Monday, August 31, 2009

Common Cause With Idolators

There are very many Christians who, in various areas of life, appear to have no real problem with the state. I believe this is because they think they can make the state their pet. They constantly disregard the idolatrists, thinking somehow, if we just get everything just right, the practioners of statolatry will stop worshiping their democratic god and we can all get along together. Also, they will happily ignore the very unfortunately reality of the day in order to make the point, as Edward Feser did in his rambling screed against self-ownership as axiomatic.
Rothbard has, in some places erred, for instance, his defense of abortion actually violates his own theory of property rights, probably because he was trying to be too clever, but the idea of self-ownership- well it's perfectly understandable and Feser doesn't really try to attack it; rather he tries to scare his readers with a potential outcome- that people might actually commit suicide.
This kind of argument would make some sense if no one committed suicide now, but people still do, regardless of laws made against suicide. So, surely we should be able to ascertain as to whether or not giving the state power to deal with suicides makes us better off or not, so let us look at our current condition.
Currently we have, on the one hand suicide, and on the other an increasingly legal thing called 'assisted suicide'. Celia Green, who seems to have similar ideas about property to Rothbard, though I am sure there are differences, has written The right not to be killed, in which she clearly indicates a preference for allowing people to kill themselves, but at the same time marks out current problem that should be screamingly clear to us all- state approved murder via this dubious 'assisted suicide.' This is especially problematic within countries that have socialized healthcare, since an overdose of morphine costs considerably less than many lifesaving procedures.
A further reduction of Feser's concerns can be had by merely by thinking about property rights a bit more comprehensively. Rothbard believed property rights trumped freedom of speech; in other words, you could only engage in free speech in a place where the owner of that place allowed you to. Imagine how much more strongly such a prohibition would be enforced for suicide! Clearly hotels, neighborhood associations, golf clubs, churches, and various others do not want suicides on their properties. Property owners, even those who desire nothing more than maintaining the value of their real estate, will be motivated to keep people from commiting suicides, and this will be a perfectly legal thing to do because it has been clearly established that suicides do cause said damage.
The supposed absolute right Feser posits in his post collapses. It is not absolute; indeed it is little more than the ability to choose wrongly- the very ability God gave to all of us. By mistakenly giving the state the right to intefere in this particular class of choosing wrongly, we see that instead of ushering the new suicide-free utopia we not only have suicide, but we now have state sanctioned murder under the guise of suicide assistance.

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