Ed Hudgins

Paul Ryan's Objective Virtues

Recommended Posts

Paul Ryan’s Objective Virtues

by Edward Hudgins

August 11, 2012 – Now that Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney’s choice for vice president on the GOP ticket, Ryan’s plan for dealing with the federal budget crisis will be demagogued by Democrats and the leftist media alike.

But beyond the particulars of the plan or any of Ryan’s policy proposals, two of Ryan’s virtues shine forth through the fog of confusion and obfuscation on today’s political landscape. Republicans would be wise to tout these virtues as the standard for all candidates and as the foundation for the recovery of Americans’ culture of individual liberty.

Focus on reality

One of the most appalling vices of most paternalist politicians today is their flagrant evasion of the objective reality before their very eyes. Specifically, they punish the most productive individuals with high taxes and heavy-handed regulations, and they redistribute more wealth than actually exists. They evade the fact that such policies cannot be sustained, that they cannot destroy the wealth creators and then demand more wealth, that they cannot consume more than they produce.

Western Europe, epitomized by Greece, is collapsing because governments have followed such policies and now are running out of victims. There is just no more money for politicians to steal.

Obama’s America is on the same path as Europe. The federal government borrows 40 cents for every dollar it spends, and the national debt now equals the amount of wealth produced each year.

Yet paternalists simply shut their eyes and scream at the top of their lungs that the rich must pay more. This sort of evasion of reality is perhaps the most morally contemptible offense of most politicians, far worse than some tawdry sex scandal.

In his approach to policy, Paul Ryan respects objective reality and realizes that it will not be changed or altered by the evasions of political hacks. He understands what is in store for America if reality is not faced right now and measures taken to change radically the policies of economic destruction. One might rightly question the particulars of his plan. One might say it doesn’t go far enough. But Ryan is attempting to deal with the real world, not some wished-for fantasy that really is a nightmare.

Respect for reason

Ryan is known as a policy geek, someone who delves into the details of issues. He tries to understand the principles involved and to formulate policy based on facts. Ryan respects reason as the means by which we understand objective reality.

Further, when Ryan discusses issues with constituents, media, or fellow policymakers, he attempts to explain them, he strives to help his audience understand the facts and to understand his reasoning. He appeals first to their reason, not their adrenal glands. He seeks intelligent engagement. He’s the adult in the room.

In the end, only this approach will allow policymakers to deal with the challenges that face the country. And only a citizenry that respects reason will be able to sustain a free society.

Passion for liberty

To say that Ryan takes a rational approach to policy is not to say that he lacks passion. I first met Ryan in the 1990s when we both were staffers on Capitol Hill. What motivated Ryan then as now was a passion for the ideals on which America was founded, of respect for individuals and their liberty.

Those values were reflected in his speech when he was introduced as Romney’s VP choice, when he said, “We Americans look at one another’s success with pride, not resentment.”

In the campaign ahead the policies espoused by Ryan as well as all other candidates for all offices will be debated. One might disagree with Ryan on a number of particulars. But all candidates should be judged both by their policy proposals and by their respect for reason and reality.

-------

Hudgins is director of advocacy for The Atlas Society.

For further information:

*”Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand’s Ideas.” April 30, 2012.

*Edward Hudgins, “Paul Ryan, Ayn Rand, and My Thom Hartmann Interview.” May 4, 2012.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rep. Ryan has a 100 percent voting score from the National Right to Life Committee. I don’t want any more Supreme Court appointments from this quarter.

The anti-abortionist position is a foisting of irrational metaphysics and ethics onto citizens through the legal system. Rep. Ryan’s stand on the issue shows neither respect for reason nor a passion for individual liberty. It shows the opposite. (further)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ryan voted for the PATRIOT Act, for Medicare Part D, for No Child Left Behind, and for every single one of Bush's wars.

Ryan's budget is hardly radical and whilst it does represent a slight improvement, it doesn't fundamentally change the course of the US.

