LJWorld.com weblogs The Free Market

No One is Against Child Labor


No one is against child labor. Not really, when you think about it. There are kids working all over town, mowing lawns, babysitting, shoveling driveways, raking leaves, carrying firewood etc. No one bats an eye. I've never heard of someone, upon seeing some young teen mowing a lawn, running over and hugging them saying, "You poor thing! Who did this to you! Who made you do this!"

No one really cares about child labor. In fact you're more likely to see people, arms crossed, nodding in approval, exclaiming "it's good for 'em. Learn 'em the value of work." Instead of ashamedly hiding the fact that their children do labor, you're more likely to find parents bragging about the entrepreneurial exploits of their child, talking about how their daughter is CPR certified and making over $200 a month babysitting.

No one really is against child labor. What they are really against is child competition. They don't want children to compete in the labor market for jobs that pay better than shoveling snow or walking dogs. This is why it is no surprise that it was unions that lead the cause against child competition in the labor market. Unions' sole purpose is to benefit their members at others' expense, and children are an especially weak group of society and thus an easy target.

Of course there's the typical political lie about outlawing child competition for the benefit of children, but this lie is easily exposed by looking at the actual legislation. One notices that the most grueling and backbreaking type of labor--farm work--is excepted from the law. So while a 13-year-old can't take your movie ticket at the theater and show you to your seats, he can pick cotton.

For further proof one need only look to the context in which the law was passed--the Great Depression. There were many bad ideas about how to solve unemployment in those days, and one of the most prevalent was the idea that there was only so much work to go around, and the only question was how it should be divided up. Hoover cut down on immigration, thinking that with fewer immigrants there would be less people looking for the same number of jobs. FDR came up with work-sharing ideas, those being that more people could work fewer hours, thus splitting the work, and pay, between them. Outlawing child competition made perfect sense in this context. Cut a large number of people out of the labor market and voila! unemployment magically goes down. Of course this didn't work either, but the strengthening union movement sure loved it, so it was here to stay.

No one is really against child labor. If the old lady across the street hires a 13-year-old to move her couch, are you going to call the police? No. Because you're not really against child labor either.


Liberty_One 6 years, 9 months ago

Of course there's always the hysterical people who really believe that if child competition was allowed that kids would be headed to the mines after kindergarten. There's nothing that can be said to these people, as they are likely the same ones who think that the TSA needs to grope children's private areas or whatever other statist nonsense they'll fall for.

sourpuss 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm not against child labor, after all, those little fingers are the only things small enough to unjam the mechanical looms! Best part is, when the little idiot gets his arm pulled off, you can just get a new one!

Wadde 6 years, 9 months ago

It's really good for them it's really conditioning them to become economic slaves a condition from "the recession generation"

Liberty275 6 years, 9 months ago

Someone did write that children are exempted from the law that prevents them from working as farm laborers. Maybe an elf sneaked in and added it to the blog entry, but it is there plain as day.

notanota 6 years, 9 months ago

With such obvious and logical arguments, you've convinced me. I'm really afraid that kids will outcompete me in the job market, and that's why I'm insisting they stay in school. I could be easily replaced by a 13 year old with an advanced degree and a decade of experience.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago


And it's unfair competition for adults who have to pay those things.

Bringing wages down across the board hurts adult workers.

notanota 6 years, 9 months ago

The third world called up and said they're suing you for stealing their ideas.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

What about "intellectual property" laws?

Liberty275 6 years, 9 months ago

I think you'll find child labor is in the public domain.

been_there 6 years, 9 months ago

When my boys were young my ex decided he was not paying one cent of child support because I would just blow it. While I was worring about food to eat, he was losing $5,000 in Vegas. When they got old enough to drive, there was absolutely no money for Drivers Ed, a car, or car insurance. If they wanted to drive they had to pay for it and any other things like video games, music, hanging out etc. Those jobs at Wendy's, Taco John's and such paid for those things. If they had to go to summer school, they had to pay for it. Some kids have to work if they want the things the richer kids take for granted.

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 9 months ago

And I bet they appreciate it more. Good for you!

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

They suffered because of your ex's behavior, which was almost certainly illegal.

Did you try to take him to court and mandate child support?

been_there 6 years, 9 months ago

Yes, but getting it is another story. When I pushed, he became violent and it was a choice between my safety and the money. My safety won out. Didn't want to spend the rese of my life looking over my shoulder.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

That's very unfortunate, and a hard decision to make.

Of course, there should be a way to make him pay his obligations and keep you safe at the same time, but it's hard to find that.

been_there 6 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, but there is this thing called Karma. He thought once they were over 18 and he was no longer obligated to pay child support they would jump at the chance to have him back in their lives. He's been waiting 12 yrs for them to come around.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm not against kids working, but I oppose a lot of the conditions that were ongoing when child labor began to be regulated. Long hours, dangerous conditions, no going to school. A lot of what the labor unions did was to alleviate these conditions for adults as well.

benanhalt 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm more than half convinced that all of Libertarianism is nothing but trolling.

sr80 6 years, 9 months ago

I hear that a troll will work for free !

