Why Parents Owe Their Kids for the “Crime” of Creating Them
By Jennifer Lade - December 15, 2017

Parenting for Freedom article series: This is the first 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.

For most of my adult life, I have believed that respecting an individual’s freedom should be the first goal of society. It seems so straightforward. All people should be able to do what they want, as long as what they want doesn’t hurt someone else. Simple, right?

Then I had kids, and suddenly it didn’t seem so simple.

The idea of “live and let live,” which I thought I could apply to every situation, didn’t hold up. It seemed like my children were within their rights to demand more of me.

Despite what is often called a “right” in the United States, true rights can exist only in the negative. They describe an individual’s state in nature before anyone has acted on that individual. To preserve rights among adults, you must NOT act: not kill, not steal, not destroy.

But when it came to my children, I had a legal obligation — and I felt a moral obligation — to do more for my newborn babies than leave them alone. It definitely seemed like they had positive rights — to food, shelter, and comfort — and that I had the obligation to provide them.

On a human level, most parents find it instinctual and easy to care for their children, as I do. But on a philosophical level, freedom-minded parents like me might struggle with why we are legally required to care for our kids.

I wanted to reconcile two ideas: 1. Children are complete humans who deserve freedom. 2. Children are vulnerable and dependent on their caretakers. So I looked more closely at freedom and what I meant by it.

When I think of freedom, I think of a few related guiding principles that make freedom possible. The first is self-ownership, that your body is your property to do with as you please. The second is non-aggression. No one should act upon another person’s body except in self-defense. The third is voluntary association. You should only have to interact with people whom you choose.

Right off the bat, it’s obvious that babies’ freedom is being violated. They are brought into existence by their parents without their consent, carried to term (or not) and birthed, without any say at all. That doesn’t sound like self-ownership or non-aggression. Then, they have no choice in who cares for them, holds them, changes them, and feeds them. So that’s voluntary association out the window.

It’s easy to laugh at this concept of an infant having his rights violated by being created and snuggled by his parents. But just because most people think of something as a good thing doesn’t mean it should be forced on you. Life is often good and joyful. But it is not freely chosen.

So what are we left with? A tiny, vulnerable human whose very existence proves that his rights were violated. And his parents, who violated his rights.

Someone who violates our rights owes us restitution for the crime. The criminal serves a sentence, which should repay the victim.

So I propose that parents are serving a “sentence” of caring for their kids as retribution for bringing their kids into existence. Yes, the children’s rights were violated by being created and born without their consent. But parents pay for this crime by caring for their children.

I will admit that this is an insulting and no doubt unpopular view of parenthood. As a parent myself, it does seem a little unfair. After all, I gave my children life! I quit drinking alcohol and eating sushi for nine whole months for them! Shouldn’t they be grateful? Don’t they owe me a debt of gratitude (not to mention care in my old age)?

But what if we use the same argument to talk about citizens in society? Each person was born in a certain country, a citizen of a certain place. We didn’t choose when or where this was. We are governed by laws we didn’t create, taxed to pay for things we do not want, subject to decisions made by our peers. We are told that if we don’t like it we can leave, as though that were easy. Is there anywhere on earth we could go and not be governed and taxed? And on top of all that we are told we should be grateful to live in our society because so many people have it so much worse! It’s infuriating.

And that’s the exact situation all children are in. They exist without any say in a certain time and place. They are subject to decisions made by others. People are always acting upon them.

When you think of it like that, it’s obvious that parents owe their kids, not the other way around.

The idea that parents owe their kids a sentence of care is in direct contrast to the writings of Murray N. Rothbard, an American economist, political theorist, and historian. Rothbard argues that because rights are negative, parents legally only have to leave a child alone to respect its rights:

“Applying our theory to parents and children, this means that a parent does not have the right to aggress against his children, but also that the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts coerced upon the parent and depriving the parent of his rights. The parent therefore may not murder or mutilate his child, and the law properly outlaws a parent from doing so. But the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child, i.e., to allow it to die.2 The law, therefore, may not properly compel the parent to feed a child or to keep it alive.3 (Again, whether or not a parent has a moral rather than a legally enforceable obligation to keep his child alive is a completely separate question.)”

