Abortion

Manufactured Culture Wars

The two major political parties are more alike than they are different when it comes to abortion and free speech.

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Because of the way the news business works, I am writing this column before the close of the polls in the so-called midterm elections, and hence as I write, I do not know their outcome. Will the Republicans or the Democrats control the U.S. Senate for the next two years? Will it make a difference?

The two major political parties are more alike than they are different. On the two paramount issues of our day—war and debt—they are identical. With the exception of Democratic progressives and Republican libertarians, the two parties stand for perpetual war and perpetual debt. Both stances increase the power of the government, and each invites present and future destruction.

A healthy society should avoid war at all costs, except when immediately vital for its own self-defense. A healthy government should pay its bills and not push them off to the next generation. Do you know any American whose freedom and safety have been enhanced or fortified because of all our empire building in the Middle East? Do you know that the federal government borrowed two trillion dollars to wage these wars and now spends twenty cents of every dollar in interest on its debt? Do you know that the congressional leadership and most of the rank and file of both political parties have brought this about?

There are two great freedoms being assaulted under the radar that will soon come to the fore: the freedom to live and the freedom to speak. Both parties use abortion as a litmus test. You want the Democratic nomination for any federal or state office; you need to support a woman's right to abortion. You want the Republican nomination for any federal or state office; you better claim that you are pro-life.

I say "claim" because that's all Republicans need to do to satisfy each other. If Republicans truly were pro-life, they'd have passed a one-paragraph statute when they ran the Congress and George W. Bush was in the White House that legally defined a fetus in the womb as a natural person. Of course, morally and biologically, a fetus is a natural person. The fetus has human parents and possesses a fully actualizable human genome—all the genetic materials needed to grow and flourish and possess self-directed humanity. But no such legislation ever came.

Since the Supreme Court denied personhood to every fetus in 1973, much as it had done to African-Americans in 1857, more than 44,000,000 babies have met the abortionists' vacuum and scalpel. Will a newly revived Republican Congress address personhood to the abortionist in chief in the White House? Don't hold your breath.

After the right to life, the next great freedom under siege is the freedom of speech. Here, too, both parties in Congress have failed us. When Congress in 2001 enacted the Patriot Act, which permits federal agents to write their own search warrants in utter defiance and direct contradiction of the Fourth Amendment, which commands that only judges may do so, it also prohibited the recipients of agent-written search warrants from talking about them. At least a half-dozen federal judges have found this infringement of speech unconstitutional, yet federal agents who serve their own search warrants continue to threaten the recipients against talking to anyone about them. This, too, came about with the support of the leadership of both political parties in Congress.

Not content with commanding silence about search warrants, the Democrats in the Senate attempted to offer an amendment to the Constitution last summer, which, if ratified, would have weakened the First Amendment by permitting Congress and the states to punish the political speech of groups. Three years ago, the Supreme Court, in a case called Citizens United, held that free political speech is such a highly valued and constitutionally protected asset in American society that it may be enjoyed not only by individuals, but also by groups of two or more persons, such as labor unions, foundations, nonprofits, think tanks, partnerships and corporations.

Outraged that corporations can spend money to affect the outcome of campaigns, rejecting the concept that buying an advertisement in a newspaper or on TV is speech, and wanting to remove the word "free" from free speech, the Democrats attempted to circulate to the states an amendment to the Constitution that would have made the government the arbiter of acceptable political speech. Is Vladimir Putin consulting the Democrats?

Yet, did you hear any Republicans in the recent elections call out any Democrats for this stunt? The First Amendment has remained pristine since it was ratified in 1791, and the Democrats want to change that, and the Republicans have gone mute.

A lame duck President Obama facing a Congress he hates and fears may become reckless. We should expect that. But if somehow he facilitates the killing of more babies in their mothers' wombs or the suppression of more political speech from his critics, what will a Republican Congress do? What is its track record?

NEXT: Brickbat: Car 54, Where Are You?

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  1. This just in: Politicians are statists regardless of what they say.

    1. No so for Ron Paul or Gary Johnson.

  2. Well if a feet-us is a person who is responsible for spontaneous abortions? Making women wards of the state when pregnant is not going to be very popular. Turning every miscarriage into a murder investigation is going to be expensive.