We have a devout Catholic and a militant Mormon running for the top positions in the Executive. You can't expect much sympathy for the social issues side of the equation from those two, either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stephen Boydstun wrote:

The anti-abortionist position is a foisting of irrational metaphysics and ethics onto citizens through the legal system. Rep. Ryan’s stand on the issue shows neither respect for reason nor a passion for individual liberty. It shows the opposite.

end quote

Stephen, a passion for individual liberty requires that an Objectivist ALWAYS differentiates between an unthinking fetus and a thinking fetus. Rand wrote, “The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn),” and Rand is correct, “The living take precedence over the not-yet-living.” However, a living baby is never the “not-yet-living.” It is alive by definition. And Rand is only partially correct when she says, “or the unborn,” if it can be proven that a human always exists after conception within the mother and that a *PERSON* exists after a certain stage of development. Birth, or any change in location, is not the cause of the change from non rights bearing human to rights bearing *person* - though in an emergency the mother’s rights are paramount.

I agree with the Atlas Society’s position and that of Roger Bissell. Those positions show a respect for reason. Roger proves to my logical, intellectual satisfaction, that a person exists in the womb when it's brain wave activity resembles the brain wave activity of a baby that has just been born.

And socially conservative Presidents find it difficult to nominate social conservatives to the Supreme Court. They are blocked by Congress and future justices do not always tip their hands. I do not see Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney making Roe v. Wade an issue.

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Peter,

The transition to viability is the technological transition that transforms the social possibilities, specifically, it enables new guardians of a fetus to assume guardianship without impressing the mother into their service. Further explication is here: A, B.

I agree it is possible that Romney-Ryan would not be able to get an anti-abortionist (& anti-physician-assisted suicide & . . .) confirmed by the Senate. But not long ago G. W. Bush succeeded in getting two of them confirmed. I agree that candidates Romney and Ryan will not be trying to make Roe v. Wade salient in their campaign. Stealth is the key to finally pushing this four-decade campaign against Roe v. Wade over the top. The State houses and Governors are lined up for the new legislation once the new Republican appointments to the Supreme Court are made.

Stephen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Peter,

The transition to viability is the technological transition that transforms the social possibilities, specifically, it enables new guardians of a fetus to assume guardianship without impressing the mother into their service. Further explication is here: A, B.

I agree it is possible that Romney-Ryan would not be able to get an anti-abortionist (& anti-physician-assisted suicide & . . .) confirmed by the Senate. But not long ago G. W. Bush succeeded in getting two of them confirmed. I agree that candidates Romney and Ryan will not be trying to make Roe v. Wade salient in their campaign. Stealth is the key to finally pushing this four-decade campaign against Roe v. Wade over the top. The State houses and Governors are lined up for the new legislation once the new Republican appointments to the Supreme Court are made.

Stephen

Does it matter that Roe v. Wade finds no objective warrant in our Constitution?

Your argument presumes that it is the role of a majority of the Supreme Court to determine abortion rights in this country, and (presumably) other individual rights mysteriously "enamating from penumbras" nobody bothered to embody in the Constitution. If the recent Obamacare decision teaches friends of liberty anything, the lesson seems to be that one should not stake the defense of individual rights on the shifting sands of Supreme Court majorities.

There may be a strong position to be argued for abortion rights you advocate in this country--maybe even one that would persuade the legislatures of various states to move in that direction, as they have done with gay marriage, for instance--but leaving that argument to a usurping Supreme Court is the least defensible venue for making such an argument.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David,

It is part of our constitutional system that the Supreme Court can overturn State criminal law that violates the individual rights of citizens. Such would be the laws against contraceptives, overturned in Griswold v. Connecticut. In that case and others such as Roe v. Wade, it was argued that the U.S. Constitution protects individual autonomy in a right to personal privacy. The woman's right to autonomy was to leave her and her physician free of criminalization over certain pregnancy decisions. For example, they decided that termination of pregnancy during the first trimester is something over which there is no proper State interest in proscribing. (That would have to be adjusted if viabilities were ever pushed back that early through advances in technology.) Such a constitutional right of privacy was argued before the Supreme Court in 1986 in an effort to overturn State laws against sodomy. It failed at that time. In 2003 it was argued in the Court that immunity of individuals from such laws should be guaranteed under a U.S. constitutional right of liberty. As you know, gay sex then became legal throughout the land. It is possible that the result of Roe could be better justified by a constitutional individual right to liberty than by a constitutional individual right to privacy. It remains that it is legally right in our constitution for the Supreme Court to review and strike down laws that violate individual rights.

Stephen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rep. Ryan has a 100 percent voting score from the National Right to Life Committee. I don’t want any more Supreme Court appointments from this quarter.

