Some politicians want to make it harder to homeschool your children. Others want to outright ban homeschooling, and some countries already do. Matt Walsh as a strongly worded response:
There is no power the state doesn’t have if it has a power over your children that supersedes your own.
Let me put it still another way:
If you do not have the right to teach and raise your own children on your own terms, then you don’t have the right to free speech, religion, association, or privacy, and you are not protected from unreasonable government intrusion into your personal life.
Much of what Walsh has to say in the rest of his article strikes me as reasonable, but the quotation above seems not merely hyberbolic, but false.
I don’t have any particularly well fleshed-out theory of children’s rights. Probably you don’t either. But I bet you accept that children have some pretty extensive set of negative rights as well as some strong positive rights held against their parents. We owe our children a sufficiently high level of care, and owe it to them not to harm them or mistreat them in various ways. If we fail to discharge these duties, then we can forfeit whatever presumptive right we have to be guardians of our children. If you abuse or neglect your children, then someone else can take them away from you. So, for instance, suppose Bob intends to sexually abuse his daughter. If I know he’s about to do that, it’s permissible for me (or a cop) to break into his house and stop him, using violence if necessary.
Your rights over yourself are much stronger than your rights over your children. I should be allowed to smoke cocaine if I want, but I should not be allowed to have my toddler smoke cocaine. Walsh has things backwards.
You have a presumptive right to parent your children only if you provide well enough for them and don’t harm them in certain ways. Otherwise you forfeit that right. Now, this leaves open some hard questions: Just what is the standard of care? What counts as harm? What level of harm can you inflict before you forfeit your rights? Can you regain your rights after forfeiture? Etc. A full theory of parental rights and duties would answer all those questions. But here are some positions that a libertarian could take: You owe it to your children not to brainwash them into a cult. You owe it to them to provide them with a decent level of education such that they have a good enough shot to make it in the real world. You owe it to them to teach them how to reason and think, rather than to stunt these capacities. Etc.
Walsh’s real complaint is that governments do a bad job educating children and parents do a good job. He might be right in general, and he’s certainly right in some cases. And whenever he’s right, that’s a reason to favor homeschooling over public schooling. But the issue here isn’t about some fundamental right to raise your kids how you please. As a parent, you may not raise your kids however you please. Rather, you may raise your kids however you please provided you discharge your duties to avoid harming them and to provide adequately for them