Recently, via the Leonard Peikoff podcast, Yaron Brook answered the question, “Should the Government Force a Man to Pay Child Support?”
While I almost always agree with Dr. Brook, in this response, he got the answer wrong. In fairness to him, he acknowledged that this question was within the philosophy of law, in which he is not an expert. Therefore, his statement was a matter of his first blush thoughts related to the question.
In summary, his thought is that once the man consciously and affirmatively agrees to take on responsibility for the child then he is obligated, but not before then. A positive example that Dr. Brook cited was the paternal obligation in divorce cases of a couple who had chosen to have children together. In other words, and not the ones that he chose, bastards have no rights.
Dr. Brook’s processing error is that he started with a statement instead of a question. Whenever the question is asked “Should the government do this or that?” then the first step should be to answer the question, in context, “Whose rights are being defended?”
The question of child support is generally discussed as an issue of the rights of the mother; however, this is totally totally wrong! It is the rights of the child that are at risk and in need of defense by the government, if necessary. It is a legitimate function of the government to protect the rights of children even from their own parents; unfortunately, the government too frequently fails to do so appropriately and even further acts inappropriately when the child’s rights are not actually identified correctly, but that important issue is for a separate post or possibly a whole book.
I assume that it is not controversial or disputed to say that a child has a right, according to its nature, to be cared for, and not physically abused nor starved to death, by its parents. In the event, that the parents are unable or unwilling to do so personally and directly then they are still obligated, by the consequence of their choices that led to the birth of the child, to do so by other means such as adoption.
With a focus upon the rights of the child, my initial point of departure from Dr. Brook concerns when does the father incur the responsibility to his child. Dr. Brook holds that the father upon notification of pregnancy can renounce any obligation to the child; by for example, offering to pay the cost for the woman to have an abortion. Dr. Diana Hsieh has made an argument similar to Dr. Brook with reference to the contradiction of a woman having a legitimate right to an abortion by her choice while legally denying the man a chosen obligation to support the child. The conclusions of Drs. Brook and Hsieh incorrectly focus upon a conflict between the mother and father, when it is the rights of the child that are in fact in question.
In contrast, especially to Dr. Hsieh’s expansive commentary, in reality, the roles of men and women are not the same in creating a child and it is not the role of law to pretend otherwise. As such, the point at which a man can just say no to a child, and to that child’s rights, occurs earlier than it does for a woman. Yes, even for a man, the child is a choice, but that choice occurs when he entrusts his special sauce to a woman. It is not a question of fairness nor of equality, but is metaphysically given. This is not a fact of nature unfamiliar to most people as admonished by Coach Norton in the movie Saving Silverman:
“Remember, boys! STAY AWAY from women! All they want from you is your man-juice!”
A common objection, cited by both Drs. Brook and Hsieh, is that the man selecting to use birth control has chosen not to have a child. Where is this magic birth control that is always 100% effective, because my drugstore does not sell it? Men, and even boys, know that jiz in or even too near her happy place could result in pregnancy even when protection is conscientiously used. A man enjoying vaginal sex with a real live pre-menopausal woman is guilty of a massive evasion of reality if he does not recognize that pregnancy is a possibility even when proactive steps are taken to reduce that probability. This is true even when the pregnancy is accidental or not desired. Thus, that is his point of his choice (at pre-conception and not at pre-birth) and when he elects to accept responsibility for the potential child; anything different, wishes facts to be different than they actually are. In contrast, a woman has to actively choose to nurture and protect the embryo and later fetus, and can choose to terminate her support of the potentially lethal parasite before birth.
The good doctors and I likely agree that a man should selfishly choose his sexual partner such that they both share similar judgments on pregnancy and abortion. However, in my judgment, for the fucktard that sticks it into any gullible and willing female stranger, there is no credible case to be made that he was actively attempting to prevent an unwanted pregnancy as his chosen behavior screams otherwise.
In addition, I want to address the common objection of the man being the unwilling victim of an unwanted pregnancy. In the event of the woman committing some sort of fraud, by for example lying about being sterile (as opposed to the minor claim of being on the pill, which can fail), then the man’s claim is not against the child, but is instead against the woman; the child’s right is unimpaired by the rights violation committed by the mother. Instead, while the man’s financial obligation to the child remains, the man could make a separate civil claim against the fraudster mother. Cases of theft of semen or rape by the mother could be legally addressed similarly. Why does this distinction matter? Consider the rights of the child in such a case when the fraudster mother dies in childbirth or from a drug overdose; are you prepared to argue that the child has no right to support from the father?
To be clear, I am not making a conservative anti-sex and anti-abortion argument. Sex is wonderful so selfishly have a lot of it with a fabulous partner; to be clear, that includes the selfishness of selectivity, discrimination, and respect for the law of causality. Sex can result in pregnancy; if you cannot deal with that probability, even when reduced by choice, then do not have sex. It is a responsible choice to enjoy sex with a partner with whom you both explicitly mutually agree that abortion is the remedy to an unwanted pregnancy.
In summary, on the question of child support, it is the child’s rights that are relevant. Even if steps were proactively and conscientiously taken to reduce the probability of pregnancy and a child, when the man’s sexual choice results in a child, then the child has a right to support from the father. Yes, nature has placed an earlier threshold of choice upon men, and we should man-up to make choices in full consciousness of those facts of reality. The law of causality is not subject to a man’s whims when he did not intend even the well-known consequences of his actions. Bastards do have rights.
Extra Point: The life lessons from Coach Norton…