I’ve been giving more thought to the story of Cassandra C, the 17-year-old girl in Connecticut who was kidnapped, forcibly confined to a hospital room, and operated on, all on a judge’s orders.
At the end I make it fairly clear what I would have done had it been my daughter.
The Responsibilities of a Parent, Libertarian or Not
When I was a younger man, I was eager to get married and have kids. I was disappointed initially when that stage in my life was, and continues to be, delayed.
As the years have gone by, however, I have begun to grasp the enormity of having children. This knowledge has made me feel as though I have been, in a sense, spared or rescued from a very sobering prospect. I’m sure that one can never fully comprehend the enormous sense of responsibility a parent feels until they themselves hold a newly born infant wailing in their arms, but some of it can be determined by reasoning and logic.
Bringing life into this world is not a one-time deed. When you have a child, you are making a life-time commitment. Until the child is at least 18 years old, you are responsible for them. It’s your job to care for them, feed them, clothe them, oversee their education, instruct them on right from wrong, give them proper manners, teach them valuable skills, and instill in them your values and beliefs. When they finally become an adult, you still serve a guiding role in their life.
One of the greatest and most humbling responsibilities for a parent is protecting their children from harm, especially when they are young. Even as the children grow older and have acquired enough self-reliance and independence to the point where they make their own decisions and life choices, parents still have an instinctive desire to control what they do, because no matter how irrational it may seem to the child, their mother and father maintain that natural sense of responsibility, the idea that if something should happen to them it was because they could have done something but didn’t.
The responsibility over another human life, and one you created, is overwhelming, which is why parents fear for their child’s safety. Failure as a parent is incomparable to any other failures in life, and one of the ways to fail is by not doing what you should have done to keep your child safe and it resulting in their harm, injury, or even death.
The State is the Greatest Threat to Your Child – Libertarian or Not
These parental fears are only exacerbated when you’re a libertarian. Not only do you carry ordinary burdens that all parents bear, but you now have additional weight on your shoulders. You have to teach your child about how the majority of what they see in society is wrong. They will have to go against the grain on a whole host of issues from pledging allegiance to the flag to “honoring” military veterans.
The backdrop of this unpleasant reality is the fact that the state is the greatest threat to your children in every sense of the word. It is the only predator that can arbitrarily kidnap your child at gunpoint and place them in homes where they are murdered without any fear of consequences. The state is the only predator that can shoot your child, accidental or intentional, with no repercussions. And there is nothing you can do to prevent it or stop it from happening. On top of that, you are taxed to pay for their indoctrination at state-run schools,where they are taught to reject everything you’ve raised them to believe and remove you as authority figures. Instead, they are conditioned to accept the legitimacy of an entity you regard as criminal, violent, and oppressive. If you have the audacity not to send them there, you are forced to dole out additional money to fund their education elsewhere, and unless it’s Ron Paul’s home-school curriculum chances are what they learn won’t be much different. And if you have sons, the state will require them to register in the event of a military draft, where they can be sent to die so that m
ilitary contractors can enjoy overpriced steak dinners men may be free.
The state believes it owns you and your children. There is no way to get around it. Regular people don’t perceive this well, or don’t care. Libertarians cannot avoid it.
Do Not Merely Claim the State is Criminal: Treat It As Such
The fact is that if and when I have children, I will raise them according to what I believe when it comes to government and libertarianism. It is a possible undertaking I do not take lightly, for I must act on those beliefs so that they see I am not a liar and a hypocrite.
Next to protecting them, setting the example for children to follow is the most important parental obligation. Daughters look to their mothers, sons look to their fathers, and both look to their parents mutually when determining how to behave and conduct themselves. Untold damage has been caused by parents who do not practice what they preach.
What this means is that if agents of the state ever attempted to exercise their illegitimate claim of ownership over my children, I would regard them no differently than a random stranger trying to kidnap and use deadly force to keep them away from my children. Had it been my child kidnapped from my home and taken to a hospital, I would have grabbed my gun, called on as many people to come with me, and gone to the hospital to get them back. Had anyone attempted to stop me, they would have been shot. I would have had no mercy for anyone who stood in the way. If I had been killed in the process, at the least my child would have known I died trying to save them because I loved them more than my own life.
Submitting to the Courts Legitimizes State-Sanctioned Kidnapping
Some of you may think this is extreme or radical, but imagine if the situation were different only in one respect; the kidnapper was a private citizen. The rest is the same. I let him take my child away and call the police and allow them to chase after him. When he is arrested, I let the courts handle it. But as for me, I myself am unwilling to oppose him directly when he comes to take my child. What kind of message would that send?
The idea of surrendering, albeit unwillingly, my child to the state and turning to the courts to get them back, would be an act of cowardice on my part and submission to criminals. Nevermind that I’d face probable death if I resisted; I’d rather die than watch my children be destroyed at the hands of the state while I sit there whimpering, begging and pleading for them to give me back what is rightfully mine as I play by their rules, rules they wrote and which give them all the power and me nothing but contempt.
For ordinary people, such choices are not hard. They believe the state authority is legitimate; though they hate it, they will submit because they think it is the moral thing to do. As long as I adhere to libertarian beliefs, this is not an option.
But my principles also dictate that I must be willing to stop anyone who tries to take my children or harm them, whether they wear a shiny badge or not.
If I am not willing to do that, then I have no business bringing them into this world. All I would be teaching my children is to despise me and dismiss my beliefs. While with my lips I would denounce the state’s claim of ownership over them, in my actions I would demonstrate that I am unwilling to sacrifice myself to protect them.
The “They’re Just Doing Their Job” Argument Doesn’t Cut It
I’m sure critics of this would say that the officers/judges/CPS workers are just “doing their job.”
I don’t care. I have a job to protect the human beings I bring into this world, which is infinitely more admirable, respectable, and morally defensible than theirs. If someone’s job is mutually exclusive to my duty as a parent to protect my children, then I have no sympathy for them whatsoever.
Or, someone might point out that state employees don’t know full context if I were to resist them. If they truly don’t know all the facts about a given situation, they shouldn’t be willing to die to kidnap a person’s children. Also, it is not my problem or my fault they act in ignorance.
The Willingness to Resist is What Will Stop Unjust Laws
Eventually this is the mentality people are going to have to adopt if they want change in this country. I oppose unjust laws and seek peaceful, nonviolent methods of resisting them and ideally abolishing them. If these efforts are unsuccessful, however, and I am forced to choose between letting state agents harm those under my care or using violence to defend them, the choice is simple. If more people thought this way, and acted on it, CPS workers and police wouldn’t be so arrogant and cocky as they approached people’s homes in the middle of the night. After a while, they wouldn’t show up at all.
The thing is, the state thrives on violence; it is a part of its essence. But on the flip side, it also requires nonviolence on the part of its subjects. It relies on the presumption that when it enforces its decrees the victims do not resist, or if they do so it is with inferior force.
It is imperative to understand that in most circumstances, agents of the state are not willing to risk injury or death trying to enforce its laws, because they themselves don’t believe in them. As we’re seeing in New York City, when state agents fear for their life, when there is a severe risk of personal harm while enforcing a law, they will stop doing it.
When people are left with no alternative to protect their children, when they have exhausted every possible avenue, when they demonstrate they will fight back if the harassment does not cease, their demands will be respected.
People often tell me they are willing to die for their rights. What they really mean is they are willing to fight for them. If that is the case, should not they also be willing to fight for the rights of their children?