Posts tagged Abortion

Re: Against Pseudo-Reform


If you are subsidized, then your insurance policy cannot cover abortions. But that’s how the law has stood since 1976 (see Hyde Amendment). So the new legislation changes nothing.

Of course it does. Specifically, the new legislation (through a combination of subsidies, captive-market mandates, and new regulations on insurance corporations) is designed to corral more women (and men) into government-subsidized plans. That is, last I checked, the point of the “reform.”

Of course, more thoroughly statist options (like, say, putting everyone on Medicare, as some “social democrats” have proposed) would be even worse, in that total conversion of the healthcare industry to political allocation would mean the total subordination of women’s reproductive healthcare to the political mandates of Hyde et al. But this proposal is bad enough. And if your response depends on a claim that government subsidies to one good don’t tend to crowd out substitute goods, then I have to wonder where you would get that notion.


If that’s not Left-Libertarian enough, I hope this is. Charles suggested it. Please click the red ‘Recommend’ button at the bottom if you like.

Although I certainly do support grassroots-organized community free clinics (on the model of the Panther clinics or the feminist women’s health center / women’s self-help clinic movement), I certainly do not favor having goverment “create” community health care centers. And while I very much appreciate the notions of (1) divorcing the idea of “universal health care” from “government health care”; and (2) doing so through voluntary grassroots alternatives to corporate health insurance, I will say that I strongly doubt that any one big voluntary plan for everyone everywhere is going to cut it. What I want to see is a thousand mutual aid societies blooming, and a thousand different approaches to the problem — not for there to be some one network that everyone signs onto, but rather that every one have some network that she individually can sign on to.


The point is that while theoretically libertarians decide these things on individualist principle, in practice the judgment calls on policy options get made according to conservative and patriarchal priorities. This doesn’t have to be the case, but is.

Maybe so, but I may I suggest that MBH’s position on government health care reform is, well, idiosyncratic among self-identified libertarians? And so that the argumentative moves he makes may not be indicative of how most of us would handle the issue?

Re: Group’s bane: The man

Those who are curious about how Anarchists expect their ideas of lawless order and consensual cooperation to work out peacefully in a free society, those who are sure they have a knock-down argument that Anarchism cannot possibly work, and those who are just interested to learn more are all invited to come to our upcoming Anarchist Cafe event tomorrow at 6:00pm at the Coffee Bean (4550 S. Maryland Ave.). Part of the night’s event will be a freewheeling “Ask An Anarchist!” Q&A session in which you can ask your questions directly, and you can find out more about how Anarchists would respond to them.

(For example, questions such as “How would people defend themselves from violence without government law-and-order?” is nothing that Anarchists have not heard before. Our literature table, in fact, carries pamphlets that address precisely that question.)

goingbust, regardless of what I, personally, am or am not capable of defending myself from, if you think that Anarchists advocate a society without peace or social order, then you have misunderstood what Anarchists advocate. We advocate a society without rulers, not a society without rules. Perhaps you think that without government laws, there can be no rules of orderly social conduct and no organized defense against violence; but if so that claim is something you’ll need to prove.

Anarchists (or at least, those who believe in the kind of Anarchism that I advocate) have no beef with peace, order, civilized society, or organized self-defense. What we believe is that peace, order, and civilization can emerge from the social connections between free and equal people, without having to be imposed by a central government. In such a society order is achieved by means of community-based (rather than government-based) self-defense, a peaceful and competitive selection of private mediators and arbitrators for disputes (rather than monopolizing mediation in an overwhelmed and constantly rigged government court system), and voluntary associations for community, trade, and mutual aid (rather than government welfare bureaucracies, government-privileged-and-government-subsidized corporations, and government-controlled “public spaces”). If you think that such an arrangement is impossible or impractical, again, that’s fine, but you’ll have to give some explanation of what’s wrong with it, rather than simply assuming it away, if you want anyone else to agree with you.

mred, I agree with you that the American Right is not consistently opposed to invasive big government. That’s part of the reason why I’m an Anarchist rather than a Rightist.

Anarcha-feminists believe that government should not intervene in any way in women’s decisions about their own bodies or about their own reproductive healthcare. So they oppose any form of government prohibitions on birth control (or abortion). There is no one particular anarcha-feminist position on whether women ought to choose to use birth control, and if so what methods they ought to choose; that’s something that each individual woman needs to work out for herself in her own life. The important thing is that she be free to choose and able to get all the relevant information needed to make the choice.

Hope this helps. And if you’ve got more questions, again, come on down to the A-Cafe tomorrow night and you can ask them directly.

Roe and causation

Constant: the emancipation of the slaves by a decree from a victorious Washington DC was still very right.

Yes, I agree, and this in spite of my belief that the Southern states should have been left alone to secede in peace. Forcing white Southerners back into the Union at bayonet-point and achieving power over them through conquest and occupation was a moral crime, but using that position of power, once achieved, to declare Southern slaves emancipated, is no crime; kidnappers and robbers have no right to go on kidnapping and robbing, so there’s no victim in that particular case. And it’s a very foolish form of libertarianism that would object on “federalist” grounds. I think, actually, that most libertarians would agree, in the case of emancipation, and that “federalist” objections to Roe v. Wade really have much more to do with ambivalence about abortion than they do with a consistent decentralism.

Constant: And similarly, we might say, Roe v. Wade was handed down by Washington DC, and thus Rad Geek was really twisting the facts with his summary of what happened, but it was still a great thing for Washington DC to do.