The anti-abortionist position is a foisting of irrational metaphysics and ethics onto citizens through the legal system. Rep. Ryan’s stand on the issue shows neither respect for reason nor a passion for individual liberty. It shows the opposite. (further)

Stephen:

Will your position prevent you from voting for the Romney/Ryan ticket?

Secondly, if so, would you vote for the Libertarian ticket, or, some other third party ticket?

Adam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

~a, b, c~

Adam, I have always voted pro-choice. I’ve never voted for a candidate of the two major parties or of the Libertarian Party unless they were unequivocally pro-choice. I expect it will always be that way. In 2012 I’ll likely be voting against the anti-abortionists once again by voting Democratic. (Now, now, take a deep breath, and remember that Rand urged voting for that liberal Daniel Moynihan in opposition to an anti-abortionist candidate for Senate.)

Some fraction of the electorate, a fraction unknown to me, decides how to vote based on one side of this issue or the other side of it. Some polling on the effect of the issue among registered voters in advance of the 2008 Presidential election are shown here. You have to scroll down to the middle of the page.

Kat and William,

I saw pro-choice, and immediately I thought: Wow, finally a non-Democratic candidate I could vote for. Then I learned that although Gov. Johnson counts himself as pro-choice concerning legality of early-term abortions, he would appoint Justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.

I take the acid test of a candidate’s support for legality of elective abortions to be support for Roe. The Roman Catholic Church had been able to outlaw abortion in all states until that case, as I recall. My impression has been that that situation with the State houses has not really changed since then. Even in the years when citizen support for the position of Roe was 3-1 in favor, the attempts at chipping away in the State houses seemed to never stop. After the 2010 election, I doubt the situation has improved in those institutions.

So I never voted for Ron Paul as Libertarian candidate, because he, like Johnson, said he would appoint Justices who would remove the question of individual rights decided by Roe from settlement under US constitutional jurisdiction, remove it to the States.

The opponents of any and all legal elective abortions, whose support any Republican candidate would require, seem always content with the prospect of having the issue settled by slugging it out in the States (once they get enough votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe). They have fair reason to expect that to work out to their ethical and metaphysical position written into criminal codes.

Here I see some notes on the attempts at chipping away in recent years. Once Roe with the protection it affords by the US Constitution is out, the legislation ratified by the States will not be this small-chipping stuff.

I don’t mean to insinuate that pro-choice citizens should necessarily not vote for opponents of Roe. That is only my own decades-standing principle. But I realize that sometimes pro-choice people vote for anti-Roe candidates in order to oppose another candidate who is wrong on an issue(s) even more important to the voter, with the hope that their preferred candidate, if elected, will fail in advancing the anti-Roe agenda.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

~a, b, c~

Adam, I have always voted pro-choice. I’ve never voted for a candidate of the two major parties or of the Libertarian Party unless they were unequivocally pro-choice. I expect it will always be that way. In 2012 I’ll likely be voting against the anti-abortionists once again by voting Democratic. (Now, now, take a deep breath, and remember that Rand urged voting for that liberal Daniel Moynihan in opposition to an anti-abortionist candidate for Senate.)

Some fraction of the electorate, a fraction unknown to me, decides how to vote based on one side of this issue or the other side of it. Some polling on the effect of the issue among registered voters in advance of the 2008 Presidential election are shown here. You have to scroll down to the middle of the page.

Kat and William,

I saw pro-choice, and immediately I thought: Wow, finally a non-Democratic candidate I could vote for. Then I learned that although Gov. Johnson counts himself as pro-choice concerning legality of early-term abortions, he would appoint Justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.

I take the acid test of a candidate’s support for legality of elective abortions to be support for Roe. The Roman Catholic Church had been able to outlaw abortion in all states until that case, as I recall. My impression has been that that situation with the State houses has not really changed since then. Even in the years when citizen support for the position of Roe was 3-1 in favor, the attempts at chipping away in the State houses seemed to never stop. After the 2010 election, I doubt the situation has improved in those institutions.

So I never voted for Ron Paul as Libertarian candidate, because he, like Johnson, said he would appoint Justices who would remove the question of individual rights decided by Roe from settlement under US constitutional jurisdiction, remove it to the States.

The opponents of any and all legal elective abortions, whose support any Republican candidate would require, seem always content with the prospect of having the issue settled by slugging it out in the States (once they get enough votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe). They have fair reason to expect that to work out to their ethical and metaphysical position written into criminal codes.

