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« Great Short Video on the Broken Window Fallacy | Main | This Week's "The Calling" »


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LOL. I am the husband and I can only get inside the circle of trust about half the time.

I agree.

However, I think most folks are able to identify falacy #1 much better than falacy #2. This is how we get zoning laws whereby convicted sex offenders are zoned out of a city.

Meanwhile, no one is watching Uncle Chuck. If someone does not already have your trust, they cannot break your trust.

Or, for us Who fans, Uncle Ernie.

Or who can forget -- Uncle Buck?

Since I've been considered "old fashioned" before, I mind as well give another example of it. That is, there were things that were far better in the "good old days."

When I was a kid, my friends and I would go out and "disappear" playing for hours -- in other surrounding neighborhoods, in neighboring construction sites (which, yes, drove my mother crazy when she found out about it -- "What do you mean you were crawling in a water drain? Don't you know the earth could cave in, and you'd die and never be found?")

We were told not to ""talk to strangers" and don't get into an car when you don't know the driver.

But things were pretty "laissez-faire," when I think back on it.

Now, parents seem to suffocate children with this type of paranoia.

For example, my grandchildren seem never to play with other children except on "play dates." What the hell is a "play date"?

Don't go out by yourself, don't play unless supervised with a parent watching, etc., etc.

Now, I'm not a "nut." Of course, the age of the child and the "maturity" that the parent thinks that the child has developed to act and be on their own matters.

And, yes, there are "bad" people out there. And it is every parent's nightmare to have their child abducted and abused (or killed.)

But there seems, often, to be an unwillingness to allow the child to grow into responsibility, and self-judgment in their actions.

It brings to mind a footnote in Hayek's "Constitution of Liberty," in which he mentions John Stuart Mill's statement that primitive peoples must only hope to have a benevolent dictator to watch over them until they are ready for self-rule. And Hayek, then, quotes Thomas Macaulay who replied that Mill's view was like the man in the old story who said he would not go into the water until he knew how to swim. How do you learn to swim if you do not start going into the water?

I wonder if part of this paranoia is not due to the fact that many parents have chosen not to have children until later in their life, and often, then, only one child.

This means that "marginal" value of the supply is equal to the entire stock of the "good." Thus, losing the "marginal" unit is to forgo the whole quantity of the kid "commodity." This comes closer to that Adam Smith trade-off between diamonds and water.

You can't live without water if the marginal unit is the whole supply of water, and to lose your one child is too dear a price to not be paranoid.

I know that these type of comparisons (of children being "like" a commodity) is shocking to many. But I wonder if there would be the same degree of paranoia over a kids "safety" if most couples had three or four children instead of one (or two), which was more common in the past.

This is not an appeal for government subsidies to have more children, on average, per family.

I am merely suggesting that our society has evolved in such a way that couples have been choosing to have smaller families and often later in life, and this may be one of the unintended consequences.

Richard Ebeling

As I said before Agnostic is good on this.

Read his post on the demise of the babysitter...

nice comment Richard. I grew up in the 70's as an only child but to be fair I had a similar upbringing to yourself with much freedom. And indeed with my 5 year old its all "play dates"


You need to check out the Free Range Kids movement. There are lots more of us "old fashioned" types hanging around... we're out numbered, but we're struggling to reassert the value of being a "kid out there." Join us at:

It is our common wish to seek sustained world peace and global economic prosperity.

Now, I'm not a "nut." Of course, the age of the child and the "maturity" that the parent thinks that the child has developed to act and be on their own matters.

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