The Libertarian Red Line

Red Line: a limit past which safety can no longer be guaranteed.

The subject of abortion has received some attention lately, what with laws in New York and Virginia and governors celebrating the furthering of liberty to murder human beings.

It is a curious topic among libertarians, a situation where the question of which human has property rights in the womb – the mother or the unborn child.  If it is the unborn child, the mother is inconvenienced for nine-months; if it is the mother, the unborn child is inconvenienced for (usually) not nearly as long…but much more permanently.

I have addressed this as a property rights issue in the past, merely for the sake of argument; the unborn child has the rights to the womb for the natural term of the pregnancy.  However, my fundamental view is grounded in the reality that the unborn child is a human being. The Ethics of Liberty Murray N. Rothbard Best Price: $11.56 Buy New $19.99 (as of 11:00 EDT - Details)

Why do I label it a “curious” topic?  By this, I don’t mean to trivialize it.  I find it curious that a portion of those who claim to adhere to non-aggression consider as acceptable the murdering another human being.  Specifically, in the case of abortion: murdering the only innocent individual in the situation; murdering the one individual in the situation least capable of defending himself.

Certainly for any libertarian who bases his concept of rights in the natural law, it is quite an inconsistency in thought.  There is no liberty at the end of this road.  If a principle of non-aggression cannot see its way clear on the aggression of abortion, it is a theory that cannot stand against any aggression.

Andrew Napolitano has written a piece addressing the current issue.  He offers a couple of concluding statements which well-capture my view on this matter:

No society that permits the active or passive killing of people because they are unwanted can long survive.

I would also say that no political theory based on non-aggression that permits the active or passive killing of people because they are unwanted has any claim of legitimacy.

No society that defines away personhood has any claim to knowing right from wrong.

I would also say that no political theory based on non-aggression and defines away personhood has anything worth listening to when it comes the right and wrong of crossing the line of aggression.

Fortunately, libertarian theory cannot be used as a crutch to support abortion; both on property rights and on murdering of innocents, libertarian theory supports the unborn child.  Unfortunately, libertarians generally claim that the theory is supportive of abortion.

I will suggest that those that do cannot hold claim to the label of non-aggression.  They make a mockery of both the term and of libertarianism.

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.