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The standard argument from supporters of slavery were the slaves were their property. They own it and have the sole right to determine the value, use and disposal of this property. That the slaves were not citizens, not human beings in the full sense, with the rights of a human being. My property, my choice. Following this line of logic as many objectivists do to justify abortion. My body, my choice. If objectivists value the natural rights of citizens, of all human beings, there is an apparent contradiction. I offer three statements for consideration, from the Ayn Rand Lexicon. Individual Rights “America’s founding ideal was the princeple of individual rights. Nothing more—and nothing less. The rest—everything that America achieved, everything she became, everything “noble and just,” and heroic, and great, and unprecedented in human history—was the logical consequence of fidelity to that one principle. The first consequence was the principle of political freedom, i.e., an individual’s freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by the government. The next was the economic implementation of political freedom: the system of capitalism.[“A Preview,” ARL, 1, 24, 5.]” Excerpt From: Ayn Rand & Harry Binswanger. “The Ayn Rand Lexicon.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-ayn-rand-lexicon/id35792058 Abortion “Abortion. An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn). Abortion is a moral right—which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body? [“Of Living Death,” TO, Oct. 1968, 6.]”Excerpt From: Ayn Rand & Harry Binswanger. “The Ayn Rand Lexicon.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-ayn-rand-lexicon/id35792058 Freedom “Freedom. What is the basic, the essential, the crucial principle that differentiates freedom from slavery? It is the principle of voluntary action versus physical coercion or compulsion. [“America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business,” CUI, 46.] Freedom, in a political context, has only one meaning: the absence of political coercion. [Ibid.]” Excerpt From: Ayn Rand & Harry Binswanger. “The Ayn Rand Lexicon.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-ayn-rand-lexicon/id357920589 If abortion is a moral right, should the man who fathered the child not also have the right to deny supporting a child he does not want, but the mother does. The mother may have the abortion, but the father has no voice in the choice.
There are many ways to kill yourself and many reasons to do so. When I lived in Livingston County, Michigan, there was this old couple, married a hundred years more or less and she passed away first and a few days after the funeral, he died. No one asked any questions or needed to. His death was ruled "natural causes" and it was close enough. Even a nominally young person could face unremediable prospects of disease, paralysis, overall loss of life quality. Why delay the inevitable as it just gets worse? (Clearly, someone 20 has more likelihood of better outcomes over time than someone 60. "Nominally young" could mean early to late middle age.) The point is that as your life is your own, what you do with it is your business. But "business" implies calculation. Businesses are economic entities of profit. And yes, they fail and are liquidated. But not because everyone's favorite accountant quit. And when they go, the board of directors does not call in professional dynamiters to bring the building down. In fact, arson is one of the common crimes of business - a failing business is destroyed - and it is considered a crime. In other words, the decision to close a business is calculated ... and suicide often is not. Objectivists recognize that children have fewer rights than adults. It is easy to say that if a policeman sees an adult poised to jump off a bridge, the moral imperative to act is different than if the jumper were a child. If the two were only walking the bridge for fun, the same standard would apply: the adult has a right to risk his life; the child does not. I submit that anyone who attempts a dramatic death is not rational. Therefore, they do not enjoy thte rights of an adult. With the legal status of a child, that person can and should be restrained for their own good, as a moral imperative of the state which has a compelling interest in the well-being of all under its protection. Another way to approach this is to ask if you have the right to sell yourself into slavery. When I brought this up on RoR, one reply was that the voluntary choice to involuntary servitude is a contradiction and therefore does not need to be discussed. However, that ignored the reality of the Roman latifundists: thousands of farmers became slaves through debt. Here and now debt is real. By the standards of Objective moral philosophy, can you agree to sell yourself for the rest of your life to pay off your debts? Can that include your children? At what age or by what other standard could they agree, if they wanted to? (In America, at first, the children of slaves were considered freeborn, but that became inconvenient.)