Blogger no. 1 writes about child labour - please go read. I have a small point to make. One of the reasons why people feel compelled to rescue children despite knowing that many of them start working by their own volition or that of their parents, is this - many children indeed start working due to poverty, but many of them are forced to stay on due to coercion. Even if one does not support the ban on child labour, one has to think about the conditions in which these children work and what can be done to improve them.
Second, and this is slightly more fundamental - poverty forces many parents to make their children work but many of these children do not want to work themselves. If we begin with the moral position that children below a certain age should not be working, does the parent have the right to send the child to work? Where does legitimate parental control end and coercion begin? And if we believe that the child's wish should be honoured, is this a strong argument in support of a welfare state and a safety net? There will definitely be inefficiencies and corruption in any such government initiative. Should the options then be evaluated by a cost-benefit analysis? Or is one of the two options significantly more correct from a first principles, moral point of view?
Apropos this, will any libertarian (or anyone, for that matter) explain to me what is the "moral position" on the distribution of property in the first place. I ask because any discussion on economic freedoms ultimately boils down to philosophical differences on property rights - what existing distribution of property can be accepted as correct and moral? Is there any moral basis for the heritability of property? Does it make sense to talk about economic freedom from a moral standpoint at all?
My worldview is this - the objectives of my ideal society are maximization of utility, liberty and equality of oportunity, in that order. I am right of centre, economically and politically, and a social liberal. I do not mind sitting on the fence on a lot of issues - it is a lot more honourable than it is usually made out to be. I try to work on certain first principles (which are close to the libertarian ideal), but I realize that given the constraints of a non-ideal reality, this is not always the best stand to take. I am wary of extreme positions. I admire balance - one of the biggest learnings from my short life has been that on either extreme of any world-view divide, one ends up contradicting oneself. I am a libertarian-centrist, so to speak. A consequentialist, a utilitarian.