Friday, December 2, 2016

Baby Starving Rothbardians, Part 2: Elaboration


Originally Written between Late September and October 14th, 2014

 

Expanded on November 9th, 2015

 

Edited on January 10th, 2015, and on January 25th, 2016

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 




1. Introduction

2. The Ethics of Liberty

3. Rothbardianism

4. The Libertarian Position on Abortion

5. Negative Rights vs. Positive Rights

6. The Baby Starving Principle

7. Morality in A Clockwork Orange

8. The Law, Taxes, and Alienation of the Will

9. Abortion, Baby Starving, and the Left

10. Abortion, Baby Starving, and the Right

11. I Hate My Dead Gay Son

12. Abortion and Baby Starving as Political Strategy

13. The Libertarian Position on Baby Starving

14. Parenting as Slavery

15. Hospitals!

16. Who Will Starve the Baby Starvers!?

17. Starvation and Natural Resources

18. Freedom for the Trolls

19. Babies Feed Themselves

20. Fuck Child Labor Laws

21. You Can Get a Lot of Money for a Baby

22. Conclusion

 

 

 

 

Content

 

1. Introduction

 

Over the last three decades, Murray Rothbard's position on whether parents have a responsibility to feed their children has come under fire from social democrats, “conservatarian” pro-lifers, and even fellow libertarians alike.

The social democratic criticism can be found in the article “The Horror of Rothbardian Natural Rights” at socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com. The conservatarian pro-life criticism can be found in the article “Children’s Rights versus Murray Rothbard’s The Ethics of Liberty” by John Walker of Libertarians for Life, at l4l.org. The libertarian criticism can be found in the article “Murray Rothbard, Libertarianism, and Why Children Are Not Simply Houseguests” by KevinCK of edphilosopher.wordpress.com.

 

 

2. The Ethics of Liberty

 

In his 1982 book The Ethics of Liberty, Austrian School economist Murray Newton Rothbard (1926-1995) wrote the following, in Chapter 14, entitled “Children and Rights”:

 

It must therefore be illegal and a violation of the child’s rights for a parent to aggress against his person by mutilating, torturing, murdering him, etc. On the other hand, the very concept of “rights” is a “negative” one, demarcating the areas of a person’s action that no man may properly interfere with. No man can therefore have a “right” to compel someone to do a positive act, for in that case the compulsion violates the right of person or property of the individual being coerced. Thus, we may say that a man has a right to his property (i.e., a right not to have his property invaded), but we cannot say that anyone has a “right” to a “living wage,” for that would mean that someone would be coerced into providing him with such a wage, and that would violate the property rights of the people being coerced. As a corollary this means that, in the free society, no man may be saddled with the legal obligation to do anything for another, since that would invade the former’s rights; the only legal obligation one man has to another is to respect the other man’s rights.

Applying our theory to parents and children, this means that a parent does not have the right to aggress against his children, but also that the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts coerced upon the parent and depriving the parent of his rights. The parent therefore may not murder or mutilate his child, and the law properly outlaws a parent from doing so. But the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child, i.e., to allow it to die. The law, therefore, may not properly compel the parent to feed a child or to keep it alive. (Again, whether or not a parent has a moral rather than a legally enforceable obligation to keep his child alive is a completely separate question.)

 

As a popular libertarian internet meme, bearing the image of Rothbard, reads, “If you've been called an anarchist, a racist, a hippy, a fascist, a liberal, and a neocon all in the same day... you're probably a libertarian.”

Anyone who is familiar with how libertarians are perceived should not be shocked to find out that Rothbard has taken heat from both liberals and conservatives on this topic, and these are the very groups that libertarians have courted, and must continually court, if they want to boost their appeal and grow their ranks.

 

 

3. Rothbardianism

 

Much like Barry Goldwater's once-speechwriter Karl Hess, Rothbard was a libertarian who bounced between the New Left and the Old Right. While Hess worked for Goldwater in the early 1960s, and then allied himself with the New Left who protested the Vietnam War, Rothbard leaned left in the 1960s, and in the 1980s and early 1990s found himself more often in contact with paleolibertarians, paleoconservatives, nationalists, and libertarian-conservatives; namely, Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, and David Duke.

Collectively, Rothbard's leftist writings of the 1960s constitute a milieu of theoretical work, whose adherents have fashioned themselves as “left-Rothbardians”; these include Gary Chartier and Charles W. Johnson, the co-editors of the recent libertarian / anarchist historical compendium, and subsequent audio-book, Markets Not Capitalism.

            Philosophies which are sympathetic, and / or loosely related, to left-Rothbardianism, include left-wing market-anarchists; libertarians who explicitly reject the “Libertarian Brutalism” of Christopher Cantwell because of its explicitly anti-Left and anti- political correctness stances; Agorists who view anarcho-syndicalism and Mutualism favorably, yet do not view the question of whether to attempt to reform the state as a point of contention with other schools of activism and thought; and some libertarians who self-describe as “left-libertarian”.

Although Murray Rothbard's baby starving position has been criticized by both the left and the right, as I will show, the left and right could, just as easily as one another, come to agree with Rothbard's views on abortion and the responsibility to feed children.

