John Singleton with Bob HowardRip Van Australia (Stanmore: Cassell Australia, 1977), pp. 283-86, under the heading “Young, The”.

It is a peculiar fact that many people who hate totalitarianism, fascism or dictatorships in the political world, seem to believe in them in their own homes. The relationships of parent to child, teacher to child and State to citizen have many similarities in our modern world. It is probably relevant to ask whether it is possible to alter the State-citizen relationships unless we first alter the parent-child, teacher-child relationships? All three are quite authoritarian, and take little (if any) notice of the rights of the various people involved. In particular, the rights of children are flagrantly violated in all three.

Children do have rights. They are, after all, human beings, and as such have precisely the same rights as all other humans. They are not “property”. They are people, and if they are treated as such — if their rights were recognised and respected — we would live in a far saner, healthier and happier world.

In the current situation, children are victims of the democratic numbers game. Arbitrary figures are plucked from the air for such things as school leaving age, minimum wages, voting age, and the age for legal responsibility. The fact that these ages only fit some people — hopefully a majority — and by no means all people, is the usual result of the misuse of democratic power. It is obvious that some people would be far better off out of schools much earlier than the minimum age permits, that many people would work if the wage levels could be lowered to a point where it is economically viable to hire them, that many people can’t cast an intelligent vote when they are over the eligible age, while others could, but aren’t allowed to because they are below the eligible age.

These examples all illustrate the inevitable results of trying to substitute the democratic numbers game for the logical use of fundamental principles as the basis for making decisions. In this sense, democracy persecutes minorities.

What happens then, if we analyse the situation of children, using the principle of individual rights as our guideline? The first thing to recognise is that all people — children and adults — have equal rights (unless by their own actions, they forfeit these rights — see Crime). As has been mentioned before (see Freedom), a situation in which children have all the rights, and parents none, is one of licence, not freedom. Conversely, when adults have rights and children none, the relationship is authoritarian. The proper situation is one where both adults and children, being equally human, have equal rights.

The most important of these rights, in order to determine the rules of the parent-child relationship, is the right of property. As has also been stated before, the right to property is the right of control over and disposal of property, and, in particular, gives the owner the right to determine the rule of use of the property. So while parents do not “own” their children, they do own the house, furniture, food, money, and other things that the children need and use to survive. For their part, the children “own” their lives, and those things they have earned, have been given, or have otherwise morally acquired. The important implications of this is that parents have the right to set the house rules and conditions. If they choose to reject them, and the parents refuse to change them, the children have the right to leave home and seek alternative arrangements.

It is argued that children are not capable of making this type of decision, and so, for their own good, it has to be taken out of their hands. It can with equal validity be argued that many adults are incapable of making particular economic, social or political decisions, and so these have been taken out of their hands. It is true in both cases that certain individuals will prove incapable, as expected. But in neither case is this a valid justification for the imposition of any form of authoritarian control, no matter how benevolent its inspiration. Every Hitler in history has, no doubt, at some stage, used that excuse, and used it sincerely.

Both adults and children have equal rights to their freedom, but freedom for both carries with it both responsibility and risk. All around us we can see where well-intentioned efforts to reduce risk “in the public good” have resulted in corresponding reductions in both freedom and individual responsibility. In the short and the long term, this is not doing anyone any favours.

As in many other areas of human activity, for better or for worse, there are times when plain human judgment has to be used. Quite obviously, when this is done mistakes are made. But these mistakes will be fewer in number and far less damaging in consequence if they are guided by sound moral principles rather than some nebulous idea of “the greatest good for the greatest number”.

An infinite number of possible situations can be thrown up to demonstrate the problems that will arise if the right of children to leave home is recognised. Similarly, an infinite number can be found to demonstrate what happens when this right is denied. Such a course achieves nothing. The fact remains that, as humans, children have equal rights and, no matter what problems arise, we are morally bound to recognise them . It is our contention that by doing so we will also reduce the problems. Because most parents do not want their children to leave home as a result of unhappy circumstances, there is an incentive for them to settle on rational, fair and relevant rules, and to communicate effectively with their children. The entire parent-child relationship will, in order to survive, have to be based on mutual respect rather than domination and exploitation.

