Libertarian Ramblings

Posts Tagged ‘abortion’

An abortion dilemma?

Posted by gravisman on December 7, 2008

Jane has become pregnant and wants an abortion, which is perfectly legal. She goes to her doctor and he says he will not treat her because he is ethically opposed to abortion.

Jill is becoming sexually active and wants to use birth control pills. Her doctor prescribes them for her, but when she goes to the pharmacy, the pharmacist refuses to fill her prescription because he is also ethically opposed.

If you’re reading LR, there’s a decent chance you’re pro-choice as I am, and the actions of the doctor and pharmacist above are probably appalling. The question is, what do we do about it?

If you’ve read LR more than once before, you should already know the answer. Say it with me…..

Nothing!

That’s absolutely right. Without consistent ideology, we don’t really have anything. Being a libertarian – or simply being an ethical human being – is all about abstaining from the use of force to get others to live how you want them to live. If we force the doctor to give girls abortions, then we have enslaved that doctor. If we force the pharmacist to fill all prescriptions, we have enslaved that pharmacist.

Choice is the golden egg that life has wrought humanity. We must protect it at all costs.

Posted in libertarian, philosophy, Politics | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Consistent ideology

Posted by gravisman on November 27, 2008

One of my greatest complaints against contemporary American politicians is that they lack consistent and coherent ideology. Political campaigns, to me, are largely irrelevant because they focus on people and issues – they never focus on ideology.

Observers frequently complain about rampant mudslinging and cry out that campaigns should focus on “the issues.” A point that is never heard, and that I would like point to make, is that “the issues” are hardly the issue at all. US senators are elected to six year terms, and presidents to four years. Despite this, their campaigns typically focus on issues that will only affect their first year in office. The reason we’re stuck in this situation is because many of our politicians and most of our political campaigns fail to even speak of ideology.

Ideology is about abstract ideas. Ideology is about ways of thinking. Sure, it’s much easier for voters to grab onto concrete issues and form opinions about them, but in doing so, they sell themselves short. I, as a voter, don’t care just about whether I agree with my representatives on issues that are in the lime light today. I care also about whether we agree on unforeseen issues that have yet to even arise.

I believe that force should only be used in self-defense and that force in any form is not an acceptable means to political ends. This very simple belief affects my opinion on a myriad of issues from foreign policy to domestic health care. It is many times more useful to me to know whether a representative shares this belief than to know how they feel about the Iraq war. I don’t want to only know that my leaders are opposed to the misguided war we fight today; I want to know that they will stand against the stirrings of another superfluous fight that may come two or three years from now.

I was inspired to write this post to commend Congressman Ron Paul for his legendary ideological consistency. What refreshes me the most is that even though I agree with Dr. Paul on nearly every issue, on the one major issue where we disagree, he remains stunningly true to his philosophies and resists the temptation to be politically over-aggressive.

The issue to which I refer is abortion. When I first learned of Ron Paul’s staunch Pro-Life beliefs about a year and a half ago, I was crushed because I thought it was a deal-breaker since I may be the most hard-core Pro-Choice supporter in the country.

I was reminded of what makes Dr. Paul great recently as I read his book, The Revolution: A Manifesto and he expresses that despite his deep opposition to abortions, he believes the government in Washington should have nothing to do with the issue, because he is a Constitutionalist. That’s amazing. The ability to stick strongly to an ideological belief, such as the Constitution, even in the face of an issue that holds strong emotional significance is exactly what we need from our leaders. What makes this great is that we know exactly what to expect from Ron Paul. We know that no matter what happens, he will stand on the side of the Constitution, and so all we need to do is read it to predict how he will vote.

With so many of our other so-called leaders, guessing how they will react to an issue that hasn’t yet reached public consciousness is a crap shoot. Those things are generally determined by combinations of political expediency, party politics, and the winds of public opinion at the time. Look at G. W. Bush, if you need an example, a man who campaigned on humble foreign policy and has lead huge military efforts into the Middle East. Long story short – we have no idea what most of the people in power will do until they actually do it. That’s a very dangerous way to live.

Posted in philosophy, Politics | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Abortion: A libertarian perspective

Posted by gravisman on June 17, 2008

To expand upon my previous post with a practical example, I’d like to cover an oft-discussed topic with a somewhat less common argument.

Many people say that it’s inherently wrong to end an innocent life, so the abortion discussion often revolves around the definition of life and when it begins. Other arguments can mix in ideas of ownership rights, both over the mother’s and the child’s body. In this case, pro-lifers sometimes argue that child rights are shared between mother and father, while pro-choice arguments center on the woman’s exclusive rights to her body and related decisions.

Let us imagine a situation where a pregnant woman does not wish to carry her fetus to term – she wishes to abort the pregnancy, for whatever reason. If this is the case, the only way any other person can prevent this outcome is by imposing their will on the woman by force. In other words, they must claim greater ownership of the woman’s body and life than herself. This, of course, violates the fundamental principle of liberty

So far, I have not varied too far from the basic pro-choice argument. That is, nobody is more qualified to make the decision for the woman’s body than the woman herself. The typical pro-life argument, however, focuses on the ignored rights of the fetus if the woman chooses to abort. Let us, then, go at that argument more directly and focus on the rights relationship between pregnant mother and child.

The fetus has a very important tie to the mother – it needs the mother to live. Without the mother’s active support, the fetus will die. This dependence relationship means that in order for the fetus to claim a right to life, it also must claim a greater right to the mother’s life and body than the mother herself. To claim the right to life, it must force the mother to carry it through pregnancy to birth (or some agent acting on the behalf of the fetus). This assertion of a positive right cuts down the mother’s liberties (as is always the case with positive rights) and makes a slave out of her. Let me be very clear about this – forcing a mother to carry a child against her will is putting that woman in slavery.

The mother, on the other hand, has a negative right to life without a child inside her, and all to take away this liberty is no more justified than taking away her very life. Imposing will by force on someone’s life is taking a part of their life, and theft of life is murder, whether it’s the whole life or merely a part. Therefore, any attempt to save the life of an unborn child by imposing mob rule on the pregnant mother is simply exchanging one supposed murder for another.

Posted in philosophy, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »