Caryn Ann Harlos: Abortion and the Libertarian conscience

Original article submitted to IPR by Caryn Ann Harlos, Social Media Chair of the Libertarian Party of Colorado. She is not speaking on behalf of LPCO here.

SUMMARY: Few things divide Libertarians more than the question of abortion. Each perspective can argue presumably sound libertarian reasons for their positions. For many Libertarians, it can come down to a nearly irresolvable conflict of competing rights i.e., the right to life and the right to liberty/bodily autonomy. The Libertarian Party Platform (2014) appears to strive to allow both views (and the myriad spectrum between) full voice and participation, but in fact, it requires that pro-life Libertarians (and partially pro-choice Libertarians) give up their good faith convictions already granted by the Platform in order to accept it. In fact, only a minority of present Libertarians can give full-throated and unwavering consent without misgivings or discomfort.

Argument in Favour of Deleting the Present Abortion Plank of the Libertarian Party Platform

The current Platform of the Libertarian Party (1.5–2014) articulates the Party's position on abortion as follows:[1]

Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.

At first, this seems to appropriately balance this matter; however, what the Platform gives on one hand, it takes away with the other. It does not seem to recognize why many Libertarians are opposed to some or all abortions: they believe that abortion, either from conception or at some point during fetal development, unjustly takes a human life and is a form of homicide. With this is mind, the conflict becomes clear. As Libertarians, we generally believe that the State (or in an anarchist view, the community law—however enforced/enacted[2]) does have a compelling reason to prevent and punish homicide. It is one of the few duties of the State/Law about which Libertarians can agree. However, while the current Platform recognizes that many members will oppose abortion, it asks them to abandon the inherently Libertarian belief that homicide is a proper province of the State/Law. This is simply incoherent and isn't "leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration." Not really. It is basically saying, "Don't like homicide? Don't kill anyone"; rhetoric that works reasonably well for drug legalization and chosen personal relationships but fails utterly on the subject of homicide.

The Logical Conclusion of Present Platform (Unfettered Abortion Through Moment of Birth) Does Not Represent the Majority View of Libertarians

As Libertarians, we like to argue that if a law turns a majority of citizens into criminals, perhaps the law needs to be changed to more accurately reflect how people actually live their lives.[3] A loose analogy can be drawn here…when the Platform does not reflect, and in practicality excludes, the consistent full expression of the views of a significant number of Libertarians who are being consistent with Libertarian identity, the Platform should be changed.

I am not arguing that the majority of Libertarians, or even of the general populace, support the legal prohibition of abortion from conception onward[4] but rather the views are a continuum from that point forward.[5] For instance, there is also the Libertarian evictionist position as expressed by Walter Block (right to "evict" the fetus, but no right to actively demand its death). However, it is easily true that a majority does exist in answering negatively to the question of whether at-will abortion[6] should be completely allowed up until the moment of birth.[7] In fact, Libertarian Party co-founder David Nolan believed that there was a developmental point at which the fetus obtained a moral right to life and that the Party should drop its unrestricted pro-choice position in favour of individual consciences.[8] And on other points along the spectrum, there is of course the strict pro-life Constitutionalist position of Ron Paul (the States could decide that life should be protected from conception)[9] and the mid-road position of Gary Johnson (life should be protected from viability).[10][11] The National Platform has not been without controversy at the State parties, such as the 1994 Pennsylvania Resolution to leave the issue entirely up to the individual Libertarian, including whether or not there is a compelling interest to protect life.[12]

The present Platform presents an extremely volatile (and to most minds, disturbing) answer to a completely logical question, to wit:

What answer does the Libertarian Party Platform give to the question: "Can I decide to kill my baby one minute before natural full-term childbirth would begin?"

Presently, the answer would be "It's up to you." And that, to the vast majority of Americans of all persuasions (including ardent defenders of earlier abortion rights), is monstrous. I do recognize that there are Libertarians who believe that Libertarian principles would lead to this conclusion. I ardently disagree in the same way I do with Rothbard's conclusions on the duties of parents toward their children.

In rebuttal to that dilemma, some Libertarians have retorted statements to the effect of, "We don't need laws telling parents not to waterboard their children either. This is insulting to women!" which of course confirms the majority view that this "decision" would be horrifying, as waterboarding is. Yet, this is precisely what the Association of Libertarian Feminists (ALF) argues. Here is an exact statement (emphasis added):

If a woman has a right to abort a fetus at any point prior to birth, this also implies the right to terminate the life of the fetus as well. Abortion is not a discrete act; it is an ongoing process that begins within the. woman's body and continues outside it. If she has a right to the procedure of abortion, she has a right to the entire procedure—otherwise the so-called right is meaningless. Since the purpose of abortion is not just to terminate the pregnancy but to avoid bearing the child, what is necessary is not just the removal of the fetus (otherwise she could just bring it to term and give it up for adoption), but its death.[13]

The ALF has an updated and revised version of the same article that is even more blunt (emphasis added):

The libertarian principle of private property logically entails a woman's right to control her pregnancy totally until the point of birth dictated by natural forcesÑthat is, until a normal or premature delivery or caesarian section. This includes the right to terminate the life of the fetus during the abortion procedure at any time prior to delivery.[14]

The "official" Libertarian response at this point would be, "Yep. That's right." That is not the principled point of view of most Libertarians and certainly not of most Americans (principled or otherwise).
Typically a Libertarian defender of the right to abort at any point would not include in that position a right to actively kill (if perchance the fetus survived the procedure and was outside the woman's body).

The Platform Should Represent the Actual State of Libertarian Thought and Conscience

I am pro-life. I say that unreservedly as a committed Libertarian. I, and many others like me, do feel senselessly excluded by a statement that asks us to abandon our commitment to the most fundamental of rights which we hold as fully coherent with the Non-Aggression Principle. However, I understand that other Libertarians feel the same very strong sense about their commitment to their understandings of the right to liberty and autonomy, and while I do not agree, I understand that they are faithfully trying to follow Libertarian principles. My position is not an attempt to demonize them. This conflict is not going to be resolved and will always be a matter of debate amongst Libertarians—whether or not proponents of either side wish it differently. The Platform should not needlessly divide and take sides on an issue that it already acknowledges is simply not that clear-cut as between competing Libertarian views and presently gives the green light to a right to kill a full-term perfectly functional human being merely because of where it is located or due to its unexercised abilities[15] over the extreme moral objections of a significant portion of its members. I respectfully suggest that the Platform reflect the reality of Libertarian conscience on the majority of both sides without needlessly alienating potential future Libertarians by deleting the Plank and leaving the issue in reality for the conscientious consideration of each person and candidate.

For the persons on the opposite ends of this issue, this will not satisfy them; but it gives everyone the same liberty to pursue the logical ends of their positions; and it does reflect the median norm of ethical Libertarian thought. An objection might be lodged that this proposed deletion is not tailored to deal with the area in which there is widespread support for limitation, i.e., late term abortions. That is true, but where precisely to draw the line is something to be left up to the individual conscience or it can become an arbitrary pronouncement and puts the Party in the position that was my intention to avoid, to become the arbiter of a highly contentious and divisive issue amongst fellow Libertarians as it would have to defend any line it may draw—taking one side over others. It is further worth noting that in the Libertarian Party's desire to engage younger Americans that at least partially pro-life sentiment is on the rise, and many of these young people choose to affiliate and vote based on that belief. These are not people motivated by an opposition to the liberty of women as these are likely the most egalitarian generation as well.

CONCLUSION: I am aware that deletion of this Plank has been attempted before and failed during the token votes to remove any Plank of a current Platform. I also am aware that the threshold to change the wording, rather than outright removal, is much higher. I have a definite position on abortion; I do not pretend otherwise. But I am not attempting to argue my pro-life position, the present Platform already acknowledges that I can make it. I am attempting to bring more inclusion and tolerance of the implications of accepted views to the present Platform in the Libertarian spirit. I became a Member of the Party with the present Plank, and I will live with it as I firmly believe in Libertarian principles, but being placed on the outside of the divide can and does make good faith pro-life (and other views along the spectrum) Libertarians perceive that they are not entirely in the fold and needlessly alienates potential future actual Libertarians.[16] And that is unfortunate.

I am confident my position is in good company as Libertarian Party co-founder David Nolan also stated:

I have long maintained that the LP should drop the present pro-choice plank from the national platform, and let individual candidates take their own stands. Abortion is not one of the five "litmus test" issues in my recent editorial on the basics of libertarianism.[17]

Those words are still relevant and correct.

Closing Note: One concern that I often hear when I make this suggestion is that the abortion plank is a strategic bulwark to prevent the "Republicanization" of the Party. I agree with that concern and share it. However, this concern is not enough for me to overcome the arguments made above or to abandon my absolutely Libertarian belief that the defense of life is fundamental. Without life, nothing else matters. I want to be perfectly clear that my arguments regarding needless barriers are not intended to make a Libertarian agenda more palatable to semi-libertarians or non-libertarians, but to honour the good faith convictions of actual libertarians, and those who would affirm our principles but have not yet joined. I am a self-identified Libertarian radical. I have no desire to move our Party to the right (or to the left) but solidly northward on the Nolan Chart.

[1] The first full Libertarian Party Platform (1972) contained a statement supporting an absolute right to abortion within the first 100 days. This limit was dropped after the passage of Roe v. Wade, http://www.l4l.org/library/nolan.html#tracing, accessed April 14, 2015. The present wording seems substantially unchanged since 1996 (there have been minor variations in wording, and it was part of a much larger sections on reproductive rights),
http://www.lpedia.org/1996_Libertarian_Party_Platform, accessed August 21, 2015. The wording prior to this was stronger in its absolute pro-choice advocacy.

[2] I hold to a voluntaryist/anarchist view. I prefer my State non-existent.

[3] This is an argument made in a Libertarian Party position paper on Immigration, https://www.lp.org/issues/immigration, accessed April 13, 2015.

[4] Indeed, some people who believe in a moral right to life at conception reason that it would be impossible and tyrannical to legislate. For instance, if a woman is known to be pregnant and suffers an early miscarriage, is this an automatic homicide investigation? Others support legislation but would solve it in a different manner by focusing on the providers. I confess I have no clear-cut answers, but I do not think that it is logically required to have all solutions in order to take a principled position. I also do not have every answer to how society would function in the absence of a State, but I still hold the position that the coercive and monopolistic State is unjustified.

[5] John Walker argues, "As far as LP members are concerned, I think many of you already know that things are a lot dicier than the Platform and the press releases would indicate. When libertarians and LP members have been polled, the odds have been pretty stable: In roughly ballpark terms, a third are pro-life: they say we're persons with rights from fertilization onward, and abortion is aggression; it can be outlawed. Yes, there are points of difference and emphasis, but the basic agreement is there.

Another third are the hardcore of abortion choice supporters: Regardless of anything else, they insist that there should be no restrictions on abortion at any time up until birth, maybe even until the umbilical cord is cut. Here, too, there are points of difference (such as infanticide), but the basic agreement is there.

And finally, there's the middle — where everything is differences and there's hardly any basic agreement at all.

I do not mean that things are a tidy 33-1/3 percent each, but the odds hover in that neighborhood. Pro-lifers are sometimes down to 20 percent or so; the opposite side likewise. The middle is never less than a third." http://www.l4l.org/library/lp-silen.html, accessed April 16, 2015.

Though this article is from 2000, I see no reason to think this has changed. If anything the tide of national opinion is turning more towards at least a partially pro-life perspective rather than against it. The recent Planned Parenthood videos have heightened this trend. Though admittedly anecdotal, my personal experiences of dialog with Libertarians and libertarians have borne this out, and the ideas expressed in this argument have been received favorably.

[6] I use "at-will" to mean for any reason other than the mortal danger of the mother or fatal abnormality in the fetus.

[7] Marist Poll of "Abortion in America," January 2015, http://www.kofc.org/un/en/resources/communications/Abortion_in_America_January2015_For_Release_150121.pdf, accessed April 15, 2015, see specifically page 8 in which only 9% of persons believe that abortion should be available under any circumstance up to the moment of birth. This study does not break down by political affiliation, but does in portions break the data down by people who typically identify as "pro-life" and "pro-choice."

[8] See "An Exchange Between David Nolan and Doris Gordon of Libertarians for Life", http://www.l4l.org/library/nolan.html, accessed April 15, 2015.

[9] http://www.ontheissues.org/TX/Ron_Paul_Abortion.htm, accessed April 16, 2015.

[10] http://www.ontheissues.org/2012/Gary_Johnson_Abortion.htm, accessed April 16, 2015.

[11] I am also aware of the concern that the Libertarian Party zealously defend its unique Libertarian identity and avoid simply becoming "GOP-Lite" in order to woo voters from the Right. I share that concern. I do not argue that this is merely an issue of an obstacle to entry, but that it is primarily an obstacle to those who are already committed Libertarians. However, it would be foolish to dismiss those who may come from the conservative spectrum and for whom this is the only stumbling block to embracing full libertarianism. Actual Republicans (i.e., conservatives who are not really libertarian except a few points of agreement) will have myriad other disagreements with our positions. But for those looking for a new home, these are libertarians that we should strive to welcome as Libertarians.

[12] The Pennsylvania Resolution states: "BE IT RESOLVED that the Libertarian party of Pennsylvania takes no position on the abortion issue. The party hereby affirms that while it does not take a position on the issue, it supports the right and freedom of all individuals and candidates to hold their own views on the issue, provided that they do not represent their own viewpoints as being the party's position." http://www.l4l.org/library/ablppl94.html, accessed April 15, 2015. The Libertarian Party of Colorado (of which I am a part) does not have an abortion plank in its State Platform. Recently, a Colorado citizen was assaulted when she answered an ad on Craigslist and her third-trimester fetus was cut out of her body and died. Present laws offer this mother no justice for her murdered child, http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/26/us/colorado-pregnant-woman-attack/, accessed April 16, 2015.

[13] The Association of Libertarian Feminists, "The Right to Abortion: A Libertarian Defense," http://www.alf.org/abortion.php, accessed April 13, 2015. Libertarians for Life has provided a rebuttal to those arguments, "Abortion and Rights: Applying Libertarian Principles Correctly," http://www.l4l.org/library/abor-rts.html, accessed April 16, 2015.

[14] https://www.facebook.com/notes/sharon-presley/a-libertarian-feminist-case-for-abortion-rights/10150535339698498, accessed April 15, 2014. By this view, Kermit Gosnell did nothing inherently wrong.

[15] The argument from location is clear enough, but the argument from abilities is not. The ALF argues that "[T]the fetus is not self-conscious, cannot function cognitively, and is not capable of purposeful action; it is therefore not a person in any commonly accepted philosophical, psychological, or legal sense," (the ALF is wrong when it comes to the legal sense as the unborn can inherit. I posit they are wrong on all counts, but the inheritance issue is one commonly accessible point of objective fact, and it is not my intention to argue the pro-life case here) but later argues that the newborn is a person because it does have those particular abilities citing a 1974 paper as support. Yet recent arguments have been posited by bio-ethicists that "É neural development continues after birth and that the newborn doesn't yet meet their definition of a Ôperson'ÑÔan individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.'" Accordingly, they reason, "The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus, that is, neither can be considered a Ôperson' in a morally relevant sense." http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2012/03/after_birth_abortion_the_pro_choice_case_for_infanticide_.html, accessed April 15, 2015. The argument that certain fully gestated humans are not "persons" with rights is not a position that the Libertarian Party should wish to promote as its official position. Do we really want to argue as an official Party position that late-term abortion survivors who live with missing limbs and disabilities did not have any rights to not have their bodies harmed?

I do note that some such as Rothbard would argue that while "eviction" is proper, since a fetus, or even dependent child, cannot have "positive" rights, one cannot mandate even basic care so the evicted human can be left to die (see The Ethics of Liberty). I reject this premise as fundamentally flawed—these are not "positive" rights. A cogent defense of this is argued well here (though it is from a generally anti-libertarian site), Roger E. Bissell, "The Case Against Egoistic, Libertarian Baby-Starving," http://www.rogerbissell.com/id11kk.html, accessed April 15, 2015. Further Walter Block's evictionism argues that the right to eviction does not entail the right to neglect after eviction, https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/evictionism-the-only-true-libertarian-position-on-abortion/, accessed April 16, 2015.

[16] This is indeed happening. I am an Editor at the Facebook Group, Pro-Life Libertarians, (https://www.facebook.com/ProLifeLibertarians, total page likes of 2356 as of August 24, 2015). These are people who self-identify as "libertarians" but a significant portion of active commenters are not registered Libertarians due to this position. While some of those would not register or affiliate themselves with the Party unless it took a blunt pro-life position, the opinion of the Group Owner is typicalÉ when I asked if a neutral position would cause him to reconsider his refusal to register as a Libertarian, he said it would.

[17] See "An Exchange Between David Nolan and Doris Gordon of Libertarians for Life," http://www.l4l.org/library/nolan.html, accessed April 15, 2015. Nolan enclosed a copy of that editorial on "The Five Essentials of Liberty" which also can be found at this link.

[2/11/16- there were two non-substantive errors brought to the author’s attention and corrected- an author’s note inadvertently left in and an incorrect word in a sub-argument title]

260 thoughts on “Caryn Ann Harlos: Abortion and the Libertarian conscience

  1. Thomas L. Knapp

    Well-argued. Stand by for some flak from one or two resident “unless the feet have fully emerged from the birth canal, the umbilical cord has been cut, and it has successfully filled out applications to Harvard and Yale, it’s not a baby” advocates.

    My own rationale for deleting the plank:

    1) It is far from a settled issue among libertarians.

    2) It is not a political issue from which Libertarian candidates can really hope to benefit. Ceteris parebus, a small percentage of “single-issue” voters on either extreme end of the scale can swing a few very close elections, but usually ceteris is not parebus and those voters will be drowned out in the statistical noise of other issues. 99% of those single-issue voters will stick with a major party candidate who is at their extreme end of the issue or, if they can’t find one, look for a third party candidate who cares about nothing BUT their extreme end of the issue (and the extreme ends of both include positions that Libertarian candidates won’t take, e.g. government subsidies on the left, intrusive police state stuff on the right).

    3) If you’re pro-choice, congratulations — you’ve already won. Since Roe v. Wade the courts have consistently upheld and expanded into your position on abortion. If you’re pro-life, congratulations — you’re winning; as contraception and other technologies make abortion a less and less attractive or needful option, there will be fewer and fewer of them. There’s just really not much to see here on either side unless mendacious demagoguery is your thing.

    4) Therefore, the abortion plank is not only completely useless, it’s actively damaging to LP candidates. They’re free to take whatever positions they want anyway — why hang something out there which serves no purpose but to draw attention from what THEY have to say?

  2. Jill Pyeatt

    I would definitely have pink or purple or teal hair (or all three at the same time) if I didn’t have to be somewhat professional. It’s a great look!

  3. Richard Winger

    Anyone who believes abortion is murder should be prepared to agree that the pregnant woman who seeks an abortion is guilty of attempted murder. But pro-life advocates never, in my experience, follow through with this logic.

    The best way to prevent or minimize abortion is to make birth control easily available to every fertile female. Apparently nowadays even 10-year-old girls can get pregnant, in some cases. But most pro-life individuals are also opposed to making birth control super-easy for even youngsters to obtain.

    The second best way to prevent or minimize abortion is to persuade pregnant women and girls not to have an abortion. Some pro-life groups do excellent work with that.

    Fertilized human eggs, at the moment of conception, haven’t determined yet whether they will be one individual, twins, or even more. That takes a few days to settle. So clearly, there is no soul attached to a newly-fertilized egg.

    There are already too many people in prison in the U.S. It is unthinkable that the Libertarian Party should advocate a policy that would vastly increase the number of incarcerated felons.

  4. Andy Craig

    I wouldn’t mind the issue simply being absent from the platform, but I will continue to defend the pro-choice position as being the only one consistent with libertarian principles. I’m willing to set aside the disagreement on that issue to support a pro-life Libertarian, without any real problem, but I’m not willing to surrender the question and concede that forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term is the proper thing for Libertarians to call on the state to do.

  5. Andy Craig

    “Anyone who believes abortion is murder should be prepared to agree that the pregnant woman who seeks an abortion is guilty of attempted murder. But pro-life advocates never, in my experience, follow through with this logic.”

    Exactly. Try to tease out of them what enforcing a ban on abortion would really look like in practice, and they’ll just get angry and refuse to accept what they’re actually advocating.

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Anyone who believes abortion is murder should be prepared to agree that the pregnant woman who seeks an abortion is guilty of attempted murder. But pro-life advocates never, in my experience, follow through with this logic.”

    You must not know very many pro-life advocates. And it must have escaped your attention that a number of states have passed, or considered passing, laws that say exactly that.

  7. Gene Berkman

    A person’s right to control his or her own body is a fundamental principle of libertarianism. It is reflected in our opposition to conscription and other forms of slavery. It is also reflected in our support for a woman’s right to control her own reproductive functions.

    It is hard to imagine that you can have a limited government that also has the power to prevent termination of a pregnancy. The totalitarian implications of the anti-abortion laws have been made clear in Virginia, with a requirement that a woman seeking an abortion be made to submit to a transvaginal ultrasound before being allowed to have the procedure.

    The reasonable allowance of restrictions on late-term abortion are included in Roe vs Wade, a decision that libertarians should applaud.

    When the Libertarian Party platform made a clear statement in favor of a woman’s right to control her own body, including the right to an abortion, it was a stand that had wide-spread support among the general public. It was watered down into an almost meaningless, and certainly hard to read, statement meant to appease both sides. But why should we throw away the opportunity to defend freedom in an instance where many people outside the Libertarian Party agree with us?

    If anything, The Libertarian Party has missed a chance since the mid 1980s to appeal to pro-choice conservatives and moderate Republicans who have seen their party committed to restricting a freedom that many Republicans in the past have supported.

  8. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Tom,

    Thank you very much. My further thoughts mirror your points below though I only concentrated on the “it’s not a settled issue and will never be a settled issue” in the article since my thrust was for Libertarian unity. I get flak from pro-lifers as well (I get it from both sides) for not being strident in demanding a statement their way. But my goal wasn’t to disinter a view I disagree with to substitute my own, but to just remove it.

  9. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Chuck,

    Don’t ever let them tell you blondes have more fun. I’ve been a blonde…. pink is definitely more fun:) And I just love the LP, I can get away with it.