Here I see some notes on the attempts at chipping away in recent years. Once Roe with the protection it affords by the US Constitution is out, the legislation ratified by the States will not be this small-chipping stuff.

I don’t mean to insinuate that pro-choice citizens should necessarily not vote for opponents of Roe. That is only my own decades-standing principle. But I realize that sometimes pro-choice people vote for anti-Roe candidates in order to oppose another candidate who is wrong on an issue(s) even more important to the voter, with the hope that their preferred candidate, if elected, will fail in advancing the anti-Roe agenda.

Stephen:

Thought that would be your decision. This is the cutting edge issue for you and I understand your decision.

I disagree with it, however, you are completely consistent.

Adam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stephen,

Just for your information, the Libertarian nominee for Prez is pro-choice up until the point of fetal viability, and I expect his running mate is as well.

Does that count as sufficiently pro-choice by your understanding?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Andrew, that was answered in the negative in the quoted material of #11. Perhaps you did not make the connection of Gov. Johnson's name to the LP.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PS

Thanks for the link on a parallel thread. I give Romney-Ryan a subjective probability of two-thirds to win this election. I say that only because of the money they have for advertising, going forward from their decent position in present polls.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Stephen, so given the cholice between a candidate who is pro liberty in every rational respect but he is anti-abortion, and a candidate who is an avowed statist (or an islamic cleric) but 100% pro abortion, you would pick the latter? Do the unborn repel you that much?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a piece on Rand and Ryan in The Washington Post here. It gives a fair view of Rand, and it includes good links to ARI and to the Atlas Society, including to David Kelley's summary of Galt's Speech.

Thanks to R. Latimer for the heads-up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul Ryan says that he read her books as a youth but was not influenced by her. In April, he gave an interview to National Review in which he repudiated Rand entirely. In the interview, he called reports of his adherence to Rand's views an "urban legend" and said that he was more deeply influenced by his Roman Catholic faith and by Thomas Aquinas.

But that's not the way he was talking in 2005, when he gave a speech to the Atlas Society, a group dedicated to promoting Rand's beliefs.

Is Paul Ryan for or against Ayn Rand?By Gary Weiss, Special to CNN

updated 11:43 AM EDT, Tue August 14, 2012

http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/14/opinion/weiss-ryan-rand/

His father’s death also provoked the kind of existential soul-searching that most kids don’t undertake until college. “I was, like, ‘What is the meaning?’ ” he said. “I just did lots of reading, lots of introspection. I read everything I could get my hands on.” Like many conservatives, he claims to have been profoundly affected by Ayn Rand. After reading “Atlas Shrugged,” he told me, “I said, ‘Wow, I’ve got to check out this economics thing.’ What I liked about her novels was their devastating indictment of the fatal conceit of socialism, of too much government.” He dived into Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman.

In a 2005 speech to a group of Rand devotees called the Atlas Society, Ryan said that Rand was required reading for his office staff and interns. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” he told the group. “The fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.” To me he was careful to point out that he rejects Rand’s atheism.

When I pointed out to Ryan that government spending programs were at the heart of his home town’s recovery, he didn’t disagree. But he insisted that he has been misunderstood. “Obama is trying to paint us as a caricature,” he said. “As if we’re some bizarre individualists who are hardcore libertarians. It’s a false dichotomy and intellectually lazy.” He added, “Of course we believe in government. We think government should do what it does really well, but that it has limits, and obviously within those limits are things like infrastructure, interstate highways, and airports.” But independent assessments make clear that Ryan’s budget plan, in order to achieve its goals, would drastically reduce the parts of the budget that fund exactly the kinds of projects and research now helping Janesville.

THE NEW YORKER

The Political Scene

Fussbudget: How Paul Ryan captured the G.O.P.by Ryan Lizza August 6, 2012

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/08/06/120806fa_fact_lizza?

But Ryan has distanced himself from Rand in recent years, for obvious reasons. While she provides a sweeping justification for capitalism and the free market, many of her positions give Republicans pause. Rand supported abortion, opposed religion and was for the most part anti-war. She hated the idea of “duty.” She did not like Ronald Reagan.

