- Does Belief Prove the Constitution, Legal Codes Apply to Anyone?
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
Had a chat recently with a fellow redditor in the r/shitstatistssay subreddit (ironically) regarding the applicability of the United States Constitution, or any government constitution or legal code for that matter. As shown below, all the evidence offered in support of this claim are beliefs and opinions. That’s all these people can every offer, faith. Constitutions and legal codes don’t actually apply to anyone, but plenty of powerful people believe they do and use that belief to make peaceful life difficult for others. If you challenge this, you “can’t be serious”, he says. Also this gem if circular reasoning: “if you are a citizen of the US, then the Constitution applies to you.” This is the shared quote that spurred my initial comment:
Steve Insigne Mifsud: You consent to income tax when you sign the papers accepting your job. The whole ‘taxation is theft’ argument is just anarchist nonsense.
Skyler: This assumes without evidence that the income tax code (and constitution) applies to anyone.
Cato208: If you live in the US, then it apples under the 16th amendment to the Constitution.
Skyler: What evidence do you have that the Constitution applies just because of physical location?
Cato208: Well, given that the Constitution is the highest law of the land, I’ve got about 300 years of precedent supporting that notion. So, considerable evidence.
Skyler: How does “the highest law of land” prove it applies to anyone? What does that even mean?
Cato208: It means if you are a citizen of the US, then the Constitution applies to you. It is the basis on which the sovereign government that occupies this land adheres to as “the law.” Every court organized under the US government derives it’s power from this document. If you were born in the US, you are automatically a US citizen, subject to its laws. If you want to become a US citizen from abroad, then you consent either explicitly or implicitly to these laws. The “law” comes from a variety of different sources, but each of these sources are adherent to the Constitution. Either way, if you are here, then the law, thus the Constitution, applies to you. If you want a more detailed explanation of “the highest law of the land,” then I suggest you take a constitutional law course, as I have done, and virtually every judge and legislator has done.
Skyler: How would I know if I were a citizen if you haven’t provided any evidence the constitution applies in the first place? You keep assuming what you need to prove.
Cato208: I seriously can’t tell if you’re trolling or you actually don’t/can’t understand. Edit: You should clarify if you’re talking about in general, or by constitutional provision. It should be explicitly clear in the latter case that it applies if you are a US citizen.
Skyler: To call me a citizen is to assume that the Constitution, which outlines what a citizen is, applies to me, or to anyone, because of our physical location. Rather than making assumptions, why don’t you provide evidence to support that claim.
Cato208: You… you can’t be serious. Let me ask you something, if the constitution doesn’t apply to you, do you believe it’s laws do? Edit: guess I should also ask if you reside within the boundaries of the US.
Skyler: I am physically located in the Salt Lake valley. What evidence do you have that the Constitution applies to me just because I’m physically located in the Salt Lake valley? Burden of proof is on the person making the claim of jurisdiction, is it not? Seriously, what evidence do you offer to prove this claim as true? Let’s start there before moving on to legal codes created pursuant to the Constitution.
Cato208: Yeah, this is one of my ways of eliciting my evidence. If you believe the constitution does not apply to you, then do you or do not follow its laws? Do you believe you’re bound by them?
Skyler: Am I? Do you have any evidence that I am? What I believe is irrelevant to whether or not you have any facts proving your claim. People believe the Earth is flat. Is there evidence to the contrary? Yes. Do you have any evidence that the Constitution applies to anyone just because of their physical location? If you did, you’d probably have presented it by now. Right?
Cato208: I mean now you’re avoiding the question. Do you mind answering it so I can continue with my argument? If you believe the laws don’t apply to you, do you follow the speed limit? I see you’re a door dash driver, do you spit in peoples food? If not, why not? The laws don’t apply to you, so other than ethically why follow them? You’ve already inferred the constitution doesn’t apply because it’s a document that has “no proof” other than itself. I’m trying to get you to realize that because you live in the US the Constitution applies. If you have an issue with it, tell the government that you don’t believe it applies to you. When you do this, let me know what they say. For now, I’d like you to continue and answer my question.