 

 

4. The Libertarian Position on Abortion

 

According to iSideWith.com, between 2011 and 2014, on the issue of abortion, libertarians were more pro-choice than pro-life, by slightly more than a 2-to-1 margin. Since leftists, liberals, and conservatives are attracted to libertarianism to different degrees, and for different reasons, it would be difficult and incorrect to say that there is one single libertarian position on abortion. While pro-choice libertarians support the woman's right to choose, pro-life libertarians support the fetus's liberty; its right to be free from aggression in the form of its own murder.

This is relevant because Rothbard explains his views on abortion and parental care for children in the same breath. In Chapter 14 of The Ethics of Liberty, Rothbard states that abortion is permissible, and that the proper demarcation of when abortion stops being acceptable is the point of birth.

He also explains, immediately following the preceding block-quote, that the reason that it is permissible to allow a deformed baby to die, is because it is permissible to allow any baby to die (Note: the term a fortiori refers to an argument from a yet-stronger reason):

 

This rule allows us to solve such vexing questions as; should a parent have the right to allow a deformed baby to die (e.g. by not feeding it)? The answer is of course yes, following a fortiori from the larger right to allow any baby, whether deformed or not, to die. (Though, as we shall see below, in a libertarian society the existence of a free baby market will bring such “neglect” down to a minimum.)

 

Not surprisingly, Rothbard's position on abortion and (ahem) baby starving, have been strong points of contention between libertarians and non-libertarians, especially in the last several years in the blogosphere, and especially in the last several months (Note: this time period refers to mid- to late- 2014 in popular discussion on the internet.

Naturally, any normal person would ask, 1) “Why would Rothbard want us to think people don't have the responsibility to feed their own children?”. Additionally, I would hope that some would look at the last quote and ask 2) “Could it be that Rothbard simply supports both abortion and negligent infanticide, and only says that abortion stops being permissible at birth because he believes that birth is the point when the death of the individual would stop being termed abortion, and instead be considered infanticide?”

To these questions, I answer, to be as succinct as possible: 1) “Because Rothbard is distinguishing a legal responsibility from a moral responsibility, and besides that, there are lots of perfectly reasonable moral reasons to refrain from feeding your children” and 2) “Quite probably.”

 

 

5. Negative Rights vs. Positive Rights

 

From what I can gather, Rothbard is defending the idea that parents do not have any intrinsic responsibility to actively do anything to ensure their children's survival, including by feeding them.

According to Rothbard, parents must not actively hurt their children, and should be arrested and punished for doing so, but parents have no positive responsibility to ensure that their children are properly fed, clothed, sheltered, et cetera.

Such arrest and punishment of parents actively harming their children, would not constitute the initiation of force (i.e., aggression) because such actions would be a response to the aggression initiated by the parents. I will note that to oppose Prior Restraint of Action (as I discussed in “Baby Starving Rothbardians, Part 1: Ethos”) would entail that no physical force ought to be visited upon the aggressing parent unless and until the act of harm is committed.

 

Rothbard views parents feeding children as something that occurs on a strictly voluntary basis on the part of the parent; to Rothbard, a parent can only take on that responsibility by consenting to it in the absence of coercion, in the absence of a chilling effect on free action. To Rothbard, individuals have the responsibility to take care of nobody but those they choose to take care of (if even themselves) because being coerced or forced into caring for others alienates the will from the individual.

This is to say that to be required to engage in positive action (which is to be distinguished from inaction) is to be threatened into doing something that is contrary to your own will, and / or desires, wants, and / or needs. This idea comes naturally to those who accept the idea that our moral agency is negated when we “act” or “choose” under a state of duress, coercion, compulsion, force, aggression, slavery, or involuntary servitude.

If you help someone in need because someone forces you to do so, that does not say anything about whether you are a good person; it only confirms that you will do as you are told if and when you are threatened. Furthermore, if you help someone who is in need, to your own detriment, because you are forced to do so, this only confirms that you will do as you are told if and when you are threatened, whether it is in the interest of your own survival or not, and whether it is right or wrong from your own personal subjective preferences, and in your assessment of your own needs and preferences.

This principle is applicable to most if not all questions of morality of behavior; not just abortion and baby starving, but also drug use and other “vice” behaviors, which have no real victims in the corpus delicti sense of the word “crime”. Ron Paul perhaps illustrated this idea best when, in a 2012 Republican Party presidential debate appearance in South Carolina, he stated his views on heroin: “How many people here would use heroin if it were legal? I bet nobody would.” (Mocking such a hypothetical person:) “'Oh yeah, I need the government to take care of me, I don't want to use heroin, so I need these laws!’”

It may not make sense on the surface, and may not appear to pertain to anything in particular, but this is the essence of the libertarian argument against the system of compulsory taxation, which usually occurs through passive, begrudging assent, although the state pretends that it is voluntary.

Libertarians believe that no individual has any particular responsibility to take care of or ensure the survival of any other individual, unless they choose to attempt to take on that responsibility. Especially because to assist someone who may be self-destructive or violent, might have negative consequences for the helper, and / or for the person being helped.

 

 

6. The Baby Starving Principle

 

To those libertarians to which this holds true even when it comes to one's own child, we shall call the “Baby Starving Rothbardians” (as I explained in Part 1 of this three-part “Baby Starving Rothbardians” piece), for they strongly agree with Rothbard on the principles I have articulated over the last several paragraphs.

