Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

6 ways children would thrive in a voluntary society | The Daily Bell

Posted by M. C. on January 27, 2018

Total freedom. Can you accept it? What do you think?

Parenting for Freedom article series: This is the fifth in a series of articles that analyzes how freedom-loving people can align their parenting with their political philosophy, and how doing so will allow ideas about personal liberty to carry on to the next generation.

The real question isn’t whether we should help children when they need it. The question is whether we can give that help without the government.

The answer? A resounding yes. Here are six ways children would not only survive, but thrive in a completely voluntaryist society.

1. Freedom of association.

Children would be free to find a living situation that best worked for them. That could mean living with someone other than their parents or trying to live alone. Currently, children must petition a court for emancipation from their parents and prove their maturity. In a voluntaryist society, a third party would not have that power.

In The Ethics of Liberty, economist Murray N. Rothbard says:

“Regardless of his age, we must grant to every child the absolute right to run away and to find new foster parents who will voluntarily adopt him, or to try to exist on his own. Parents may try to persuade the runaway child to return, but it is totally impermissible enslavement and an aggression upon his right of self-ownership for them to use force to compel him to return. The absolute right to run away is the child’s ultimate expression of his right of self-ownership, regardless of age.”

2. The meeting of their basic needs.

Even without SNAP benefits and free school lunches, children would not be starving in the streets. In a voluntaryist society, we could meet the needs of children in many ways. Ideally, a child’s parent would care for him. But charitable individuals and organizations could also pick up the slack. Furthermore, parents could transfer their responsibilities to a party who is more able or willing to care for the child.

Just as children could choose to leave their parents, a free society would allow for a parent to sign over their duties to someone else. Rothbard points out that while we might cringe at the idea of “a flourishing free market in children,” it has better outcomes than our current system:

“[It] would allow for an allocation of babies and children away from parents who dislike or do not care for their children, and toward foster parents who deeply desire such children. Everyone involved: the natural parents, the children, and the foster parents purchasing the children, would be better off in this sort of society.” (LINK: )

3. Freedom in their education.

There would be no compulsory school attendance. Children would be free to attend school or not without fear of truancy charges. Of course, a society without government does not mean a society without governance. People could come together to establish schools that look very much like the public schools of today. The difference is they couldn’t shake people down for the operating costs. In fact, all schools would have the same burden of finding voluntary funding. Those schools with the most attractive models would have the best funding.  A society accustomed to freedom would likely have many self-directed education options. These could take the form of homeschooling or what are currently “alternative” schools.

4. Protection against violence.

In a voluntaryist society, aggressing against another person is still a crime. So parents who abuse their children could still be arrested by private security companies. Private arbitration agencies could help abused children get restitution for their suffering. Who would cover the child’s arbitration costs? Perhaps certain arbitration companies would specialize in abuse cases and take them with no upfront cost. They could take payment based on the settlement with the parents. High-profile cases could be pro bono, since they would benefit from the publicity.

5. More money.

The absence of taxation would allow people to put their money toward causes they deem worthy. For example, most of my $4,000 in property tax goes to fund the public schools my kids aren’t attending. I often daydream about what sorts of educational resources I could offer my kids with an extra $4,000 a year.


6. Greater empowerment.

It is difficult to predict all the ways society would change for the better once government coercion is out of the equation. There would be a whole new set of incentives for a free world, which would affect children as well. Society would encourage independence and hard work rather than dependence and entitlement.

Be seeing you

prison bars



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