    1. “Well if a feet-us is a person who is responsible for spontaneous abortions?”

      Yeah, a miscarriage is JUST like a doctor carving up a fetus with a scalpel

      1. And manslaughter or wrongful death is just like homicide

      2. And a doctor carving up a fetus with a scalpel is JUST like a woman taking a drug that causes her body to flush out a clump of undifferentiated cells?

    2. I’m not being forced to pay for spontaneous abortions.

      Next distraction please.

      1. Talk about distractions

      2. [cough] Obamacare [cough]

        1. Nasty cough, SF.

          1. It comes and goes.

            1. Could be Ebola.

        2. Also Medicaid.

    3. If a 50 year old obese American male is a person, who is responsible for spontaneous cardiac arrest?

      Seriously, that’s about as ridiculous a non-sequitur as you could possibly come up with. The personhood or non-personhood of a fetus is irrelevant to who is held responsible for its death by natural causes. That would be no one – same as it is for a person at any stage of their development from cradle to grave.

      1. But there’s lots of activities by the mother which can greatly increase the chance of miscarriage.

        1. Indeed. If fetuses are natural persons, then can courts order pregnant women to drive less and exercise in moderation? Can they drug test and imprison women who use unapproved drugs, including alcohol? Can they force a woman to see approved doctors and only give birth under approved circumstances?

          Furthermore, if fetuses are natural persons then all abortions are murder. Rape is not an excuse, nor is danger to the mother. Are we comfortable drawing such a hard line?

          1. Think of all the intervention justified as ‘for the children’ and then apply that to the idea that microscopic one day old fertilized eggs=a two year old. It goes to some nutty, scary places quite naturally.

            1. Think of all the intervention justified as ‘for the children’ and then apply that to the idea that microscopic one day old fertilized eggs=a two year old

              Indeed. Good thing that we are on a libertarian board, and that most of us disagree with all that overreach, thus making it possible to derive a sane position for both fetuses and two-year olds.

          2. RE: Can they drug test and imprison women who use unapproved drugs, including alcohol?

            Yes, in Tennessee they have passed such a law. I don’t know if it includes alcohol, but definitely meth, cocaine & heroin.

          3. The pro-life position does not hinge on having an answer to every single nuanced practical question. Do I know how every type of murder should be punished? No, but I still know that murder should be illegal. Ultimately, no system will be perfect and we should move forward carefully, but I think there is room to drastically lower the abortion rate before even touching most of the gray areas you speak of.

      2. If a baby dies from neglect, if the mother chooses to not feed the baby, can and will the state prosecute the mother for murder?

        The answer is yes or at a minimum they would prosecute the mother for neglect. If a fetus is a natural person then they would have to treat a miscarriage or abortion just like a neglect case.

        1. In short, it is impermissible to interpret the term “right to life,” to give one an enforceable claim to the action of someone else to sustain that life. In our terminology, such a claim would be an impermissible viola?tion of the other person’s right of self-ownership. Or, as Professor Thom?son cogently puts it, “having a right to life does not guarantee having either a right to be given the use of or a right to be allowed continued use of another person’s body?even if one needs it for life itself.”

          _The Ethics of Liberty_, Chapter 14

          1. *smack*

    4. “feet-us”

      What brilliant and incisive commentary. I had doubts and questions about the political morality of abortion. But, your foot comparison makes it all clear now.

  3. Turning every miscarriage into a murder investigation is going to be expensive. And will probably deter pregnancy.

    1. And who exactly has suggested that? Unless you can point to someone, your comment is pure hot air.

    2. Dank meme, but I think everybody heard you the first time.

    3. But think of the JOBS!

      *** works on associate’s degree in forensic science ***

    4. Turning every miscarriage into a murder investigation is going to be expensive

      So true. Now, please find me a country — past or present — with anti-abortion statutes which remotely approaches this standard (which is of course not the standard for infanticide or any other equivalent crime of that nature). Even the nutty Muslim countries which criminalize the procedure don’t go that far, and sane countries which do so (such as those in Latin America, Buddhist-influenced countries, and Catholic Europe) certainly don’t.

