Child neglect

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Child neglect is failure to meet some standard of care for one's child. It is punishable under some countries' laws.[citation needed]


According to Rothbard, child neglect should be legal,[1] because no one has a right to demand that another person provide for him, except as required by contract or restitution. Evolution will ensure that people will have a tendency to care for their children adequately, because those who fail to do so tend to prevent their own genes and memes from reproducing.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe adopts the Rothbardian approach, which uses the child's capacity to run away and say "no" as a sort of rule of thumb for indicating when a child fully appropriates his body.[2] The right of the child to run away helps counterbalance the right of the parent to neglect his child, because it gives the child a means of escape from a neglectful situation.


  1. Rothbard, Murray. "Children and Rights". The Ethics of Liberty. "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." 
  2. Kinsella, Stephan (7 September 2006). "How We Come to Own Ourselves".