleterious wares."
Finding the Flaws
, by Joseph Sobran
, 25 Mar 1997
Discusses how governments naturally attempt to influence each other, the democratic flaw of voting for benefits at others' expense, in particular children, and how the U.S. Constitution has failed to avoid this outcome
"The next time you pass a playground, look at all those little nonvoters, oblivious of what awaits them, and ask yourself if it's really honest to teach them that they will someday enjoy self-government. In what sense are they governing themselves, if, before they even enter the voting booth for the first time, they are already saddled with huge debts they had no part in incurring and will have no way of escaping?"
Freeing the Education Market
, by Sheldon Richman
, Mar 1993
Examines the effects of compulsory public education on literacy rates and suggests market alternatives
"Surely, today's children are not more dumb than in the past. So, what is the problem? The problem is that government runs the education system. ... The school system is an authoritarian, procrustean bureaucracy to which every child is expected to adjust himself. Ignoring the uniqueness of each individual, it expects all children of a given age to be learning the same things in the same way. If a child does not meet expectations, the system assumes there is something wrong with him, not the school. Naturally, most students, if not humiliated and terrified, are bored."
Henry David Thoreau and "Civil Disobedience," Part 1
, by Wendy McElroy
, Future of Freedom
, Mar 2005
After some background and biographical material, describes the event (Thoreau's imprisonment) that led to writing "Civil Disobedience" and Thoreau's reaction to those who paid the tax on his behalf, his jailers, his neighbors and Ralph Waldo Emerson
"'Civil Disobedience' ends on a happy note. After Thoreau's release and unpleasant experience with his neighbors, the children of Concord had brightened his mood by urging him to join a huckleberry hunt. Huckleberrying was one of Thoreau's valued pastimes and his skill at locating fruit-laden bushes made him a favorite with children. And, should a child stumble, spilling berries, he would kneel by the weeping child and explain that if children did not stumble, then berries would never scatter and grow into new bushes.
Killing Iraqi Children
, by Jacob Hornberger
, 19 Jun 2006
Comments on a Detroit News
editorial condoning the bombing, rather than the arrest and prosecution, of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the "collateral" death of a five-year old girl
"But I do know one thing: killing Iraqi children and other such 'collateral damage' has long been acceptable and even 'worth it' to U.S. officials as part of their long-time foreign policy toward Iraq. This U.S. government mindset was expressed perfectly by former U.S. official Madeleine Albright when she stated that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children from the U.S. and UN sanctions against Iraq had, in fact, been 'worth it.' By 'it' she was referring to the U.S. attempt to oust Saddam Hussein from power through the use of the sanctions."
Les Economistes Libertaires
, by Carl Watner, Reason
, Jan 1977
Discusses the French economists of the 19th century and in particular Gustave de Molinari and his thoughts on the provision of security and defense services by private agencies
"Passy hastened to add that the moral course for all parents would be to educate their young, but to involve the State (in a coerceive manner) in family affairs is wrong. Children are to be protected from direct violence, whether it be from parents or strangers; but an act of omission, such as not educating children, ought not to be made punishable. Passy denied in the most absolute manner the right of the State to prescribe the good. Only directly oppresive acts can constitute crimes, and the fact that parents failed to instruct their young could not be considered an aggression."
Libertarianism and Legal Paternalism
[PDF], by John Hospers
, The Journal of Libertarian Studies
Discusses laws "designed to protect people from themselves" arguing that in general such laws are illegitimate
"Infants cannot take care of themselves at all, and children cannot in many ways. Children do make decisions, hut lacking experience they often fail to comprehend the consequences of their own proposed actions. Views on children's rights are a hotbed of current controversy; but there is probably no parent who has not at some time used coercion in order to prevent some harm to the child or bring about some good. A degree of paternalism concerning children is also embodied in the legal system: for example, if parents demonstrably abuse their children, the State takes the children out of the parent's custody for the children's own good ..."
, by Nathaniel Branden
, Karen Reedstrom, Full Context
, Sep 1996
In two parts; topics range from David Kelley, objectivisim, Ayn Rand, his memoir Judgment Day
, Barbara Branden, Leonard Peikoff, homosexuality, self-esteem and more
"I love children, get on famously with them, and my grandchildren are one of the great joys of my life. ... I am so work-focused; I always knew ... that children would spread me too thin and I did not want to be the father who wasn't there. ... We both stop children on the street and get into long conversations with them at the drop of a hat. ... it's very painful ... that our first grandson, Brandon ... was killed in an automobile accident early last year. ... It was Brandon, who was born a few months before Devers and I met—his name is pure coincidence—who opened me up to the world of children."
