Journal of Ayn Rand Studies V18 N1 (July 2018)


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I am not interested in discussing geometric shapes. It doesn’t pique my interest after the first examination. Here is an old subject that does interest me. What do we value? Here is my sliding scale of values. Generally, humans from the instant after fertilization should be given more consideration than inanimate matter and more consideration than the vast majority of the animal kingdom. I prefer a sliding scale of value to be used with all life culminating, in full rights for adult humans near the apex of the rights / values pyramid.

POINTS

100 to 1,000,000 - family and other people you would die for.

90 - a toddler you see wandering around in traffic and other entities that cause within your innermost being, an immediate, explosive "Call to Action."

85 – Top notch Objectivists like the late Barbara Branden

84 - AR, though deceased :O) All Objectivists, Students of Objectivism, Fans of Rand, Libertarians (except the Crazies).

75 -  I nominate human rights to all adult humans, who recognize human rights, as defined by Ayn Rand.

74 - other humans.

50 - children, one nano-second after the cord has been cut

45 - (26 week to near full-term fetuses as described in Roger E. Bissell's 1981 article in "Reason Magazine,"- A Calm Look at Abortion Arguments: My personal turning point away from Orthodox Objectivism.)

44 - retarded humans

22 - previously violent criminals, if no longer a threat to anyone but they still can't vote or own a fire arm.

21 – human embryos one second after they come into existence.

20 - pets (I have a feeling this category could be moved higher in points)

15 - food animals

10 - other animals

1 - single-celled organisms

0 - Above this point, Thou Shalt Not Kill anything, except with due cause (to be defined by ME. Below this point, kill as needed. Let your conscience be your guide :O)

-10     germs that cause minor illnesses

-15     animals that attack, kill or eat people, i.e., mad dogs, grizzlies, leopards.

-25     major germs that cause death or diarrhea.

-45     The murderously, criminally insane.

-50     murderers and tyrants. They have reason, but are evil, so they are lower than animals.

-75     mass murderers. Adolph Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot etc. Know what the least used first name is now? “Adolf.”

-100    the lowest rung of Hell

 

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So you were "hoping" for someone else's misfortune?  And you think that that "would have been fun"?  You're also saddened by it because you would like to see "even more people shred" someone? You

Dang, I was hoping that Merlin was announcing that he was sharing his Aristotle Wheel "Paradox" idiocy out there in the world outside of OL. That would have been fun. It's a bummer that we don't get t

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It doesn’t interest you, fair enough. Would you kindly act accordingly and keep your future non-thoughts about the paradox and other people’s discussions of it, to yourself?

Regarding stupid lists, I’m sorry, they don’t pique my interest.

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4 minutes ago, Jon Letendre said:

It doesn’t interest you, fair enough. Would you kindly act accordingly and keep your future non-thoughts about the paradox and other people’s discussions of it, to yourself?

Regarding stupid lists, I’m sorry, they don’t pique my interest.

Indeed! And, Peter, in the future, please avoid scolding me about subjects which don't interest you. If you're upset that two people are having a disagreement, but you don't want to find out what the disagreement is about, stay out of it. Mind your own business. Your apparent mindset of not wanting to know, and of not wanting to believe that one or the other is right or wrong, is of no value or interest to me. Your need to judge and have a say while refusing to inform yourself has no persuasive power over me.

J

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I see you are laughing at my proposal to discuss with Peter,  Billyboy❤️.

You would fail, of course, because you never leave out the personal. Your desired points never have any substance to them, that’s why they are always laden with snickers and tee hees and subtle put downs and insults.

Did you see Merlin failing at it as well, in the Paradox discussion? His motivation was the same as yours. Losing, confused, losing, losing, so...snicker, insult, tee hee. Peas in a pod - weak, little personalities who nip and bite and pretend they’re superior and pretend they are playing fair. Pathetic little bitches who whine when that noxious shit is turned on them.

