The basic principle that government is by its essential nature completely incompatible with human nature is best demonstrated by specific examples in addition to theory. One such example is the institution of the family.
1. The Family Unit
When two or more individuals unite in a long-term bond based on attraction and unconditional love, there is formed a powerful unit of society. Powerful not in the sense of governing anyone else, but in the sense of supporting and encouraging each family member and educating children and resisting any outside aggression such as rules imposed for its conduct.
Some families accumulate wealth over several generations, which increases their strength; government does all it can to reduce that, by taxing income, then taxing spending, then taxing savings, and even taxing the event of death, in order to limit what can be inherited. In the coming free society all such tax will end, so any family will be free to become a center of accumulated wealth.
There’ll be no rules for forming families; whatever members want to do, by mutual consent, they will do – as determined by the self-ownership axiom. Let’s consider which family forms would be acceptable in a free society:
A Traditional, lifelong man-woman contracts or marriages
B Informal man-woman long-term friendships without a marriage contract
C Man-man and woman-woman friendships, long-term or permanent, by contract written or informal
D Ménages à trois, quatre, cinq… any number in consensual group “marriages” with any gender mix
E Polygamous marriages as in some Mormon communities, with one husband and many wives
F Harems, with several women at the disposal of one man, as in some Muslim communities
G Any voluntary arrangement including all of the above
The answer is G of course. This is the only answer consistent with human nature – the axiom that every human being is his or her own self-owner. That doesn’t mean all types of cohabitation would be equally popular, or effective in propagating future generations – not at all! But whatever people wish to do together is good.
What is not good, what is in face evil, has to do with something that forces a human being to act in a way contrary to his wishes. Since humans are self-owning individuals, an evil act is anything that interferes with that self-ownership. This is the best rational definition of evil. Clearly, any forcing someone to live in a way contrary to their wishes is a violation of the self-ownership axiom.
Today, government interferes with both the formation of families and with their dissolution, the granting of divorce. In order to marry, normally a couple must get permission from the State! and jump through many hoops and even pay it a fee for this intrusion. Then if they decide the marriage must end, they can split up only with the approval of a government court – even if the terms of the divorce have already been agreed! All that would be flushed away, in the coming free society; families will form and dissolve at the will of their members, and should there be any dispute about terms, free-market courts will be chosen to arbitrate.
In keeping with the market principle that the only obligations upon free people are those undertaken by voluntary, explicit contracts, it’s to be hoped that marriages will start with a prenuptial agreement. One that specifies what would happen in the event of divorce, and so save a huge amount of heartache later on. That way, the service of arbitration would be rarely needed.
Divorce rates rose rapidly in the second half of the 20th Century, right in line with the growth of the government industry. This correlation has an obvious cause: the ballooning income tax levied during that period. With rates so high, the second spouse usually has to go out and work to earn enough to pay the tax on the combined household earnings.
This income tax is not even properly enacted into US Law, yet it’s enforced as if it has been. Just one more great government swindle and boondoggle. The effect of this ill-conceived tax is to place strain upon every family. By obligation far more than choice, latchkey kids return from government school to an empty house; both parents are tired when they are finally able to get the whole family together. Dissatisfaction grows, tensions mount, and surprise, surprise! Every other marriage ends in divorce. A tragedy for all, particularly for the children.
In a free society no such burden will be imposed. If both parents work out of the home it will be by their own choice, and home-schooling will be so prevalent that children will be raised strong, self-confident and self-sufficient and so better able to withstand a breakup if one should occur.
It’s hard to tell whether the divorce rate will rise or fall, after society becomes free. The prevalence of proper contracts that cover the eventuality would make it easier and less guilt-ridden, but the strains placed on any marriage would be far fewer, absent government and its taxes; so on balance the rate may well fall steeply. Whatever the case, members of the family will be far better equipped to handle it.
Belonging in a stable and loving family is surely one of life’s greatest pleasures and if that rate does fall, that pleasure will be enjoyed more widely and that in turn will greatly enhance the net happiness of all individuals in the free society.
Children are integral and delightful members of any family and enjoying their company is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Children are either wanted, or not wanted; and for the sake of the species, let’s hope that the former situation far outweighs the latter. But a couple can enjoy sex without the least intention of starting a baby, and in the nature of the activity they may do so without actually considering the question at all and, horrors, an unwanted pregnancy is upon them. What to do?
In today’s bigot-ridden society there is no end of conflict about the dilemma. Since the apparatus of government exists, it will seek, sometime and somewhere, if not always and everywhere, to take the tough decision away from the couple – where it belongs – and make it on behalf of like-minded powerful voting bigots, who are strangely absent when the time comes to pay the bills and raise the baby.
