The social institution of the family has not received a great deal of attention from libertarian theorists. Because it is primarily concerned with political ideas, libertarianism has emphasized the legitimate limits of the state and the ability of voluntary associations to help achieve social goals. Those associations have first and foremost been those connected with the market economy. However, in the last decade or two, libertarians have paid increasing attention to the crucial role played by other social institutions, among them, although less so, the family. The family presents at least two sets of issues for libertarians: the relationship between the family and the state in general, and the tension between parental rights and the rights and interests of children.

As they do with many other ...

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