Libertarians and Abortion – An Irrational Position

May 10, 2012

Libertarians call themselves “The Party of Principle.”

After examining their party platform, all I can say about that is, “not so much …”

When I first considered the Libertarian position on abortion, I assumed that – being the Party of Principle” – they would be vehemently against abortion, since they are very clearly vehemently against any action which harms another. The “my freedom to swing my arm stops at your nose …” kind of freedom of action and choice.

I explored their concept of freedom by reading and analyzing their platform – and, looking for an answer to the abortion question,  I thought I’d found it in the very first point in their platform – the one on Personal Liberty:

1.0    Personal Liberty … No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government.

What is abortion, I asked myself, if it’s not force against an individual?  Abortion is the ultimate force – the force of death imposed on innocent life.  Abortion, in theory, is no different than murder.

Sometimes the question arises, “is the unborn child a person?”  That question has apparently been answered – and the answer is “at conception” – by none other than the White House itself.

Recently, it was revealed that White House Visitors Office Director Ellie Schafer sent an official e-mail to all Congressional offices regarding requests for visitor passes for Congressional members, staff members and constituents.  “We have received a number of calls regarding how to enter security information for a baby that has not yet been born. … You MUST include the baby in the overall count of guests in the tour.” They even require the listing to be updated after the baby is born.  So even the pro-choice White House considers an unborn child – which they call “a baby that has not yet been born” – to be a person, and they have a very specific procedure for registering this unborn child as a visitor.

Clearly, the “termination” (isn’t that a sanitary word for such a brutal, terminal, deadly process?) of “a baby that has not yet been born” – perhaps one who had already been an official, registered guest at the White House, is an act that is, as the Libertarians describe it, “force against another individual.”

They also sing praises for the 4th Amendment, which also seems to address abortion:

1.2    Personal Privacy:  Libertarians support the rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons … Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes.

Again, strictly from a logical perspective, “a baby that has not yet been born” – perhaps one who’d been a registered visitor at the White House (and therefore who’d been officially recognized as a “person” by the President of the United States) – could not be considered secure in his or her person when faced with abortion, and if the termination of life isn’t an infringement on the rights of others, what IS an infringement?

However, Libertarians (in their party platform), go further, staunchly defending the right to self-defense:

1.6    Self-Defense:  The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — lifeagainst aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual … 

Since the “baby that has not yet been born” – who may have already been registered by his or her Congressman as a person going on an official visit to the White House – cannot properly defend him- or herself, the Libertarian Party platform even seems to proclaim the right of others to defend that unborn person’s rights (including the right to life).

But then they blow it all, and prove how shallow and blowing-in-the-wind they really are. Instead of defending society’s truly most helpless individuals – after all, who could be more helpless than “a baby that has not yet been born?” – the party takes a stand that abortion is an individual matter.  They’ll protect, apparently, the rights of every other person to life, and to be free from assault, and they even invoke the Constitution to affirm that right.  But when it comes to “a baby that has not yet been born“, who may have already officially met the President, having been duly registered as a person who is an official, counted guest of the White House, the Libertarians take a pass.

It is shameful, but after all that highfalutin, pompous proclamation of the rights of the individual to be secure in their person, to be secure from assault, and to defend him/herself (or to have others defend them), they bail.  Cave in.  Collapse in intellectual inconsistency.  Prove that, sadly,the first two syllables of their name mean “Liberal” instead of “Freedom.”

Here it is:

1.4    Abortion

Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.

Ned Barnett – Nevada Conservative

Ned Barnett has worked in campaigns, and as a speechwriter to candidates and elected officials, since he was the “mascot” to the local Young Republicans in 1964 (Goldwater) – he has managed media and strategy for three state-level Presidential campaigns, and worked hand-in-glove with the legendary Lee Atwater in South Carolina in the Ford Campaign.  In 2009-10, as an active Tea Party supporter, he served as both the Clark County/Las Vegas and Nevada Republican Party Communications Director.  He owns Barnett Marketing Communications in Las Vegas, and provides a full range of PR, marketing, issues-management and fund-raising services for clients in Las Vegas, around the country, and in several other countries.  He can be reached at 702-561-1167 or ned@barnettmarcom.com …


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