Conventional collectivist created authority is a deception in consciousness. You are your own Authority!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Demagoguery or Logic?

GOP presidential hopeful, Mike Huckabee, believes that a 10-year-old rape victim should, if impregnated as a consequence of the crime, be forced never-the-less by the state to carry the rapist’s seed to term. 

Every woman who becomes pregnant, regardless of the circumstances, whether by consent or not, should be forced by the state to endure the entire pregnancy to term – no exceptions allowed -- she must have no choice whatsoever in the matter, Huckabee maintains.
 “Creating one problem that is horrible — let nobody be misled, a 10-year-old girl being raped is horrible — but does it solve a problem by taking the life of an innocent child?” Huckabee reasons. “And that’s really the issue… I just come down on the side that every life is precious. I don’t think we discount the intrinsic worth of any human being, and I don’t know where else to go with it.”
Mike Huckabee is a religious extremist. Of course, this is the position of every anti-abortion religious extremist. They reason that an unfertilized egg automatically becomes a “person” entitled to all the legal and constitutional rights enjoyed by you and me and every other “person.” A “person” comes into existence at the moment of conception, therefore all abortions are murder. Thus no abortions should be allowed by law, period.
As a libertarian I find this position appalling, extremely illogical, and profoundly anti-liberty. Yet when I point this out as a valid argument against the extreme anti-abortion position, my friend, Thomas Knapp, accuses me of demagoguery. “To put it more bluntly, the ‘rape and incest exception’ attack is demagoguery — a crass play on emotion rather than an appeal to fact. As a pro-choice argument, it’s an epic fail.”
I have enormous respect for the opinions of Tom Knapp. I agree with him probably 95% of the time. I would never question for a moment his libertarian credentials, but in this instance I could hardly disagree with him more.

