-13 votes

More Ethical Absurdity of Rothbardian Rights Theory

Watch Rothbard explain in his own words how allowing children to starve to death should be legal according to his ethics and rights theory. Presumably his cult followers like Walter Block agree. Sh1t to make yer head spin, all from the horse's mouth. Enjoy, lol. (emphasis added)

“Suppose now that the baby has been born. Then what? First, we may say that the parents-or rather the mother, who is the only certain and visible parent-as the creators of the baby become its owners. A newborn baby cannot be an existent self-owner in any sense. Therefore, either the mother or some other party or parties may be the baby’s owner, but to assert that a third party can claim his ‘ownership’ over the baby would give that person the right to seize the baby by force from its natural or ‘homesteading’ owner, its mother. The mother, then, is the natural and rightful owner of the baby, and any attempt to seize the baby by force is an invasion of her property right.

But surely the mother or parents may not receive the ownership of the child in absolute fee simple, because that would imply the bizarre state of affairs that a fifty-year old adult would be subject to the absolute and unquestioned jurisdiction of his seventy-year-old parent. So the parental property right must be limited in time. But it also must be limited in kind, for it surely would be grotesque for a libertarian who believes in the right of self-ownership to advocate the right of a parent to murder or torture his or her children. We must therefore state that, even from birth, the parental ownership is not absolute but of a ‘trustee’ or guardianship kind. In short, every baby as soon as it is born and is therefore no longer contained within his mother’s body possesses the right of self-ownership by virtue of being a separate entity and a potential adult. It must therefore be illegal and a violation of the child’s rights for a parent to aggress against his person by mutilating, torturing, murdering him, etc. On the other hand, the very concept of ‘rights’ is a ‘negative’ one, demarcating the areas of a person’s action that no man may properly interfere with. No man can therefore have a ‘right’ to compel someone to do a positive act, for in that case the compulsion violates the right of person or property of the individual being coerced. Thus, we may say that a man has a right to his property (i.e., a right not to have his property invaded), but we cannot say that anyone has a ‘right’ to a ‘living wage,’ for that would mean that someone would be coerced into providing him with such a wage, and that would violate the property rights of the people being coerced. As a corollary this means that, in the free society, no man may be saddled with the legal obligation to do anything for another, since that would invade the former’s rights; the only legal obligation one man has to another is to respect the other man’s rights.

Applying our theory to parents and children, this means that a parent does not have the right to aggress against his children, but also that the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts coerced upon the parent and depriving the parent of his rights. The parent therefore may not murder or mutilate his child, and the law properly outlaws a parent from doing so. But the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child, i.e., to allow it to die.

The law, therefore, may not properly compel the parent to feed a child or to keep it alive. (Again, whether or not a parent has a moral rather than a legally enforceable obligation to keep his child alive is a completely separate question.) This rule allows us to solve such vexing questions as: should a parent have the right to allow a deformed baby to die (e.g. by not feeding it)? The answer is of course yes, following a fortiori from the larger right to allow any baby, whether deformed or not, to die. (Though, as we shall see below, in a libertarian society the existence of a free baby market will bring such ‘neglect’ down to a minimum.)”

From his bizarre "The Ethics of Liberty," which first made me scratch my head about ol' Rothbard.

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How did the child get here?

Did he/she impregnate the mother by themselves or was there some ACT that two conscious human beings engaged in that caused the baby to be brought to life, only to suffer the horrific fate of starvation upon birth? How does bringing a human life into this world and then allowing it to starve to death not constitute an act of aggression? When you could have just used a condom or birth control or not had sex?

It offends our modern sensabilities, but it was not uncommon

Infanticide was common prior to the 20th century. With the increase wealth, taking care of children became less of an onerous expense, and therefore it became the norm that children would not be left to die. Wealth made that a reality.

But without wealth, the argument that parents (or guardians) are legally bound to care for their charges is a hollow dictate. Society, by mandating such things, was merely legally formalizing what was already happening in practice.

Rothbard is being logically consistent and does not flinch at the only conclusion he can come to: children have no natural 'right' to be taken care of. What is not clear to me, however, is if a guardian can prevent a third party from providing sustenance. Does that obstruction constitute a violation of the infant's right to receive care freely given? Once the child is mobile, the guardian's ability to prevent assistance to the child is greatly reduced and assistance can more easily be given. The sticky part is after birth and before mobility. Does the infant, as an individual, retain a certain amount of autonomy to receive nourishment freely given?

I agree with Rothbard that the child has no more "right" to demand food, clothing, etc., than any other individual. However, I do not agree that the child can be prevented from receiving what is freely given. This proviso, however, presents other problems...how do you prevent anyone from giving anything to the infant (a shot of whiskey, a shot of heroin) if the child has a 'right' to receive anything that is freely given. This is not an idle question, because the State has declared that it may take the child and feed, vaccinate, educate, socialize the child for the good of the child, though some of what the State does is demonstrably damaging and life threatening to the child. If the guardian cannot let the child die, but the State can torture and maim it physically and mentally, are we really any farther ahead as a society than if we simply respected Rothbardian property rights?

BOOM goes the dynomite!!!

good reply!

most of this ground has been

most of this ground has been covered already.

you're making an appeal to a special case (a tribe or community that permits infanticide due to the economic realities of life) to argue in favor of a universal principle or law (at all times and places it is the inherent natural right of a parent to starve their children).

your special case is not evidence for your universal claim.

not sure its worth spending any more time we obviously are operating on a dif wave length here.

