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Abortion and baby-murder; irrelevant, but not unimportant

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hashem Posted: Fri, Aug 19 2011 8:37 PM

I feel I've uncovered a unique position, and I'm posting it for review/critique. Please, while I could be wrong, I've arrived at this position through much research and study, so no arbitrary responses. In fact, do not respond unless you cite a source and/or quote. I'm looking for fallacies in my logic or reasoning. I could very well be wrong, but I don't think even any of the great libertarians have pointed this out.

• A fetus doesn't meet the requirements for property rights. Therefore abortion is strictly legitimate.
• In abortion, nobody (if not the mother) has a property right such that they can legitimately retaliate.
• Once a baby (as opposed to a fetus) acts it becomes a self-owner. Therefore nobody has a property right such that they can legitimately retaliate against someone who murders the baby. This is for a baby who has just become a self-owner, not a 2, 3, or 4 year old etc who can physically contract for defense or insurance.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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hashem:
• A fetus doesn't meet the requirements for property rights. Therefore abortion is strictly legitimate

Any viable fetus is a human being, and therefore owns itself.  In the strict sense of "property rights", however, an unborn baby can still inherit or be given property in its name before its birth.  In terms of both Natural Rights and legal rights, this argument will not hold up.

hashem:
• In abortion, nobody (if not the mother) has a property right such that they can legitimately retaliate.

Again, any fetal human has the right of self ownership if it is capable of being born alive (if it is not, that is called a miscarriage, not an abortion).  Therefore nobody, including the mother, has a right to abort, except in a case of self defense.

hashem:
• Once a baby (as opposed to a fetus) acts it becomes a self-owner. Therefore nobody has a property right such that they can legitimately retaliate against someone who murders the baby. This is for a baby who has just become a self-owner, not a 2, 3, or 4 year old etc who can physically contract for defense or insurance.

This one is the most perplexing.  A fetus is a baby in the sense that it is a viable, sentient human being.  In ancient Rome, a father could legally kill any of his children before they reached the age of 16.  That was what they considered the legal age of adulthood and the right to own anything, including yourself.  This is one more reason why assigning an official age or condition to self ownership goes against the principle of Natural Rights.

 

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hashem replied on Tue, Aug 23 2011 9:05 AM

Any viable fetus is a human being, and therefore owns itself.
I don't think a fetus is a self or capable of owning anything; nor does it need to.

In the strict sense of "property rights", however, an unborn baby can still inherit or be given property in its name before its birth.
Strictly speaking, no it can't. It obviously can't exchange anything or own anything. I don't even think you can argue that he has a right to it until he claims that right.

Again, any fetal human has the right of self ownership if it is capable of being born alive
An interesting concept. What, by the way, makes it capable of being alive? To rephrase: without what would it cease being capable of being born alive?

except in a case of self defense.
And who is to determine what is self defense? Have you ever had a panic attack? Have you ever had someone growing inside of you?

Age...
My point wasn't that age was a condition. Rather, that a baby that was just born can't really make decisions for itself in the way a baby can that is, say, a year or two years old. If a baby learns early, more power to him.

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Wheylous replied on Tue, Aug 23 2011 9:11 AM

I wouldn't like this to turn into another abortion thread, as we are all adamant in our positions (I in mine as undecided :P ).

Thus, lets take the assumptions Hashem makes and debate those in a "what if" void.

Therefore nobody has a property right such that they can legitimately retaliate against someone who murders the baby.

Same reasoning can be applied to anyone who is murdered. No one owns the guy, so no one can retaliate, according to your reasoning. This is where you go wrong. It is obvious that in AnCap you can retaliate even if it wasn't your rights being violated. How else could we have private security guards?

You might say "oh, but that is by contract." Well, you can have a contract between the baby and the mother, for example. Have her tell the baby "if you stay on my property, you give me the power to defend your rights," and bam. Well, then she could also say  "if you stay on my property, you give me the power to kill you," which is a problem... But anyway, people can act to retaliate against violations of others' rights (unless the other says that he doesn't mind having his rights violated).

My problem with argumentation ethics (one of my problems with it) is that babies cannot argue with us in any reasonable fashion. Do they not have rights?

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There are not many fallacies in your logic or reasoning. 

