Child labor is inherently anti-libertarian, wrong
To the Editor: The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire’s current leadership is wrong to push the abolition of child labor laws.
In a Tweet, the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire advocated to “legalize child labor.” As a former vice chair, communications director, and interim chair of LPNH, as well as one of its few elected officials: this is wrong, poorly-reasoned, and un-libertarian.
Those of us in the party who seek a credible political vehicle for voters who don’t want to be forced to choose between economic freedom and civil rights are proponents of consent in all things. It doesn’t take a deep read of industrial history to understand that child labor was frequently non-consensual. Vulnerable children and children of financially insecure parents were often pressed into work, kept in dangerous conditions, and prevented from leaving.
The dominant narrative in society is that education is the only viable path in life. American youth find themselves stressed and depressed over their grades and fear failing in life just because school doesn’t suit them. Both higher education and workforce preparation should be celebrated choices, so there’s a place to discuss reintroducing vocational training, apprenticeships, and young adults entering the workforce, all of which were once common. Teenagers work now, and no reasonable libertarian takes issue with any of that. But that isn’t child labor, and child labor is wrong.