  10. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Richard,

    Much of that is beyond the scope of what I intended to argue. But I would note that if we made rape legal, we would reduce the number of people convicted… that really has no bearing on whether something is right or not.

    As far as birth control, I favour it to be available everywhere, every time, including Plan B. But that also is beyond the scope of my article. I could make my argument and be completely pro-choice. My main point is about Libertarian unity in what the Platform says. The token vote history seems to bear me out.

  11. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Andy,

    ==I’m willing to set aside the disagreement on that issue to support a pro-life Libertarian, without any real problem==

    I won’t say with any “real problem” but obviously I have joined a Party with a position I disagree with so that I agree with the spirit of you are saying. It is the only thing I disagree with.

  12. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Jill, I have had a lifetime’s worth of crazy hair styles:) And I like wigs a lot too. Always been a bit of an eccentric.

  13. Jill Pyeatt

    Caryn, I’ve always been an eccentric artist masquerading as a professional businesswoman. Life is so ironic sometimes.

  14. Andy Craig

    “You must not know very many pro-life advocates. And it must have escaped your attention that a number of states have passed, or considered passing, laws that say exactly that.”

    No state has ever enforced a law declaring abortion to be murder, or providing that a woman successfully prevented from getting an abortion should be charged with attempted murder.

    Laws with criminal penalties? Sure. Laws that treat it like murder when a fetus dies as a result of assault? Sure, though I’d argue that’s really just treating it like a particularly grievous aggravated assault. But no state treats abortion “like murder,” and the logical implications of actually doing so are horrendous. In practice, even those who want it to be illegal concede it is something less than homicide.

  15. Richard Winger

    Tom, what state says a woman who asks a physician to perform an abortion is guilty of any crime at all?

  16. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Andy,

    Assuming arguendo your point

    ==Laws with criminal penalties? Sure. Laws that treat it like murder when a fetus dies as a result of assault? Sure, though I’d argue that’s really just treating it like a particularly grievous aggravated assault. But no state treats abortion “like murder,” and the logical implications of actually doing so are horrendous. In practice, even those who want it to be illegal concede it is something less than homicide.===

    That does nothing to the force my point in the article that stating that people ***can*** have good faith disagreements on the position is incoherent with asking those same people to say the state/law has no place. Be it murder, assault, or any other species of violence.

    I also was pointing out a specific argument being advanced by quoting the ALF above which basically has the position that a demand for the death of the fetus…. up until the moment of natural childbirth is the libertarian position. So one second before it exists it has no rights? But our platform right now says, yep. And that is abysmal.

    Where to balance it? I stated in the piece, I think that is the conscientious decision of the Libertarian to come to and that the Platform shouldn’t make that decision for them after already conceding it is not settled.

    Of course everyone is free to carry on (obviously!) with whatever side trails they wish to explore, but my proposal and argument is pretty focused on just a few simple points.

  17. Thomas L. Knapp

    Richard,

    Andy points out the analogous laws I was pointing to (e.g. where if someone murders a pregnant woman, there’s an additional count of homicide charged for the fetus). I know quite a few pro-lifers, and a non-trivial percentage of them want the “fetal personhood” laws interpreted such that a woman asking a doctor to perform an abortion would be charged as murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

    That said, what we’re experiencing here is the usual topic drift when it comes to abortion (ran into that the other day when I wrote a column arguing that the “rape and incest exception” is demagoguery that makes no sense coming from either the pro-choice or pro-life side). The proposition Caryn is arguing is that the abortion plank should be deleted from the platform. Arguments on abortion per se are not really responsive to that proposition as framed.

  18. Andy Craig

    Yes but I agree I wouldn’t mind deleting the abortion plank, not so much on the merits but because I think it’s out of place and a higher degree of issue-specificity than the platform calls for. There are very few, if any, “single issue” planks in the platform, they’re all broad statements as to general topics or bundles of issues.

    So if we can’t argue about that, we have to find something else to bicker about. :p

    I have pointed to the platform plank to defend the proposition that the LP is officially pro-choice, because I think that’s the only fair reading of it. The caveat is to allow for the minority anti-abortion Libertarians in good faith, but “keep the government out of it” still amounts to a pro-choice position in practice. I agree there is something incoherent, and poor signaling, to admit in a platform plank that not all Libertarians agree with it, which begs the question of why it’s in there at all.

    But like I said, my objection is less about the merits than about its place within the entire document. We’ve tried having much longer and more specific platforms in the past, I think that’s generally a bad idea and doesn’t work well.

    @Caryn

    I don’t really have much new to bring to the argument. I take a pretty standard position that the woman’s bodily autonomy trumps even fetal personhood, just like the state can’t command you to give me your kidney just because I hypothetically need it to survive. I think elective late-term abortions are also a red herring, in that they’re practically nonexistent. I also think talk about “viability” as some sort of bright-line that can be legislated, and mandating intact extraction and incubation in those cases, isn’t reflective of the medical reality nor within the capabilities existing (or even near-future) technology.

    As to Roe v. Wade etc., I think there is real potential for libertarians to push the Griswold-Roe-Casey-Lawrence line of bodily-autonomy jurisprudence in a more radically libertarian direction, in areas beyond just the contentious topics of sex and sexuality (which is all going to remain settled law, incl. abortion being legal). It is, in essence, the application of a very libertarian concept of unalienable self-ownership, that has potential implication in areas such as body augmentation, right-to-try, assisted suicide, drug laws, assisted reproduction, surrogates, compensated organ/tissue donation, right to voluntarily assume risk of bodily harm, etc.

  19. Matt Cholko

    I am very much pro-life, in that I think abortion is a terrible, terrible thing. However, I recognize that, like anything else that people demand, the market will provide abortions. So, the real issue is shall we force abortions into the shadows (or into the hands of teenage boyfriends with coat hangers, if you like), or shall we allow legitimate medical professionals to provide them in a much safer way? I think the answer is pretty obvious.

    Its pretty much the same argument that most libertarians will make in favor of legalization of hard drugs. Heroin ain’t going away, it just falls into the control of criminal scumbags. I’d much rather it be available at my neighborhood CVS, where users can get a standardized, safe product, from a reputable merchant.

  20. Andy Craig

    “Andy points out the analogous laws I was pointing to (e.g. where if someone murders a pregnant woman, there’s an additional count of homicide charged for the fetus). I know quite a few pro-lifers, and a non-trivial percentage of them want the “fetal personhood” laws interpreted such that a woman asking a doctor to perform an abortion would be charged as murder and conspiracy to commit murder.”

    A non-trivial percentage of them, but a trivial percentage of the general electorate.

  21. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Andy

    ==So if we can’t argue about that, we have to find something else to bicker about. :p===

    Good I hate bickering with Libertarians. So many statists out there, and so little time:)

    It is somewhat buried in my piece as it was not the main point, but in a footnote is the case that this isn’t necessary any more about bodily autonomy (at least at some point) than is being ordered to pay a judgment for someone you made handicapped is. But that was a side point… just to be clear I wasn’t arguing for any positive rights.

    On your points about other areas of radical self-ownership, we are in full agreement, and I delight that you hold the same as I do. That is usually one of the areas that I get told “you’re too radical for my tastes.” I suppose that is one reason why I wanted to post this piece… while many may think I am wrong here in my position (not on the plank deletion… I am finding widespread support for plank deletion amongst people on all sides of the debate) on being pro-life, one thing I cannot be coherently accused of is not believing in radical self-ownership. So I guess I felt that gave me a place to write this where I will not be accused of harboring general semi-libertarian ideals.

  22. LibertyDave

    Caryn

    In your closing note you state;
    “Without life, nothing else matters.”

    From a libertarian viewpoint this statement is incomplete because without freedom to pursue happiness, life is meaningless.

    Also calling the following pledge a Non-Aggression Principle is misleading.
    “I certify that I oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.”

    This pledge only states that we will not initiate force, not that we will not use force in defense once force in initiated against us. Otherwise why support the second amendment.

  23. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Hi Matt!

    ==Its pretty much the same argument that most libertarians will make in favor of legalization of hard drugs. Heroin ain’t going away, it just falls into the control of criminal scumbags. I’d much rather it be available at my neighborhood CVS, where users can get a standardized, safe product, from a reputable merchant.==

    The argument I make in favour of legalization hard drugs is that it is your choice. End of argument. It isn’t a choice I would make, but I am not someone else. Obviously if I were running for office or trying to persuade a hostile audience, I would point to some pragmatics, but I don’t believe it because of pragmatics. I believe it due to self-ownership.

  24. Caryn Ann Harlos

    LibertyDave,

    ==Caryn

    In your closing note you state;
    “Without life, nothing else matters.”

    From a libertarian viewpoint this statement is incomplete because without freedom to pursue happiness, life is meaningless.==

    As we Libertarians are wont to do, you are parsing out too fine a point on it. I didn’t say that life alone was all that needed, but that life is the necessary precondition to everything else. And the rest would depend on the person….. some people will cling to life no matter what, even when there is no happiness.

    ==Also calling the following pledge a Non-Aggression Principle is misleading.
    “I certify that I oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.”

    This pledge only states that we will not initiate force, not that we will not use force in defense once force in initiated against us. Otherwise why support the second amendment.===

    That is the typical Libertarian shorthand to refer to it. The NAP only deals with the initiation of force. Some people prefer to call it the NIFP or similar but it doesn’t have the same ring to it. I am following in the long Libertarian tradition to use that terminology. Amongst Libertarians, I don’t feel the need to have to qualify it that way… amongst non-Libertarians I do.

  25. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Tom,

    ==The proposition Caryn is arguing is that the abortion plank should be deleted from the platform. Arguments on abortion per se are not really responsive to that proposition as framed.==

    Thank you. I expect the topic will drift, but I will not go too far from that point.

    BTW, forgive me if you said this on the blog and I missed it… did you end up keeping that writing assignment? I totally sympathized when you said you had nightmares about that topic.

  26. Andy Craig

    “It is somewhat buried in my piece as it was not the main point, but in a footnote is the case that this isn’t necessary any more about bodily autonomy (at least at some point) than is being ordered to pay a judgment for someone you made handicapped is”

    That’s where the law correctly draws a line between property ownership- which is alienable in payment of debts- and personal bodily autonomy and self-ownership, which is absolute and unalienable. Same reason you can’t contract yourself into slavery, and why Rothbard argued for a “right to quit” that would have nullified military terms of enlistment.

  27. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Andy, yet property is gained through bodily autonomy. You cannot quit and kill someone else, you must quit in the gentlest way possible (Walter Block). If you are piloting a plane, you can’t just quit mid-flight and jump out.

    But off the track a bit, I just wanted to point out, that I did recognize that point and very briefly dealt with it.

  28. Caryn Ann Harlos

    BTW, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate dialog with someone who takes this stuff seriously. I have been spending way too much time on Facebook I suppose.

  29. Thomas L. Knapp

    Caryn,

    I’m in the process of kicking out of the writing assignment right now. Even though I hadn’t signed the contract with them yet, they REALLY want me for some reason. Which is flattering, and I could use the money, but I don’t think I can write the book they want, or that I could write a book I’d be proud of within the various constraints they have (both deadline and content related).

    But hey, I knocked out a thousand words today — a Garrison Center column and 500 words of color content for the novel I’m finally getting started on. I was having writer’s block on the book, for good reasons, but I seem to be doing OK on other content. Thanks for asking.

  30. houselynn2

    I think we need to learn a whole lot more about the subject of “life” before we can reach a conclusion about abortion. The possibility exists that denying a woman an abortion is forcing a child to be born. I’m in favor of leaving the plank, if only to prevent that mistake. Just keep government out of it, the government knows even less about the subject of “life” than we do.

  31. Jill Pyeatt

    I like the plank because it makes it clear there are two good sides to this issue. We simply need to leave this very private decision to the woman involved and her doctor.

  32. Richard Winger

    If you were a medical technician in a laboratory for test-tube babies, and there were a fire or other extreme emergency in which the building was about to be destroyed, and there was also one infant in the room with you, and you could either carry the infant to safety or you could carry 100 fertilized zygotes, but not both, would you choose the baby or the 100 future babies?

  33. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Richard, if that is to me, that is far afield of my purpose. I could argue my position in the piece as a pro-choice or one of the various species of pro-life positions. My intent here is not to argue a position that the Platform already acknowledges I can make. But the incoherence of the statement in the Platform.

  34. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Tom, just judging from that snippet in the podcast, seems like you made the right call. And congrats on getting the other writing juices flowing. I recently finished a ten-year long book project.

  35. Andy

    Should a person be able to eject somebody from their airplane, car, or boat, even if said ejection will result in the death of the passenger?

    Let’s say they say, “I do not feel like carrying this person to port, or slowing down to let them out safely, and this is my ship/plane/car, so I can throw people out of it whenever I feel like it. So what if they die. It is my right.”

  36. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Andy,

    ==Let’s say they say, “I do not feel like carrying this person to port, or slowing down to let them out safely, and this is my ship/plane/car, so I can throw people out of it whenever I feel like it. So what if they die. It is my right.”==

    and I would say it is not… in that particular case when one voluntarily assumes the care of another and they have put their life in your hands, you cannot simply do that as it is a limited time agreement, and you can’t kill someone in that manner…..

    But realllllyyy going far afield.

  37. Andy Craig

    A person’s body is not a plane or car or house or ship, that’s the point. Yes property rights are derivative of personal autonomy, but that doesn’t make them equivalent. Bodily autonomy is unalienable, property is not.

    So we aren’t talking about just a property right, we’re talking about personal control over one’s body. Going back to my kidney example: suppose you and I had a contract that I’d pay you $X/month and that you’d give me your kidney if and when I needed it. Set aside that would be prohibited under the law against paying for organs, and let’s suppose that’s a valid contract. The time comes and you break it refusing to go under the knife.

    I can (assuming the contract specified damages in the event of breach) collect on those damages for breach of contract, in the form of an order to forfeit property in the amount owed. But I could not get from any court, and no medical professional obeying their professional ethical obligations would participate in, a court order for you to be restrained and operated on by force to surrender your kidney. That isn’t the sort of thing you can contract yourself to, any more than marriage can make spousal rape impossible.

    I don’t agree that pregnancy creates some sort of contractual relationship, but even granting the premise (like fetal personhood), the end result is the same. Consent must be ongoing and is revocable.

  38. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Andy,

    Not going to go that far afield as it is not my intent hear to argue the pro-life case. The Platform already acknowledges I can make it. I understand your argument, and I understand the Libertarian basis for it. I just do not accept it. When one through one’s own body causes the helplessness of another, one has then created an obligation to remediate, and since by the very act it causes the location to be within one’s body, one must exercise one’s rights in the gentlest way possible… which is not to kill.

    On a side note, I do not agree with Block here, but I think (going by extrapolation with his support for binding slave contracts) that he would say you could be forced to give up your kidney.

  39. Caryn Ann Harlos

    One clarification though on the plane example

    ==A person’s body is not a plane or car or house or ship, that’s the point. Yes property rights are derivative of personal autonomy, but that doesn’t make them equivalent. Bodily autonomy is unalienable, property is not.==

    I wasn’t claiming a plane is analogous to one’s body. I was claiming that the function of performing the duties of a pilot and using one’s body to do so is.

  40. Andy Craig

    Walter Block makes a lot of reductio ad abdurdum arguments that I don’t agree with. His treatise on why he could sue the New York Times for defamation but won’t because it would hurt the all-important chances of Rand Paul being elected is one of my favorite bits of absurdity, from the man who wrote an whole chapter in his book on why not only defamation, but blackmail, should be legal.

    The idea of binding-contract on the woman also leads to the impossible contradiction of abortion being acceptable in cases of rape, which isn’t consistent with the premise of fetal personhood and abortion being homicide. If it is “killing” then theories of the woman’s consent are irrelevant, there’s an obligation to “not kill” no matter what. There is also then no reason then to draw the line at viability. “Viability” tries to be a middle-of-the-road compromise position, but the theories invoked to justify banning abortion don’t give any reason to draw the line at viability instead of earlier, like at conception (even setting aside the impossibility of deciding when “viability” is).

    As for what the platform, all it says is that Libertarians can and do disagree. I’m disagreeing with the contention that banning abortion and not banning abortion are equally libertarian positions. 😉

  41. Andy Craig

    In this respect, the ban-it-all personhood-from-conception treat-it-100%-like-murder folks I’ll at least give credit for being consistent. In a way I respect that consistency even though I disagree with the underlying premise.

    But once you go down the road of granting exemptions for when abortion is acceptable, or why it’s something less than homicide and shouldn’t really be treated like murder, then I think the case for prohibiting it at all falls apart pretty quickly.

  42. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Andy,

    ==Walter Block makes a lot of reductio ad abdurdum arguments that I don’t agree with.===

    Me too, just wanted to point it out.

    ==The idea of binding-contract on the woman also leads to the impossible contradiction of abortion being acceptable in cases of rape====

    I don’t make any such exception. And I do think there are compelling reasons to put the line at viability… and in this instance, Block makes a very good case in his argument for evictionism. But not my purpose here.

    ==As for what the platform, all it says is that Libertarians can and do disagree. I’m disagreeing with the contention that banning abortion and not banning abortion are equally libertarian positions. ?==

    I understand your assertion, and this is where we disagree. The Platform concedes that a Libertarian can be pro-life. IF someone is pro-life it is because they think the NAP is being violated against a rights-bearing human. If aggression is being committed by a rights-bearing human, the Platform goes on to state that the only proper role of the government is to protect such rights. Ergo…. the incoherence. And to the no-state libertarians the same concept would apply to whatever means of justice enforcement they envision.

  43. Andy

    “Andy Craig

    August 25, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    A person’s body is not a plane or car or house or ship, that’s the point. Yes property rights are derivative of personal autonomy, but that doesn’t make them equivalent. Bodily autonomy is unalienable, property is not.”

    What about the body of the “passenger” (the fetus)?

    If there are two bodies involved, should only one of them matter?

    Question to all reading this: Would you personally do the job of an abortion doctor?

    Follow up question: Is aborting a fetus an act of aggression against the fetus, or is it no different than trimming a toe nail or cutting hair?

  44. Caryn Ann Harlos

    And in your next post,

    ==In this respect, the ban-it-all personhood-from-conception treat-it-100%-like-murder folks I’ll at least give credit for being consistent. In a way I respect that consistency even though I disagree with the underlying premise.===

    Not if someone believes that rights invest, say at neural development. I am not saying that is my position (I am not arguing my position here) — simply that it is consistent.

    ==But once you go down the road of granting exemptions for when abortion is acceptable====

    I agree many exemptions are incoherent. But not the topic here. At least to me… obviously others should feel free to engage.

    == or why it’s something less than homicide and shouldn’t really be treated like murder, then I think the case for prohibiting it at all falls apart pretty quickly.===

    I never said it was less than homicide (not arguing my position here), but let’s say for sake of argument it was. Lesser aggressions are just as punishable under justice, so the coherence factor is the same.

  45. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Oh heck there are two Andys here. Again, feel free to engage. I will pretty much just respond to assertions on my premise, only because that was my intention in writing. Carry on.

  46. Andy Craig

    I don’t think Libertarians are bound to agree 100% with the platform or that deviation isn’t acceptable. How much deviation is acceptable is a matter of opinion and subjective judgment, but abortion is hardly the only topic it happens on. There are probably very few candidates who agree 100% with every iota of the platform- I know I don’t.

    But what the platform plank currently says, is that Libertarians can disagree on it but that the party’s position is the government should stay out of it. That’s a pro-choice position in everything but actually using that label to describe it. One could even read the platform as not acknowledging dispute on the legality of abortion, only its personal morality outside the sphere of government action, in the same way we support drug legalization without per se condoning or supporting drug use. Or the general statement elsewhere in the platform that supporting something being legal is not tantamount to condoning or advocating it.

    Like I said above, my reason for being ok with deleting the plank isn’t really about the merits of its wording, but rather disagreement that it is an appropriate level of single-issue specificity for the platform. We don’t disagree on the end result there, just for different reasons.

    As for arguing a position from the NAP: there are, for example, libertarians (and Libertarians) who argue that illegal immigration is a kind of trespassing and therefore all the panoply of gov’t enforcement mechanisms to prohibit unauthorized interaction with foreginers is justified. There are Libertarians who argue that e.g. the government of Saddam’s Iraq or the Ayatollahs in Iran aren’t NAP-compliant and are aggressing against their own people, therefore a war against them qualifies as defensive force.

    You can go down the list and find somebody arguing just about every non- or anti-libertarian position from a NAP angle, even people who don’t otherwise consider themselves libertarians will often make a NAP-based argument for their position on a single-issue. There are a lot of minority positions that most Libertarians don’t take, that can be plausibly and coherently argued from the NAP. Even if you consider that that the a priori logic of the NAP is the defining, or even only quality of libertarianism (I’m not so sure about that because I think it gives short shrift to the utlitarian and empiricist side of classical liberalism and libertarianism), that doesn’t mean every position argued from the NAP framework is equally libertarian or equally representative of the Party’s platform. Even Rothbard himself, would give different answers to the same question about how the NAP applied, at different points in his life.

  47. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Andy,

    ==I don’t think Libertarians are bound to agree 100% with the platform or that deviation isn’t acceptable. How much deviation is acceptable is a matter of opinion and subjective judgment, but abortion is hardly the only topic it happens on. There are probably very few candidates who agree 100% with every iota of the platform- I know I don’t.==

    I obviously don’t.

    ===But what the platform plank currently says, is that Libertarians can disagree on it but that the party’s position is the government should stay out of it.===

    and that is incoherent, as I stated before

    ==in the same way we support drug legalization without per se condoning or supporting drug use. Or the general statement elsewhere in the platform that supporting something being legal is not tantamount to condoning or advocating it.==

    But drug use isn’t opposed because it is aggression on another person’s body.

    ==Like I said above, my reason for being ok with deleting the plank isn’t really about the merits of its wording, but rather disagreement that it is an appropriate level of single-issue specificity for the platform. We don’t disagree on the end result there, just for different reasons.==

    I’ll take it:)

    ==As for arguing a position from the NAP: there are, for example, libertarians (and Libertarians) who argue that illegal immigration is a kind of trespassing and therefore all the panoply of gov’t enforcement mechanisms to prohibit unauthorized interaction with foreginers is justified. There are Libertarians who argue that e.g. the government of Saddam’s Iraq or the Ayatollahs in Iran aren’t NAP-compliant and are aggressing against their own people, therefore a war against them qualifies as defensive force.===

    And if the platform agreed they could make that case and then told them not to have consistent beliefs about it, I would be saying the same thing about the incoherence of the Platform. However, this is much more than just a few outliers. How many tokens were submitted last convention for the deletion of this plank? Ten times more than the next runner up?

