Spread Liberty Among the Youth, One Job at a Time

Talking on Gab today about immigration and whether Americans will do farm work got me thinking about how to spread libertarian ideals and one way that I found is effective is by allowing young people the opportunity to increase the family’s economic output.

In short, letting kids have jobs. 

Kids like stuff. And stuff costs money. And the easiest way (any kid will realize this early) to get money is to get a job to pay for it. I remember once, in a very tragic period in my life, working at a gas station (no, that’s not the tragic part) just outside Buzzards Bay, off the books, for 12 hours a day. The owner was some Middle Eastern dude who basically offered me a choice: work for $8 an hour “on the books” (this was almost 20 years ago) or $9 “off the books”. So the choice for me was fairly easy.

The person who trained me literally quit as he finished. I was now in charge of the gas station, 15 minutes into my new job.

Of course, I hated working in that gas station, and went back to telemarketing within a couple of months. But in those months I met a teenage kid, typical New England 17-year old, who wanted to work there. He wanted a job, and frankly, I was sick of working 12 hours a day, so any relief was welcome.

So when he came to me after talking to the boss worried about whether working “off the books” was ok because of some mumbo-jumbo his parents taught him, I set him straight. I pointed out that when dealing with a basic job in a gas station run by some foreign guy offering you such a choice, that this was probably not going to be a long-term career goal in the grand scheme of things. I asked what he wanted from the job. He said he was saving up for a car. I told him he should then aim for as much money as possible– off the books, as many hours as he could.

He went back to the boss and was hired on the spot. Which was great, because I was already thinking of quitting and quit a few weeks later (I thought that would be too cruel to the kid to do otherwise).

About a month after my departure, I was driving by, and saw the kid still working there, so I stopped by to say hello. Quite relaxed, handling the customers easily, reading a book and eating a sandwich at the same time. Next to his booth was a shiny but clearly old car. He seemed happy, if bored; and I knew he wouldn’t stay there forever. But he learned a valuable lesson, I am sure: that if you want something, you can wait for your parents or the government to give it to you, but working will get you what you want a lot faster.

Don’t know what happened to that kid, but I do know that we make too many excuses in our modern era to not let kids work. In Pennsylvania, the rules are so draconian that kids under 18 are actively discouraged from getting a job at a convenience store! (Work rules related to overnight shifts and school.) That’s insanity. My first job was in a summer jobs program at 14 years old. The government had to give me my first job. That’s utterly stupid. Had the rules been relaxed, I could have worked at the supermarket I worked at the next year anyway. Regulations keep kids away from their money. Parents who aren’t fighting for their kids’ right to work are, unfortunately, also part of the problem.

All of this points to where we are today: kids detached from a concept of earned wealth, no matter how small, cannot understand the concepts of liberty from the state. They are raised attached to it. The solution is to get our children working. From there, the ideals of liberty fall into place on their own.

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