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.
For a long time, the issue that held me back from being a full-fledged anarchist was the question of children. In a truly free society, adults would not be able to demand goods or services from others using the violence of the government. And I was OK with that. That was simple for me to reconcile. Rights are negative. Society doesn't "owe" anyone anything except the right to be left alone.
My original philosophical dilemma was why my kids have a right to demand care from me. But after reconciling that, I struggled with society's obligation to children in general.
Children aren't going to be self-sufficient in their care for many years. That's why parents are in it for the long haul. No one disputes that parents ought to provide food, clothes, medical attention and shelter to their own child. But what if the parents can't or won't do so? Do those children cease to deserve these necessities of life? If they do deserve them, then we needed an entity — the state, I assumed — to make sure they got what they needed.
Over time, I came to realize that I was approaching the issue all wrong.
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.