Libertarians for Child Rape

Well not really, but it is things like this that at times make me embarassed to call myself a libertarian. The post was prompted by a news story about a woman who killed a social worker that was bringing the woman’s daughter over for a supervised visit.

HENDERSON, Ky. – A nine-month-old boy, his mother and her boyfriend were still missing Wednesday, two days after a social worker was found dead in the mother’s home, and police were taking calls of possible sightings across the Midwest.

Boni Frederick, 67, had taken the boy, who has been in foster care, to his mother’s house for a visit Monday. Police found her body after she failed to return to work, and she appeared to have been beaten to death. Her car also was missing


Terrell has a history of abuse charges against children, including charges of assault and endangering the welfare of a minor, police said. The child had been taken from his mother when he was 13 days old because of neglect.

So Sean Lynch responds with this,

I’m not really sure if any level of State ability to take children away from parents is worth it. As soon as you allow the State to decide whether a parent is suited to care for a child, you’ve opened a huge loophole for the majority to oppress minorities, for example by forcing parents to expose their children to State-approved brainwashing learning in the government indoctrination centersschools.

So we are to leave a child with a parent that say is raping that child simply because Sean Lynch is afraid that this could start us down a slippery slope to where children are being indoctrinated in government approved brainwashing centers. Have I got that right?

While I can imagine cases where a child might be better off even with bad State care, my gut feeling is that a child who becomes a ward of the State is more likely to be worse off than better off than if they stayed in their parents. Perhaps a better solution would be to deal with the kinds of problems parents might run into better, for example by legalizing drugs so that parents can deal with their own problems openly without fear of prosecution rather than going to jail. Easier emancipation as suggested by DDF would also help, though obviously not with an infant as in this case.

Okay, I’m open to the argument that things like legalizing drugs might make child abuse issues easier to deal with and less common. However, parents have also done despicable things to their children up to and including killing them. Surely, if we could have known ahead of time the danger that Andrea Yates posed to her children Sean Lynch wouldn’t be out there arguing that they should be left in her care.

Sometimes there are those libertarians that take their arguments so far that they become a complete caricature of the libertarian message. I don’t doubt that Sean Lynch does not condone child rape and would do what he could to protect a child in such a situation, but to write a post like the one linked above is just amazing.

Caveat: I don’t think that all libertarians hold views similar to the one’s expressed by Sean Lynch, but it does seem that some want to take libertarian arguments to extremes at times. Another example of this is the view that there are no such things as public goods, external costs or benefits, or that monopolies even exist (eg, the writtings of Hans Herman-Hoppe).

FILED UNDER: Political Theory, US Politics, ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. madmatt says:

    what kind of moron is this guy…infants aren’t being brainwashed, they are being sent to foster homes and raised in society like everybody else…now admittedly reality has a liberal bias…but thats not the fault of the system…thats reality.

  2. just me says:

    Well I admit I am not a libertarian-although I have some libertarian leanings on some issues, but it is positions like this that make libertarians look like they are missing a common sense gene somewhere.

    That said I think the state has a duty to make sure children are safe from their parents. Kids are not property, they are people, and they shouldn’t be subjected to abuse/serious neglect because we don’t want the state to have too much power. There is of course a fine line between legitimate meddling and going to far, but in general, children should have at least some right to basic protections. We wouldn’t let another adult physically assault or sexually assault another adult, we shouldn’t permit it for children either.

  3. Anderson says:

    Nanny state! Baaa!

  4. Prometheuss says:

    I don’t think that all libertarians hold views similar to the one’s expressed by Sean Lynch, but it does seem that some want to take libertarian arguments to extremes at times. Another example of this is the view that there are no such things as public goods, external costs or benefits, or that monopolies even exist (eg, the writtings of Hans Herman-Hoppe).

    This Wikipedia article might help explain that (anarchy embracing) extremism:

    The word libertarianism may have one of several distinct meanings in politics and philosophy:

    Since the 1950s, the term libertarianism has been used in the English speaking world to define a modern branch of classical liberalism. In this sense, libertarianism (also called libertarian capitalism or propertarianism) is an individualist and capitalist ideology that emphasizes individual rights, including the right to own property, and personal freedom.

    Before the 1950s, and in most of the non-English speaking world today, the term libertarianism (particularly in adjective form: libertarian) is used to define libertarian socialism, a group of related ideologies that share elements of anarchism and socialism. Libertarian socialism is an egalitarian and anti-authoritarian movement that emphasizes collective or cooperative property, anti-capitalism, individual rights and personal freedom.

    Since both of the above versions of libertarianism have in common the fact that they support personal freedom, the term civil libertarian is often used for any person who advocates personal freedom, regardless of what other political views he or she may hold. The Political compass is notable for using the term libertarianism to refer strictly to support for personal freedom.

    There are also various libertarian political parties throughout the world.

    In the field of metaphysics, there is a concept of free will known as libertarianism (metaphysics).

  5. Steve Verdon says:

    Well, I think technically many of the contributors at Catallarchy (the blog Sean Lynch posted at) are best described as Anarcho-capitalists, a sub-group of libertarians who think that all aspects of the State can be done away with.

    I see myself more as a minarchist (favoring the smallest possible level of government) for the simple reason that the ways the market can fail are myriad such as when a parent decides raping his/her child is acceptable. I can’t see how a the market can help minimize such acts any better or even as good as the government.

  6. Kent G. Budge says:

    I would probably describe myself as a minarchist as well. The problem is deciding how minimal the minimal government is.

    The problem with libertarianism is not that it is a wrongheaded ideology; the problem is that it is an ideology. As ideologies go, it’s not bad. But the world will not be reduced to a few simple rules any time soon.

    Political ideology should be a guide, at best. It should not become a creed.

  7. Steve Verdon says:

    Yeah, that pretty much sums it up Kent. Going to the extreme with just about any ideology is probably not a good thing.

  8. Joe Gayda says:

    I am not a Libertarian, and this is the first time I’ve seen this page, so I don’t mean to be commenting its author; but it seems to me that many who call or consider themselves to be Libertarians just like the sound of the word. These quasi-Libertarians pretty much ignore any foundations for their position, eg, the Lockian Proviso, and basically want to be free to do whatever they want to do. They don’t want to be limited in action by the judgements of others.
    I can understand that, and agree, to a point. Hence I might be called a Civil Libertarian. But many quasi-Libertarians wish to push “the point” much farther than can possibly be justified in modern society. A great example I recall was a “Libertarian” author who argued that racism was just another thing caused by the government, and the Market would solve all, if the government stayed out of it.
    The article in question suggesting that all parents are better than a government program is another good example, as it just defies reality. We all know people who are parents because of society (or biology) rather than because they are well suited to the vocation. As long as there are people who are unable to recognize that they are unfit parents, there will be a need for a legitimate authority to be able to protect those children.

  9. Yvonne Carter says:

    Children have no protection except for the Social Workers who stand up for them. Therefore Social Workers should be applauded for the efforts they give to protect innocent children. I once saw a baby that had diaper rash so bad her skin was peeling off. That is neglect. No child should ever have to suffer like that. Mom didn’t know she was injuring the child. Parents that grew up in that environment continue parenting that way because that is all they know. Before allowing any child to go home after birth, every parent should have to go through an extensive parent class. Discipline is perfectly acceptable. Beatings are not. That is when the role of Social Workers come into play. When parents start treating their children right, there will be no need for Social Workers.