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

Not surprising that LibertyOne, in his fantasy belief of a utopian Libertarian work place regulated only by profit, would attempt to belittle the issue of child labor by showing kids doing choirs around the house and learning basic work skills at their father's side in his story on child labor. Why not use some of the pictures from the early 20th century, of children working in coal mines or on huge machinery, children hired because their little fingers could easily fit into the highly dangerous machine works. How about a picture like this: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=389&topic_id=6642451&mesg_id=6642581

Do you think that just maybe the child in this photograph grew up with hearing problems?

If LibertyOne really represents true Libertarian views, then apparently Libertarians are in favor of child labor. If this is true, I believe most rational people see the error of such a world view. This is partially why the Libertarian Party is nothing but a fringe political group in America today that will never be taken seriously, not even in a pro-business, right-of-center nation like ours.

"In fact you're more likely to see people, arms crossed, nodding in approval, exclaiming 'it's good for 'em. Learn 'em the value of work.'"

Not only is LibertyOne attempting to confuse child labor with childing doing household choirs clueless in his assault on legislation forbidding child labor in the workplace, he also apparently feels most people are ignorant rubes unable to speak proper English. "Learn 'em"? Honestly, who talks like that?

Sorry LO, but you have now officially lost all credibility. It wasn't really necessary, but I guess somebody needed to take the place of the Grey Goose.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

In my opinion, anyone who compares children doing household choirs with child labor is someone who is unable to discuss the issue of child labor rationally.

notanota 6 years, 9 months ago

You might want to go argue with the dictionary, then.

Dictionary Search Results child la·bor noun 

The use of children in industry or business, esp. when illegal or considered inhumane

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

Where do I get a household choir? I want a household choir.

Sorry, Bea, I love you, but sometimes I just can't resist.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

Hahahaha. Great catch! Made me chuckle. You would think I was talking about making the little ones gather together and sing to cover their room and board.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

Oh---good thing my parents didn't make me sing for my supper---I would have starved.

Seriously, Bea, I admire your stamina in continually pointing out the fallacies in L_O's arguments.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago


You'll always notice in Ayn Randian libertarian utopias that the advocacy is always for something people have already tried and discarded. Child labor? Been there, done that. People hated it so much that they banned it. Indeed, for those with a vague grasp of legal history that is saying something since initial attempts to ban such practices were overruled by an activist Supreme Court as interfering with the right of private parties to contract with each other. It took continuous effort and a national movement to overcome this immoral, unfounded laissez faire ideology with nothing short of a judicial revolution. (A revolution in law that the right even now continues to seek to overturn.) Effort that required an exquisite hatred of the consequences of child labor to find its strength.

But hey, that past is long forgotten. Let's just write dim witted Odes to how taking out the trash is just like working a 14 hour stint in a factory and losing your hand in the process. After all, opposition to such exploitation is mere sentimentality. You should be more open minded about Evil and those who do its bidding. After all, immorality is the new morality.

Now get back to your sweatshop and enjoy your liberty!

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

"immorality is the new morality" -- good line! It would even be funny if it weren't true.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

overplayed -- please, some children (and small animals) need lots of attention. Not every adolescent boy grows up. You never get any evidence to back up the silly claims. Indeed, I've demonstrated on multiple occasions that, despite his obsession with economic themes, he doesn't even grasp basic principles in economics (even when you patiently spell them out to him). Rather, he obsesses over fringe cases and nuts that push cartoonish theories of utopian immorality. ("If we only adopted the gold standard, life would be perfect" - as if no one ever had a gold standard before and found out the hard way how imperfect it was!)

He's not avoidable because LJW loves anyone who brings page views to their advertisers. Rather, just think of him as a pesky nuisance like that traffic light near your house that always takes forever to turn. You're never going to get a serious argument out of him beyond things like: there's no difference between a kid taking out the trash and working 14 hour days in a factory sweatshop, at least, no difference for the unemotional Objectivist!

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

Oh LO, I am not angry that you compare child labor with household chores. Rolling my eyes at such nonsense, sure, but not angry. Nor am I closed-minded simply because I find your comparisons to be absurd. All other comments on here support my reading on this, so it isn’t just me as you would like to suggest.

Child labor is a serious topic and when it is trivialized as you have done then yes, you will be called out for it and that is all. It would be like having a discussion of slavery by first comparing it with a pro-ball player who is "stuck" in his multi-million dollar contract. There are just some comparisons that are silly beyond the point of discussion, and you have reached beyond that point.

The fact that it comes from you, someone who in the past has made statements against existing child labor laws, tells me that you don’t really understand the reality or the seriousness of the topic. It also speaks to how out of touch with the rest of America the full-blown Libertarian view really is.

Get back to us when you want to be taken seriously.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago


I thought this was a fascinating article that some of you might be interested in reading---it is specifically about Fox News but applies to any attempts to obstruct or falsify information and how that degrades democracy.