Tom thinks that Huckabee’s position flows inexorably from the logic of his larger pro-life stance, and is in fact a libertarian argument… A libertarian argument, not THE libertarian argument he admits. Libertarians differ among ourselves on abortion (no, I’m not going to tell you where I come down on it),” he says.
Why not, Tom? The positions are certainly not mutually exclusive, are they?
“Some of us are pro-choice. Some of us are pro-life. But all of us view the issue through the lens of the same principle: That it is impermissible to initiate force and that we may only use force defensively or to recover damages from someone who “threw the first punch,” observes Tom. “Pro-choice libertarians believe that a fertilized embryo or in utero fetus is not a person with rights, that the mother is fully entitled to control of her own body, and that forbidding her an abortion would be an initiation of force against her…Pro-life libertarians believe that at some point prior to birth (for some, that goes all the way back to conception), a fertilized embryo IS a person with rights — a person who has initiated force against no one and who therefore may not be permissibly killed.”
“Coming from the pro-life libertarian position, Tom argues, "both the 10-year-old pregnant girl and her unborn child in this story are victims of an aggressor (the rapist whose actions resulted in the pregnancy). Abortion violates the rights of the unborn child, who is not an aggressor, and is therefore morally impermissible (unless, of course, it becomes a matter of self-defense, i.e. carrying the baby to term would kill or gravely harm the mother).
“The problem with the “rape and incest exception” position is that it doesn’t address the questions raised above, he concludes “If abortion is a right, it’s a right whether rape or incest are involved or not. If abortion is not a right, rape and incest don’t make it into a right.”
First of all, it is not factually logical to hold that both the 10-year-old girl AND the unborn fetus are victims of the rapist aggressor. There is only one victim and one aggressor. The rapist forced his penis inside that little girl. He forced her to take his bodily fluids into her vagina. He forced his seed into her uterus. That seed is HIM. The chromosomes are HIM. The DNA is HIM. So it is HE who penetrated her egg without her consent. So her egg that HE fertilized his HIM – at least 50% HIM. The fertilized egg is not a victim. At least 50% of it was the aggressor. It is NOT precious. It is certainly not precious to that little girl; the victim.
That little girl had a right to cast HIM out of her body right there and then as a matter of self defense – indeed, choice, if you will -- from the time he forced himself upon her and beyond before it comes to term. It was unwanted from the start. That pregnancy is going to take a toll upon that little girl’s body. That pregnancy is going to take a psychological toll upon her for the rest of her life and even worse for her if it goes to term and the rapist’s offspring is born.
Secondly, that rapist’s bodily fluids; his sperm cells; his seed had no rights. It clearly isn’t precious by any definition of that term. How does the rapist’s seed factually and logically acquire the right to continue in existence simply by forcing its way into that little girl’s egg. That rapist’s seed is not innocent; far from it. It’s guilty, albeit perhaps, unconsciously so, because it is HIM. It his part of how HE perpetrated HIS crime upon her. HE did it to her.
Had HE not penetrated  her egg by force, that egg would have been naturally discarded in the normal course of the little girl’s menstrual cycle. In short, that egg was destined to rightfully be destroyed.  It wasn’t precious. That egg had no right to live by any definition of fact or logic.
Finally, the belief that a fertilized egg is a “person” from the moment of conception is both factually and logically is absurd. At the core it is a religious belief and a relatively recent religious belief at that.
One won’t, for example, find that concept anywhere in the Holy Bible, the Koran, or anywhere else in the recorded history of civilizations right up until the last few decades. The origin of the idea of fetal “personhood” came with the fervent anti-abortion movement, which has always been anti-liberty, and is unrelenting in its quest to deny reproductive liberty to women. But neither God nor Jesus Christ ever said that a fetus is a “person.”
We’ve all heard the old adage: “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, right? Think about that. There is logic and wisdom in those words. It’s true for human beings too. No civilization in the history of this planet has ever counted the unborn as people, much less people with rights, and there are plenty of good reasons for that. Not every fertilized egg comes to term. And, for that matter, no fertilized egg or unborn fetus is equipped to exercise rights.
We count human beings as people who have acquired the rights of persons when they are born. It has always been that way; in ancient history; in Biblical times, right up until now. A new person today gets a birth certificate – not a conception certificate. We celebrate a person’s birthday – not their moment of conception. We count a person’s age from the date of birth – not the moment of conception. And, on and on; these are the facts.
Consider the Fourteenth Amendment that I discussed in my last post regarding how anchor babies acquire their citizenship. They acquire their citizenship when they are BORN here – not if and when they are conceived here. So if an undocumented immigrant gets pregnant in the US and is deported back to Mexico before she gives birth, her child is not a citizen of the United States. It’s a simple as that.  The “fetal personhood” position is wholly without factual and logical merit.
This is not demagoguery; it’s logic. 


  1. A fetus is a guest, or trespasser, on a woman's body, purely at the pleasure of that woman. A woman may choose to evict it, or indulge it, at anytime she wishes. However, as with any guest that has worn out their welcome, the host does not have a right to kill an interloper while conducting the eviction. Granted, a fetus evicted after 10 weeks of gestation, or even 20 weeks, will likely die once evicted, but that is a different situation from deliberately destroying the fetus though the eviction process.

    Perhaps 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago, our technology meant that terminating a pregnancy also meant summarily terminating the life of the fetus, but our technology today does not make that decision as black and white. If a woman wishes to end her pregnancy then she can, but that right does not include summarily killing the child.

  2. Timothy,

    Thanks for taking time to respond to my piece.

    You make a number of good pro-choice arguments. However, you don't seem to address my actual proposition: That pro-choice or pro-life, a "rape and incest exception" can't possibly flow from the logic.

    If you're pro-choice and do not believe the fetus is a person with rights, then no "rape and incest exception" is needed, since for you it comes down to the idea that only person whose rights are at stake is the pregnant woman's.

