Friday, April 28, 2006

The Politics and Morality of Anti-Abortion

I agree to respect and protect human life from the moment of conception. I absolutely refuse to be a party to an abortion. I agree to publicize my views affirming the value of human life from its beginning to its end. I agree to use reason, eloquence, argument, parody, satire and moral suasion to support my views. I refuse to support politicians who favor the use of tax dollars to subsidize abortion, euthanasia or aggressive war.

I do not agree the Catechism of the Catholic Church creates an obligation to hold a gun to woman's head to force her to bring her pregnancy to term. I do not agree the Cathechism of the Catholic imposes the obligation to hire an agent to hold a gun to a woman's head to force her to bring her pregnancy to term. I do not agree the Cathechism of the Catholic Church creates an obligation to commission the ersatz agent we call a state to hold a gun to a woman's head and force her to bring her pregnancy to term.

State activity is inevitably morally problematic. This is due to the state's reliance on intrinsically evil means--theft, threats, extortion and violence--to fund its machinery and activities. The ends, however noble, don't justify the means.


In a message dated 4/28/2006 7:49:15 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person- among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.


"Thou Shalt Not Steal."

Note the simplicity and directness of the precept. No exceptions are cited in the surrounding passages. I don't see, "Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote." I don't see, "Thou shalt not steal, except to fund the local police and the armed forces commissioned to defend your nation's borders." I don't see, "Thou shalt not steal, except by vote of your duly elected representatives who have sworn an oath to uphold a constitution limiting their powers to steal."

The problem with conservatives, Birchers, minarchists, Constitutionalists and, indeed, most professed libertarians is that they accept a certain "minimal" level of government as necessary and good. They therefore accept a certain "minimal" level of taxation--a certain "minimal" level of legalized theft, threats and extortion--as necessary and good. Government and taxation have formed part of the status quo for so long they trump this simple moral precept. The only legitimate discussion then becomes "just" limits of the protection racket.

I'll have no part of it. The rules governing human behavior ought to apply to people within the government as well as they apply to those outside it. Not only do I regard anarcho-capitalism, aka natural order, aka market anarchy, as consistent with fair play, human decency and Christian morality, it's the only political-economic system that can be consistent. All the others require a measure of legally sanctioned theft, threats, extortion and violence.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Nine Eleven: Nothing Learned

David Beamer suffered a staggering loss ("September 11 still too painful to relive it on the big screen," April 22, 2006). As a fellow parent, I can barely bring myself to contemplate it. To find fault with his assessment of terrorists' aims and objectives might well strike most decent people as uncharitable in the extreme. But the time has come to consign the "they want to take away our freedoms" bromide to the dustbin of history.

The United States long ago ceased being the brave little republic founded by Thomas Jefferson and the boys. Maybe it never was that pristine place of lore. Certainly, the U.S. now bestrides the world like a colossus. With military bases encircling the globe and troops in 130 different countries, we spend more on the military than Russia, China, Japan, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Brazil, India, Italy, South Korea, Iran, Israel, Taiwan, Canada, Spain, Australia, the Netherlands, Turkey and Singapore put together. We've invaded a dozen countries--including such malevolent hegemons as Grenada, Panama and Serbia--over the last 25 years. We've left death, destruction and despair--a magnitude of evil our children rarely witness--in our wake. Does anybody in his right mind call this a defense policy?!

Time may well "dull memories" and "dilute lessons learned," as you write. But our problem lies in not having forged the right memories or learned the proper lessons in the first place. No earthly power is morally authorized to act as globocop. A globocop is at least as likely to ignore (e.g., the 14.5 million Ukrainians terror-starved by Lenin and FDR's beloved Uncle Joe Stalin) and perpetrate (e.g., the 2.5 million Vietnamese terror-bombed by LBJ and Nixon) holocausts as to end them. The only sane foreign policy is the one recommended by America-haters like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson: to pursue free trade and friendly relations with all nations, entangling alliances with none.

Unlike you, I don't need to be reminded of September 11. What I need is to see the odds of another September 11 diminished. Taking sides in distant conflicts and bombing and occupying Muslim nations aren't going to get us there.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I believe the Libertarian Party recommended including the "none of the above" ballot option in its party platform years ago. Maybe it still does. Intrigued, I ran the idea by a pension actuary friend of mine. He suggested the negative vote instead.

We all know of people who voted for Bush as the lesser of two evils. Under the negative vote, these people could have cast a negative vote against Kerry instead. Bush might still have beaten Kerry. But many of the people who voted for Kerry as the lesser of two evils would have had the option of casting a negative vote against Bush. Negative votes cast against a candidate would offset positive votes.

Bush might well have won the election nonetheless. But consider the psychological consequences of a candidate's accumulating a negative vote total. Could Bush still claim a mandate from the American people if, say, he'd "won" the election with a net total of negative 6,381,565 votes to negative 6,426,002 "for" Kerry. Could he so blithely tax and spend and spy and bomb and torture and extort and incarcerate in our name?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

"Now, if a publican is a tax collector, what is a republican?"

A republican (small "r") upholds the chimera of Strictly Limited Government (and its attendant light burden, Strictly Limited Taxation). He fancies himself a Constitutionalist, but grants his government the authority to interpret the very document designed to constrain its latitude to act. Surprising enough, those interpretations prove expansive, and Strictly Limited Government quickly degenerates into the kind of welfare-warfare statism now besetting the American public.

A Republican (capital "r"), as your question cynically suggests, favors twice the publicanism--and thus twice the welfare-warfare statism--as his small "r" counterpart. He offers a short cut to the same inevitable and tyrannical end.
Benjamin Franklin said more than he imagined when he joined death and taxes in his famous aphorism. Taxes fund government. Government is the deadliest institution known to man. R. J. Rummel, author of Death by Government, estimates that sovereign governments killed 170 million people in the 20th century alone. The figure disregards the numbers killed in interstate warfare.

Thus, the deadline for failure to pay taxes is far from metaphorical. Indeed, the term can be taken quite literally, even (especially!) in the vaunted, end-of-history, human rights-loving Western democracies. Try practicing and then persisting in a little tax delinquency some time. Fail to file and you will receive a summons to appear before a tax court or administrative agency. Ignore the summons and the tax police will appear at your door. Resist the police and you will be met with the full force of the state's centralized mayhem apparatus. Not only will you end up dead, but the ensuing collateral damage may well "take out" your friends, family and neighbors as well.

Freedom isn't free. Freedom is lies, surveillance, extortion, violence, threats of violence, imprisonment and involuntary servitude. Freedom, in short, is slavery. George Orwell himself said as much.