Reminds me of a few posters/bloggers on these boards (not naming any names).

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

Yep, every other person on here is wrong and angry, and you are right and apparently happy.

LO, the simple truth is that you set up this thesis by which you equate young people working around the house or in the neighborhood with child labor. Before child labor laws were passed, children worked hard labor, sometime in coal mines or in factories around dangerous machinery, six days a week, up to 10 and 12 hours a day. There is no reason why we should believe that without child labor laws children wouldn't be doing equally difficult jobs today, as they do in other countries.

Yes, everyone gets that your examples are forms of "work," but your examples are so far removed from the work that actually is done today in countries where child labor laws are not enforced that we all see your descriptions of child labor as a joke at best, and cruel and insensitive at worst. We get that you are describing "work," but the comparisons you present are nonsense.

It would be like wanting to have a serious discussion on music and starting it off by comparing The Beatles with four guys blowing kazoos. You know, both are examples of "music," so what could be wrong with that comparison?

LO, you are being disingenious through your images and descriptions of child labor. That is what everyone here is pointing out. No anger, no shame in doing so, just the truth. The thesis is nonsense and you are simply wrong, proving once again why Libertarianism is scoffed at by virtually all rational people.

Keep fighting those wind mills out on the fringes. Someday you will prove everyone else wrong.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

You have discredited nothing but yourself. Are you really saying that in countries where child labor laws aren't enforced that children aren't doing hazardous jobs. Truely clueless.

As for the nonsense of your comparisons on which your thesis is based -- you have nothing.

Grey Goose II.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

I have, on occasion, as a thought experiment, tried to imagine what a world according to L_O would be like.

Chaos breaks out quickly.

booyalab 6 years, 9 months ago

Did you sleep through history class? Laws have not existed since the beginning of time.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

Pretty much since the beginning of civilization.

booyalab 6 years, 9 months ago

Or wait, did you mean that chaos breaks out quickly when you try a thought experiment?

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

Channeling Karl Marx - and every other genocidal ideologue in history.

A. These ideas have been tried. And judged to be unacceptable failures. We had child labor for 99.99999% of human history. It weren't no Utopia.

B. Order does not just "break out". Policies with positive consequences display those consequences to some degree even when the polices are watered down. As you move to stronger and purer versions of these policies, you get stronger positive consequences. Only ideologues, pushing bad policies, argue that "they just haven't all been tried" in some manner so that's why you don't seen any benefits yet. This was the perennial claim of Marxism for why nothing ever seemed to work very well or for very long - "You just haven't really tried a pure enough application of the theory yet!" or "Sure, other policies may work in reality but they don't work in theory!"

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

Libby you haven't "explained" anything - just demonstrated that you live in a fantasy world. Sorry, but the rest of the world isn't just stupid or misguided or emotional. At some point you just need to wise up - it's you that's off his rocker.

Child labor was routine a century or so ago. We know what people thought of it then because the wrote about it and worked damned hard to see it put to an end.

You need to learn some history (and everything else apparently) and not just make it up for your snide purposes. Stop wasting people's time with your nincompoop nonsense.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

This is interesting.

Most of us are against child abuse. Is a young teen mowing somebody's lawn an example of that? I'd say probably not.

On the other hand, a farm family forcing their kids to work long hours on the family farm would qualify, in my view. In fact, I know somebody that sued their parents for doing that. The need for family farms to use their children is probably why that was exempted from the laws.

Of course, on this one, I have a relatively uncommon view - I don't think parents should be able to force their kids to do any chores at all, much less work the farm.

The other reasonable concern is that of adults, who have all of the expenses pointed out, having to compete with children who do not have those. We see the results of something like this in college towns like Lawrence - the easy availability of students willing to work part-time jobs without benefits reduces the number of full-time jobs with benefits.

So it's good for students, who get to make some spending money, and good for restaurants, etc. who can hire them part-time and avoid paying benefits, but bad for adults looking for a job in Lawrence. This is why many people live here and work elsewhere, and vice-versa.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

jafs: "Of course, on this one, I have a relatively uncommon view - I don't think parents should be able to force their kids to do any chores at all, much less work the farm."

Would you please elaborate on your view?

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

Well, one way to get at it would be to ask what gives parents the right to force kids to do chores.

I'm not a big fan of "might makes right" ideas, so the fact that they have the power to do it isn't convincing.

Also, children didn't choose to be born into their families and those situations - adults made the choices so they have the responsibilities, in my view.

Arguments about "teaching responsibility" also fail, since forcing kids to do things actually teaches them to obey authority, which isn't equivalent to responsibility.

I do think that in a functional family, where parents are fulfilling their responsibilities and taking care of their kids, that kids will naturally tend towards wanting to help out, which is lovely.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

Jafs, I'm not arguing with you to try to make points, but because, as you said, you have an uncommon view and I'm trying to understand how it might work in the real world.

Just a few thoughts.

