Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reasoning for Human Freedom

I wrote this to a friend regarding some political issues. He brought up the issue of abortion so I spoke to that. Then I spoke to the issue of the economy and political freedom in general.

The current politics and categories are so polluted with conflicting positions that it is impossible to even use the terms liberal and conservative and convey any meaning. Further, both parties are statist and therefore fascist in the philosophical meaning of that term. I hate those terms and wince whenever anyone applies them.

I've finally come down to this. "I'm for individual rights and that's it. You sort it out!"

Individual rights include the right of a woman to her body. The minute she gets pregnant, she isn't to be a slave to government's edicts the next 9 months - forced to gestate a fetus. She has to evaluate whether she wants or is able to raise a child or to provide for the child in some other way. Sometimes abortion is the appropriate choice.

The entire idea of life beginning at conception, the position of many conservatives, is a major injustice to women and their closest piece of property, their body, and it causes a big legal mess. Rights are something that apply to independent, living human beings. Ultimately they are grounded in the fact that a man has a particular kind of consciousness that requires freedom to think and choose. The creation of a right by the government on the part of a fetus now places the pregnant woman legally in conflict with her own body. Whose rights dominate? The woman or her fetus? How ridiculous is that?

The entire regulation of the economy is a sham too. All the economy is at root is a person responding to his circumstances in order to make a living and survive as a human being to the best of his ability. Some people find a job which someone else has created when he started a business. Other people start a business and perhaps create a job. Their existence depends on them continually responding to their circumstances. This is especially true for the business owner who has more at stake in that he has to keep his business going which, as a consequence, keeps his employees going.

The idea that a government can pass laws that will work to improve this process is ludicrous with a minute's thought, yet no one questions this. The individual must respond to his circumstances and the government says it has to be a certain way. For the individual, this just becomes another part of his circumstances and so he seeks a way to survive given that.

Since the government's regulations are for purposes other than any particular individual's survival, they never match because the government cannot operate at the level of looking at the situation on the ground, so to speak. Further they introduce the issue of force and this sets off another, very harmful factor.

Given that a human being has free will, he depends on his mind to determine the best course for his well-being, in the fullest possibility of the meaning of that term. He is constantly making plans and choosing among alternatives. Once force is introduced, he is no longer fully able to do that. His plans become distorted by the fact that he has to do a particular thing that the government forced upon him. Thus the choices available become different and they become limited and skewed from what they could have been had he been free. This is the consequence of compulsion.

(By the way, if the government is so all powerful and wise and our leader-in-waiting practically deified, why are they and he not taking responsibility for the effects of their actions? Ever think about that?)

Responsibility is only possible if a man is able to choose. What this means is that he has to deal with the consequences, the effects, of his choices. If he is forced to do something, then there is no question of right or wrong or of a good or bad choice. He is compelled to comply. (It is free will, by the way, that gives rise to morality, the science of right and wrong, good and bad. A moral code is a set of principles that guide a person in making sound choices for his life, a human life.)

Thus force deprives a man of responsibility in a particular area. In one respect, he is no longer human. A being without free will is not a human being.

(And this gives us an insight as to why our leaders are never really responsible for their choices. Force present anywhere in a society dehumanizes all who allow it. As Martin Luther King so aptly said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." It is actually more than just a threat. To the degree it is allowed, it becomes man's inhuman being.)

Thus we see an increasing amount of human life not being responsible - not being fully human, if you get my drift. The more force is involved in a society, it means that increasingly people are unable to be responsible because they are not able to evaluate alternatives and then choose what they consider is the best one given their situation. Thus we see, and will increasingly see, human beings acting more like the lower animals rather than human beings. They don't think because it is not a value in a force dominated society. Since it is less and less possible to be fully human, then why bother. Bring on the sex, drugs and rock & roll.

Thus, I am for the complete separation of church and state, health and state, education and state, architecture and state, economy and state, everything and state. The purpose of the state is to protect individual rights and the right of every human being to freely choose the course of his life and thus be responsible for the consequences of his choices.

So called "helping" people then is not the role of the government. It is the role of private individuals and their organizations who want to do that. In a free society, the standard of living rises increasingly quickly over time and is real since the dead weight of government is not present. Thus increasingly there are resources to help the poor and the least among us. But to use the government to force this result ultimately means that all of us become dependent on the government. At that point, we are all poor and the "least among us." In fact, we are not really human beings although we may look like and talk like human beings do.

It is one of the great ironies of human society that the more force is lived with in a society, the more the calls for benevolence, generosity, love for one's fellow man and all kinds of calls for taking care of each other.

The turning point for any man occurs when he accepts it. It isn't the enforcer that makes the essential difference. Evil has no ultimate power. It can exist only as long as his victim accepts his power. It is essentially parasitic. So long as a man fights against force with every fiber of his being, his spirit is still that possible to a human being. The minute he accepts it, he's done. He's a "dead man walking."