 

You just make unproven assumptions from which to base your reasoning.  Assume that a fetus does have property rights or assume that self-ownership does not depend on the ability to act or assume that self-ownership has nothing to do with judging the morality of abortion and your whole unique perspective falls to the ground. 

Your reasoning is no more unique than a mother who learns that her son is gay and responds by saying:  "You are not my son!" to solve her moral dillemma. 

Before calling yourself a libertarian or an anarchist, read this.  
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Wheylous replied on Tue, Aug 23 2011 11:39 AM

According to him it's not assumptions, but logical derivations he's making. But it's useless of me to say it, he has to defend his claim.

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MaikU replied on Tue, Aug 23 2011 1:50 PM

I consider abortions unethical but justified, considering fetus isn't human. Yet. It becomes much more begging the question in later periods of pregnancy, when it's about time for the baby (sorry, a fetus) to be born. In that part I am undecided, but leaning towards anti-crowd. My two cents.

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

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hashem replied on Wed, Aug 24 2011 12:09 AM

No one owns the guy, so no one can retaliate, according to your reasoning. This is where you go wrong.
I think you're misunderstanding... One example is if the murdered person was in debt. His creditors have a claim against the murderer. Also don't forget we're talking about a contractual society. He might have a contract with clauses for murder. Or the answer nobody wants to consider: the markets might find a solution that works for them.

It is obvious that in AnCap you can retaliate even if it wasn't your rights being violated. How else could we have private security guards?
No, it isn't obvious. Defenders have that right when it's given to them—probably through contract—for example security guards.

Well, you can have a contract between the baby and the mother
No, you can't. The things your logic would allow horrifies me.

My problem with argumentation ethics (one of my problems with it) is that babies cannot argue with us in any reasonable fashion. Do they not have rights?
Baby fetuses or born babies? I don't think you understand argumentation ethics. What have you read on it? The idea isn't that you have to argue with someone, but rather if you are capable of forming an argument, your action demonstrates that you accept property rights (I think...I haven't read a ton either but I'm reading more). No, anything that doesn't think and act can't be said to be able to have property rights.

There are not many fallacies in your logic or reasoning.
Fair enough.

Assume that a fetus does have property rights
What do you believe are the requirements for property rights? Wouild you mind providing a source?

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hashem:
I don't think a fetus is a self or capable of owning anything; nor does it need to.

It is a living organism, independently sentient, and would prefer to live.  Therefore it does need to.

hashem:
In the strict sense of "property rights", however, an unborn baby can still inherit or be given property in its name before its birth.
Strictly speaking, no it can't. It obviously can't exchange anything or own anything. I don't even think you can argue that he has a right to it until he claims that right.

Trust funds can be set up for "children of X" whether or not they actually exist yet.  An actual claim on that cannot be maid by a person until he or she is 18.  By that reasoning, abortion would be allowed until the 72nd trimester.

hashem:
What, by the way, makes it capable of being alive? To rephrase: without what would it cease being capable of being born alive?

If the child can be carried to term and emerge from the womb alive, I consider it alive.  I though this would be obvious.

hashem:
And who is to determine what is self defense? Have you ever had a panic attack? Have you ever had someone growing inside of you?

Again, I thought it would be obvious.  If it is certain that having the child would endanger the mothers life and the dangers cannot be mitigated, she would have a right to act.  No, a panic attack would not qualify.  That would be as ridiculous as the Twinkie defense.

hashem:
My point wasn't that age was a condition. Rather, that a baby that was just born can't really make decisions for itself in the way a baby can that is, say, a year or two years old. If a baby learns early, more power to him.

A child that is the least bit aware is alive.  End of story.  This is completely evident to anyone who has ever seen an ultrasound, which is why Planned Parenthood does not offer them as part of a mother's  "choice".  Believe me, I do understand another point of view when it comes to the moral implications of abortion.  But trying to rationalize it because the unborn child "cannot claim property rights" is just plain sick in my opinion.  Looking at the situation objectively and making an informed choice is one thing, but your rationalization sounds like a libertarian version of Eugenics.

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MaikU:
... considering fetus isn't human.

MaikU:
... when it's about time for the baby (sorry, a fetus)...

Congratulations, you are well-versed in modern Newspeak.

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hashem:
What do you believe are the requirements for property rights? Wouild you mind providing a source?
Property rights -- regardless of what arbitrary definition you want to use -- have nothing to do with morality.  You just think they do and you think everybody thinks they do too and you pretend that it is a scientifically know fact like the sky is blue. 