What Ayn Rand says about Paul Ryan

Posted by Rachel Weiner at 03:29 PM ET, 08/13/2012 The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/what-ayn-rand-says-about-paul-ryan/2012/08/13/fd40d574-e56d-11e1-8741-940e3f6dbf48_blog.html

“I reject her philosophy,” Ryan says firmly. “It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas,” who believed that man needs divine help in the pursuit of knowledge. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he says.

Ryan enjoys bantering about dusty novels, but it’s not really his bailiwick. Philosophy, he tells me, is critical, but politics is about more than armchair musing. “This gets to the Jack Kemp in me, for the lack of a better phrase,” he says — crafting public policy from broad ideas. “How do you produce prosperity and upward mobility?” he asks. “How do you attack the root causes of poverty instead of simply treating its symptoms? And how do you avoid a crisis that is going to hurt the vulnerable the most — a debt crisis — from ever happening?”

Ryan cites Light of the World, a book-length interview of Pope Benedict XVI, as an example of how the Catholic Church takes the global debt problem seriously. “We are living at the expense of future generations,” the pope says. “In this respect, it is plain that we are living in untruth.” Ryan takes those words seriously. “The pope was really clear,” he says.

NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE

Ryan Shrugged: Representative Paul Ryan debunks an “urban legend.”

By Robert Costa April 26, 2012 4:00 A.M.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/297023/ryan-shrugged-robert-costa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Stephen B., Michael M., and Peter Reidy for the feeds. Ay like Ayn, though Ann Rand works for me too.

Paul Ryan disagrees with Rand’s atheism. Saying he prefers the less objective but still decent philosophy of Thomas Aquinas (that allows a belief in a God) is the “truth” but it could be interpreted as sweet nothings – just words to get the Romney/Ryan ticket elected in an America not ready for “the truth.” Imagine that after all the years since Aquinas and all that has besmirched the church, people still believe in Catholicism! How odd. Not much has changed. The Big Guy in the Sky fallacy is still around. Being a church goer is not a factor I would worry about when voting because I think Ryan exhibits plenty of constitutionalism, rationality, and reasoning abilities.

When Ryan said he thinks human relations are more than just contracts I would agree with him too, though I suppose doing favors for each other is a type of reciprocal payment. Those early scenes of Dagny in Atlantis were a bit heavy handed when every human interaction is a transaction requiring a payment. That made me wince a bit as I did when the movie character, Gordon Gecho says, “Greed is good.” No, greed is not good, but being productive and the better life it provides is good. I would even say it is wonderful! Rand was making a philosophical if not artistic point as always but I don’t live my life requesting payment from friends except that I would expect my good will to be reciprocated.

As Barbara Branden wrote about her friend Ayn Rand:

How dare her idolaters ignore the pain and torment of so much of her life, how dare they speak of love and admiration while refusing to know who she was! I do her the honor of loving and admiring the woman she really was. I do her the honor of understanding her. I do her the honor of being heartbroken over the suffering she endured . . . . Who really is her friend: I, who love the person she was--or those who doggedly refuse to accept and to honor the reality of the person she was?

end quote though I deleted a grammatical error, where BB wrote, “. . . who are doggedly refuse to accept . . .” Isn’t Paul Ryan a bit like Barbara Branden?

No one 55 years old or older will be affected by the Ryan plan and that seems reasonable to me too. I suppose it could be argued as does Robert Tracinski that Social Security should be ended immediately and contributors to the fund should get back just what they put into the fund. I view Social Security as a contract between the people and the Government. I only wish the “no affect for 55 year olds” could be extended back to the age everyone began paying into Social Security. That way only people born after the Ryan Plan takes affect would be under the new rules. Is wanting a safety net un-objective? I don’t think so, if it is voluntary, though I will vote for a plan that stops coerced social engineering.

I have two pensions and Social Security and I am not ashamed of taking my "guvmint" check.

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
. . .

I view Social Security as a contract between the people and the Government. I only wish the “no affect for 55 year olds” could be extended back to the age everyone began paying into Social Security. . . .

If I did not know that one cannot wipe facts out of existence, I would wish no one would be affected by the Social Security program.

For many years government took money from me to give to older people. Now the government is taking money from younger people to give to me.

The least we receivers of Social Security can do, if we are financially able, is to be a little more generous in support of those organizations that are advocating for personal responsibility for one’s own life and for limiting government to its proper role.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one 55 years old or older will be affected by the Ryan plan and that seems reasonable to me too. I suppose it could be argued as does Robert Tracinski that Social Security should be ended immediately and contributors to the fund should get back just what they put into the fund. I view Social Security as a contract between the people and the Government. I only wish the “no affect for 55 year olds” could be extended back to the age everyone began paying into Social Security.