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1 hour ago, Jon Letendre said:

His motivation was the same as yours. Losing, confused, losing, losing, so...snicker, insult, tee hee. Peas in a pod - weak, little personalities who nip and bite and pretend they’re superior and pretend they are playing fair. Pathetic little bitches who whine when that noxious shit is turned on them.

LOL. The pot calls the kettle black.

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“Oh, Ellen, where did ever get that notion? ? That notion that is the paradox itself, which I didn’t know because I still don’t grasp the paradox, cannot state it  in  my own words, cannot demonstrate even once that I grasp Bob’s, JTS’, Max,’s, Ellen’s or anyone else’s comments...”

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5 minutes ago, Jon Letendre said:

“Oh, Ellen, where did ever get that notion? ? That notion that is the paradox itself, which I didn’t know because I still don’t grasp the paradox, cannot state it  in  my own words, cannot demonstrate even once that I grasp Bob’s, JTS’, Max,’s, Ellen’s or anyone else’s comments...”

Does fabricating make you feel great?

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Your hilarious convo with Ellen is preserved for anyone who wants to go and see and laugh.

As is case after case after case of the named persons presenting cogent and correct help to you, which you failed to grasp, and instead got bitchy about.

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27 minutes ago, Jon Letendre said:

Your hilarious convo with Ellen is preserved for anyone who wants to go and see and laugh.

As is case after case after case of the named persons presenting cogent and correct help to you, which you failed to grasp, and instead got bitchy about.

My detonations of your silly ideas are preserved for anyone who wants to go and see and laugh (and sigh). Will you ever grasp translation (in geometry)? 

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1 hour ago, merjet said:

My detonations of your silly ideas are preserved for anyone who wants to go and see and laugh (and sigh).

But what if their seeing your "detonation" is just an optical illusion? Remember, your point of view is that our senses are invalid -- everything is an illusion. Well, when people read your words on the stupid "paradox" thread, they won't see them correctly the way that they really are, but will only see the wagon wheel illusion.

J

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15 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

Remember, your point of view is that our senses are invalid -- everything is an illusion. 

Your addiction to fabrication is phenomenal!

Speaking of illusions, have you lately seen any rims screeching against tires they are mounted on and smelled the burning of the friction (link)?

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Jon wrote: It doesn’t interest you, fair enough. Would you kindly act accordingly and keep your future non-thoughts about the paradox and other people’s discussions of it, to yourself?”

OK, unless I forget. Sorry. This might cheer you up. I finally found something Rand said about envy. I surrounded the word with stars.

Ghs once quoted Ayn Rand as writing: Observe that, in spite of their differences, altruism is the untouched, unchallenged common denominator in the ethics of all these philosophies. It is the single richest source of rationalizations. A morality that cannot be practiced is an unlimited cover for any practice. Altruism is the rationalization for the mass slaughter in Soviet Russia—for the legalized looting in the welfare state—for the power-lust of politicians seeking to serve the "common good"—for the concept of a "common good"—for ****envy,**** hatred, malice, brutality—for the arson, robbery, high-jacking, kidnapping, murder perpetrated by the selfless advocates of sundry collectivist causes—for sacrifice and more sacrifice and an infinity of sacrificial victims. When a theory achieves nothing but the opposite of its alleged goals, yet its advocates remain undeterred, you may be certain that it is not a conviction or an "ideal," but a rationalization. end quote

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  • 7 months later...
On 7/19/2018 at 12:52 PM, Peter said:

Jon wrote: It doesn’t interest you, fair enough. Would you kindly act accordingly and keep your future non-thoughts about the paradox and other people’s discussions of it, to yourself?”

 

 

OK, unless I forget. Sorry. This might cheer you up. I finally found something Rand said about envy. I surrounded the word with stars.

