1Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business, Loyola University New Orleans, USA
22120 Pulpit Hill Road, Amherst, USA
3Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business, Loyola University, New Orleans, USA
What does libertarian theory, Murray Rothbard’s theory in particular, tell us about the rights of children? The two foundational principles of Rothbardian libertarianism are the sanctity of private property and the rule of non-aggression. Persons, including children, are “self-owners”. Yet children, at a young age, are not yet capable of functioning fully as “self-owners.” They must be cared for, and the caring will necessarily involve some degree of aggression in the form of supervision and restraint. Parents and other caregivers play the role of trustees; and just as the beneficiary of a trust has the right to petition a court to change trustees or terminate the trustee relationship, so a child, able to express his preferences when it comes to the nature and degree of supervision and restraint to which he will be subjected, should equally enjoy that right while, in terms of property rights, a biological caregiver may have better “title” than an adoptive caregiver to be the child’s “trustee” given the child’s inability to express a preference for one or the other. What may seem to a contemporary sensibility as an extreme degree of childhood independence in the choice of caregivers and other freedom from supervision and restraint was common in pre-industrial America and continues to be the rule in some native cultures.
1. Rothbard MN. For a New Liberty. New York: Macmillan; 1973. 2. Huebert J. Libertarianism Today.Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger; 2010.
3. Rothbard MN. Children and Rights. In: Rothbard MN, editor. The Ethics of Liberty. New York: New York University Press; 1998.
4. Gopnik A. How Babies Think. Sci Am2010; 303: 76–81. 5. Molyneux S. Spanking, Aggression and Ethics [internet]. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es2d2c-YXeY
6. Molyneux S. Does Spanking Violate the Non-Aggression Principle? [internet]. 2012 July 21. Available from: http://board.freedomainradio.com/topic/33222-does-spanking-violate-the-nonaggression-principle/
7. Szasz TS. Law, liberty, and psychiatry; an inquiry into the social uses of mental health practices. New York: Macmillan; 1963. doi: 10.1037/11184-000
8. Szasz TS. The Lying Truths of Psychiatry. J Libert Stud1979; 3: 121–39.
12. Stout D. Judge Denies Custody to Mother of Switched Baby [internet]. 1999 November 13. Available from:http://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/13/us/judge-denies-custody-to-mother-of-switchedbaby.html
13. National News Briefs. Mother to Seek Custody Of Girls Switched at Birth [internet].1999 April 7. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/04/07/us/national-news-briefs-mother-to-seek-custodyof-girls-switched-at-birth.html
14. Kinsella S. How We Come to Own Ourselves [internet].2006 September 7. Available from: http://mises.org/daily/2291
15. Block WE, William BI. Continuums. Journal Etica e Politica/Ethics & Politics 2008; 1: 151–66.
16. Benson BL. The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State. San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy; 1990.
17. Hoppe H. Democracy - The God That Failed. Rutgers University, N.J.: Transaction Publishers; 2001.
19. Rothbard M. On Denationalizing the Courts, Rothbard-Rockwell Report. Burlingame, CA: Center for Libertarian Studies; 1991.
20. Stringham E. Justice Without Government. J Libert Stud1998; 14: 53–77.
21. Liggio LP, Peden JR. Social scientists, schooling and the acculturation of immigrants in 19th century America. J Libert Stud 1978; 2: 69–84.
22. Madoc-Jones B, Coates J. An introduction to women’s studies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell; 1996.
23. King M. The Renaissance in Europe. London: Laurence King Publishing; 2003.
24. Griffiths J. The Riddle Of The Childscape. Penguin Books; 2013.
25. Bradford B. The Liberty Poll: Who We Are and What We Think. Liberty magazine1998; 1: 37–48.
26. Bradford B. The Liberty Poll: What libertarians believe is often at odds with libertarian orthodoxy. And their beliefs are changing in some surprising ways. Liberty magazine 1999; 13: 11–21.
27. Rand M. The Liberty Poll Results; Who We Are and What We Think. Liberty magazine2008; 22: 29–43.
28. Zwolinski M. What Do Libertarians Believe About the NonAggression Principle? [internet]. 2013 May 7. Available from: http://www.libertarianism.org/blog/what-do-libertarians-believeabout-non-aggression-principle
29. Block WE. Defending the Undefendable. Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute; 2008 .
30. Block WE. Libertarianism vs. Objectivism; A Response to Peter Schwartz. Reason Papers 2013; 26: 39–62.
31. Block WE, Fleischer M. How Would An Anarchist Society Handle Child Abuse? [internet]. 2010 October 13. Available from: http://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block167.html
32. Block WE. Toward a Libertarian Theory of Inalienability: A Critique of Rothbard, Barnett, Gordon, Smith, Kinsella and Epstein. J Libert Stud 2003; 17: 39–85 .