      Man, those anti-abortionists in your head sure are scary!

  4. Guess the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet.

    What does that illustration have to do with anything?

    1. Just read the alt-text. Oh wait… THERE ISN’T ANY!

  5. Ooh, an abortion threda. Thanks for the clickbait, Mr. Napolitano.

    1. Some religions people can’t help themselves.

    2. Well controversy drives clicks. But why can’t the feds do something useful AND non-controversial?

      Like fund a program to make sure each kid in school can buy this:

      http://www.amazon.com/Life-For…..B0083Y0W26

      1. Or one of these?

        http://www.amazon.com/Nasco-Li…..0015TEJ8Y/

        1. You tricked me into clicking the first one. But fool me twice…

        2. LOL

          Keep ’em, um, coming!

      2. Some clever comments, though.

  6. Of course, morally and biologically, a fetus is a natural person. The fetus has human parents and possesses a fully actualizable human genome?all the genetic materials needed to grow and flourish and possess self-directed humanity.

    Oh, Judge, why did you have to turn this into an abortion article? Can’t you understand that many, if not most, Americans disagree with your definition of “natural person”?

    1. Flat-out false. Morally, biologically, and more importantly, ontologically, a fetus is not a person at all. A fetus is not yet individuated in any form other than as a parasite.
      The ‘distraction’ question is “when does life begin?”
      Life began millions of years ago and continues on in an unbroken line to today. There is no more of a point when a fetus ‘becomes alive’ than there is a point when a fat or protein molecule ‘becomes alive’.
      The question is when does individuation occur. The fetus is not individuated as a person at conception. Nor at six weeks.
      Nor, ultimately, is it anybody’s business but those directly involved. Only slaves want to force women to give up self-ownership in favor of their own views of personhood. Even if it were to be determined [how?] that a fetus individuates as a person at some point during pregnancy, who has standing to avenge it’s death should the parent(s) decide to terminate the pregnancy?
      Yes, this is the same very hard question as that of who has standing to punish criminals. That the question is hard is no excuse for abandoning rational argument to the slavers. That the question is hard is, however, very good grounds for treading cautiously in making decisions for other people.

      1. ” That the question is hard is, however, very good grounds for treading cautiously in making decisions for other people.”

        Best line so far, well put.

      2. all the genetic materials needed to grow and flourish and possess self-directed humanity

        It’s interesting that the Judge would choose to define “natural person” this way, actually. This definition would seem to exclude those suffering severe mental illness, such as late-stage Alzheimer’s or really bad autism. It would also seem to exclude the brain dead and irretrievably comatose. I doubt that was the Judge’s intent, though…

      3. So abortion on-demand right up until the second before the baby leaves the magical birth canal?

        1. Are you pregnant?
          Are you responsible for a pregnancy?
          Then what is your standing to interfere in the decision of the moral agents making a decision for which you may not care? May even have an active preference against?
          What justifies your intervention?

          1. Are you pregnant?
            Are you responsible for a pregnancy?
            Then what is your standing to interfere in the decision of the moral agents making a decision for which you may not care? May even have an active preference against?
            What justifies your intervention?

            Shirley, that’s not a very good argument because you could apply it to 2-year olds… or some 30-year olds for that matter.

            1. It’s at best part of an argument.
              The core of my argument remains the point that fetuses are neither morally nor biologically ‘natural persons’. They are not persons, period. No argument for the personhood of a fetus can rest on a claim that a fetus is a moral agent or is individuated as a biological person. Or at least I’ve never seen such an argument made, as opposed to asserted.
              It is only from the point of the difficulty of assessing exactly when a fetus individuates and so becomes at least potentially a ‘biological person’ that the consequent importance of leaving the decision in the hands of those closest to it is raised. So if you’re not pregnant nor responsible for a pregnancy then you have no standing to interfere with those confronting the decision of whether to end a pregnancy. By whatever stretch of imagination or reason you insist that you have a right to be involved that is greater than the right of the parent(s), you are a slaver. Unquestionably.
              It is the act of a slaver to insert oneself into the difficult moral decisions of others, particularly (but not exclusively) others who have not asked for your opinion.
              The simplistic approach of slavers such as Napolitano is, in large measure, why there is so much heat and so little light surrounding this issue.