I agree completely that might does not make right. However, there is a big difference between teaching children to blindly follow authority and teaching them that there are rules that they have to follow in order to live in society. Without teaching them some authority, they are not going to fare well in their future life.

I grew up on a farm and was pretty independent about following my father's directions and put myself in danger because of that---and probably other people as well.

Got that turned on me as an adult when I supervised a person who had grown up without much "authority." I thought that once he realized that the rules/guidelines that I and my supervisor had made were for a reason, not just arbitrary, he would start to follow them. He never did and caused a lot of problems. I suspect he got fired from his previous job because of that (he told us he quit but later I had reason to doubt that).

I have found that it's not uncommon for people to think that their boss is infringing on their rights by requiring them to follow certain rules when they are in his/her workplace. Sometimes they are---children need to be taught to figure out the difference.

Some children will help out naturally, but I'm pretty sure that is not a given. We have different laws/rules for people below a certain age for a reason. They are not adults. We protect them, but we also train them. Training by example is good, but I think explicit guidelines are also needed.

I would say parents making kids do chores is not a right, but a responsibility.

On a bit different note, I don't think agriculture should be excluded from child labor laws, but I think the problem generally is not parents making their children work, but other people's children (i.e. transient farm workers).

I just can't imagine a world in which children are not required to clean their rooms, mow the lawn, etc. Tell me where I'm wrong.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

Well, you pretty much make my case for me, with your examples of workplaces - making kids do chores teaches them to fit into a hierarchical workplace, and follow instructions.

How exactly are you teaching kids to "figure out the difference" between infringements on their rights if you make them do chores they don't want to do?

The world in which children aren't forced to do chores works fine - if adults buy a house with a lawn, they're responsible for the maintenance of it. If a kid's room is messy, and it bothers the parents, they can clean it up. Etc.

I do think that protecting your kids from injury is important, but even there it's arguable that we learn from experience, and that minor injuries aren't that terrible.

Again, what justifies the parental imposition of chores, which usually boils down to "you have to do this, because I say so, and I'm the parent"?

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

How can a workplace not be hierarchical?

We will have to agree to disagree that doing chores you don't want to do is an infringement on children's rights. We absolutely can't go through life doing only what we would like to do.

Seems to me that in real life, a child who never has to clean their own room, learn to do their own laundry, etc. generally grows up to think that they are entitled to have things done for them.

What rights/responsibilities do parents have? Can they make any rules? How does one train their children---or do they not?

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

I think we will definitely not be coming to agreement here.

As I said, I know my view is a rather uncommon one, so that's not that surprising to me.

Parents have the responsibility to care for and provide for their children, and to support their development. They have the responsibility to provide healthful meals, clothing and shelter, and love/emotional support.

I'm not sure what kind of rights you mean, but I generally don't agree that parents have the right to hit their children either.

Your use of the word "train" is revealing - is that what you think parents should be doing? As in military training?

I have great faith in the natural development of human beings, and that if parents meed the needs of their children, and are good role models, that children will grow and develop into responsible adults.

Most of these sorts of ideas from parents strike me as rather "fear based".

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

I don't believe they have any such "duty".

Where would that come from?

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

That's interesting - I'll have to think about it.

I don't necessarily agree that children have a "duty", but I get your point - it's hard for parents to adequately fulfill their responsibilities if kids don't follow their guidance.

I suppose I just dislike the way it's framed - in terms of compliance and obedience, rather than caring and helping.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

These threads sometimes get confusing, so I will say I am replying to L_O's post at 4:50 pm about children's duty to obey their parents.

You make a very interesting argument and I will have to say I had not thought of it that way. One usually hears of "thou shalt obey" in a biblical context and that always seemed problematic in that the command never seemed to end.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

Although I generally agree with your comments on other subjects, I don't find your arguments compelling on this subject and obviously you don't buy mine.

However, I do want to say that I definitely am not talking about military training when I talk about training and find it interesting that you should bring up that extreme example when there are so many other kinds of training. Military training entails (at least as I understand it) the breaking of a person's spirit and then building it up again in a way that is compatible with the military---hence people often having problems reintegrating into a civilian society. In one way or another, we all are trained to do anything that we do, be it by instruction, experimentation (self-training), modeling or, as you point out, fear.

Do you never do things because of fear of the consequences or are you always motivated by good will? That may sound snarky, but is not intended to be.

For example, I obey traffic laws because I fear a ticket, but I also obey them when no officers are around because I fear the consequences of hurting myself or others---and my insurance company.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

As I said - we won't agree.

We are not all "trained" to do things - some of us learn how to do them - that's a rather important distinction to me.

Fear is an excellent motivator - it's just not the one I would want to use on children.

Your last comments are interesting as well - it seems that fear is your motivation both ways, and obedience to the laws is what's important to you. Do you ever think about whether laws are reasonable or not? Question them?

I follow traffic laws because I think they're reasonable, and a good way for us all to get along on the road.

