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Anarchy vs. the Right to Life
Mercurial Times ^
| February 11, 2002
| Aaron Armitage
Posted on 02/12/2002 3:33:17 PM PST by A.J.Armitage
|Joe Sobran, as evidenced by his recent columns, seems close to being convinced, if not already convinced, by Hans Herman Hoppe's book, Democracy: The God that Failed. As you might have guessed from the title, Hoppe thinks democracy was a bad idea, but he goes further than that; he thinks government, in any form, was a bad idea. He's an anarcho-capitalist. In an anarcho-capitalist society, instead of using police and an official court system to punish criminals, individuals would hire defense agencies, in much the same way we hire insurance agencies now. Then, if you're robbed, your agency would try to track down the guilty party, and, when they catch him, bring him to trial, probably before a judge agreed to by both your agency and his.
I don't know if Sobran realizes this, but anarcho-capitalism sits poorly with his pro-life views. The unborn, and for that matter born children, will be unable to hire an agency to protect them from their own parents or, in the case of some already born children, step-parents. It's not an accident that Murray Rothbard, the founder of anarcho-capitalism, was pro-choice. In chapter 14 of The Ethics of Liberty, he defends the legality of abortion, as indeed he had to, because if abortion is a crime and an abomination that ought to be punished - and it is - that constitutes a fatal weakness in anarcho-capitalism.
But it extends beyond abortion to child abuse and neglect. Continuing, he wrote that parents, specifically mothers, since pater incertus est, have property rights in their children because they made them. But then he pulls back, and inconsistently advocates limits on parental authority, both by ending it at adulthood and by excluding physical abuse from the things parents can do (but he does not exclude neglect). If, however, you apply the labor theory of property to human beings and not merely the non-human world, neither of these restrictions makes sense. If mothers own children the same way they would own a statue they carved or acorns they gathered, there's no logical point at which the ownership ends, not at 18, not at 21, and not when the kid moves out (Rothbard's own suggestion).
In the case of abuse, his position faces an even greater problem. Not only is his insistence that parents lack the right to "aggress against his person by mutilating, torturing, murdering him, etc." inconsistent with property rights over the children (why can't I mutilate my own property?), in an anarchist society, there's no one to enforce a prohibition against torturing or murdering one's own children.
Locke himself, the originator of the labor theory of property, did not consider children the property of their parents, and for very good reason; it would've been half way to Filmerism. What he said instead was, "The power, then, that parents have over their children, arises from that duty which is incumbent on them, to take care of their children, during the imperfect state of childhood." (Second Treatise, para. 58)
The only kinds of crimes that could be punished in a pure anarcho-capitalist scheme are ones directly harming paying customers of a defense agency. This certainly has the advantage of doing away with non-crimes like drug possession and prostitution, but, by the nature of how the system operates, it must also leave unpunished real crimes against those other than paying customers. Children, especially unborn ones, are out of luck, and they aren't the only ones. Protection of those outside the charmed circle of paying customers would be based only on charity, and it's easy to imagine pro-life agencies emerging to punish abortionists, but there would just as certainly be pro-choice agencies, and the two kinds of agencies would necessarily exist in a permanent state of war. Once you've gone beyond the model of agencies simply selling protection, there's nothing to prevent agencies from "altruistically" punishing the smoking of marijuana or, for that matter, the drinking of alcohol. An anarchist society can only be peaceful if all force-users other than purely profit-driven defense agencies are excluded and punished (which would mirror the exclusion of other force-users anarchists criticize the state for), and if they are excluded, the unborn will be left with no protection at all, and legal abortion will be more secured by the legal system than any Supreme Court ruling could ever make it, because it would be secured by the structure of the system, and not merely by a changeable rule.
TOPICS: Editorial; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: libertarians; paleolist
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Probably for abortionists. I don't know about the mothers, but there has to be a penalty.
What is it Aaron? And why do you think that the murderers deserve less of a penalty than their accomplices?
Because its possible you can end up being a burden on the rest of us and I don't believe in euthansia.
If I own land, it's mine just as much as my body is.
Absolutely correct. Do you think that other people have the right to use your land against your will?
Bravo, Gary Cherone!
And how do you answer Bob Lallier's objections here?
Bob Lallier apparently never cracked a history book covering the period before Roe vs. Wade. In virtually the entire history of this country, abortion was illegal. Our history has already proven illegal abortion does not open such a Pandora's box.
Lallier's essential argument boils down to reserving the protection of the state only to those whom it is convenient to protect, allegedly out of fear law enforcement might go crazy. The obvious answer is to reign in the scope of law enforcement back to its constitutional limits. Just like any crime, the burden of proof is on the accuser, and the accused has rights that must be respected.
Who is to stop this agency from running a protection scheme like the mafia.
I suppose an anarchist could answer, the same people who stop the government from running a protection scheme like the mafia, there'd be a lot to that, but the government can be restrained by the public, at least in a republic, while a protection agency, if it starts acting like the mafia, will put itself outside the market (which is the check they think will act against misbehavior), i.e., will coerce people to pay, without necessarily providing a service. So what you'd have is a small state, and a very despotical one. Unless the agencies get together and invade small states like that, there'd be a lot of reinstatement, and not in a nice way.