That is a major problem with your argument.  You need to make that connection in your argument -- not I. [You will never succeed at that by the way.  The truth is that what you really need to do is be honest with you beliefs and simply say: "This is what I assume to be true." and then go on from there.] Until then, you are just making libertarianism to be what the common public thinks it is:  a field of study filled with cranks who do not even know their own philosophy. 

Before calling yourself a libertarian or an anarchist, read this.  
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hashem replied on Wed, Aug 24 2011 9:15 AM

FleetCenturion,

You've failed to demonstrate that a fetus can have property right. What do you believe are the requirements for property rights?

CharlesAnthony,

I don't know what you're going on about. If you care to answer my question honestly, feel free to. Here it is again:

You said: Assume that a fetus does have property rights
I said: What do you believe are the requirements for property rights? Wouild you mind providing a source?

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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Wheylous replied on Wed, Aug 24 2011 9:26 AM

Hashem, what if there are no vested property interests?

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< You've failed to demonstrate that a fetus can have property right. What do you believe are the requirements for property rights? >

1. Sorry, I didn't realize I was being graded. I would also say that in order to deny someone a perspective right-- especially concerning their own lives-- the burden would be on you to conclusively prove that that right does not exist. It is also ridiculous to expect the affected party to have to come forth and claim those rights when coming forth is impossible, and you have already proposed a death sentence in absentia. I say we should postpone that trial for about 9 months.

2. This is obviously where our opinions collide. I would say that if someone is alive, then all Natural Rights apply. If an expert opinion is called for, you will find few people more anti-abortion than Dr. Paul (a fact which many libertarians like to omit).

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aervew replied on Wed, Aug 24 2011 11:14 AM

Austrian economics has no methodology for determining what is and what isnt an actor. as such, you can argue till the cows come home, but you wont come to a conclusion as to what meets your criterion of being a part of your moral theories. Its puely arbitrary, whether you consider someone as an actor or not. In the end, we are all merely complex machines anyway, and the action axiom is nothing more than a comfortable framework for describing behavior, than an actual scientific criterion of physical matter.

This is consequentially also a complete refutation of austrian economics, as to its relevance in the physical world.

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hashem:
You said: Assume that a fetus does have property rights
I said: What do you believe are the requirements for property rights? Wouild you mind providing a source?
You are asking a silly question and obviously so.  Any and all criteria for property rights are assumptions.  The requirements that I have are irrelevent just as the requirements that you have are irrelevent. 

You have a hard time challenging your own premises. 

 

Regardless, I will answer your question:  My requirements are whimsical. 

Before calling yourself a libertarian or an anarchist, read this.  
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MaikU replied on Wed, Aug 24 2011 3:45 PM

FleetCenturion:

MaikU:
... considering fetus isn't human.

MaikU:
... when it's about time for the baby (sorry, a fetus)...

Congratulations, you are well-versed in modern Newspeak.

 

 

lol, thanks. But what I meant by calling a fetus a fetus is an organism in an early stage of pregnancy. Only few weeks before being born it becomes quite human (it has much more senses etc.), even though I DO NOT deny mother's right to her own body, meaning, it would be immoral to force her to carry the child (a fetus in this context).

 

I call a fetus a human when it's born (officially becomes baby, lol). And I can call it a baby even before a fetus is born. That's just my use of language. Sorry for making it complicated to read. Anyway, I repeat myself, saying that "I am leaning towards "anti-abortion crowd" doesn't mean I support violence against women. It just means that I personally for example wouldn't like to deal with people who aborted their child in a later period (for example two weeks before supposed birth of a fetus-child)

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

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John Ess replied on Wed, Aug 24 2011 9:37 PM

There is no such thing as rights, at any age or in any species or at any stage of development.  A baby nor mother have rights of any kind.

This is largely dependent on if the state or some third party will punish the mother for doing it.  Which depends on the society.

A religious society, at least some of them, might punish the mother or throw her in prison.  Hoping that will stop other mothers from doing abortions.

But that has nothing to do with rights.  And probably nothing to do with religion.  It's just a lot of religious people are against abortion.  On the other hand, many religious people want their children to fight wars or they want to beat them up with impunity.  Both of which cannot be solved through rights, either.

