Libertarianism + child protection FAIL
I don't often agree with Letters from a Tory, but he managed today to craft a completely comprehensive demolition of libertarianism. He did this by the brilliantly subtle maneuver of writing a post asking libertartarians to explain how their philosophy could help to protect vulnerable children.
Always willing to rise to a challenge, libertarians from all corners of the internet converged to give their answers. In no particular order (and remember that these are their ideas about how to protect children) here are their answers. The bits in bold are my summaries, the bits in brackets are actual, genuine quotes :
Child abuse is the welfare state's fault, stop paying benefits to parents (Part of the problem was that the mother’s fecklessness was rewarded by the state...I suspect far too many social workers believe their “clients” - for want of a better word - are victims of a lack of state resources...Naturally, this ignores the welfare state that funds feral irresponsible lifestyles in the first place!
Give charities, instead of the state, the power to investigate cases of child abuse and ban people from having children, require licenses for having children as for having pets (In the Baby P case and in many others it seems that charities can have a lot more power than government. For example, the RSPCA has the right to remove neglected/abused animals from their owners and to ban them from keeping animals...It always struck me as funny that you needed a license to have a dog but anyone could have a kid)
Social services would do a better job if they were less well funded and if there were fewer people involved, all of whom had a sense of personal responsibility (Do I want bigger and better funded social services? No I don’t. I’m fairly certain a smaller number of people who all have a sense of personal responsibility, who take ownership of issues they come across and didn’t rest until they were resolved one way or another, and possess the ability to get away from the bureaucratic, box-ticking, buck-passing mentality of the civil service could do a significantly better job in all walks of life, never mind social services.)
Cut taxes (I would argue that not only does the state do most jobs badly (children in care for example), but the constant and increasing demands it puts on people’s resources (via taxes) mean that people will not have enough time/money/energy/etc left, to volunteer or work or contribute on those problems via charities or associations.)
Extend abortion and adoption to stop people who are 'of low intelligence' from bringing up children (I do not vilify all poor people or single parents, as that would be unfair in the extreme. It is only really those who are of very low intelligence. But they are the people least likely to exercise restraint, so what to do? I think this is an indicator of why abortion may, regrettably, need to be legal, & adoption should be extended. [the same poster goes on to argue that there should be 'more humanity and less bureaucracy' - DP]) UPDATE: see 'asquith's' response in the comments - apparently he's not a libertarian.
Child protection should be the job of the police, not social services (Killing children is against the law. Libertarians believe in upholding the rule of law. Preventing crime is the role of the Police, not State social services.)
In an anarchist, family law society, friends and neighbours would intervene (I’m not sure I can see how in an anarchist, private law type society, it could be any worse than relying on the economically disincentivised civil servants to whom we contract out our social and neighbourly awareness “duties”.)
Seven very different policies, all united by their total certainty and total ignorance, ranging from the unworkable and utopian to the extremely nasty. It's not the arguments against libertarianism that are most devastating for its adherents, it's their own attempts to apply their beliefs to the real world.