Ok, I just started working and have no money to pay such an agency. I get my first paycheck and get robbed at gunpoint. In fact a service provides a list of uninsured folks for a fee for the bad guys and I just can't get off that list because every pay day I get robbed.
Our history has already proven illegal abortion does not open such a Pandora's box.
Wrong. The murderers were never prosecuted for their crimes. Instead their accomplices were. Abortion became common when a significant percentage of the population came to believe that it was "a women's right."
The mafia works because it is based on pure capitalism. You pay, you get protection. You get a service by not getting robbed, broken into, damage to property etc.
You want to gamble ? A system is needed. The mafia provides the system. If they decide to kill you, who is to stop them ?
Because its possible you can end up being a burden on the rest
I explicitely tell you that I don't want your "help". Yet you insist on extending it against my will. Let me suffer the consequences of my errors. If errors they should prove to be.
It doesn't follow. An elementary rights analysis would show that it is rightful to come to defense of the rights of others; but it is not rightful to commit aggression on behalf of others.
You know that, and I know that, but JMJ333 doesn't. If you allow agencies to go past punishing crimes against their clients, there's no structural reason not to have agencies punishing whatever someone's willing to pay for.
Thus a charity hiring a protection agent to punish abortionists would do so by rights of protecting the unborn, while NARAL hiring another agent to protect the mother's whims would be out of bounds.
Architect doesn't agree. You and I hire hire one agency to punish abortionists, he hires another to protect them, and, as John Locke would put it, we make our appeal to Heaven.
Your agrument would work in an environment without laws, but it doesn't work in the environment you present according to Hoppe, where the use of force is moderated by judges.
Pro-life judges or pro-choice ones?
The purpose of government is to defend the equal rights of all persons, with special care to the defenseless.
What's a right?
but the government can be restrained by the public, at least in a republic
If you believe that, I have a ..., never mind. I can't take advantage of the gullible.
Fraud - The Autonomist Notebook
Comment #55 Removed by Moderator
The mafia provides the system. If they decide to kill you, who is to stop them ?
The govenment decides to kill you, who is to stop them? (It's happened a lot recently.)
Government - The Autonomist Notebook
Wrong. The murderers were never prosecuted for their crimes. Instead their accomplices were.
Wrong about what?
You asked how to counter Lallier's objections. Lallier's "Pandora's Box" example spoke exclusively about these accomplices. Not the abortionists. That is the very example refuted by historical example.
Are you claiming this is an invalid counter-argument because it doesn't speak to the abortionists themselves? How does that have anything to do with countering Lallier, who doesn't mention them?
Yes I can, because I don't live in subjective utopia. Concrete moral truths exist.
They most certainly do. Now prove that drug use being immoral is one of them.
Prostitution reduces a human being to an object because that is what happens when you act sexually base. It strips a person of dignity, and denegrates the sacredness of sex, marriage, family, and human life.
I've never seen an object do anything sexually base. And there are plenty of undignified people who aren't objects, and there are people who do unsacred things without being objects.
Just say that fornication itself is immoral and be done with it.
BTW, should it be illegal for unmarried people to have sex without money changing hands?
There are victims of drug usage and prostitution also. It has a negative effect on society--the society which we have a moral obligation to pass on as healthy as possible for American children.
Society? Too nebulous. If Dope Smokin' Joe takes a toke of the old whacky weed, name the person who suffers an invasion of his person or property.
If the "values of morality and legality" are not reinforced among the public and in the media and social institutions, the agreements, declarations, and most sophisticated juridical instruments will be useless. Without a clear conscience of what is right and wrong, our societies will be incapable of being immune to the plague of crime.
You can reinforce something without making it illegal to do otherwise.
I don't recall asking you to wage physical war. I'm talking about the arena of ideas.
No, you're not talking about ideas. You're talking about making it illegal to do what you consider (rightly or wrongly) to be immoral. If something's illegal, you don't counter it with ideas, you use police officers and administer punishments.
posted on 02/12/2002 6:31:55 PM PST
If you want less government, then you should fight to retain what remains of our foundational culture.
You just made a big mistake on that one. Our foundational culture never placed anyone in jail for being a drug user. Infact drugs existed back in the very good ol days like they do now. Morphine was sold in bottles legal for all in every single general store across america. Now I do not believe you can compare THC to being as nasty a drug like Morphine but you get my point.
The idea of outlawing drugs like morphine, booze and other products is a very new one to our nation not an old one.
The problem is that we never paid for addicts to live a life of being a drug user in the days of the early republic.Most Americans stayed away from those items because of quite a few reasons however the most important is that they would die from them quite early because of no government welfare or programs to keep them on legal drugs with taxpayer money like we have now.
The problem with some libertarians is that they believe that drugs should be legal and then taxed to fund more government programs. I believe drugs should be legal without a tax and no treatment for addicts. Put the orignal danger back into drugs. You know early death and let the problem weed itself out over two or three years.
Libertarians who want drugs to be legal and then taxed for more social welfare programs are dealing with two large problems. Making the government your drug dealer and growing government by keeping addicts alive to fund itself.
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