If we're talking merely the current society, we have to simply go by the current law.  Which says that it is legal to have abortions, in the US.  That law has nothing to do with rights, either, but a sophisticated legal system.

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FleetCenturion -

It is not true that Planned Parenthood doesn't offer an ultrasound. It is possible that where you live they may not, but this is not true in the area where I live, where I know many ladies who have had abortions and it is always offered.  

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John Ess:
It's just a lot of religious people are against abortion.

Whatever your problems with religion are, that is your issue.  All the arguments on this forum I have read have to do with Natural and Constitutional law.

John Ess:

If we're talking merely the current society, we have to simply go by the current law.  Which says that it is legal to have abortions, in the US.  That law has nothing to do with rights, either, but a sophisticated legal system.

That's one of the great ironies of this ongoing debate.  The Roe v. Wade decision had nothing to do specifically with whether abortion should be legal or not, but was based on a Constitutional "right to privacy" which the Court "found".  Strangely though, courts seem to apply this right only when it comes to abortion.  What you do with your children after they are born (when I assume we can all agree they have full human rights) remains subject to the collective will-- education, corporal punishment, etc.  This "right to privacy" also does not extend to the right not to be electronically strip searched at airports, or not having your junk fondled by TSA agents.  It has failed to nullify the prerogative of State and Federal governments to seize the property of suspected terrorists and drug dealers without warrant or trial.  But fear not, because your right to stick a fork in your unborn child's head remains secure.

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Amelia Vreeland:
It is not true that Planned Parenthood doesn't offer an ultrasound. It is possible that where you live they may not, but this is not true in the area where I live, where I know many ladies who have had abortions and it is always offered.

I will have to take your word for that.  I currently live in Bahrain, which is thankfully Planned Parenthood-free.

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John Ess replied on Thu, Aug 25 2011 8:45 AM

"Whatever your problems with religion are, that is your issue.  "

I'm just stating the fact that most of the people who are against abortions are religious.

The problem with planned parenting seems to be government funding; which it may or may not be be able to pay for privately.  But it is not merely an abortion clinic.

 

 

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hashem replied on Thu, Aug 25 2011 8:58 PM

Guys I think you're straying from the original topic. I also asked if you would only post with objections to my logic supported by some kind of citation/quote.

So regardless of our personal views, we agree that, assuming a fetus doesn't qualify for property rights, the logic of the OP is consistent? This means abortion is legitimate on property rights grounds and that nobody can retaiate at any phase if the fetus/baby dies/is killed until we can determine that it has clearly and voluntarily—under no threat of violence by the other party—asked for defense, or until someone's property becomes involved such that the fetus/baby being killed is a violation of property.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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Wheylous replied on Thu, Aug 25 2011 9:07 PM

I'm assuming you wouldn't buy into a natural obligations argument? Though this is more of natural power of mother to protect rights of a child.

Yet here I can bring up JJ's example in another thread (sorry if I misrepresent his ideas):

What if you see a guy being beaten down to a pulp? Can you not help him? Or must we all stand by and watch people getting beaten up? You might argue that the guy getting beaten up will tell you to protect him, giving you the power. But what if his mouth is duct-taped shut? Is he not then like a baby?

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hashem replied on Fri, Aug 26 2011 9:01 PM

Am I to understand the OP remains uncontested on substantial logical or factual grounds? Then I'll respond, for sport.

Yes, I do buy into a "natural rights" view, which is my view. It is the nature of humans which our rights derive from, and they are property rights, which a fetus can't/doesn't have.

As for the guy being beaten to a pulp, for all I know he's your murderer, a criminal! But the point is I don't know, and it's none of my business until it becomes my business. If this circumstance was likely, the markets would therefore find a solution. But it's not my burden to provide the market's solution in advance.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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Wheylous replied on Fri, Aug 26 2011 9:03 PM

for all I know he's your murderer, a criminal!

Sorry, that went over my head. Can you explain?

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hashem replied on Fri, Aug 26 2011 9:07 PM

You asked if I saw a guy being beaten to a pulp wouldn't I therefore have some kind of obligation or duty or right to defend him? I said no—not only because I don't know the circumstances, i.e. the guy beaten up is a murderer, perhaps the baby-killer from above—but because I don't have any right when my property isn't involved and I have no contractual relation with anyone involved.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect. —Mark Twain
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Wheylous replied on Fri, Aug 26 2011 9:16 PM

What if you did know the circumstances?

