by Ron Burkham
OK, my first thought is, “Why do people keep bringing up the children?” Even though I would have to guess that it is because they represent something to most people. So what do they represent? I think it is a deep rooted psychological problem that people have. They don’t even seem to know it. First, they see children as helpless and in need of someone else to care for them. That is pretty obvious and I doubt that most people would put much effort into arguing about whether children need protection or not. But, that brings me to my next thought on why people bring it up so much. People are made to feel (and act) like the government is their parent. They seek their comfort and care from the government. Every problem they have, they look to the government to solve. Every dispute they have, they look for the government to settle for them. Every bump in the night sends them screaming and crying for the government to come to their rescue. So when someone asks about the “children”, I try to understand what their real fears might be. But what I am going to do is try and take a look at some of the most common cries on behalf of the “children” and see if I can make sense of them.
Poor kids couldn’t go to school.
This is usually an argument put up by people that have never really seen any poor kids or been to any poor countries. I can assure you though that if you go somewhere with REAL poverty, the kids are in school. Education is an investment that most parents don’t mind making. As a matter of fact, it is an investment in society that most people, whether they are parents or not, don’t mind making. The idea that education would be less important if there were no government is just a knee jerk reaction to government indoctrination on the subject.
Early supporters of a government education system (by early I mean, directly after the American Revolution), felt that the best way to “indoctrinate” citizens to their views would be to start teaching them to the children at an early age.1 They wanted to pass on THEIR belief system and morals, because they felt that they were the most enlightened and that people should strive to be “just like them”. Most people that make the argument for government schooling today think the exact same thing. They all have certain goals and standards they want to pass on to the children. Never mind that in the US we spend the second most money of any country in the world on education and rank near the bottom as far as results go, it is more important that the kids learn to be “good citizens” that learn to bow before the authority of the state at an early age. It is more important that they learn tolerance than learn how to use critical thinking.
So the argument to me doesn’t seem to be so much, “Poor kids won’t go to school” as, “Poor kids won’t act the way we want them to act.” The two major political parties in the US seem to be like two divorced parents. Both of them using the “children” to try and get at the other one. In a world with no government parents, REAL parents will be able to pass on the type of education they want to their children on their own. It doesn’t matter who has money and who doesn’t, education is important enough that there will always be people willing to teach and children willing to learn.
Poor kids wouldn’t have health care.
Poor kids don’t really have health care now. But that has not much to do with the government paying for it, it has to do with the government being all up in the middle of it. It literally takes an act of congress to get the poor kids into the doctor. Than the doctor has a pile of red tape to go through to get paid. Book keeping takes up more of the doctors’ time than actually seeing the patients. And who requires the paperwork? You guessed it, the government does. All this extra work has to be paid by someone. When people are getting the government to pay for it, we all pay for it. On top of that, it helps the doctors set their prices on what they charge for their services. So on top of paying for it in taxes, when someone goes to the doctor they are paying for a service that is priced basically by the governments willingness to pay for the service. As the cost of doing business with the government (and conversely what the government will pay for the service) rises, so does the price for everyone else, even those paying for the service out of their own pocket. This is precisely one of those areas that the government has done incredible amounts of damage to the market by interfering in it.
Today we see lots of clinics opening up. There have been medical and dental clinics all across the US that have operated on a free or sliding scale basis, but they are making a comeback. Doctors have figured out that the best way to offer their services is to take the government out of the equation. It lowers their cost of doing business and it increases the number of people they can see. In the case of seeing people for free, they are usually compensated through donations. But the impersonal treatment “medical farms” give to their patients is giving way to a more personal approach. This is very attractive to most people. Lets face it, even with a government, lots of people (not just kids) don’t have the insurance or money to pay for medical services at the rate they are charged now. And despite the pessimistic outlook people have of doctors being in it for the money (although I am sure there are plenty), most of them got into the field because they wanted to help people. The absence of government will not change the desire of a certain group of people that want to help others out.
What about child abuse?
I could break this down into its many, many different categories. Sexual, physical, mental, or just plain neglect, but there really is no reason to do that. Abuse is abuse. It happens with a government and it is likely to happen without one. The argument is that without a government, no one will step in to help the children. They say that private security agencies won’t have a motivation to intervene on their behalf. All I can say is, BULLSHIT. If I know about abuse of a child, I am motivated to step in on the children’s behalf NOW. What would change just because there is no government?
For something to be done about abuse in our current system, the reported abuse must come to light first. The same would have to happen under a stateless society. Right now the government sends people over to investigate the allegations. In a stateless society the abuse would be investigated by a private security agency. How do I know this? Because I for one (and I am sure most others would also) would only do business with a PDA that included that service. And if it wasn’t an included service of anyone of them, I would hire one of them to do it anyway.
The idea that the children won’t be cared for is just insane. I don’t even know where people come up with that idea. Well, really I do know where they come up with it, it is the load of propaganda they have been fed.
Kids would be doing drugs.
Once again, kids do drugs now. Having a state or not doesn’t change the fact. Some people think that MORE kids would do drugs than do now. That could be, I don’t have a crystal ball to say one way or the other. I do believe that only a certain number of people do drugs, it doesn’t matter if they are legal or illegal. If the prohibition of alcohol in the US is any indicator, we can pretty much assume that MORE people do things when it is illegal than when it is legal. But regardless, there is no reason to just assume that there would be more kids doing drugs then there is now.
What about the kids that no body wants?
I don’t know that there are any kids that people don’t want NOW. There are plenty of kids that are in foster homes or state custody, but that doesn’t mean no one wants them, only that for whatever reason the state has taken them from their parents. But, many of them seem to stay in the system now. Most of the ones in the system end up turning 19 or 21 or whatever arbitrary age the government says they can’t stay anymore and THEN they are turned out on the streets. With no support system, no family to turn to, no religious affiliation to lean on, nothing. Where do a lot of this kids end up? Back in the system, but this time they are locked in cages to be kept away from the rest of us.
Lots of these kids are kept from going to loving caring families for whatever reason the government comes up with. In some places, if you smoke you can’t take them in, if you are gay you can’t take them in, and on and on. Without those kinds of draconian prohibitions against caring and loving for a child, I don’t foresee any more children being homeless and alone, than we do now. More than likely those kids would find a loving home and someone else will provide the service that gets them together with that new family.
Something about a stateless society that sounds barbaric when you just hear it is this; in a stateless society, people will be able to sell their children.2 That sounds awful, but is it really? Think about it. NOW, if someone has a child they don’t want, can’t handle or can no longer care for, that child goes to the state. The chances of the parent ever getting them back are not very good and many parents don’t even want them back. It is a sad fact of life that there are unwanted children sometimes. But IF the parents can sell the children they will have an incentive to provide them for sell in the best possible shape. They will be motivated to make sure they are well fed, without disease and definitely not beaten and bloody. And since most people want babies or young children, they will be motivated to get rid of them as soon as possible, therefore removing the children from a bad situation even sooner.
One of those things that make people uncomfortable about a stateless society is their perception of how children will be treated. Whether that is a true belief that children will be mistreated or a deeper fear that they themselves will feel insecure without the government is hard to see on the face of the issues. I would be willing to say that it is a combination of both of those things. I don’t think the whole argument is about the children, but there are things involving children that I myself think should be addressed. Sometimes people are at different points on their journey to a stateless society and this is one of those issues that will continually come up.