Live and Let Abort

Part of an ongoing discussion.

The Libertarian maxim is laws deterring harm to others are licit, but laws deterring harmless acts are not. Harm here means physical violence, theft, trespass, fraud, breach of contract.

This is the core of what all variations of libertarianism hold in common: one may never initiate harm against the innocent. Harm is only to be used to deter harm, only in due proportion, and only against the one who initiates the use of harm.

Strangely, nearly all libertarians classify public drunkenness, recreational psychedelics, adultery, bigamy, pornography, pollution, draft-dodging, tax evasion, false advertising, suicide, euthanasia, and abortion as harmless.

Harmless must be allowed.

Whereas nearly all libertarians earnestly debate privatizing the police, public roads, public parks and common greens, and disbanding all standing armies, on the theory that maintaining borders and collecting taxes are unacceptable impositions on the liberty of the sovereign individual. And planning and zoning laws are right out. Using the coercive power of the state for public works or the common defense is harmful.

Harmful must be not allowed.

This inability to see harm as harmful is one of the main reasons why I departed the cause of Libertarianism.

Killing your unborn child is not harm? But defending the child is? So says that paragon of Libertarians, Ayn Rand.

In 1968, Ayn Rand wrote an article denouncing Humanae Vitae, by merely ignoring all the philosophical and moral principles of never initiating violence against the innocent that she had so vehemently been trumpeting in heaven-shaking volume with every syllable of her writing previously or since. This, from a woman who praised and promoted logic as the paramount, if not sole, human good more than any other. At the same time, she both promoted and practiced adultery, under the same rubric, namely, that breaking faith with one’s sworn spouse harmed no one.

Even those years when I was ardently in favor of Ayn Rand, this illogical pushed me away from her. And I noticed children are mentioned only once in all the countless page-count of her Russian-novel-length Russian novel, ATLAS SHRUGGED. Nor did she have children herself.

The unwillingness to countenance military draft, taxation, or any form of obligation running from natives of a nation to their nation pushed me further away: does one expect merely to hide behind better men, without even being obligated to pay soldiers their crappy wages? I began to realize that I, and all the Libertarians I knew, treated their homeland as a hotel, not as a home.

But someone who loves his liberty, and seeks above all things to extend that liberty to others, tolerating anything others should do so long is was harmless to others, should be willing to die for his liberty, or for the liberty of others, and pay his tithe and march to war and do whatever else need requires to keep the precious torch of that Lady in New York harbor alight. Something was really wrong here, something was offcenter and out of joint.

The libertarian wants to be free on someone else’s dime? He thinks contracts should be enforced, but not marriage oaths?

Using force to drive a drug dealer away from your child is denounced as morally wrong, with all the moralistic moralizing a moralizer can muster, but using force to kill an innocent baby in the womb is not?

Why do children have no liberty? Why is using force to protect them wrong?

Ah, but Socialists often use concern for the weak and downtrodden, or patriotism for the common good, as disguises to mask totalitarianism! They also speak of defending children or sacrificing for the common defense. True enough. Because Leftists are liars. Socialism is a political expression of total devotion to falsehood as a way of life: it is hypocrisy elevated to an all-consuming death-cult. Socialism is a revolt against reality.

But that does not mean we sane men should abandon reality, including moral reality, merely because Socialists say false things about what is real. Totalitarianism is not now and never has been motivated by altruism.

But Ayn Rand denounces altruism.

She does not say that altruism is abused by Socialists. She says they enunciate it. Her solution is not to oppose Socialist misuse of the altruist impulse: when need be, to place others above oneself. She says never to place the others above oneself.

It began to dawn on me that the whole discussion of “liberty” was bogus, at least when Ayn Rand and her acolytes used the word.

A time came when the writer David Bentley Hart penned these words, and my break with Ayn Rand was complete: ” I cannot find much common ground with someone who believed that the principal source of human woe over the last twenty centuries has been a tragic shortage of selfishness.

Ayn Rand is selfishness disguised as love of liberty.