I affectionately call this idea “Live and Let Die.” Rothbard argues later in the article that a child must legally be allowed to leave his parents and find a better living arrangement, if he so chooses. But that doesn’t much help the infant who is unable to hold up his head, let alone seek out new parents to feed him. Rothbard says it is in fact the child’s helplessness that should allow parents to leave the child for dead. Otherwise the parents’ rights would be violated by being legally forced to provide for the child.

Rothbard also responds to the creation argument. That is the idea (which I argue as well) that parents are responsible for the child’s care because they have created the child without his consent. Rothbard asks, somewhat rhetorically, if parents must care for a child because they created him, why would that care ever end?  He also questions what constitutes adequate care. He asks whether parents must sacrifice their own quality of life “to the point of self-extinction” to care for a child. His argument seems to be that since there are not clear-cut answers to these questions about care, the child should not have a legal right to care at all.

I am arguing that there is room for interpretation about how long and how well parents must care for a child. It is not easy to come to a consensus. But that does not mean that the parents shouldn’t have a legal obligation to meet some minimum standard. This is much the same way that we can quibble about rights among adults. When does your right to run your leaf blower interfere with my right to sleep? There isn’t one right answer, but that doesn’t mean that it is right for the leaf blower to always — or never — be running.

I know it’s messy. I want rights to be simple and black and white. But even among adults, I guess it isn’t a simple calculus of leaving everyone alone. There should be a legal line for behavior. Just because these lines seem arbitrary doesn’t mean (if you’ll pardon the horrible pun) we must throw the baby out with the bathwater.

In this article, I answered the question of why parents should legally care for children: they are serving a sentence. This view is different in theory but not in practice from what is already required of parents in our society in the form of child neglect laws.

But our current legal system is not the best way to determine the specifics of how to care for a child. Cultural norms, common law, and mediation are better alternatives. There are many right answers to how long a parent must care for his child, depending on the particular case. The amount of material goods and attention that make up “care” changes based on the situation too.

But if you, like me, value freedom as one of the highest goods for human beings, then your parenting should reflect that.

Click here to read the next article which explores the specifics of the parent-child relationship. I give you my thoughts on what the child deserves and what rights the parents still have as we attempt to parent with freedom in mind.

You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

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  • RJ O’Guillory

    …it’s called caring. What an idiot.
    RJ O’Guillory

    • As the author says, she cares naturally. But she is intelligent enough to look deeper into the philosophy of freedom, and be consistent. If you don’t believe in positive rights, how do you reconcile positive rights for a child, versus Rothbard’s claim that no care is owed?

      • RJ O’Guillory

        …the child is incapable of understanding or comprehending their…”rights”…just as they cannot drive a car through the Taco Bell Drive Thru and order a Burrito. A caring adult must be the one to insure that a child’s right’s are not violated, just as an adult must do the Taco Bell thing. Parents…or mature, caring adults fulfill the role of caretaker for those rights, as well as educating the growing child as to their rights, and how to exercise them when they are mature, educated and/or emancipated. If we were to take this essay to its logical conclusion, then once pregnant… with a human growing inside of you…women can no longer have elective abortions, as that child now has rights as well. So lets cut off all elective abortion…eh? I’m all for that, except in the case of rape or real health dangers to the mother. But I am also a libertarian, so the quandary always lay with the adults, not growing babies in the womb, or two year olds who cannot yet pee in a toilet…but with people who think they should have the freedom to be allowed to make all of their own choices. An intelligent adult knows that you must grow a child’s judgement, before they can experience access to all of their rights, and the ones they will be properly prepared to defend as adults.
        RJ O’Guillory

        • Jen Lade

          I would say yes, an abortion is violating the right to life of the human being aborted. In the article, I’m not saying children should be able to make all their own decisions. I’m simply answering the question of why parents must care for their kids. Why do parents owe their kids anything? The answer I came to is the idea of parenting as a sentence of restitution for bringing a child into existence. It’s an attractive way for me to look at it, because otherwise the parent-child relationship doesn’t follow the voluntaryist principles that guide my other human relationships: namely, I don’t agress on other people and I don’t owe them anything.