Well, my claim wasn’t that Roe specifically didn’t originate in D.C. Obviously it did. I was making a causal claim, to the effect that something other than the good graces of the Nine made it inevitable that either Roe, or some similarly sweeping victory, would eventually be won. So the facts that I cite as an explanation are those that I think best support the relevant counterfactuals. If the Nine hadn’t handed down a (mostly) pro-choice ruling in Roe, then (I would argue) the abortion law repeal movement would have won through a different proximate cause, such as state-level legislative repeal, and/or through a growing network for safe and affordable illegal abortions. On the other hand, if not for the repeal movement, I doubt that Roe ever would have been handed down. Hence the claim that the movement is a better explanation for the eventual repeal than the Supreme Court is.

The Thirteenth Amendment is big government

The Thirteenth Amendment wasn’t a victory against government; it was a triumph of govt. It made a law universal by decree of a rump Congress and several states coerced into passing it while under military occupation. It spawned Jim Crow. If a rump Congress could force every American everywhere to live by a particular interpretation of such a morally divisive issue without any local input, it’s no wonder that the people on the losing side decided to change their methods and goals to that of using the same power to enact their own version of white supremacy upon everyone else.

Re: Radical Feminism and Ron Paul


The fact that Roe has survived this long in spite of long-standing presidential opposition has little to do with any great security that the ruling (which is currently supported by at best a 5-4 margin) has, and a lot more to do with the fact that historical accidents — like Bush Sr.’s deicision to appoint the moderate Souter, or the counter-to-expectations behavior of Reagan appointees Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy — can profoundly influence the direction of a divided court for long periods of time, thanks to lifetime terms and the small number of justices involved. The Roberts court has already upheld substantial new federal restrictions on abortion in Gonzales v. Carhart, and several anti-abortion state legislatures are already chomping at the bit to pass state abortion laws in order to force a review of Roe v. Wade before the new court. You’ll forgive me if I’m not as sanguine as you are about the threat of new forced pregnancy laws.

As for your comments on immigration, I simply have no idea what you mean. Immigrants are wanted in the United States; they come here, in spite of great physical danger from both the law and the physical conditions that the legal situation forces them to endure in their crossing, precisely because there is ample work to find. The reason that every year there’s one or two dozen immigrants who die from exposure or dehydration in the southwestern deserts is precisely because the statist federal immigration controls, which Ron Paul wants to enforce even more aggressively and rigidly than they are currently enforced, force them to try to cross in remote desert areas where they can evade detection, rather than at urban border crossings in Tijuana, Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and similar border towns. Ron Paul has directly stated that he wants to continue, and in fact escalate, the border policies that cause these deaths. He also wants internal immigration cops to enforce immigration controls even more aggressively than they have been, which means more of the “Ihre Papiere, bitte” treatment for both non-immigrants and immigrants, more paramilitary raids on workplaces, and threatening millions of undocumented immigrants with arrest, jail, and government-imposed exile from their current homes, their livelihood, and their families.

As for feminism, you wrote: “In your comment above you laid down a laundry list of statist policies that you support in the name of radical feminism”.

Could you please list a single statist policy that I stated my support for in my comment above?

As I explicitly stated in my comments, all of the items that I listed — broad sexual harassment policies, free daycare, employer-paid maternity leave, and worker ownership of the means of production — are things that can be brought about voluntarily within a free market, without government intervention.

The issue of libertarianism or statism only arises when it comes to the question of MEANS — whether these projects are to be brought about through voluntary cooperation or through government coercion. Government-imposed sexual harassment policies (whether broad or narrow) are statist; government-funded daycare is statist; government-required paid maternity leave is statist; but in a free market employers can adopt any sexual harassment policy they want, including the kinds of policies that radical feminists favor; and community groups can provide free or sliding-scale daycare if they feel like it; and employers can offer whatever sorts of parental leave policies they like, including gender-neutral employer-paid leave benefits of the kind that liberal feminists generally advocate.

You might think that these sorts of things won’t happen on a free market, because they are impractical ideas; you might think that they oughtn’t happen on a free market, because they are foolish ideas. But you had better make sure that you understand the difference between free market principles and favoritism for your preferred business model. And, as I directly stated above, and as Roderick and I also spent quite a bit of time explaining in detail in the essay that, I’ve repeatedly referred you to, there is an existing tendency within radical feminism that has favored grassroots cooperative action rather than attempts to seize or influence state power, and it is that kind of non-statist or anti-statist activism that Roderick and I support.

It is extremely frustrating to have to repeat this point once again when I already made the same point obliquely in the post you were putatively replying to, and made it directly and in some detail in the essay linked from that post, and made it directly again in the rejoinder to your comments immediately above your most recent reply.

You wrote: “… excuse me for questioning your commitment to limited government”

I have no commitment whatsoever to limited government. But your suspicions are pointed in the wrong direction. I am an anarchist, and so I oppose both limited statism and welfare statism. Less destructive governments are preferable to more destructive governments, but given the abject failure of every single attempt in the history of the planet earth to sustain a “limited government” against mission creep and the ambitions of professional politicians, I don’t think it’s worth devoting a lot of energy to such a doomed project.

If you seriously believe that Chairman Ron’s Great Libertarian Electoral Revolution is the only real shot we have to resist an ongoing slide into totalitarian hell, then I’d suggest you get out of the country as quickly as possible, because your plan has an awfully limited chance of success, and if he fails to make it past the primaries, then you have about 1-3 months before it’s all over.

Personally, I’m rather more optimistic, because I don’t think that the only way for good men and women to do something is for them to support a candidate for a government election. I prefer to spend my time on forms of activism that are more practical than the proven failure of libertarian electioneering.