Idaho Freedom Foundation analyst posts link questioning gov’t role in keeping children alive

Days before a special legislative session to address Idaho’s child support law, Idaho Freedom Foundation policy analyst Parrish Miller posted a link on his personal Twitter timeline that said the law shouldn’t force parents to keep their children alive.

The post from libertarian site mises.org says the law can, and should, prevent parents from murdering their children. “But the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child, i.e., to allow it to die,” wrote author Murray N. Rothbard in the May 2007 think piece. “The law, therefore, may not properly compel the parent to feed a child or to keep it alive.”

When asked on Twitter if courts should “enforce against breaches of familial obligations,” Miller wrote “Philosophically, I remain unconvinced that such obligations exist,” then posted a link to the blog.

The view isn’t necessarily shared by Miller’s Freedom Foundation coworkers.

“IFF (Idaho Freedom Foundation) encourages its team members to always seek greater knowledge. As such, team members occasionally share interesting, insightful or thought-provoking articles, research and philosophical content on Facebook and Twitter,” wrote IFF news director Dustin Hurst in a statement to Idaho Reports. “Social media posts by individuals may cover a wide range of topics and opinions and will not always reflect the views of the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s core mission, which is to promote economic liberty and opportunity in the Gem State.”

Wayne Hoffman, president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, said he hadn’t seen Miller’s post, but added “If it’s not on my website, it’s not something I’m endorsing.”

Hoffman said his concern with the child support legislation was the federal government compelling states to pass uniform legislation. “I’m interested in the state being able to maintain proper legislative oversight over a particular program. That’s it,” he said.

Hoffman said he didn’t question the state’s right to compel parents to pay child support.

“I pay child support. I have for five years. I don’t question the validity of states to compel parents to make child support payments,” he said. “That’s not what my organization is getting after here.”

The original child support legislation was low on the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s radar until after the session adjourned, Hoffman said. During the regular 2015 session, Miller did an analysis on Senate Bill 1067, the original child support bill that would incorporate the United Interstate Family Support Act amendments into Idaho Code. In his analysis, Miller wrote the bill “subverts the sovereignty of both the state and the nation, and subjects both Idahoans and Idaho courts to foreign courts and foreign support orders.” He gave the legislation a negative 2 on the Freedom Index — a relatively neutral score, compared to other pieces of legislation. (Compare that to Senate Bill 1080, legislation concerning licensure of genetic counselors, which earned a negative 6, and House Bill 312, the transportation funding bill, which earned a negative 15.)

No one from the Idaho Freedom Foundation testified against the bill or e-mailed lawmakers about the bill in the days leading up to the April 9 committee meeting, and no IFF employees did social media outreach concerning the legislation until April 10.

Since the session adjourned, Freedom Foundation board member and House Judiciary and Rules committee member Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, wrote an opinion piece explaining his opposition to Senate Bill 1067, and Hoffman has also written op-eds outlined his objections to the amended legislation that is supported by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

The legislature will consider the amended legislation during a special session beginning Monday at 8 am.

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