Front Page Titles (by Subject) State Paternalism vs. Family - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1979, vol. 2, No. 1
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State Paternalism vs. Family - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1979, vol. 2, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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State Paternalism vs. Family
“In loco parentis: A Relationship between Parent, State and Child.” Journal of Moral Education 6 (May 1977): 181–189.
The term in loco parentis, despite its quasi-legal tone, does not refer to a specific set of rights and duties which a parent somehow may delegate to another adult or agency. Quite often it is used by some adult or agency to violate personal autonomy and to maintain power and authority over either a child or even over a parent or guardian. This ideological doctrine has often been used in England to define the rights of parents in order for the state to more easily seize wider control over areas of the child's life and actions. As quasi-parental persons, god-parents, kinsmen, masters of apprentices, and neighbors lost their role in the care and protection of children, the way was open for the state to define, and appropriate responsibility for children. And parents themselves were displaced in many of their obligations and rights as the state defined enforcement of these in loco parentis whenever it deemed it necessary.
We need to devote more historical research to gathering empirical evidence of the parental behavior which led to the state's seizure of control of children under the doctrine of in loco parentis. One theory speculates that the underlying concept of patriarchial authority (in which the child is “owned” by the father) was transferred to the state, i.e., the King, and hence influences most legal and sociological attitudes in present day notions of children's and parents' rights.