I’m trying to get you to realize that because you live in the US the Constitution applies.
Do you have an evidence that doesn’t rely on anyone’s belief? Do you have any facts to support this claim? Or do you only have opinions? What people believe, including me, or you, or the people who call themselves the Federal Government is irrelevant and immaterial to the challenge. We can address all of this after you provide factual evidence proving your claim is true, that the Constitution applies to anyone. You’ve had several opportunities now to provide this evidence, and have not. What can we conclude from that?
Cato208: In United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez 8 in 1990, the Court said that “the people” refers to those “persons who are part of a national community,”9 or who have “substantial connections” to the United States.10 The touchstone was not citizenship, but the extent of one’s connection to this country. This definition of “the people” applied consistently throughout the Bill of Rights, the Court said.11 In District of Columbia v. Heller12 in 2008, the Court approvingly quoted Verdugo-Urquidez’s definition, and similarly suggested that the term “the people” has a consistent meaning throughout the Constitution.13 But Heller also said that “the people” “refers to all members of the political community.”
The above cases point to the meaning of citizenship and its application to those residing within the geographic. My direct evidence, other than what is cited above, is that if you live in the United States, tell me what happens if you kill someone. Hell, even if you are not a citizen, if you kill someone here in the US, then under the laws of the land, you’ll be tried for murder. Factually, you’ll be arrested and tried for murder. If you do this, please please please make the same claim you are making to me, that might even give you an insanity defense, when you try and argue that the Constitution doesn’t apply to you and then ask the state for their proof that it does.
There, I have provided you with court opinions from the highest court in the land, that serves the sovereign which governs the respective land, what defines citizenship. Additionally, I have run you through the ramifications of compliance and non-compliance with the law of the place you are living in. You live in Utah, assuming you are here legally or were born here, you are a citizen. As such, the Constitution applies to you.
Skyler: More opinions, then? So you don’t have any factual evidence that the Constitution applies to me, or you, or anyone? Just people’s beliefs and opinions? Am I reading you correctly?
Cato208: I actually don’t have enough crayons to explain this to you. As such, good luck with what you believe in. Now, you’ll walk away from this claiming “victory” because according to you, I have “not produced any evidence,” despite the fact that I have and that I have demonstrated how the Constitution of the United States of America applies to a delivery driver residing in Utah, and backed that up with what most people (at least the ones with the guns) believe to be evidence. This is a flawed belief, but it does neither me, nor you to try and get you to understand why. At that point, we clearly differ.
Let us then let the subsequent readers (and not troll accounts) judge who has prevailed in their argument. Good day to you, and please don’t forget my silverware!
I have demonstrated how the Constitution of the United States of America applies to a delivery driver residing in Utah
You haven’t. You’ve provided ample evidence of peoples’ belief that the Constitution applies, but have failed to provide any evidence that the Constitution actually applies to anyone, anywhere.
Plenty of people believe the Bible is the word of God. Plenty of people believe the Quran is the word of God. Plenty of people believe the earth is flat.
Are those beliefs evidence that those books are the word of God and that the earth is flat? Based on your logic, it would seem so. Good day to you, too.
Cato208: You’re a moron, and also blocked lmao
Clearly, Cato208 could provide no facts or evidence to support his assertion that the Constitution applies to anyone based on their physical location. The most he could provide are beliefs and opinions. Is that enough? Should that be enough? Is all we need to prove our rules apply to others, justifying our use force against them when they break our rules, a matter of belief and opinion? Is that rational? Is that ethical? Is that right? Cato208 seems to think so. I feel sorry for him. All any lunatic needs to convince Cato208 that he must comply with his will is belief, apparently.
Or, we recognize that these lunatics only have their faith that their constitutions and legal codes apply to us, and deal with them accordingly. There’s no point in sharing in their delusion; doing so will only serve the lunatics, as it has for centuries, unfortunately.