Thank you for the referral

I took your hint and read more deeply into the response thread. His American Majesty did the best job of countering your claims. He ate your lunch.

I'm not sure that I was making an "appeal to a special case." What I was doing was noting that previous generations would not have found Rothbard's logical conclusions to be 'absurd.' You, however, as a product of another time, reject the logic because you cannot emotionally fathom the conclusion.

this getting old rob. your

this getting old rob. your petty girlish insults obviously have no impact on me. move on.

In other words

you are out of ammo

you're livin in the past,

you're livin in the past, man!


to worse

Seppuku is your only option

Rothbard is nuts. His book

Rothbard is nuts. His book on the "Panic" of 1819 is absolute trash (which ignores the Panic of 1837). Rothbard was sent as a disinfo agent to discredit real Libertarians.

Thomas Jefferson 1800, 1804; James Madison 1808, 1812; Rand Paul 2016, 2020.

lol. your intended audience

lol. your intended audience is too dull and downvote happy to realize your sarcasm. irony win.

Yalls cant understand the mind of Bill3

Let me dumb it down for you all:

Maybe you do not agree with Walter Block after worship. For SH1T each oral bay. See laugh. (Control)

I will try to interfere with property rights.

- FR. timeshould value will be limited. Therefore, our parents do not, however, a devastating attack illegal parents born. Otherwise murder, storage and Gordon found that torture, children's rights, "because you can do, demanding the right to conclude the negative side. Individual", because "align wounded independent legal sense (without invading the rights of property), the deaths, many people, this is impossible, but it pays taoang understanding, respect the rights, then we Hahn.

However, the children's positive action, not the parents' rights and the principle of family violence, and should reduce mother. The main problem is that you can kill these children and their parents to become legal errors were injured. However, the child's mother is gone, they have no right to eat.

Therefore, to continue with their diet (such as food) masaklavanay the mother and children to keep their parents with disabilities, but the law is dead? Let your children grow up and die, or damage, including, of course, especially on the right, then please answer this question. (This is the "ignore", baby, free society, refers to the following items on the open market, at least, please). "

What the hell was that?

I am stymied.

"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran

As always


then we Hahn, reduce mother.

then we Hahn, reduce mother. isn't it clear?

Bravo, Sir. lmao.

Bravo, Sir. lmao.

" they have no right to eat".

"Therefore, to continue with their diet (such as food)"

I do try at least to limit my drunken typing.....

I seem to remember us having

I seem to remember us having a similar discussion about children and ownership on chat, Bill. Glad to see you've seen the light so to speak.

Children are separate individuals and have the same rights as everyone else.
Parents take responsibility for the child until they can make their own decisions. Parents are guardians not owners.

"The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that." — Alan Greenspan

I haven't changed my position

I haven't changed my position at all. Children are naturally property of their parents, to do with as they please. Only a legal society of coercion can create and enforce "rights" for children who cannot obviously defend themselves. Rothbard is entirely correct that in the absence of a coercive legal order, parents would be free to do whatever they like to their children.

In our discussions on the subject, I never expressed a moral approval or disapproval of that fact. I generally don't resort to moral positions or smuggle in moral arguments when having a factual discussion. Morality is subjective, and opinions differ on what is moral and what is not, and therefore on what should be a right and what should not.

And you are wrong. Children do not have the same rights as everyone else, that would be utterly absurd. That would mean parents could not make their children do anything against their will. Children are wards of their parents; they are dependent on them and have only those limited rights society chooses to grant them. Dependence on another (the patron) is linked with conditions in which the dependent has to follow the rules of the benefactor. The extent of these mutual obligations must be determined by reasonable people through the law which governs society.

The idea that children have natural rights against their parents is as absurd, if not more so, than Rothbard's position.

"Children are naturally

"Children are naturally property of their parents, to do with as they please." — Bill(1,2,3)

So then you agree with Rothbard. Property has no rights of any kind. Care to amend your terminology?

"The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that." — Alan Greenspan

natural, as in the absence of

natural, as in the absence of external coercion. in the absence of society, law, rules. children are born to their mothers, who have total power of life and death over them. that is nature. not sure why this is controversial.

your confusion arises from lack of understanding of rights.

rights are claims to some legal protection by others. they aren't natural, they are social and legal.

confusion should be gone now.

I think you need to do some

I think you need to do some more reading. You are talking about legal rights, not natural rights.

"The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that." — Alan Greenspan

your vague appeal to the act

your vague appeal to the act of reading is not an argument.

thank you.

I'm sorry but, if you don't

I'm sorry but, if you don't understand the difference then you don't understand the concept. I am suggesting you should study the matter further before making an ass of yourself.

"The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that." — Alan Greenspan

he already told you he was an idiot.

"natural, as in the absence of external coercion."

Antifed let me give you a

Antifed let me give you a little lesson in constructing arguments vs pointless rhetoric.

"I am sorry, you dont get the point, so you dont get the concept, so you need to study more."

That is an example of meaningless rhetoric with no substantive content, which anyone can say to anyone, on any subject, much in the same way baboons might flare out their gums or beat their chests as a posture of aggression.

It has no content or meaning bearing on the discussion.

An argument would point out a flaw in reasoning or a refute some evidence empirically, etc. You were not able to do that. So you just beat ur chest like a distraught ape.

A favorite trick of

A favorite trick of communists....

Ventura 2012

"natural, as in the absence of external coercion."

your words NOT mine.

a verbose baboon, is still an ape.


ya no one was talking to you.

ya no one was talking to you. you are like an extra in a b movie in this discussion.

you voted it down instead of answering it.

is that what boy's do. yes.