          • RJ O’Guillory

            …the simple answer to your question is that due to our life-decisions and sexual conduct, the child is the by-product of that interaction, and is therefore the responsibility of the creative-team. Thus the creative-team owe the child many things with regard to their well-being, especially the protection of their rights. An example might be the prevention of unnecessary and dangerous vaccines. If Monsanto dumps toxic chemicals into the ground and ruins an area…are they not responsible for their actions? How about Fukushima? The Japanese people will be paying for that debacle for thousands of years…(if they last that long). Are we not responsible for the outcomes of our life-decisions and actions? I say we are…(or should be). And any situation where…”being responsible”… leads someone to experience the sheer joy of parenthood and the creation of life…is a great thing. I think it is silly to refer to a natural human action as a … “crime”, especially when it perpetuates the species. I wonder, is that what you really object to?
            RJ O’Guillory

          • There was no objection to creating children, it is simply a framework to reconcile the positive rights children have with a political philosophy that says only negative rights exist. This is simply a philosophical perspective for people who care about logical consistency.

          • RJ O’Guillory

            …hmmm…okay. Take care…

          • Clearpoint

            The most effective way of destroying freedom is to put “rights” into a central and commanding position in the argument. Irreconcilable conflict is sure to follow. I can’t help but notice how supposed freedom loving libertarians quickly and easily turn totalitarian over any disagreements over the “rights” issue.

        • Col. Edward H. R. Green

          “…once pregnant… with a human growing inside of you…women can no longer have elective abortions, as that child now has rights as well. So lets cut off all elective abortion…eh? I’m all for that, except in the case of rape or real health dangers to the mother.”

          You are committing the all too common error of failing to distinguish between an potential human being (fetus) and an actual human being, a viable baby that has been born.

          It is at birth that a baby’s right to his own life begins for he then exists as a physically separate, individuated, biologically self-generating, self-sustaining being. This condition of existence is the metaphysical basis for legitimate individual rights that one fully possesses as one develops one’s faculty of reason and exercises one’s faculty of volition during the stages of maturation.

          Prior to giving birth, it is the mother alone who has rights during her pregnancy because the fetus is not yet viable for it is physically dependent upon the mother’s body for its continued biological sustenance. The fetus’s full viability is achieved at birth.

          To force a woman to maintain her pregnancy and give birth reduces her to the status of a slave to a not-yet-born (potential), non-viable fetal organism. This fact proves that the “right” of a fetus to its life is a false, therefore, illegitimate right because it conflicts with the woman’s legitimate individual right to her life.

          • RJ O’Guillory


  • aj54

    Rothbard is an economist, not a lawyer, and definitely not a child advocate. Minor children have a legal right to care by the parents, as well as not being forced recipients of parental aggression. Saying each and every aspect of this care is not legally specified, so therefore must not exist, is dissembling. Rothbard expounding such nonsense should give one pause about accepting his opinion on ANYTHING, including economics. How logical and rational can he be?
    Human beings are born with innate senses of morality, see the primate studies on fairness, and treatment of their siblings/others with disabilities. If even the apes can practice ‘humane’ treatment of others, how much more are we capable?

    • JRX

      And not a very good economist at that.

      • Col. Edward H. R. Green

        Please prove that he was “not a very good economist at that” by refuting all of his analyses regarding laissez-faire capitalism and his defenses of it.

        Otherwise, pop another top (your 28th one today), and return to your easy chair. Half-time is over.

        • JRX

          I have studied every major economist of the last 300 years or so, have published at the Austrian economics academic journals, etc. My opinion is mine, but I fail to find one single positive contribution by Rothbard. I have read most of his books I believe. Maybe you could enlighten me.

  • Number 6

    There are twice as many of people in the world, than even our own trumped up fertility figures suggest.

    Theres a deadly decease which we’ve only just suddenly discovered, which is spread by sexual intercourse ie BREEDING !