- Intellectual Property: Skyler J. Collins vs. Alex R. Knight III
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
I had a little back and forth in the comment section on one of my recent podcast episodes with my friend Alex Knight (ARK3). I thought I’d reproduce it here in all it’s glory. First listen to Episode 453 of “Everything Voluntary” for my thoughts on patent and copyright as it relates to Facebook being fined by the Italian government for copying a competitors’ software features. Within those thoughts I referenced some of Alex’s views on the topic.
ARK3: As I stated in our conversation (Episode 384), I don’t think “you” (anyone but the creator, or someone they knowingly and willingly license) should be able to do anything with Spider-Man. Anyone should be able to — and can — create an original superhero…which then becomes that person’s property. (An article by Alex on intellectual property: http://strike-the-root.com/intellectual-property-and-liberty)
Skyler: Right, sorry if I wasn’t clear on what you said. From your article:
To be more direct, ‘patent’ seeks to forever insulate the originator of an overall idea from any and all forms of competition, improvement, or innovation. Whereas ‘copyright’ seeks only protections and exclusivity for the creator of a certain unique version of an idea. One cannot ‘patent,’ thus, the wheel. But Good Year, Michelin, Pirelli, and a thousand or more other companies may ‘copyright’ their modern versions of it.
How about: “One cannot ‘copyright’ Spider-Man. But Marvel, DC, MadeupnameA, and a thousand more companies may ‘copyright’ their versions of Spider-Man.
What’s the difference? Both patents and copyrights create a monopoly use on a particular pattern of information, of knowledge. I fail to see the distinction, but I’m willing to come part way to protecting specific implementations of “the wheel” and “Spider-Man”, but not as general ideas. “Spider-Man” can be as general as “superhero” if we imagine a million versions of Spider-Man. I think that would be progress from the current position worldwide.
ARK3: I think your interpretation of what constitutes a sufficiently “unique” version might be far more liberalized than my own. This is why private adjudication would be so vital in a truly free-market system of “copyright”: There would need to be, I think, more or less commonly accepted standards in terms of what constituted a sufficiently original iteration of X, Y, or Z in such arrangements. This would, no doubt, keep the PROs (problem resolution organizations) very busy (more overhead for inventors, more commerce for PROs), but I still see that as far preferable to the communistic alternative where everyone’s idea automatically becomes everyone else’s property. In fact, as I believe I stated at the time in your podcast, I feel such a “copyright” system is a necessary element of a capitalistic society in general.
Skyler: Even Marvel has 2 versions of Spider-Man, and DC 2 versions of Batman these days.
I still see that as far preferable to the communistic alternative where everyone’s idea automatically becomes everyone else’s property.
That’s the issue, if ideas aren’t subject to property rights (originally constructed to deal with scarcity, which ideas are immune from), then it’s no one’s “property”.
ARK3: Marvel and DC have the right to produce as many versions of their own characters/property as they care to. No one else does, or should, without specific license to do so from those owners.
I disagree that ideas are not scarce (especially really good ones) — many, if not most of them are, in fact, absolutely unique in their specificities. That is not inconsequential. At any event, to communize ideas is not conducive to the sustenance of a capitalistic society. Except, perhaps, in instances where the originator specifically chooses to make their ideas public property. Which remains comparatively rare, of course, in any environment in which there is a potential for profit (as there should always be in such cases).
Skyler: Inventive and innovative people are scarce. But ideas are not. Every person in existence can use an idea at the same time without interfering with anyone else’s use. Ergo, non-scarce. And not true for, say, some particular acre of land, or some particular automobile. Physical reality entails scarcity, and scarcity entails the possibility of conflict. There is no conflict when two or more people use the same idea simultaneously. And we could probably go on forever debating this…
Real property rights and intellectual property rights cannot coexist, in my opinion. One must take supremacy, and here’s why: We can’t both use my car at the same time. We can both use your idea at the same time. If I don’t allow you to use my car, I have not interfered with your use of any of your real property. If you don’t want me to use your idea, you have interfered with my use of my real property. My property right in my car does not affect your or your property. Your property right in your idea does affect me and my property. My owning my car does not interfere with you, but you owning your idea does interfere with me. Ergo, intellectual property rights trump real property rights. I believe this is how Ayn Rand saw it. Taken to it’s logical conclusion, there would be zero competition in the production of any and every idea created by man. Since everything is a remix of something prior (truly), everyone is violating someone’s IP rights in everything they create. Markets simply couldn’t exist if intellectual property rights were given their due.
