Educating Children

From: Jim Sheehan

Sent: Monday, July 27, 2020 8:59 AM


Subject: Forced savings for education of children

Dr Block,

If the government stopped forcibly educating children, wouldn’t some “greedy” parents skimp on education costs and deprive their kids of adequate education? What is the libertarian case for not forcing these “selfish” parents to pay for educating their kids?



Dear Jim:

That’s a tough question. Libertarians do not speak with one voice on this. Possibly, such a parent could be arrested as a child abuser, but I wouldn’t support that. In my view, there are no positive obligations, only negative ones.

Here’s a biblio on this issue:

Block, 1976, 2003, 2004, 2011, 2013; Block and Fleischer, 2010; Evers, 1978A, 1978B; Feser, 2004; Rothbard, 1982, chapter 14.

Block, Walter E. 2008 [1976]. Defending the Undefendable. Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute;

Block, Walter E. 2003.  “Libertarianism vs. Objectivism; A Response to Peter Schwartz,” Reason Papers, Vol. 26, Summer, pp. 39-62;  Nambla, child sexuality, child abuse

Block, Walter E. 2004. “Libertarianism, Positive Obligations and Property Abandonment: Children’s Rights,” International Journal of Social Economics; Vol. 31, No. 3, pp 275-286;;

Block, Walter E. 2011. “Terri Schiavo: A Libertarian Analysis” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 527–536;

December 9, 2013. Debate: Walter Block and Stefan Molyneux, Freedomain Radio on spanking children. Michael DeMarco;; skype: michaelmdemarco; 716-533-2171; Video:


July 16, 2017. Vancouver, BC, Canada. Walter Block debates Tim Moen, Leader of the Canadian Libertarian Party.

Topic: Is spanking children compatible with libertarianism? Contact: Victor Pross:; or go here: Open to the public.

Block, Walter E. and Michael Fleischer. 2010. “How Would An Anarchist Society Handle Child Abuse?” October 13;

Evers, Williamson M. 1978A. “Rawls and Children.” The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 109-114;

Evers, Williamson M. 1978B. “The Law of Omissions and Neglect of Children,” The Journal of Libertarian Studies Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 1 – 10;

Feser, Edward. 2004. “Self-Ownership, Abortion and the Rights of Children.” Journal of Libertarian Studies. Vol. 18, No. 3, Summer, pp. 91-114;

Rothbard, Murray N. 1998 [1982]. The Ethics of Liberty, New York: New York University Press.

Best regards,



2:24 am on October 8, 2020