Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Boyack, Hooton, Collins, on Abortion

Connor Boyack wrote a piece criticizing Block's theory of evictionism last week. Nic Hooton rejoins. Both are fellow libertarians and Latter-day Saints. Here's what I emailed to a private email group after reading Connor's article:
I think the problem with Connor's rebuttal to Block's "evictionism" (he coined the term, not Rothbard, mind you), is that you can't contract (implicit or not) with someone that doesn't yet exist. The baby does not exist until intercourse is done, until the seed has broken into the egg. Sure, you could contract with the father (Block concedes this but it's inconsequential), but not the non-existent baby (considering also the nature of contracts, the validity in forcing someone to remain party or to break and return their benefits, etc, Rothbard goes into this in "Ethics of Liberty". Can you force someone to remain party to a contract? Or merely force them to return/give up their benefits? How far can "punishment" go when someone breaks a contract? See here.). Block addresses this argument in the literature and in his lecture (radical austrianism, radical libertarianism series).

Contrary to the first link, I'm still undecided on the logic behind the evictionist argument. The back and forth between Block and Wisneiwski is really good and helpful. I highly recommend it. But I'm not sure Block's applied the NAP/SOP principles incorrectly to the situation. I am prepared to accept that he has (though not yet), which brings me to the real strength of his evictionism, that while the mother may evict the unwanted fetus, she must do so in the gentlest manner possible.

If there's a way to save the baby, she is obligated to do it (just as someone who doesn't want their live baby or child must make an effort to find someone to take it, and if there's no one that will, she's allowed to abandon it, politically speaking, he goes into this in the video), but if there is not, then she's not. In time, earlier and earlier abortions would become save-able, thus his "compromise". I call it a strength because I don't see the abortion debate currently going anywhere. Neither pro-choicers nor pro-lifers are moving in either direction. They are firmly planted, other than the federalism question (state or federal issue?). Evictionism becomes a temporal technicality. In time, all abortions would be immoral by virtue of the technology available to carry any-aged fetus to term. This is progress where we have yet to make any progress.

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