If you don’t want me to use your idea, you have interfered with my use of my real property.
I think this is crux of where we disagree, and I do not agree whatsoever with that premise, nor do I agree with the idea that there must be either “real” property, or IP. The two can, and do, coexist — albeit better within free-market “law” as opposed to government.
The suggestion that preventing you from using my specific iteration of an idea is “restricting” you and use of your property is no different than suggesting that disallowing you to have a party on my front lawn, free of charge, is somehow oppressive. Yes, I know — my yard is “real,” and what’s in my mind “isn’t.” I think that’s very, very wrong. You’re essentially saying my emotions, my thoughts are not mine. Ideas possess even greater agency since they are the starting point of bringing material things into the physical world — all the more reason to treat them as property!
I don’t think we’re ever going to see eye to eye on this point of contention. I can only end by saying that even the State-sanctioned version of “copyright” is preferable to the inherently communistic view you’ve taken.
albeit better within free-market ‘law’ as opposed to government.
We can agree here. The market, competitive dispute resolution services, should handle this. I believe IP will be resolved out of existence this way, but that’s just my guess.
The suggestion that preventing you from using my specific iteration of an idea is ‘restricting’ you and use of your property is no different than suggesting that disallowing you to have a party on my front lawn, free of charge, is somehow oppressive.
There’s only one front lawn. We can’t use it at the same time. That scarcity necessarily entails the possibility of conflict, hence the construction of property rights to assign ownership and prevent conflict.
An idea is not limited in this way. Everyone can use it at the same time. That lack of scarcity necessarily entails the impossibility of conflict, hence the construction of property rights to assign ownership would be an artificial creation of scarcity were none naturally existed, hence the artificial creation of the possibility of conflict. Property rights were constructed to reduce conflict over scarce resources and IP rights were constructed to increase conflict over non-scarce resources. Which is more libertarian, moving toward peace, or away from it?
You’re essentially saying my emotions, my thoughts are not mine.
Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. You have emotions and you have thoughts. They are not subject to property rights. Your body, however, is, because it is a scarce resource and we may disagree on how you should use it. People see “yours” and “mine” and think property rights. This is a mistake, and a limitation of the English language. Your girlfriend is not your property. Neither is your reputation. Nor is your weariness with this conversation.
the inherently communistic view you’ve taken.
This is a nonsensical statement. “Communistic” implies scarce resources. Idea are not a scarce resource. They cannot be “communistic” nor “capitalistic”. They just are.
ARK3: I think private adjudication will perform the direct opposite way, and strengthen IP. You are correct, however, in that this is just a guess — and one which will probably remain purely academic during our lifetimes.
Yes we can use the same thoughts at the same time, unlike a car or a house, or my yard — but if you are profiting from my thoughts, my ideas, then I say you should not be permitted to do so. Not any more than you should be able to commandeer any of those other things without my express permission.
We’re not talking semantics here — “my” girlfriend, “my” reputation. I contend that thoughts, emotions, ideas are things, are property in spite of their uniquely intractable nature.
Ideas are not only scarce — they are unique to each individual. Each iteration of such bears the stamp of my own unique vision, intelligence, psychology. No one is or should be at liberty to usurp that and profit thereby.
I can see we’re going to continue to disagree here. And in the libertarian camp, this debate will continue ad infinitum.
- Voluntaryist Solutions to the Public Benefits and Immigration Problem
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
December 2018: I read this essay and added commentary for Editor’s Break 119 of the EVC podcast.
Ours is a world filled with organized crime, you may call them “governments.” These governments often, in their quest to legitimize and maintain their rule, offer benefits back to those they victimize on a continual basis. Some governments offer more than others. The United States government, and its many smaller federated governments, have created many different benefit programs for those it considers its citizens, and otherwise.
