THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 170, April 22, 2002
REMEMBER 9/11? REMEMBER 4/19!
Lawyering the N.A.P.
by Jack Boone
Exclusive to TLE
Several previous attempts have been made to define a set of rules for human behavior. Two which are important to most Americans are the Ten Commandments and the Bill of Rights. These documents are brief, and in their brevity leave room for various interpretations. Churches have spent years on doctrines which define the Ten Commandments in much more detail, and lawyers have filled libraries with lawbooks on expansions of the Bill of Rights. For example, the simple monosyllabic Thou Shalt Not Kill means what? That I cannot defend myself or my family from agression? I think if we held a public hanging tomorrow for Osama Bin Laden, many avowed believers in God's laws would attend and cheer.
Many libertarians believe that our current governments have, in the process of securing safety, obedience, and welfare of the populace, totally lost sight of the phrase "secure the blessings of liberty".
So L. Neil Smith proposes a new single rule, the Non Agression Principle, and his definition of "Who is a libertarian?" already contains more words than most single rules in either the Ten Commandments or the Bill of Rights.
But man doesn't need to stop there. We can "lawyer" it to death, arguing about, for example, the amount of force which can acceptably be used on a trespasser, and on what conditions. But after we have expanded it to 100,000 words, or 1,000,000 words, or whatever, and have created the government agencies with their Jack Booted Thugs to enforce our expansion, what will we have?
If we want Freedom and Liberty, what we have to give up is our Nanny State. The argument that we need fewer laws and fewer restrictions on freedom to do what You believe is right "except for..." will result in more of the same kind of government.
Considering the above, I have considerable disagreement with all sides of the recent "abortion debate" on TLE. There are two sides which concern libertarians, government control or no government control. Do you believe in government control on this issue? That is, or can be, a totally different question than whether your personal beliefs are pro life or pro choice. I personally believe that anyone who thinks government can make and enforce rules on this issue, and tax us to pay for the results, wants a Nanny state.
God issued his brief commandments, He didn't set up a beaurocracy to enforce them. Nor did he have a team of Jack Booted Thugs quickly available to arrest Eve for eating an apple.
I don't have all the answers on the abortion debate, but I have lived on this Earth for 62 years and have my own nonstatistical opinions regarding my own heritage. My grandparents were farmers. Five kids who lived to adulthood, and nobody wanted to talk about the ones buried behind the barn. Rather ordinary statistics for a rural couple who loved each other and spent their lives together. But, strangely, my parents only raised two children, in a modern more industrial society where each additional child subtracted from what could be offered to their siblings. (and where government had not yet begun to pay for the excess.)
And stranger still, most of my parent's contemporaries had 1,2, or at most 3 children. Did people stop loving each other? Or was birth control better by then?
It was many years before I found out the answer was abortion. These were performed by an obsolete institution, the Family Doctor, and with "procedures" which had different euphemisms. The illegal abortionist had for a clientele those who either didn't have a family doctor, or had one whose morals didn't allow for it at all.
Maybe modern birth control makes these facts obsolete. Maybe. I never knew a woman who could undergo an abortion without emotional scarring. But before anyone proposes a "government solution" to the problem, I have this request. If you are from a family with less than 4 or 5 siblings, ask your mother why. If you have the nerve.
Freedom and Liberty do not guarantee utopia. They do make the individual responsible for choices which may be harder than letting a Nanny State handle things for you, and take away your right to tell your neighbor how he should handle his life.
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