In the coming free society, there won’t be any laws, and so decisions to terminate will be made only by the pregnant woman who is burdened with providing support for the life growing inside her body.
Abortion will be an option, but in a free market there will be another choice, that doesn’t exist today: a financial arrangement could be made with those who feel strongly that birth should be completed. Abortion will be but one of a multitude of Market Solutions. In essence those who disagree with abortion would be allowed to offer the pregnant girl money to deliver the baby, and then take him or her for adoption. Right now, government laws make such solutions difficult if not impossible, because of the widespread, ridiculous, and hysterical voter bigotry against baby trading.
Let’s attempt to settle rationally a key question: Whose life is the baby’s, anyway? See what you think:
A The baby, born or unborn, has the full self-ownership rights of every human being
B The mother owns the fetus prior to birth, and the baby owns him/herself afterwards
The answer is B. Birth is and rationally must be the moment when the baby acquires self-ownership and the mother relinquishes control.
Notice that in the free society nothing will prevent anyone trying to persuade a pregnant mother not to abort, they can offer payment in return for adoption. Or they may even pay her just to deliver the baby to term and do with her whatever she pleases.
Some may feel that the fetus is a potential human being and try to offer her incentive to agree that the right choice is to give birth. Such might reason with her that abortion may bring regrets, or psychological scarring, or loss of good reputation. Neighbors will still be free to wag fingers and say “look, there goes Hester, who aborted her baby!” and so forth. But ultimately a pregnant woman, like everybody else, owns herself, and therefore the choice is exclusively her own to make.
Once you get the premise right, and reason clearly, all sorts of confusing questions in today’s irrational community clear up like fog in hot sunshine!
Even so, that leaves one rather obvious question to be resolved: the brand-new baby has the right of self-ownership, but not the ability to do a whole lot with it. He or she needs help, to survive! Who is obliged to provide that help?
Once again, the answer is quite easy: obligation rests upon the person who decided to give birth, for free decisions always carry consequences and responsibility. That will almost always be the mother, but it might be a person or group who contracted with her, prior to birth, to adopt the baby once born, perhaps with a transfer of money.
Notice that in every case, the decision to give birth was thoughtful and deliberate and would not rest upon a moment of thoughtless passion. Accordingly, it’s hard to imagine any circumstance in which a baby would not be wanted, in the coming free society. That is a minor and incidental by-product of the change to freedom, but just this one improvement on its own could bring almost incalculable benefit in human society!
Just think: every child a wanted child!
Raising the a child or children will then proceed much as today, with enormous pleasure attending each stage as well as heavy responsibilities. And with lifelong love and affection; but with some key differences: no government spy will be looking over the parents’ shoulders with a threat to remove the children if the upbringing is not done according to its will instead of the parents’ will.
There would be no implication that the State owns the children – for there would be no State.
There will be no need for one spouse to work so as to pay a government tax on their combined incomes – for there will be neither tax nor government.
Until around 1950, it traditional that the husband ventured out to win bread, and provided for the wife to remain at home to do most of the child-rearing. The average take-home pay and taxes rates then in place made that perfectly feasible.
In the coming free society, it will again be a good option – though sometimes the husband may be the one choosing to staying home. In either case, both parents will also be keenly aware that their child likewise owns his or her own life and that that ownership must be respected. If the family relationship were to turn really sour, no laws would prevent the child from advertising for new parents to adopt him or her. Due to self-ownership, the child’s birth parents would have no property rights in the child!
Stefan Molyneaux brilliantly reasons that it is the parents who fail to raise children with proper respect for their self-ownership. The error of parents teaching their children to obey authority rather than to reason out the best choice, is a key source of the widespread, irrational respect for the authority of the State. Government schools merely take the already-established habits of obedience and transfer them to government. This fundamental failure poisons society itself in addition to endangering and crippling the functionality of the family.
Our education and development will begin in the home continue there until the full-grown child wants to leave home. Home schooling is by far the most effective way to get this important job done, and with the Internet so widely available there will be more and more options available to make the task easy and rewarding, even in this increasingly complex and technical world of knowledge.
Learning seldom takes place in a classroom, it happens only when the student wishes to acquire a piece of knowledge. The home will frequently be the place to impart needed knowledge. Families will be able to select an option from a whole variety of for-profit, parent-pleasing schools that will be available in the market. Increasingly with age and maturity, the child himself or herself will take control over what is learned and where and how. “Parent-pleasing” will rightly though gradually give way to “student-pleasing.” If a service of schooling is purchased, the child will of course have to find a way to pay the bills if he chooses options his parents dislike.
Today in a host of ways children are taught they are cogs in a system, that they must perform a small rigid function and occupy a fixed place in the apparatus of State and that it’s up to them to find out what it is and stay there.
