Libertarian Nurture? The Case of the Paul Family
By Bryan Caplan
The NYT has a fun story on how Ron Paul raised Rand Paul:
In keeping with their position as the First Family of
Libertarianism, the Pauls of Lake Jackson, Tex., did not have many
rules around their home.
“Behave yourself and be polite” is how Representative Ron Paul
describes his regulatory philosophy about rearing five children. Mr.
Paul, a Republican, and his wife of 53 years, Carol, never believed in
assigned chores or mandates.
They did not give out allowances, which they viewed as a parental
version of a government handout. They did not believe in strict
curfews; Mr. Paul says that unintended consequences — like speeding
home to beat the clock — can result from excessive meddling from a
“Behave yourself and be polite” – that’s basically my parenting philosophy, too. The NYT is quick to conclude that libertarian nurture leads to libertarian adults:
While Mr. Paul’s laissez-faire views produced a family of likeminded
thinkers — “We’re all on board,” says the oldest son, Ronnie Paul —
they inspired the middle child, Rand, to follow his father’s career
path, first into medicine and now politics.
I suppose it all hinges on the sense of the word “produced.” But note:
Mr. Paul was loath to guide his five children in any vocational
direction, although three of them followed him into careers in medicine.
Personally, I’d love to see my three sons eventually join the GMU faculty. But love it or loath it, I doubt there’s much I can do about it.
HT: Andrew Healy