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To: Architect
"Fleming starts off by dismissing Walter Block’s (admittedly-bizarre) theory of fetal ethics by claiming that mothers and fathers are property. “An animal coming out of nowhere is an uncommon experience, and children—whether the identity of mother and father is known—have two parents. In fact, the proper point of comparison is with calves that belong to the people who own the cow and the bull”. Of course he never answers the obvious questions. Who are people the property of? Does the owner have the right to do what he wants with the foetus? Whatever you might think of Block’s case, this is not a refutation, unless you accept the argument that all people are slaves."

I disagree. Thomas Fleming most assuredly does NOT claim that "mothers and fathers are property".

Parents are capable of being guardians of their children in the full legal sense. However, the cow and bull that are the "parents" of a calf are not. Therefore the guardians for the calf are the owners of the cow and bull.

All Fleming is saying is that a fetus is to its parental guardians as a calf is to its owner guardians, rather than as a wild calf is to its wild surroundings.

What I believe that Fleming is trying to do is to point up the importance of relationships between humans. Libertarians tend to emphasize the importance of the individual to the point of deempasizing the importance of relationships among individuals.

Parents that bring a fetus into this world, whether they want to admit it or not, have a relationship with that fetus. In a better world, that relationship would imply certain resposibilities, such as not killing it or allowing someone else to kill it.

However, if the fetus is viewed as a rugged individual in the wilderness, then noone has a positive responsibility with respect to it. If it dies out in the wild, then so be it. If someone wants to save it, then they are welcome to try.

The reality, is that even if someone wanted to come along and save the wild fetus, they would be prevented from doing so. No amount of money, technology, or government coercion will allow one woman to take the fetus from another woman to bring it to term. In this way Block's analogy sounds even more silly.

Don't blame Fleming for pointing out not only the reprehensibility of Block's position, but the logical inconsistency of it as well.

34 posted on 02/09/2002 1:57:40 PM PST by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: who_would_fardels_bear
Parents are capable of being guardians of their children in the full legal sense. However, the cow and bull that are the "parents" of a calf are not. Therefore the guardians for the calf are the owners of the cow and bull.

A calf has an owner, not a guardian, which is precisely what Fleming said. The calf's owner may do with it as he wants, and he does.

Don't blame Fleming for pointing out not only the reprehensibility of Block's position, but the logical inconsistency of it as well.

It is Block's position which is logical (if reprehensible). The Homestead principle says that things which are not owned belong to the first person who claims it. I may "homestead" a wild fish (e.g catch it) and eat it. I am not allowed to homestead my neighbor and eat him. That is called cannibalism, and polite people frown on it. What's the difference? The fish has no owner, but my neighbor owns himself.

Thus, the whole issue revolves around the question of whether a fetus is human or not. If a fetus is not human, then Block is perfectly right. Anyone may claim an abandoned fetus and do what he wants with it.

If, on the other hand, a fetus is human then it owns itself - and this is true even though it cannot care for itself. It has a guardian, not an owner, and you cannot homestead it. It is because you and I believe that the fetus is human that we disagree with Block, not because of Fleming's bizarre argument - which is both illogical and reprehensible.

36 posted on 02/10/2002 12:57:56 PM PST by Architect
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