    And yes I would state that anything coherently argued from the NAP is a libertarian position. Even if our Platform doesn’t take that route. While I love the LP, it isn’t holy writ to me. Obviously. (btw I come from a very strict deontological position so that is why)

  48. Andy Craig

    “If there are two bodies involved, should only one of them matter?”

    Even granting that both matter equally, doesn’t reach the result of abortion being a crime.

    “Question to all reading this: Would you personally do the job of an abortion doctor?”

    There are a lot of jobs I wouldn’t personally perform, that I don’t think it should be illegal. I wouldn’t want to be a pediatric oncologist either, but that doesn’t mean I consider them criminals.

    “Follow up question: Is aborting a fetus an act of aggression against the fetus, or is it no different than trimming a toe nail or cutting hair?”

    It is a much more consequential decision, I don’t deny that. It can be one with substantial ethical and weighty personal questions at stake, it isn’t trivial in the way you try to suggest. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t the woman’s decision to make.

    As for is it an act of aggression: no, it isn’t. Even with the context of fetal personhood (which I don’t concede), it is defensive. And hand-waving about the theoretical possibility of intact extraction and incubation is just so much science fiction, it isn’t medical reality. Particularly in consideration of the reality that late-term abortions (themselves a tiny fraction of the total) are almost exclusively in cases of severe birth defects or medical emergency, not as an elective birth-control procedure. People want to focus on the mythical scenario of a woman deciding on a whim to abort right before birth, but that isn’t what happens.

  49. Andy Craig

    “But drug use isn’t opposed because it is aggression on another person’s body.”

    That’s the standard conservative argument in favor of prohibition, basically that using drugs is putting other people at risk by forfeiting your self control such that you become a danger to others, supporting the drug trade and the violence associated with it, etc. I don’t agree, obviously, but that argument absolutely is made by people, including some who call themselves libertarians. See for example, the “Liberland” folks who ban drugs in their uninhabited swamp on that basis. Ayn Rand (hypocritically, of course) also made such an argument against drug use.

  50. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Andy,

    ==That’s the standard conservative argument in favor of prohibition, basically that using drugs is putting other people at risk by forfeiting your self control such that you become a danger to others, supporting the drug trade and the violence associated with it, etc. I don’t agree, obviously, but that argument absolutely is made by people, including some who call themselves libertarians.===

    A conservative argument is not a libertarian argument. No matter what they call themselves. If someone becomes an actual danger, that is when the violation occurs.

    == See for example, the “Liberland” folks who ban drugs in their uninhabited swamp on that basis. Ayn Rand (hypocritically, of course) also made such an argument against drug use.==

    People are inconsistent. That doesn’t prove that it is aggression on another person’s body.

    When I am making statements, no matter what statement I (or anyone else makes) there is always going to be *someone* who disagrees. We are talking about normative definitional libertarian beliefs here. I can mine the subjunctive with the best of them, but that isn’t really an argument.

  51. Andy

    Here is what I think the bottom line is on abortion: It is probably wrong, as in it is probably immoral, and it should probably be considered to be an act of aggression, and therefore it should probably be illegal (even in a libertarian anarchist society, murder would not be considered to be “legal”).

    Having said this, society is divided on this issue like it was once divided on chattel slavery. A law that a large percentage of people disagree with is hard to enforce. Open chattel slavery does not fly in our present society, because the overwhelming majority of the population considers it to be immoral (slavery still exists of course, but it is either underground, or it is under the guise of “taxation,” or under the guise of people being locked in jail or prison for “crimes” where there are no victims, and being forced to work).

    Getting a law passed in our present society to outlaw abortion is not likely to happen, because there are too many people in our society who have been brought up to not take any responsibility for anything. Most people want an “easy way out” which is why abortion is legal.

    Some would argue that there are already laws against abortion, and that they are called murder laws, but it is just that the laws against murder are not being enforced when it comes to abortion.

    We are supposed to have jury trials in this country, and we do still have jury trials in this country, but we don’t have fair jury trials and we have not had them in this country in a long time. Why? Because free thinking jurors are actively kept off of juries in the voir dire process, and because jurors are not told about their right to judge not only the facts of the case, but the validity of the law itself.

    I’ve read that if we had fair jury trials in this country, a law would have to have at least 92% popular support from the public in order for the government to be able to consistently convict people if 12 jurors were truly selected at random, and all of the jurors knew that they had the right to judge not only the facts of the case, but the validity of the law or laws in question, and that if they believed that the law was unjust, or that it was being applied in an unjust manner, that they have the right to vote not guilty.

    So, given that the public is so divided over the issue of abortion, I don’t think that it would be possible to convict anyone for abortion on anything close to a consistent basis, if at all, if we had fair jury trials.

    Now on the flip side, if there were anti-abortion vigilantes who decided to go on a rampage against abortion doctors, and their legal defense was, “They deserved to die because they kill babies for a living,” it may be hard to convict them as well if there were 12 randomly selected jurors, and even just one of the jurors was strongly opposed to abortion.

    There is really no easy answer here, and this is why I don’t like to focus on this issue. The anti-abortion people are probably correct (unless medical science can somehow prove that a fetus is not a life until it exits the womb), however, society is divided on this issue, and this includes people who are pro-freedom, or who are generally pro-freedom. There has been internal debate over the abortion issue for decades in libertarian circles, and it has not really gotten us anywhere.

    I prefer to focus on things like eliminating – or at least greatly reducing – taxes, getting rid of the Federal Reserve System and government backed fiat currency, stopping job and business killing regulations, etc…

    There is also the fact that the country is going into a police state, and while I know some people are very passionate about the issue of abortion, it does not strike me as the most productive thing to do to spend one’s times focusing on abortion while the country drifts further and further into being a police state.

    If a critical mass of the population comes to view abortion as murder, then abortion would be greatly reduced. I said greatly reduced and not ended because there are always going to be people who break the law.

    A stronger economy and advancements in science are the best “cures” for abortion.

  52. Andy Craig

    I’m just saying that “it’s argued as being a violation of the NAP” can’t be the only standard for being a “normative definition libertarian belief”. You have to get into the merits of whether or not it actually is, and in that regard abortion isn’t different from the other examples. For example: is drunk driving a NAP-violation crime by putting others at risk? If not, does it follow that shooting at someone isn’t a crime if you don’t hit them? Is giving money to somebody you know will then kill somebody a NAP violation, even if they did not do it at your direction? Is attacking and overthrowing a government which is itself a violent aggressor? These are all NAP-based arguments brought against policy results that either some or most Libertarians advocate. Saying it’s a matter of the NAP is only stating the principle to be applied, it isn’t actually applying it to derive an answer.

    Libertarians can disagree on how the NAP applies on abortion, just like Libertarians can disagree on how the NAP applies to a lot of issues. But that doesn’t mean we just declare both positions equally correct and equally the Libertarian policy, or the whole thing collapses into a contradictory mess that is no longer a coherent political party platform. I would accept silence in the platform on the issue of abortion, as superior to affirmatively stating that supporting abortion bans is an equally Libertarian position as opposing them.

  53. Thomas L. Knapp

    This discussion continues to be interesting, but it also continues to be more about the subject of abortion itself rather than about the proposition that the plank should be deleted.

    The problem with this issue as opposed to other issues in the platform (some of which I think are badly handled since the Great Portland Platform Massacre of 2006), is that the two main opposing positions on it are both libertarian. They’re both based on the non-aggression principle, just operating from different premises (i.e. the status of the fetus as either a person with rights or not).

    “Keep government out of it either way” is a very satisfying thing to someone like me, who’s an anarchist. But to minarchists who support government involvement when it comes to policing against initiation of force, AND who believe that a fetus is a person with rights, it’s very unsatisfactory, especially with respect to the Dallas Accord (in the opposite direction from that usually cited as problematic).

    Another satisfactory position for anarchists but likely not to minarchists who believe abortion is an initiation of force, coming from pro-life two-time Libertarian presidential candidate Harry Browne (who tended to be quiet about being an anarchist when he started running for president), is the pragmatic one, quoted as best I can from memory: “If government declared war on abortion, it wouldn’t be long before MEN were having them.”

    In my opinion, the abortion plank is sort of like a vestigial third nipple. The most extreme among pro-choice Libertarians seem to get a lot of pleasure from stroking it, but everyone else finds it non-functional at best and possibly creepy.

  54. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    LibertyDave: From a libertarian viewpoint … without freedom to pursue happiness, life is meaningless.

    If so, then the “libertarian viewpoint” is incorrect. As it sometimes is.

    Your statement will make libertarians feel all warm and fuzzy, all tingly and excited — but it’s just not true. Most people’s lives are constrained by the state and other factors. Some people have virtually no freedom, living in prisons, gulags, and police states.

    Yet even in the worst conditions, almost everyone prefers life over death.

    So for the overwhelming vast majority of humanity, even libertarians, life without the freedom to pursue happiness still has a lot of meaning and value.

  55. William Saturn

    Casey stood on the premise that states could prohibit abortions of viable fetuses. If researchers developed the technology to enable extracted fetuses to survive outside the mother’s body in a kind of artificial womb, states could theoretically ban all abortions, returning to pre-Roe laws.

    If such technology was ever developed, there would be no reason for abortions, only extractions.

    I see this as the logical conclusion to the abortion debate.

  56. George Phillies

    Libertarians should categorically reject the position of the Republican forced-birther daughter murderers, a position that the American people are rapidly leaving behind (look at the age-separated statistics), or we will simply prove that we really are an ineffective group of Republicans who (some of us, as it happens not me) smoke pot.

    The means rejecting the anti-freedom position of Ms. Harlos, Mr. Knapp, Andy with no last name, etc.

    With respect to “Saying it’s a matter of the NAP is only stating the principle to be applied, it isn’t actually applying it to derive an answer. ” the problem here is the “derive” bit, which mostly reflects Ayn Rand’s ignorance of what is actually known about philosophy and logic.

    The sound platform change is to delete the clause about ‘Libertarians may disagree’.

    But if you think the current all-sides clause is reasonable, consider whether you would support replacing the equally specific second amendment clause

    A) ” We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.”

    with the equivalent

    B) “Recognizing that gun ownership is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides of whether or not private firearms ownership should be permitted, we oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.”

  57. George Phillies

    I prefer A. If you support forced-birtherism (and incidentally guaranteeing that our party has no long-term future), you should be supporting B for the same reason.

  58. paulie Post author

    The sound platform change is to delete the clause about ‘Libertarians may disagree’.

    But if you think the current all-sides clause is reasonable, consider whether you would support replacing the equally specific second amendment clause

    A) ” We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.”

    with the equivalent

    B) “Recognizing that gun ownership is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides of whether or not private firearms ownership should be permitted, we oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.”

    Exactly!

  59. paulie Post author

    If researchers developed the technology to enable extracted fetuses to survive outside the mother’s body in a kind of artificial womb, states could theoretically ban all abortions, returning to pre-Roe laws.

    If such technology was ever developed, there would be no reason for abortions, only extractions.

    I see this as the logical conclusion to the abortion debate.

    True, but, unfortunately, in the meantime we still have an issue.

  60. paulie Post author

    This discussion continues to be interesting, but it also continues to be more about the subject of abortion itself rather than about the proposition that the plank should be deleted.

    True.

    The plank deletion would bring in an exponentially larger tidal wave of temporarily disgruntled Republicans. Soon our (im)migration position would be washed away, and who knows what else, before the tide would recede back to the NSGOP due to fear of electing Democrats. The LP would be left keeled over to the far right and beached.

  61. paulie Post author

    Libertarians can disagree on how the NAP applies on abortion, just like Libertarians can disagree on how the NAP applies to a lot of issues. But that doesn’t mean we just declare both positions equally correct and equally the Libertarian policy, or the whole thing collapses into a contradictory mess that is no longer a coherent political party platform.

    Good point.

  62. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Andy,

    ==I’m just saying that “it’s argued as being a violation of the NAP” can’t be the only standard for being a “normative definition libertarian belief”. You have to get into the merits of whether or not it actually is, and in that regard abortion isn’t different from the other examples.===

    For my purposes the Platform already grants me the legitimacy of my argument. Otherwise, the piece would have been 20 pages.

    ===Libertarians can disagree on how the NAP applies on abortion, just like Libertarians can disagree on how the NAP applies to a lot of issues. But that doesn’t mean we just declare both positions equally correct and equally the Libertarian policy, or the whole thing collapses into a contradictory mess ===

    For my purpose, once again, the Platform already concedes good-faith (and one would presume good-grounded) opposition. I do not need to argue what is already granted.

    == would accept silence in the platform on the issue of abortion, as superior to affirmatively stating that supporting abortion bans is an equally Libertarian position as opposing them.===

    You see…much to the chagrin of my pro-life Libertarian compatriots…. so would I. My goal is deletion, period. Not one that will merely divide the other way. I want the division to end.

  63. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie,

    ==The plank deletion would bring in an exponentially larger tidal wave of temporarily disgruntled Republicans. Soon our (im)migration position would be washed away, and who knows what else, before the tide would recede back to the NSGOP due to fear of electing Democrats. The LP would be left keeled over to the far right and beached.===

    That is a real legitimate fear. I express that fear myself in my article. But I do come to a conclusion that states such is not likely IF we are firm on the items for which there is not this division. There are a lot of already actual libertarians out there who shun the LP because of this one issue. I admin a group of them.

  64. Caryn Ann Harlos

    William,

    ==If such technology was ever developed, there would be no reason for abortions, only extractions.

    I see this as the logical conclusion to the abortion debate.==

    That is Block’s position of evictionism.

  65. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Tom,

    ===The problem with this issue as opposed to other issues in the platform (some of which I think are badly handled since the Great Portland Platform Massacre of 2006), is that the two main opposing positions on it are both libertarian. They’re both based on the non-aggression principle, just operating from different premises (i.e. the status of the fetus as either a person with rights or not).==

    Yes, you nailed it.

    ===“Keep government out of it either way” is a very satisfying thing to someone like me, who’s an anarchist. But to minarchists who support government involvement when it comes to policing against initiation of force, AND who believe that a fetus is a person with rights, it’s very unsatisfactory, especially with respect to the Dallas Accord (in the opposite direction from that usually cited as problematic).===

    I would parse that a bit since I too am an anarchist…. so when I read “government” there, I do not have to merely envision the state, but whatever system of justice exists.

    ==In my opinion, the abortion plank is sort of like a vestigial third nipple. The most extreme among pro-choice Libertarians seem to get a lot of pleasure from stroking it, but everyone else finds it non-functional at best and possibly creepy.===

    That’s about the funniest thing I have read:) Oddly, though obviously I care about this plank’s deletion, I hardly think about it. I was talking with someone here a couple of days ago and just said, “I agree with the Platform.”– this issue was so far in the back of mind, I forgot. I noted it, and tucked it away.

  66. Caryn Ann Harlos

    George,

    You get all formal when you disagree… I do prefer a first name if you don’t mind.. but up to you.

    ==Libertarians should categorically reject the position of the Republican forced-birther daughter murderers, a position that the American people are rapidly leaving behind (look at the age-separated statistics),==

    Yes do look at the statistics. I cite a Marst poll in footnote 7.

    or we will simply prove that we really are an ineffective group of Republicans who (some of us, as it happens not me) smoke pot.

    ==The sound platform change is to delete the clause about ‘Libertarians may disagree’.===

    It won’t change the fact that they do disagree. Quite a few of us.

    ==But if you think the current all-sides clause is reasonable, consider whether you would support replacing the equally specific second amendment clause

    A) ” We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.”

    with the equivalent

    B) “Recognizing that gun ownership is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides of whether or not private firearms ownership should be permitted, we oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.”===

    Yet the issue of gun ownership does not have the same prevalent strong solidly NAP-based arguments against them amongst Libertarians. I am sure *some* Libertarians can come up with something, but it isn’t the strongly divisive item that comes up every convention, so the analogy fails.

  67. paulie Post author

    (Im)migration and foreign policy would probably be the next two issues to suffer the “libertarians are divided” angle of attack.

  68. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie,

    ==(Im)migration and foreign policy would probably be the next two issues to suffer the “libertarians are divided” angle of attack.===

    It could be but I see this as categorically different as it involves the actual top-notch right… the right to live or to be killed…. IF we are dealing with a rights-bearing human. So two different ballgames I think. When it comes to killing, the divide already opens very wide and irreconcilably. The other issues do not have that aggressive wedge.

    My main thrust in arguing the division point was that if you take each sides best points as true for the sake of argument,they are both arguing completely solid Libertarian positions consistent with Libertarian identity.

  69. paulie Post author

    My main thrust in arguing the division point was that if you take each sides best points as true for the sake of argument,they are both arguing completely solid Libertarian positions consistent with Libertarian identity.

    The same is true of the other issues I mentioned, and potentially many others.

  70. Thomas L. Knapp

    Immigration and foreign policy already HAVE suffered the “libertarians are divided” angle of attack, and in the platform immigration suffered from that attack.

    But those two issues are different insofar as on abortion there are two very opposite, mutually exclusive main positions both of which ARE libertarian — the non-aggression principle applied by both to different conclusions of fact — whereas on the other two issues, the “division” is between people who take a clearly libertarian position on one hand and people who take a clearly non-libertarian position on the other, either pretending that the issues are “exceptions,” or making themselves look like idiots by trying to turn aggression into non-aggression, wedding at Cana style.

  71. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie,

    ==The same is true of the other issues I mentioned, and potentially many others.===

    I do not believe they are. And I believe the reason this one is singled out is not due to political expediency but actual solid Libertarian arguments for both sides and using the exact same principle… the principle applies differently depending upon the identity of what it is we are talking about. The question of “Can I kill it” very much depends upon what “it” is that you want to kill. If it is not a rights-bearing human, then go ahead. Kill it. If it is…that is a different question.

    Ohhh I was typing I see Tom covered the differences with the other. There is no symmetrical equivalency between the allegedly competing views.

  72. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie, sent you an email on something else. If that isn’t the right way to reach you… just shoot me a PM or note.

  73. paulie Post author

    Email is fine. Im easy to reach through a variety of ways.

    Regarding the issues mentioned, while I agree that the other side is wrong on those I don’t see their arguments as internally illogical. And as far as the weakening of some LP positions already, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet if you succeed in deleting the abortion plank.

  74. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie,

    ==Email is fine. Im easy to reach through a variety of ways.===

    You gave me your number. That is like inviting a vampire into your house.

    ==Regarding the issues mentioned, while I agree that the other side is wrong on those I don’t see their arguments as internally illogical. And as far as the weakening of some LP positions already, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet if you succeed in deleting the abortion plank.===

    I don’t say they are “internally” illogical… they are not symmetrical with the opposing view using the same very strong Libertarian principles. The are internally illogical if you mean with Libertarian identity… yes they are.

    The abortion plank has been actually weakened since … 1994 (memory here). The wording today is much more conciliatory. I think tinkering with the wording might be the worst thing to do and deletion is the best way.

    But I will say it again, and I spent two paragraphs in the piece on it— I share the concern about weakening other positions. I just don’t think this is a position the platform should take.

    I’ve lived with it, so obviously I am not some single-issue obsession-bot. But I think it important.

  75. paulie Post author

    You gave me your number. That is like inviting a vampire into your house.

    Some of my best friends are vampires, and I’ve posted my number on all sorts of web pages.

    I don’t say they are “internally” illogical… they are not symmetrical with the opposing view using the same very strong Libertarian principles.

    Their proponents think otherwise and offer NAP-based arguments. I’m sure you heard them before.

    The abortion plank has been actually weakened since … 1994 (memory here).

    I would have to check, but my impression is it was more recent.

    I think tinkering with the wording might be the worst thing to do and deletion is the best way.

    I’d prefer to get rid of the ambiguity, but at least we have somewhat of a statement that government should stay out of it, which I see as better than nothing.

  76. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie,

    ==Some of my best friends are vampires, and I’ve posted my number on all sorts of web pages.===

    Good:) Then hopefully I won’t be calling in an ambient stupor.

    ==
    Their proponents think otherwise and offer NAP-based arguments. I’m sure you heard them before.===

    I have and they are incoherent. Everyone *tries* to make an argument, but the fact of making it does not make it a good one. This particular debate has been going on since the founding and generally amongst many people, it is conceded that both sides make very solid cases… which is one reading for this peculiar wording that exists no where else.

    ==
    I would have to check, but my impression is it was more recent.===

    I have them all printed out:) I researched it in footnote one… I don’t believe there was a conscience exception in 1994, and it has been relatively unchanged since then. A large weakening, and the party didn’t die from a mortal wound:)

  77. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Ambien stupor… not ambient. I have been known to ambien-PM people o FB….. very odd discussions:)

  78. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    George Phillies, whatever the merits of either side in the abortion debate, let’s not twist the meaning of words in some Orwellian fashion.

    Banning abortion except in cases of rape is NOT “forced birtherism.” Aside from rape, women do not get pregnant unless they made a choice to have sex and risk pregnancy.

    Men already live under “forced-birtherism.” If a man sleeps with a woman, he runs the risk that she’ll get pregnant and he’ll be obligated to pay for the child for the next 18 years. Yet no one pities the man if he complains. The response is, “You should have thought of that before you dropped your pants!”

    By contrast, no one says to a woman, “You should have thought of that before you raised your skirt!”

    There is a double standard — and not just because the baby is in the woman’s body. Even after pregnancy, the woman is free to abandon her baby without legal repercussions. “No questions asked” Drop-Off Centers exist all across the country.

    By contrast, a man can be sent to debtor’s prison if he falls behind on his child support payments.

    Abortion is not just about giving a woman control over her body. It’s about allowing her to avoid responsibility for her choices. That may or may not be proper from a “libertarian viewpoint,” but that is what it is.

    I expect better from you George than Orwellian phrases like “forced birtherism.” Surely YOU don’t believe in any Virgin Births?

  79. paulie Post author

    By contrast, no one says to a woman, “You should have thought of that before you raised your skirt!”

    No one?

  80. Robert Capozzi

    cah: …it asks them to abandon the inherently Libertarian belief that homicide is a proper province of the State/Law.

    me: While the language may not be as crisp as it could be, I can’t say I agree with CAH. There’s no request for abandoning anything. At least that’s how I read:

    “Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides,…”

    That leaves open the possibility that some view abortion to be murder or something close to that, or that some might believe the woman controls the fetus for some, most or all of the potential human’s life.

