Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Most Private of Property

As a small 'l' libertarian I am philosophically "pro-choice" in terms of the ever-controversial issue of abortion.  The great Murray N. Rothbard lays it down clearly in this passage from his book, The Ethics of Liberty:
   The proper groundwork for analysis of abortion is in every man’s absolute right of self-ownership. This implies immediately that every woman has the absolute right to her own body, that she has absolute dominion over her body and everything within it. This includes the fetus. Most fetuses are in the mother’s womb because the mother consents to this situation, but the fetus is there by the mother’s freely-granted consent. But should the mother decide that she does not want the fetus there any longer, then the fetus becomes a parasitic “invader” of her person, and the mother has the perfect right to expel this invader from her domain. Abortion should be looked upon, not as “murder” of a living person, but as the expulsion of an unwanted invader from the mother’s body.[2] Any laws restricting or prohibiting abortion are therefore invasions of the rights of mothers.

Many readers of this blog will agree with me on this one topic. I see abortion as an issue for a woman to decide - not for a lawmaker to decide for her. Abortion, because it involves the most private of property, is one of the most fundamental issues of property rights; I wonder, then, why many of the same people who feel that a woman's "right to choose" is protected through property rights do not apply this same principle to other complex matters such as drug use, foreign policy, and health care.

The fascist health care bill that just passed the House is a clear violation of natural human rights. Contained in this bill is law requiring every person in America to purchase from a private company health insurance. (By the way, 16,500 new IRS agents need to be hired to enforce this heinous law.) If I, for whatever reason, choose not to purchase health insurance, I will be fined - and ultimately jailed - by armed thugs. This is wrong for so many reasons, but it is most dubious in terms of my ownership of my own body: being forced, by penalty of jail, to do something to protect myself from harm is the true crime. It is not the job of elected officials to legislate what I do with my body.  Their job is to legislate what other people do with my body!  If someone hits me in the head with a bat because they want my wallet, then it's punishment time.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, laws prohibiting the use of drugs are equally wrong, for the express reason that they allow the government to tell you what you can and cannot due with your most private of property - yourself.  The list goes on and on: prostitution, laws prohibiting the sale of your organs, gambling laws, and America's foreign policy. (Talk about property theft! State-sponsored murder is the most egregious form of property rights infringement.) What's more, all of these unjust infringements are funded by  the theft of your private property - your money - through taxation.

Many see the crime in laws that prohibit a woman's natural right to choose what she does with her reproductive organs - yet refuse to recognize the crimes of a similar nature that are committed against us all on a daily basis, through innumerable laws dictating even the most mundane aspects of our lives. Am I overlooking some obvious explanation for this apparent hypocrisy?


  1. very well written, Gardner, and I like the passage about abortion.

  2. Gardner - how do you decide where to draw the line about which government laws/services are appropriate and which aren't? It seems from your post that you do think that a police force or penal system of some sort is necessary. So there ARE some things that you want to see in place. But I remember one conversation in which you argued against basic public education - though this may just have been in the heat of battle. So I am curious: how do you decide what types of laws are necessary and what types are not? This is not a facetious question at all, I am really wondering where you draw the line.

  3. Also, the 16,500 new IRS agents is Republican propaganda. The fact that Ron Paul repeated it doesn't make it true. Fact check!


  4. Madeleine,
    I will respond to the first comment tomorrow, but till then I'll say a thing or two about the second one.
    Simply because they use the name "fact check" does not mean they are non-partisan or fact based for that matter. Take a look at their logo. This is a mouthpiece for the administration funded by tax dollars. Its like someone citing Fox News because they claim they are "fair and balanced"-its just not real.

    As far as 16,500 IRS armed agents, if you reductio ad absurdum, that is reduce the argument to its final point, then you realize that with this mandate, if you do not want health insurance, you will get fined. If you do not pay the fine, you will get fined some more and have to go to jail. What if you don't want to go to jail? If you do not comply with this fascist mandate, you will have to look down the barrel of a gun. A gun is enforcing this mandate. Period.
    But at least giant insurance corporations are going to profit from this like never before! Those lobbyists sure will be happy!