If you wanted to be free from the power of others, you might migrate towards nations where you had more social mobility, where government was democratically elected, and where the rule of law – preventing things like arbitrary violence – operated. That would be liberating, but only relative to the nation from which you emigrated.
The move would not free you from the man-made climate crisis, the way your social positioning in that nation was determined by the resources you had at birth and in your development, or the way your vote is diluted by the size of the democracy itself. Relative to the ideal of freedom, your physical move might not be liberating at all.
Our thinking, when it comes to freedom, is clouded by what is called the “constitutive fallacy,” or basing your obligation to follow the law on coercive top-down instruments like written constitutions rather than bottom-up family reforms that actually empower and liberate people – in terms of their actual relations – and in a measurable way, enabling them to physically constitute – under the Children’s Convention – legitimate power relations between people from whose authority things like written constitutions must derive.
Resolving the fallacy allows us to orient from a just position, rather than knowingly being part of systems in which some benefit by placing costs on others.
This work can feel oppressive because it seems to impinge on our autonomy – the freedom to have as many children we like, in any conditions, irrespective of what they need and the impact on the nonhuman world. That sense of autonomy is an illusion because the private sphere of our family lives is not private at all, but shaping the public life of the future and it may very well be that freedom is an impossibility without fairness in creation, given that fairness is the base prerequisite for justice and liberty.
The idea that having and raising children is a personal or private matter to be left to the parent was not designed to protect; it was designed to eliminate the obligations of the wealthy, and the governments they influence, to collectively invest in the children they could instead exploit as labor, and to avoid drastic reductions in the arc of population growth that was creating massive returns on investments.
Targeting those responsible for this process, and those who most benefitted, in order to move their resources into future generations and empower them, is the most good one can do.
TAKE ACTION: There are dozens of ways to truly free ourselves. Choose one here.