I, myself, am prepared to support the Baby Starving Rothbardian (B.S.R.) idea only on a purely philosophical level; also, in order to exploit the idea for the potential it holds in the way of sarcastic “troll” arguments; and, lastly, to win-over liberals and conservatives to libertarianism under the banner of what shall hereafter be referred to as the Baby Starving Principle (B.S.P.) or Axiom (B.S.A.):

 

Nobody has any positive responsibility to take care of anybody else, nor save anyone's life, even if it is one's own starving baby, unless that is their will and they have pledged to do so. This is because to be forced, required, compelled, or otherwise coerced to give to others (especially when it is to one's own detriment), is a violation of the right not to be coerced, and alienates one's will from the individual rights and personal responsibility entailed by one’s capacity for informed consent and moral agency.

 

As Plato wrote, “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.” As it says in 1 Timothy 1:9, “the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels”.

 

 

7. Morality in A Clockwork Orange

 

In Anthony Burgess's book A Clockwork Orange, the character Alex, a reformed rapist, has been terrorized into revulsion at violence to the point of becoming sick. As the prison priest says of the results of Alex's “therapy” in the film version, directed by Stanley Kubrick:

 

“He has no real choice, has he? Self-interest, fear of physical pain, drove him to that grotesque act of self-abasement. Its insincerity was clearly to be seen. He ceases to be a wrongdoer. He ceases also to be a creature capable of moral choice.”

 

To this, behavioral scientist and psychotherapist Dr. Brodsky answers:

 

“These are subtleties” … “We are not concerned with motives, with the higher ethics. We are concerned only with cutting down crime”.

 

Dr. Brodsky's response is a consequentialist ethical standpoint; it is concerned more with the consequences of the arguably torturous methods used to alter Alex's behavior, than it is with whether Alex has really been emptied of any desire to harm others.

Arguably, Dr. Brodsky's view is also a utilitarian one; it is more concerned with what is useful to a majority of the people, than it is about duties to the self and to the individual. His view lacks concern for Alex's freedom from having aggression initiated against him, in a situation in which he presents no clear, present, immediate, credible, specific danger, nor threat thereof, against anyone; this torturous “therapy” occurring long after Alex committed the act of rape.

 

 

8. The Law, Taxes, and Alienation of the Will

 

To reiterate, threatening a person with arrest, or inflicting trauma or physical aggression upon someone, for neglecting people he has never met and has no particular reason to care for, even if it is his or her own child, should not be morally permissible, because the legal prohibition robs individuals of their personal moral agency and responsibility.

If you need a law to tell you to feed a starving child, or your starving child, then there is something wrong with you. Furthermore, if you don't want to feed the child, you will find a way around the law. If you want to obey the law, and feed the child, then you will also do so. Parents, and people in general, only care about what is right from their own personal subjective ethics, with some deference to the needs and ethics of others, in proportion to the degree to which they have committed to care for, and consider, other particular people.

If there were a law against feeding your own child, most parents would try to feed their children anyway, and they would not care what the law says. You might object, “But such a law would be preposterous, and would never be passed or enforced.”

But I would respond that, first, this is an Argument From Benevolence (a term which originally referred to the benevolence of God, but here I am referring to benevolence of government), by which I mean that it is a fallacy to suppose that government would not do something bad because government is good, in the same way that it is misguided to define God as infinitely just (omnibenevolent) and therefore God would not do something evil.

 

I would also respond – to borrow a criticism of economist Ronald Coase, which was leveled by Walter Block – by inviting you to suppose that the government wanted to raise the estate tax (also known as the death tax, and as the tax on inheritance) from the 20 to 40 percent range, up to 100%, in order to insure society against “unearned wealth” and property being passed down from parent to child, and to ensure that all wealth is earned by its possessor during his or her lifetime.

As Block argues, for the government to confiscate 100% of inheritance, would be to confiscate the very food, and money for food, being passed down from parent to child. Hence, full realization of the government's authority to enforce the estate tax might have the same result as endorsing Rothbard's idea that no parent ought to be obligated to feed his or her child.

Furthermore, the estate tax often requires taxpayers to sell-off their assets so that they can be mathematically quantified for tax purposes; but priceless things like family heirlooms, and gifts given to children, cannot be quantified.

 

I have written much on my views of Rothbard (including in my article “Response to [‘]Exposing the Racism of Libertarianism and Murray Rothbard[‘]”, which can be found in my book Civil Rights), and my previous and following pieces on Baby Starving Rothbardians, constitute much more in-depth expositions of my thoughts on contraception, abortion, and infanticide, than I could possibly fit in this article.

But I will say what I have to say to liberals and conservatives on the topics of abortion and baby starving, and I will do it succinctly here, for the glory of the Baby Starving Rothbardians; for the sake of the consistency of our principle; and for the sake of the cohesion of the country and the liberal, conservative, and libertarian ideologies.