The funds for these public benefits programs ultimately come from citizens and residents. When people from other parts of the world move into the United States, they have more or less the opportunity to obtain these public benefits for themselves. If too many people move into the United States and exploit these public benefits (and eventually vote for more of them), this will have the very real effect of bankrupting governments if they don’t act to either limit public benefits or increase revenue generation, such as by what is euphemistically called “taxation.”
What’s a voluntaryist, who is a person who recognizes the criminal nature of governments, to do about the problem of immigrants exploiting public benefits? There are several possible solutions to this problem, many of which are consistent with the voluntary principle, that all human relations should happen voluntarily, or not at all, and many of which are not. As a voluntaryist, I do not care to consider or defend solutions that require the violation of the voluntary principle. Here are some which qualify as anti-voluntaryist:
- Having governments maintain or increase its crime against its citizens in order to fund the building of a wall or other technological barriers to immigrant entry.
- Having governments repel peaceful immigrants by the threat and use of violence.
- Having governments increase its surveillance of its citizens in order to monitor for their aiding and abetting of unwelcome immigrants.
- Having governments coercively interfere with its citizens voluntarily trading with unwelcome immigrants.
I could go on, but I’m sure that’s sufficient to give you an idea of the sorts of solutions that government brings to the problem of public benefits to immigrants. None of these obviously coercive and aggressive solutions appeal to me, nor are any of them compatible with my principles as a voluntaryist. All of them are totally unjust and necessarily violent against peaceful people. So what can be done about this problem? Here are some solutions which are compatible with the voluntary principle:
- Having governments severely limit or abolish its public benefits programs. No public benefits, nothing for immigrants to exploit.
- Having governments reduce its aggression against free markets and free trade with people in other places around the world. This would increase the economic opportunities for would-be immigrants at home, decreasing their incentive to leave.
- Having governments abolish their wars on drugs and other illicit trades. These policies have had major negative effects on poorer places around the world.
- Having governments end their foreign wars and occupations. These interventions have had major negative effects on poorer places around the world.
- Having governments abolish gun control so that its citizens have the legal right to defend themselves from attacks by unsavory immigrants.
- Having interested parties form voluntary education centers to expose immigrants to voluntaryist thought.
- Having interested parties open their homes, churches, and community centers to immigrants for the purpose of befriending them and showing them how to survive in their new land without the need to exploit public benefits.
I’m sure if you really put your mind to it, you too could discover all sorts of peaceful solutions to this problem. It’s not difficult. At some point, however, you will realize that your enemy is not the poor immigrant trying to find a better life for himself and his family. Your enemy is organized crime, government. Should those who value peace, liberty, and justice pray to their enemy to coercively protect them from the non-enemies their enemy has incentivized in the first place? Seems stupid to me.
- Intellectual Property Makes Everyone a Criminal
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
November 2018: I read this essay and added commentary for Editor’s Break 115 of the EVC podcast.
An object is not a resource unless humanity has found some use for it. A resource is scarce unless there is enough of it to satisfy everyone’s preferences. Due to the conflicting nature of everyone’s varied preferences, scarce resources must be allocated in such a way as to reduce conflict over their use. The only way to effectively allocate scarce resources for the purpose of minimizing conflict is by assigning people an exclusive right of control on the basis of original appropriation. This exclusive right of control is called ownership, and its subject is property.
It would be contrary to the purpose of property ownership to assign people an exclusive right of control over something that is neither an object, nor scare. An idea is a thing that is neither an object, nor scarce. Ideas are infinitely reproducible and may satisfy everyone’s preferences simultaneously. Ideas are a type of information, and are not limited to a medium in the material world.
Because ideas are not a scarce resource, making them subject to the same type of ownership necessarily interferes with everyone’s exclusive rights of control over their material property. Owning an idea would mean that others may not implement that idea into a medium made from their property. An owner’s right of control over their property is no longer exclusive to themselves. A share of their ownership is necessarily given to another on the basis of having an exclusive right of control over an idea. If we are to assign property rights to non-scarce non-objects, then this assignment necessarily trumps, or is superior to, property rights assigned to scarce resources.
