Wednesday, November 13, 2013

When Government is the Answer

Yes, you read my title correctly. 

Those who have perused my website Human Scavengers may have noticed that I advocate a free market solution to the problem of products being made with aborted fetal cells and may conclude that I am a strong Libertarian. Personally, I consider myself a Federalist, but I distress over looks I receive upon saying that. Therefore, I identify myself as a Libertarian. 

Some may question how a Libertarian could be so strongly against abortion. There seems to be a problem with how people characterize the Libertarian "movement." (I use that term loosely as I don't like how it implies that Libertarianism is a recent development when it was really the groundwork for the Constitution in 1789.) 

Perhaps too many people equate Libertarianism with anarchy. Although there are some Libertarians who do believe that government as an entity is completely unnecessary, there are plenty of us who disagree. What most people don't realize about the Libertarian "movement" is that most believe that sometimes government is the answer. That bears repeating. 

Sometimes government IS the answer to America's problems. 

Certainly these situations are very rare, but nonetheless, they very much exist. Neither I, nor most Libertarians, would fret over government laws making theft, murder, and enslavement illegal. Some of us may disagree whether these laws should be state laws or federal laws, but we would admit that the government is the solution to problems such as these. In fact, that was the reason we believe government was created in the first place. 

David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, explained Libertarianism this way in his book Libertarianism: A Primer,
"Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others."

To further iterate that there is a misunderstanding of Libertarianism, I find that too often the last part of this definition, namely, "So long as he respects the equal rights of others" is left out. In this way, Libertarianism is restricted to being simply, "The view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses." This is a very weak philosophy which would indeed be unsuitable for the view that abortion is wrong and the government itself should do something about it. 

Thus far, we've talked a lot about what Libertarianism is not, but what is it actually? To put it a better way, what do Libertarians believe is the proper role of government? 

Although I cannot speak for every Libertarian in the country, I can say that as a whole, the ideology is marked with strikingly similar beliefs to those of nineteenth century political philosopher Frederic Bastiat. (I told you the principles of Libertarianism have been around for a while.)

Frederic Bastiat explains in his brilliant essay The Law what he believes to be the foundation for government. Simply, Bastiat believes that the purpose of government is to protect life, and as an extension, personality (or individuality), liberty, and property of individuals. 
"We hold from God the gift which, as far as we are concerned, contains all others, Life — physical, intellectual, and moral life.

But life cannot support itself. He who has bestowed it, has entrusted us with the care of supporting it, of developing it, and of perfecting it. To that end, He has provided us with a collection of wonderful faculties; He has plunged us into the midst of a variety of elements. It is by the application of our faculties to these elements, that the phenomena of assimilation and of appropriation, by which life pursues the circle which has been assigned to it, are realized.

Existence, faculties, assimilation — in other words, personality, liberty, property — this is man.

It is of these three things that it may be said... that they are anterior and superior to all human legislation.

It is not because men have made laws, that personality, liberty, and property exist. On the contrary, it is because personality, liberty, and property exist beforehand, that men make laws. What, then, is law? As I have said elsewhere, it is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

Nature, or rather God, has bestowed upon every one of us the right to defend his person, his liberty, and his property, since these are the three constituent or preserving elements of life...

If every man has the right of defending, even by force, his person, his liberty, and his property, a number of men have the right to combine together, to extend, to organize a common force, to provide regularly for this defense.

Collective right, then, has its principle, its reason for existing, its lawfulness, in individual right; and the common force cannot rationally have any other end, or any other mission, than that of the isolated forces for which it is substituted. Thus, as the force of an individual cannot lawfully touch the person, the liberty, or the property of another individual — for the same reason, the common force cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, the liberty, or the property of individuals or of classes."

Here Bastiat has outlined the foundation for government. He explains that people form governments to forcibly protect their rights, their individuality, their property, and their liberty. He concludes this passage by pointing out that the government by its nature lacks the authority and jurisdiction to "Destroy the person, the liberty, or the property of individuals or of classes."