 

 

9. Abortion, Baby Starving, and the Left

 

While liberals and leftists may criticize Rothbard's view on baby starving as a dereliction of the supposed duty which each of us supposedly has to care for others. But Rothbard's views on abortion, expressed elsewhere in Chapter 14 of The Ethics of Liberty, are pretty on-par with the views on abortion that (the mostly pro-choice) liberals and leftists possess; i.e., that an unwanted fetus should be treated as a parasite, or as a “houseguest” that needs to be, as Rothbard put it, “evicted”.

Aside from their similar views on abortion, on the topic of baby starving directly, I would ask liberals and leftists the following questions: 1) How can you disagree with Rothbard's view that a parent has no responsibility to feed his starving baby, when you support abortion and adoption? How can you believe that a parent should always have to feed his child, and also believe that adoption should stay legal; that a parent can abandon custody of their child, and neglect the child from afar while someone else takes care of it?”

Also, 2) Why is aborting a fetus – or inflicting upon it a “partial-birth” or “post-birth” (so-called) “abortion”, a/k/a infanticide – a morally superior action, when compared to starving a baby or child to death?

Of course, it is debatable whether abortion or starvation is a worse fate for a fetus, a baby, or an older child. Slow starvation seems less preferable when compared to the quick death that comes through abortion. However, some abortions can take weeks, and some women use alternative methods of abortion which resemble starvation more than they resemble the mayhem (i.e., physical violence) which abortion entails.

So why should liberals or libertarians (whom are both, more often than not, socially liberal) discriminate between baby starving and abortion, when it comes to which baby-murdering tactic is the superior one? Isn't discrimination wrong, and racist? Huh, leftists!? But I digress.

As for adoption, the belief that parents should be free to choose either abortion or adoption as the solution to their problem of needing to neglect their babies, simply tells us that the parental responsibility to feed the child, if and when it is undertaken, is alienable. Someone has the responsibility to feed a child, and if the parent takes it up, then he or she can alienate that responsibility, by transferring it to social workers and / or adoptive families. In some cases and locations, they can even do so without having any negative consequences visited upon them.

Why should liberals and libertarians squabble about whether abortion, starvation, or adoption are the best ways to cause children to die?

 

Those who criticize Rothbard's position on baby starving might fail to consider that, if and when parents attempt to undertake the responsibility of feeding children, 1) that responsibility can be permanent, impermanent and revocable, or sporadic / off-and-on, and 2) that responsibility can be conditional or unconditional. This all depends on the parent's choice; that is, whether, when, and for how long, a parent agrees to feed their children, and agrees to have that responsibility enforced by some third party.

Rothbard's critics might also fail to consider that attempting to undertake the responsibility of feeding one's children is an insecure bet in the first place, given the scarcity of food in some places (whether natural or artificial; materially, it doesn't matter), increasing costs of certain foods, and varying nutritional content of given foods.

This is to say that, when a parent attempts to undertake the responsibility to commit to feeding his children for several years or decades, he does so hoping that he will be able to do so long-term, but can only earn, plan, and buy (or grow) food a little bit at a time. So, as a result, that responsibility usually comes to an end, or else it becomes conditional and / or sporadic, according to what, and how much, the parent is capable of providing at any given time.

 

To summarize my points criticizing those to Rothbard's left:

 

1) a parent has no intrinsic, nor permanent, nor unalienable responsibility to feed his or her own child, because you and Rothbard agree that a parent can alienate that responsibility by giving their child up for adoption;

 

2) a parent doesn't even have a responsibility to refrain from actively murdering his own child (Rothbard didn't say this, but he believes it, on the condition that the baby in question is deformed), because you and Rothbard, and also Richard Dawkins, agree again that Sarah Palin should have aborted her son Trig, who was born with Down's Syndrome;

 

3) there might not be enough food for the baby to eat, because the baby might have to be what we're all eating if the potatoes don't come in this harvest season;

 

and lastly,

 

4) if you're going to defend President Barack Obama (whom, as a senator, fought to legalize partial-birth abortion) and M.S.N.B.C. host Melissa Harris-Perry (who considers infanticide acceptable up to age three, and says that children should be viewed as belonging to the community), then you would excuse the negligent homicide – and even the intentional homicide; i.e., murder – of babies born alive as the result of failed abortions.

 

And in that case, you shouldn't care whether the fetus or baby was starved to death, had its umbilical cord cut, had its brain scrambled, had its head sucked flat with a vacuum, was starved to death of nutrients in the womb, or was even (pardon me) raped to death, as part of an abortion, so you might as well stop pretending you're any more pro-fetus, pro-baby, or pro-child than Rothbard.

If you agree with Melissa Harris-Perry that “When does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling, but not science”, and if you also agree with Oxford University's Dr. Francisca Minerva that “if we consider it acceptable to abort a baby up until birth then why not allow it to die afterwards? It is just a difference in geography, within or outside the mother's body”, then you support negligent infanticide. And this, as an alternative to abortion, is the same thing as passively allowing a wanted infant to starve to death. So why, then, should you care whether such a baby is starved to death rather than somehow “medically aborted” by a doctor?

What this all goes to show is that liberals and leftists, and most libertarians, support both abortion and adoption, and even a little infanticide, especially if the baby is deformed, retarded, or has a conservative mother who has governed a small state. Deal with it.