Parents have to exercise judgement based on their knowledge of the individual children. They need to care about the children’s safety, and institute whatever safeguards are necessary to protect their children, for example, safety fences or covers on pools, secure cabinets for poisons and medicines, care with dangerous tools, instruments and weapons, and so on. Obviously, the emphasis here should be on making the material objects safe, rather than on restraining the child. For example, make the pool inaccessible with fences, rather than rely on physically and verbally restraining the child. Parents also have a responsibility to educate their children, at least to the point where the children are able to care for themselves. Too many parents rush into having children without a proper appreciation of the responsibility involved, and this tendency is made worse by the entire cultural, social, political, economic and sexual environment in which we live.

There will always be those parents who do abuse their children. The fact that these children can leave home will give them one possible out. If this is not possible, then outside help will need to be administered in some way — just exactly what is done and how it is done will depend on the particular circumstances. But in our efforts to help these children, we should not (but unfortunately do) fall into the trap of coercing all parents and all children. Surely we would be better off concentrating on those that need help while leaving the others alone? But no, in order to protect those few children with irresponsible parents, our society, for example, coerces all children into schools, with horrible tragic results.

Wage legislation and child labour laws prevent many children from obtaining part or full-time work. This is particularly so for disadvantaged minority groups. (Studies in the U.S.A. have shown that such legislation and laws bear particularly heavily on, for example, black Americans.) In a free market, children have the right to bargain with employers for work — and if our personal experience with children is any guide, they’ll drive a hard and fair bargain. If children were free to find part of full-time work, they would be gaining a very valuable aspect of their general education, learning about responsibility, enhancing their own self-respect, and sense of general efficacy, and reducing the burden on their parents.

The psychological spin-offs from treating children as people rather than property would be enormous. Many people despair about young people today. We find it amazing that they survive as well as they do. They suffer a generally exploitative and authoritarian home environment, an authoritarian and deadening school system, economic and legal discrimination, a generally twisted sexual society, and social discrimination in a multitude of ways. They have no legal outs, no recognised rights, and very few opportunities. They are denied work, the vote and freedom. In the face of all that, we should be thankful that they are as sane and tolerant as they are. And we should move immediately to take the screws off them by abolishing laws enforcing compulsory schooling, captivity at home, and discrimination in the work place.