          2. So you’re okay with infanticide, right? After all, why should the mother be responsible for caring for it?

            It should care for itself or it’s not really a person. That argument means no person has a right to live if they are incapable of taking care of themselves since it would be immoral to impose that obligation on another person.

          3. Even though I consider myself moderately pro-choice, yours is one of the most consistently idiotic arguments I run across. Any just law requires interfering in the decisions of moral agents. The entire point of pro-lifers is that they consider the fetus a person whose legitimate rights are worthy of defense. To say that only those who are pregnant are entitled to an opinion on whether those rights are worthy of protection is to say that only those who might violate rights should have an opinion on the legitimacy of rights. You might as well say that only rapists should have an opinion on whether rape should be legal.

            1. I think you’re right Bill, but I also think pro-lifers should take into account that the burden they’re considering imposing is going to fall uniquely on the woman in question before rushing to impose it.

              1. Dook.

              2. Well, like I said, I’m moderately pro-choice. In effect, I don’t think I’d be doing much imposition on the woman in question.

                But, sure, that is a valid matter to discuss. But, a discussion presupposes someone’s right to have an opinion.

        2. So abortion on-demand right up until the second before the baby leaves the magical birth canal?

          Not every “pro-choicer” sees it that way. Some of us recognize that there is no difference between a 9-month old fetus and a 1-day old baby. However, we know when fetuses become viable. That seems like a good point to draw the line.

          1. The viability of a fetus has to do with the current state of medicine and is not a fixed line in the sand. Over my lifetime, this line has moved back a couple months in the pregnancy and will hopefully cease to exist with the invention of an artificial womb (the optimal solution for this problem IMO). I don’t see how setting our barometer for an inherently unfixed position is in any way principled.

            1. An artificial womb is no solution because some women just want their baby dead. Period.

              I know someone who essentially said it would be awkward for a woman to run into her kid, so some women would rather he just be dead.

        3. The fact that a fetus is not a person doesn’t mean that we can’t choose to restrict abortions, simply that there is no constitutional obligation to do so. Generally, the rights of the mother, who is a person, should receive much stronger weight than the interest society has in a potential person.

          Personally, I think abortion on demand during the first trimester, and based on medical necessity afterwards is a reasonable policy.

    2. Can’t you understand that many, if not most, Americans disagree with your definition of “natural person”?

      +1 argument ad populum

      1. You might want to revisit that logic book you got at the Friends of the Library book sale

      2. Who else is going to define “person”, if not the populace? Top Men, maybe?

        1. Jefferson Davis?

        2. So I guess it’s OK if the populace decides you are no longer a person because you committed a crime.

          1. Wait a minute. Are we talking “person” or “citizen”?

            1. Are we talking “person” or “citizen”?

              I’m just pointing out that going to the “populace” for definitions is a treacherous thing.

              1. Yes, maybe we should let each person decide on such a difficult issue? We can call it ‘pro decision’ or something.

                1. Or maybe we can present reasoned arguments instead of appeals to popularity? How incredible would that be?

                  1. Recognizing how a democracy works is not the same as an appeal to popularity.

                    1. Let’s put it all to a vote then. Let’s referendum our way to utopia.

                  2. Or maybe we can present reasoned arguments instead of appeals to popularity? How incredible would that be?

                    If your argument is reasoned enough, maybe you’ll convince the populous to see things your way…

                    1. And trying to convince the populace is what Napolitano is doing. So, I don’t see what your problem is.

                    2. You sound a little like Tony.

              2. Exactly. That’s what we have a “President”.

          2. Considering the huge overlap of anti-abortion and pro-death penalty opinions, you might be on to something.

        3. That’s a weak argument. If the populace chooses to add “white” and “male” to its definition of person, would that mean individuals should accept that definition without question because the populace has spoken? Or would it be incumbent on anyone with good will and a reasoning mind to argue that that definition is wrong?