 

 

10. Abortion, Baby Starving, and the Right

 

Now, I'm sure that my readers are wondering, “how are you going to win conservatives over to your side on the issues of abortion and baby starving, when you've just defended abortion, baby starving, fetus starving, infanticide, and fetus rape?” Well, that's a very good question.

Conservatives, I'm sure you believe that you think it's wrong to starve, abort, murder, and kill-rape your own child, and you believe that you would never do that, and that doing those things would be wrong. But what if your child was gay? If you knew your child was gay, and you had the power to murder him, then why would you care what age he was when you actively murdered him, or, through your passive negligence, allowed him to die? He would be dead, that's all you'd want. Right?

You wouldn't care if you aborted him, or her (say it's a little lesbian fetus), nor would you care if you had to wait until it had to be a partial-birth abortion or an infanticide, or a discrete murder at the age of three (with the body in a shopping-mall trash receptacle, to borrow an idea from comedian Louis CK). Remember patria potestas, the right of fathers in Ancient Rome to govern family affairs? You brought them into this world, you can take them out! What does it matter the age or the means!? ...But that would be cruel.

So why not wait until your gay son or lesbian daughter grows up, until they're in their teens, and then tell them that soon you'll begin expecting them to get a job and pay for their own food, or else … they still have to get a job, and they still have to pay for their own food, but they have to start living somewhere else. That's not wrong whether your kid is heterosexual or not.

            You might ask, “How can you say that parents can starve or murder their child at any age, and then say that parents should have the right to throw their gay children out on the street?” I would say, and I'm sure that Rothbard would agree; that comes from the larger right to starve and evict any child at any age, regardless of sexual orientation, from the house and / or the womb.

Just as in the example of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited segregation and discrimination in places of public accommodations, when businesses (at least, those not engaged in interstate commerce) have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason, such businesses only incidentally have the right to discriminate against anyone for any particular reason. The particular right is only incidental to, but is derived from, the larger right.

Everyone knows that libertarians love to economize, but few know that they save a psychic bundle by adopting these convenient philosophical belief-loopholes! Also, everyone knows that black fetuses don't pay their womb-rent on time. But, of course, it's the Jewish fetuses who keep them down. 

Also, if you want to insist that a parent ought to be obligated to care for his own child, then you might condemn a child to a parent that will feed him foods that lack sufficient nutrition, and / or feed him an insufficient amount of food. You would be forcing the child to associate with the parent without the child’s consent, compelling him to become, and / or remain, party to an association which may become, or remain, harmful and abusive.

 

 

11. I Hate My Dead Gay Son

 

Anyway, there are plenty of reasons why it would be in both a parent’s and a child’s interest for a parent to kick his gay son out on the street. For example, what if the gay son is in-and-out of the house at all hours of the night, using the house phone and internet to solicit gay sex, attracting lots of people to the house to have orgies in the middle of the night, disturbing his parents, and his neighbors, and their pets, with the loud sounds of men entering and exiting both house doors and male orifices, while techno music blares?

“How could anyone ever throw their gay son out on the street?”, you ask. Give me a break! But anyway, the point is, babies.

Conservatives might say “but raping your fetus to death is wrong.” But the same conservatives might also rape their gay sons to make sure they aren't gay, or to punish them for being gay, or whatever reason is necessary to justify the rape. And once a conservative man rapes his son, the son will become gay, whether he was already gay or whether the act of his father raping him made him gay, perhaps as a corollary to becoming able to begin enjoying his own rape, as an act of spiteful revenge against his perpetrator (very similar to the way you are attempting to enjoy this article!).

This is because submitting to the rape – your punishment of your son for suspecting he might be gay – is the only thing that can make you mad (Note: I suspect that that's how B.D.S.M. developed, prisoners who were getting sexually tortured simply decided to start liking the punishment as revenge, to the dismay of their captors).

So of course your gay son is going to let a bunch of other gay guys into your house, so naturally you would throw him and his friends out, especially if they're eating you out of house and home, on top of making a lot of noise, and possibly bringing drugs into the house, and attracting the kind of people who are likely to burglarize your valuables, in addition to burglarizing your son’s gay ass.

But, as I was saying, conservatives shouldn't and don't care whether their gay baby was letting a bunch of gay men into his mother's vagina and throwing wild parties, or whether their gay baby starved to death in his own room (or cage) at the age of 15, they should just want their gay children dead – as Malcolm X said, “by any means necessary” – at least, they should if they want libertarians to consider them ideologically consistent.

Also, what if your kid is a Communist? Then you'd most assuredly want to reserve the right to abort, starve, murder, and fetus-rape your own flesh and blood, no receipt necessary. It's cheap, and they're sinners. “Shoot ‘em all” (or starve, as the case may be) “and let God sort ‘em out”. If there's no reason you won't rape your children at 15 to make sure they're not falling into a sinful, sexually deviant lifestyle – or, as some morally upstanding, decent American folks call it, parenting – then there's no reason you shouldn't want to rape them to death when they're just a fetus, and don't even have the chance to come into this world and learn how to move their hands, which, if left idle, just get possessed by the Devil. Andrea Yates knew that and that's why she drowned her babies, praise the Lord.

Right?

...And they say libertarians don't criticize conservatives enough.