    This part: “we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.”

    Does not foreclose the possibility that government/the law could be involved IF the law deemed the fetus to be a person, and that abortion is simply a murder.

    I definitely agree with CAH that the language is unclear. I happened to be on PlatComm for some of the time this language was kluged together, and (at least my) intent was to make clear that an L could be either pro-life or -choice. IIRC, there was active consideration for deleting the plank, too.

  81. George Phillies

    Root’s Teeth: Banning abortion except in cases of rape is PRECISELY the essence of “forced birtherism”. You seem to have left out cases in which the maternal parent will die during the effort to bring the child to term.

    With respect to “You should have thought of that before you raised your skirt!”, that is precisely the position of the Republican (being very forgiving of their errors) Christian fascists. Of course, most people other than Republican theocrats have noticed that women young enough to become pregnant do not wear skirts very often any more.

    “we believe that government should be kept out of the matter” is completely unambiguous.

    Antiabortionists supporters of liberty (again being generous) already have their own third party, namely the Constitution party, and should go and join it.

  82. Robert Capozzi

    gp: “we believe that government should be kept out of the matter” is completely unambiguous.

    me: Could be, I guess. Along with the insanity of challenging the (non-existent) cult of the omnipotent, keeping government out of having laws against 9th month abortions (except in the case of the mother’s life) would be another reason for me to not re-join the LP. The idea unambiguously repulses me, and probably virtually all of humanity. GP may feel otherwise.

  83. Thomas L. Knapp

    “‘we believe that government should be kept out of the matter’ is completely unambiguous.”

    Except I doubt that anyone believes it, especially you, George. At least I don’t recall you demanding that government be “kept out of the matter” of Eric Rudolf’s bombings of abortion clinics, or of the killing of Dr. George Tiller, etc. You want the government kept out of ONE SIDE of the matter.

  84. Caryn Ann Harlos

    ===ers of liberty (again being generous) already have their own third party, namely the Constitution party, and should go and join it.===

    Thanks for the mind invitation George but I think I will stay right here in the LP. We don’t yet have excommunication as far as I know. Lord knows the minarchists have tried.

  85. Rebel Alliance

    Here’s what proposing this platform change would “accomplish”. Delegates would spend an hour or more fighting over it at the convention. There’d be calls for amendments to it, then amendments to amendments. Every voice vote would be followed by a call for division. In the end nothing would get done. And if the platform would get changed (and even if not), the losing side would continue fighting over it for years to come at the following conventions.

    This issue is a sleeping dog. Please let it lie.

    The problem is that abortion presents a paradox, not only with libertarians, but with society in general. Society has been agitating over it since Roe v Wade over 40 years ago, and they’ll be squabbling over it for the next 40. That’s because there’s no way to compromise between those who defend the mother’s ability to choose what happens inside her own body, and those who are defending the life of the unborn. There is no middle ground. So let’s focus on the 1001 issues we *can* make headway on and which *are* solvable!

    Also, the notion that someone cannot fully embrace libertarianism because of this one intractable issue is rather silly. It’s like a student of physics saying that since relativity and quantum mechanics don’t mesh, or since no one knows what happens inside a black hole, that therefore the entire field of physics must be invalid.

  86. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Rebel Alliance,

    ==Here’s what proposing this platform change would “accomplish”. Delegates would spend an hour or more fighting over it at the convention. There’d be calls for amendments to it, then amendments to amendments.===

    Every convention there is an automatic token vote for deletion of any plank. I didn’t argue for amendment. I argued for deletion, the process is already in place, and there is no debate on it.

    Though there are plank amendments I favour (not on this issue) and that is what we are there for.

    ==he losing side would continue fighting over it for years to come at the following conventions.===

    Libertarians fighting over something? Like this won’t happen anyway:)

    ==The problem is that abortion presents a paradox, not only with libertarians, but with society in general. ====

    Part of the reason I argue for deletion.

    ===Also, the notion that someone cannot fully embrace libertarianism because of this one intractable issue is rather silly.===

    I never said that. I talked about people joining the LP. Actual libertarians (meaning they already fully embraced libertarianism). One may call it silly if you wish. I invite you to the Pro-Life Libertarians group I help admin. I am one of the lone LP members.

  87. paulie Post author

    Also, the notion that someone cannot fully embrace libertarianism because of this one intractable issue is rather silly.

    Not necessarily. If they really believe it’s murder and that we have a legal mass murder of a million plus children a year for 40+ years that coud easily be more important than all other issues for some people.

  88. paulie Post author

    With respect to “You should have thought of that before you raised your skirt!”, that is precisely the position of the Republican (being very forgiving of their errors) Christian fascists. Of course, most people other than Republican theocrats have noticed that women young enough to become pregnant do not wear skirts very often any more.

    I think “closed/opened legs” is the variant that I have generally heard, and does not rely on what articles of clothing are or aren’t worn.

  89. paulie Post author

    Antiabortionists supporters of liberty (again being generous) already have their own third party, namely the Constitution party, and should go and join it.

    There are many other differences we have with the CP.

  90. paulie Post author

    Banning abortion except in cases of rape is NOT “forced birtherism.” Aside from rape, women do not get pregnant unless they made a choice to have sex and risk pregnancy.

    In some cases there is rape that they may not feel empowered to report due to it being a family member, husband or boyfriend, employer, etc. Or, they may not be willing to subject themselves to the indignity of a rape trial. Supposing there were a rape exception, it would probably apply to reported rapes only, and there are many reasons why a lot of rapes are not reported. Meanwhile, there are also false rape reports, and no doubt there would be more if that was the only way to legally terminate an unwanted pregnancy, ofte with very dire consequences for the falsely accused. On the other hand some actually guilty rapists go free because their guilt can’t be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt in the minds of the judge/jury. Would a woman obtaining an abortion under the rape exemption be retroactively charged with murder if the accused rapist is not convicted? Given the speed of the process waiting for the legal case to play out would mean the kid wold be born before the case is resolved. Also, how does a rape exemption make sense logically? If the issue is that you believe that it’s a living baby with rights those rights don’t go away if the father is a rapist, any more than a born child of a rapist could be legally infanticided. For lots of reasons the rape exemption does not fly.

    The ability to become pregnant does not always mean knowing how it happens. Some girls actually don’t, and maybe even a few adult women (hopefully very few). Many may not know what they are risking signing up for until they experiece it for themselves, especially if there are complications.

  91. paulie Post author

    Men already live under “forced-birtherism.” If a man sleeps with a woman, he runs the risk that she’ll get pregnant and he’ll be obligated to pay for the child for the next 18 years. Yet no one pities the man if he complains. The response is, “You should have thought of that before you dropped your pants!”

    By contrast, no one says to a woman, “You should have thought of that before you raised your skirt!”

    There is a double standard — and not just because the baby is in the woman’s body. Even after pregnancy, the woman is free to abandon her baby without legal repercussions. “No questions asked” Drop-Off Centers exist all across the country.

    By contrast, a man can be sent to debtor’s prison if he falls behind on his child support payments.

    Men can certainly be screwed over by the system, but financial issues aren’t the same as having to carry a fetus for nine months and the pain of childbirth. Way above, someone (Andy C I think) mentioned an example of someone who contracts to sell a body part. If they fail to deliver, forcing them to pay the money and even interest and damages is one thing, but forcibly cutting it out of their body is quite another.

  92. Andy

    I actually do not care that much where a candidate stands on abortion. We, as a society, are not going to get anywhere with this issue any time soon (see my comment above about this), and in the meantime, we have a government which is getting bigger and more tyrannical every day.

    We can sit around arguing about abortion, but the time spent on this is time that could be spent trying to stop this country from going off an economic cliff or from turning into more of a police state than it already is.

  93. Marc Allan Feldman

    The important division in the Libertarian party is between those that feel that
    (A). A controversial, emotional, moral issue is a necessary and proper area for government intervention if it is a matter of life and death.
    and
    (B). A controversial, emotional, moral issue is not a necessary and proper area for government intervention even if it is a matter of life and death.

    (A) would be described as a minarchistic position, while (B) would be anarchistic. This entire article argues for the minarchistic position with no recognition of very valid anarchistic views. This is not what one would expect from “a self-identified Libertarian radical”.

    But I agree, the hair is cool.

  94. Andy

    ” Also, how does a rape exemption make sense logically?”

    If a woman consents to the act which created the fetus, then she invited the fetus into existence. If she was raped, she did not consent to the act which led to the creation of the fetus.

    So I can see a good argument for a rape exemption. Some would disagree with this exemption, but I see a difference between a voluntary action leading to pregnancy and an involuntary action leading to pregnancy.

    Now one thing that could happen if abortion were made illegal, or perhaps more accurately, if murder laws were applied to abortion, and if there were a rape exemption, is that more women would lie about being raped.

    There is not likely to be a perfect solution here that is going to make everyone happy.

    I think that having a stronger economy would decrease the demand for abortions, and it is possible that advancements in medical technology could make abortion obsolete (or at least make it something that is extremely rare).

  95. paulie Post author

    MAF

    The “pro-life libertarian” position is not dependent on the existence of a monopoly government. A polycentric legal order can conceivably treat abortion as murder if that society widely accepts that idea. As Knapp alluded to earlier, the pro-choice on abortion libertarian position can also be equally acused of relying on a monopoly government to deal with those who attempt to stop abortion by force, say by shooting abortionists or bombing abortion businesses. However, a polycentric legal order that accepts women’s rights to choice on abortion could likewise deal with such cases.

  96. Jill Pyeatt

    “By contrast, no one says to a woman, “You should have thought of that before you raised your skirt!”

    This comment was meant to be sarcastic, right?

  97. paulie Post author

    it is possible that advancements in medical technology could make abortion obsolete (or at least make it something that is extremely rare).

    Not only possible, but no doubt would have long been long since standardly used technology if red tape was not slowing the speed of technological innovation. But, back in the real world, it hasn’t happened yet.

  98. paulie Post author

    “By contrast, no one says to a woman, “You should have thought of that before you raised your skirt!”

    This comment was meant to be sarcastic, right?

    I assumed it was meant seriously.

  99. Andy

    “Marc Allan Feldman

    August 27, 2015 at 12:00 am

    The important division in the Libertarian party is between those that feel that
    (A). A controversial, emotional, moral issue is a necessary and proper area for government intervention if it is a matter of life and death.
    and
    (B). A controversial, emotional, moral issue is not a necessary and proper area for government intervention even if it is a matter of life and death.”

    There actually is government intervention to keep abortion legal right now. The police protect abortion clinics, and if a pro-lifer tries goes “vigilante” on an abortion doctor, the pro-life vigilante will go to prison.

    There is a restaurant that I have frequented when I have been in Birmingham, AL that is near an abortion clinic, and I noticed that there were signs on the sidewalk near the abortion clinic that says that it is illegal to engage in any first amendment activities on the public sidewalk near the abortion clinic. This is actually totally unconstitutional, especially since the Supreme Court has ruled that it is legal to engage in 1st amendment activities anywhere in the country just so long as you are not blocking a door or blocking pedestrian traffic (note that there is plenty of space between the door of the abortion clinic, and the public sidewalk, so protestors could be there without blocking the door, or pedestrian traffic).

    I would hope that regardless of what anyone thinks about abortion, that people would take a stand in favor of free speech.

    There is also the issue of tax payer funding for abortion. Anyone who calls themselves a libertarian ought to oppose this.

  100. Andy

    ” 1st amendment activities anywhere in the country just so long as you are not blocking a door or blocking pedestrian traffic”

    I meant on public sidewalks. However, the Supreme Court has also made similar rulings about free speech on other public properties (parks, government buildings open to the public), and even in regard to corporate property that is open to the public.

  101. paulie Post author

    There is a restaurant that I have frequented when I have been in Birmingham, AL that is near an abortion clinic, and I noticed that there were signs on the sidewalk near the abortion clinic that says that it is illegal to engage in any first amendment activities on the public sidewalk near the abortion clinic.

    It was also bombed by Eric Rudolph, and has now been closed due to massive red tape imposed by the Alabama legislature as a way to effectively nullify Roe v Wade.

  102. Andy

    “paulie Post author

    August 27, 2015 at 12:28 am

    ‘There is a restaurant that I have frequented when I have been in Birmingham, AL that is near an abortion clinic, and I noticed that there were signs on the sidewalk near the abortion clinic that says that it is illegal to engage in any first amendment activities on the public sidewalk near the abortion clinic.’

    It was also bombed by Eric Rudolph, and has now been closed due to massive red tape imposed by the Alabama legislature as a way to effectively nullify Roe v Wade.”

    Are you talking about the one near that Purple Onion restaurant (which has some other restaurant near it that is owned by the same people and has a similar menu), and is also close to a pizza restaurant, in downtown Birmingham, near the University of Alabama Birmingham campus?

    The last time I ate there was in 2014, and I don’t recall hearing about any bombing.

  103. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    George Phillies: “Banning abortion except in cases of rape is PRECISELY the essence of “forced birtherism”. You seem to have left out cases in which the maternal parent will die during the effort to bring the child to term.

    I left it out intentionally. Allowing abortion to save a mother’s life is morally valid, and I support it. BUT it has nothing to do with “forced birtherism.”

    It would not be “forced birtherism” to ban abortions even if a mother’s life is in danger, because the mother assumed the risk of pregnancy by having sex. There are other valid reasons for allowing such abortions, but “forced birtherism” is not one of them.

    A woman is only truly “forced” to give birth if she got pregnant through rape or a divinely impregnated Virgin Birth. In all other cases, she voluntarily assumed the risk of pregnancy.

    You’re so emotional over this, George, so full of vitriol, that you’re getting sloppy with language and definitions. A thing is not “forced” if one voluntarily assumed the risk.

    I might as easily say that libertarians want to impose “forced poverty” upon me by requiring me to pay my credit card bill, after I made all sorts of purchases I couldn’t afford.

    Or that colleges want to impose “forced bad grades” upon me because I didn’t study for my exams.

    It is not “forced” to be required to take responsibility for one’s voluntarily assumed actions.

  104. Andy

    George Phillies: “Banning abortion except in cases of rape is PRECISELY the essence of ‘forced birtherism’.”

    How about the forced deathism when it comes to the fetus?

    Once again, I don’t really care where a candidate stands on abortion (outside of government funding for it, which I favor eliminating), for the reasons I listed above, but I don’t care for weak arguments.

  105. William Saturn

    I thought “birtherism” referred to questioning the birthplace of President Obama. When did that term become a synonym for the pro-life position?

  106. paulie Post author

    RTAA, see above

    1) If the reason why abortion should be illegal is that it is the murder of a child, then it should be irrelevant whether the child was conceived through rape. After all, supposed the child is born, and we all agree it is a living child: very few people would then say it’s OK to kill that kid if the father was a rapist. On the other hand if the fetus is not a living human being with rights, explain again why you are making abortion illegal? The rape exception is hypocritical if you actually believe that abortion is murder.

    2) Even if you accept that all non-rape pregnancies involve conscious risk assessment ahead of time it is still forced birth. Supposing I get on a highway, I should likely be aware that there is some chance of getting into a car wreck, traffic jam, carjacking, or other undesired situation. That doesn’t mean it’s my intention to get into those situations nor that I should not be allowed to change my mind and get out of them if I can. That’s like blocking the exits of a burning building and saying well, you knew there was a risk it could burn.

    3) one voluntarily assumed the risk — not always true

    Consider the following:

    Some rapes occur, but the victim does not report them for any of a wide variety of reasons, or does not press charges or cooperate with a rape trial (if the alleged rapist is caught, and they may not be).

    Some rapes occur, but the rapist is found not guilty – do you then go back and charge the woman with murder for the abortion?

    Some girls and perhaps a few women may not actualy know that pregnancy is a result of sex, or that you can’t just prevent it by jumping up and down afterwards, or that various forms of birth control don’t always work, or that pulling out doesn’t always prevent pregnancy, etc.

    Some situations involving various degrees of coercion, manipulation, threat, inebriation, mental incapacity of various kinds, etc., may or may not be defined as rape.

    Some sex parters intentionally disable birth control devices.

    There are lots of gray areas that blur the whole “voluntarily assumed risk” thing but more importantly – why is it even relevant? Do you or don’t you believe abortion to be murder?

  107. Andy

    “paulie Post author

    August 27, 2015 at 2:06 am

    RTAA, see above

    1) If the reason why abortion should be illegal is that it is the murder of a child, then it should be irrelevant whether the child was conceived through rape. ”

    Some people would say this. Others would say that since the fetus did not come into existence through a voluntary act, that this gives just grounds for immediate eviction.

  108. paulie Post author

    See the context of that quote.

    Also, see the timestamps, if you haven’ noticed them (that’s just for Andy J., not relevant to the larger discussion).

  109. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Paulie: If the reason why abortion should be illegal is that it is the murder of a child, then it should be irrelevant whether the child was conceived through rape.

    True, but that’s ANOTHER issue entirely.

    I wasn’t talking about whether abortion should or should not be legal. I was focusing ONLY on whether the term “forced birtherism” is accurate as those words are defined.

    This is such an emotional issue (for George especially, it seems), that it’s hard to have a rational debate about the proper definition of words, without people inferring all sorts of other irrelevant (albeit important) issues into it.

    As to my stance on abortion, I have not said. I might be to the “left” of Phillies, or to the “right” of Huckabee. I haven’t said. Nor will I at this time.

  110. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Marc Allan Feldman,

    I am afraid you didn’t read carefully. I explicitly argue for both the minarchistic (majority) and anarchistic (minority) views. You seem to be confused on what difference would be and on what I was arguing for.

    First confusion seems to be that I took an absolute stand for government/ law involvement. No, I took a stand stating that most prolife people would likely find having no involvement incoherent. In that same paragraph I mentioned explicitly that minarchists and anarchists would look at that differently as follows:

    ==As Libertarians, we generally believe that the State (or in an anarchist view, the community law—however enforced/enacted[2]) does have a compelling reason to prevent and punish homicide. It is one of the few duties of the State/Law about which Libertarians can agree. ===

    In the footnote I identify that I would take the anarchist view. Though you made another strange statement questioning my self-identification….I belong to the LP Radical Caucus and started a Colorado chapter. While *most* of us are anarchists, there are self-identified radicals in both groups that are minarchists, so not sure why –if I were arguing for minarchy–which I am not–that would mean I have to burn my radical card. But happily of course I wasn’t. I brought up both and placed myself on the anarchist side of the aisle.

    Perhaps you missed that part of the piece. As you know, libertarian anarchism doesn’t mean homicides just go unpunished. If this were a form of homicide it would be dealt with the same way in anarchy as another similar form of homicide. Paulie explained that perfectly well. Polycentric law systems would handle it just as well.

    I further dispute your A/B characterization between minarchy and anarchy…. Both of those scenarios would occur in both systems. If an actual negative right was not being violated — say as in the case of discrimination since there is no positive right to the service or good opinion of another — it would be a moral issue and a controversial issue — and could be a matter of life and death if the refused person needed the other person’s services in order to live — but both in libertarian minarchy and anarchy the “law” need not be involved as no negative right was violated.

    For a pro-life person in this case, the argument is that a negative right was violated, leading to death. In both minarchy and anarchy that would justify the “law.”

    The distinctions you made make no sense. Really no sense. I don’t mean that in a small way. I mean it in a big way.

  111. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie,

    I really appreciated your paragraph on the polycentric law system. When I first read Marc’s statement I thought I must have read it wrong because it was self-evidently incorrect but then you answered as I would.

  112. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Paulie, oh yes. I did say I support abortion if to save the life of the mother. But that doesn’t say anything about my overall stance on abortion. Everyone supports abortion to save the life of the mother. At least I’ve never heard anyone, however “far right,” who didn’t allow for abortion to save the life of the mother.

  113. Robert Capozzi

    CAH, I’m surprised by this, but it appears you are correct. Here’s a view from a group called “Priests for Life”:

    Answer: There are two questions at issue here. One is medical (Is there ever need for an abortion to save the mother’s life?) and the other is moral (Would an abortion in that case be justified?) The answer to both questions is no. There is no medical situation whose only solution is a direct abortion, as many doctors have testified. Morally speaking, furthermore, it is never right to directly kill an innocent person, even if good results are foreseen. We do not say that a baby’s life is more important than the mother’s. We do say that they are equal. You may never directly kill either one of them. If, in spite of the best medical efforts, one or both of them die, nothing morally wrong has been done, because an effort has been made to save life, but has failed. That is far different from killing.

  114. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Yes I have been aware of this for a while. Very minority view. From the little I understand, the women involved in this sect of RCC know and have agreed to this dogma.

    Outside of my circles or ken

  115. Robert Capozzi

    CAH: Polycentric law systems would handle it just as well.

    me: Would, huh? It takes Trump-like confidence to speculate with such certainty! 😉

  116. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Speaking solely to the point of MAF’s post – feasibility is a different topic.

  117. Robert Capozzi

    CAH, so, would you care to amend “would” to “could” or “might”?

    Strikes me as the more honest way of putting it.

  118. Caryn Ann Harlos

    No because it is not relevant to this discussion and I believe it “would.” I am not interested Robert in your various spleens you like to vent with certain people of the LP.

  119. Robert Capozzi

    CAH, that modifies it sufficiently for me…”I believe it….”

    To clarify, I have no interest in venting any spleens, or venting anything. I enjoy the conversation, and yes I do like to underscore apparent nonsense, mostly nonsense I also used to buy into like challenging non-existent cults.

    Ultimately, though, I’m a Lennonist…whatever gets you through the night…

  120. George Phillies

    Tom: There is a difference between an act that kills a person like Dr. Tiller, and an act that kills no one, namely an abortion. I realize the distinction is extremely subtle, but it may eventually come to you.

    And if you maintain that the unborn has different genes than you do, and is therefore a different person, well, most of your cells have that feature at a tiny level. Certainly, the liver cancer that I trust you do not have has different genes than you do. And with respect to the extraction perversion, well, there are few more hideous acts than bringing unwanted children into the world. Now you may say that the cancer cannot develop into a new born, but thanks to modern biochemistry we are well on the way to being able to revert cells to their undifferentiated level so that they develop properly. I do not usually find myself in agreement with Ayn Rand, but her position on abortion as I have seen it — the woman’s choice — is the one I support.