If that isn't radical, I don't know what is. Call me a radical for freedom. I stand for the possibility of all people realizing, to the fullest extent possible, what it is to be human.

Does this make sense to you?


Mark Cancellieri said...

Do you think that the government should protect a human's life beginning the moment it is born but allow the woman the choice of terminating it moments before it is born without restriction?

I'm a libertarian, but I would have trouble answering Yes to this question.

At what point is there a human deserving government protection against the use of force?

Dan said...

Mark, when you don't have to literally go through a human and force it to comply to protect another. Otherwise creator given rights are simply fluff.
A child really has no rights above an adult either. The parent must be free to make decisions about their child or all need to be taken away at birth and raised by govt. Which is the more cruel than murder, that is death by slow torture. But this conversation is long since been muted. I see no reason for it anymore. Slavery is already instantly rationalized without thought. We each now are automatically chained to the other by our weaknesses instead of our strengths.

Rob Diego said...

My two cents: No one is questioning the right of a viable fetus who can survive outside its mother's body. At that point, it is an individual with rights and whoever chooses to protect and nurture that life is free to do so. This particular question is one brought up by the "pro-life" factions as a way of attacking the pro-abortion stand. The real issue relates to the two earlier tri-mesters of a pregnancy where the fetus is dependent on the life of the mother. In this case, the mother has individual rights, the fetus does not. Though some conservatives have tried to argue that the fetus at every stage is an individual with individual rights, you cannot pose a contradiction and expect to be doing anything more than babbling. Either the mother has individual rights or she does not. If you have to protect the fetus' rights and oppose the mother's rights then you do not stand for individual rights. You cannot stand for both in the context of a biologically dependent entity supported by a human individual. The viable party, the mother, trumps any rights you try to assign to a fetus. Individual rights stand only for individuals who are capable of surviving outside their mothers. Though abortion is a terrible thing, it is still the right of the mother to do what is in her self-interest. The anti-abortion crowd is actually trying to destroy self-interest, not protect the unborn.

principlex said...

I think most normal people have a soft place in their heart for an innocent helpless thing, particularly a tiny baby - me included. Here is where I am currently with your question.

"It's one thing to persuade her to rationally choose to deliver the baby. But if she isn't persuaded, are you going to be the one to force her to act against her will? By what right do you justify such action that does not also nullify your own right to your life?"

Mark Cancellieri said...

principlex said...

"It's one thing to persuade her to rationally choose to deliver the baby. But if she isn't persuaded, are you going to be the one to force her to act against her will? By what right do you justify such action that does not also nullify your own right to your life?"

Yes, I don't have an issue with forcing her to act against her will if her will is to initiate force against a human being. If someone is threatening to use force against another human, I don't have a problem with using force to stop that person from using force.

Rob Diego said...

Mark said, "Yes, I don't have an issue with forcing her to act against her will if her will is to initiate force against a human being. If someone is threatening to use force against another human, I don't have a problem with using force to stop that person from using force."

So you would charge the woman with murder and put her in prison for life, possibly even impose capital punishment, the electric chair or death by chemical injection for making a decision that she would not be able to live the life she had chosen because she got pregnant due to a failed contraceptive. Is that what you are saying?

Or she got pregnant due to a rape and terminated the pregnancy. This woman should suffer the full extent of the law. Right?

Or she learned that her baby had a terminal disease or a genetic abnormality. Right?

Or that she only made $5000 a year as a manual laborer and that the job was so stressful that she could not carry the baby and that she would not be able to feed it and find adequate child care so she could keep working. Right?

What other circumstance in a woman's life would you apply this too? Perhaps you would only apply it to women who have high paying jobs, millionaire husbands or who can otherwise afford to care for a baby that she doesn't want at this point in her life?

Where does your slippery slope stop? Near the top or at the bottom? Who is going to stop her from acting against her will, the government? In order to do this effectively and prevent all of this forcing against fetuses we will have to register every woman in the country and have them report to the government on a daily basis that they are not today thinking about aborting a fetus. Is that what you want? Or should the police be at every hospital and clinic in order to make sure that the doctors aren't doing something illegal. Have you really considered the methods necessary for you to stop a woman from using force?

The problem with your statement is that you define "human being" as any group of cells that could become something close to a human being. A potentiality is not an actuality. You cannot protect a potentiality inside a woman's body and as long as that potentiality is inside a woman's body and dependent on her for sustenance, then the woman has the right to terminate that sustenance if she sees that, in her best interest, the potentiality should not become a baby. You can parse words all you want but the truth is a woman has a right to her body and you do not have a right to it, the government does not have a right to it and any law that prohibits her from doing what is in her self-interest is a bad law that will create havoc in people's lives.