Related Topics: Barbara Branden
, David Kelley
, Romantic Love
, Personal Responsibility
, Ayn Rand
, Chris Matthew Sciabarra
, Sexual Pleasure
Obesity Not a Government Problem
, by Charley Reese, 19 Jun 2006
Argues that although humans, including children, have become less active than our ancestors and thus more prone to be obese, it is not government's role to interfere with people's eating habits
"People who keep records know there has been a steady decline in the physical fitness of children. I was leafing through an old book published in the 1920s. There was a picture of about 300 Boy Scouts running down to a lake for a swim. There wasn't a fat kid in the bunch. You'd be hard-pressed to find 300 boys with no flab on them today."
On Moral Education
, by Herbert Spencer
, Education: Intellectual, Moral and Physical
Condensed from "Moral Education" chapter, from Spring 1966 issue of Left and Right
; contrasts the parental practice of punishing children with the approach of letting children be guided by the natural consequences from their actions
"And if education be a preparation for the business of life, then every child should also, from the beginning, have daily experience of this fact. ... Proper conduct in life is much better guaranteed when the good and evil consequences of actions are rationally understood, than when they are merely believed on authority. ... Bear constantly in mind the truth that the aim of your discipline should be to produce a self-governing being; not to produce a being to be governed by others."
Pete vs. Joe
, by Thomas Sowell
, 17 Mar 2003
Counters the argument of those in favor of admitting Pete Rose to the Baseball Hall of Fame by relating the story of Shoeless Joe Jackson and discussing the results of permissiveness
"Those who say that we should admit Pete Rose to the Hall of Fame and then 'move on' and 'forget about it' have profoundly misunderstood human beings. What we do today affects what other people will do or not do tomorrow. What have we gained over the past several decades by weakening rules, accepting excuses, and looking for easy ways of avoiding the unpleasantness of enforcing norms? Has permissive parenting produced better children? Or even happier children? This 1960s trend produced not only rising teenage crime rates but rising rates of teenage suicide as well."
Protecting Opinions That We Loathe
, by Joan Kennedy Taylor
, First Amendment Cyber-Tribune
, Jan 1997
Argues against the 1996 Child Pornography Prevention Act (which was overturned in 2002 by the Supreme Court for being too broad)
"I for one would certainly prefer not to have to defend [those who enjoy child pornography]. The sexual assault of children by adults should be severely punished, whether such assault is done by seduction or force; the reproductions of such assaults to be sold as pornography makes those pornographers accessories to those crimes. ... Harm to children should continue to be our standard, but the CPPA moves from properly decrying 'the use of children in the production of sexually explicit material' to the possible use of images to 'whet ... sexual appetites' or seduce children."
Roots Of Economic Understanding
, by F. A. Harper
, The Freeman
, Nov 1955
Explains the rudiments of economics by specifying required attributes (desirability, scarcity, exchangeability) then delving into how people, from the earliest age, become cognizant of economic concepts, but ending with criticism of econmic ignorance
"Even in infancy the child is a budding economist. We do not know precisely when he first ponders problems of value and distribution, and the law of diminishing returns. Probably the age when this first appears varies widely from child to child. But I suspect there is economic consciousness in most of them at a very young age, and long before we as parents realize that it is there."
Stop the Cannon Fodder
, by Charley Reese, 27 Jan 2007
"I'm glad that I discouraged all my children from serving in the military, even though I had served. It is important, I believe, to separate the natural and noble feeling of love of country from the present reality. The young people dying in Iraq are not dying to protect their country. ... Do not hand your precious one-of-a-kind children over to cynical men who will squander their lives without blinking an eye. It is a sad thing to die for another’s profits."
Teaching Basic Economics to Fifth Graders
, by Arthur E. Foulkes, Mises Daily
, 21 Jun 2006
Recounts the experience of teaching economics to fifth graders, one concept per week, for five weeks, focusing on trade, money, savings, competition and prices
"My goal with these fifth graders was not just to introduce them to the basics of economic science, but to inoculate them against future attempts to teach them bad economics. By showing them that trade, money, savings, competition, and prices all have distinctly human origins and purposes, I hoped to help them make better sense out of the 'economics' they will some day be exposed to."
The battle to make America wet again
, by Nicholas A. Snow, 8 Mar 2017
Recounts how the 18th Amendment and National Prohibition Act were repealed, particularly through the efforts of the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform (WONPR)
"WONPR was important for repeal because it was successful in publicizing the negative unintended consequences of Prohibition. As [Pauline] Sabin explained, 'In pre-Prohibition days, mothers had little fear in regards to the saloon as far as their children were concerned ... Today in any speakeasy in the United States you can find boys and girls in their teens drinking liquor, and this situation has become so acute that the mothers of this country feel something must be done to protect their children.'"