  121. George Phillies

    Capozzi claims: “There is no medical situation whose only solution is a direct abortion, as many doctors have testified. ”

    That’s insane. The classic examples are cases where the fertilized egg escaped and implants in the wrong part of the body, though infants can survive the experience with massive medical support.

  122. Starchild

    Caryn – Very thoughtful and well-argued essay! This, and your comments in the Oregon thread, particularly what you noted in passing about being new to the Libertarian Party (I don’t yet recall seeing your comments elsewhere here, as I tend to drop in sporadically), is very heartening. As long as our party is still attracting intelligent, committed radicals like yourself, it has a bright future. The pink hair certainly doesn’t hurt either! 🙂

    Your position on abortion appears quite similar to mine — pro-life at least when it comes to late term abortions, but wishing to see “morning after” pills and the like widely available and encouraged. Where our views possibly diverge is in how we want the State to treat abortion. Your response to Richard Winger (August 25, 2015 at 4:08 pm) appears to suggest that you do favor (presumably only as long as government exists) charging people with murder for abortions carried out toward the end of a pregnancy: “I would note that if we made rape legal, we would reduce the number of people convicted…

    I confess that prospect makes me extremely uncomfortable. Harry Browne and Michael Badnarik (as quoted by Marc Montoni at the blog link he posted) make good arguments for why freedom (no law) is best. (http://freevirginia.blogspot.com/2013/08/and-what-is-consistent-libertarian.html) We know the nature of the State too well. But as long as there are laws, I’m not comfortable just making those late-term abortions you call “monstrous” legal, either. I don’t have a firm answer on that at this point, but I think I’d prefer either a relatively light criminal penalty for late-term abortions (with exemptions for the rare situations where someone has a really good excuse for not terminating a pregnancy sooner), or decriminalization — still consider it a crime that would go on someone’s criminal record, but sans any other legally imposed punishment.

    I also agree with Marc that fathers should have equivalent legal rights to terminate their relationships with fetuses, i.e. if the mother has the right to abort a fetus up until Day X after conception or Point X in the development of the baby upon announcing to the world that she is putting it out for homesteading* and no longer responsible for its survival, then the father must have the same legal right to choose up to that same point to end any future obligations of paternity or child support on his part.

    *I’m not comfortable with that term in this context, as people are not property, but “adoption” is too freighted with other legal meanings.

    Although your criticisms of the party’s current platform plank on abortion are well taken, I’m not convinced it would be a good idea to delete the present plank as a stand-alone change. In general I think moral arguments trump practical ones, so I feel myself on slightly shaky ground here, as both of my objections are practical — but they are two, and I think both are far-reaching and serious.

    The first objection you addressed, but I would like to say a bit more on it: Such a change in the Libertarian Party’s platform would be widely perceived as a shift to the right, regardless of whether or not that was the intent of yourself or other principled libertarians behind the change. This would not be so awful, were it not for the fact that the party has a longstanding existing imbalance of appealing more to the right than to the left. More LP members are former Republicans than former Democrats, and more significantly, the culture of the party is more conservative than liberal (a topic in itself). Nick Sarwark being elected chair, and most of the Libertarian National Committee and staff being ardent in distinguishing ourselves from Rand Paul, as well as our maintaining a non-interventionist policy after 9/11, are currently helping keep us more balanced than would likely otherwise have been the case, but the underlying danger remains. With the growing “libertarian-lite” trend within the GOP and the conservative movement, now more than ever we need to show people on the left why they should support freedom, with language and culture that speak to them.

    In a highly polarized society where most people are still statists of one stripe or another, it is not enough, sadly, to simply be for freedom — a political vehicle for libertarianism such as the Libertarian Party must articulate our pro-freedom message in a way that appeals roughly proportionately to people on both sides of the conventional political aisle, if we are to avoid being overrun by partisans of one brand of statism or the other. Even a relatively small degree of imbalance has the potential to quickly become a self-reinforcing trend that poses an existential threat to our party’s future as a sustainably libertarian organization. The more conservative we appear, the more we are likely to attract new right-leaning members while losing current left-leaning ones, which in turn makes the party even more hospitable to those on the political right and less so to those on the left. The two other recent major grassroots movements in the United States besides the ongoing freedom movement, the Tea Party and Occupy movements, started out more mainstream/populist than they eventually became, as their original leanings (right-wing and left-wing respectively) became more pronounced over time. This has resulted in both groups being marginalized and dismissed by much of the public.

    There is great strategic value, I think, in being the “radical middle” with elements that appeal to both left and right and balance each other out. Maintaining this balance, and recognizing that the main threat to it at present is that we may lean too far right, is one of the Five Key Values of the Grassroots Libertarians Caucus I founded (see groups.yahoo.com/group/grassrootslibertarians ).

    The second reason I think simply deleting the LP’s abortion plank is a bad idea is because I take the opposite position from that articulated by Andy Craig in this thread — I say having a long, detailed platform is a good thing. I don’t believe in being a “big tent” party in the sense of watering down our message enough to the point where people in the mushy moderate middle can find nothing in particular to which to object. But I do believe in being a “big tent” party in the sense of reaching out and appealing to every group of people who have a just cause, no matter how unpopular that cause may be or how marginalized its supporters. In a world as far under the sway of the Cult of the Omnipotent State as this one (that’s for you RC; thank you for reminding me to use the term), there is no shortage of victims of government. And wherever there are victims, there are people who have organized around fighting their oppression, or discontented individuals who need help organizing. Here is a short, incomplete list (and many groups listed could be further broken down into sub-categories):

    • transgender people
    • bikers
    • Native Americans
    • immigrants (especially the undocumented and their native-born children)
    • drug users
    • incarcerated people
    • midwives
    • sex workers and clients of sex workers
    • BDSM practitioners
    • poly folks
    • alternative/holistic medicine supporters
    • exotic pet guardians
    • skateboarders
    • survivalists/people living off the grid
    • naturists/nudists
    • “sex offenders”
    • dual citizens
    • homeless people
    • the Rainbow Family
    • Burners
    • homeschoolers
    • hitch hikers
    • car sharers
    • home sharers
    • alternative currency users
    • raw milk enthusiasts
    • people upset with/victims of ______ (fill in specific government agency/program here)
    • Every movement in the world seeking greater autonomy or outright secession from an established State: Tibetans, Kurds, Palestinians, Uighurs, Hawaiians, Alaskans, Catalonians, Basques, Chechens, Taiwanese, Hong Kongers, Karens, Biafrans, Oaxacans, Sikhs, Tamils, Lakotas, etc. Even though most of these independence movements are based outside the U.S., many people who live and vote in the United States come from these places and have few if any political goals they would put ahead of greater national self-determination for their kin overseas. Politicians or parties who stand with them can gain the loyalty and gratitude of often closely knit and well-organized communities.

    It’s true that our current platform implies support for the legitimate grievances of virtually all the groups listed above and others that could be added to the list — but that is not enough. Even the minority of people who understand libertarianism well enough to grasp the implications of the philosophy of freedom as it applies to how they are being oppressed, may not necessarily believe that Libertarians as a political party understand and are willing to act on that understanding, unless we explicitly put it in writing. We need to say enough about their issues and grievances, in language both passionate and well-informed on the details, for them to know that we are familiar with their struggles, that we care, and that we are on their side.

    Many of these groups, as I said, are small in number and politically weak, fighting their lonely fights for the freedoms they cherish against the power of the State and the apathy or hostility of society. But bring enough of them together in one tent and you have a powerful coalition, even a majority.

    I reject the idea of the LP platform being a “marketing document”. A platform is a vision statement of what we believe — where we want to go, and how we advocate getting there. But for those who like to think in marketing terms, this can be seen as a “long tail” approach. Here is a short explanation of the concept as it applies to retail sales, but you can imagine the analogy to a detailed political platform that knowledgeably speaks to many different people about their particular concerns:

    In many retail environments, a small group of popular items dominate a store’s sales, such as new releases of anticipated movies, books, or video games. Many stores automatically promote these already popular items, trying to attract as many customers as they can before their competitors do. Meanwhile, their other inventory continues to sell, without special promotion—but as no single one of these items makes a big impact, the group as a whole may be neglected.

    However, some stores carry such a variety of inventory that their less popular items, in total, actually make up the bulk of sales. If they were to plot the number of sales of each individual product, they would see a distribution curve with a dominant “head” in the front, followed by a “long tail” of other products.

    (from http://www.marketing-schools.org/types-of-marketing/long-tail-marketing.html )

    As someone (I don’t recall who, might have been Andy Craig) pointed out in this thread, the abortion plank is one of the more issue-specific planks in our current platform. We badly need more planks that talk about specific issues of interest to particular constituencies, not fewer. The Republicans and Democrats can talk in their platforms and messages about freedom, peace, prosperity, and so on nearly as convincingly as we can, to the untutored ear, so long as the language is broad, vague, and feel-good. We have to get down to the level of explaining how they will oppress and criminalize (and are in fact doing so now) specific groups of people in specific ways, and how we abhor this and intend to put a stop to it!

    As a candidate, or just a Libertarian doing outreach, whether speaking to a group, writing a brochure, blog post, or letter to the editor, or just talking to someone one on one, when a particular topic or issue comes up, I want to be able to point to language in our party’s platform that shows that we care about this freedom, and understand it.

    For these reasons, I feel a move to simply delete the abortion plank, rather than replacing it with more detailed language on the topic, would be a mistake. Instead it would be better to replace it with language that says the things we can say about the topic on which a strong majority of libertarians are in agreement. I realize that changing the plank requires a higher delegate approval threshold than simply deleting the plank, but in that matter at least I am arguing for the more principled approach of holding out for the way it ought to be, over the more “practical” approach of going for the lower-hanging fruit of deletion.

  123. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Tom: There is a difference between an act that kills a person like Dr. Tiller, and an act that kills no one, namely an abortion. I realize the distinction is extremely subtle, but it may eventually come to you.”

    I was not the one failing to make the distinction. You were, by pretending that “keep the government out of it” was your position when in fact you meant “keep the government out of it unless the government takes my side of it.”

    As to the distinction itself, the proposition that an abortion kills no one is not even close to settled (nor do I hold a firm opinion on it of the sort that you like to pretend I do for purposes of treating my problem with your poor arguments as mere disagreement with your conclusions). That’s the whole point.

    “And if you maintain that the unborn has different genes than you do, and is therefore a different person”

    Why the “if,” George? You have routinely and without exception pretended that that’s what I’m saying when I note that the unborn embryo, fetus, etc. is by biological definition a “human being,” even though every time I note that simple and irrefutable fact, I also note that “human being” and “person” are not necessarily the same thing, that where the two coincide is in fact THE KEY QUESTION, and that the status of that question as not yet irrefutably answered by either side is what gives rise to two opposite but equally libertarian opinions on the issue.

  124. johno

    Those that want abortion 100% banned should join the CP. This is Andy with no last name position. The LP strongest position would be keep govt out of this issue including tax payer footing the bill. Those that want taxpayers to pay join the GP , the various Socialists, the hack D’s and even some state R’s. The hack R’s put finger in the air and change with wind too.

  125. Andy

    “johno

    August 27, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Those that want abortion 100% banned should join the CP. This is Andy with no last name position.”

    You must not have read all of my posts. Go back and read what I said.

    Just to clarify, I DO NOT REALLY CARE THAT MUCH WHERE A CANDIDATE STANDS ON ABORTION (for the reasons I listed above), except for cutting off tax payer funding for it (which I favor cutting off).

    Second of all, I said that under a fully informed randomly selected jury system, which I strongly favor, I do not think that any laws against abortion could be enforced on anything close to a consistent basis, unless at least 92% of society supported such laws. The same of course could go to hardcore anti-abortion people who seek vigilante justice against abortionists, as in under a randomly selected fully informed jury system, it may be difficult to prosecute them (one pro-lifer could hang any jury).

    Finally, the real solutions here are a stronger economy and removing “red tape” regulations that stifle technological innovations.

  126. paulie Post author

    Those that want abortion 100% banned should join the CP.

    Previously addressed. There are many other differences between the LP and the CP than only abortion.

    This is Andy with no last name position.

    It’s not his position. And he has a last name, which has been posted in these comments thousands of times (Jacobs). It’s also been posted in several IPR articles as well. Dunno why he doesn’t use it in his screen name, since it’s obviously not a secret, since he frequently rants against online anonimity, and since there is another regular here named Andy (as well as who knows how many other Andies who could post here at some point), but that’s his business.

    The LP strongest position would be keep govt out of this issue

    As Knapp pointed out earlier, most people who want to “keep government out of it” actually mean that they want to use government to protect abortion from those who would try to use non-government means to forcibly prevent it.

  127. paulie Post author

    In fairness my last name is not a secret either, and I don’t use it in my screen name either. But I use a variant of my first name that makes it somewhat more unique, and even if I just went by Paul there haven’t been any other Pauls who have posted here nearly as often as, say, Andy Craig has.

  128. paulie Post author

    The first objection you addressed, but I would like to say a bit more on it: Such a change in the Libertarian Party’s platform would be widely perceived as a shift to the right, regardless of whether or not that was the intent of yourself or other principled libertarians behind the change. This would not be so awful, were it not for the fact that the party has a longstanding existing imbalance of appealing more to the right than to the left. More LP members are former Republicans than former Democrats, and more significantly, the culture of the party is more conservative than liberal (a topic in itself). Nick Sarwark being elected chair, and most of the Libertarian National Committee and staff being ardent in distinguishing ourselves from Rand Paul, as well as our maintaining a non-interventionist policy after 9/11, are currently helping keep us more balanced than would likely otherwise have been the case, but the underlying danger remains. With the growing “libertarian-lite” trend within the GOP and the conservative movement, now more than ever we need to show people on the left why they should support freedom, with language and culture that speak to them.

    In a highly polarized society where most people are still statists of one stripe or another, it is not enough, sadly, to simply be for freedom — a political vehicle for libertarianism such as the Libertarian Party must articulate our pro-freedom message in a way that appeals roughly proportionately to people on both sides of the conventional political aisle, if we are to avoid being overrun by partisans of one brand of statism or the other. Even a relatively small degree of imbalance has the potential to quickly become a self-reinforcing trend that poses an existential threat to our party’s future as a sustainably libertarian organization. The more conservative we appear, the more we are likely to attract new right-leaning members while losing current left-leaning ones, which in turn makes the party even more hospitable to those on the political right and less so to those on the left. The two other recent major grassroots movements in the United States besides the ongoing freedom movement, the Tea Party and Occupy movements, started out more mainstream/populist than they eventually became, as their original leanings (right-wing and left-wing respectively) became more pronounced over time. This has resulted in both groups being marginalized and dismissed by much of the public.

    There is great strategic value, I think, in being the “radical middle” with elements that appeal to both left and right and balance each other out. Maintaining this balance, and recognizing that the main threat to it at present is that we may lean too far right, is one of the Five Key Values of the Grassroots Libertarians Caucus I founded (see groups.yahoo.com/group/grassrootslibertarians ).

    Exactly!

  129. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Starchild,

    ==Caryn – Very thoughtful and well-argued essay! This, and your comments in the Oregon thread, particularly what you noted in passing about being new to the Libertarian Party (I don’t yet recall seeing your comments elsewhere here, as I tend to drop in sporadically), is very heartening. As long as our party is still attracting intelligent, committed radicals like yourself, it has a bright future. The pink hair certainly doesn’t hurt either! :-)==

    Thank you on all counts? That means a great deal to me. Yes, I am still a Libertarian baby, switched over 9/17/14 (the auspicious day when Coulter said she wanted to drown Libertarians), but primarily involved with the Colorado social media effort and local outreach.

    Thank you for your very detailed response, I will attempt to summarize my thoughts on some points:

    == response to Richard Winger (August 25, 2015 at 4:08 pm) appears to suggest that you do favor (presumably only as long as government exists) charging people with murder for abortions carried out toward the end of a pregnancy: “I would note that if we made rape legal, we would reduce the number of people convicted…===

    I didn’t intend to suggest support there, but to point out the reductio ad absurdum of a goal merely being a reduction of number convicted. If something is actually a crime, they should be convicted. It begs the question if something is actually a crime. What should be penalties and when? I confess I do not have a firm answer, but there does come a time when nearly everyone agrees we have a rights-bearing little human here. I think most readers here (not at all suggesting you have) have passed over the two quotes I put forth by the ALF… which are quite shocking but perfectly consistent with our platform. The ALF argues that not only does a woman have a right to have an unwanted fetus out of her body up until the moment of birth, she has the right to absolutely demand its death— up until the moment of birth. This goes far beyond what nearly any Libertarian would agree to, yet, our present platform would be agreement with the ALF— at least arguably. Typically in these kinds of arguments, one side will say to the other… oh yeah, that’s extreme but no one is seriously arguing that. Well in this case, a respected Libertarian Feminist organization is in fact arguing this…. Claiming it is the Libertarian position. I do not think even the most ardent defender of abortion choice in this thread would think it is someone’s negative right to kill a fully functional baby one second before it is born. While in practicality this is not happening, the argument is being made, and if one concedes that no, you can’t do that… how far back can you go …. It is a quagmire.

    And I do feel the rhetorical force of the bodily autonomy argument as that is an area that I am pretty unyielding about and which now horrifies my former conservative friends ? (I admit it, a little macho flash can be a guilty pleasure)

    Laying out what a system of law and justice would be (minarchist or anarchist—I am personally anarchist ) was beyond my scope. My burden really was just Libertarian unity on such a Molotov cocktail of an issue. And yes I give full amen to your position of ubitgous birth control including Plan B.

    ==In general I think moral arguments trump practical ones, so I feel myself on slightly shaky ground here, as both of my objections are practical — but they are two, and I think both are far-reaching and serious.===

    You and I are in the same boat! I hope you can row…. My main thrust is moral but I feel—quite terribly—the weight of your practical objections. Personally I come from the right. But unlike many who have come from the right, I feel no homesick fondness for my former place. In fact, I grew to hate it while still there and started taking a perverse glee in throwing out my ballots on my way inside from the mailbox, which explains why I switched so quickly when I discovered the LP. In my more firebrand moments I like to say that my biggest regret was not burning my RP voter’s registration card. So I hope, hope, hope you hear my heart and sincerity that I do not wish to shift the Party to the right. I do not like what the more right-leaning people are attempting to do (nor the left so much… I may flatter myself, but I really do consider myself a plumb-liner).

    So I guess I just have to say I share your concerns, but they cannot over-rule my moral objection. If it helps at all, I am just as zealous in the types of concerns that the right-leaning folks hate. Non-interventionism. Open immigration. Radical sexual rights. Complete drug legalization.

    ===In a highly polarized society where most people are still statists of one stripe or another, it is not enough, sadly, to simply be for freedom — a political vehicle for libertarianism such as the Libertarian Party must articulate our pro-freedom message in a way that appeals roughly proportionately to people on both sides of the conventional political aisle, if we are to avoid being overrun by partisans of one brand of statism or the other. ====

    ^^^^THAT^^^^^ Brilliant.

    ==The second reason I think simply deleting the LP’s abortion plank is a bad idea is because I take the opposite position from that articulated by Andy Craig in this thread — I say having a long, detailed platform is a good thing. ===

    I have not reached an opinion on that yet, though this is an area of greater study for me. You may have read in the Oregon thread that I have printed out all the old Platties and am studying them. Right now my tentative opinion would be the same as Craig’s, but it is very, very tentative. I see the value in the specific points, but the sheer magnitude of maintaining such a long documents is daunting, and it tends to seem cobbled.

    ===In a world as far under the sway of the Cult of the Omnipotent State as this one, ===

    You forgot a trigger warning for Capozzi… ?

    == We need to say enough about their issues and grievances, in language both passionate and well-informed on the details, for them to know that we are familiar with their struggles, that we care, and that we are on their side.===

    Would this be adequately done in the Platform? Or maintained? Kind of off this topic, but this subject interests me intensely. I would love to speak with you more on it particularly if you are planning any suggestions for next convention.

    Before I forget, you are my hero for moving to have the LP formally apologize for Barr/WAR.

    Yes, your long tail explanation makes sense, and I think a good core of that is integral to a unique Libertarian identity. As you say… all the groups talk generically about mom, and pop, and freedom, and apple pies. My frustration with the LP is that we have become a bit milquetoast and lost the fire . Revolutionary movements require revolutionary words and ideas to inspire… and speaking to these specific issues can do that.

    ==For these reasons, I feel a move to simply delete the abortion plank, rather than replacing it with more detailed language on the topic, would be a mistake. Instead it would be better to replace it with language that says the things we can say about the topic on which a strong majority of libertarians are in agreement. I realize that changing the plank requires a higher delegate approval threshold than simply deleting the plank, but in that matter at least I am arguing for the more principled approach of holding out for the way it ought to be, over the more “practical” approach of going for the lower-hanging fruit of deletion.==

    It was a strategic decision for me to argue for deletion as well as the concern I articulated by trading the devil we know for the one we don’t… and having to defend some other arbitrary line. If someone could come up with something a majority of Libertarians could affirm (even if I couldn’t affirm totally), I would support it. My passion in the piece I hope rang through…. To make the Platform more in conformity with the general Libertarian conscience. I obviously have dealt with my disagreement as I am still here and more committed than ever.

    Until that day though… even with the strategic concerns, I plan on casting (assuming I am a CO delegate) all my tokens to delete this plank.

  130. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Indeed there are many difference with the CP and LP. I have several CP friends, and they find me baffling. They certainly are “small government” as long as you like your government Christian-flavoured (I don’t) and you want pornography, drugs, assisted suicide, homosexuality, poly, other alternative sexualities, blasphemy and other such things made illegal (I don’t) …. Yeah, just like the LP except for abortion. I don’t think so. And the fact that I am not small government though I will gladly work to that goal until we get there, but I would push the horse a wee bit farther.

    I don’t recall if this former friend was a CP member, but definitely a theocrat, who told me that in his version of paradise, there would be a few choice stones with my name on them, due to nothing more than my libertarian beliefs…which amounted to putting another god before God allegedly.

  131. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie,

    ==I think a lot of people don’t understand what that means at all, including, unfortunately, a lot of LP members.==

    Paulie, unfortunately I think you are correct. Though in all fairness, I would tend to know about it because my profession is in law so I have a peculiar interest. And also because law and justice were the big hurdle for me to accept anarchist thought. That is what MAF’s comments more baffling to me… I was pretty careful to include the fact that this belief in the proper scope of justice enforcement would apply to both minarchy and anarchy, and specifically noted that in anarchy that modes of enforcement might differ).