    More people especially kids should considering being gay or having their sexual organs mutilated, hashtag love not hate, hashtag not at all sexual and mental abuse of your kids.

    The very gas you exhale is boiling the atmosphere.

    The very gas you exhale is acidifying the oceans.

    Hey by all means have kids but we’re giving them the power to sue you for being born.

    Hmmmm do I detect a eugenics based theme going on here ?
    And These are not just sound bites from the odd sick deranged moron, all of the above are ongoing “WORLD WIDE MEDIA CAMPAIGNS” with billions of dollars of funding behind them, presented to the world as Facts !

  • Number 6

    “They didn’t choose to be born” is an oxymoron they didn’t choose not to be born either ! as they didn’t exist at that point. And faced with the choice of either existing or not existing after the fact, most people choose EXISTING ! And besides How exactly do you know they didn’t choose to exist, unless the author has some kind of divine knowledge of the pre and afterlife. Either way its a stupid argument which is either a contradiction or simply unprovable.

    • Jen Lade

      Ok, fair enough. But do children have positive rights that their parents must meet? I think they do, but maybe you’re in Rothbard’s camp. And if they do, WHY must parents care for those children?

      • Number 6

        Oh of course children have rights and parents have responsibilities, but thats not what Im saying, Im pointing out the contradictory nature of the phrase “They didn’t choose to be born” they didn’t ask to be born either, I think its hysterical and akin to a child screaming “I wish Id never been born, I hate you” when mummy and daddy explain no you cant have a Nintendo switch.

        And is just the sort of idea government and corporations leap on, as a tool to reduce the rights of parent and child alike, or coerce parents into buying their products. Most parents are good parents and their number one priority is their children, despite what others would have us all believe, the difference is some parents give their children too many rights and not enough responsibilities, and its these spoilt children who grow up thinking everybody else owes them something and don’t give a toss about their own children when they eventually have them.

  • Clearpoint

    Rothbard was a nut; he takes the concepts of individualism and individual freedom far past where they should be taken. The less said about him and his philosophical meanderings the better.

    Rights are clunky; always have been. It always seems to be a race to the bottom when we consider an individual’s rights in isolation. Rights are not freebies; for every right, there is a responsibility; or at least there should be. And I much prefer to think in terms of responsibilities. Especially in regards to raising my kids. Kids are little rights machines; they can think up thousands of them if you give them the chance; responsibilities on the other hand, are something they have a much harder time grasping. If I were to base the raising of my kids on considerations of their rights, I would not be doing my job as a parent. My job as a parent is to care for them, support them, make them feel loved and secure, and to teach them, with the goal of helping them grow into full grown, responsible adults and parents who will someday be able to help make this world a better place.

    • JRX

      Rothbard might have written a few interesting articles etc, but hasn’t contributed much of importance beyond that. Funny how some people see him as this great intellectual.

      • Col. Edward H. R. Green

        People who don’t regard Rothbard as a great intellectual are invariably those like you who have never carefully, objectively, critically studied his ideas.

        • JRX

          How do you know I haven’t? I just replied to one of your other replies.

    • Jen Lade

      All those things you listed as your job as a parent could also be framed as the “sentence” you are serving for bringing your kids into existence. I chose to frame it that way in the article so I could try to explain why certain people (parents) owe care, support, etc. to other people (their kids).

      • Clearpoint

        Choosing to take on the responsibilities of parenthood is a tremendous act of giving. I can think of no commitment greater. To frame it as you have done is to take this tremendous act of commitment and giving, and turn it into a prison sentence for some supposed violation of rights of the child, as if parents committed some sort of crime that they must be forced to pay for. What this shows is that trying to frame moral issues of responsibility such as this through the prism of rights is a fools errand. What this shows is that creating individual rights out of the libertarian economic concept of property rights is not the center of the universe that libertarians make them out to be.

    • Col. Edward H. R. Green

      “Rights are clunky; always have been.”

      This is an ignorant assertion that demonstrates your ignorance of proper, i.e. objective, reality-based concept formation. Unfortunately, you have millions of epistemologically uneducated people for company.

