This week it emerged that a family in California had held their children captive and tortured them. The disturbing case of the Turpin children, dubbed the ‘shackled siblings’ by the media is truly horrifying. The fact that parents could treat their children in such an appalling way should send shivers up our spines.
The state we currently live in is enormous. There is not a part of our lives that the government does not touch. Yet still, such horrendous abuses happen. The myth that the state protects the most vulnerable in our society is a pernicious lie.
This case and others like it (the Fritzl children spring to mind) raises some chilling questions about Libertarianism. The victims of David and Louise Turpin, were not adults but their own children. In a society with a night watchman state, how would such abuses of parental power be averted? It seems obvious that in a Libertarian society children are the concern of their parents, but what if parents choose to torture their children?
I believe the answer lies in creating not just a free society, but a freedom-loving culture. I am being deliberately vague here. It is often heard that ‘Libertarianism has nothing to say about culture’. Well, I would argue that cases such as these prove otherwise.