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Do "True Libertarians" spank their children?

Over the years, I've had many libertarians tell me that spanking my children doesn't mesh with the non-aggression principle. By most accounts, I like to consider myself just as libertarian as the next guy, maybe stopping just short of Penn Jillette style anarcho-capitalism. However, I just don't seem to have any trouble reasoning out a very simple justification for spanking my child. That's not to say that it is my preferred method, or that I think everyone should use this method, but it seems to work in some occasions and seems fitting for some children.
Simply put, parenting is force. There really isn't any way around the fact that to be a responsible parent, there are times when you must use force on your children. For those of you who take this harshly, remember, all force means is that you are controlling the actions of another. I "force" my two year old to go to bed at a certain time. I "force" my ten year old to go to school. I "force" my kids to eat, or to live at my house instead of running away with the circus.
By any account, if they were adults and I forced them to do these things, then I am a tyrant. But they are not adults, and as much as I'd like to rid them of the shackles of my oppression as soon as they are ready, they just aren't at this point. Having said that, the force I use to make them go to sleep on time is really only marginally different from the force I use when spanking them as a punishment for not accepting the earlier force I attempted with my words.
I've put a link to a good book about the topic at the top of this article. If this post isn't enough to satisfy your thoughts on this topic, and you don't want to shell out $2.99 for the book, let me know. Coincidentally, I own the rights to the book so if you want it for free, let me know and I'll email it to you. Not a great way to sell books, but I get much more enjoyment out of the debate, so feel free to lambast my pseudo-libertarian ideology on this topic. Hopefully it will make for some lively conversation on the topic of libertarians raising libertarians.

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In the hispanic community it's almost a given...

... I could only imagine what path I would have taken had it been for my mom and family disciplining me when it was necessary.

But a spanking was the least of my problems growing up...

The Secret of La Chancla (Funny Video)



"The greatest mystery of all is truth." - Me, 2009

One of my high school teachers

Who was Hispanic, threw a blackboard eraser across the room and it hit me right on the side of my head, I sat there for the rest of the hour covered with yellow chalk. Never did screw around in his class again.



In a libertarian world, could

In a libertarian world, could parents get high on meth and beat their kids to within an inch of their lives without consequences?

In a liberal democrat world...

...it is bad to "discriminate" between good and bad, so torture, abuse, and punishment are all the same thing. You don't have to think about the logical difference between them and come to a conclusion that there is a point when punshishment becomes abuse. However, in a libertarian world, people have to go through the extra steps of reasoning out the difference between punishment and abuse.

Free market capitalism isn't right for America because it works better. It's right because it's free (and it works better).

That would be for the judge

That would be for the judge to decide I suppose.

But if you allow the child to go to court over abuse, in his opinion a spank might be abuse.

If you allow child protection to step in on a neighbor's complaint then I'm sure that is contrary to most people's conception of liberty.

Libertarianism is political

The way I see it, libertarianism is purely a political philosophy. Though some elements of it can be carried over into other areas of life, it is primarily political. It is not a parenting style, because parenting and politics are totally different, separate things.

Like every nation, every family is different, with different values, circumstances, heritages and people. What will work for one nation (family) will not work in another nation (family).

So I see nothing wrong with your spanking when you've already figured out what works with your family and what does not work, and if you do it in a way that teaches what you intend. For example, growing up my parents only spanked with bare hands, and only in cases of 1) blatant rebellion, 2) lying, and 3) when something physically dangerous happened/threatened to happen. There was a distinct line drawn between "spanking offenses" and other kinds of offenses.

I don't see it as wrong even if you haven't figured it out yet, and are trying to find out. Or even if you don't know, but you feel that being completely lax about something blatantly wrong will teach something worse than spanking will (ex: deliberately letting known rapists go unpunished because you fear that the death penalty is too severe).

That's just my view. I can be a "authoritarian" at home while being "libertarian" in my political views and "conservative" in my dealings with my neighbors. There is no conflict.

"Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice." -- Thomas Paine

Completely agree

Libertarianism is definitely political and can only sometimes cross into the other parts of life. Love it when somebody can sum up an answer in a few words!

Credit to Connor Boyack

He's the one who pointed out in discussing libertarianism to members of his faith that it's strictly a political philosophy.

"Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice." -- Thomas Paine

Spanking is a necessary tool for parenting.

The problem is that people don't know when to spank and when not to spank. And it is only really effective when they are young. By the time they reach teenage it is less effective as a disciplinary tool and probably to late to correct bad parenting in the first place.

