Karen De Coster wrote years ago on “free range kids,” because:
Milquetoast Americans love to be afraid, and they love to live in constant fear. These fragile beings desire the government to step in and regulate all of our lives to their liking: the way we play, what we eat, where we smoke, when we can drink, how we drive, how we parent, where we educate – all under the pretense that it is for our own collective “good.” These people are not only hysterical about their own kids, but they are hysterical about all of our kids, and they use the power of the state to force others into obeying rules and preferences set forth by them because they believe that only they know what’s ultimately best for all. These are the self-anointed Safety Czars – mere “concerned” citizens who have a penchant for cross-examining the lifestyles of their fellow humans, and they are never lacking in “expert” advice or a slew of new ideas for more laws to defend each of us from ourselves.
Free range kids, De Coster suggests, are those whose childhoods are minimally regulated in terms of strict activities schedules. And they’re kids guarded by pragmatic notions on safety, rather than totalitarian ones. They’re kids whose parents remember that the spirit of childhood happiness and meaning are rooted in self-discovery and knowledge that can only be gained by experience.
Somewhat related, Fred Reed reflected on his own childhood growing up in rural 1950s America, and included this vignette that stuck out to me: “Solzhenitsyn once told of stopping on some desert desert highway, getting out of his car, and marveling that no one knew where he was, or cared.” That’s an example of liberty.