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Samizdata quote of the day

Every child should have authoritarian parents, because then they’ll grow up to be libertarians.

-Oddball Australian journalist Paddy McGuinness, as recounted at his funeral this week by Bill Hayden.

19 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • I wish it were true, as I am an authoritarian parent, but I’m afraid it is not that simple.

  • John Louis Swaine

    Actually my parents were astonishingly permissive (I’m 23). I was however, given a strong moral grounding and because I was actually punished if I misbehaved, I learned to take responsibility for my actions.

    Parents today are very permissive but that doesn’t cause kids to grow up to be nanny-staters. It’s where the parents refuse to instill any sense of duty or responsibility in their child (heck they rarely want to take responsibility themselves) that a child grows up with a sense of entitlement and expectation that things should be done for them.

    In later life they simply transition to using the state as their benevolent provider.

    What sort of example are their parents setting? Demands for Schools to stay open till 6pm to look after their children? They expect the state to raise their children for them.

  • RAB

    Yes you are right Alisa, It is complicated.
    But I firmly believe that having Authoritarian parents (well my mum) and being an only child, shaped my life.
    Getting round the restrictions sharpens you up no end!

  • Oli

    I do agree but its more than just being authoritarian, its about teaching your kid to think and to take responsibility for themselves.

  • Told you it’s complicated.

    RAB, you shouldn’t complain – after all you did get your tomahawk:-)

  • RAB

    Yeah but that was from my auntie
    to distract me from the bigger picture!
    Are you daring me to tell all?
    And what does Oy mean exactly?
    I thought I got minimalist sown down, but that beats my best efforts 😉

  • What do you mean what does Oy mean? It means Oy, of course!

    Anyway, and to get back OT: one really should define first what a ‘totalitarian parent’ is.

  • RAB

    You havent met my mother have you?
    I used to hear the door knocker go as a child from my bedroom.
    20 minutes later one of my friends would be ushered in through my bedroom door (or often not, if she didn’t like the look of them)
    Dripping with sweat and embarassment.
    She had extracted their entire life story out of them, and their parents and grandparents, effortlessly before they got near her Precious (Me).
    So do I know about Totalitarian Parents?
    Oy!!! 🙂

  • When my two sisters and I were growing up, we only had three rules:

    1) clean up what you mess up
    2) be reasonable
    3) don’t talk with your mouthful

    (though that last one was spoken by my dad while his mouth was full of food, so we never took it very seriously.)

    All three of us grew up to be libertarians, so I guess if you’re looking for some sort of magical parenting formula, those three rules are as good as any.

  • SusanQ

    Tongue in cheek, that quotation … maybe a nugget of truth to it, but if that were the case the whole damn world would be libertarian. Alas, there is no magic formula. The best chance is to grow up libertarian.

    To that end, the best articulation of libertarian parenting values I’ve run into is at Sarah Fitz-Claridge’s Taking Children Seriously (Link)

  • SusanQ

    Oy, that link-thing didn’t work, that’s


  • “Oy vey” translates perfectly into Minnesotan — “uff da”.

  • Does Garrison Keillor know about this? Because he never mentioned it!

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    To be blessed with authoritative parents can provide one with a sense of accountability to one’s self for one’s actions that is not owed to a government or any other “social” body – and assist in survival through hostile conditions, even war.

    AND it does buttress what is called the Libertarian streak!

  • RRS, yes, but the quote says ‘authoritarian’, not ‘authoritative’ – obviously two different things.

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Alisa –

    Touche! But, I would have to add my parents were both, especially my father (b.1879) of solid Swiss stock.

  • That is certainly consistent with your last name:-)

  • R. Richard Schweitzer


    Actually in our family bible of the mid 1700s from Basel, which I have, the name appears as Schweizer, and there is some apocrypha that it may have once been Schwyzr.

    The famous Schweitzer was Alsatian; probably Swiss left over from the mercenaries hired by Phillip II at the time of the Armada to aid the Duc de Guys and divert Henri Valois (didn’t work).

  • RAB

    R Richard.
    You are a Time Lord arn’t you!!!
    My grandfather was born in 1882…