[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here. Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
Update: In the original version I badly misstated my own understanding of the libertarian philosophy so that I accidentally implied that they were okay with harming children. That is not what they believe, and I didn’t think that was what they believed, I just very badly misstated what I meant to say. Indeed, the whole point of this post is to say that a person could consistently be a libertarian and still believe in protecting one particular kind of child–the unborn–from the harm of adults without any inconsistency. I have edited the post after the fact to better capture what I was trying to say in the first place and I apologize for the error.
I try to pay as little attention to Matt Yglesias and Think Regress as much as possible. They have proven again and again to be a completely dishonest outlet again and again, and truly you have to be willfully blind not to see the essential dishonesty involved in their analysis.
But now and then it is useful to emphasize that point, so in today’s example, Yglesias says he is just so confused that Ron Paul is a pro-life libertarian:
After looking at [Ron Paul’s] positions and statements, the most remarkable thing is that if it weren’t for his loud fanbase of self-proclaimed libertarians you wouldn’t really think this is the platform of a libertarian. He’s loudly trumpeting his plan to impose criminal penalties on women who terminate their pregnancies[.]
Now, first, Althouse is right to say that the last sentence is flat out false. All Paul has advocated for is that the Federal Government gets the hell out of the abortion question entirely.
But let’s pretend that Paul actually wanted laws imprisoning women for unnecessary abortions. Is that unlibertarian?
Not by my understanding of the term. The libertarian philosophy, as I understand it, goes something like this: we should have the freedom to do whatever we want as long as it does not harm another person(unless that person is an adult who consents to that alleged “harm”). Mind you, I am not libertarian myself, but I have enough exposure to the philosophy that I know that is a decent restatement of it.
But the key issue, just as it was in Roe v. Wade, is what counts as a person. Let me quote from this key passage from that decision:
The appellee and certain amici argue that the fetus is a “person” within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well-known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment. The appellant conceded as much on reargument.
Then in that case, the Supreme Court decided that a fetus was not a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, meaning that not only did they not have any rights that any human being was bound to respect, but the states could not grant them any rights. (Of course by that logic our animal cruelty laws are unconstitutional, but I digress…)
And likewise, if a fetus is a person, then the libertarian case for “choice” falls apart as well, for then you can limit that conduct because you are harming another person.
But not according to Yglesias. No, according to him, Ron Paul should stand up for what he himself considers to be murder (hence my tongue-in-cheek title for this post). I would ask Yglesias, if libertarianism requires tolerance of murder, exactly which classes of people should be allowed to freely murder the others?
But in the end Yglesias is either 1) honest but dumb, or 2) dishonest, and prone to tell dumb lies. Those are the only two options. And shame on any liberal who fails to see through it. You have to be uniquely cocooned not to see the fallacy in claiming that a libertarian should allow what he or she considers to be murder.
And don’t even get me started with his silly claim that libertarians cannot support border control.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]