There was a disturbing study, that was done twice, showing how susceptible people are to authority. It involved causing others pain by turning a knob on a console, when told to by the authority figure. Most people were willing to go along with this, even when they could see the person clearly suffering (it was a trick, of course - the people were acting).

Very few people objected or refused to do it.

That's rather troubling to me.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

"We are not all "trained" to do things - some of us learn how to do them - that's a rather important distinction to me." May be semantics, but that was under self-training.

"Do you ever think about whether laws are reasonable or not? Question them?"

I think you are misunderstanding what I am saying. I certainly wouldn't be having this discussion with you if I didn't question things or try to see another's point of view.

Yes, fear of causing irreparable damage is one of my motivators---I don't think that is a bad thing. That is why I go beyond the law in driving safely. Fear of a beating is not a good motivator and blindly following authority is often a bad thing---I think most people agree on that. That is not what I am talking about and I don't think I've said anything to indicate that.

Do you not follow the laws which you think are unreasonable? Do you just pick and choose? You didn't answer my question as to whether you are always motivated by good will.

I have seen the study you speak of and, yes, it is disturbing. But I don't think that blind obedience to authority equals requiring children to do chores. And there are different kinds of authority.

But back to the original subject---I've thought about this since this discussion started and realized two things.

1 When I was required to do something as a child, I generally had a feeling of accomplishment upon completing the task. Of course, my parents rarely if ever required me to do something very onerous, but sometimes, on the farm, I was pushed beyond my limits because something just needed to be done---our livelihood depended on it. Looking back, I think that was a good thing and made me feel like I was contributing and part of the team, not that my parents were unfairly exploiting me.

2 I would probably be better off today if I had been required to do more things and had been trained how to do more things. I've wasted a lot of time and money learning how to do things on my own.

By the way, I also learned that blind obedience isn't always necessarily a bad thing and can save your life---when there's not time to discuss why you should move out of the way immediately before something drops on your head. You question why and it's all over. And, yes, that kind of thing does happen.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

Where do you think people learn to simply obey authority figures? From their parents, I'd say.

Sounds like that's where you learned it.

Yes, I don't follow all laws blindly - if I'm standing at a crosswalk and the light is red, but there are no cars at all coming from either direction, I will cross the street against the light. Are you one of those folks that stand on the curb until the light turns green in that situation?

They had (may still have) laws on the books prohibiting married couples from engaging in oral and other forms of sexual encounters. Would you follow that law?

That's nice that you felt that way on the farm - as I mentioned, I knew somebody that sued his parents for making him work on the farm.

verity 6 years, 9 months ago

You're making some big leaps here and I seriously doubt that you actually read what I wrote or you wouldn't say that I "simply obey authority figures" and certainly my parents didn't teach me that.

I was actually hoping for some convincing arguments from you, but instead you have spent your time trying to prove me wrong in some rather insulting ways instead of making points to prove your thesis.

It's been interesting and I'm sure we will meet again another day.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

I never meant to insult you.

And, I was hoping for some answers to the questions I posed.

There are, in fact, a number of people that stand on the curb waiting for the light to turn green, even if there are no cars around.

And, there are/were laws like the ones I mentioned regarding personal behavior, which seem absurd.

You asked me if I "pick and choose" - I answered and asked you the same question, which you choose not to answer.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

LO, how many people are even close to agreeing with your comparisons of kids doing household chores and little jobs around the neighborhood with true child labor?

None? Not a single person? Oh, that must prove you are right.

After reading your comments here and elsewhere, all I can think is, "Thank goodness Libertarians remain on the fringes of our political system." Honestly. Thank goodness.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

beatrice - as Lib once candidly admitted, he has to watch what he says to avoid saying things too extreme. Not because they are extreme. But rather, people will dismiss his arguments and stop giving him attention. I'd say he only succeeds in this 'not too extreme' goal about 20% of the time.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

I'd also note that Lib has a strange view of what liberty is.

Liberty is first, foremost, and exclusively something that individuals assert against government. If gov't isn't oppressing you, then by definition your liberty can't be infringed.

Likewise, government can never assist people in expanding their liberties (for the same reason noted above). So, for example, when gov't seeks to regulate mortgages in a manner that make lenders clearly spell out terms and forbid self-serving schemes to fleece you of your cash, this isn't expanding your liberty but instead limiting your liberty. In short, not good, but bad. (Yes, I know - quite Alice in Wonderland, but surely you've said after reading his comments: "Down the rabbit hole we go!")

Luckily, only about 25% of Americans think this way (but what a noisy, entitled bunch they are!). Unluckily, those who benefit most from this type of thinking are quite wealthy and have no qualms, and increasingly no legal restrictions, on funding the 25% to drown out the voices of the majority.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

I love coded words like "hysterical lunatic." Your true colors are coming out there LO. If you think the images you presented are really representational of child labor today, then that is pretty hysterical (the funny kind).