Then, and only then, we might begin to earn their respect.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Governments Consume Wealth — They Don't Create It
  2. Singo and Howard Propose Privatising Bondi Beach
  3. Singo and Howard Speak Out Against the Crackpot Realism of the CIS and IPA
  4. Singo and Howard on Compromise
  5. Singo and Howard on Monopolies
  6. Singo and Howard Support Sydney Harbour Bridge Restructure
  7. Singo and Howard on Striking at the Root, and the Failure of Howard, the CIS and the IPA
  8. Singo and Howard Explain Why Australia is Not a Capitalist Country
  9. Singo and Howard Call Democracy Tyrannical
  10. Singo and Howard on Drugs!
  11. Simpleton sells his poll philosophy
  12. Singo and Howard Decry Australia Day
  13. Singo and Howard Endorse the Workers Party
  14. Singo and Howard Oppose the Liberal Party
  15. Singo and Howard Admit that Liberals Advocate and Commit Crime
  16. Up the Workers! Bob Howard's 1979 Workers Party Reflection in Playboy
  17. John Whiting's Inaugural Workers Party Presidential Address
  18. John Singleton and Bob Howard 1975 Monday Conference TV Interview on the Workers Party
  19. Singo and Howard on Aborigines
  20. Singo and Howard on Conservatism
  21. Singo and Howard on the Labor Party
  22. Singo, Howard and Hancock Want to Secede
  23. John Singleton changes his name
  24. Lang Hancock's Foreword to Rip Van Australia
  25. New party will not tolerate bludgers: Radical party against welfare state
  26. Singo and Howard introduce Rip Van Australia
  27. Singo and Howard on Knee-Jerks
  28. Singo and Howard on Tax Hunts (Lobbying)
  29. Singo and Howard on Rights
  30. Singo and Howard on Crime
  31. Singo and Howard on Justice
  32. Singo and Howard on Unemployment
  33. John Singleton on 1972 cigarette legislation
  34. Singo and Howard: Gambling Should Neither Be Illegal Nor Taxed
  35. Holed up, hold-up and holdout
  36. The libertarian alternative vs the socialist status quo
  37. Workers Party Platform
  38. Singo and Howard Join Forces to Dismantle Welfare State
  39. Singo and Howard on Business
  40. Singo and Howard on Discrimination
  41. Singo and Howard on the Greens
  42. Singo and Howard on Xenophobia
  43. Singo and Howard on Murdoch, Packer and Monopolistic Media
  44. Singo and Howard Explain that Pure Capitalism Solves Pollution
  45. Singo and Howard Defend Miners Against Government
  46. Singo and Howard on Bureaucracy
  47. Singo and Howard on Corporate Capitalism
  48. The last words of Charles Russell
  49. Ted Noffs' Preface to Rip Van Australia
  50. Right-wing anarchists revamping libertarian ideology
  51. Giving a chukka to the Workers Party
  52. Govt "villain" in eyes of new party
  53. "A beautiful time to be starting a new party": Rand fans believe in every man for himself
  54. Introducing the new Workers' Party
  55. Paul Rackemann 1980 Progress Party Election Speech
  56. Lang Hancock 1978 George Negus Interview
  57. Voices of frustration
  58. Policies of Workers Party
  59. Party Promises to Abolish Tax
  60. AAA Tow Truck Co.
  61. Singo and Howard on Context
  62. Singo and Howard Blame Roosevelt for Pearl Harbour
  63. Singo and Howard on Apathy
  64. Workers Party is "not just a funny flash in the pan"
  65. Singo and Howard on Decency
  66. John Singleton in 1971 on the 2010 Federal Election
  67. Matthew, Mark, Luke & John Pty. Ltd. Advertising Agents
  68. Viv Forbes Wins 1986 Adam Smith Award
  69. The writing of the Workers Party platform and the differences between the 1975 Australian and American libertarian movements
  70. Who's Who in the Workers Party
  71. Bob Howard interviewed by Merilyn Giesekam on the Workers Party
  72. A Farewell to Armchair Critics
  73. Sukrit Sabhlok interviews Mark Tier
  74. David Russell Leads 1975 Workers Party Queensland Senate Team
  75. David Russell Workers Party Policy Speech on Brisbane TV
  76. Bludgers need not apply
  77. New party formed "to slash controls"
  78. The Workers Party
  79. Malcolm Turnbull says "the Workers party is a force to be reckoned with"
  80. The great consumer protection trick
  81. The "Workers" speak out
  82. How the whores pretend to be nuns
  83. The Workers Party is a Political Party
  84. Shit State Subsidised Socialist Schooling Should Cease Says Singo
  85. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  86. Workers Party Reunion Intro