      • Clearpoint

        What I did was offer a simply stated opinion written in plain, easy to understand English. I’m not a libertarian and I do not consider rights, whether individual or property, to be the holy grail that you libertarians do. Nothing ignorant or fallacious about that, just a different opinion.

  • Frank Stankus

    So much of this discussion is based on the presumption that children “are brought into existence by their parents without their consent.” For myself and many like me, that is just not true. We believe that our children specifically chose to be born into our family and into the particular set of circumstances surrounding it. We are here to experience life and to work out any issues we had in previous lives, we feel, and that sharing our lives is an incredible privilege. Looked at in that way, we don’t spend much time quibbling over rights.

    • John Hankinson

      Can you prove that we had a previous life?

      • Frank Stankus

        I was pretty clear about using the words “we believe.” As far as I am concerned there is very little that is provable in these matters, and everyone has to find their own way as to what he or she thinks is the truth.

        • Col. Edward H. R. Green

          So, there is no metaphysically objective referent by which one is to determine what is true and what is false ?

          That truth is relative and subjective, a matter of personal whim ?

          That a person saying, “I am a human being” and “I am a tree” is saying two equally true things about himself?

          That a person pointing to a glass of milk and saying “This is a glass of milk” and “This is a glass of urine” is saying two equally true things about the contents of that glass?

          What irrational metaphysics and epistemology !

    • Randy

      Good reply there, Frank. Many years ago I read this; most people are in such a poor state of mind when their body dies, that it’s all that they can do to crawl from one end of the hospital where the old body is dying to the other end where the new bodies are being born.
      Of course the consideration of there being such a thing called distance outside of the realm of the physical universe and crawling without having a meat body is totally absurd, but the point being made is quite true nonetheless.
      Take away the compulsion to always have a meat body for use in interacting with others, and you have a VERY different society indeed! When it becomes a choice as to which family we will take up a meat body with, and it’s not done on a basis of a “must have”, family life can be a very wonderful thing to participate in. But if you leave in all of the human emotion and reaction, it can be a living Hell for us.


  • SRS

    If it is a crime & offense to bring a child into existence, doesn’t this suggest that one’s best course in re-establishing justice is to end that “unsought” existence and neutralize the offense?

    • That would simply be a further offense. If you steal property, you can’t neutralize the original offense by burning the property.

  • acmaurer

    The fatal flaw in this argument is the idea that children are no different then adults. Parents raise their children to become self-functioning adults.

    Looked at this way the problem of society goes away as well: For society to provide food, clothing and shelter to adults is to treat them like children.

  • Statism Is A Cult

    “Yes, the children’s rights were violated by being created and born without their consent.”

    Okay, so who’s rights would be violated if the child were aborted without their consent? Or is that too pro-life or a different topic? It is the inverted argument of life without consent vs. death without consent.

    • Jen Lade

      Abortion would also be violating the child’s rights, the right to life. And then you can never make restitution to the child for that. But if you give a child life without consent (become a parent), you have the chance to make restitution by parenting them well. That’s your “sentence.”

      • That is a strange way to look at parenting! Both of my children were wanted, planned for and raised to adulthood–voluntarily! There was no “sentence” or “restitution” involved.

        The idea of parenthood as “punishment” fits well with nonsensical religious beliefs of “original sin” and “sex is evil”.

      • The right to life is a birth-right, i.e. a human obtains that right at birth.

  • Praetor

    When we humans talk about rights, we always leave love at of that particular equation. Human rights are to us just a legal question.!!!

  • bailintheboat

    The Christian position is that it is God that gave life.

  • davidnrobyn

    Re: the mysteries of existence as a human being, of procreation, of parenting:

    Lord, my heart is not haughty,
    Nor my eyes lofty.
    Neither do I concern myself with great matters,
    Nor with things too profound for me.

    Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    Like a weaned child with his mother;
    Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
    (Ps. 131:1,2)

  • Samarami

    Excellent topic, Jennifer — and good treatment thereof in your essay. I’ve said for years that the family unit is the only legitimate governing agency on earth. All others are coercive interlopers. From your essay:

    “…babies’ freedom is being violated. They are brought into

    existence by their parents without their consent, carried to

    term (or not) and birthed, without any say at all. That doesn’t

    sound like self-ownership or non-aggression. Then, they have

    no choice in who cares for them, holds them, changes them,

    and feeds them. So that’s voluntary association out the window…”

    The human newborn arrives on earth sans what we’ve come to call “instinct” when considering “the animal kingdom”. Humankind is not in the “animal” classification — if for no other reason than that. The human newborn could not survive without adult caregivers — hopefully (but all too often absent) a loving Mom and Dad, both dedicated to the family welfare. I’m going to see if a comment of mine from several years back will duplicate here:

    response to an article by Stephen Kinsella: )

    Kinsella, like so many other deep thinkers, gets himself all wrapped up in
    “libertarian theory”:

    “…So if we maintain that “first use” always determines
    the answer to the question “who owns this resource?”,
    for any resource at all, then it would seem that parents
    do own their children. The mother owns the physical
    matter and bits of food and nourishment that assemble
    into the zygote, embryo, fetus, and then baby…

    …So, when does the child become a
    self-owner? Or does he? The libertarian seems to be
    faced with a dilemma….”

    This, as I see it, is endless and useless expenditure of energy (intellectual
    flatulence???). Of course Stephen is a “law-yer”. Can’t ya tell???

    However, most who know me would be disappointed if I didn’t interject the
    ongoing “science” vs “religion” philosophy as individuals attempt to dictate how “libertarianism” should be manifest (“libertarian theory”): my general thesis states that Libertarians see, but don’t want to be seen as believing; religionists want to be seen as believing, but refuse to see.

    Endless (and needless) squabbles ensue.

    I am the father of seven. Five of them are now over 50. They are MY children — all of them. I love each of them dearly. All are married with families, (I have five great grandchildren — yes, they are MY great grandchildren. Mine. Nobody else’s — oh, wait! I’m not the only great granddad. Sorry — there goes my “property rights” argument. Same with my twenty-five grandkids).

    Back to my kids: all are professionals in their occupations, good providers (thankfully), and remarkable parents (those with school-age kids are
    homeschoolers). But they are MY children. Nobody else’s.

    Oh, and their Mom’s also. Can’t forget my “ex”, who will always
    be the Mom of my 7 kids whether I want to call her my “ex” or not,
    simply because some nerd who had jockeyed his way into collecting a large
    government paycheck and is called a “judge” claims to have
    “dissolved” our marriage.

    The only way a “libertarian” can whing and whang away at “libertarian theory” regarding the ownership of children in the family, as I see it, is if s/he blindly accepts one or more of the many “theories of evolution” — that humankind is the highest manifestation of the animal kingdom.

    Unlike animal newborns, the human newborn comes into being with no
    “instincts”. None. S/he must learn virtually everything. S/he must be kept clean, warm and fed. And safe. Parents must not allow a baby to be left unattended on a high bed or counter — s/he will scooch or roll and fall and probably be injured. S/he will be a year or two or perhaps even three before parents can safely remove guardrails from open stairways, even older before it will be safe to keep household
    chemicals and/or sharp objects within reach. They should be well into teenage before they can be trusted to take the car and go out for the evening — and only then with specific rules for where they are allowed to go, when they must be back home (my kids grew up long before cellphones).

    (Kinsella): “…For the typical case of conflict, the first-use
    principle suffices to prove self-ownership of one’s body
    vis-à-vis the third party claimant. Still, this leaves open the
    possibility of parents owning their kids.

    “Second, it could be argued that even if the parent does
    own the child, in most cases a decent parent would
    manumit the child at a suitable age…”

    Ye gads! I’ve never manumitted or emancipated any of my kids! Perhaps I’d better have my 4th born draw up papers (he’s a “law-yer”, and I tease him about practicing while the rest of us have to work).

    Realistically, the kids end up owning Mom and Dad. Two of my daughters are my
    conservators — a thing people of our race generally do once the parent
    approaches octogenarian status to keep the white man’s naughty fingers out of
    the cupcakes.