Because no idea is without its influences, every new idea is the result of mixing, borrowing from, and changing old ideas. If ideas are subject to ownership, then each new idea owner must account for having obtained permission to use older ideas from their owners. For a complete respect of property rights in ideas, everyone must account for the ideas they use everyday. It does not seem possible or even practical for users of ideas to account for permission of their use.
Unlike with non-scarce non-objects, the users of material property can account for permission of their use. If they cannot, then they are likely thieves who have stolen material property from its owner. Because we all use ideas without accounted for permission everyday, we are all thieves. If a system of ownership allocation makes everyone out to be thieves necessarily, then it is a poor system of ownership allocation. Property rights should not be assigned to non-scarce non-objects, such as ideas. Doing so necessarily increases conflict over their use, causing all of us to become criminals.
- Why I Didn’t Vote
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
November 2018: I read this essay and added commentary for Editor’s Break 110 of the EVC podcast.
The first Tuesday after the first Monday every November is Election Day in the United States. Every election season, many organizations attempt to rally voters to the polls. The “Go vote!” message is everywhere these days. As a principled non-voter, I find it incredibly annoying, but such is life under statism.
People are aghast when they learn that I do not participate in electoral politics and voting. I have a lot to say about political philosophy, for sure, but it does not follow that I should be politically active. I have only ever voted twice since my 18th birthday, the first was during the Bush-Kerry election, in which I voted, quite ignorantly, for John Kerry. The second was during the Obama-McCain election, and I wrote myself in for President. It was a joke, because it is a joke.
How does one become a principled non-voter? It was an evolution that occurred alongside my journey toward voluntaryism. I know plenty of libertarians and voluntaryists that still vote, however, so I don’t believe it’s inevitable that this journey will result as it has for me. So here it is, the step-by-step guide to explain exactly why I didn’t vote this November.
My first realization was that campaign promises made by candidates are incredibly difficult to keep. What’s the point in allowing a promise to persuade you toward supporting a candidate if it’s obvious that they are either lying to get votes, or promising what is not theirs to promise. The most a candidate can effectively promise is to not do something, such as voting to raise the level of coercion leveled at society by government. And how many popular candidates are doing that?
My second realization was that I have no right as an individual to push for the implementation of a tax increase on my neighbors. Very few Propositions on the ballot are to decrease taxes, but what about voting against tax increases? A defensive measure, to be sure, but keep reading.
My third realization was that I have no right as an individual to push for an increase in the amount of coercion leveled at society by governments. Most Propositions necessarily have this effect, not only those that are concerned with tax levels. Again, voting against? Defensive, but keep reading.
My fourth realization was that my individual vote is statistically worthless. It is an incredibly rare event for a candidate or issue to be decided on the basis of 1 vote. Probabilities tell us that virtually all elections are decided by no fewer than a few hundred votes. Statistical value is lessened even more when you consider the margin of error and the possibility of voter fraud. Every morning after Election Day I wake up and perform a little thought experiment while viewing the election results: I ask myself, would my vote have changed the outcome in any of these elections? To date, the answer has been a decided NO.
My fifth realization was that, after considering the statistical worthlessness of my vote, spending any amount of time on researching the candidates and issues was irrational. How many people spend more time researching elections than researching buying a house? Arguably, the election is far more important, and the knowledge required to make an informed decision is far more vast, than for buying a house. Yet, our vote does not get us what we want in the same way that buying a house does. The house is certain, the vote is not. As economist Bryan Caplan wrote, it is rational to be ignorant when voting, and irrational to be informed. Therefore, most voters are ignorant on the issues, and their vote is worth as much as mine.
My sixth realization was that elections are a very effective way to give people the feeling that they’ve had their say. As long as people feel like they have some effect in the process, that their “voice” has been heard, they are more likely to shut up about their dissent toward government and its policies. I find the idea of voting as voice to be ridiculous on the bases described above, but also, there are far better alternatives to being heard than voting. I’ve been writing and discussing for ten years and podcasting for five, and in all that time I have affected more people to change their thinking, their lives, and their parenting for the better than I ever did in the election booth. Elections are meant to quiet dissent, and I will not allow my dissent to be silenced.
