While a lot of people celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks and beer, some are asking what it truly means to be free, and how to create a world that ensures that freedom for all with equal opportunity, a meaningful role in more effective and participatory democracies, and the freedom from others – and the climate crisis – that we find in nature or the nonhuman world. That sort of freedom is what human rights and consensual governance looks like, and we get there by ensuring an equitable start in life for everyone. Fair Start family planning creates an actual social contract that works, and nothing has a greater impact on the crises we face today.
Enter Cassie King and Matt Webber. Cassie and Matt are exemplifying what it would mean to constitute communities that are actually free, in part by compensating future generations for the harm we have caused them through the climate, inequity and other ecosocial crises.
Cassie, an activist and nonprofit professional said this about family planning:
Current corrupt concentrations of power push a growth model that promotes unsustainable family planning policies. They see us ordinary people as economic inputs in their machine, to use for our reproductive and other labor. It’s our job to fight that narrative and elevate the worth of every individual to have their basic needs met, on day one. My partner and I hope to adopt children one day and I feel the urgency to ensure that my future child, and all children, have the resources and opportunities that are their right.
Matt, a donor to the Fair Start Movement, said this:
I support the Fair Start Movement because I know that any claims I have to property and wealth are subject to ensuring every child a fair and equitable start in life, the first and overriding human right. I’m willing to step forward, as a donor, and say that. I challenge others to do the same.
Together, they are exemplifying a real new deal, one that fixes the fundamental source of the biggest problems in the world today, and leads to a comprehensively liberated state of affairs. It’s not about population. It’s about people, the vast majority of people, who will exist in the future. It’s about putting their interests first. And if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to plan for a child.
Government derives from the people which derive from their creation. A just creation norm thus precedes and overrides everything else, including the government assigned property rights that have created massive power differentials between rich and poor. Free people will further this truth; precons, or those opposed to just and free communities, will oppose it. Cassie and Matt are engaging in the discourse of decolonization, of physically constituting justifiable and consensual communities of free and equal people. Cassie and Matt are exemplifying what it means to change power structures, and demand justice, at the most fundamental level. They are echoing the spirit of people fighting for freedom in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a suit that treats the government’s failure to respond to the climate crisis as a grave violation of our right to be free in nature from the power of others.
Forget the idea that the borders of human power are lines on a globe. Cassie and Matt are living the truth: The borders of human power that really matter are the conditions in which we are born, and the nexus of our communities with the nonhuman world. Those are the borders where our most basic values align. We were not constituted by god-like founders and ancient constitutions from the past. To constitute just societies means to limit and decentralize human power, first and foremost through the actual constituents – the “We the people.” In other words, we constitute just communities through Fair Start family planning – changing our polities/economies into legalities, and Cassie and Matt are leading the way.
We maximize autonomy by doing equity upfront – birth equity, in the fullest sense of the concept, including one’s share of democratic rulemaking authority. We don’t maximize it by continuing to pretend the inherently interpersonal act of creating children is an act of autonomy, and then chasing equity through invasive and ineffective measures downstream and later in life.
We can spread this modeling, and this simple discourse: “Part of your wealth is my and my future child’s family planning entitlement and incentive.”
The rich and powerful hold their privileged positions because of a racist, colonizing and ecocidal family planning model that exploited future generations and the nonhuman world to create wealth for a small group of people. These people hold their power over others because men with guns are there to defend it – not because it is just. Fair Start is our justified demand to limit and decentralize that power using a zero baseline baseline for distribution, in favor of democratically empowering future generations.
Speak truth to power. Help us approach and engage these five people who together well represent concentrations of public and private power, and the intergenerational injustice that created it.
These people hold privileged positions, in derogation of true democracy. They are uniquely situated to promote Fair Start as the best means to compensate future generations for the harms we have caused them. They can lead by example, like Cassie and Matt, and in being willing to support birth equity can show how to put people over property. We have a right to the resources at the top (including the platforms of influence privileged people have to communicate) to further Fair Start – the first and overriding human right.
If Matt and Cassie can work to change the paradigm away from the isolationist family planning model that helped create the ecosocial crises we face today, so can these five high influencers.
Join us in urging them to do so.