  87. Singo and Howard on Freedom from Government and Other Criminals
  88. Singo and Howard on Young People
  89. Singo and Howard Expose how Government Healthcare Controls Legislate Doctors into Slavery
  90. Singo and Howard Engage with Homosexuality
  91. Singo and Howard Demand Repeal of Libel and Slander Laws
  92. Singo and Howard on Consumer Protection
  93. Singo and Howard on Consistency
  94. Workers Party is born as foe of government
  95. Political branch formed
  96. Government seen by new party as evil
  97. Singo and Howard on Non-Interference
  98. Singo and Howard on Women's Lib
  99. Singo and Howard on Licences
  100. Singo and Howard on Gun Control
  101. Singo and Howard on Human Nature
  102. Singo and Howard on Voting
  103. Singo and Howard on
    Inherited Wealth
  104. Singo and Howard on Education
  105. Singo and Howard on Qualifications
  106. Ron Manners on the Workers Party
  107. Singo and Howard Hate Politicians
  108. Undeserved handouts make Australia the lucky country
  109. A happy story about Aborigines
  110. John Singleton on Political Advertising
  111. Richard Hall, Mike Stanton and Judith James on the Workers Party
  112. Singo Incites Civil Disobedience
  113. How John Singleton Would Make Tony Abbott Prime Minister
  114. The Discipline of Necessity
  115. John Singleton on the first election the Workers Party contested
  116. Libertarians: Radicals on the right
  117. The Bulletin on Maxwell Newton as Workers Party national spokesman on economics and politics
  118. Singo and Howard: Australia Should Pull Out of the Olympics
  119. Singo and Howard Like Foreign Investment
  120. Mark Tier corrects Nation Review on the Workers Party
  121. The impossible dream
  122. Why can't I get away with it?
  123. The bold and boring Lib/Lab shuffle
  124. Time for progress
  125. The loonie right implodes
  126. Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
  127. John Singleton on refusing to do business with criminals and economic illiterates
  128. Censorship should be banned
  129. "Listen, mate, a socialist is a bum"
  130. John Singleton on Advertising
  131. John Singleton on why he did the Hawke re-election campaign
  132. Sinclair Hill calls for dropping a neutron bomb on Canberra
  133. Bob Howard in Reason 1974-77
  134. John Singleton defends ockerism
  135. Singo and Howard talk Civil Disobedience
  136. The Census Con
  137. Singo and Howard Oppose Australian Participation in the Vietnam War
  138. Did John Singleton oppose the mining industry and privatising healthcare in 1990?
  139. Bob Carr in 1981 on John Singleton's political bent
  140. John Singleton-Ita Buttrose interview (1977)
  141. John Singleton on elections: "a Massive One-Day Sale!"
  142. John Hyde's Progress Party praise
  143. King Leonard of Hutt River Declares Defensive Just War Against Australia the Aggressor
  144. Singo says Lang Hancock violated Australia's 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Succeed
  145. Singleton: the White Knight of Ockerdom
  146. John Singleton bites into Sinclair Hill's beef
  147. Save Parramatta Road
  148. 1979 news item on new TV show John Singleton With a Lot of Help From His Friends
  149. Smoking, Health and Freedom
  150. Singo and Howard on Unions
  151. Singo and Howard Smash the State
  152. Singo and Howard on the big issue of Daylight Saving
  153. Come back Bob - It was all in fun!
  154. A few "chukkas" in the Senate for polo ace?
  155. Country Rejuvenation - Towards a Better Future
  156. Singo and Howard on Profits, Super Profits and Natural Disasters
  157. John Singleton's 1977 pitch that he be on a committee of one to run the Sydney 1988 Olympics for profit
  158. Thoughts on Land Ownership
  159. 1975 Max Newton-Ash Long interview on the Workers Party
  160. The Electoral Act should allow voters to choose "none of the above"
  161. The great Labor Party platform: first or last, everybody wins a prize
  162. The politics of marketing - laugh now, pay later
  163. Singo and Howard call Australia fascist and worse
  164. The mouse will roar
  165. Viv Forbes and Jim Fryar vs Malcolm Fraser in 1979
  166. Quip, Quote, Rant and Rave: four of Viv Forbes' letters to the editor in The Australian in 1979
  167. Australia's First Official Political Party Poet Laureate: The Progress Party's Ken Hood in 1979
  168. Hancock's playing very hard to get
  169. Harry M. Miller and The Australian disgrace themselves