My seventh realization, one that was evolving along the way, was that governments are just better organized criminal gangs. Sure, some election issues to increase coercion can be stopped, and some candidates promise to protect your liberties, but every election to date has had the result of increasing the size and scope of government overall. Libertarian-minded candidates and liberty-protecting issues are simply not popular, and probably never will be. Criminal gangs attract the criminal minded. Elections are allowed by government, and are unlikely to affect their existence in any positive direction. Plus, as George Carlin put it, governments were bought and paid for a long time ago. My vote won’t change that.
Culture and Technology
My eighth realization came when considering the effects that culture and technology have toward the actions that people who call themselves “government” take. Governments don’t make progress in front of culture. Quite the opposite. Culture changes first, and forces government policy to follow. So what’s the point in participating in elections if the candidates and issues are several steps behind culture? Consider also the effect that technology has on forcing governments to change the way they do things, or become obsolete. The very real forces of culture and technology toward combating governments are effective and occur without any regard to elections.
So there you have it: why I didn’t vote on Election Day, and why I never will.
- My Personal Views on Abortion
Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).
January 2019: I read this essay and added commentary for Editor’s Break 129 of the EVC podcast.
As a man, am I allowed to have a “personal view” on abortion? I think so. I have many women in my life, including a wife and two daughters. Any unexpected or unwanted pregnancy of these women will affect me to some degree. My daughters are probably at the top of that list. When asked, and I would be asked as their father whom they love deeply, I will be a source of counsel and comfort on any decisions regarding this controversial practice.
My wife would be next on that list, and as a matter of fact, the question of abortion has come up. In 2007 she had an ectopic pregnancy. We were told these were not uncommon. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg attaches inside the fallopian tube on its way to the uterus. Fallopian tubes are not meant to be used as wombs, and so the baby would not have grown much at all before causing my wife even more pain than it was, and ultimately perishing. A chemical abortion was her only real option.
My personal preference is that no woman ever has the need or desire to have an abortion. I prefer that all would-be moms and dads treat the procreative power that nature has granted them with the utmost care. Be sure not to have an unwanted pregnancy, and you’ll never have cause for an abortion. Let’s say the unthinkable happens anyway, then what? I prefer that all expectant moms desire to keep and raise their babies, and to do so consistent with the principles of attachment/peaceful parenting and radical unschooling. For this reason, I am pro-life.
These are my preferences. If a woman in my life asked for my advice, this is what I would tell her. But also, I would throw my support behind her and be there for her. If this woman was one of my daughters or my son’s partner, they would hold no doubts that as their father I would do everything in my power to help them raise their baby. If the dad is out of the picture, then I feel it is my solemn responsibility to be the dad that every baby needs. I’m already prepared and willing to keep my children with us as they grow up, get married, and make families of their own. I strongly desire to build a multi-generational and extended family household, the sort which I feel is best able to meet the needs of everyone.
Beyond my preference and willingness to support any given woman who faces this question, I don’t feel I have any ground to stand on when it comes to this decision by women. If I’m not willing to throw my support behind a person to keep their baby, then their choice is none of my business. I prefer they make the choice to keep and raise their baby as already described, but I respect that they must do what they feel is necessary for them to do. I am not interested in any action beyond that.
I do not believe that it would be right for me to coerce a woman into making the choice that I prefer. For this reason, I am pro-choice. And as it would not be right for me to coerce a woman away from abortion, I should not expect others, such as those who call themselves “government“, to do it for me. This is one issue where every individual, family, community, and society must decide for themselves, without coercion, how they will act and react to this practice. Personally, I will not shame or push away any woman that makes the choice contrary to my preference. I can’t possibly understand why they did what they did, nor do I need to. If a woman is important to me, their personal choice here will not change that. And if they aren’t, I know how to keep my mouth shut.
I feel I’ve been clear sharing my personal views on abortion. I don’t want anybody to mistaken my position for something that it’s not. My preference is pro-life, but my actions are pro-choice. My daughters will not have to struggle with the question of support or shame if they find themselves in a situation which forces them to make this choice. And I hope all other daughters won’t either.
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