January 14, 2012
Author Tom Woods had this post regarding the chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, who believes that Ron Paul is a bad choice for homeschoolers, based on differing views of states’ rights and Constitutional reasonings. Woods provides a rebuttal by history professor Kevin Gutzman. I disagree with the Constitutional arguments of all these people, including Ron Paul.
To begin, I think that reliance on a central government’s constitution for protection of our rights has been a lost cause. The U.S. Constitution may have a “Bill of Rights,” but it doesn’t protect our liberty. It empowers a central government, and such a document and such a centralized governmental apparatus will always grow once they have been initiated. It was doomed to be that way from the beginning because that is what happens with the institutionalizing of a compulsory, centralized territorial monopoly. And this homeschooling issue, along with the drug war and the so-called War on Terror that the government created to further empower itself, are all part of the same problem.
Regarding the homeschooling issue, for the time being — that is, until the impending collapse of the system and subsequent decentralization process that will occur — at least Dr. Paul considers the Tenth Amendment as an available means for homeschooling parents to protect themselves from the overreach of federal bureaucrats. However, given how inherently flawed and destructive the U.S. Constitution has been, and how hostile the Supreme Court has been to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, Dr. Paul’s wanting, according to Gutzman, “citizens to work (these matters) out in their respective states through ordinary state-level republican politics,” would be just as destructive to homeschooling freedom.
But how are families to protect themselves from overreaching local government intruders who invade families’ homes and private matters that are none of the bureaucrats’ business? Go to the state supreme courts or the U.S. Supreme Court? I interpret Dr. Paul’s view on homeschooling as similar to his view with the issue of drug criminalization or legalization, in which Paul wants to let the states via state governments have control over those issues (which means that if one state wants to throw people in a cage for ingesting a particular chemical, i.e. seizing control over an individual’s ownership of one’s body, that’s okay). With the homeschooling issue, as with other educational matters, there seems to be a struggle over who controls the child’s education (and the child in general, as a matter of fact), the parents or the community at large and its compulsory government.
Here is the real issue, regarding homeschooling: Who has higher authority over your kids (including their educational matters), you? Or the State? This should be a no-brainer. When you allow government bureaucrats to order you to disclose how or where you educate your children, and when you submit to a government bureaucrat’s order to educate your kids in some particular way that bureaucrats approve of (but that you may not necessarily approve of), you are giving the State ownership of your kids. Now, I’m not saying that parents “own” their children (more about self-ownership below), but, morally and thus it should be legally, you have higher authority over your children. Certainly higher authority than some government bureaucrat. And higher authority than your neighbors as a collective or community on whose behalf the agents of the State act.
Now, to digress a little bit, I want to briefly address the issue of self-ownership, and when an individual’s right to self-ownership actually begins, with this post from 2009:
Last week, S.M. Oliva wrote for the Mises Economics Blog:
“Let’s say that, in fact, creation is a source of property rights. Does that mean parents have intellectual property rights in their children? After all, they created them.”
Since then, I’ve had some thoughts on that.
Parents can’t own their offspring, regardless of their labor they exerted and “tools” they used, because their “product” happens to be another separate, individual human being.
Human beings inherently have natural, inalienable rights, among them the rights to life and liberty. Part of the right to life and liberty is the right of an individual to self-ownership. The right to self-ownership begins when the human being begins. But when does the human being’s life actually begin?
At the time of the Roe v. Wade decision, the concept of “personhood” was brought up by Justice Harry Blackmun:
“(If the) suggestion of personhood [of the preborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”
I’ve seen references to “personhood,” “viability,” “sentience,” and “consciousness, “ and I have some questions.
What is the viability of a born baby? If baby is left alone for a particular amount of time, one cannot survive for very long, because at that early stage of development one is dependent on one’s caretakers for feeding. The same can be said of a 2-year-old, maybe even older children, although the older the child, the more able one is to go out and seek food, unless one is locked inside and can’t get out. Is there a difference between the viability of a born individual and an unborn individual (at whatever stage of development)?
What about “sentience” and “consciousness?” How do we know whether or not a two-month-old “fetus” or a 2-day-old “fetus” can have any physical sensation or conscious awareness? If it is important whether or not that individual has sentience or consciousness in considering whether that individual has any right to life and liberty, and self-ownership, then, what about a born human being or a grown adult who has a neurological disorder and has no “sentience” or who is in a “persistent vegetative state” and has no consciousness, but is still “alive” (or can be kept alive via artificial means)?
I can’t say for sure that a human life begins at conception (although I believe that to be the case and have believed that for 20 years now), but I can sure say without any doubt that, IF a human life begins at conception, then self-ownership begins at conception…
And in a later post, I wrote this:
….when, or in what way, does a growing child acquire his natural right to liberty and self-ownership?
If one has a natural right to liberty and self-ownership, and “natural rights,” as far as I know, means “inherent” in us as human beings (i.e. from conception onward, or just a part of the human being’s “nature”), then how can you “acquire” a natural right to liberty and self-ownership?
But back to our discussion on homeschooling, the inherent, natural rights of families extend from the rights of individuals to have control (and authority) over one’s own life, and one’s own family. For outsiders — whether they are next-door neighbors, the majority amongst the community, or government bureaucrats — to step in and give some orders as to how that family must live or raise their children is, in my view, a gross violation of the family’s right to exist peacefully, and right to self-determination.
The real problems of our society and its cultural, moral, educational and economic decline are really caused by statism and collectivism. And the worst form of statism, in my opinion, is centralized statism, such as with our current 230+ year-old federalism structure with a U.S. Constitution for which government officials and bureaucrats care very little, just as they care very little for the rule of law in general. If you look around or see on the Internet, you will see all the abuses now, thanks to the centralization of government bureaucracies and the government-monopolization of everyday life, from local CPS police goons breaking into families’ homes and kidnapping innocent children from their innocent parents, to police traffic Nazis randomly stopping middle-aged soccer moms and pulling them out of their cars and beating up on them, to neanderthals nonchalantly spraying pepper spray into young protesters’ faces.
Individual rights and family rights have all been usurped and encroached egregiously by criminal local, state and federal government bureaucrats and armed thugs here in USSA Amerika. And it is continually getting worse. Do you really believe that a constitution or a Supreme Court is going to protect you or your family from these government criminals?
As I have noted in the past, the Supreme Court justices are employed by the State. They will not protect you from the State. They will not protect you from CPS Nazis or from the airport’s TSA gropers and cancer-scanners. And that is not only because the justices are employed by the State, but also because they are just not accountable. The Supreme Court, as Hans Hoppe has pointed out (more here) has a monopoly in ultimate judicial decision-making, and monopolists are not accountable, no matter how “prestigious” they are. The lettered State-guardians on the High Court are there on behalf of the State. It seems that soon homeschooling families may have to forget about the U.S. Constitution and use some sort of alternative forms of protecting their children from government goons.