 

 

Ghs once quoted Ayn Rand as writing: Observe that, in spite of their differences, altruism is the untouched, unchallenged common denominator in the ethics of all these philosophies. It is the single richest source of rationalizations. A morality that cannot be practiced is an unlimited cover for any practice. Altruism is the rationalization for the mass slaughter in Soviet Russia—for the legalized looting in the welfare state—for the power-lust of politicians seeking to serve the "common good"—for the concept of a "common good"—for ****envy,**** hatred, malice, brutality—for the arson, robbery, high-jacking, kidnapping, murder perpetrated by the selfless advocates of sundry collectivist causes—for sacrifice and more sacrifice and an infinity of sacrificial victims. When a theory achieves nothing but the opposite of its alleged goals, yet its advocates remain undeterred, you may be certain that it is not a conviction or an "ideal," but a rationalization. end quote

 

 

I was sitting here wondering what is Chris doing and found this on his site: Chris Matthew Sciabarra is coediting with Roger E. Bissell and Edward W. Younkins a collection of essays, which will feature about two dozen contributors on The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom [site link]. Keep abreast of the book's development as it moves toward publication in 2019-2020 by Lexington Books. end quote

I still hear mentions of Ayn Rand. I think there was one on Madam Secretary some time ago.

Old article. The Cultural Ascendancy of Ayn Rand by Chris Matthew Sciabarra - Dec 31, 2003. Admirers of Ayn Rand's writings revel in the fact that two decades after the author’s death, sales of her combined works continue at a brisk pace. But Rand’s cultural impact can be measured in ways far beyond book sales. It stretches from academia to comic books to electronic media.

In this year-end essay for the Atlasphere, I’d like to take a brief look at the extent of that impact by surveying both scholarly and popular references to the author — which, by any measure, have increased exponentially.

Of course, mere mentions of Rand do not necessarily translate into influence, especially when many of the mentions are negative. But there is truth to Oscar Wilde’s maxim: “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” The fact that Rand has so profoundly entered the Zeitgeist is something that needs to be celebrated. What we are witnessing is nothing less than Rand’s cultural ascendancy as an iconic figure.

As a Rand scholar myself, I continue to trace her growing impact on academia. Rand’s thought is the subject of serious treatment in more and more journals, encyclopedias, texts, and books.

Her ideas have been discussed in publications as diverse as The Monist, Catholic World, Germano-Slavica, College English, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Journal of Popular Culture, and the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. Encyclopedias that had previously ignored her — Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Encyclopedia of Ethics, American Writers, and so forth — now routinely include her among their references.

Excerpts from her work are also included in anthologies in economics, political science, sociology, and philosophy, while full-length book studies are being published by trade and university presses alike — an upsurge in scholarly attention that has been noted by such periodicals as The Chronicle of Higher Education and the now-defunct Lingua Franca. Even CliffsNotes includes three Rand titles in its series!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also point out that, as a founding co-editor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, which is now well into its fifth year of operation, I’m seeing an inordinate increase in submissions from scholars all over the disciplinary and ideological map. The journal is now indexed by more than a dozen high-profile abstracting services in the social sciences and humanities, including, surprisingly, The Left Index and Women’s Studies International.

We have featured spirited discussions of Rand's theory of knowledge, her aesthetics, and even her influence on the counterculture and progressive rock (through the band Rush), and will be publishing two issues in honor of the Rand Centenary in 2004-2005.

In addition to the encouraging growth of Rand references in scholarly circles, there has been a remarkable growth in such references throughout popular culture. That development is not measured solely by her influence on authors in various genres — from bodybuilder Mike Mentzer (the late author of Heavy Duty) to fiction-writers Ira Levin, Erika Holzer, Kay Nolte Smith, James Hogan, Karen Michalson, Edward Cline, and so many others. It is measured also by the number of Rand-like characters or outright references to Rand that have appeared in fictional works of various lengths and quality.