    If you're pro-life and believe that the fetus IS a person with rights, then a "rape and incest exception" makes no sense, because the fetus is not an aggressor. It may not, as you argue, be a victim, but it's at worst an innocent bystander caught up in the doings of others.

    Inline you ask me why I don't care to talk about my own opinions on abortion, and the above is the answer: My own opinions on abortion are irrelevant to the discrete proposition I'm arguing. The proposition is correct if I am pro-choice; the proposition remains correct if I am pro-life.

    1. Oh, I do agree with you that if one believes that a fertilized egg is a "person" then it makes no difference whether it came into existence by consent or by rape or incest. It doesn't follow from that, however, that my argument is demagoguery. The logical fallacy of the fetal "personhood" position is calling an egg a person, a contradiction in terms which is absurd both factually and logically. If anything is demagoguery it's that.

      Yes, if the egg is not a "person" as I argue, it makes no difference whether it came into existence by consent or by rape or incest; the woman has the right to abort it. Merely pointing out, however the appalling absurdity of the extreme anti-abortion position permitting no exceptions can hardly be described as demagoguery. My position is based upon facts -- not emotion.

    2. Timothy,

      You still seem to be missing the point.

      You are arguing pro-choice versus pro-life.

      I am arguing the irrationality of one particular intermediate position ("pro-life, unless it's rape or incest, in which case pro-choice") and pointing out that it is irrational from whichever side it is advanced (as a demand from the pro-choice side, or as a compromise from the pro-life side).

      Your position on abortion may be based on fact -- but the "rape and incest exception" argument is not. It is based on emotion because that's the only thing it CAN be based on.

    3. I got your point from the beginning, Tom. The problem with your argument though, is that you maintain that the "fetal personhood" position advanced by Mike Huckabee and the pro-life anti-abortion movement is based on fact and logic and is in fact therefore a libertarian argument.

      I disagree. I say that it is not a logical position -- not based on fact and logic -- and therefore cannot be a valid libertarian argument because it begins with the fallacious premise that a fertilized egg is a "person." That’s where we differ. It is that fallacy which leads to absurd and draconian consequences for liberty such as denying a woman’s right to abortion no matter what the circumstances.

      You say that my pointing out those absurd consequences amounts to demagoguery. I respond that my reference to rape and incest exceptions is not based on emotion but fact and reality. It’s the absurd consequence of Huckabee’s illogical “fetal personhood” position.

    4. No, Timothy, I do not maintain that the fetal personhood position advanced by Huckabee is either based on fact and logic, or that that it is a libertarian argument.

      You're not disagreeing with what I said. You're making up something I didn't say, then attributing it to me, then disagreeing with THAT.

    5. In your original post that I responded to you stated of Huckabee’s position that it “flows inexorably from the logic of his larger pro-life stance, and is in fact a libertarian argument…

      Huckabee's pro-life stance argues the "fetal personhood" position. Am I missing something here?

    6. Apparently so. You just re-stated what I said, and seem to think it means something entirely different.

      Yes, Huckabee's premise is the fetal personhood position. TAKING THAT PREMISE AS A GIVEN FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT, he makes a libertarian argument against abortion as a right.

      Your premise is a non-fetal-personhood position. TAKING THAT PREMISE AS A GIVEN, you make a libertarian argument for abortion as a right.

      Both arguments are libertarian. What's at issue are the underlying facts.

      And in neither case does a "rape and incest exception" make any rational sense.

      If you're coming from the fetal personhood position, the fetus is an innocent person and shouldn't be aggressed against, even if a third party victimized the mother.

      If you're coming from the non-fetal-personhood position, you consider abortion a right, period, end of story, so there's no need for any such exception because your main position already covers the situation.

      So when a pro-choicer whines at a pro-lifer because the latter doesn't support a "rape and incest exception," it's demagoguery. Since said exception has precisely zero basis in either position, the only thing to hang it on is "I want to make the audience go awwwwwww, poor rape or incest victim."