What if it was your girlfriend? There's typically no property at stake in gf/bf relationships...

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hashem replied on Fri, Aug 26 2011 9:22 PM

I guess this is where the market comes in handy. Assuming everything would be better and safer in a libertarian society, this question is laughable. But for sport...

We have to assume, like I said, that a contractual society would have logical, righteous, protections for situations like this. But you can always take a risk and jump in. If someone felt their rights were violated they would be justified in retaliating or prosecuting—though they wouldn't be obligated to.

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< What if it was your girlfriend? There's typically no property at stake in gf/bf relationships... >

This I agree with completely, though the government does not. An unmarried man would have no claim to the child; and an unmarried woman should have no claim to the man's paycheck. This is why all cultures established the institution of marriage. The wearing down of the rights and privileges of marriage serves only to give the State more power over us all. When you allow the breaking of the big laws, you will get neither freedom nor anarchy. Instead, you get volumes of the little laws, which are far more dangerous.

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John Ess: < The problem with planned parenting seems to be government funding; which it may or may not be be able to pay for privately. But it is not merely an abortion clinic. >

I agree with the government funding statement, but the chart data is laughable. Did you happen to notice its source? Government agencies fudge numbers all the time, and government-funded private organizations have even more reason to.

 

 

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Wheylous:
What if it was your girlfriend? There's typically no property at stake in gf/bf relationships...
It will likely make no difference. 

In anarchy, our modern conception of marriage as distinct from any other possible pro-creative relationship will likely disappear for a couple of reasons:  1) there is no universal objective criteria for what constitutes a marriage and 2) nobody really cares about your sexual relationships. 

People will learn that once they starting sticking it in or opening it up that they are bound for trouble if they do not make their expectations of possible risks clear.  In our current state of affairs, people are so used to living without responsibility (or more precisely, dumping their responsibility on the state) that the fear of having to deal with an unwanted child will be more pervasive.  People who do not take care of their own children will likely wither into poverty and become irrelevent actors in anarchy. 

 

Before calling yourself a libertarian or an anarchist, read this.  
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JackCuyler replied on Sun, Jan 29 2012 12:48 AM

 

hashem:
I've challenged anyone to attack a few points, citing sources and using quotes. To this day, nobody has. I feel convinced my position is the only unique and consistent libertarian position.

 

I'm replying to a your similar post in another thread, so I have a bit more quoted. I hope you don't mind.

 

 

hashem:
• A fetus doesn't meet the requirements for property rights. Therefore abortion is strictly legitimate.

 

To attack this point, the opposition must note that rights are property rights in scarce resources, requiring action which implies a rational individual. A fetus isn't an individual, it can't be proved to be rational, it can't communicate about abstract concepts with us, it can't act in the economic sense—purposeful behavior towards scarce resources—nor does it need to (it's critical to note that a fetus doesn't need to act; the concept of rights is about justice concerning the needs of individuals in an environment of scarce resources upon which they can act in competition). To top it all, nothing about the entire concept of property is relevant to a fetus—whether from the fetus' perspective outward, or another's perspective toward the fetus. A fetus doesn't need property, nor can it to acquire any through trade or homestead. To talk about the property rights of a fetus is to ignore the very foundations of the concepts of property, rights, and property rights (and action, scarcity, and the role of ethics, which deals with the just allocation of resources in an environment of scarcity and competition).

 

The fetus is an individual. By all biological standards, the fetus is a separate organism living inside of a woman. Whether this individual has any more rights than a tape worm also living inside of the woman is the topic of this debate. You tacitly acknowledge this when you question the existence of said rights. That is, there is no question, as far as I know, about the rights of the appendix, or the rights of the tonsils. These are clearly not individuals separate from the woman. The fetus, however, is a demonstrably separate, genetically different, individual.

 

The rest of your assertions, true or not, are examples of the version of the origin of rights in which you personally believe, which is not necessarily held by other libertarians, and your own subjective time preference in the recognition of rights of others.

 

First and foremost, when we speak of someone, "having rights," even when referring to negative rights, we are speaking in positivist terms. That is, the core principle of libertarianism, the Non-aggression principle, tells us not what rights we have, but rather the rights we don't have.

 

It states, simply, that it shall be legal for anyone to do anything he wants, provided only that he not initiate (or threaten) violence against the person or legitimately owned property of another.

