children Children are developing into *sovereign individuals. Children are not the *property of their parents, so they cannot be sold as chattel. But the *right to raise them can be sold.
Other things being equal, parents have the *libertarian right to raise their own children because of the *proactively imposed *cost on parents, and probably children, that would be caused by not allowing this *natural activity. But we assume a duty of care by taking on a child when there are others who would have looked after it. So if we change our minds we need to discharge the duty by handing it over to others if they exist. Not to do so is somewhat like agreeing to be a lifeguard but then doing nothing when the need arises.
As parents have this right to raise their children, they can give or sell it to others who wish to raise them; and thus there will probably be more children and in better homes than if this transfer were not allowed. Selling this ‘right to raise’ is not selling the child as a piece of property, as some detractors depict it. And neither the parents nor any *contractual guardians have an absolute right to raise the children. This is only a prima facie right that can be overridden by sufficiently clear, dangers of, abuse of the child; where the child’s opinion of the matter will become increasingly weighted with its development and where his likely eventual opinion as an adult will have weight otherwise.
This raises an obvious question. Given the almost universal economic dependence of children, and the right to exclude people from *private property, how can children be protected in a libertarian *society? Anyone has the right to protect (if only by simply calling a private *police service) anyone else, including children; and no one has a libertarian right to exclude a rescuer from entering his property to prevent a likely *crime more serious than the trespass. The cost of a successful conviction would be passed on to the guilty parties. Given the strong sentiments that people have toward protecting children, *charities are likely to be available to supplement the funding of this protection if necessary. Any abusive imposition on children would be severely deterred, much more so than by the current *state system, by the usual force of libertarian *restitution and *retribution.
What will not happen, is that children will be abused within *tax-funded institutions, or that protesting children will be in effect kidnapped and sexually molested (in the name of a medical inspection) when a mere suspicion of abuse within the *family arises in the mind of some state official, or that real abusers will escape proper restitution and retribution; all of which often happens in many state systems of child ‘protection’.
*age of consent; *age of majority; *child labour;
*circumcision, infibulation, etc., of children.
A Dictionary of Libertarianism