The Evolution of Children

Imagine a dystopian future in which the life-expectancy of human beings has plummeted from about 70-80 years to around 20 years. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, life expectations at one’s birth averaged 30-35 years, with the death rate among children under the age of five reaching almost 75% by the mid-18th century. During the Industrial Revolution, the population in England sharply increased, leading many to wonder as to the causes. As the deaths of children decreased to just under 32% in the early 19th century, it became evident to intelligent minds that there might be a correlation between the liberty of people to pursue their respective self-interests and the material well-being of humanity.

Perhaps the most humanizing period in the history of our species was that in which we learned how to resolve the fundamental problem of producing the goods, services and other conditions essential for life. As children are both the present and the future of mankind, it should not surprise us that this revolutionary system should first manifest itself in its capacity to sustain the lives of children. A Libertarian Critique... Butler Shaffer Buy New $5.50 (as of 12:10 EDT - Details)

Collectivists who decry any system they are unable to control have long condemned the Industrial Revolution on the grounds that children worked in factories. It is irrelevant to these people-pushers that children freely chose employment in textile mills over starving to death in the streets. I asked a colleague many years ago “what if working in a factory was the only way in which your children were able to survive?” His response: “I would rather have them die than to suffer the indignity of working in a factory!” I then asked him if he had ever made his view known to his children.

The fate of children has been a distinctive feature in the social evolution of our species. Sadly, their well-being that was so well served by our ancestors in discovering the life-enhancing nature of the free market, has been exploited and damaged by corrupt men and women who prefer advancing their material interests through political looting rather than marketplace trade. The future of children is no longer implicit in the present, but has become fragmented. Those who prefer the short-term benefits to be derived from looting, transfer to their children the costs of their corrupt schemes. A national debt, through which such legal racketeering has been conducted, now exceeds $18,000,000,000,000, an amount today’s children will be no more able to pay than they will their $200,000 to $300,000 in student loans.

The Wizards of Ozymand... Butler Shaffer, Butler... Best Price: $9.99 Buy New $2.99 (as of 03:15 EDT - Details) Mankind’s war against children – a conflict rendered unnecessary by the principles learned during the Industrial Revolution – has been accelerated in other ways than just an escalation of indebtedness. The children who used to starve to death in pre-industrial streets, are now aborted in sterilized medical clinics. Police officers can shoot and kill unarmed teenage boys without much accountability for their acts, frequently being absolved of wrongdoing after an “investigation” by their fellow officers.

Children who manage to survive past their teenage years are ambitiously recruited, by military forces, to participate in meaningless wars that are fostered to advance the corporate-state interests of politically-derived power and wealth. Those children fortunate enough to survive such psychotic scheming and slaughter are left to pay the costs with their broken bodies and psychological and spiritual debasement. And too often their sense of despair over a life rendered without decency or purpose leads them to commit suicide.

Some ancient American Indians had the proverb: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” This insight might help us end the disrespect shown to children and the unborn. Perhaps those parents who insist on praising their children for being a Marine would be better advised to ask themselves why they love the state more than they do their own children; how they might help protect them from the institutional predators who see them as no more than “assets” to be employed in corporate-state schemes.

In Restraint of Trade:... Butler Shaffer, Butler... Buy New $19.00 (as of 01:10 EDT - Details) In the dystopian world referred to at the beginning of this article might be found an exit from the well-organized insanity that is destroying our children and, with it, our entire species. Children were the unintended beneficiaries of an Industrial Revolution that taught us how life is best sustained through conditions of liberty and peace; of spontaneity and autonomy. Perhaps members of a culture for whom a life-expectancy was no more than twenty years, might have an incentive to discover the conditions necessary for longer lives. How would they find out? From what sources might they begin to learn? Having access to works of history, economics, philosophy, the sciences, literature, psychology, and the arts, might these residents of dystopia be able to identify the causal factors that led them to their present plight?  Might they come to an awareness that their parents’ obsessions with short-term time preferences – the consequences of which were transferred to others (including their children) – had brought them back to the life-destroying conditions that the Industrial Revolution had begun to overcome?

It may be that the aforementioned Indian proverb had it only partially right; that our ancestors had a better implicit understanding of our interconnectedness with others, including our children and grandchildren. In perusing an etymological dictionary many years ago I discovered that the words “peace,” “freedom,” “love,” and “friend” shared an historic connectedness. Our ancestors may have understood what our institutionalized world has conditioned us to reject, namely, that people who share friendship and love with one another are then able to benefit from living in free and peaceful relationships. Perhaps those desirous of abandoning the dystopian premises in which their parents trained them will be able to rediscover, in the history of our language, the power residing in such interrelated words.

Might our children, in their efforts to save themselves from the “well-ordered” monstrosities we have created for them, end up rescuing the human species from the conflicts and contradictions inherent in our thinking?