Everything in the world that involves human interaction can be broken down to property rights, and as I have said before, children are a special case of property. Let’s begin with some Rothbard:
Let us take, as our first example, a sculptor fashioning a work of art out of clay and other materials; and let us waive, for the moment, the question of original property rights in the clay and the sculptor’s tools. The question then becomes: Who owns the work of art as it emerges from the sculptor’s fashioning? It is, in fact, the sculptor’s “creation,” not in the sense that he has created matter, but in the sense that he has transformed nature-given matter — the clay — into another form dictated by his own ideas and fashioned by his own hands and energy. Surely, it is a rare person who, with the case put thus, would say that the sculptor does not have the property right in his own product. Surely, if every man has the right to own his own body, and if he must grapple with the material objects of the world in order to survive, then the sculptor has the right to own the product he has made, by his energy and effort, a veritable extension of his own personality. He has placed the stamp of his person upon the raw material, by “mixing his labor” with the clay, in the phrase of the great property theorist John Locke. And the product transformed by his own energy has become the material [p. 32] embodiment of the sculptor’s ideas and vision.
As in the case of the ownership of people’s bodies, we again have three logical alternatives: (i) either the transformer, or “creator,” has the property right in his creation; or (2) another man or set of men have the right in that creation, i.e., have the right to appropriate it by force without the sculptor’s consent; or (3) every individual in the world has an equal, quotal share in the ownership of the sculpture — the “communal” solution. Again, put baldly, there are very few who would not concede the monstrous injustice of confiscating the sculptor’s property, either by one or more others, or on behalf of the world as a whole. By what right do they do so? By what right do they appropriate to themselves the product of the creator’s mind and energy? In this clear-cut case, the right of the creator to own what he has mixed his person and labor with would be generally conceded. (Once again, as in the case of communal ownership of persons, the world communal solution would, in practice, be reduced to an oligarchy of a few others expropriating the creator’s work in the name of “world public” ownership.)
The main point, however, is that the case of the sculptor is not qualitatively different from all cases of “production.” The man or men who had extracted the clay from the ground and had sold it to the sculptor may not be as “creative” as the sculptor, but they too are “producers,” they too have mixed their ideas and their technological know-how with the nature-given soil to emerge with a useful product. They, too, are “producers,” and they too have mixed their labor with natural materials to transform those materials into more useful goods and services. These persons, too, are entitled to the ownership of their products.
If we replace the sculptors sculpture with a child, the logic is not broken; in fact it is even more powerful.
There is nothing in the world that a human being can make that is more personal, more ‘of you’ than a child. A child is the product of the mixing of the seed of two unique individuals; a sculptor might be able to make perfect copy of another man’s work. She might even be able to mass produce copies of a work, but no person can make a child that is identical to yours. When you make a child, unlike producing goods by mixing your labor with inanimate materials, you are mixing yourself with another person.
In the age of cloning, it might be possible to create a clone of a child made by you and and your wife (or you and your husband) but that would still involve either taking genetic material from both of you or the child to produce the clone.
Making a child is unique in nature as an act of creation inextricably linked to the individual and his natural rights. This is why the principle of ownership can be logically applied to children, with the special exceptions that arise from self ownership and being a human being, meaning that a child owns herself when she reaches her majority, and also has the right to life even without self ownership whilst being the property of the parent.
Making a child does not involve any party other than the two people who choose to do it. It does not involve the application of any technology. You do not have to buy clay or anything else to facilitate it. It is as close to creation by an act of will that it is possible for man to achieve.
The mother nurtures the child with her own body, that is her absolute property. Nowhere in this is the state involved or any other person or even material, other than the man who donated his half of the process, and the woman who does her part.
The way that children are tied to their parents, the intimacy of it, the inextricable link to your child forged by biology is different to any other type of creation that man makes with his mind and his hands. You may design an aircraft on paper; it will be your design, but it will not have a physical part of you contained in it. It may reflect your personality, your genius and insight, but it will not directly express your being as a child does. The sculptor may use his hands to make a work, but his essence does not become mixed in the work. A child is the very essence of the parents in a way that no inanimate man made object can be.