Among these are works by William Buckley (Getting it Right), Tobias Wolff (Old School), John Gardner (Michelsson’s Ghosts), Robert A. Heinlein (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress), Don De Grazia (American Skin), Gene Bell-Villada (The Pianist Who Liked Ayn Rand), Matt Ruff (Sewer, Gas, and Electric: The Public Works Trilogy), J. Neil Schulman (The Rainbow Cadenza; Escape from Heaven), Orlando Outland (Death Wore a Fabulous New Fragrance), Laci Galos (Sacred Cows are Black and White), Victor Sperandeo (Cra$hmaker: A Federal Affaire), Mary Gaitskill (Two Girls, Fat and Thin), Sky Gilbert (The Emotionalists), Robert Rodi (Fag Hag), and Tony Kushner, whose play Angels in America, recently adapted for HBO, includes a discussion of the “visible scars” from rough sex, “like a sex scene in an Ayn Rand novel.”

The Kushner drama is not the first time that Ayn Rand’s name has been uttered on television, however. Rand has made her way into so many television programs that I’ve lost count! From questions on Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire to the canceled Fox series Undeclared and such current series as The Gilmore Girls and Judging Amy, the Rand references are plentiful. In the sci-fi series Andromeda, there is a colony called the Ayn Rand Station, founded by a species of “Nietzscheans.” In Showtime’s Queer as Folk, a leading character, free-spirit Brian Kinney, is described as “the love-child of James Dean and Ayn Rand.”

In the WB’s One Tree Hill, Rand’s work was practically showcased in an episode entitled, “Are You True?” The main character, Lucas, is given Atlas Shrugged by a fellow classmate. Increasingly frustrated by his troubles on the basketball court, Lucas is told “Don’t let ‘em take it — your talent. It’s all yours.” By the end of the episode, we hear Lucas’s voice-over as he walks to the basketball court: “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark.” Reading from the John Galt speech, he tells us, “Do not let the hero in your soul perish.”

Another barometer of Rand’s cultural ascendancy is the extent of her permeation into illustrated media, especially comic books. (And I’m not just talking about the classic 1991 Revolutionary Comics series about Elvis Presley, Elvis Shrugged.) Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man, is well known for his incorporation of Randian themes into his work. Among Ditko’s comic book heroes, one will find The Question and Mister A (as in “A is A”). His Randian-inspired characters have made their way into the work of Alan Moore, who rejects Rand’s ideology while integrating references to her in his comics, and Frank Miller, of Batman-Dark Knight fame, who credits Rand’s Romantic Manifesto as having helped him to define the nature of the literary hero and the legitimacy of heroic fiction.

Rand's impact on comics is fitting, as she herself was no stranger to illustrated media; she authorized King Features to produce an illustrated condensation of The Fountainhead, which began a thirty-installment run on Christmas Eve, 1945. Rand wrote much of the actual copy that was used for the series. The Illustrated Fountainhead was syndicated in over thirty-five newspapers from Los Angeles to New York to Chicago.

Rand understood the importance of using such a popular genre to spread her ideas. She recognized the comic strip as a legitimate literary exercise in fiction, “a variation of stage or movie technique,” which can successfully dramatize ideas (Letters of Ayn Rand, Dutton, 1995, p. 386). In fact, her own introduction to Romantic literature was The Mysterious Valley, an adventure story serialized in a boys’ magazine, with rich illustrations of its hero, Cyrus, upon whom Rand based the physical look of her ideal male protagonists.

Her recollections of the power of illustrated media may have led her to express exasperation with “[m]odern intellectuals [who] used to denounce the influence of comic strips on children ...” (“The Comprachicos,” in The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, Signet, 1975, p. 232).

All the more fitting, therefore, to find Rand showing up even in the Mother of All Illustrated Media: Cartoons! In an infamous South Park episode called “Chicken Lover,” Atlas Shrugged is presented to Officer Barbrady, who has recently learned how to read, and who, upon seeing the massive size of Rand’s novel, laments his achievements in literacy.

