Libertarian Ramblings

Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’

Free Market Government

Posted by gravisman on October 28, 2008

Link – Dealing with Police

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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.

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The Non-Aggression Principle

Posted by gravisman on June 15, 2008

The foundation of liberty theory, to me, is very simple: everyone should be able to do whatever they wish so long as it does not infringe on others’ right to do the same. This is sometimes further simplified to “live and let live.”

Doesn’t that sound beautiful? You don’t tell me what to do, and I won’t tell you what to do! What I definitely won’t do is send men with guns after you to systematically extract a large portion of your earnings throughout your life and spend that money on whatever I wish.

I talk about rights a lot and how I believe in people’s rights, but at the same time I speak out against universal healthcare, something that some people label as a right. So, what gives? How do we decide what’s a right and what’s not? 

I prefer to go a little different direction than answering that question directly, and instead ask, how do we determine what rights are worth while, and what ones are not?

The key to understanding this and how we can all live freely in a non-aggressive fashion is dividing rights into two categories: negative rights (what I like to call liberties) and positive rights. Don’t be alarmed by the adjective – negative does not mean bad in this case.

Positive rights are those rights which require something from someone else in order for you to claim them. For example, if it were decided that every child had a right to have a laptop, then that would require people to build those laptops and people to pay for those laptops. Positive rights can be considered enslavement rights because they must enslave some people in order to provide for others. In the case of the laptops, the people who build laptops could possibly be considered enslaved because they must build those for the children to have them. More realistically, though, it’s the entire population that is enslaved to provide for the children, because it’s their money that is siphoned through taxes to pay for the laptops. That means a certain portion of each person’s work is enslaved service to purchase those laptops. 

Universal healthcare falls within this same category. If everyone is entitled to it, that mean all of us, regardless of our needs, wants, or beliefs relating to medical care, would be forced to give of our income to support the medical care of others. Doctors would be enslaved to treat anyone and everyone – a medical professional loses all rights to say no, and their skills are used against them as they are made slaves to society’s will.

Negative rights (liberties) on the other hand, are those rights that require nothing from anyone else to be utilized – you only need people to not get in your way or prevent you from exercising the rights. Liberties are great, because it is easy to see that they are natural and engrained in human existence. To take away another’s liberties is unethical – who has the right to take away another person’s liberties when that person has done nothing to them? Liberties can include things as simple as the right to run. We all have the ability to run by virtue of being human. All we need to exercise this right is to do it and not have someone tell us we cannot.

Owning a gun is another example of a negative right, or a liberty. Property ownership is a pretty natural thing, and all a person needs to be able to keep a gun is to go buy one and not have the government prevent them from having it (naturally, if the government chose to intervene, they would do so with guns of their own in support – mobs are great).

The truly important concept with positive and negative rights is the understanding that in a society, the existence of high amounts of positive rights and high amounts of negative rights are inversely correlated. That is, the more negative rights you have, the fewer positive ones you have, and vice versa. This is easy to see when we realize that positive rights enslave people, and people who are enslaved lack liberties. Enslavement through positive rights like universal healthcare is undeniably an uncalled for aggression of the mob government over those people who want no part of such a system.

If we could all live and let live, nobody would have to take from me to fill their own desires, but the mob government feels it has the ability to do that, and since they have lots of guns on their side, the reality is they probably can…. I just wish I had a say in my own life. Slavery sucks.

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