 

 

12. Abortion and Baby Starving as Political Strategy

 

By now I think I've made “clear” my criticism of liberals, leftists, and conservatives on the issues of abortion, infanticide, baby starving, and throwing one's own flesh and blood out on the street.

I think I've also made it clear that what liberals, conservatives, and libertarians can all agree on, is that it's desirable and advantageous to oneself to murder those who do not think like us, regardless of what their ideology is, or their age, race, et cetera, each of which is only incidental to the larger right to refrain from caring for anyone but oneself.

Hopefully, “modern” liberals and conservatives can appreciate Plato's 4,500-year-old The Republic, in which it is agreed upon by multiple interlocutors that “justice is the advantage of the stronger”; that each political system only serves its own interests. Oligarchy serves the oligarchs, timocracy serves the wealthy, aristocracy serves the aristocrats, and so on. Political systems are much like individual human beings in this regard; they are naturally self-serving. No effort nor expenditure has to be made to force people to behave in their own interests.

I believe that wanting to kill other people because they disagree with you and might steal your food, is a solid bedrock on which to build unity between the liberal, conservative, and libertarian ideologies, and ideological consistency in popular modern American political speech and letters. It is truly the only thing we all have in common. And as a wise black man once said, “we have to exalt what we all have in common”. It wasn't President Obama, and I don't remember his name, but you should believe it because a black man said it, or else you're a racist.

To repeat and expand upon an earlier point, why should we cheapen our hatred of others by attaching qualifiers and conditions like race, and age, and method of death, and gender (such as in the cases of sex-selective abortion, and making your son wear a dress if he wants to eat, or whatever)? That would be discrimination, and as Rand Paul clarified to us all on M.S.N.B.C., discrimination is wrong. As comedian Emo Phillips said, “Why hate someone for their race, or their creed, when there are so many real reasons to hate others?”

            So, liberals: please, starve and discriminate against conservatives and fascists; and to conservatives: please starve and discriminate against liberals, leftists, and Communists. As a libertarian, I say do what you want. As long as everybody's trying to discriminate against everyone else, and starve to death everyone who doesn't think like them. At least we'll be able to be honest, and live honestly, and be open about what we want, and capable of being responsible, and held responsible, for our actions.

Let's stop fooling ourselves into thinking that we can live either together, or apart. As the Discordian anarchists will tell us, strife and discord are inevitable; chaos reigns the most tyrannically when it is not invited to the party.

 

 

13. The Libertarian Position on Baby Starving

 

As I said above, I maintain that there is no single, especially no single consistent, libertarian position on abortion and baby starving. As the above will confirm, libertarians choose what they say based on two factors: 1) its ability to win people over to libertarianism, and 2) how controversial it is (although perhaps the latter applies more to trolls in general, and to libertarian trolls in particular).

Libertarians will say whatever they can get away with saying, usually to justify non-aggression against individuals for speaking, and non-violently recommending solutions through their speech, in the first place.

So, “the libertarian position on abortion and baby starving” is not one, but multiple. Its consistency is situational, subjective, and subject to external conditions. The degree of the validity of the position is in the eye of the beholder, i.e., the interlocutor who is being urged to support a libertarian person or a libertarian-supported position. This holds true whether libertarians are defending the proposition that parents have no intrinsic responsibility to feed their children, or whether they are defending the proposition that parents absolutely have an intrinsic responsibility to feed their children.

This is because, even if most libertarians do not believe that parents have that obligation, as libertarians they will still defend the right to make such an argument (unless, perhaps, they are taking a hard-core “argumentation ethics” / “estoppel discourse” stance, advocated by the likes of Stefan Molyneux, Stephan Kinsella, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe), and they will also defend the right of parents to choose to feed their children.

I'm certain that there are libertarians who would jump at the chance to be simultaneously more pro-baby and more anti-baby than liberals and leftists; even those who agree with Molyneux, Kinsella, and Hoppe, that nobody should be estopped from articulating a position unless it poses a clear and present danger of specific, immediate harm. I, of course, am one of them, as I will illustrate in my next piece, “Baby Starving Rothbardians, Part 3: Abortion”, in which I will defend the assertion that I am “pro-choice, yet pro-life”.

 

 

14. Parenting as Slavery

 

Those on the extreme Left might well argue that “not only do parents have an obligation to feed their children, they also have an obligation to feed all children, and all people in general”. However, they may be likely to refrain from accepting the idea that the phrase “their own children” denotes parental ownership of children, and promotes what they see as a fabricated, socially-constructed nuclear family that is authoritarian, propertarian, and the result of the modern production system reproducing itself in social culture. To make this mistake, as well as to advocate communal “ownership” of children, is to fall for the very same patriarchal and capitalistic cultural and economic attitudes which they are supposed to abhor.

I would even venture to surmise that, in the eyes of at least some leftists, adults have an obligation to take care of everyone, except for their own children. Specifically, those who would be likely to believe such a thing, are those who have examined the consistency of “their own” beliefs the least; especially those who view care for the remainder of society as a sacrosanct positive imperative, but also that care for children should be a communal responsibility, with no particular intrinsic relationship between a child and his or her actual biological parents being necessary to justify which adults feed and care for which children.

That is why, in my opinion, the idea that a liberal or leftist position on feeding babies might be somehow both more humane and more consistent than Rothbard's position, is profoundly ludicrous. I imagine that liberals and leftists who find their conservative and fascist children eating them out of house and home, and practicing non-leftist lifestyles, may well find themselves in the position to decide for themselves (individual decision-making, gasp!) whether they have any particular obligation to feed “their own” children, and indeed to feed and care for the children of anyone else with whom those children associate.

 

 

15. Hospitals!

 

The notions that we have an obligation to take care of and feed our own children, that “we have the responsibility to feed other people's children, as well as other adults”, and that “we become obligated to feed our children once we've taken them home to the hospital”, are both assumptions which simply do not stand up to scrutiny; from neither conservative, liberal or far-leftist, or libertarian perspectives.

Take “we become obligated to feed our child once we've taken it home to the hospital” for instance. Babies are not always born at hospitals; they may be born in the home, or in a taxicab, or outdoors, the childbirth monitored by cab drivers, unlicensed nurses, midwives, doulas, et cetera.

Moreover, it is not a hospital's job to ensure that you will feed your baby perfectly and forever; this is because, if and when hard times occur (such as times marked by food shortages, famines, droughts, and interruptions in the flow of goods in trade and commerce), the hospital might not necessarily be better equipped to feed babies than any particular parent or set of parents.

Hospitals may even, in fact, recommend extreme treatments and “care” that would keep parents away from their children, and even unfree and unable to take care of them, based on the idea that only medical professionals are sufficiently well-equipped to take care of a child, to the exclusion of the parents' visitation and to the isolation of the patient. So if “society” has a responsibility to ensure that children are fed, well-fed, and have every medical test and procedure available to them, then hospitals might as well never allow us to leave, and health care and insurance costs might as well be allowed to continue to spiral out of control.

There is no guarantee that hospitals, or the community, or the government or state, will take better care of children than their biological or adoptive parents. In today's America, babies are left to die everywhere; they are left to starve to death in private homes, and left to starve and bleed to death in hospitals (after they've become “patients” of “post-birth abortion”).

 

 

16. Who Will Starve the Baby Starvers!?

 

But this does not mean that “we” “should” refrain from attempting to punish a parent who knowingly allows his child to starve to death, especially when he knew the child was incapable of feeding himself. As long as “we” are not the state, the act of beating up a libertarian who starves his baby would only inspire confused babbling in the libertarian; no action is to be feared from such an individual.

Furthermore, the libertarian understands that – as Michael Badnarik said, and as Jesus and Abbie Hoffman seemed to have understood – “the threat of force is more effective than the actual use of force.” Initiating physical aggression against such a person would only serve to encourage him and cause him to believe that he is morally right to continue neglecting his child, because now he is being oppressed.

For, to reiterate, as Rothbard said (italics mine): “the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child” ... “whether or not a parent has a moral rather than a legally enforceable obligation to keep his child alive is a completely separate question.” Therefore, a libertarian may possess the right to starve his children, but not to worry; all people still possess the right to attempt to starve that person (that is, the libertarian; the baby starver), as a form of punishment, ostracism, and social boycott.

To neglect such a person – to refuse to help him, and to withhold food from him – absolutely does not violate the libertarian idea that nobody has any responsibility to take care of any other particular person, outside of his own volition, as long as nobody undertakes any positive action to prevent him from obtaining (growing, buying, trading, etc.) food for himself. Moreover, the right to neglect such a person, and the right to neglect a child, derive from the same liberty; the freedom from association.

 

 

17. Starvation and Natural Resources

 

“We” may well desire to, through our own voluntary association, attempt to “enforce” an obligation to protect all viable and potentially independent life, but we will soon remember that you cannot guarantee a right which is subject to the external conditions imposed by nature, such as uncertainty about the size of crop yields during harvests.

A positive right to food does not exist without 1) the complete elimination of food scarcities, both natural and unnatural; and / or 2) an untenable “right” or privilege to take food from others. To reject these realities is to absurdly rebel against the conditions in which one finds oneself, as well as against nature itself; it is to engage in what Albert Camus calls “metaphysical rebellion”.

To those who support redistribution in order to relieve the negative effects of scarcity, I would urge you to consider whether it would constitute aggression or starvation to withhold food from people based on the assumption that there is not enough to go around.

 

As Rothbard explained, when the legal obligation to feed children is removed, the moral obligation to do so will still exist in the mind of everyone who believes that such an obligation exists, whether in the legal sense or not. People may choose to attempt to make verbal and written argumentative appeals to others, in order to get them to believe their own beliefs. But if you leave people unable to choose to do the wrong thing, then you deprive them of the ability to take credit for feeding their children, because they had no choice in the matter.

Behavior and action cannot be moral or immoral without choice, without consciousness of one's own actions, and without at least some ability and attempt to imagine the consequences.

So perhaps nobody can be trusted to take care of children: no matter how much taxpayer money they control; no matter how large a share of resources they control; no matter how, nor how well, they apply the parenting skills they possess. Maybe it should be the responsibility of the parents (whom, unlike their babies, can easily move around) to choose, and make an educated guess on the behalf of their family, whether being aborted, starved to death inside the womb or out, or being adopted, will fuck-up their child's life the least.

