We've now completed a set of eight segments that demonstrate conclusively that our basic principle (that government is by its essential nature completely incompatible with human nature) works out in practice as well as theory. In contrast our next four TOLFA segments are a miscellany:
Then Segment 18, "Getting There" is in some ways the most important of all, for it suggests how you, after you graduate from TOLFA, can help make its vision a reality a few years hence.
- Segment 14, here, explores family relationships in the coming free-market society
- Segment 15, on Economics, introduces that subject because it's so important in that society
- Segment 16, on "Limited Government" shows why that popular idea is impossible - and
- Segment 17, called "Wonder", stands on the shore of the ocean of human experience that awaits our exploration and endless enjoyment in freedom
So that's where we're heading, in the remainder of this Academy; and congratulations on making it this far! Without more ado, let's enter our present subject.
1. The Family UnitWhen two or more individuals unite in a long-term bond based on attraction and unconditional love, there is formed a powerful unit in society; "powerful" not of course in the sense of governing anyone else, but in the sense of supporting and encouraging each family member and educating the children and resisting any outside aggression such as rules imposed for its conduct. Some families accumulate wealth over several generations, so increasing their strength; government does all it can to reduce that, by taxing income, then taxing spending, then taxing savings, and even - most obscene of all - taxing the event of death, to limit what can be inherited. In the coming free society all such tax will end, so any family will be free to form such centers of wealth.
There would of course be no rules for forming families; whatever members want to do, by mutual consent, they will do - as determined by the self-ownership axiom (Segment 1.) So let's first check out which forms would be acceptable in a free society:
Today, government interferes with both the formation of families and with their dissolution, ie divorce. In order to marry, normally a couple must get permission from the State! and jump through some of its hoops and even pay it a fee. Then if they must, later on 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 (Segment 3) 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 pre-nup. That would specify what would happen in the event of divorce, and so save a huge amount of heartache later on. Thus, those services 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; and the correlation has an obvious cause - in the ballooning income tax during that period. Rates are so heavy that the second spouse must go out to work to earn enough to pay the tax on the combined household earnings. That tax is incidentally not properly enacted into US Law, but it's enforced as if it had been anyway, in another great government swindle. The effect 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 eventually they all get together; tensions mount and surprise, surprise! every other marriage ends in divorce. A tragedy for all, particularly the children.
In a free society no such burden will be imposed so if both parents work out of the home it will be by their own choice, and home-schooling will be so prevalent (below, and Segment 12) 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.
2. ChildrenWe've discussed children under "Education" in Segment 12, and they are integral and delightful members of any family and, again, enjoying their company is another 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 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 that, and since the apparatus of government exists it will, sometimes and somewhere if not always and everywhere, take the tough decision away from the couple - where it belongs - and make it on behalf of 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 the decision will be taken by the one who is pregnant, as should be the case because she alone (being her own self-owner, see Segment 1) has the exclusive right to do so. 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 given. "Abortion: a Market Solution" has details, but in essence those who disagree with abortion would offer the girl money to deliver the baby, and then take him or her for adoption. Today, government laws make that difficult if not impossible, because of the widespread, hysterical voter bigotry against "baby trading."
Now let's settle rationally a key question: Whose life is the baby's, anyway? See what you think:-
Notice that in the free society nothing will prevent anyone trying to persuade a pregnant mother not to abort, even without an offer of payment or adoption. Some may feel that the fetus is after all a potential human being and 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 might wag fingers and say "look, there goes Hester, who aborted her baby!") and so forth. But ultimately she owns herself, and therefore the choice is exclusively her own.
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. (S)he 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 on its own it could bring almost incalculable benefit in human society!
Just think: every child a wanted child!
Raising the child(ren) 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.
- as above, there will be no need for one of them to work so as to pay a government tax on their combined incomes - for there will be neither tax nor government. Until around 1950 tradition sent the husband out to win bread, and kept the wife home to do most of the child-rearing; pay and taxes rates made that perfectly feasible. In the coming free society, it will again be a good option - though the husband may be the one staying home
- both parents will be keenly aware that the child owns his or her own life and that that ownership must be respected; if relationships were to turn really sour, no laws would prevent the child advertising for new parents to adopt her. The birth parents would have no property rights in the child!
In a 2007 article Stefan Molyneaux brilliantly reasons that parents' failure to raise children with proper respect for their self-ownership (that is, by teaching them 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. Any such failure therefore poisons society as well as endangering the family.
Education specifically will start at home on Day One as noted in Segment 12, but will frequently continue there until the grown child wanted to leave home. Home schooling is by far the most effective way to get the job done, and with the Internet so widely available there will be more and more packages available to make the task easy, even in this increasingly complex and technical world of knowledge. As noted earlier, "learning seldom takes place in a classroom" but only when the student wishes to acquire a piece of knowledge; home will frequently be the place to impart it and when preferred, a whole variety of for-profit, parent-pleasing schools will be available in the market, and increasingly with age and maturity, the child herself will take control over what is learned and where and how. "Parent-pleasing" will rightly though gradually give way to "student-pleasing" - although if a service of schooling is purchased, the child will 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 have a (small) 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 would be the process of education in a free society. In absolute contrast, the growing self-owner will be led to explore and exploit his own potential and wishes. Child-raising will be a process of helping build a society of confident, self-sufficient individuals able (to recapture a phrase stolen by the US Army) to "be all that they can be."
3. Segment ReviewFamilies are as old an institution as the human race, and have survived many an onslaught caused by government, including the devastation of war. Their liberation in the near future will bring more incalculable benefit to society and everyone in it.
After answering these Questions to your own satisfaction please take time for "further reading" and then take a shot at "Economics" in Segment 15.
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6
For further reading:
Waco: Wrong Again!
Man, Family and State
Abortion: a Market Solution
Why Saving Is Hardly Worth It
"Children" in "The Anarchist Alternative"