Saturday, August 28, 2010

Granting that abortion is murder how does one reconcile being pro-life with the issue of bodily autonomy?

This is an eminently reasonable question. Yes, abortion kills miniature human beings. There's no doubt in my mind that it does. But does that mean I have a moral obligation to support the siccing of cops on abortionists, women who have abortions, and people who counsel women to have abortions?

Isn't that what illegalization means, operationally? Siccing cops, prosecutors and judges on people who engage in the banned activity?

If you favor making abortion illegal, how far do you take it? Should all those who are party to an abortion face the same state sanction? More to the point, should a woman having an abortion face the same term of imprisonment as a woman (or a man) who kills a 30-year-old? Why not? Abortion "is murder," isn't it?

What if you were to find yourself living in an anarchist (i.e., self-governing) society, something along the lines of colonial America, the (not so wild) Wild West or medieval Iceland? Would you feel comfortable pointing a gun at a woman contemplating abortion? If you wouldn't feel comfortable forcing a woman to bring her pregnancy to term, why do you feel comfortable voting "pro-life"? All you're doing is electing politicians who promise (a politician's promise!) to hire cops who promise (a cop's promise!) to point the gun on your behalf.

Does the Gospel command us to sic the cops on bad people? Is this the Christian position? In that case, whom else would Jesus sic the cops on? Prostitutes? Adulterers? Drunkards? Fornicators? People who use contraceptives? Slackers who miss Sunday Mass?


Fascism versus socialism? Extreme "right" versus extreme "left"? The two "competing" strains of political thought share a philosophical base: some people, i.e., those employed by the State, are free to engage in activities--e.g., extortion (taxation), kidnapping (incarceration), counterfeiting (central banking)--barred the rest of us. Never mind that the hallmark of morality is universality. When it comes to statism, only the slogans are different.


Sunday, August 08, 2010

Thanks for the kind words and even-handed response to my column. As an American soldier, you have much to bring to the discussion I'm trying to advance.

I'm glad you don't think the U.S. should be a world police force. As long as it is a world police force, I can accept the possibility the U.S. may actually do some good for portions of the host countries "inviting" U.S. intervention. I can believe, for example, most Kurds welcome the American military presence in Iraq. Of course, the Kurds aren't the ones bearing the brunt of the collateral damage inflicted on Iraq.

Your experiences in Colombia notwithstanding, I still find it hard to believe the majority of the populace of the typical country on the receiving end of U.S. intervention feels that way. (Check out my article at my Italian parents' view of their "liberation" in World War II, aka, The Good War.) At any rate, the upshot of my article is that the U.S. military empire is anti-American, inflicting great harm on the domestic economy, not that it is necessarily anti-foreigner.

I agree with your assessment of the European welfare states: they are indeed going bankrupt on account of lavish social spending. As a libertarian, I object to both the welfare state and the warfare state, because both are funded via legalized extortion (read: taxation). I oppose all extortion, whether organized or freelance, whether legal or illegal. But if someone holds a gun to my head and tells me to fund one or the other, I'm definitely funding the welfare state. Better the country go bankrupt keeping my fellow Americans fat and psuedo-secure through lavish social spending than "protecting" ingrates halfway around the world through lavish military spending. In my opinion, the American welfare state is less anti-American than the American warfare state.

More fundamentally, I must take issue with your view regarding the inevitability of government wasting our money on one or the other. Ideas matter. If ideas don't matter, then English noblemen were wasting their time presenting their grievances to King John at Runnysmede in 1215. If ideas don't matter, totalitarian states waste precious police and prison resources enacting controls on speech and press. If ideas don't matter, then I don't know why you're wasting your time, and mine, engaging in this impressive exchange of views here at Strike-the-Root.

No, ideas matter. They matter very much.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

The office air-conditioning broken, the boss releases us from work at noon on Friday, July 23rd. Happy to get a jump on the weekend, I decide to drive to lunch at one of my old East Dearborn haunts, the M & M Cafe, and on the way over, I happen to hear a report of a Cessna crashing into Lake Michigan about ten o'clock that morning. The pilot, co-pilot and three passengers, including a cancer patient being transported to the Mayo Clinic, are all missing as of the time of the report.

I have my whitefish lunch and drive home. Posting to my blog the following day, on the completely unrelated subject of the Royal Oak Parking Gestapo, I remain oblivious to the fact that my old college sweetheart, Irene ne'e Iseminger, was on board that doomed aircraft.

I am online Sunday morning when the AOL headline piques my interest. It seems a letter was recovered from the crash: the doomed passengers' parting message to kith and kin. The story sounds too poignant to ignore. That's when I see her name.

I'd fallen hard for her. In the back of my mind, I thought some day, innocently, perhaps over coffee at her hometown's greasy spoon, we could relive old memories.

Thirty years are like the twinkling of an eye. They buried her today.