Essay talk:Minor

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There was a discussion on Facebook about whether rapists should be required to pay child support and whether they should be barred from custody/visitation with their child. I commented:

Of course, under libertarian theory it's not clear what parental rights the father should enjoy anyway. Usually the creator/maker of something is considered the owner. That was Rothbard's justification for why the parent should be considered temporary owner of the child. The father's contribution of biological resources is rather minimal compared to the mother's, however.

So, unless there is some contract (e.g. marriage contract) stipulating parental rights, I'm not sure how under a libertarian legal code he would be entitled to such rights anyway. And of course, as the child develops the ability to make his own decisions, libertarian theory would say he is entitled to choose for himself whether to have a relationship with his parent(s). He can, if he wishes, reject them and leave the family. On the other hand, a libertarian system would not hold anyone responsible for child support unless those responsibilities were stipulated by contract; child neglect is not deemed by libertarian principles to be criminal, because whatever the parents give the child is a gift.

Any comments on this? Nathan Larson (talk) 07:42, 25 August 2012 (MSD)