- Walter Block The Non-Aggression Axiom of Libertarianism

 

 

Hoppe's Argumentation Ethics is one of several ways libertarians derive the principle. Utilitarians Mises and Hayak believed respect of the NAP would lead to the greatest utility. John Locke and Murray Rothbard appealed to natural rights. Talk of, "the very foundations of the concepts of property, rights, and property rights," especially from a libertarian perspective, without mentioning any of these, or at least how these ideas contributed, seems, at the very least, incomplete.

Wikipedia

 

You talk about the fetus not needing property, but ignore self-ownership. If a fetus owns itself, any violence initiated against it necessary is inconsistent with the Non-aggression principle, and is therefore non-libertarian. The question then becomes, Is a fetus a self-owner? You clearly answer in the negative and ground your answer firmly in the present. "....[I]t can't be proved to be rational, it can't communicate about abstract concepts with us, it can't act in the economic sense—purposeful behavior towards scarce resources—nor does it need to...."

 

I agree, a fetus can do none of these things, but it has the potential to do all of them in the future. Likewise, a drunk passed out in an alley also cannot presently do any of these, nor can the high school girl who was drugged at a party. Why then, do we treat the theft of the drunk man's wallet, or sex with the unconscious girl, as violations of their rights? It's not because they were capable of doing everything you listed before they passed out, but because we assume they will be able to sometime in the future, once the effects of the intoxicants wear off. If we consider the prior assertion of rights at all, there can be no rational reason corpses should not also be afforded rights. The only difference between an unconscious man and a dead man is that the unconscious man will potentially wake up. On the other hand, if we assume the unconscious drunk and the drugged girl as self-owners because they will be able assert this ownership in the future, then the only difference between them, a baby, and a fetus, regarding the right of self-ownership, is one of time.

 

And if it be protested that babies can't petition either, the reply of course is that babies are future human adults...

-Murray Rothbard The "Rights" of Animals

 

[I]t is clear that a newborn babe is in no natural sense an existing self-owner, but rather a potential self-owner.

-Murray Rothbard The Ethics of Liberty, Chapter 14

 

 

Potential rational agents are ethically rational agents. For how long, then, must one be unable to assert one's rights for one to be considered not a self-owner? A few hours of sleeping off a bottle of booze? A few days for the strong drugs to pass? A few years to learn how to express the concept of mine? The eternity after death? It seems to me that picking any time before death is arbitrary and inconsistent.

 

 

hashem:
• In abortion, nobody (if not the mother) has a property right such that they can legitimately retaliate.

 

Self-evident, needs no commentary. If the fetus isn't considered an individual, there is no concern for whom it belongs to; the fetus is a part of the mother. If the fetus can be considered property, certainly it is nobody's if not the mother's, so if she murders it, nobody has any legal recourse.

 

If it's self-evident, why have you made attempts to justify it? Why have you predicated each of those attempts with, “If?”

 

In any event, biology and genetics demonstrate that the fetus is indeed a separate entity from the mother, and not in any way, “part of [her],” so your first, “If,” is negated.

 

Many libertarian philosophers have written about the ownership of children, likening such ownership to a trustee or custodianship, and not at all the actual ownership of the children themselves. So your second, “If,” is negated.

 

And if it be protested that babies can't petition either, the reply of course is that babies are future human adults...

 

We must therefore state that, even from birth, the parental ownership is not absolute but of a “trustee” or guardianship kind. In short, every baby as soon as it is born and is therefore no longer contained within his mother’s body possesses the right of self-ownership by virtue of being a separate entity and a potential adult. It must therefore be illegal and a violation of the child’s rights for a parent to aggress against his person by mutilating, torturing, murdering him, etc.

-Murray Rothbard The Ethics of Liberty, Chapter 14

 

Babies, of course, cannot be owned in the same manner as applies to land, or to domesticated animals. Instead, what can be "owned is merely the right to continue to homestead the baby, e.g. feed and care for it and raise it”....

-Walter Block International Journal of Social Economics, Libertarianism, positive obligations and property abandonment: children's rights Page 8

 

Children are self-owners, but as they are not fully developed, and lack the knowledge, experience, ability, etc., properly to understand what is in their own best interests, they are, in effect, “held in trust” by their parents, who act as stewards of the children's property (i.e., themselves) until such time as their children reach maturity.

