Tuesday, September 4, 2007


A certain leftist wrote a piece about how libertarianism is flawed. I largely disagree with such sentiments as would Libertarians such as Trevor Loudon, and the Libertarianz party.
I do however see some issues with libertarianism. None of these issues completely rule out libertarinsim as being a good idea, but highlight aspects of libertariansm that I feel are ignored or areas in which there is not one policy that is more libertarian that another. Some of issues are not realy excusive to libertarianism, but are not solved by "applying libertarian principles".

I will do a series on these issues.
First up will be "Animals and abortion"

Considering a large number of Libertarains (but not all of course) are athiest. Where do the get the idea that any one species is greater than another. Sure it may be "more liberal" to let people do what they like to animals, but what about the freedom and rights of animals, therefore it would be possible in a libertarian country to ban animal testing, 1080 poison, traps that are painful to animals, as well as the running of the bulls(if the country becoming libertarain were spain). Would it even be unlibertarian to ban meat and make vegertarianism compulsary?

Abortion also is another one, it seems liberal to be pro-abortion. I disagree entirely I think that it is much more libertarian to protect the rights of the child. Hence in a libertarian country we could have abortion banned.
To side track a little, due to this point I don't feel that abortion is a womans right, I dont however think that it is an extreme travisty and equivelent to murder. I dont think embreonic stem cell research should be banned, potential medical applications are just too important to be too philisophical.

moving a little from libertarianism: I feel that it should be a crime for a mother to cause foetal alcohol syndrome or foetal alcohol effects to a child or consume any drugs or alcohol while pregnant.
This is due not to the rights of the foetus but the rights of the child once it is born, it has a right to be born in good health if it is born.
making such harm caused to foetuses criminal would make abortions much more common, while I don't have an extreme issue with abortion, I wouldnt like to cause a large scale increace. Making abortion illegal too would make illegal abortions common.


Craig J. Bolton said...

Let me see if I can address your concerns.

First of all, many libertarians have a rather underdeveloped understanding of property rights which begins and ends with John Locke's theory of the emergence of such rights in his Second Treatise. In fact, those libertarians who have concentrated on this topic [those known as "New Property Rights Theorists" or "Neo-Institutionalist Economists"]understand that property rights are cultural artifacts and often include restrictions on what it means to own property, how particular sorts of property can be utilized, and how property titles can be transferred. In traditional India, for instance, cows use to be allowed to run free and do whatever they wanted and could not be owned. Among certain North American Indian tribes there were "use rights" [usually hunting rights] to real property that typically belonged to the tribe, but no fee simple title to land.

So your first issue really isn't a problem with libertarianism SO LONG AS WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE CHARACTERISTICS OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF PROPERTY EXISTING IN A SOCIETY and not some arbitrary bureaucratic regulations. That is, libertarianism is still wedded to PROPERTY RIGHTS and not to ad hoc regulatory "solutions" to imagined "social problems" that pop into and out of existence.

As to your second issue, there are two points you should consider.

First of all, there are "right to life" libertarians. From an abstract philosophic standpoint it is all a matter of whether you view a human being as a mass of tissue with a certain genetic structure or a being with certain capacities. There are advantages and disadvantages of each view which we can discuss if you aren't already well familiar with this controversy [which I suspect you may be].

Second of all, however, the foregoing may suggest that abstract philosophic concepts is not exactly the best way to approach issues of this sort. Another approach is to ask oneself what are the costs and benefits of recognizing LEGAL rights of various types of "human beings." Is it, for instance, really worth the bother to have a cop standing at the bed side of every 99 year old to make sure that they are getting the best possible treatment? Is it really worth the invasion of privacy that will result to assure that every woman carries every pregnancy to term? Think carefully about your answer in terms of both the monetary costs and the costs in terms of the rights of others....

ZenTiger said...

Welcome to the blogosphere.

I'm curious - why do you think a child has a 'right' to be born healthy? What are rights versus responsibilities and wishes?

Do we remind people of their responsibilities (and then let them deal with the consequences?) or enforce what we believe are rights?

How do we enforce the right of an unborn child not to have his mother smoke?

rage_against_the_caffeine said...

Hey there,

Animals: I'm not even sure that animal rights are directly against libertarian principles but I could be wrong. I think the reason most Libertarians are opposed to the arguments of animal rights groups is because most Libertarians are smart enough to look at the situation in a realistic and critical manner. I'm very passionate about this issue

Abortion: Some Libz are pro life. A lot tend to go with 'all good before the third trimester' line of reasoning. So far that's my way of thinking too.

Rebel Heart said...

further in support of abortion being a libertarian right (Wishart):

Good to see the old abortion debate being inflamed once again. Personally I don't see the problem. If you are against abortion don't abort. If you are for it go ahead. If there is an anti-abortion chromosome the antis will win out in the end. As for the foetus, surely its soul will go to heaven ...if there is a God, that is. If there's not then what it doesn't know won't hurt it. Simple really! Interesting too that the pro-abortion group aren't pro-abortion for every pregnant woman - that is, they don't want a blanket ruling, but merely the right to choose - whereas the anti-abortionists want absolutely no-one to abort.

Julian Matthews
Waiheke Island

Your analysis doesn't go far enough. You have adequately covered the rights of both the pro and anti abortionists, but have overlooked the third party: the foetus.

Does a baby have rights? I would argue quite obviously that it does. It is as human as you or I. The new in-utero soundscans clearly illustrate that it is merely a smaller version of ourselves, complete with habits like playing and sucking its thumb. To ignore the rights of the baby, by assuring that somehow the mother has more rights "because it's her body", is no different to turning a blind eye to child abuse or child murder because "a man's house is his castle".

Ultimately you have to decide on what basis someone has human rights, you can't just draw an unscientific arbitrary line in the land for the sake of convenience and say blandly, "anything younger than this is not human". Says who?

If a baby has rights the moment it is born, why does it have no rights before that? On what grounds?

If it is wrong to kill a six week old baby because it is unwanted or unloved by its mother, why is it not wrong to kill a 20 week old baby in utero?

If it is wrong to kill a one year old simply because the family find the child a financial burden, why is it right to kill a baby in utero on the same grounds?

All the arguments used by the pro-abortion lobby that women should have a right to choose because of the impact of a pregnancy, can equally be used to justify child homicide up to the age of 18 years.

The bottom line is that there must be some measuring stick upon which we apply human rights, and the only logical one is the presence of human life.

The abortion debate is not actually about either a woman's "right to choose" (which assumes she has such a right), nor about an abortion group's right to oppose. It is actually about whether the foetus has rights, and on what grounds those rights can be denied.

Clearly, a foetus can't speak for itself. Nor can a one year old. Clearly, a foetus is totally dependent on its mother for food. So is a one year old.

The truth is, a mother takes on the responsibility of motherhood from the moment of conception, not from the moment of birth. She has a "choice" about whether or not she had unprotected sex, or whether she had sex fullstop. We all know that pregnancy can result from sex. That's our choice, we don't - or shouldn't - have the choice to kill for the sake of inconvenience.

And from a Libertarian perspective, it is actually more rational to support the anti-abortion lobby, because they are standing up for the non-initiation of force against a weaker party - the baby.

Ian Wishart