  132. Robert Capozzi

    Starchild, how are “sex offenders” oppressed?

    And are “burners” people who go to Burning Man, or something else?

  133. paulie Post author

    That is what MAF’s comments more baffling to me… I was pretty careful to include the fact that this belief in the proper scope of justice enforcement would apply to both minarchy and anarchy, and specifically noted that in anarchy that modes of enforcement might differ

    He may not have read your article carefully all the way through.

  134. Robert Capozzi

    pf, so I’m taking it that Starchild refers to some of the EXCESSES of how pedophiles are treated, rather than the prohibition against child molesters?

  135. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    I suspect Starchild is referring to the persecution (and prosecution) of people whose consensual sexual activities would not be considered “crimes” in any sane society, not to child molesters.

  136. Marc Allan Feldman

    I draw a distinction between idealists and ideologues.
    Idealist and ideologues may agree 100% on what the right thing to do is. But there are notable differences.
    The idealist holds the idea on the basis of understanding of evidence in the world and personal experience.
    Idealists:
    1. Understand that others can reasonably hold opposing opinions, because of different weighing of evidence, and different personal experience.
    2. The way to promote the right thing is by changing hearts and minds, through persuasion, education, and setting a good example.
    3. Understands that new evidence may arise to change their opinion. Such evidence is thought unlikely, but certainly possible and could be imagined. There are possible experimental tests that would be persuasive.
    4. Understands that although the idealists have the right answer, does not necessarily give them the right to make the decision. The appropriate person to make the decision, and has the right to do so, may think differently. The decision maker has the right to be wrong.
    The ideologues hold an idea as a basic, fundamental part of the paradign through which they view the world. They may get it from a political affiliation, religious teaching, family traditions, or just the way they came to see the world.
    In the case of deologues:
    1. Because the opinions of others do not fit their paradigm, they cannot accept opposing opinions as reasonable. They argue their opinions from solid logic off basic assumptions that they feel are obvious. Opponents must be lying, unintelligent, uninformed, immoral, or incapable of logic.
    2. The way to promote the idea is through the use of law, either with force or “in an anarchist view, the community law—however enforced/enacted”
    3. Because all evidence is understood through the lens of the paradigm, there is no empirical evidence that could be relevant or persuasive to change their opinion.
    4. Because the right thing to do is so clear, and so important, the only person who could be entrusted to make the decision is the person who agrees with the ideologue. The decision maker has no real choice, because there is no right to be wrong.

    I read the article in its entirety. I did not need to, because the arguments are all quite familiar, and they have all been rebutted. Because I see this as an ideological issue, I do not see any benefit in spending time re-hashing here.

  137. paulie Post author

    pf, so I’m taking it that Starchild refers to some of the EXCESSES of how pedophiles are treated, rather than the prohibition against child molesters?

    Aside from excesses of how people are treated, a lot of people are classified as sex offenders who are not child molestors. They can include anyone from people peeing in an alley (mea culpa: been there done that too many times to count), to sex workers, pimps, nudists, couples having sex on a beach or somewhere else semi-private where they happen to get caught, “cruising” homosexuals who get caught hooking up in a public restroom or park, couples gay or straight who get caught having sex in their car, teens sexting each other pictures, teen couples where one is slightly older than the other, people who pick up a computer virus and unknowingly become nodes for sex website traffic that may cross the line, legitimate websites that accept ads from businesses that turn out to be fronts for prostitution…. there have been many other examples of people being falsely or questionably classified as sex offenders and have their lives destroyed in numerous ways. Also, actual child molesters long after completing their sentence and being released, yet with so many restrictions that any kind of life is basically impossible – no ability to get jobs, find a place to live, go online, be around family members, etc, etc. And that often applies to the other aforementioned (among others) “sex offenders” that were never child molesters to begin with.

    That was all mentioned at the link I posted or some of it at least alluded to, so you couldn’t have read it very carefully.

  138. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Marc Allan Feldman,

    So… you cannot back up your prior post that alleged I was arguing from a solely (or primarily) minarchist view (incorrectly) and instead want to grandstand?

    Because the very heart of my article is that people hold differing opinions and we need to NOT be ideologues on this issue. If I were an ideologue on this, I would be pushing for a pro-life plank. I am not and would not support one.

    What is ironic is that it is *you* that are being the ideologue here:

    ==Because the opinions of others do not fit their paradigm, they cannot accept opposing opinions as reasonable. They argue their opinions from solid logic off basic assumptions that they feel are obvious. Opponents must be lying, unintelligent, uninformed, immoral, or incapable of logic.==

    I believe the pro-choice Libertarian makes a reasonable and logical argument, I simply disagree, I stated specifically that they are not lying, unintelligent, uninformed, immoral or incapable of logic. In fact quite the opposite. If I thought any of the above, I would not have joined the Party.

    You are misrepresenting what is said. Blatantly so.

    Do you care to back up your allegation that I somehow was arguing for minarchy and thus not something you would expect from a “self-identified Libertarian radical”? Because you are not making any sense.

    You see on one hand you stated I was not being radical enough….and then when challenged you pull the ideologue card…. on the one issue I am not a ideologue about. I am an ideologue in opposition to your redefinition of aggression to include giving people positive rights… yes. But not on this issue.

  139. paulie Post author

    The ideologues hold an idea as a basic, fundamental part of the paradign through which they view the world. They may get it from a political affiliation, religious teaching, family traditions, or just the way they came to see the world.

    Ah. So like people who believe monopoly government is the only way to address certain problems, for example.

  140. paulie Post author

    RTAA

    Paulie, oh yes. I did say I support abortion if to save the life of the mother. But that doesn’t say anything about my overall stance on abortion.

    I neither said nor implied that you did. I specifically addressed what you wrote and asked questions, some of which could be taken as being personally addressed to you, although I actually meant the generic/plural “you.” In any case I made no assumptions.

  141. paulie Post author

    At least I’ve never heard anyone, however “far right,” who didn’t allow for abortion to save the life of the mother.

    At least two of the “major” Republican presidetial candidates have specifically taken the “no exception for the life of the mother” position. See link above @ 3:41 am.

  142. Rebel Alliance

    I agree with Starchild that deleting the platform plank on abortion is a bad idea. Yes, we’re divided on it, and yes, the wording doesn’t please everyone. But it *is* a current issue. So we need to say something about it, not just sweep it under the rug and try to hide it. The LP would appear less credible by completely ignoring an issue that matters to many.

  143. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Rebel Alliance,

    ==I agree with Starchild that deleting the platform plank on abortion is a bad idea. Yes, we’re divided on it, and yes, the wording doesn’t please everyone. But it *is* a current issue. So we need to say something about it, not just sweep it under the rug and try to hide it. The LP would appear less credible by completely ignoring an issue that matters to many.==

    I respect your position, but I respectfully disagree. The wording in actuality doesn’t just not please everyone, it is not pleasing to a significant portion, and puts forth as “the” Libertarian position something that quite simply isn’t. Unless the Libertarian position is absolutely unfettered abortion up until the cord is cut. Not saying *anything* is more indicative of the actual state of Libertarian conscience on the issue than that. I daresay perhaps even a majority of Libertarians would have an issue after viability. Our candidates certainly have. Most Libertarians I speak to that have thought on this issue a lot (not implying that others are not thoughtful… just that different issues occupy more interest than others to different people) tend to fall in a variation of the evictionist camp…. which is certainly not reflected by our platform.

    I believe our platform needs to speak on current issues (thus I am very heavily weighing Starchild’s words about being more specific on other things) but needs to speak with a clear Libertarian voice. I do not think the present one does that.

  144. Marc Allan Feldman

    Caryn Ann Harlos writes,

    “So… you cannot back up your prior post that alleged I was arguing from a solely (or primarily) minarchist view (incorrectly) and instead want to grandstand?”

    I have several goals in posting here.
    1) to show that I do read IPR occasionally
    2) to show that I was interested enough in the topic and thought highly enough of the author to read and comment. This is a compliment.
    3) To share my thoughts on the article and the topic, for people who might think highly enough of me to be interested.

    I am not here to “win” an argument. I am not here to argue at all. I do not try to convince people. To me that seems like trying to control people. As a Libertarian, I highly value the individual power to think for yourself and decide for yourself.
    I like if I can stimulate people to think. I find it stimulates me to think, too.

    “Because the very heart of my article is that people hold differing opinions and we need to NOT be ideologues on this issue.”
    This is one place where the very heart of your article is incorrect. The key question – should a pregnant woman be considered two people, mother and child, with independent rights – is an ideological question. Recognizing the ideological aspects of the question demonstrate where logical argument and scientific evidence are useless, because an ideological postion depend on neither logic nor science.

    “What is ironic is that it is *you* that are being the ideologue here:”
    Nothing ironic at all. I freely admit it. Ideology is necessary. When setting forth an argument, it is can be very useful to state right up front what the basic assumptions are. These are the intial postulates that are presented without logical foundation or empirical evidence. There is no use arguing if one holds different basic assumptions

    We hold these truths to be self-evident,
    that all men are created equal,
    that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
    that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–
    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

    This is a beautiful statement of ideology. No logical argument and no empirical evidence are needed, or would be relevant. Because we hold these truths to be self-evident.

    You might as well have started your article: We who are pro-Life hold the following truth to be self-evident. Position (A)That a baby one minute before birth has the same right to life independent of the mother, as a distinct person, than a baby one minute after birth.

    I could start my response: that is a valid position, but not one that I hold. I hold that this truth is self-evident. Position (B) That a pregnant woman is one whole person, not two, and the moment of birth is when one person becomes two.

    “Do you care to back up your allegation that I somehow was arguing for minarchy and thus not something you would expect from a “self-identified Libertarian radical”? Because you are not making any sense.”
    I do not feel the need to “back up” anything. Nor do I feel I was putting forth any “allegation.” I was sharing my thoughts. If you are asking if I could please provide a more detailed explication of my thoughts, I would be happy to.

    The current plank that you quote starts : “Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides,” I do not get the impression that this part was problematic.
    “we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.” This seems the problematic issue. The central argument in response reads: “As Libertarians, we generally believe that the State (or in an anarchist view, the community law—however enforced/enacted[2]) does have a compelling reason to prevent and punish homicide.”
    So it is “we believe that government should be kept out of the matter” vs. “we generally believe that the State … does have a compelling reason.”
    I chose the words minarchistic vs. anarchistic deliberately to try to express that the argument is not about different systems of government, but rather about whether the State has a compelling interest. A minarchist would likely feel that the government had a compelling interest in intervening in a life and death situation. An anarchist would likely say no, the State has no compelling interest in this, or anything, and another better non-aggression based solution can be found.

    I see another hint at an ideological discussion when my more concrete example:

    The important division in the Libertarian party is between those that feel that
    (A). A controversial, emotional, moral issue is a necessary and proper area for government intervention if it is a matter of life and death.
    and
    (B). A controversial, emotional, moral issue is not a necessary and proper area for government intervention even if it is a matter of life and death.

    was ignored in order to focus on the anarchist vs. minarchist issue.

    My post purposefully mentioned nothing about pro-Life or pro-Choice, because most of those in both camps agree with position (A). Most Libertarians agree with (B). The reason that Libertarians do not protest against murder laws is not because they are a matter of life and death, but because they are not controversial issues. For the most part, there is consensus that murder is wrong even among murderers, so laws against murder do not force many if any people to go against their personal moral code. Abortion is a very different situation.

    The same position (A) vs. (B) are seen in arguments about vaccination, heroin legalization, and many other issues. I am not arguing right or wrong here. I am sharing my thought that position (B) is more “radical Libertarian”.

    I am an ideologue in opposition to your redefinition of aggression to include giving people positive rights… yes. But not on this issue.
    Almost. You are ideological in your inability to consider the possible correctness of my belief that prejudicial discrimination under certain circumstances can be an aggression causing loss of life, liberty, and property. Your ideology requires re-framing my empirical belief in a certain behavior causing certain harms and losses as a “giving people positive rights”.
    But I will accept that you seem to start understanding what ideology is about, it’s value for inspiration and dedication but its obstruction to empirical investigations.

  145. Thomas L. Knapp

    “You might as well have started your article: We who are pro-Life hold the following truth to be self-evident. Position (A)That a baby one minute before birth has the same right to life independent of the mother, as a distinct person, than a baby one minute after birth.”

    OK, now that you’ve made it clear you have no idea what her article was about, is there any particular reason to read the rest of what you have to say on the subject?

  146. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Marc Allen Feldman

    ==This is one place where the very heart of your article is incorrect. The key question – should a pregnant woman be considered two people, mother and child, with independent rights – is an ideological question. ===

    One that I do not answer. Of course to a libertarian rights are a core concern. To dismiss that as ideology is to dismiss the entire libertarian enterprise.

    ==Recognizing the ideological aspects of the question demonstrate where logical argument and scientific evidence are useless, because an ideological postion depend on neither logic nor science.==

    Since I didn’t set out to prove anything other than the fact that there *is* a ideological conflict— both arguing presumably libertarian groundings— your comments still make no sense. What logic is required to argue that there is a conflict and that historically both sides have made their case? And that the platform requires one side to abandon the good faith believe it already grants they can have?

    ==
    Nothing ironic at all. I freely admit it. Ideology is necessary. When setting forth an argument, it is can be very useful to state right up front what the basic assumptions are. These are the intial postulates that are presented without logical foundation or empirical evidence. There is no use arguing if one holds different basic assumptions==

    The only assumption I was making is that one that the Platform itself concedes.

    ===You might as well have started your article: We who are pro-Life hold the following truth to be self-evident. Position (A)That a baby one minute before birth has the same right to life independent of the mother, as a distinct person, than a baby one minute after birth.===

    What pro-lifers (and the majority of Libertarians if we are talking about one minute before both) believe IS self-evident as far as the content of what they believe… just ask them. Whether it is TRUE or not is another question— one that you are obfuscating. One I *didn’t* argue for. I argued that the difference of opinion— both sides arguing Libertarian grounds— EXISTS.

    You really seem to be supremely missing the point.

    ==I could start my response: that is a valid position, but not one that I hold. I hold that this truth is self-evident. Position (B) That a pregnant woman is one whole person, not two, and the moment of birth is when one person becomes two. ==

    I would love to explore whether you think it would be okay to dismember the fetus one minute before birth, but that is not my purpose here. Let me say this… if you do believe that, I think your position on discrimination violating the NAP is going to be a lesser problem at convention than that. You seriously think if someone can’t get a cake at a similar quality and similar price that they have been aggressed against so that they are owed damages but dismembering a fully functional human being that can survive on its own, one minute before birth ISN’T aggression. Ookkkkaaay.

    “Do you care to back up your allegation that I somehow was arguing for minarchy and thus not something you would expect from a “self-identified Libertarian radical”? Because you are not making any sense.”
    I do not feel the need to “back up” anything. Nor do I feel I was putting forth any “allegation.” I was sharing my thoughts. If you are asking if I could please provide a more detailed explication of my thoughts, I would be happy to.

    I chose the words minarchistic vs. anarchistic deliberately to try to express that the argument is not about different systems of government, but rather about whether the State has a compelling interest. A minarchist would likely feel that the government had a compelling interest in intervening in a life and death situation. An anarchist would likely say no, the State has no compelling interest in this, or anything, and another better non-aggression based solution can be found.===

    I explicitly stated a no-State solution…. an anarchist one that didn’t require a State (i.e. it assume a polycentric system of community law). And no, an anarchist does not believe in the case of homicide there should be no punishment. You are immediately characterizing punishment as “aggression” which is a category error, because aggression is against someone who has a right not to be violated.

    ==I see another hint at an ideological discussion when my more concrete example:

    The important division in the Libertarian party is between those that feel that
    (A). A controversial, emotional, moral issue is a necessary and proper area for government intervention if it is a matter of life and death.
    and
    (B). A controversial, emotional, moral issue is not a necessary and proper area for government intervention even if it is a matter of life and death.

    was ignored in order to focus on the anarchist vs. minarchist issue.==

    No I explicitly answered that in my first response. I quote myself: “I further dispute your A/B characterization between minarchy and anarchy…. Both of those scenarios would occur in both systems. If an actual negative right was not being violated — say as in the case of discrimination since there is no positive right to the service or good opinion of another — it would be a moral issue and a controversial issue — and could be a matter of life and death if the refused person needed the other person’s services in order to live — but both in libertarian minarchy and anarchy the “law” need not be involved as no negative right was violated.”

    If a negative right is violated…. no matter how “controversial” it is potentially a matter for the law… if a negative right is not violated, it is not.

    ==My post purposefully mentioned nothing about pro-Life or pro-Choice, because most of those in both camps agree with position (A). Most Libertarians agree with (B). The reason that Libertarians do not protest against murder laws is not because they are a matter of life and death, but because they are not controversial issues. For the most part, there is consensus that murder is wrong even among murderers, so laws against murder do not force many if any people to go against their personal moral code. Abortion is a very different situation.==

    Most people have a consensus that killing a fetus one minute before natural childbirth is murder too. And consensus doesn’t determine if something is in fact murder. In many societies, the pater families could kill his family— with societal approval.

    In an anarchist system, the consensus is presumed. But a minority position doesn’t require that minority to give up their belief… it just means it doesn’t happen.

    ==The same position (A) vs. (B) are seen in arguments about vaccination, heroin legalization, and many other issues. I am not arguing right or wrong here. I am sharing my thought that position (B) is more “radical Libertarian”.==

    I refer back to my answer about positive and negative rights.

    ==Almost. You are ideological in your inability to consider the possible correctness of my belief that prejudicial discrimination under certain circumstances can be an aggression causing loss of life, liberty, and property. Your ideology requires re-framing my empirical belief in a certain behavior causing certain harms and losses as a “giving people positive rights”.===

    Because it is. I have examined it. In fact, I *want* you to be right because I openly hate discrimination. But I will save this for another day. I promised a position paper on this one day, and it will come. Perhaps in the meantime you will actually define what you mean by discrimination as has been requested and you have refused.

  147. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Tom,

    ==OK, now that you’ve made it clear you have no idea what her article was about, is there any particular reason to read the rest of what you have to say on the subject?==

    Thank you that I am not the only one who sees that.

  148. Jay R North

    Marc,

    What are your definitions for prejudice, discrimination, and harm?

    Then, please explain where the definition shows harm.

  149. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Everyone, for those who are curious about Marc’s statement that drove my discrimination comment (besides the prior “cake” debate):

    Marc said:

    “Prejudicial discrimination, when it has the force to decrease perceived personal value, can be seen as an unacceptable aggression under the NAP.”

    We do not have a positive right to some kind of personal value by another person. That is not aggression under the NAP. To claim that depriving someone of their self-worth is an aggression under the NAP is to claim a positive right.

    And I hate discrimination.

  150. Caryn Ann Harlos

    One other thing to point out… Marc has stated that my position is somehow the less “radical” because I presumably argued for the intervention of law in my article. First, as stated before I dispute that such is an issue of “radicalness”– but more importantly.. I challenge anyone to quote me in my article where I argued for the intervention of the law. I argued that it would be consistent for a pro-lifer to believe in the intervention of the law and be consistent with Libertarian principles. I never argued for *my* position. In fact I argued in a footnote a position against the intervention of the law for the period of time when the vast majority of abortions occur, in the first trimester. My premise was only that the platform grants that a Libertarian can be pro-life and that if a Libertarian is pro-life, it can follow that the law should be involved. Pro-lifers will differ on how much that can or should be accomplished.

  151. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Let me quote myself:

    ==Indeed, some people who believe in a moral right to life at conception reason that it would be impossible and tyrannical to legislate. For instance, if a woman is known to be pregnant and suffers an early miscarriage, is this an automatic homicide investigation? Others support legislation but would solve it in a different manner by focusing on the providers. I confess I have no clear-cut answers, but I do not think that it is logically required to have all solutions in order to take a principled position. I also do not have every answer to how society would function in the absence of a State, but I still hold the position that the coercive and monopolistic State is unjustified.==

    I think… “I confess I have no clear-cut answers” pretty much rules out that I was clearly advocating for the intervention of law. Which is understandable since my burden was simply to address the Platform and what Libertarians writ large can belief and be consistent with Libertarian principles.

  152. Matt Cholko

    This thread is too long for me to read. So, would anyone like to tell me if there have been any proposed changes to the abortion plank here, other than elimination of it?

  153. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Matt,

    No not so far. I would love to hear some though and would likely support one that helped relief some of the tension.

  154. Chuck Moulton

    Robert Capozzi wrote:

    pf, so I’m taking it that Starchild refers to some of the EXCESSES of how pedophiles are treated, rather than the prohibition against child molesters?

    Tom Knapp wrote:

    I suspect Starchild is referring to the persecution (and prosecution) of people whose consensual sexual activities would not be considered “crimes” in any sane society, not to child molesters.

    I don’t know what Starchild was referring to.

    In my opinion though, there are two problems:

    1) what Knapp wrote: “the persecution (and prosecution) of people whose consensual sexual activities would not be considered “crimes” in any sane society” (e.g., an 18 year old having sex with a 17 year old or someone looking at a picture)

    2) a completely different issue: the registered sex offender list, which is modern day leprosy, and was an ex post facto law when it was passed and applied to earlier crimes

    The second is ridiculous even for actual child molesters — e.g., with the undefendable, morally repugnant cases like an adult (with no mental impairments) having forced sex with a 6 year old. It flies in the face of the whole concept of the justice system, which is to punish people, rehabilitate them, and re-integrate them into society. If child molesters have not been rehabilitated, then they should serve longer prison sentences. If they have been rehabilitated, then marking them as lepers is outrageous.

  155. Marc Allan Feldman

    Thomas L. Knapp writes:
    “OK, now that you’ve made it clear you have no idea what her article was about, is there any particular reason to read the rest of what you have to say on the subject?”

    Because the opinions of others do not fit their paradigm, they cannot accept opposing opinions as reasonable. They argue their opinions from solid logic off basic assumptions that they feel are obvious. Opponents must be lying, unintelligent, uninformed, immoral, or incapable of logic.

    QED

  156. Matt Cholko

    I’m not sure there is much “tension” around the abortion issue. Yes, Ls disagree about it. But, I’ve not found it to be a big deal to many of them. It’s certainly not a big deal to me.

    If it comes up in Orlando next year, maybe I’ll auction off my vote.