-Edward Fester Journal of Libertarian Studies, Volume 18, no. 2, pp 91-114, Self-Ownership, Abortion, and the Rights of Children: Toward a More Conservative Libertarianism Page 4

 

So, who owns a child's body? Initially, the parents own it as a sort of temporary trustee. The parents, as the producers of the child, have an objective link to the child's body that defeats any claims of outsiders (unless the parents sever this link by abusing their position).

-Stephen Kinsella How We Come to Own Ourselves

 

It is worth mentioning that the ownership right stemming from production finds its natural limitation only when, as in the case of children, the thing produced is itself another actor-producer. According to the natural theory of property, a child, once born, is just as much the owner of his own body as anyone else. Hence, not only can a child expect not to be physically aggressed against but as the owner of his body a child has the right, in particular, to abandon his parents once he is physically able to run away from them and say "no" to their possible attempts to recapture him. Parents only have special rights regarding their child — stemming from their unique status as the child's producers — insofar as they (and no one else) can rightfully claim to be the child's trustee as long as the child is physically unable to run away and say "no."

-Hans Herman Hoppe, quoted by Stephen Kinsella in How We Come to Own Ourselves

 

Since I do not grant your premise that a fetus and its mother are not a separate beings, nor that parents own their children outright, I'll take issue with your claim that no one has standing to ask for legal recourse. Restitution claims have value, and there for the titles to them are transferable and therefore homestead-able.

 

Worries about poor victims who can’t afford legal services, or victims who die without heirs (again, the Randians are very worried about victims dying without heirs) – in the case of poor victims, you can do what they did in Medieval Iceland. You’re too poor to purchase legal services, but still, if someone has harmed you, you have a claim to compensation from that person. You can sell that claim, part of the claim or all of the claim, to someone else. Actually, it’s kind of like hiring a lawyer on a contingency fee basis. You can sell to someone who is in a position to enforce your claim. Or, if you die without heirs, in a sense, one of the goods you left behind was your claim to compensation, and that can be homesteaded.

-Roderick T. Long Libertarian Anarchism: Responses to Ten Objections Pages 13-14

 

 

In the case of a child being murdered by his parents, it's arguable that with the murder, the title to the restitution claim has been abandoned by the parents, and another may homestead that abandoned claim.

 

 

 

hashem:
• OK, enough about fetuses, what about the case of babies? Once a baby (individual, ex-fetus) acts it becomes a self-owner—this is as opposed to a fetus, which is neither a self nor capable of owning or even fathoming no less communicating about the concept of ownership. As a self-owner, nobody has a property right in it, so nobody can legitimately retaliate against someone who murders the baby. This is for a baby who has just become a self-owner, not a 2, 3, or 4 year old etc who can rationally contract for defense or insurance.

 

All of this has been addressed above, particularly the idea of homesteading abandoned restitution claims. Of course, your also ignoring the next-of-kin's right to seek restitution. Do you really need quotes and sources to demonstrate that it is a common libertarian belief that the families of murder victims have standing to seek restitution?


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MaikU replied on Sun, Jan 29 2012 10:23 AM

"The fetus is an individual."

no more an individual, than a dog or cat is "individual". The owners of these individuals are humans. In former case - it is woman... and maybe partly a man (undecided yet).

 

 

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(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

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Malachi replied on Sun, Jan 29 2012 10:50 AM
The fetus is an individual human being, that cannot be said of felines or canines.
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JackCuyler replied on Sun, Jan 29 2012 11:40 AM

 

no more an individual, than a dog or cat is "individual"

No less of one either.  Biologically speaking, a zygote is a spearate organism, and continues to be so as it grows.  This nothing to do with ownership, as that was addressed later in my post.  It was only to point out one of the flaws in hashem's argument -- the claim that the unborn is somehow part of the parent, rather than being a separate organism living inside of the partent.


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hashem replied on Sun, Jan 29 2012 11:49 AM

Jack I appreciate your response. Let me remind from the start that my case is 4 parts:
• The mother has a property right to abort
• Nobody has a property right to stop her
• Nobody has a property right to do anything about it, before or after (except ostracism and so forth)
• Anyone can murder the born baby (ex-fetus), and nobody has a property right to retaliate

In the  let me see...

The fetus is an individual
The fetus is such a part of the mother's body that it literally cannot be separated from her without severing live tissue. And yet the fact that it must be separated is enough. The absurdities that would arise if we considered every distinct body part its own "individual"...