[In the United States government, there are many laws in violation of this principle of Bastiat, but alas, that is not the purpose of this post.  Thus, I will neglect to mention the NSA, individual mandates to buy insurance of any sort (or anything at all for that matter), and civil asset forfeiture in order to answer my initial question.]

So what do Bastiat's principles and Libertarianism have to do with this abortion crisis? In other words, how does abortion fall within the proper jurisdiction of government? 

How it falls within such governmental authority depends solely on your philosophical or religious belief. As you probably know, there are two primary camps when it comes to abortion: pro-choice and pro-life. The former states that abortion is a morally permissible act for various reasons (the most prevalent being that the "fetus" is not yet human). The latter, and in my opinion correct view of abortion, namely, pro-life, states that the unborn baby is both alive and human, and termination of said life would be murder, plain and simple.

Those who misunderstand Libertarianism will automatically say that it allows for "The right to live his life in any way he chooses." Thus, Libertarians must believe that women have the right to live their life without the "burdens" of a child, right? 

Wrong. Libertarians must not believe that at all. Some will, just as some Democrats and Republicans do, but that belief is not in any way a staple of the Libertarian Party. Remember, Libertarians believe that "Each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others.

If a Libertarian accepts that an unborn baby is indeed alive and human, and has rights, then he finds the act of abortion to violate (or not respect) the equal rights of others. Thus, he considers abortion outside of a man's natural rights because it abridges the rights of others.

According to my understanding of Libertarianism, the government should have an obligation to reverse Roe v. Wade and to pass a law abolishing abortion entirely. It has the duty to be the solution for America's infanticide problem, just as it is the solution to the remaining murders in America today by punishment through the criminal justice system. 

In this belief, I am not alone. Dr. Ron Paul, leader of the resurrection of Libertarianism in politics today, explains in his book, Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues that Affect our Freedom,
"On one occasion in the 1960s when abortion was still illegal, I witnessed, while visiting a surgical suite as an OB/GYN resident, the abortion of a fetus that weighed approximately two pounds.  It was placed in a bucket, crying and struggling to breathe, and the medical personnel pretended not to notice.  Soon the crying stopped....

That same day in the OB suite, an early delivery occurred and the infant born was only slightly larger than the one that was just aborted.  But in this room everybody did everything conceivable to save this child's life.  My conclusion that day was that we were overstepping the bounds of morality by picking and choosing who should live and who should die.  These were human lives.  There was no consistent moral basis to the value of life under these circumstances. 

Some people believe that being pro-choice is being on the side of freedom.  I've never understood how an act of violence, killing a human being, albeit a small one in a special place, is portrayed as a precious right.  To speak only of the mother's cost in carrying a baby to term ignores all thought of any legal rights of the unborn.

It is now widely accepted that there's a constitutional right to abort a human fetus...It's a giant leap of the federal courts to declare abortion as a constitutional right...If anything, the federal government has a responsibility to protect life - not grant permission to destroy it." 

Indeed, the travesty of Roe v. Wade is not a sign of strengthening Libertarianism. When one views abortion as murder, one views Roe v. Wade as very anti-libertarian. Looking back to Frederic Bastiat's essay, The Law, we can remember that the government "Cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, the liberty, or the property of individuals or of classes." What Roe v. Wade established was the idea that the Federal Government would force the states to keep this murder legal. The government is now "lawfully" used to destroy countless unborn babies before they have a chance to do anything but simply live. 

Abortion laws are the opposite of what Bastiat championed as the purpose of governmentRather, government has an obligation to protect life, not destroy it. So contrary to popular belief, Libertarians can believe that government is the answer to protecting life if government is used properly. So yes, you did read my title correctly. Sometimes government IS the answer to America's problems, and in protecting innocent victims of abortion, it needs to be.  

No comments:

Post a Comment