True child labor in India today (India, picked at random, and letting the images speak for themselves -- for some reason they are a little different than LO's images): http://www.google.com/search?q=child+labor+in+india&hl=en&biw=1280&bih=695&prmd=ivnsb&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=aj0STsDrHOf40gGVvdiADg&sqi=2&ved=0CD8QsAQ

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 9 months ago

No one is against child "labor". People are against child "exploitation" for the sake of making a profit. There's a pretty big difference and I think you know that L1. Child labor laws are in place to protect minors from being placed in jobs that may threaten their health, interfere with their education or put them in a position of being exploited by their parents/guardians for the sake of making money. Even children working in family run businesses such as farms, restaurants and the like have limitations placed on that labor (i.e. they can't jerk the kid out of school to work the farm. Doesn't mean they can't work their a$$ off over the summer and after school milking the cows.). That doesn't mean that child exploitation doesn't take place in this country. Children of undocumented migrant farm workers are frequently exploited to work in the fields. They get away with it because they and their parents are illegals and thus not protected by child labor laws. The people who employ illegals know this and have no problem whatsoever doing it. Maybe if you educated yourself on child labor laws and why they were put in place in the first place you would have a little better understanding of things. Oh and don't bother bringing up "India" or other countries. US child labor laws were put in place precisely because we are a rich enough country to have a vested interest in protecting kids from this s**t. Believe me, if other countries were rich enough to do so those laws would be in place there too. The fact that even now there are employers who would be more than happy to exploit kids for the sake of a buck if those laws weren't in place says a lot.

gudpoynt 6 years, 9 months ago

"No one is against child 'labor'. People are against child 'exploitation'."

Exactly. Another case of LO conflating two distinctly different concepts in order to make an argument. What a joke.

gudpoynt 6 years, 9 months ago

Discredited by whom, exactly?

For you to be consistent, you have to show that the risks of adverse effects on the well-being of a child is the same across all occupations.

But then, you hate considering context, don't you?

Yes, I will pick and choose which labor I think is appropriate to regulate. It's called contrasting. It's called considering context. It's called common sense. It's the difference between idealism and pragmatism.

Rational people with different opinions will pick and choose what they think is acceptable as well. Then we'll all elect like-minded representatives to come to some sort of compromise in the context of a governing legislative body.

Tyrannical, isn't it?

I would have thought that instead of trying to make an argument for wider acceptance of child labor, you would have followed suit of other Libertarian voices who understand that child labor was exploitative, but insist that it was the free market that diminished its prevalence.

It's an interesting digression you take. Instead of touting the free market as the primary factor in eliminating the abomination of child labor exploitation, you attempt to claim that if any exploitation was occurring at all, that it was negligible.

gudpoynt 6 years, 9 months ago

I consider whether or not the employment practice is exploitative to be more consistent than whether or not the employer is an individual or a business.

So, why not take the same stance as the Libertarian leaders and claim that it was free market capitalism (and not gov't regs) that put an end to unsafe, exploitative child labor, instead of claiming that child labor was never exploitative or unsafe in the first place?

gudpoynt 6 years, 9 months ago

"I never said it was 100% safe"

I never said you claimed as such.... rather I was pointing out your reference to:

"The exploitation theory of labor was discredited over 100 years ago"

... to which you have yet to reply.

I agree, it's silly to claim that working for money is exploitation. Which is why I would never make such a claim.

What's sillier, or perhaps naive is the better word, is someone who can't wrap their mind around the idea that a population can both get paid and be exploited at the same time.

I'm not against child competition in the labor market.

I'm against a child labor market being exploited by private enterprise.

You know... like it often was 150 years ago.

You know... before child labor laws.

Yet again, you're assuming things about my position simply because I'm calling you out on your B.S. Strongly disagreeing with your extremism does not an extremist make me.

You should really follow the suit of your Libertarian leaders, and rather than trying to discredit child labor laws, you should endorse them as hallmarks of victorious free market capitalism.

It's a much sturdier argument than the one you're trying to make -- albeit equally misguided.

Liberty275 6 years, 9 months ago

As usual, I am astounded at the number of people that go to great length in defense of government. I'll join you in defending America and a small constitutional government, but the constant excuses made for the huge oppressive government we have developed in the last 100 years are beyond belief.

Are you people really happy with having your lives run by bureaucrats and the professional liars euphemistically called politicians? Are you?

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

So you don't believe in the legislatiion to protect children in the workplace? You don't see a problem with having pre-teens working in sweatshops, coal mines and factories? You aren't in favor of food regulation, or safety regulations for nuclear power plants, or making it illegal to yell fire in a crowded theater? I'm afraid that you have made the leap from laws protecting children to "oppressive government" a little too quickly.

There are many other examples around the world other than America if you want to find truly oppressive governments.

gudpoynt 6 years, 9 months ago

I see. I suppose it's your brain, and not your gut, that is responsible for drawing the parallels between factory jobs for children in the early 1900's with mowing lawns in the 21st century.

Your brain must be huge.

gudpoynt 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm talking to the one attempting to invalidate child labor laws by citing examples where children are commonly employed in non-exploitative ways.

gudpoynt 6 years, 9 months ago

You are pointing out that children are capable of working and are, in fact, doing it all over town (mowing lawns, shoveling walks, etc).