  7. It’s interesting that personhood is too far to the right for South Dakota but gospel for about half the regulars here. Says something interesting about our commentariat, no?

    1. Bo is a big, dumb, doodie-head.

      1. Did your baby-sitter fall asleep and leave her account logged on?

    2. When it comes to abortion freak outs both sides do it.

      1. Aborto-Freaks don’t care about the womans liberty. They care about forcing their moral code onto others.

        1. Be fair, many honestly think it’s the ending of a persons life. And it’s not a totally crazy idea, but it’s also very far from obvious and has such radical implications that you’d think they’d be much more cautious about forcing others to abide by their beliefs.

          1. Poop.

          2. True in many cases. Many other conservatives object to recreational sex and see sex as a purely an act of procreation.

            1. But I suppose it’s more useful for you to lump all of those arguments together.

              1. But I suppose it’s more useful for you to lump all of those arguments together.

                It’s not his fault. When you read as poorly as he does, they all just kind of merge together.

            2. There is some of that. I posted an especially bizarre but of conservative Catholic writing the other day about whether it was morally permissible to get medical treatment that would allow women suffering from certain ailments that made sex uncomfortable but had the side effect of reducing fertility. The argument was it was wrong: it was more important that the woman exist in some abstractly fertile state than that she even be able to have sex!

              1. To summarize: “poop.”

            3. “…purely an act of procreation.”

              I’m Catholic so I should know that this is extremely rare and perhaps just a thoughtless exaggeration. The Catholic Church, anyway, sees sex as procreative AND unitive and does not expect all coitus to end in pregnancy. I think most religious conservatives would agree.

        2. Were you born a fat, slimy, scumbag puke piece o’ shit, or did you have to work on it?

            1. Wassup, Weigel? Are you all out of Tears of Sorrow and Despair? I suggest you head to DU – there’s plenty over there for you to replenish from.

  8. You know who else lost a culture war?

    1. The Idirans?

      1. -1 Iain M. Banks

    2. The Mayans?

    3. Boston, once New York overtook it?

      1. Boy George?

  9. Apparently Reason failed us – for the AM Links

    1. Apparently another abortion thread is more important.

    2. What is its track record?

    3. Choose your own excuse:

      1. They were up late last night commiserating with other Cosmotarian secret liberals.

      2. They were up late last night celebrating with fellow Kochtopus conservatives.

      1. 3.) They stayed up way too late last night having mexican ass sex and overdosed on edibles.

        1. 4) they answered the invite to the Warty Doom Cave of Doom.

          1. Once you go to the cave, there is no coming back. That means there will be some openings on the editorial staff.

            1. Pick me! *waves hand*

    4. It’s not some obscure federal holiday or something, is it?

      1. DC post-election drink-a-thon?

      2. It’s NJ teacher’s convention! Which means that hordes of unsupervised kiddies and slack-jawed teachers will be out in force throughout the northeast, completely annoying those of us who work for a living, Bar the doors and stay inside!

    5. What if there was a morning and the lynx didn’t show?

      1. Where is the sad kitty?!

      2. If this is Root’s doing it will be time to run him out on a rail.

    6. Must be ENB’s turn.

      1. She too busy twitter-defending Lena Dunham from the revelation of a self-confessed kitten fisting incident.

        1. Who among us has not published explicit details of our childhood curiosities?

          You people and your glass houses that sit upon ivory towers…

          1. I was an only child and lived out in the county with no other kids around. I had to play doctor on myself. I resected two feet of my own small intestines before my parents walked in on me. It was very embarrassing.

            1. I’ve seen enough now to make this call: SugarFree is actually George RR Martin’s id that posts while he naps.

              Get off this commentariat and get to work on the fucking books goddammit!

              1. Not until I finish eat my 17 geese!

      2. It’s always Root who is late.

        1. Doh!

      3. Must be ENB’s turn.

        Women are never on-time.