Once again, as Rothbard says there are three logical alternatives to who owns children:
- Either the parents, or creators of the child have the property right in the child
- Another man or set of men have the right in that child, i.e., have the right to appropriate it by force without the parent’s consent
- Every individual in the world has an equal, quotal share in the ownership of the child — the “communal” (Führer/UN/State as father) solution.
Now in the case of 2 above, the right to appropriate the child by force means, for example, the German Nazi SS state aparatchicks ‘appropriating’ children to force them to attend schools in Germany when they are legally resident and Home Educating in France. It means Ed Balls attempting to introduce the licensing of families who care for their own children and their education.
If someone else has the ability to control a thing or a person, that someone owns that thing or person.
Any decent, reasonable and logical person can see that the proposition in 2, and the actions of the Nazis and Ed Balls are illegitimate on their face. Only the completely delusional believe that 3 is in any way reasonable, but in fact there are some people who think that 3 is in fact something to strive for.
The true nature and purpose of the proposed outlawing of Home Education in the UK is explained in the following paragraphs. It is a well established fact that the state school system (apart from it being an immoral construct in the first place) fails to produce literate and numerate students whose numbers are measured in millions. Logically, any government that had the best interests of ‘it’s citizens’ at heart would work tirelessly to perfect the schools that it had responsibility for.
Instead, we get a ‘psychic satisfaction’ exercise, where a growing minority of dissatisfied parents, who remove their children from state schools to educate them at home are to be sacrificed for the benefit of the brainwashed majority:
Let us consider a stark example: Suppose a society which fervently considers all redheads to be agents of the Devil and therefore to be executed whenever found. Let us further assume that only a small number of redheads exist in any generation — so few as to be statistically insignificant. The utilitarian-libertarian might well reason: “While the murder of isolated redheads is deplorable, the executions are small in number; the vast majority of the public, as non-redheads, achieves enormous psychic satisfaction from the public execution of redheads. The social cost is negligible, the social, psychic benefit to the rest of society is great; therefore, it is right and proper for society to execute the redheads.” The natural-rights libertarian, overwhelmingly concerned as he is for the justice of the act, will react in horror and staunchly and unequivocally oppose the executions as totally unjustified murder and aggression upon nonaggressive persons. The consequence of stopping the murders — depriving the bulk of society of great psychic pleasure — would not influence such a libertarian, the “absolutist” libertarian, in the slightest. Dedicated to justice and to logical consistency, the natural-rights libertarian cheerfully admits to being “doctrinaire,” to being, in short, an unabashed follower of his own doctrines.
We all know that Home Education is not a ‘child safety’ issue; in fact, the lie that it is, is analogous to thinking that redheads are agents of the Devil. There is no evidence that Home Education is in any way a problem for anyone. Certainly in the UK, because the total number of Home Educators is not known, no meaningful statistics can be created, and if we take statistics from the USA as a guide, we can see that Home Educated children outperform state educated children by a very wide margin, in all metrics.
Home Education and the parents who do it are to be sacrificed for the psychic benefit of ‘society’, most of whom are, ignorant, schooled, brainwashed and who send their children to school.
This psychic sacrifice will cool the following thoughts:
- “How can Home Educators afford not to send their children to school… I hate the rich.”
- “Why do I have to work and not be with my beautiful children? I am a bad mother… I hate these people for showing me up.”
- “I do not believe that our children should be educated at home. It should be banned.”
- “The government should do something to find these children and make them safe.”
- “I am safe with my children, but you never know what other parents are doing. We need to ban this.”
- “School is the proper place for learning. Our children should learn in groups. We have to crack down on this.”
- “Without the rough and tumble of the playground, our children will be disadvantaged. We should ban this.”
- “It’s just not normal. The government should step in.”
- “Why would anyone want to do this? I would go mad if I had my children at home all day. They must be bonkers.”
The psychic sacrifice banning balm will put all of these ill feelings to rest in a single step; and of course, the newspapers do all they can to enrage, add to and enflame these feelings so that when the balm is released the satisfaction is maximised.