You point out that most adults actually endorse this type of activity for children.

You claim that it is not at all exploitative.

Up to this point, you are making sense.

But then you start veering into Liberty_One's crazy-land, and start using these observations as the basis for making an argument against child labor laws.

And when virtually everybody calls you out on your typical B.S., you start to defend yourself by claiming that child labor was never really that exploitative in the first place.

Thus further solidifying your crazy.

If you think that 8-year-old's should be able to work legally, then fine. Stick to the first part of your argument, the part that makes sense. Argue, perhaps, for an adjustment to child labor laws.

But try to stay away from crazy Liberty_One world, where child labor laws don't make any sense, child labor was never exploitative, and child labor laws are just another government regulation stifling our economic growth.

For when you get lost in crazy Liberty_One land, you're going to find a bunch of LIbertarians who don't want you on their side.

Because you (continue to) suck at making arguments for your Libertarian wet dreams. This is a classic example. I might actually refer back to this upon your next utter failure at making a palatable case for your fringe opinions.

MyName 6 years, 9 months ago

What a pointless waste of bandwidth. Clearly the problem with our economy is that we don't have enough teenagers being allowed to work. Oh wait that's right, unemployment among teens is the highest it's been in decades because all of the old people are taking the jobs they would have done because they can't get anything better!

Also: if under-18s can't vote, and under-21s can't enter contracts on their own, then what you have by trying to put them into a full-fleged labor market without being able to gain equal treatment under the law is a recipe for exploitation. But you seemed to have left that out and decided to focus on stupid social BS instead.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

LO, I wish you would stop repeating that no one has said why they disagree with you. Many have, including myself. We disagree because children doing chores around the house are not the same as having children work 8 or 10 or 12 hours a day six days a week in an industrialized environment. These are the things for which child labor laws were created. We disagree with your equating child labor with household chores.

There, I spelled it out for you.

Your comparison is beyond weak (see my earlier comparison of The Beatles with 4 guys blowing kazoos). You are calling chores "labor." That is the basis of everyone's disagreement with you, beyond the general dislike for libertarian utopian extremism. Every other rational and thinking person recognizes the truth of what real child labor is, and it isn't doing household chores.

There, I repeated why people are disagreeing with you.

Child Labor =/= Kids doing chores or odd jobs around the neighborhood.

There, I told you again. Now quit making untrue statements.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

Children don't work 70 hours in factories in America ... anymore! Thanks to laws against child labor, it isn't allowed. However, in countries where child labor laws are not enforced, it happens to this day. (And you have the gall to tell me to think. Get a grip.)

"Work is work is work" -- this is precisly what is wrong with your silly blog. Again, see my comparison of The Beatles and guys with kazoos. Music is music is music, right? No. Wrong. Do a little research on children working in sweat shops in India today, or in America prior to laws forbidding child labor, and then get back to us on how they are the same thing as mowing the neighbor's lawn for a few bucks.

Sorry LO, but I am not the "extreme" one in this conversation. See virtually every other comment left here and then re-examine who the extreme one really is. (I'll give you a hint -- It is the one who holds the the radical economic philosophy that virtually all others laugh at.)

Still love the use of "hysterical." You are so transparent. As soon as you are questioned, the nastiness comes out. Too cute. Honestly, I am not taking this personally at all. I'm just happy that extremists like yourself are so willing to demonstrate why Libertarianism is the silly, utopian world view that it is and why the rest of the world shuns it.

Silly is silly is silly. Happy trails LO.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

So you are saying that in countries where there are no child labor laws or those laws are not enforced that children don't work long hours in unsafe conditions? You are saying that children don't do hard, physical labor, or work in unsafe sweatshops around the world? Or, are you saying that a child working in a sweatshop in India is the same as someone doing chores around the house in America?

The reason adults don't, for the most part, work 70 hours in factories in America today is because of laws that protect workers. Fortunately, many laws are on the books that help not only children but adults as well. Working conditions are better now than they were in the past because of these government regulations. Were they never passed, there is no way you can prove it wouldn't still be like 1880 for workers in some parts of the labor force -- including children. You are just looking at the end result of the workplace today without giving credit to the unions and the regulations put in place over the last century. You are acting like this is what we would have had there never been any workplace regulations.

Time for you to attempt this thinking thing you keep bringing up.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

LO: "By the time FDR outlawed child labor, the percentage of children working, ages 10 to 15, had gone from 30% in the 1800s to 5.6%, and most of those were in agriculture, an area not touched by the law.

The average workweek had gone from 70 hours a week in the 1800s to 48 hours a week by the time the fair labor standards act was passed.


Proven? Hardly.

Actually, what your argument demonstrates is the effectiveness of government regulations to protect children. By the 1930s, children were already required by law to attend school until the age of 14. When did this happen? 1918, hence the lower numbers of children available to perform labor in the 1930s. The age has gone up from 14 since then.