  157. Chuck Moulton

    Matt Cholko wrote:

    I’m not sure there is much “tension” around the abortion issue. Yes, Ls disagree about it. But, I’ve not found it to be a big deal to many of them. It’s certainly not a big deal to me.

    If it comes up in Orlando next year, maybe I’ll auction off my vote.

    I open the bidding at $1.

  158. Thomas L. Knapp

    Marc,

    I didn’t describe your opinion as unreasonable. I just noted that you clearly have not read Caryn’s article (I suppose it’s possible that you read, but didn’t understand, Caryn’s article; or that you are intentionally lying about the content of Caryn’s article; but I wanted to go with the least damning assumption).

  159. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Marc Allan Feldman,

    ==Because the opinions of others do not fit their paradigm, they cannot accept opposing opinions as reasonable. They argue their opinions from solid logic off basic assumptions that they feel are obvious. Opponents must be lying, unintelligent, uninformed, immoral or incapable of logic.===

    And you fail to see that in the way you assumed what Tom was saying you proved your own point.

    Here is the way it looks Marc. *You* are the one who came blazing in to take some ideological stand against ideological stands that werent even being argued for in the article on some crusade to show how reasonable and erudite you are in the face of wild-eyed fantacism and ended up being the person giving the object lessons of what not to do and left flat-footed when the nest of unbending militants were simply making a reasonable point.

    Sometimes these stump speeches fail Marc.

    This is one of those times.

  160. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Matt,

    ==I’m not sure there is much “tension” around the abortion issue. Yes, Ls disagree about it. But, I’ve not found it to be a big deal to many of them. It’s certainly not a big dreal===

    YMMV. I have found it to be so. It is one way to kick of an evening of libertarian bloodsports if that is your thing.

  161. Robert Capozzi

    pf: So like people who believe monopoly government is the only way to address certain problems, for example.

    me: Yes. The key word in your sentence is “only.” It’s an absolute and obviously false.

  162. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Overnight, another point occurred to me to make on the radical v less radical distinction. I do not play the Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Most Radical of Them All game. In self-identifying as a Libertarian Radical I not making any claim that every single thing I believe will be the top-dot most extreme thing possible. That would be silly. I am making the claim that such is the general “faction” (if we must use those terms) that I would ally with – not lockstep dedication to out-radical everyone. It was also to indicate that my particular position as to the state ran to the anarchist side. My decision to put that identifier in my article was *not* to claim that my plank-deletion suggestion was a radical item but to show that the suggestion was not coming from a person who had a moderating-towards-conservatism overall agenda. I don’t.

  163. Starchild

    In response to speculation on a couple terms I used…

    Yes, by “burners” I meant people who go to Burning Man, although not only to that event in particular — there are numerous “burns” that happen in various states and countries. Although they are a very heterogenous group with relatively little in the way of defined or shared values, this is not an insignificant cultural group. If they were a political movement, it might be rival the libertarian movement in size and organization:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_regional_Burning_Man_events

    And in listing “sex offenders”, yes, I had in mind the types of oppression/criminalization to which Paulie refers in his post August 27, 2015 at 5:55 pm.

  164. paulie Post author

    Yes. The key word in your sentence is “only.” It’s an absolute and obviously false.

    I’m glad to learn that we agree that there are no social or economic problems to which monopoly government is the only workable solution, and that they can all be solved through other means.

  165. Starchild

    Caryn, in response to part of what you wrote (August 27, 2015 at 12:17 pm)…

    I didn’t intend to suggest support there [for the State charging people involved in late term abortions with murder], but to point out the reductio ad absurdum of a goal merely being a reduction of number convicted. If something is actually a crime, they should be convicted. It begs the question if something is actually a crime. What should be penalties and when? I confess I do not have a firm answer, but there does come a time when nearly everyone agrees we have a rights-bearing little human here. I think most readers here (not at all suggesting you have) have passed over the two quotes I put forth by the ALF… which are quite shocking but perfectly consistent with our platform. The ALF argues that not only does a woman have a right to have an unwanted fetus out of her body up until the moment of birth, she has the right to absolutely demand its death— up until the moment of birth. This goes far beyond what nearly any Libertarian would agree to, yet, our present platform would be agreement with the ALF— at least arguably. Typically in these kinds of arguments, one side will say to the other… oh yeah, that’s extreme but no one is seriously arguing that. Well in this case, a respected Libertarian Feminist organization is in fact arguing this…. Claiming it is the Libertarian position. I do not think even the most ardent defender of abortion choice in this thread would think it is someone’s negative right to kill a fully functional baby one second before it is born. While in practicality this is not happening, the argument is being made, and if one concedes that no, you can’t do that… how far back can you go …. It is a quagmire.

    Okay, I see we are still on the same page in not having a good answer to this. I do have something more to chew on, but I’ll warn you in advance that it’s not very satisfying. :-/

    I owe this insight to Michael Edelstein, a longtime Libertarian anarchist, who pointed out something that perhaps should be obvious, but for someone like myself with tendencies toward being a libertarian ideologue*, can be easy at times to overlook: The most libertarian solution may not always be the best solution.

    [*Digression – I stand with Marc Feldman in defending ideology, though I would disagree that “idealists” and “idealogues” are two such different creatures as he contends. An ideologue may simply be an idealist with an ideology (as opposed to someone of idealistic temperament who lacks a firm ideology). I like to say that being an ideologue is only bad to the extent your ideology is bad (and only limiting to the extent that your ideology is limited).]

    What do I mean by the most libertarian solution not necessarily being the best solution? To begin with, I do see libertarianism as a kind of “unifying field theory” for politics. And I use the term “politics” here in an extremely broad sense, i.e. how entities ought best to interact with each other (apply the Non-Aggression Principle, respect individual rights and property rights, etc.). In my view, applying a libertarian approach is probably desirable in at least 99% of human interactions as far as it goes (libertarianism rarely guides us on exactly what to do in a given situation, only provides some broad principles).

    But there may be circumstances when considerations other than libertarian ones become overriding. Say for instance that you’re partying on the balcony of a 10th floor apartment when you trip and plunge over the railing. As you’re plummeting toward a messy death in the parking lot below, you manage to catch hold of a flagpole protruding from the 9th floor balcony, and as you’re hanging on for dear life, the ornery old libertarian who lives in the 9th floor apartment comes outside and yells at you, “Let go of my flagpole and get off my property immediately!”

    Let’s assume you have every reason to believe that this person is in fact the property owner, and that he doesn’t care if complying cause you to die (to him you’re just one of those pesky noisy kids upstairs). In such a circumstance, I contend the most libertarian response to his demand is quite clear: Let go of the flagpole and fall to your death! Libertarianism, after all, says nothing about how much an individual ought to value his or her own survival, but it does clearly demand respect for private property rights and not initiating force against others via trespass.

    So getting back to abortion. Libertarians believe in what are unfortunately called “negative rights” (we need a better term for this), and not “positive rights”, i.e. that an individual only has rights which do not depend upon positive action by others in order to be fulfilled, but only require the individual being left alone (e.g. one has the right to peaceably acquire health care, housing, etc., but not a right to such things, as that would impose an obligation on someone else to provide them). A fetus simply left alone however, will die. Its development and survival requires, on some level, the mother’s cooperation — keeping herself alive, at a minimum. Against this need of the fetus for non-libertarian “positive rights” stands its “contractual” right, if you will, which is on solid libertarian ground, to life support from the individuals who brought it into the world and thus arguably took on the responsibility for its survival. But this right appears more tenuous than a woman’s right to use her own body as she chooses, because there are situations in which it won’t apply — if a woman was raped, for instance, there is a strong argument that she never voluntarily entered into a contract to bear the fetus. (One can argue that by failing to use an abortificant early on in her pregnancy that she did enter into said contract, but this is a very unappealing argument since it requires postulating that one can be entered into a contract against one’s will simply by doing nothing.) And Marc Alan Feldman’s point about the physical division of one body into two being the logical place to define when a new being with separate rights is created, carries a certain intuitive weight.

    Thus it seems possible to me — although far short of proven, from where I sit — that the Association of Libertarian Feminists’ position you cite, that a pregnant woman has an absolute right to kill the fetus up until birth even after removing it from her body may possibly be the most libertarian one, yet at the same time remain eminently unreasonable!

    Abortion is not the only public policy issue where the most libertarian approach is not necessarily the best approach in my opinion, although such issues are as I said rare. Another would be individual ownership of, say, nuclear weapons (RC’s favorite topic!), or a dangerous biological weapon such as the polio or ebola virus or something. Again, the libertarian position is clear: Mere peaceful possession of any justly acquired object is not a crime! But I personally do not want individuals owning weapons capable of such mass destruction under any circumstances (to be clear, I have even less wish for governments to own them!)

    My controversial idea, however, is that the Libertarian Party should stand for libertarianism, period, even in the rare cases when libertarianism goes against common sense — but in the realm of public policy, not necessarily that of personal action. So in the balcony example, the party’s position should be that by hanging onto the flagpole until somebody drops you a rope, or climbing onto the 9th floor apartment owner’s balcony and exiting his front door, you would be criminally liable for trespassing. It does not mean that individual libertarian jurors at your trial should necessarily find you guilty, however — it might be a good case for jury nullification! In the case of weapons of mass destruction, I’m not such a masochist that I think the LP Platform must explicitly sanction their ownership, but we should say that the mere peaceful possession of any object should not be a legal offense. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves, as well as others, that there are other ways to accomplish goals besides the law. Violating the property rights of their owners by destroying the WMDs, for instance, if less aggressive methods prove insufficient to eliminating such clear and present dangers.

    If we were able to reach a broad consensus as a party that the libertarian solution may not always be the best one, but that the Libertarian Party as an organization seeking to advance libertarian ideas should always uphold, and never oppose, libertarian solutions as a matter of public policy, I think this could have a radically unifying effect. Each of us naturally tends to feel our own ideas are best, or we wouldn’t hold them, and often people simply do not want to be told they are wrong. If we say, “You may be right about this, but the position of the party is to consistently uphold libertarianism”, then we create a space in which arguing over what is right and arguing over what is most libertarian become two separate conversations. In such an atmosphere, more LP members may be more willing to let the party simply be libertarian, instead of viewing it as a battleground into which to shoehorn as many of their personal beliefs as possible, regardless of whether those beliefs are considered libertarian by most people or not. Even someone only scoring, say, 60/60 on the Nolan Chart, could have more confidence that a Libertarian Party fully committed to libertarianism would stand firmly behind his/her beliefs roughly 60% of the time and not sell out on those issues. In a world of unreliable political promises, I think people might respect that and see value in both the consistency, and the humility of saying, “We know our party isn’t always right, but it’s safer to stick to a clear path where we believe it will be right most of the time, than to try to always be right and in doing so, open the door to taking positions based on politics rather than principles and over time becoming corrupted and selling out the cause of freedom.”

    Ugh, this comment has gotten way too long again! I’ll try to address more of your points in a future post…

  166. Robert Capozzi

    pf: I’m glad to learn that we agree that there are no social or economic problems to which monopoly government is the only workable solution, and that they can all be solved through other means.

    me: Have I ever said otherwise? Recall that I am a TAAAList…theoretical asymptotic anarchist/applied lessarchist. There are — I submit — TODAY many socioeconomic challenges that would be better configured monopoly-government-free. Some could be government-free in the future.

    It’s possible that they ALL could be workably free at some point, which anarchists desire. I am skeptical, but I would never say never.

  167. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Starchild,

    That is an awesome post, and in my first read, I agree with most of it, even the controversial parts. But it is such that if I respond quickly, I will do not it justice. So I will but will likely be a few days. And I am chewing on how fully to respond to the specific examples without going too far afield of the goal of the article.

    I find this statement to be thematic of your post (please correct me if I am wrong):

    ==My controversial idea, however, is that the Libertarian Party should stand for libertarianism, period, even in the rare cases when libertarianism goes against common sense — but in the realm of public policy, not necessarily that of personal action.==

    If that is so, I concur with that conclusion, and we are two rare birds. Where we might disagree (and I say *might* because you were careful in many areas just to throw a thought out there and not come down definitely on it) is what IS the most “libertarian” solution on the outer extremes. I submit as we get more towards the “middle” on this issue, it simply isn’t as clear as both sides would like. I will submit though that the ALF position is not a libertarian answer–extreme or otherwise. I have no problem with conceding a libertarian answer that I might personally disagree with. Such as… someone will die if I don’t give them a hand up from a cliff. Do they have a right to demand that of me? No. I can walk on by and be perfectly “libertarian.” Should I morally help them? Of course, and I would condemn as a terrible rotten person someone who didn’t. In most cases justice and rights (the libertarian enterprise of a general theory of justice) will coincide with morality (a larger theory of ethics)… but not always. Just because we “can” do something doesn’t mean we “should.”

    I quote George Smith here:

    ==Libertarianism is a political theory that deals with the concept of justice. It does not deal per se with establishing what is and is not “morally permissible.” That is the realm of ethics, or moral theory, which is a much broader discipline than political theory.==

    That relates to my earlier comments on discrimination. Ethically discrimination is revolting. In a political theory of rights and justice, no negative rights are being violated. My vehement opposition is to conflating the two, so on that plane, I am very sympathetic to the thrust of your argument which seems to me to among the same lines. So our impulses on libertarian theory seem to be very similar.

    Thank you for such thoughtful interaction. (I actually answered more than I thought I would)

  168. Robert Capozzi

    Yet it was illegal. What category of law was it considered to violate? And were those investigated?

  169. paulie Post author

    Laws against abortion were not based on the theory of fetal personhood. IIRC what I have read, abortion laws were generally enforced against providers; ie abortionists were no licensed, and would be jailed or fined when discovered by law enforcement. The idea of fetal personhood became widespread after Roe, not before.

  170. Robert Capozzi

    OK, so it’s conceivable that the class of “murder” could also be considered different were Roe overturned and abortions were considered a form of murder.

    It would be interesting to hear a pro-lifer’s perspective. Some might even want both the doctor and the prospective mother put to death, I suspect. Attending nurses would get 20 to life as accomplices.

  171. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Would miscarriages be investigated as suspected murder if abortion was actually treated as murder?”

    Are accidental drownings investigated as murder since forcible drowning is treated as murder?

    See “cause, probable.”

  172. Thomas L. Knapp

    Paulie,

    You asked a very general question, and I offered the obvious answer: It would not NECESSARILY follow from treating abortion as murder that miscarriages, in the absence of probable cause to believe they were induced, would be investigated as murders.

    COULD that happen? Yes. In fact it HAS happened (Ceaucescu’s Romania, for example).

    Would it NECESSARILY happen? No. There are any number of things that are treated as crimes and which have analogs which are not routinely investigated as likely being those crimes.

    Vehicular homicide is a crime. Not every car wreck which results in a fatality is subjected to a criminal investigation for homicide; only those where an investigator believes he has probable cause to believe that it was not purely an accident.

    There is a line separating “valid concern as to what MIGHT happen” and “fallacious slippery slope claim as to what WOULD happen.”

  173. Robert Capozzi

    TK: There is a line separating “valid concern as to what MIGHT happen” and “fallacious slippery slope claim as to what WOULD happen.”

    me: Excellent reminder. I made the same point to CAH about “hopes” and “predictions” as well as “concerns.”

    Robert Capozzi
    August 27, 2015 at 7:31 am

    CAH: Polycentric law systems would handle it just as well.

    me: Would, huh? It takes Trump-like confidence to speculate with such certainty! ?

  174. Andy Craig

    “Laws against abortion were not based on the theory of fetal personhood. IIRC what I have read, abortion laws were generally enforced against providers; ie abortionists were no licensed, and would be jailed or fined when discovered by law enforcement. The idea of fetal personhood became widespread after Roe, not before.”

    Exactly right.

    Whether you think it should be illegal or not, “Abortion is murder” is a radical proposition totally unprecedented in American law.

  175. Andy

    Well at one time women voting was a radical proposition that was unprecedented under American law.

  176. Robert Capozzi

    ac: “Abortion is murder” is a radical proposition totally unprecedented in American law.

    me: OK, then, could be. Pre-Roe, what was the fetus considered? And what evidence do you have that in the 70s and before, abortion wasn’t considered to be “murder”?

    fwiw, I was pretty young when Roe was handed down, but I recall Roe opponents have always been talking about “killing babies” and so forth.

  177. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I have stayed away from the specific penalties portion as (for me) it is outside of my intent. But I do have to point this out:

    1. The position in the article is the coherence of conceding the prolifer has a legitimate libertarian position and then asking them to abandon the logical consequences of it (for most)– in judging that their own view must be taken on its own terms. Many rights issues were unprecedented in law before including gay rights, minority rights, and women’s rights. Abortion being fully legal was unprecedented in American law.

    2. Assuming a lesser species of crime my argument remains. Aggressions against rights-bearing humans is a proper sphere of the law under both a state or no-state system.

    PS: in personal email boxes there are earlier versions of this paper when I was still a minarchist. It was revised for IPR to reflect inclusion within an anarchist/voluntaryist umbrella

  178. paulie Post author

    Pre-Roe, what was the fetus considered?

    A fetus. It wasn’t about the fetus, there were other concerns that drove abortion to be outlawed. Once again, see http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/health-info/u-s-abortion-history/ for some details. I put that link here earlier for a reason.

    And what evidence do you have that in the 70s and before, abortion wasn’t considered to be “murder”?

    That’s easy enough. Find me some evidence of abortionists or women that had abortions being prosecuted for murder back then, other than in highly unusual circumstances. Or follow the link I already gave you and actually read it.

    fwiw, I was pretty young when Roe was handed down, but I recall Roe opponents have always been talking about “killing babies” and so forth.

    Yes, that movement coalesced after Roe. Legally, abortion was not murder pre-Roe. Look it up.

    Abortion being fully legal was unprecedented in American law.

    It was generally legal until the 1880s. See the links I provided earlier.

    Historically, pre “quickening” or pre viability abortions were usually legal in most places, and late term abortions were illegal in many times and places. Currently in the US about 90% of abortions are in the first trimester. Of the remaining 10% many are about pregnancy complications that could involve danger to the health of the mother or severe health issues if the baby manages to be born successfully, which is highly dubious in many cases.

    Again, I recommend http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/health-info/u-s-abortion-history/ and https://www.facebook.com/avobrien/posts/630987974026 for additional details.

    One notable point in one of the links – I think it was http://prospect.org/article/what-happens-when-abortion-outlawed – was that while outlawing abortions increases the incidence of unsafe illegal abortions, often with severe negative health consequences for pregnant women, suicides, etc., it’s not even clear that it reduces the overall number of abortions at all.

    I would also recommend the other articles I linked for what’s going on with illegal abortion, primarily in Central America.

  179. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie,

    I used the words “fully legal” for a reason. I am aware of the quickening dividing law which goes back to English common-law. After quickening, it was manslaughter in most cases. In much of pre-American Christianity and certain sects of Judaism, quickening was the dividing line too.

    But again the actual penalties were not my concern in the article (and the main thrust of my argument with the platform wasn’t even with the small percentage of Libertarians who would make it illegal in the first trimester— I do not think juries would ever convict and for that reason alone I could concede that they could not be made illegal) but for the logical implication of our position that it is perfectly okay to kill a fetus one minute before natural childbirth…. which is precisely what the ALF argues.

  180. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Here is a good link:

    http://family.findlaw.com/reproductive-rights/abortion-and-the-law-background.html

    Now it is true that laws on the books became entrenched in the 1880s but that is a somewhat misleading (not saying intentionally) statement. Because common law principles would have guided a lot of jurisprudence, and the quickening standard was common law. Also there were the issues of entrenched patriarchy where this was considered a family matter and society/law was loathe to intervene.

    But a quickening dividing line was very often the standard in cultures for a long period of time… absolutely granted.

    And I think a horse sense kind of quasi-quickening standard is whether the moderate middle fall today on this issue actually (including Libertarians). They may not know that is what they are articulating but it is.

  181. paulie Post author

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quickening

    Usually, quickening occurs naturally at about the middle of a pregnancy. A woman pregnant for the first time (i.e., a primigravida woman) typically feels fetal movements at about 18–20 weeks, whereas a woman who has been pregnant more than once (i.e., a multipara woman) will typically feel movements around 15–17 weeks.

    The link I gave earlier from Avens O’Brien cites stats from the Guttmacher Institute that 88% of US abortions take place in the first 12 weeks, and only 1.5% after 20 weeks – and most of those involving health of the mother, children born brain dead etc. Another of those links estimates 1.2 million illegal abortions in the US per year before Roe, which is about what is happening legally now.

  182. paulie Post author

    But again the actual penalties were not my concern in the article (and the main thrust of my argument with the platform wasn’t even with the small percentage of Libertarians who would make it illegal in the first trimester— I do not think juries would ever convict and for that reason alone I could concede that they could not be made illegal) but for the logical implication of our position that it is perfectly okay to kill a fetus one minute before natural childbirth…. which is precisely what the ALF argues.

    I agree that most people, including Libertarians, fall somewhere in the middle between opposing extremes on abortion. On the other hand if only 1.5% of abortions are after 20 weeks, it’s a fraction of a precent in the third trimester. One percent may be 15,000 per year (although I think I have read the numbers have fallen and 1.5 million per year was an old stat from decades ago). Pre-Roe, one of my links above estimates about 5,000 women a year in the US died from illegal abortions, and many more were injured. If the link is correct about 1.2 million illegal abortions a year then, that puts things into some perspective, I think.

  183. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie.

    ==I agree that most people, including Libertarians, fall somewhere in the middle between opposing extremes on abortion. On the other hand if only 1.5% of abortions are after 20 weeks, it’s a fraction of a precent in the third trimester. One percent may be 15,000 per year (although I think I have read the numbers have fallen and 1.5 million per year was an old stat from decades ago). Pre-Roe, one of my links above estimates about 5,000 women a year in the US died from illegal abortions, and many more were injured. If the link is correct about 1.2 million illegal abortions a year then, that puts things into some perspective, I think.==

    You know my concerns are always primarily ideological, so I don’t really argue the rarity point. Ideological points made on rare items now can become the foundation for not rare items later. At one time, someone could argue that no one is arguing for the right to demand a dead fetus one minute before childbirth…. yet now they are. Ethicists are arguing for infanticide within three days after birth. So this is an issue…. rights don’t depend upon numbers of people violated.

