Wednesday, September 05, 2012

What family autonomy means

The NY Times has a science article that reminded me of a basic liberty principle:
Founded in 1660, the Royal Society is the world’s oldest continuous scientific society. Newton, Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle and many more came together in a spirit of revolutionary if at times eccentric inquiry. Magic and alchemy greatly fascinated the society’s founders.

King Charles II granted the society a royal charter in 1662, and for centuries it hitched a ride on the back of Britain’s imperial ambitions.
It is funny how Europeans think that rights and authority comes from royalty, so even these rationalist scientists needed the king's blessing on their society.

Americans can be just as blind when it comes to family court and parental rights. They just cannot grasp the concept of parents having rights to direct the upbringing of their kids, even if divorced. They seem to think that any such family must be under the supervision of a governmental authority, analogously to the Europeans feel they need the authority of a king.

An example of this narrow-minded thinking was the British baptism case I posted a month ago. I expect the royalty-loving British to want a judge to decide whether their child gets baptized. But to my shock, even the American libertarian lawyers could not understand that the question is none of the business of any judge or any other govt authority. The parents should have autonomy over such decisions, even if they disagree.

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