Now, if we consider your present views on child labor and combine them with your previous statements about how children shouldn't be required to attend school and only those whose parents could afford to send them should go, I am really getting the full picture of this Libertarian workplace you hold so dear in your imagination. It doesn't seem like a good place for children at all, or at least not a good place for children of parents who aren't wealthy. Poor kids -- look out! Pick yourself up by the bootstraps, or get to work!

Since we can't really base what might happen without laws protecting children in America as those laws are staying put, let us consider the places where children aren't required to go to school and where laws are not enforced against child labor.

You have refused to respond to these questions thus far, so here they are again: Are you saying that in countries where there are no child labor laws or those laws are not enforced that children don't work long hours in unsafe conditions? Are you saying that children don't do hard, physical labor, or work in unsafe sweatshops around the world? Or, are you saying that a child working in a sweatshop in India is fundamentally doing the same as a child doing chores around the house in America? I mean, they are both performing work after all, and "work is work is work," as you say, so it is virtually identical things, right?

Try proving you can answer those questions (or is my asking just too "hysterical" for you?).

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

Nice to see you dismiss the importance of mandatory schooling on the number of youngsters available to do labor. You can't support it with something other than this vague idea that somehow people were no longer poor and needing to support their families. And during the 1930s? No more poor people? Silly argument.

As far as "people like me," try people like you who are fully willing to let all laws that protect children be dismisses so the underaged can be exploited under the ruse "work is work is work." Consider the fact that child prostitution and child pornography exists at all. Why? Because there are always adults willing to exploit children for their own selfish reasons. Loosen the laws and you will see more exploitation. Thank goodness we have legislation to protect them from being exploited even further.


beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm a monster yet you are the one in favor of dismissing child labor laws.

As I said before, there is a reason Libertarians are on the fringes of society, and you continue to prove why you belong there with every post. However, I doubt most Libertarians are as petty to have to resort again and again to name-calling when they can't prove their arguments.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

An ugly and ridiculous accusation from a person with obvious little regard for others, including children. Gee ... ouch.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

I'll ignore your complete distortion of what I am saying and will just answer your question: Yes, I can imagine poor children selling sex, particularly to adults who really wish there weren't laws governing the work children are allowed to do. "Work is work is work" after all, and if we redefine the meaning of work to mean virtually any type of task, then you have just done away with exploitation as well, which you already don't believe in. As you said yourself, "The exploitation theory of labor was discredited over 100 years ago." So exploitation doesn't exist and work is work is work, even when it comes to children. Got it.

Now unlike you, I won't stoop to actually call you a monster. Misguided, clearly, but I don't know you and know nothing about you beyond what I read here. I would never accuse you of being a monster or in having carnal interest in children. Seriously. However, I am fairly confident that most adults who are interested in children in that way would be in full support of your desire to do away with how we define work, labor, exploitation, and laws protecting children.

Me? I'll stick with saying child labor isn't the same as young people doing household chores, and I'm glad we have laws on the books to protect our children against labor. You would prefer those laws weren't there. Got it. Really.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

LO: "If children are allowed to work, they don't have to sell sex to make money. Because people like you forbid them from regular jobs, they are forced to become prostitutes, criminals or starve."

Um, care to explain Thailand, as one example. Children as young as 13 are allowed to work by law. Yet I guarantee you can walk into a brothel in Pattaya Beach and get a 13, 14, 15, 16 year old prostitute. That right there proves your statement false.

Alas, people interested in exploiting children to perform various forms of "work" are the ones responsible.

I'm afraid your utopian view, where if there were no regulations and laws then somehow magically there would be no need for regulations and laws, is a false concept. However, stick to your desire to do away with laws protecting children if you wish. I'm glad to be among the vast majority of both conservatives and liberals that will make sure that never happens.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

Now the guy wanting to do away with child labor laws is calling me a liar and "so evil."

Personal attacks are so cool. A true sign of a winning argument, too.

I particularly like that you wouldn't exploit a child ... since you don't believe in exploitation! "Work is work is work." That would be really funny if it weren't really, really scary.

However, please try getting the child labor laws changed to fit your desires. That would be worth watching.

Jason Bennett 6 years, 9 months ago

Great post, Liberty_One. I agree with you 100%. I had to do ridiculous amounts of hard, dirty, dangerous work as a child - and it made me a better person. Also, it made me a person who values now working in an air-conditioned office.

ksriver2010 6 years, 9 months ago

I really don't see the reason for this blog posting. Starting each paragraph with "No one is really against child labor" is amusing. You correctly state that this, as well as many other issues/arguments ("the debt ceiling will mean that you won't get your Social Security checks!"), are emotionally based, and you show it by using emotionally stirring ("awww") pics of kids. But I'm not sure that I would have chosen this as the blog of the day.

In addition, "no one is really against clean air" either, except maybe the coal plant north of town. Lawrence, known as the "conscience" of KS", as many posters have said, and it has the badge of honor of a coal plant right next to the interstate exit.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.