The Control Cult
, by Butler Shaffer
, 21 Apr 2007
In the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, comments on those who believe the causal factors can be identified and controlled by the state, and how this extends not just to gun ownership but many other areas
"Government schools — unable to grasp the reality that children are, by nature, self-directed, spontaneous, and exploring people eager to devote their energies to what interests them — become upset when their conscripts refuse to suppress their inquisitiveness. The children get labeled 'hyperactive' or 'suffering' from 'attention deficit disorder' (i.e., do not adhere to the teacher's prescribed agenda) and must, therefore, have their energies controlled by drugs, counseling, and other 'behavior modification' techniques that squeeze the childhood sense of personally-relevant curiosity from them."
The Drug War's Immorality and Abject Failure
, by Anthony Gregory
, Future of Freedom
, Jul 2006
Discusses how drug use differs from criminal, property-rights violations, the justifications for the drug war and the many areas where it has had detrimental effects on society: inner cities, rule of law, foreign relations, etc.
"What kind of conflicted message do children get in a world where millions of drug users live productive, relatively normal lives and manage to avoid punishment, and yet the ones who get caught are punished more severely than burglars and rapists? How can a child learn about property rights and the founding principles of America and yet be taught that his home or vehicle can be searched one day, as long as some police officer thinks he might have drugs?"
The Egregiously Destructive War on Drugs
, by Gennady Stolyarov II, Mises Daily
, 30 May 2006
Discusses the adverse effects that the war on drugs has on innocent people who don't consume drugs
"The War on Drugs harms innocent schoolchildren, who are at risk of being suspended or expelled by draconian public school administrators for bringing in sugar, salt, aspirin, or other 'drug look-alikes.'"
The New Witchcraft
, by Joan Kennedy Taylor
, Free Inquiry
Discusses the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996, after the Supreme Court in Oct 2001 heard the case against it, but before it rendered its judgement in Apr 2002
"Could sexual images of children be used in successfully treating pedophiles, and actually lessen the frequency of child molestation? We will never know, because a study to find that out would now be criminal. Pedophiles—those who have sexual thoughts about children, not necessarily child molesters—are defined as evil. Anyone who says he has any reason to possess these evil images must be a pedophile. ... Child molestation, whether to create a saleable image or to gratify a sexual impulse, is indeed something to be horrified about. ... However, when it comes to making thoughts unconstitutional, we'd better think twice."
The War On Drugs Is Lost
, by William F. Buckley Jr., Steven B. Duke, Joseph D. McNamara, Ethan A. Nadelmann, Kurt Schmoke, Robert W. Sweet, Thomas Szasz
, National Review
, 12 Feb 1996
Symposium with essays from William F. Buckley Jr., drug policy researcher Ethan A. Nadelmann, Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, former chief of police Joseph D. McNamara, judge Robert W. Sweet, psychiatrist Thomas Szasz and law professor Steven B. Duke
"Drugs are, of course, not the only dangerous artifacts in our environment. Electricity, household appliances and cleansers, and countless other products of human inventiveness endanger, injure, and kill children. We accept these inventions that, in the long run, make our lives healthier and safer, and adapt to them by teaching children to cope realistically with the risks they pose."
Treating People Like Garbage
, by Sheldon Richman
, 4 Oct 2013
Prompted by the "closing" of the U.S. government during the first week of Oct 2013, examines two examples of how the state behaves towards people: an Iraq war veteran and his familty, and the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Bengalis in Mar 1971
"Among the scenes is one of his young daughter reading to her now-enfeebled dad. Another shows her helping him walk. ... The biggest victim here is the daughter, who now must see her young dad in that pathetic condition, likely for the rest of his life. He volunteered for the military (no doubt after being propagandized as a teenager), but his daughter was not asked if she was willing to sacrifice her dad for ... for what? ... We often hear public policy justified in the name of 'the children.' A noninterventionist foreign policy can genuinely satisfy that criterion."
Vices Are Not Crimes: A Vindication of Moral Liberty
, by Lysander Spooner
, Mar 1875
Contrasts crimes and vices, discussing the need to legislate or take other governmental action against the former but not the latter, countering several potential arguments in favor of vice legislation, in particular laws regarding spirituous liquors
"But in so far as [parents] practise coercion, or restrain a child from anything not really and seriously dangerous to himself, they do him a harm, rather than a good. It is a law of Nature that to get knowledge, and to incorporate that knowledge into his own being, each individual must get it for himself. Nobody, not even his parents, can tell him the nature of fire, so that he will really know it. He must himself experiment with it, and be burnt by it, before he can know it. "
Wants, Efforts, Satisfactions
, by Frédéric Bastiat
, Economic Harmonies
Examines the concepts of sensation, pain, wants, satisfactions and connects them by the concepts of activity or human effort to postulate that the exchange of services in a social framework are what constitute the science of economics
"No theory, no flights of oratory can succeed in keeping fathers from loving their children. ... A father will expend as much effort, perhaps more, for his children's satisfactions as for his own. If, then, a new law contrary to Nature should forbid the bequest of private property, it would not only in itself do violence to the rights of private property, but it would also prevent the creation of new private property by paralyzing a full half of human effort."