The fact of the matter is that this is not about education nor is it about a concern for the safety of children. The education aspect is widely known to be a non issue, and the safety non issue is illogical.
If the state is to assert property rights on Home Educated children and are to license parents to be Home Educators, then they must licence all parents.
Children go home from school every night and sleep in the family home; in the sick and perverted logic of Ed Balls and Graham Badman this is an opportunity for abuse.
The three months where all the children in the country who attend school are left alone with their parents, who sometimes take them to other countries where they are not under supervision constitutes another opportunity for abuse. Logically, all parents must be licensed to care for their own children, if we are to make all children safe.
It is nonsense on stilts obviously.
Believe me, if they had a technology that would make this practical, they would legislate for it.
And for the record, all talk of ‘the rights of the child’ is nothing more than a pretext to foster the creation of new legislation that will replace the parent with the state as the owner of all children.
Children do not have rights on top of the rights that every human being is born with. There is no such thing as ‘a child’s right to education’. Education is a good, not a right.
Finally, it should be amply clear to you that your children are your property. They can only be your property, until they reach their majority or you give them up for someone else to look after under some contractual arrangement. If they are not your property, then they are someone else’s property, since that someone else will have control over them while they are not owners of themselves.
It should also be clear to you that many of the mandates, regulations and laws concerning children are illegitimate, since they immorally and wrongly confer ownership of a child to the state.
The proposed Home Education legislation is also illegitimate by its nature. There should be:
- No registration of families as Home Educators
- No duty placed upon Local Authorities to manage Home Educators in any way
- No new power of the state to define what education is or is not
The question you have to ask yourself is, what are you going to do about this direct attack on you and your family, should you be confronted by someone who wants to claim your child as their property?
A lurker points us to this essay by Murray Rothbard which deals precisely with this topic, and I quote:
The Parent or the State?
The key issue in the entire discussion is simply this: shall the parent or the State be the overseer of the child? An essential feature of human life is that, for many years, the child is relatively helpless, that his powers of providing for himself mature late. Until these powers are fully developed he cannot act completely for himself as a responsible individual. He must be under tutelage. This tutelage is a complex and difficult task. From an infancy of complete dependence and subjection to adults, the child must grow up gradually to the status of an independent adult. The question is under whose guidance, and virtual “ownership” the child should be: his parents’ or the State’s? There is no third, or middle, ground in this issue. Some party must control, and no one suggests that some individual third party have authority to seize the child and rear it.
It is obvious that the natural state of affairs is for the parents to have charge of the child. The parents are the literal producers of the child, and the child is in the most intimate relationship to them that any people can be to one another. The parents have ties of family affection to the child. The parents are interested in the child as an individual, and are the most likely to be interested and familiar with his requirements and personality. Finally, if one believes at all in a free society, where each one owns himself and his own products, it is obvious that his own child, one of his most precious products, also comes under his charge.
The only logical alternative to parental “ownership” of the child is for the State to seize the infant from the parents and to rear it completely itself. To any believer in freedom this must seem a monstrous step indeed. In the first place, the rights of the parents are completely violated, their own loving product seized from them to be subjected to the will of strangers. In the second place, the rights of the child are violated, for he grows up in subjection to the unloving hands of the State, with little regard for his individual personality. Furthermore — and this is a most important consideration — for each person to be “educated,” to develop his faculties to the fullest, he needs freedom for this development. We have seen above that freedom from violence is essential to the development of a man’s reason and personality. But the State! The State’s very being rests on violence, on compulsion. As a matter of fact, the very feature that distinguishes the State from other individuals and groups is that the State has the only (legal) power to use violence. In contrast to all other individuals and organizations, the State issues decrees which must be obeyed at the risk of suffering prison or the electric chair. The child would have to grow up under the wings of an institution resting on violence and restriction. What sort of peaceful development could take place under such auspices?
And there you have it. Children ARE your property, and if you do not believe so and act accordingly, the end result is that the state becomes the owner of your children and from that transfer of ownership, all manner of tragic consequences will flow .