It is hard to overstate how totally different the process of education will be in a free society. In absolute contrast, the young growing self-owner will be led to explore and exploit his own potential and wishes. Child-raising will be a process of helping build and support a society of confident, self-sufficient individuals truly able to be all that they choose to be.
Families are as old an institution as the human race itself. They have survived many onslaughts caused by government, including the devastation of war. The liberation of the family in the near future will bring incalculable benefits to society and everyone in it.
Take a moment to answer these Questions to your own satisfaction.
In a free society, and despite the best intentions, a couple decide to split up. Who gets the kids, and who decides?
A Whoever was named in the prenuptial agreement
B Absent any marriage contract, the couple must work it out between themselves, or else bring it to an arbitrator, sharing the cost
C Each child will be split down the middle, with half going to each parent
D The children will decide with whom they wish to live
The best solution for all involved is D, if the children were old enough and mature enough to make such a huge decision. Remember, the phrase get the kids is misleading; no parent OWNS children. Children own themselves, and so have the right to decide their own futures.
If this is not the case, A is the second best solution – presuming there is a prenuptial, or even postnuptial contract. This is one very powerful reason to make sure there is a contract. If there is not, you are left with solution B. The free market would no doubt produce arbitrators, experts in the field. However, the arbitrator’s decision would apply only to those who took him or her the case – so would this would not work if the children were old enough to decline to be party to it.
In a free society, could children “divorce” their parents?
A Certainly, if they are old enough to know what they are doing. Knowledge that they can leave and seek other parents will give a powerful extra incentive to under-performing parents to shape up and treat the children with proper respect.
C No way; children stay put until they are 18.
D Only with permission from a court.
Answer A is correct. There’s a phrase, ‘old enough to know’, to work out, that age will vary with the child and so cannot – or should not – be specified by some outside party. If a child is really unhappy with her situation in a family, she will find that he or she is free to advertise herself on the internet, or elsewhere, telling prospective new parents why they will benefit by taking him or her in.
The action of ‘selling’ her merits in such a way will greatly help to file off any rough edges on her own personality – possibly to the extent that she finds out she bears some responsibility for the quarrel, whatever it is, and then changes her mind about leaving.
Brokers, too, may arise in the market to match unhappy children with parents wishing to adopt – and to ‘vet’ prospective adopters to protect children from possible predators. This freedom to change parents would have enormous benefit in the rare case of a dysfunctional family; today’s children see no option but to run away, and often to lead a degrading – and shortened – life on the streets. In the coming free society, such desperation will end.
If most children are schooled at home, how could they be socialized so as to mix well with children outside the family?
A Want of such “socialization” has been one of the ways government-school propagandists have scared parents into accepting the idea of handing their children over to government “experts” for twelve years. It’s a straw man; children meet other children everywhere they go, in the larger family, cousins, the playground, as so on.
B They couldn’t, and that’s a good enough reason for keeping the current educational system. Parents cannot be trusted to do right by their children; they are amateurs.
The answer is of course A. Government people ginned up fear and invented a non-problem, and then replaced it with a host of all-too-real problems.
In one of those multi-spouse, multi-gender “marriages”, won’t it be just too difficult to handle the children?
A Not necessarily. Such communal arrangements would be popular among laid-back folk who are good at improvising and working through with complications.
B Difficult, and perhaps destructive. A Manson-like commune is no place for young kids; if this is what freedom means, count me out.
C Yes it may be tricky, especially if one partner decides to quit; and it may be even harder managing the household accounts.
Both A and C may be the correct depending on the situation and the spouses involved. It’s hard to predict. One safety-valve is that if a child is unhappy as he grows old enough, he can quit. The possibility of increased complications is one reason such arrangements, though not in any way prohibited, may continue to be fairly rare.
With all that wealth concentrated in the hands of a few powerful families, won’t this free society quickly self-destruct?
A Indeed it will. This is a fast track to plutocracy – rule by a few rich tyrants as in Mexico.
B It won’t be “concentrated” and they won’t be “few.” Wrong premises.
C Freedom could be lost only if a government is instituted. Wealth can be used only to persuade, not to dictate.
D On the contrary, the wealth will be spread so wide nothing any would-be ruler could offer would be of any interest to anyone.
Answer B, C, and D are correct. Every family will be able to acquire wealth, and most of them will invest for their children and grandchildren. The few will be the poor families that fail to become wealthy and make provision for future generations. There will be much less poverty. Governments possess only what they can steal, without governments impoverishing everyone, attempting to tyrannize a family would be like a beggar offering his shopping cart full of goodies to Donald Trump or to Bill Gates.