Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Private Property Society and Kids Suing Parents

Eric Parks emails:

Was wondering your position on this...

French parents who upload images of their children could be sued by them
I believe the child image case is a subset of a much bigger question for the advocate of a Private Property Society..

As Murray Rothbard has pointed out in The Ethics of Liberty, albeit from a natural rights perspective,  it is impossible to see a newborn babe as an existing self-owner. My view is slightly nuanced, I simply hold, from a PPS perspective, that a newborn babe can not survive, make decisions, protect itself, without help. Someone must make decisions etc. for a child. The presumptive decision makers for a child are the parents that bring a given child into the world.

The parents, as decision makers, remain until the child begins to make decisions for himself, Or as Rothbard puts it from his natural rights perspective:
For the child has full rights of self-ownership when he demonstrates that he has them in nature--in short, when he leaves or "runs away" from home.
Recognizing that a parent's role is limited, that it ends when the child begins to make his own decisions, it follows that parents can not make decisions for a child that last in perpetuity.
A parent can not sign a contract for a young child that will require, say,the child to work at a certain job, 80 hours a week at low pay, for 30 years. When a child becomes of age, that is, when he is making his own decisions, he can reject any contract that was made on his behalf by his parents. In other words, parental decisions are non-binding on an adult.

Thus, when a child becomes of age and learns that his parents took pictures of him as a child, perhaps in the belief that he would cherish memories for later years, the child as an adult can demand the pictures be destroyed, limit the way the pictures can be used etc., since the photo taking "contract" between the parents and a child end when the child becomes of age.

I note that this does not mean that a child can sue a parent for decisions made on his behalf that do not violate the non-aggression principle, just that parental decisions lack force in a PPS when the child begins to make his own decisions.

Of course in cases where a child has been abused by a parent, and later becomes a decision maker, he can sue a parent for a violation of the non-aggression principle. Indeed, while a child remians under the decision making control of a parent and an outsider recognizes abuse, that is a violation of NAP, the outsider can make a friend of child filing with a PPS court to ask for remedies that will stop the NAP abuse.



  1. How can the child demand that the pictures be destroyed? The pictures are the property of the parent. Please explain.

  2. I have come to the conclusion, and this is just my opinion as a parent of 8, that as long as I am held responsible by the community I live in for the actions of my kids, I have ownership of my kids.
    As an example, if my 12 year old breaks someones window, who will that person come after for restitution? Not my child, but me. I would be responsible to make restitution for the window. So, I have the right to restrain my child from doing such things. And I think, as long as I am in this situation, if I want to post a picture of my child on Facebook, I can.
    Really though, what kind of jacked up world says a kid can sue their parents for something so stupid.
    A picture? Don't newspapers and other media take pictures and videos and publish it all the time?

    I really don't think this would even be an issue in a Private Property Society. If people were evolved enough to actually respect private property as it should be, such trivial crap would be looked at as just that.
    I don't think anything the French come up with would last long in such a society. Who would even want to live there?

  3. Mr. Wenzel,

    Your previous posts have basically said that one can do as he sees fit on his own property and cannot be compelled to account before a court if he had not previously consented. This current view seems quite at odds - can you please expound?

    For example, if the parent as the property owner makes a rule that anyone who spills milk on his property will be beaten with a studded belt, and his child spills milk on the property every day - wouldn't your previous posts say that the parent can beat the child with a studded belt every day? In that case, can a "friend of the child" apply to a court for relief?

  4. I have to agree with previous posters. The parent-child relationship is not just some contractual agreement - my children are my offspring and are my responsibility until they are "of age". Even beyond that point, I would have a very difficult time just viewing my children through the lens of a contract.

    I seriously doubt I would see myself saying to any one of my four: "Well, our contractual arrangement is at an end. I will have your clothes stacked on the front lawn at 9am tomorrow. It's been nice knowing you."

    And, if there were such a thing as a PPS Court, then isn't that the equivalent of a government that can force me to do something?