        1. Except for their hair appointments, amirite??

    7. There is a reason. I have some sense-shattering news for the Morning Links and they are just working up their nerve.

      1. sense-shattering? *cowers in fear*

        1. The entire comment board will never be the same.

          1. Saddam wasn’t even so rude to keep everyone waiting in his 1979 Baath Party purge.

      2. Wait, wait, let me get my thalidomide first.

        1. Damn, girl… You got some sexy flippers.

          1. Why thank you, I just had them waxed.

            1. + 1 Pulitzer Prize

    8. Where is my mourning lynx?
      Where is my grieving wild cat?
      Where are my nut-punches?
      Where have all the A.M linkies gone?

      1. 9:30, though I can’t imagine what sort of lame excuse to expect.

  10. Since the Supreme Court denied personhood to every fetus in 1973, much as it had done to African-Americans in 1857, more than 44,000,000 babies have met the abortionists’ vacuum and scalpel. Will a newly revived Republican Congress address personhood to the abortionist in chief in the White House? Don’t hold your breath.

    Hey, abortions are declining anyways. If we just do nothing about it, I’m sure they’ll go away all on their own.

    1. Plus most of them are minorities and we wouldn’t want them to, you know, get all uppity on us.

      The downside is – fewer orphans to polish monocles and brush top hats.

  11. Oh well. Guess I’ll go take my morning deuce and hope the lynx are here after I’m done asking for Randian’s opinion.

    1. “Oh well. Guess I’ll go take my morning deuce”

      I thought you might be the Crusty poop guy!

      1. Take a chill pill, fecal freak.

        1. You’re stool going on about it?

  12. I view abortion as voluntary eugenics. If your genes are so fucked up that you can murder your own children for convenience sake, the gene pool is probably better off.

    1. I agree.

      If tax dollars did not contribute to abortion in any way I think that would ease a decent amount of the debate.

      1. You monster! Eliminating access to other people’s property infringes on someone else’s Liberty!

        1. I stand corrected. I am a monster, though.

          Where it counts, ladies and confused men.

          In my heart. Wink.

  13. Fuck all this abortion nonsense; I want to know where this “empire” we’ve been building in the Middle East is. I can’t seem to find it on my map.

    1. That’s the truly messed up part. For two trillion dollars I would expect that we could literally have built an empire in the ME.

      1. Yea, no shit. I had this dream of opening a chain of fast-food restaurants called “Allah-Snackbar”, complete with huge phallic minarets wrapped with pulsing purple lights, and a secret sauce based on bacon fat.

  14. I do not see how this is abortion thread. The point of the article is that the Republican and Democratic parties and their politicians BS all the time to drive frenzies to further entrench or gain power.

    Napolitano is using abortion personhood as an example of a way that W and the Republican Congress could’ve ended abortion, but they didn’t because Republicans use it as a carrots to gain votes and “differentiate” themselves from Democrats. Republicans do not want to end abortion its too valuable a tool. Relatedly, when some prog start spouting off about as of Tuesday women can kiss BC and abortions goodbye it is BS. If national Republicans were really going to end abortion they would’ve done it a decade ago.

    1. That’s an excellent read

      1. Thanks. Too bad I didn’t comment earlier

    2. ^THIS^ * 1,000,000. FWIW, they do the same thing with gay marriage. Both of these “social issuus” du jour are too valuable, to both parties, as tools to rile up their bases and convince to blindly support anyone with the appropriate letter after their name. Why would either one of them want to get rid of that?

      1. When it comes to issues that social conservatives care about, it’s mostly the Republicans that keep it on the front burner. Social conservatives should simply say “we consider this immoral, but ultimately, it’s not our business”.

  15. In effort to be positive this morning I’ll say that this article is one-third awesome.

    However, “personhood” is for people, not organizations or clumps of cells.

    1. So, it’s not for anybody?

  16. Well Judge, you lost me at “abortionist’s vacuum.” Lost me further with the “killing babies” rhetoric straight out of the Michelle Malkin/Ann Coulter catalogue.

    I understand open forum, exchange of ideas, blah blah blah. But how an ostensibly libetarian entity such as Reason would countenance publication of a quasi-theocratic piece of “social conservative” garbage as this article was.

    I guess it is okay to be “small government” other than when you want women to have to be under the jurisdiction of some Forced Pregnancy Commissar, then.