Every kid is different so there isn't a one size fits all approach and there are some kids who are naturally obedient and/or well mannered and then there are "bad seeds" who just seem to refuse to behave.

I think what has grown to be the number one cause of bad parenting is government intervention. Government wants to dictate how parents can raise their children and that is another reason why society is in such a downfall. But one fact is undeniable and that is that the liberal push to prohibit spanking, along with other liberal influences, correlates with the decay of society.

Should a child be disciplined for something not given.

Several respected scientists suggested "bad seed" is a nutritional deficiency.

Ninety nutrients have been scientifically established as being essential to human life. When any one is missing, disease appears. When replenished, disease is healed. Proven essential in double blind studies published in peer reviewed international journals.

Joel Wallach, Russel Blaylock, cite experience with patients and studies done in penal colonies.

It was my fault that my son was mineral deficient.

I had failed to recognize the symptoms of his deficiencies. Today, I have the lists.

One grandson has pica. He is craving for some mineral he found in the dirt last time.

He is well fed, but insuring sufficient amounts of 60 minerals is a gamble from US soils deemed deficient in 1936 by a Senate study.

"Bad seed" is an excuse for not curing the hidden-in-plain sight nutritional deficiencies.

At least before calling my seed bad, I would make sure he or she was getting complete nutrition.

Free includes debt-free!

When you have six kids

And all eat at the same table and all but one grow up to be respectful responsible adults then it's hard to blame their diet. Unless you are saying that the child is not properly developed which causes a special need in which case that would qualify as a bad seed in a different way. Wouldn't it? I don't know which is worse.

In "some" cases a deficiency of some sort could cause problems but I know plenty of bad seeds and I know plenty of rotten brats resulting from shoddy parenting. It's hard to pinpoint the cause in some cases but in others it is plain as the nose on your face. But to say that "Bad seed is an excuse for not curing... nutritional deficiencies." can be just as much a cop out to escape blame or to rationalize the irrational and is no more valid than saying that all bad kids are just bad seeds. IMO

yes, but do children "choose" bad parents--

it's hard to say; you can't look inside your child's body/mind/heart and see what is really in there.

There are people who are damaged before even being born, and you may not know what it is--

but you know something is wrong. It's a torment.

Yes, there are people who choose to do bad things, but many times children are dealing with an organic problem; mental and behavioral problems can be organic.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Are children being blamed for craven behavior for cravings?

If I had known 30 years ago I could have saved my family from curable problems.

I thank God they have good hearts, are productive and considerate in spite of my mistakes.

For those with this concern about $100/#100/month can answer the question.

Products I peddle are non toxic to human cells at thrice the recommended dose. They are essential. They kill over 50% of human cancer cells in culture, according to Clemson University.

Free includes debt-free!

Interesting...can you link to

Interesting...can you link to the 90 nutrients?


Rare Earth Forbidden Cures

297 peer reviewed scientific papers referenced. Twenty year old data.

60 Minerals
16 vitamins
12 amino acids
2 Essential fatty acids.

Here's the story.

Looking for a link that simply answers your question in detail.

I'm building a team to sell the 90.

Free includes debt-free!

Gracias Amigo!

Gracias Amigo!

No hay de que.

Tengo el placer.

Free includes debt-free!


YG364 is the spanking expert.

IMO the answer is both

You can raise your children how you want. I see a clear distinction between spanking children and physical abuse. I was spanked as a kid and didn't turn out to be violent and don't feel that I was abused. I think libertarians can make their own choice, and when their kids grow up, they can make their choice about how they raise their kids.

Libertarianism and

Libertarianism and non-aggression only reject the initiation of force/violence. Since any scenario I can imagine that called for a spanking probably involved the child initiating first, I don't think they would apply. However, as a separate topic, I would argue that spanking is ineffective and fuels fear and anger.

When children grow up may they spank their parents? Why not?

I had to stop because fear of pain only teaches fear.

The whole point of Imperial torture is to teach a fear of torture. And so the words echoed, "He that would do this to the least of my brothers, does it to me."

I apologized, eventually.

Free includes debt-free!

We don't spank

but I don't see it as a libertarian issue, maybe it is...I just don't look at it that way.

I wasn't spanked as a child and my wife was only a few times. But those few times that she was she said she felt it hurt her personally. She was a thoughtful child to begin with and did not feel it was ever justified.