  170. Ocker ad genius takes punt on art
  171. John Singleton 1976 ocker Monday Conference Max Harris debate
  172. John Singleton mocks university students on civil liberties and freedom of choice in 1971
  173. Murray Rothbard championed on Australian television in 1974 (pre-Workers Party!) by Maureen Nathan
  174. John Singleton profile in 1977 Australian MEN Vogue
  175. I think that I shall never see a telegraph pole as lovely as a tree
  176. Ralph Nader vs John Singleton on Consumer Protection
  177. John Singleton's first two "Think" columns in Newspaper News, 1969
  178. Singo and Howard on Ballet
  179. Product innovation comes first
  180. Protect who from a 'mindless' wife?
  181. A party is born
  182. Tiny Workers' Party gives us a hint
  183. John Singleton on the ad industry, consumerism and innovation
  184. Workers Party Economic Policy Statement, December 1975
  185. Lang Hancock on the Workers Party, secession and States Rights
  186. John Singleton and Howard on Government Largesse
  187. Counterculture must exclude government handouts
  188. John Singleton's 1974 Federal Liberal Election Campaign Ads
  189. John Singleton believes in the Workers Party
  190. Write-up of John Singleton's 1978 speech to the Australian Liberal Students Association
  191. Singo in 1987: "Joh doesn't go far enough ... I want absolute deregulation of the economy"
  192. Maxwell Newton chapter of Clyde Packer's No Return Ticket (1984)
  193. Singo and Howard on Totalitarian Socialism and Voluntary Socialism
  194. Rip Van Australia on Ripoff Vandals Taxing Australia
  195. Singo and Howard beg for tolerance
  196. John Singleton's 1985 advertising comeback
  197. Singo and Howard Demand End to Public Transport
  198. John Singleton and Howard on Fred Nile, Festival of Light, FamilyVoice Australia and the Christian Lobby
  199. Capitalism: Survival of the Fittest
  200. Return Australia Post to Sender
  201. Singo and Howard on Public Utilities
  202. John Singleton and Howard say monarchy should be funded by monarchists alone
  203. John Singleton on cigarette advertising
  204. Singo in 1972 on newspapers' demise
  205. John Singleton farewells Bryce Courtenay
  206. John Singleton on Australian political advertising in 1972
  207. Gortlam rides again
  208. Announcement that Lang Hancock will be guest of honour at the Workers Party launch
  209. John Singleton on trading stamps, idiot housewives and government
  210. 1975 John Singleton-Sir Robert Askin Quadrant Interview
  211. Singo asks two prickly questions
  212. VIOLENCE, TV BAN, DRINK - SINGO SPEAKS HIS MIND
  213. Why John Singleton can't keep a straight face
  214. Why John Singleton Defends Smokers Rights
  215. Tony Dear on Paul Krutulis, the Workers Party and murder
  216. An Ode to Busybodies
  217. Progress Party and Workers Party lead The Australian
  218. How many tits in a tangle?
  219. Viv Forbes in 1978 on loss-making government, the Berlin Wall and misdirected blasts of hot-air
  220. John Singleton wants the Post Office sold and anti-discrimination legislation scrapped
  221. A speech from the Titanic
  222. A crime must have a victim
  223. John Singleton vs Australia Post
  224. Minimum wages the killer
  225. Has Fraser got his priorities all wrong?
  226. John Singleton says "the royal family should be flogged off to the U.S."
  227. John Singleton vs Don Chipp and the Australian Democrats
  228. John Singleton vs Don Lane
  229. John Singleton. Horseracing. Why?
  230. John Singleton's 1986 reflection on the Workers Party
  231. Bob Howard in 1978 on libertarianism in Australia
  232. John Singleton on the stupidity of anti-discrimination laws
  233. Thou shalt know the facts ... before thou shoot off thou mouth
  234. Charity: An Aesop Fable
  235. Bob Howard announces the Workers Party in freeEnterprise
  236. New improved moon
  237. Announcing people ... YES, people!
  238. Creativity in advertising must be pointed dead on target
  239. John Singleton on barriers to, and opportunities for, effective communication
  240. Wayne Garland on John Singleton on Advertising
  241. John Singleton schools ad course
  242. John Singleton: advertising awards
  243. Mr Singleton Goes to Canberra for Australian Playboy
  244. John Singleton on his TV career for Australian Playboy
  245. John Singleton sacked for telling the truth about Medicare
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