Paul Ryan's plan affecting people under age 55 pertains to Medicare, not Social Security.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stephen Boydstun wrote:

The transition to viability is the technological transition that transforms the social possibilities, specifically, it enables new guardians of a fetus to assume guardianship without impressing the mother into their service.

end quote

Thank you for the links!

Let us think our way backwards in the life of a human, using some of the arguments Logician Bill Dwyer used with Doris Gordon from Libertarians For Life back on the old Atlantis. To paraphrase, what if a stowaway on an airliner is discovered? Does the pilot or owner of the plane have the right to throw them overboard? No. that would be murder. If a parent does not want the responsibility of raising a child is it OK if she kills the child? Of course not. Morally and legally she cannot even abandon a child, though she can put the child up for adoption. So, I agree that abortion needs to be understood as a woman’s right to her most basic right: her own body. Yet her right to her own body argument falters if a viable, thinking baby in the womb is considered a person with rights. The thinking baby has a right to his or her most basic right: its own life and body.

So, by this logic does a zygote have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? No, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness don't apply to a one-celled organism, or a million celled organism with no mind, intelligence or personality.

Bill Dwyer wrote:

The fact that a human being has certain rights at some stages of its existence does not mean that it has those rights at all stages of its existence, contrary to the argument that the anti-abortionists (including LFL) appear to be making. Since LFL has a standing request that any flaws in its position be pointed out, allow me to point out that this is a flawed argument.

end quote

In the opinion of Medical Ethics boards, individual State’s laws, and in my (Peter Taylor’s) opinion it is unfortunate if a person is inconvenienced by another’s life, but in a non-emergency situation no one should be allowed to extinguish the life of a thinking baby – outside or inside a woman’s womb. That would be murder.

The counter argument against forcing or sacrificing the mother Stephen, which is against Objectivist principles, is the fact that the least amount of counter - force should be applied to rid her of the baby. And her obligation to support it should be lifted and its nurturing should be assumed by the state or by adoption.

Barbara Branden wrote to me once and eloquently discussed a scenario where she finds a baby on her doorstep (and I think this applies to a thinking 27 week old fetus in the womb though BB at this time may not have intended this.)

Barbara Branden wrote:

. . . . There always have been and presumably always will be orphanages or their equivalent to which one could take this child. I cannot agree that it would be right to evict the child, knowing that it will die as a result; it would be morally monstrous. You are now talking about a human life, NOT A FETUS, (I added the emphasis- Peter) and surely we can expect that life should be respected and not destroyed without every conceivable effort to find an alternative. For myself, who does not want children and never has, should I find a deformed infant – perhaps another Izak Perlman -- on my doorstep, I would keep and care for it as long as was necessary to find it shelter and care, however much it interfered with my plans. I shudder at the psychology of anyone who would do less. If we as Objectivists do not cherish human life, then I don't know who will."

end quote

Barbara Branden’s emotionally charged response to this issue has made me wonder whether she or Stephan Boydstun would consider extending their argument to a sentient fetus? A moral obligation is a type of rational constraint. What we regard as our moral obligations will reflect our basic values, which in turn constitutes essential elements of our character. Thus, when Barbara is considering whether or not to help the abandoned baby (or sentient fetus,) she must choose between exerting a minimal effort to save an innocent human being by allowing it to live (or the fetus to gestate to term or to a safe point in its development) or, she chooses to abandon or abort the child and doom it to certain death.

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Merlin waved his wand and wrote:

Paul Ryan's plan affecting people under age 55 pertains to Medicare, not Social Security.

end quote

Thank you, Wizard, for pointing that out, but are you sure the Ryan, House budget does not also address Social Security? In my mind I think of Medicare and Social Security as a package deal. I have been receiving Social Security payments since I was 62 but only recently started receiving Medicare at age 65. If all I were receiving was Social Security it would be difficult to buy medical insurance which is almost $600 per month for me because I lost my company insurance when I retired. I had to get my own policy that allowed pre-existing conditions like my high blood pressure. I go to the VA regularly but if I were in a car accident the ambulance would take me to the nearest hospital, not the VA.

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...