    So my girls can “legally” have me locked away with only a word to a “judge” if they so desire. And abscond with everything and anything I own.

    Yikes! I can’t be a libertarian. I’m in slavery! My kids own me!

    I’ll repeat one more thing you’ve heard me say before. Here is true libertarianism as I see it: if I talk some birdbrained young lass into dropping her britches and letting me slip my wienie into her and I get her butt pregnant; “libertarian theory” be damned, I’ve set up a responsibility I can’t get away from. Not if I’m a libertarian and I truly believe in the “NAP” as I claim I do. I’ve contracted by that act to be a father for the rest of my life — and I’m responsible for that child’s welfare and safety and education.

    And s/he will be MY child. Until death do us part.
    End of exceedingly long quotation. Sam

  • nonplused

    This article is a good example of what happens when you try and shoehorn the universe into artificial mental constructs such as “freedom” and “rights” and such, which are not in fact real things found in the universe but merely ways of thinking about the universe. It is important not to over-extend concepts beyond their usefulness as explanations.

    Caring for your children is not a question of “rights” or “obligations”, it is a biological imperative for humans. Fish can just lay their eggs and swim away never to think about it again, but all humans who try that will exit the gene pool. Therefore the human gene pool will always overwhelming consist of people who do not ask whether they are obligated to care for their children or not but instead just do it.

    • HumanLiberty

      Hallelujah. This article was as annoyingly over-thought ad absurdum as any bucket of SJW theory. Logic tortured to the point of becoming illogic. The Germans have a saying: too clever is stupid. Case in point. Your comment nailed it.

      • We think it is important to have a strong base of philosophy so that actions are grounded, and not merely based on whims, brain chemicals, emotions, or biological urges. We have never considered rights (as understood as negative rights, as in, the absence of aggression) to be a topic put forward by Social Justice Warriors. You will find they are often the proponents of positive rights (i.e. give me free stuff). Not what this article is about. But thank you for the feedback.

    • We think the concept of rights is an important one to explore. The usefulness of these concepts are that children grow up valuing freedom, without internalized anger and psychological issues, which coercion leads to. Rights are just a concept, but useful for solving disputes and avoiding violence . This article series extends that discussion to take into account the interaction between children and their parents in order to come away with a useful concept of how to extend rights to children. To be clear, this article does not argue that people should not have children, it simply frames the parent child relationship in a way that is most useful to raising happy productive children. The idea is that people who think of raising kids in this way will produce the best outcomes for their children. That seems a useful concept.

      • nonplused

        It is a useful concept, all I am saying is that one has to realize the limits a concept can be extended. Freedom is a valuable concept, but so is responsibility. Once you decide to exercise your “right” to have children, you have agreed to take on a “responsibility” from which you no longer have the freedom to abstain from, that is my point. Freedom and responsibility are 2 sides of the same coin. You are free to choose, but not free to deny the responsibilities that come as a result of your choices. If babies just floated down from the sky like “Whos” do it might be a different matter.

        In the end of the day the ultimate usefulness of all ideas is tested by natural selection and people who don’t care for their children are not as successful in the gene pool as those who do no matter what philosophy is driving their behavior.

  • Bruce C.

    “Right off the bat, it’s obvious that
    babies’ freedom is being violated. They are brought into existence by
    their parents without their consent, carried to term (or not) and
    birthed, without any say at all.”

    Well, right of the bat I would argue that it is not “obvious” that children/humans don’t CHOOSE to be born. In fact, I happen to believe that they DO.

    I base that argument, in part, on a sense of universal justice and the role and meaning of consciousness.

  • I think the idea of being fully vested of rights is something that happens at adulthood and cannot be said of children because they are incapable of exercising their rights because they are not fully capable human beings. They have their life, they are fully vested in that, some say on birth I say upon conception, but they grow into their abilities over time and so their rights to their abilities become vested as well. Yes the parent is to take up the slack in the meantime, that is their moral and legal obligation and rightly so.