 

 

18. Freedom for the Trolls

 

But one question remains: Why are we talking about this? Is it because Rothbard's views are controversial? It would appear so, but no; as I have shown, many liberals, leftists, libertarians, and conservatives, have almost identical views on abortion and baby starving (or, at least, have views which are identically worthy of ridicule).

We are talking about this, rather, because libertarianism is becoming popular, and because many people are surprised that not all libertarians are pro-life, and also because the issue of “what is the libertarian position on abortion?" needs to be discussed, in order for libertarianism to have a chance to be taken seriously by the two major political parties (Democratic and Republican) and political ideological tendencies (progressive / liberal, and conservative) in the United States.

But more to the point: “Why are we talking about this; nobody is debating legalizing starving babies for real in modern politics, nor even suggesting that juries should be more lenient towards parents who allow their children to starve to death.”

Of course, I will make the argument that allowing babies to starve is within our natural rights, and should not be infringed. But I do so not for political nor legal reasons, only for the purposes of ethical philosophy, entertainment, and expanding the libertarian trolling repertoire.

Some day when people are not so irresponsible and intellectually lazy that they become hypocritical, and afraid of free speech and philosophy, maybe the Baby Starving Principle can be put into action and become popularly accepted.

 

 

19. Babies Feed Themselves

 

Additionally, I must reiterate that Rothbard explained that there is no natural, intrinsic, non-consensual obligation to feed a baby, as long as one does not actively prevent the baby from accessing and consuming food.

I mean, have you ever seen a baby pick up some food and eat it? Why, yes, yes you have. And if the child is capable of doing that, then eating is within his natural rights, and should not be curtailed. And many libertarians would say, that right should not be actively protected or enhanced by anyone else, certainly not the government, and certainly not without the consent of the baby or child.

 

 

20. Fuck Child Labor Laws

 

Another point: Rothbard also accuses child labor laws of giving adults an unfair advantage over children in the job market. Can it not be said that the prohibition of child labor has prevented children from working to earn and purchase their own food?

Can it not be said that the state enforces laws which make it difficult for children of farmers to work the fields, harvesting and butchering their own food, without getting paid some arguably arbitrary minimum wage, and without being allowed to work more than some arguably equally arbitrary maximum number of hours per day and / or per week?

“A parent ought to be obligated to feed his child”, you might say, but what if the food is sitting out in the field right in front of the house, and the child is sufficiently old, strong, and skilled to harvest the food by himself if he wants to eat it? If the farmer's labor alone is insufficient to provide all the food that his family needs, then shouldn't he send his children to bed without dinner if they don't do enough work to help him harvest and slaughter the crops and livestock in the fields? Yes, he should! He should say “I don't have any responsibility to feed you! The food is sitting right out there in the field! If you want to eat it, then go get it!”

 

Furthermore, how many people who are currently in their fifties and older, whom support child labor laws, but also hypocritically boast that they started working menial jobs, and selling small items for extraordinarily low prices, when they were well under the age of fourteen (the current minimum age to work part-time jobs in the U.S.), and also criticize young people for not having sufficient job experience to earn the unpaid experience with which they want to pay such young people?

 

 

21. You Can Get a Lot of Money for a Baby

 

Finally, you might be wondering, in the absence of a state – and, therefore, in the absence of a default party to prosecute on behalf of the now-dead plaintiff (read: baby) – if a parent, or set of parents, starves a baby, who brings the charges against the parents?

The answer is, of course, that the charges would be filed by whomever agrees to sign a privately enforceable contract to buy, kill, and eat the baby! It would be, as Rothbard said “a free baby market”, after all.

And as Rothbard continues, this “will bring such [']neglect['] down to a minimum”; we may infer that this means that whomever buys the right to eat the baby, will have the incentive to keep the baby fat and well-fed, and therefore at its most delicious, paradoxically solving the problem of legally permitted baby starving, yet simultaneously making it worse.

There’s some food for thought.

 

 

22. Conclusion

 

While leftists, liberals, and conservatives struggle to contend with Rothbard's provocative views on abortion and parenting, and as they try to take libertarians seriously, they should keep in mind that libertarians are individualists who don't need other people to take them seriously in order to feel self-assured.

They are true philosophers at heart, and devoted defenders of free speech. They will not cower at the feet of the politically correct, nor of the "moral majority", nor will they sacrifice their freedoms and ideals at the altar of those who are so obsessed with compromise that they stand for nothing and come to abhor the consistent, the original, and the unique.

 

I hope this has been enlightening to libertarians and non-libertarians alike.

 

 

 

Bibliography:

 

1.      “The Horror of Rothbardian Natural Rights” at socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com; socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.

com/2012/06/horror-of-rothbardian-natural-rights.html?m=1

 

2.      “Children’s Rights versus Murray Rothbard’s The Ethics of Liberty” by John Walker of Libertarians for Life, at l4l.org; www.l4l.org/library/chilroth.html

 

3.      “Murray Rothbard, Libertarianism, and Why Children Are Not Simply Houseguests” by KevinCK of edphilosopher.wordpress.com; edphilosopher.wordpress.com/
2010/02/01/murray-rothbard-libertarianism-and-why-children-are-not-simply-houseguests/

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