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How did our world get so messed up? Ask anyone claiming to work for the public interest to disclose their approach to family policy.


Urge any nonprofit or other public interest organization you support to disclose how – over time – family policies and population growth have impacted any progress made on their organizational values and goals, for example, by cancelling out efficiency-based climate emissions reductions, increasing the number of children subject to abuse or neglect, degrading democracy, or putting more animals into factory farming systems. How will these policies, including accepting the status quo, impact those values and goals in the future?

The Children’s Rights Convention sets out what children need to physically constitute just, sustainable and legitimate democracies, and it was designed to address the fundamental or familial political relations that make up the systems we all support (through taxes and otherwise), benefit from, are responsible for, and from which we cannot separate. What we often think of as population is really a matter of fundamental power relations.

And yet the current and almost universal paradigm for family and population policy does nothing to ensure all children are born and raised in conditions that comply with the Convention. That paradigm is based on what is called the constitutive fallacy: Basing our individual obligation to follow the law on things like top down written constitutions rather than just and sustainable family policies that actually empower people bottom up to constitute just and legitimate nations, and do and should account for our actual relations and lived experiences. Law and policy derive from basic systems of rights, which are mandatory obligations.

The powerful do not need those obligations; the vulnerable, including nonhumans and future generations, do.

Who we should be, in terms of the norms that create and develop us, precede and justify what we do. And not accounting for this fact, in all we do, leads to misleading results and a fantasy world of progress that does not exist. And yet many funders have pushed ineffective and distracting projects because those projects do not threaten the fundamental power structure, and its role in degrading democracy.

We can change this paradigm by recognizing that the extreme concentrations of wealth built today were created by not having to comply with the expensive and growth-reducing ecosocial requirements of the Convention, and by redistributing that wealth in the form of family planning reparations and entitlements that move the world towards the restored climates and natural democracies required by human rights.

Free people will condition their obligation to follow the law and respect property rights on this change, and on being democratically empowered using a simple inversion test, because only these changes ensure they will not be impacted by others – through even subtle things like the climate crisis and bad parenting – against their will. The obligation to follow the law stems from systems being fair and free, and systems start with family policy.

And while some nonprofits under pressure from funders have gone out of their way to hide these truths about freedom, many are pushing forward toward a truly free future.

There are many ways to promote the turn to true fairness. Take action here.

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