    1. But how an ostensibly libetarian entity such as Reason would countenance publication of a quasi-theocratic piece of “social conservative” garbage as this article was.

      Is alcohol an abortifacient?

    2. Yep, its completely impossible for any libertarian to think differently than you do about when life begins and thus when the NAP would apply. Must just ne a bunch of closet socons that demand all women be in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant. Dumb shit.

      1. He has “super” in his name. Thus his views trump yours and mine.

        Totally agree about the need to discuss the application of the NAP to the unborn child.

      2. You’re free to think whatever you like and act accordingly. However, trying to impose your morality on others through the force of law is about as far from libertarian as you can be.

        Furthermore, even if a fetus were a person, so what? You can’t force me to give you a life-saving blood transfusion. Why should a fetus have a legal right to force any other person to carry it to term?

  17. In short, it is impermissible to interpret the term “right to life,” to give one an enforceable claim to the action of someone else to sustain that life. In our terminology, such a claim would be an impermissible viola?tion of the other person’s right of self-ownership. Or, as Professor Thom?son cogently puts it, “having a right to life does not guarantee having either a right to be given the use of or a right to be allowed continued use of another person’s body?even if one needs it for life itself.”

    _The Ethics of Liberty_, Chapter 14

    1. I’ve read that essay several times over the years, and I am consistently amused at Rothbard’s attempt to hand-wave away the “creation/obligation” argument.

      1. Rothbard seems to hand wave a lot, especially concerning children. Mostly for the sake of “consistency”.

      2. I’ve read that essay several times over the years, and I am consistently amused at Rothbard’s attempt to hand-wave away the “creation/obligation” argument.

        I am not sure I understand how Rothbard attempts to “hand-wave away the ‘creation/obligation’ argument”.

        He addresses it if you read further into the chapter, “… whether or not a parent has a moral rather than a legally enforceable obligation to keep his child alive is a completely separate question.”

        It is a matter of consistency, and to be viable the framework (e.g.: self-ownership & NAP) must be consistent…

      3. The consistency is expressed (later in the chapter) in:

        We must therefore state that, even from birth, the parental ownership is not absolute but of a “trustee” or guardianship kind. In short, every baby as soon as it is born and is therefore no longer contained within his mother’s body possesses the right of self-ownership by virtue of being a separate entity and a potential adult. It must therefore be illegal and a violation of the child’s rights for a parent to aggress against his person by mutilating, torturing, murdering him, etc. On the other hand, the very concept of “rights” is a “negative” one, demarcating the areas of a person’s action that no man may properly interfere with. No man can therefore have a “right” to compel someone to do a positive act, for in that case the compulsion violates the right of person or property of the individual being coerced…

        [continued]

      4. [concluded]

        Applying our theory to parents and children, this means that a parent does not have the right to aggress against his children, but also that the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts coerced upon the parent and depriving the parent of his rights. The parent therefore may not murder or mutilate his child, and the law properly outlaws a parent from doing so. But the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child, i.e., to allow it to die.[4] The law, therefore, may not properly compel the parent to feed a child or to keep it alive.[5] (Again, whether or not a parent has a moral rather than a legally enforceable obligation to keep his child alive is a completely separate question.)

      5. It amuses me that you’ve “read that essay several times”, and yet thing Rothbard hand-waves away something he directly addresses…

        Considering, then, the creation argument, this immediately rules out any obligation of a mother to keep a child alive who was the result of an act of rape, since this was not a freely-undertaken act. It also rules out any such obligation by a step-parent, foster parent, or guardian, who didn’t participate at all in creating the child.

        Furthermore, if creation engenders an obligation to maintain the child, why should it stop when the child becomes an adult?

        … and more, but I gave you a link so you can read it again rather than me reposting it all here.

        1. *think not thing

  18. The fetus has human parents and possesses a fully actualizable human genome?all the genetic materials needed to grow and flourish and possess self-directed humanity.