As for rights, my theory is consistent with Stephen Kinsella's and Hans Hoppe's, as put forth in What Libertarianism Is. In my understanding, this theory simply combines all the logical parts of past theories, and trashes all the inconsistent illogical parts.

I agree, a fetus can do none of these things, but it has the potential to do all of them in the future.
Then at once we agree, it has the potential for property rights, at some point in the future. And even this is a stretch. At first we must note that the fetus does not become anything on it's own. Obviously, the fetus is literally dependent on the mother in the most full sense. Even the born baby has no potential except if it is aided for several years. This is not a case for rights, but a case against the supposed rights of fetuses/babies. Potential is not the foundation of rights. Especially not "potential" which requires the efforts and actions of others. Rights are property rights, for rational individuals in an environment of scarce resources and competition. The entire concept of property rights, as I have shown, is utterly innapplicable to fetuses.

Among many other differences, a notable one between a drugged person and a fetus is that the fetus didn't become temporarily incapacitated after becoming a self-owner and aquiring property rights. The fetus' condition is natural, the drugged condition is imposed.

I don't believe this to be contrary to Rothbard, though I suppose it may be. But then it wouldn't be the my first time disagreeing with him (i.e. copyright).

Potential rational agents are ethically rational agents.
Again, potential isn't the foundation of property rights. A rock could potentially be god.

You responded after these two sentences, but I don't believe you addressed them:
If the fetus isn't considered an individual, there is no concern for whom it belongs to; the fetus is a part of the mother. If the fetus can be considered property, certainly it is nobody's if not the mother's, so if she murders it, nobody has any legal recourse.

The fetus is a separate individual.
No. It is not. They are connected by live tissue in an environment of full-time dedicated support apparati where the fetus remains continually dependent on the mother's body parts—and dependent on someone's body parts, time, and energy, even for years after it is born.

In the case of a child being murdered by his parents...restitution claim....
If the child had voluntarily acquired debt with anyone other than his parents, yes.

 

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JackCuyler replied on Sun, Jan 29 2012 12:48 PM

I largely agree with your colclusions, but disagree with many of your premises.

 

You're not looking objectively at the fact that the unborn, at whatever stage, in an individual.  This is a biological fact.  The unborn, from zygote on, is a disticnt organism, parasitically living off of the mother.  It is not part of the mother, any more than a tapeworm living in a woman's body is part of her body.  It has different DNA, separate cell structure, possibly even a different blood type.  Parasites are not part of the host, no matter how much they need the host to live.

Every quote I sent regarding the self-ownership of children, from Rothbard to Hoppe, states that either children either "naturally" have this right, or do so because they are potential adults.  This is a widely held belief by a variety of different libertarians.  The concept is, strictly speaking is, potential rational agents have the same rights as actual rational agents.  All I have done is extend this to include the unborn, who are also potential adults.  This position does not lead to absurdities, as it does not claim that anyone, unborn, child or adult, has the right to live parasitically off of another without that other's consent. 

If you disagree that is a common libertarian belief that potential rational agents are selfowners, I'd like to see your quotes and sources.

Rational action is the foundation of property rights.  The potantial for an unconscious drunk to rationally act and a zygote to rationally act is a matter of time and nothing more. This should not be taken as an implication that the unborn or children have special positive rights.  They have the right to be free from aggression, and nothing more.  If they are not cared for, that is not a violation of their rights.  So while, it does take more than just leaving them alone for them to reach the point of rational action. violence agianst them still goes against the NAP.

I did respond to those two sentenses.  First, the unborn is an individual, separate from the parent.  This is a biological fact.  Your disgreements on this are strictly emotional pleas.  Second, I belive I provided at least 4 or 5 quotes on the nature of parental ownership of children, quotes which completely contradict you.  Parents do not own their children, and children, being potential rational actors, are self-owners.

The child acquiring debt has nothing to do with restitution claims.  If you murdered my father, I, as an heir, have the right to seek restitution.  That is, I have a property claim on that restitution.  Since that claim has value, it can be transeferred, and if that claim is abandoned (becomes unowned) it can be homesteaded by another.  In the case of the murder of a child by his parents, it can be argued that by killing their child, the parents have abandoned the claim to restitution, and so anyone may homestead the claim.


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