The Fair Start Movement is a reaction to many individuals and organizations claiming to do public interest work, the benefits of which they were simultaneously undoing with outdated family policies that quietly and slowly enriched a few at deadly cost to many. Fair Start works to identify and target these claims and the policies they hide, which 1) violate fundamental rights, exploiting the most vulnerable classes – nonhumans and future children, and ensure a future defined by inequity, antidemocratic systems, and ecological collapse.
Ask anyone claiming to do good to account for the fundamental creation of power relations, or how they are ensuring children are only born and raised in conditions that lead to democracies or self-determining persons thriving in biodiversity. We urge those making the claims and backing the policies that do not reflect this basic justice to instead choose 2) bottom-up investing in equitable family planning and child development entitlements that protect and empower children, and also restore democracies and biodiversity. This will save many lives, as child rights override economic growth, and ecocentrism replaces Anthro-centrism, as a baseline for policymaking.
Who is blocking freedom today?
If freedom is really about living some relative level of self-determination (relative because we are created by others), it probably requires creating and raising children in conditions that comply minimally with the Children’s Rights Convention and ideally in conditions of climate restoration and birth equity.
Why? By definition children can’t become relatively self-determining as they grow – rather than be determined, ecologically and socially, by wealthy and powerful others – without these conditions. If we are really self-determining and politically equal, that means we are invested in and empowered enough to offset each other’s capacity for self-determination equally as nations grow, so that each person can influence the rules under which they have to live and be free enough – as if in a functional constitutional convention – to look into each other’s eyes without fear or deference.
That is the beginning of freedom in terms of fundamental power relations, actual relations. If we don’t offset as our numbers grow, something is going wrong at the base of our democracies. This fact also gives us a qualitative basis for determining and meeting optimal world population ranges that track what many decorated theorists have suggested.
A test case.
Would it be wrong for a young woman with little wealth or income intending to become a mother to demand birth equity resources – resources that simply ensure a level playing field for her child and thus offset the harm – from a wealthy family that externalized the deadly environmental and social costs of its wealth upon the child she wished to have? What if that family exploited that birth inequity and growth to not only harm her future child, but ensure that child would be likely to work for little money for the wealthy family and their children? What if the young woman were black, and whose child would have 9/10th less wealth than white kids because they would be black, and the white family she asked could afford to share by choosing to have fewer children?
What if the wealthy family had made their money by lying, greenwashing and otherwise hiding the true costs of their wealth?
What if the young intending mother were unable to even challenge the injustice of birth poverty and ecological injustice through participatory democracy where her voice actually mattered, because those systems never really represented the constituents they claimed to? What if she intended to use the resources she secured to engage in better way of planning for – and thriving in – families, one that left the racist ecocide and other mistakes of former generations behind?
Consider this fact: People, not documents, constitute nations, and the creation of their power relations through birth and development – by definition and inevitably – determines whether they are relatively self-determining or determined by others. These relations are part of the implied “we” in every statement, the often-unspoken presence of the dominant political/legal system – usually the nation – from which the statement is orienting. How would you ever really account for inclusive power relations to allow a say in what the law should be without starting at creation, and accounting for the move from minor to adult that makes persons full citizens capable of making the rules.
You would not, and the failure to halt the climate crisis is evidence of this. And there is a clear formula to assess reparations. The would-be mother would truly be constituting democracy, speaking the truth and logic of self-determination to power.
The border of freedom is not between nations, but in how we have and raise children. And becoming free involves empowering them, and each other, through birth equity entitlements, delaying having kids until parents are ready to parent well, and a universal ethic of smaller or more eco families.