Thursday, February 18, 2010

A (Scary) Libertarian View of Adoption

An article entitled "The Ethics of Adoption in Haiti: A Libertarian Approach" by Eric M. Staib, presents the concept of child "self ownership" as per Rothbard's The Ethics of Liberty.  Staib then uses this point of reference to conclude:

"...those who wish to adopt Haitian children are equally free within the libertarian framework to enter into and exit from all aforementioned agreements with orphans and parents, but they are also subject to the same condition of nonaggression as a child's biological parents. This, of course, means that adoption agencies that obstruct the flow of orphans from Haiti to loving American families are acting in restraint of adoptive parents' right to engage in voluntary relationships and trade."

He concludes that:

It is clear that, far from improving the situation of Haitian children, Haitian and foreign states have done nothing but obstruct the flow of Haitian children out of abject suffering and into loving arms. These states should not be congratulated merely for making the process of adoption marginally less bureaucratic. State officials have committed serious human-rights violations against hundreds of thousands of children and their willing foreign adopters. These statist crimes against perhaps a half-million or more young Haitians are too grave to be ignored. 
Sounds to me not dissimilar from arguments put forth by pedophiles who believe that children enjoy their love and attention and should be free to.  In both cases the ability of one's capacity to make decsions for oneself being limited by age is simply ignored. Both refuse to see children as needing protection from harm of exploitation.

UPDATE 2/25/10:  Part II of the series, Economics of Adoption: A Libertarian Approach which begins with the thesis that "in the libertarian market, a free trade in consenting orphans must be allowed to occur."  Staib prroposes "international firms" that would:

step in to coordinate the distribution and allocation of orphans. These firms are likely to hail from the richest markets in the world, whose people have the highest demand for orphans, and therefore will bring with them experience in the prompt and nimble coordination of efficient, global systems of distribution.

These firms would be responsible for the collection and delivery of orphans. This entails entering into professional relationships with local orphanages or regional orphanage networks, transportation firms within Haiti, airlines, orphan-distribution firms, and other firms such as medical providers to ensure that orphans are delivered in good health.
Once gathered by these collection firms, orphans may be distributed around the world by the collection firm itself or by separate distribution firms, the prevailing arrangement being determined by market forces. Whichever firm undertook the distribution of the orphans would need to enter into relationships with collection agencies, transportation networks in rich countries, advertizing firms, foreign orphanages or shelters, and still other firms to attract adoptive parents and deliver their new orphans to them safely and quickly.
Can we all say HUMAN COMMODITIES?   Scary, very scary...but not really a far leap at all from current adoption practice.

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