  184. paulie Post author

    Sure, we could always argue anything. But even if we completely grant that a late term fetus is a human being with rights, and that its right to life trumps a woman’s right to bodily autonomy, the actual number of abortions at this stage of pregnancy may be lower than the number of women who died from illegal abortions – and on top of tht there were perhaps as many illegal abortions as there are legal ones. The bottom line for me is that laws are a bad way to change the culture. If large percentages of the public don’t find something to be unacceptable, be it drugs, drinking, prostitution, gay sex, abortion, porn…you name it, the law won’t stop it, won’t necessarily reduce it, and won’t change public perception – it will just land people in jail, straddle them with criminal records, put them at greater risk of being mistreated by the police, create health hazards, etc.

    If you think something is wrong, work on persuading an overwhelming majority that it is wrong, and only then get the blunt and indiscriminate force of the state (or force at all) get involved. This is no less true for things that I would clearly agree are not OK – slavery (I don’t mean consenting S & M), spousal rape, domestic abuse, severely inebriated driving – as long as big chunks of the public think these are OK, the law won’t help. Persuasion should be the first and primary way to solve the problem, and force can only work if there is an overwhelming social consensus that the law in question is justified.

  185. Robert Capozzi

    pf, thanks for this link that reads in part:

    “Anti-abortion legislation was part of a backlash against the growing movements for suffrage and birth control — an effort to control women and confine them to a traditional childbearing role.”

    However, it has a CT ring to it that immediately raises my red flag. Conspiracies do happen, but I’d like to know who the conspirators were, what they said, how we are to know this was their motive, etc. I don’t see support for this outrageous — though possibly true — claim.

    Now I don’t doubt that some thought — and even think — women should remain barefoot and pregnant, but making that a motive seems like a stretch, absent some compelling evidence. (Maybe it was an earlier version of the cult of the omnipotent state!) 😉

    I agree with CAH’s gist that it really doesn’t matter what the history is; “history is the diary of a madman.” It IS a consideration; precedent is A consideration. But it’s not proof.

  186. Thomas L. Knapp

    I’ve read that early anti-abortion legislation was pressed and supported by early feminists, and that their reasoning was that abortion was a dangerous and often deadly procedure that was forced on women by irresponsible men who didn’t want to support children.

    Of course, I’ve also read that that claim is a bit of historical revisionism that there’s not a lot of evidence for.

  187. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie,

    ==Sure, we could always argue anything. But even if we completely grant that a late term fetus is a human being with rights, and that its right to life trumps a woman’s right to bodily autonomy==

    My argument is that bodily autonomy at this point isn’t a factor any more than autonomy over your home doesn’t give you the right to automatically kill a person on your property. At earlier stages autonomy is a factor and there are other arguments there.

    ==the actual number of abortions at this stage of pregnancy may be lower than the number of women who died from illegal abortions==

    This is a kind of equivocation that presumes the point to be argued. First, if at will abortions were unlawful at this stage but not at earlier ones that has little to do with that claim. Second, if the deaths from illegal abortion were in conducting late term abortions and if late term abortions are murder that would be the equivalent of saying contract killing should be legal becuase hit men have a dangerous job and get killed. Notice there are two big IFS in there but those are the very points in dispute, it is circular to presume they are not true and use an assumption as proof when we are talking about presuppositional coherence…. Which is all I was arguing for.

    – and on top of tht there were perhaps as many illegal abortions as there are legal ones. The bottom line for me is that laws are a bad way to change the culture. If large percentages of the public don’t find something to be unacceptable, be it drugs, drinking, prostitution, gay sex, abortion, porn…you name it, the law won’t stop it, won’t necessarily reduce it, and won’t change public perception – it will just land people in jail, straddle them with criminal records, put them at greater risk of being mistreated by the police, create health hazards, etc.

    On a iPad, part two coming

  188. paulie Post author

    Sorry, bowing out. It appears my computer was stolen last night. I don’t do internet on the phone so I will not be online nearly as much until I can get it replaced. Not sure when that will be since I don’t really have the money to buy another one. Borrowing Andy J.’s computer to post this. If anyone needs me for anything I will be easier to reach on my phone at 205-534-1622.

  189. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie,

    iPads stink for posting at IPR- that second chunk of text does belong up there.

    ==– and on top of tht there were perhaps as many illegal abortions as there are legal ones. The bottom line for me is that laws are a bad way to change the culture. ===

    I agree. Advocating for laws or against laws is not however. It is a way to change the culture in advance of those legal changes. The gay rights movement did just that. So did slavery abolitionists.

    ==If large percentages of the public don’t find something to be unacceptable, be it drugs, drinking, prostitution, gay sex, abortion, porn…you name it, the law won’t stop it, won’t necessarily reduce it, and won’t change public perception – it will just land people in jail, straddle them with criminal records, put them at greater risk of being mistreated by the police, create health hazards, etc.==

    Absolutely agree! And of course even if society finds something unacceptable that is not justification for a law either unless the activity is aggression against someone else. All of those things you mentioned are not crimes not matter what society thinks.

  190. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie,

    ==Sorry, bowing out. It appears my computer was stolen last night. I don’t do internet on the phone so I will not be online nearly as much until I can get it replaced. Not sure when that will be since I don’t really have the money to buy another one. Borrowing Andy J.’s computer to post this. If anyone needs me for anything I will be easier to reach on my phone at 205-534-1622.===

    Oh crap… So sorry 🙁

  191. Jill Pyeatt

    Bummer, Paulie. I wish I could help.

    A tablet is usually only a couple hundred dollars, and that might be a good halfway point between your phone and a new laptop.

  192. Thomas L. Knapp

    Unless Paulie uses weird proprietary software for some specific jobs, a Chromebook sounds like the best value for price. I don’t have a spare one, but I’d kick in a few bucks toward one. A decent one (not the premium “Pixel” model and so forth) runs less than $200. I love mine (my desktop is a Chromebox and my laptop is a Chromebook).

  193. Jill Pyeatt

    I just got an LG tablet two weeks ago for free (after the rebate) when we upgraded my son’s phone. The best part is that it always has Internet.like a phone does. It only cost $10 a month to add it to my Verizon monthly payment. The other benefit is the battery lasts much, much longer than a phone’s.

    I can chip in $20, if you want to go that route, Paulie.

  194. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Starchild, I still want to interact more… we had squirrel damage to our Comcast cable line and a lot of weekend was spent in cable problems… just got fixed but it put me really behind

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  198. Vicki Kirkland

    I know pro life Libertarian activists who have said they consider abortion to be murder.
    Ayn Rand considered the fetus to be a parasite. She stated this in one her Ford Hall Forum
    talks.

  199. Ken LaRive

    It is just a guess, based on little but conjecture, and we draw lines when life begins. As responsibility for self is one of the main ideas of a Libertarian, acting on conjecture is not a responsible act. If you are not sure where life begins, it is irresponsible to act, and so abortion is morally wrong in almost every case. At Loyola I had a teacher give a good example: You are out in a large field shooting arrows in a box. In the distance you see children playing, but they are too far away to be a safety concern. Suddenly a friend of yours comes from behind you and strikes up a conversation for an extended time. When he leaves you notice that the children are gone. You don’t know where they went, and they might have gone into the box to play. It would be morally irresponsible to shoot into that box without first taking the time to walk over there and look inside. This is based on Situational Ethics.

  200. George Dance

    Sorry to comment on this more than 6 months later, but I just read Caryn’s article. Given Caryn’s point (this does sound like, “We disagree, so let’s opt for the pro-choice issue as the default), and the concern about saying nothing, I’d suggest a new wording, along the lines of the Pennsylvania resolution mentioned in a footnote:
    “”Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, the Libertarian Party takes no position on the abortion issue. We support the right and freedom of all members and candidates to hold their own views on the issue, provided that they do not represent their own viewpoints as being the party’s position.”

  201. Michelle

    I’m a Pro Choice Libertarian and for the life of my I cannot understand why anyone would want to force a child or woman to continue a pregnancy against her will?

    In what world can someone act upon and use a person’s insides against their will, in this case for gestation, and the government makes it a crime for the person whose body is being used and acted upon against their will to remove that person from their body.

    I think it is profoundly immoral and using the government to force someone into child labor abusive and corrupt.

  202. Carol Moore

    The gang of six or seven elitists who call themselves the leaders of the radical caucus and took out the platform on abortion from their ALLEGEDLY radical platform show the problem with elitism. It’s inherently controlling. Let the intelligence of the larger group rule since obviously small “radical” groups are so easy to infiltrate by people who think women are secondary to the fetuses inside them. Or maybe the LP is about to go republican and make TRUMP it’s presidential candidate. ha ha ha

  203. Carol Moore

    Also note that pro-lifers are ruthless in harassing women outside of abortion clinics and would bust into them if they could. (Not to mention shooting them up and burning them down from time to time.)

    Please note that libertarians may be against Rico laws but we are for anti-trespass laws that would put these fanatics in jail for escalating periods of time till they cut the crap; we’d do the same thing to anti-capitalists trying to shut down capitalist enterprises.

  204. Michelle

    It’s beyond frustrating watching a group of people tell others it is immoral for them to remove someone from their own bodies. Like hell it is.

    Who in the hell do you think you are? I’ll be damned if any random, self-righteous ideologue forces me or my daughter to keep someone in our bodies or be incarcerated. You are out of your tree.

    Life is absolutely NOT more important to me and many others if life equates to a slave existence where others can use our bodies for whatever purposes they need. The President of the United States needs a lobe if your liver to live? You give up yours. A child needs some bone marrow? The slaves give up theirs. Hey, you should be so lucky to be a slave, at least you are still alive! Ugh. Vile.

    Life is far more than the mere movement of air through the lungs. I would rather be dead than be a slave. So you are only speaking for yourself when you say life is the only right worth protecting when it suits YOUR interest. In this case, forcing people to continue pregnancies in THEIR bodies against their will. Sickening.

  205. Thomas Knapp

    Scott Roeder and Robert Lewis Dear, Jr. no doubt appreciate the support of the LP’s “keep the government out of it” faction (or, rather, would if that faction actually meant what it said).

  206. Michelle

    Absolutely. The government needs to stay out of abortion.

    The idea of the federal government having the power to potentially enslave 1/3 of the population to their pregnancies and incarcerate them if the government thinks any person may have an abortion, is mortifying, and disturbing – on several different fronts, that should be nothing short of blatantly obvious.

    Not to mention, those of us who never intended to have an abortion are treated as suspects when our bodies spontaneously abort. No. Thank. You.

  207. Jill Pyeatt

    I had four miscarriages, each one utterly devastating. The thought that I might have been punished further for something I so didn’t want to happen is an example of how unintended consequences can happen from the noblest intentions.

    My body is just that–MY body.

  208. Michelle

    Precisely.

    First, I’m sorry you had such a difficult time staying pregnant. And second, your experience is NOT uncommon.

    In fact, 70% of embryos don’t even make it to implantation. Then 10 to 25% of recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage.

    Our bodies would be treated like we do crime scene property. The state can’t possibly know if a woman took Cytotec or spontaneously aborted since Cytotec cannot be detected in the body. Biologically there is absolutely no difference between a spontaneous abortion and a woman taking Cytotec to have an abortion.

    Could you imagine, the government has knowledge a person has had multiple spontaneous abortions, so they suspect that person of taking something to induce some, if not all, of those abortions? Good grief.

    Our bodies are not pieces of property. If we do not want someone or something in our bodies, we should be “allowed” to remove them.

    For crying out loud, a pregnant child or woman is not a house. We are people. People have bodies. If someone or something is acting in or on our bodies regardless of their intention (in this case a pregnancy), we have a right to remove them. We shouldn’t have to ask anyone for permission to remove someone or something that is acting in or on our BODY when we don’t want it to. That is insane

  209. Carol Moore

    Libertarians like to hear arguments based on Libertarian principles and factual reality. If you want to see those kind of arguments see: LIBERTARIAN PRINCIPLES AND CONSEQUENCES OF PROHIBITION

    Sharon Presley quote summarizes the content quite well:

    “Individual liberty, self-determination, private property, and limited government are all libertarian principles that logically lead to the pro-choice position. To sacrifice existing persons for the sake of future generations—in slave labor camps, involuntary servitude, compulsory childbearing, or life-threatening abortions—violates everything we hold dear.”

    From:
    Sharon Presley, “A Libertarian Feminist Case for Abortion Rights” http://pro-choicelibertarians.net/principles/

  210. Michelle

    Precisely.

    If a “right to life” extends to the compulsory use of another person’s body to sustain “life” then we are slaves.

    … I would rather be dead.

  211. Carol Moore

    Republicans who want to take over or at least castrate the Libertarian Party really want to push to remove the Platform. Austin Petersen is an obvious infiltrator, other fanatics may not be quite so obvious, posing as hard core or whatever. It’s like the invasion of the body snatchers.

    For articles about how insidiously Republicans have used the abortion issue to take power in state governments and the federal government, see http://pro-choicelibertarians/links section “Renewed efforts to outlaw abortion”- including the articles:
    “When Conservatives Love Overregulation”, Reason Magazine, 2016
    “How Republicans’ Obsession with Fetuses Has Reached Insane New Heights”, 2016, Vice.com, 2016
    “It’s Still Shockingly Hard to Get an Abortion in Much of America”, Vice.com, 2016
    “U.S. Passed 47 New Anti-Abortion Laws in 2015” , Reason magazine, 2015
    “The Real Origins of the Religious Right“, Politico.com, 2014 (using abortion issue to mobilize for other less palatable agendas)
    Hidden Persuaders: The unheralded gains of the pro-life movement, The Weekly Standard, 2011

  212. Guy McLendon

    Please delete the abortion plank, and replace it with nothing.

    The LP Platform is top down management … the LP should allow our candidates & state affiliates to have their own opinion on this issue without micromanagement from the LP National organization.

    Abortion is a wedge issue: by taking either position [this plank is 100% pro choice … despite shrieks to the contrary], the LP is playing into the hands of the Establishment’s public-manipulation strategy.

  213. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    Sure, Guy, let’s make half the human race sex slaves to imperfect contraception, rapists and incestuous fathers.

    Think of all the Republican war mongers who will be delighted to join the party once that nasty feminist abortion thing is gone. Not too mention this will help get rid of all those disgusting pot smokers and homosexuals.

    Then they can turn the LP into a REAL constitutionalist party with STATES rights NOT individual rights. Promote national sales tax and other states rights. And if the states get rid of the second amendment, hey states rights!! Except of course for secession and the right to alter or abolish govt? Oh, those will be out post haste.

    Think how great it will be to all those Trumpian white males who can’t get jobs because they aren’t as skilled as women. Women will be less likely to be hired if there’s FORCED PREGNANCY or death from illegal abortion for employers to worry about.

    And then don’t forget how happy the neocon war mongers will be when there are enough Republicans to make sure LP supports every interventionist action on the books.

  214. Seebeck

    While Cary Ann makes an impassioned argument I think a major point is being missed here.

    I’m someone who has held his dead son, stillborn at 36 weeks, aborted naturally from causes unkown. My wife didn’t do this; it happened on its own. It made us both appreciate the value of life, especially when two days later an irresponsible woman abandoned her newborn in a basket alongside road not 20 minutes away.

    Back to the missing point, which is that there is a difference between a moral perspective and a legal perspective. As a political party, we deal with legalities. As libertarians, we oppose legislating moralities.

    In general, the abortion question comes down to, in the legal sense, when is it legal for an unborn life to be terminated, and by whom? The legal bright line is birth. Before that, under the law, the choice is the mother’s to make. If others force the issue, then a crime has been committed.

    Anti-abortion crowds try to move that bright line back to conception, ignoring both the biology of gestation and the common sense notion that just because all of the parts are in the garage, one doesn’t necessarily have a car–nine months of assembly is required.

    Pro-abortion crowds tend to want to leave that bright line alone.

    The courts have split a difference with Casey .

    The current platform plank respects both the legalities and the moralities, and lists the one thing that both sides agree on: keep government out of it.

    To me, that makes perfect sense. Could it be worded better? Possibly.

    But while my own personal experience changed me from pro-choice to pro-life, politically I cannot force that view on others. So I accept the pro-choice view even while disagreeing with it, because of the NAP.

    In closing, I only will say adoption, not abortion, my opinion only. The complexities of the adoption process, including government interference in it, is a different discussion.

  215. Thomas L. Knapp

    “As libertarians, we oppose legislating moralities.”

    I suppose that could be said of anarchists who oppose legislation as such. But if you’re legislating, you’re legislating morality. Legislation prohibits things on the grounds that those things are wrong or bad. Legislation requires things on the grounds that those things are right or good.

  216. Andy

    “The current platform plank respects both the legalities and the moralities, and lists the one thing that both sides agree on: keep government out of it.”

    Does keeping the government out of abortion mean that if some pro-life vigilantes tried to stop an abortion from taking place, using violence, that the government would stay out of it, or would the government send its armed thugs, ie-the police, to stop thwart the efforts of the pro-life vigilantes?

    I don’t think that most pro-abortion folks really want the state to stay out of abortion, because most of them want the state sanction abortion, and lots of these people, including the Libertarian Party’s presidential ticket of Gary Jonson and Bill Weld, want the taxpayers to fund abortions.

    Pro-lifers have also been banned from protesting in front of abortion clinics around the nation, including ones that are directly off of city sidewalks (the US Supreme Court has ruled that free speech is legal on public sidewalks, as long as you don’t block pedestrian traffic), and they have been been banned from protesting ACROSS THE STREET from abortion clinics in some places. How many in the pro-abortion crowd are clamoring to have these 1st amendments violations against pro-lifers lifted?

  217. Carol Moore

    Andy: it’s mostly GOP anti-abortionists who are abortion prohibitionists. Libertarians tend to be more “keep the govt out of it” – unless you can prove it’s a frivolous abortion in last couple months which is a straw fetus anyway…

  218. dL

    I don’t think that most pro-abortion folks really want the state to stay out of abortion, because most of them want the state sanction abortion

    This one does…I imagine most of the ones in the LP do, too. I have no interest in the state “sanctioning abortion.” What others may want the state to sanction has no bearing on my position or the abortion on demand position.

    and lots of these people, including the Libertarian Party’s presidential ticket of Gary Jonson and Bill Weld, want the taxpayers to fund abortions.

    Now you are just making shit up…typical for you.

  219. Carol Moore

    All born people have right to self-defense against aggressive anti-abortionists.

    Now I’m sure Andy is complaining about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_Access_to_Clinic_Entrances_Act But we don’t need a federal law to deal with this since commond law generally does.

    First, you know libertarians are against free speech laws. But we aren’t against TRESSPASS laws and KIDNAPPING LAWS (any refusal to let people exit a space) and treats of physical violence/intimidation in process of the above.

    So the only questionable issue is BLOCKING from entering a facility IF it is NOT done with threats and intimidation. Like sitting there on the public sidewalk. Well, that is blocking a public sidewalk and that’s generally arrestable. Peaceniks and other “progrssives” get arrested for it all the time.

    As for restraining orders against repeat offenders, well such things are issued regularly. But obviously it should be done locally on a case by case basis.

  220. Andy

    “Carol Moore
    March 13, 2017 at 11:23
    Andy: it’s mostly GOP anti-abortionists who are abortion prohibitionists. Libertarians tend to be more “keep the govt out of it” – unless you can prove it’s a frivolous abortion in last couple months which is a straw fetus anyway…”

    Carol, you did not answer the question. I don’t give a damn what party or other organizations most anti-abortion folks belong, THIS IS NOT RELEVANT to anything I said.

    If you want the government to stay out of abortion, does this mean that if pro-life vigilantes were to rush into abortion clinics to try to stop abortions (pretty much everyone would agree if a with this if a knife wielding assailant were going after a child, or a group of children, or any other human being, with the exception of some people disagreeing when it comes to a fetus), that you would not want to use the government’s police to stop them, and the government’s courts to prosecute them?

    I don’t give a rat’s ass about any religious groups, the Republican Party (which for the most part, does nothing about abortion anyway, and in fact, I suspect that most of them just uses the issue to string some people along for votes, and have no intention of ever doing anything about it), or etc… I don’t even really care all that much about abortion either way, because I don’t think that it is an issue that can be “solved” any time soon, and see it as a wedge issue that is being used to divide people, and to break up political alliances.

  221. Andy

    “would agree if a with this if a knife wielding assailant ”

    Should read, “would agree with this if a knife wielding assailant…”

  222. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Mike so sorry to hear about your loss. That must have been gut-wrenching. 🙁

  223. Carol Moore

    Andy: I’m not an anarchist until I see it works. But encourage people to make it work.

    So if I think it’s aggression, I don’t have trouble with using police/hired security/armed employees/armed women waiting for services defending a facility.

    Or people turning in those planning such aggression with firm evidence of the planned fantical terrorist attack.

  224. Cindy Dyson-McGlenn

    I could not agree with Caryn-Ann more. She stuck to the central issue when it comes to being Libertarian — one plank of our Platform should not alienate a swath of people who adore libertarian principles.

    Kudos to Carn-Ann for focusing this piece not on the abortion debates, but on what should be a debate about the Libertarian stance on this issue…none.

    People of good conscience do disagree. People with stalwart libertarian views and good conscience disagree on this issue. I agree that this plank, however nice it reads, is a difficult hurdle for those who believe that human life, however parasitic, is encompassed in libertarian principles. It is a hurdle too far.

    I have spent hours thinking this one through for myself, thinking through the if-you-can’t-do-it-you-can’t-earn-it moral-process. Thus far, I am thinking that this case…this one case of a human being in a human…is rather unique in all the philosophizing we do. It doesn’t fit well with the property/body-autonomy positions nor the murder position.

    I wonder if…

    I wonder if, at times, we must consider that the well-paved dichotomies laid out before us by our illustrious philosophical predecessors — are actually not that thorough nor that right nor that black and white. There is nothing wrong with being able to move beyond the dichotomies laid out by dead men.

    Perhaps, for nothing else, I think removing this plank from the Platform could perhaps open a wider path for thought, for being forward thinking, and thinking past the imposed dichotomy the abortion issue has forced people of good conscience, who love babies and love liberty, into.

    Let us be the Party who cares enough to say “WE DON’T KNOW. LET’S BE PART OF THE DEBATE BY LEAVING IT OPEN.”

  225. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    People who want abortion ILLEGAL are maybe 10% of the party. Even most of the pro-lifers do NOT want the government involved and that’s all the platform plank says now. Prohibtionists are divisive MONSTERS and do not belong in the party.

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