    A human body without a brain doesn’t have individual rights even though it has a full human genome. The brain is what separates human life from other forms of life; things such as heartbeats and facial features don’t for example. A human with a fully functioning brain with a mechanical heart or prosthetic facial features has individual rights. A fetus produces regular brain waves as measured by EEG consistently at around 25 weeks. Of course, the key issue here is actualizable which the Judge includes. But if an embryo doesn’t have a functioning brain yet, then it doesn’t have rights. No doubt an embryo left untouched would likely develop to the point where it had a functioning brain, but if it doesn’t have one at the moment then it doesn’t have a claim to anything. You can’t be robbed of something you don’t have.

    1. *But if an embryo or fetus doesn’t have a functioning brain yet…

    2. So it is acceptable for someone to have sex with a corpse (without consent) because the brain is no longer functioning?

      1. Once dead, the corpse is a piece of property. So, in principle, it should be acceptable if and only if the owner of that property consents (for practical purposes, that’s the state right now and the state does not consent).

        1. In countries where slavery is legal, is it acceptable for one to have sex with a six year old that does my want to if the “property” owner consents?

          1. Does not want to. Not.

          2. It is morally wrong to treat persons as property, therefore the scenario you describe is not “acceptable”, regardless of whether it is legal.

            On the other hand, as an individual, I believe I have an absolute moral right to do with my body as I please. That includes determining what happens to it after my death as I would of any other property.

            If I don’t attach any conditions to that disposition, the new owner of that property can do whatever they want with my body, without requiring separate consent.

            Clear enough? It’s a simple classically liberal and libertarian position. If you don’t understand it, perhaps you are on the wrong web site.

            1. You’re vacillating back and forth between law and (your perception of) classical liberalism rights. I prodded you down one path and you responded with patronizing. Perhaps there is a double digit IQ libertarian website that would be easier for you to color within the lines.

              With that said, I think your post helps question the original post. Per you, your corpse becomes property after your death but with the caveat that anything can be done to it as long as it complies with your wishes. So your are implying that a corpse has rights. Even though it has no (functioning) brain.

    3. The thing is, is it fair to define “personhood” on our current state of development as individuals? Human beings by nature or design (take your pick) occupy both space and time. To say that our current state is all that matters is to ignore the entire development of life that would have happened had that life not ended. Isn’t it morally practical to take that into consideration?

      I mean take a comatose guy for example. Lets say he has no brain activity at all, and lives only because of life support. Is he alive in any meaningful sense of the word?

      I would say no. But what if we knew, with medical certainty, that he would recover in nine months and be a complete living person in every sense of the word? Does that change our moral obligations to him? I would argue it does, and that the situation is similar with a fetus.

  19. Not a big fan of the Judge. There, I said it.

    1. I think he does really good stuff with questions of civil liberties and the surveillance state.

  20. Abortions, deep dish pizza, and circumcisions for some, miniature American flags for others!

  21. Oh boy! Another abortion article and thread! Must be click-bait time of the month again.

  22. So what about the freedom of speech part?

    1. After lunch.

  23. These two manufactured cultural wars will soon be resolved. This story asks several great questions I will honestly answer. I am not a pacifist but am a conscientious objector to war. Not just any conscientious objector to war but the only one in history who has a USMC good conduct medal and a foreign service award after two meritorious promotions and discharge from the USMC as a corporal non-commissioned officer. I received an “other than honorable” discharge and not a “bad conduct” discharge but receive no veterans benefits and deserve none.

    I support free speech but have sued the FCC for failing to regulate interstate and world-wide integrated radio and wire communications required TODAY by the Communications Act of 1934. I also have sued GOOG for violating United States’ Communications laws (18 U.S.C. 2511) as well as Arkansas’ Computer Fraud prohibition Ark. Code Ann. 5-41-103. Regarding the right to live, I have filed amici therein at the Eighth Circuit also.

    Both Appeal dockets are mirrored free as well as all briefs filed.
    I won’t comment on either issue further orally because my speech is embarrassing due to my disability (TBI) affecting the speed and accuracy of my contemporaneous speech.
    This will be filed with the FCC
    ( http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/comme…..1210079873 )
    where there is not such a limit on size and will be posted by wire as well.
    ( http://TheEndofPornbyWire.org/….._wars.html )

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