We Need Freedom, Not School Standards
, by Sheldon Richman
, Jun 1996
Compares the levels of education of Americans before and after 1840, when Horace Mann and others architected "public schools"
"Horace Mann, the father of the American public school, put it bluntly, 'We who are engaged in the sacred cause of education are entitled to look upon all parents as having given hostages to our cause.' The public schools were designed to mold children according to the plan of social engineers like Mann. 'Children are wax,' he said. ... Children were to be imbued with an artificial national culture and with skills that would ready them for the new industrial system. Every child would learn the same thing at the same point in life. The individuality of the student played no role in that system."
What Do You Call Someone Who Wants to Get Their Hands on Your 5-Year-Old?
, by Vin Suprynowicz, 3 Feb 2007
"No net gain for a price of millions: One would think that makes universal tax-funded kindergarten a non-starter. But parents will overwhelmingly enthuse over the prospect of getting someone else to fund their all-day child care a full year earlier, and the program will be adopted with much glee and celebration."
What Would Schools Be Like?
, by Marshall Fritz
, Issues & Views
Discusses how schools would be different if they were no longer controlled by the government, and after talking to a Columbine survivor, points out the purpose of government schooling
"After liberating schools from the government, what will they be like? ... Unlike today, teachers will engage children with the questions that challenge our species, e.g., Where did I come from? Is there any purpose to life? What is happiness? Why are some things 'right' and others 'wrong?' How do we know? Under the banner of 'separation of church and state,' today's 'public school' teachers are pretty much forbidden from this, resulting in demeaning education to mere schooling and turning children into test-taking robots. It would be like Wendy's offering to 'smally' your burger by taking the meat out. "
W(h)ither Public Schools?
, by Sheldon Richman
, Separating School & State
Chapter 1, made available online on tenth anniversary of the book's publication; discusses how even mild "public school" reforms are treated as "deadly threats", why a new vision is needed and the role of the family in educating children
"To grow, children need assistance; specifically, they need information and good examples from the adults. But they do not need adults or institutions to develop them into human beings. This is not just semantics. The common conception of education casts children in a fundamentally passive role. They are empty vessels that only adults with special skills — teachers — can fill. ... the architects of the public schools ... spoke of children as formless lumps of clay or dough, raw material requiring the able fingers of expert educators. Only such a vision could have yielded the schools our children labor in today."
Why Pay For Things?
, by F. A. Harper
, The Freeman
, Jan 1956
Explains the options to how people can obtain things, in terms a five-year old can understand
"'Why do we have to pay for things?' asked a five-year-old boy at dinner one evening. ... One way to do it would be for everyone to grab what he can. ... A boy's bicycle, for instance, would not really be his. Any bully could take it away from him; a bigger bully could take it away from the first thief, and so forth. ... The other way to decide who gets what is for each person to own things. ... If as a small boy you had been given a bicycle, or had bought a toy ship, for instance, these are yours until you want to give them away or sell them."
Why We Consent to Oppression: Self-suppression paves the way for political suppression
, by Peter Breggin, Reason
, Sep 1977
Examines the questions posed by La Boétie in his "Discourse" from a psychological perspective, particularly how childhood self-suppression leads most adults to more easily accept government oppression
"Every child is brought into the world as a helpless creature. He is literally a captive or a prisoner. ... its communication of selfhood conflicts with the needs, demands, or problems of its captor parents. ... The chronic, painful struggle between the child and its oppressors is so fearful and demoralizing that the child inevitably and invariably turns upon itself to deny some of its attributes in the interest of making peace and surviving within the family, and later within educational, religious, and political institutions."
Winning the Battle for Freedom and Prosperity
, by John Mackey, Liberty
, Jun 2006
Updated from speech given at FreedomFest 2004; after a brief background on himself, Mackey criticises the freedom movement from a marketing and branding perspective and suggests a different approach by de-emphasising some issues and prioritising others
"The legalization of drugs, pornography, prostitution, and guns, as issues, are all too closely associated with the freedom movement. Aligning ourselves with these issues has hurt our brand tremendously, by associating the freedom movement with cultural decadence. Parents don't want their children's lives ruined by drug experimentation, or their innocence prematurely lost to pornography and prostitution, or their lives ended with a bullet."
Related Topics: Business
, Educational Freedom
, Free Market
, Health Care
, Individual Liberty
, Life Extension
, Personal Responsibility
, Ayn Rand