It's kind of a matter of respect in my eyes. I respect them enough as people not to ever cause mental or physical pain. I would never want anyone to do such a thing to me. Our children are very well behaved and very successful and happy. However, we do punish when needed. I don't believe the home is a democracy or even a republic. It's simply not. It's plainly a dictatorship. Children are children and aren't to be treated as sovereign adults until they actually are adults. When they come of age and move out of our house, then they will be their own people free to do as they wish. Clearly they do have freedoms within our household but any of those within reason can be revoked at anytime for not following the rules.

It works for us. I don't claim to speak for those who have children of different personalities or family dynamics. But, we never have and never will spank.

Some kids....

...I wouldn't ever think it would be effective for. I can only speak for myself as far as knowing for sure that a child ever really "needed" it. When I was young, I can think of many times I felt I needed it because of what I had done, for instance, nearly starving one of our horses by not doing my chores.

Free market capitalism isn't right for America because it works better. It's right because it's free (and it works better).

My sister in law swears that she needed to be spanked

and often times wasn't. I think she felt she needed someone to reign her in and give her structure.

I think there are different personality types and each family should find their own way. If you pay attention to how the child reacts, you'll get your answer as to what's the right path to follow.

Government should definitely keep their fat noses out of family discipline.

And of course discipline isn't the same thing as abuse no matter how people would like to tie the two together.


I used to say that too, that my mom SHOULD have spanked me. But now, looking back I think it wasn't a spanking I needed it was just discipline in general and maybe some kind of structure and less dysfunction. I don't spank my kids. They are 95% well behaved. To each their own. I'd rather see somebody spank than never discipline at all.

The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.
-Thomas Paine


I think one approach to this topic is one of scale and application. In this view, childhood is a kind of slavery (and hence a kind of necessary evil). The foundation for this point of view is two-fold; there is some responsibility on the part of parents to train children so that they become mature, and as you point out, the application of apparently initiated force of the parents is apparently effective and desirable, and secondly there is no human agent better suited, on a societal level, to intervene on behalf of children for the "abuse" they receive. The second point requires elaboration: That is to say, the undesirable consequences of invoking societal structures to protect children from the small number of parents who are not fit outweigh the negative consequences such enforcement entails. This last point is also questionable. It's probably not questionable if the societal structure is general, as in "child protective services of government." If, however, the societal structure involved is voluntary, like some kind of "church" or something, or maybe even family, then I think one could get some decent "worst case" outcomes.

In any case, I don't think it's difficult to isolate a structure like the family, which is responsible for parenting from the general tenets of the non-aggression principle as applied between unrelated adults. In summary, the non-aggression principle simply is limited in application.

A second approach is the one you've hinted at below, though it's a little weird. In our current society, there are structures that can penalize you for being "negligent" as a parent based on some basically arbitrary government standards. In the presence of this undesirable societal structure, a child can act in a way that might be interpreted as aggression against the parents---because of the consequences that action might cause. I guess this could be used to justify spanking as self-defense. That seems like a bit of a stretch, however.

The dilemma is a real one, I think (at least in the minds of libertarian leaning parents). And thinking about the non-aggression principle has certainly effected my parenting. I would add, however, that some level of spanking and other punishments as a means to bring about maturity---at least in certain circumstances---seems to produce much better results than the approach of foregoing punishments out of (what I would interpret as) apathy. In addition, the level I have used seems to have been negligible in reducing an appreciation for non-aggression and liberty. Most of my children are far more insightful on these topics than I am. There very well may be superior methods which include a consistent application of the non-aggression principle, but I haven't seen them.

I waterboard my children....

I waterboard my children.... j/k i don't have kids.

Beep beep boop beep... I am a Paulbot... prepare for liberty and prosperity!


Let me know when the cops & CPS show up to search for those kids you don't have :-)

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know Peace." - Jimi Hendrix

I can pinpoint the moment I made up my mind about discipline...

It was during one of my first exposures to a mass grouping of libertarians when I saw Ron Paul speak for the first time in 2010. There was a couple there that brought their 3 or 4 kids, (and I have no doubt that they are at least well-intentioned parents), but their kids were OUT OF CONTROL. They were running around everywhere with no regard for their surroundings, and the parents just let them go. They were running into people and driving them nuts. I was annoyed and put up with it, but in retrospect I wish I would have confronted the parents.

If it takes a spanking here and there to teach your kids how to behave in civilized society, then so be it. My parents spanked us a few times when we were out of control in public or endangered our lives, and I know it worked.