More philosophically astute, perhaps, are the Rand references on The Simpsons, the longest-running animated show in television history. As William Irwin and J. R. Lombardo tell us in The Simpsons and Philosophy (Open Court, 2001):

I]n “A Streetcar Named Maggie,” Maggie is placed in the “Ayn Rand School for Tots” where the proprietor, Mr. Sinclair, reads The Fountainhead Diet. To understand why pacifiers are taken away from Maggie and the other children one has to catch the allusion to the radical libertarian philosophy of Ayn Rand. Recognizing and understanding this allusion yields much more pleasure than would a straightforward explanation that Maggie has been placed in a daycare facility in which tots are trained to fend for themselves, not to depend on others, not even to depend on their pacifiers. (p. 85)

When Rand has become so much a part of the vernacular that her ideas are filtered through cartoons and comics, fiction and film, I think it is safe to assume that she has not only survived culturally, but flourished. And for those who are enamored of Rand’s philosophy, the cultural apex will be reached when her ideas are so embedded in both academia and in the American psyche that they will have brought about a veritable intellectual revolution. Stay tuned.

Chris Matthew Sciabarra is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Politics at New York University. He is the author of the “Dialectics and Liberty” trilogy, which includes Marx, Hayek, and Utopia (SUNY, 1995), Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical (Penn State, 1995), and Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (Penn State, 2000). He also co-edited, with Mimi Reisel Gladstein, Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand (Penn State, 1999), and is a founding co-editor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. He maintains an expansive web site, which includes links to his frequently updated “Not a Blog.”

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  • 2 months later...

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On 3/2/2019 at 1:08 PM, Peter said:

I was sitting here wondering what is Chris doing and found this on his site: Chris Matthew Sciabarra is coediting with Roger E. Bissell and Edward W. Younkins a collection of essays, which will feature about two dozen contributors on The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom [site link]. Keep abreast of the book's development as it moves toward publication in 2019-2020 by Lexington Books. end quote

Lexington told us a couple of days ago that our book is now in production and will be released on (or about) June 15 in hardcover and Kindle formats. They say that a paperback version will be released sometime during the winter, probably January 2020.

REB

 

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Thanks for the heads - up, Roger. I don’t know if what is below will make Roger, Ellen Stuttle, or anyone else laugh or shudder and I am not reopening the abortion debate with Ellen Moore. But Roger you were SO right and she was so wrong. Below Ellen Moore states, “In a case of pregnancy, the rights of a woman over her body are sovereign, not subject to the dictates of others, born or unborn.”

My thinking is that if Ellen insists that a “medically and morally complicated place of residence” determines *what exists* and not *the entity and its actuality itself,* then Ellen’s pronouncement is the personification of mean nitpicking if not immorality and evil. Put another way, because she used a word like *sovereign* she thought it was moral and legal to kill an infant coexisting within the mother, even if *her baby in her body* is near term, sentient, ready to be born, and able to exist outside the womb, IF the mother so decides.

Ellen also wrote, “I think the Objectivist position on rights is clear: rights are moral principles belonging to human individuals in the proper social context.”

Sooo . . . a baby in the womb is not a “proper social context?” What weird thinking. Of course, it is a special circumstance but Ellen’s old position is not rational. Below is some old gold. What’s that? Oh, it’s Aretha Franklin singing, “You make me feel like a natural woman . . . “ Peter

ATL: Will Roger Bissel de-myth? Ellen Moore ellen_moore@mb.sympatico.ca Sat 2/19/2000 4:56 PM. Roger, are you incapable of mentioning my name without using sarcasm and sneering along with turning my statements into misinterpretations and myths of your own making?  Your religiosity of terminology applied to my views is insulting; those like "Ellen Moore has ordained", and "if she were to recant this position" are unfair and objectionable to say the very least.

I refuse to take the bait to enter the abortion debate again with you, Doris Gordon, or any other anti-abortionist on list. I will, however, for my own sake and that of other readers, disabuse you of the myths you continue to promote about my views. I have known for many years that there is some sensory perceptual physical organic development in a fetus.  I never stated there is "no significant perceptual awareness".  The fact that perception is developing is not relevant to human rights.

I deny that the following statement of yours accurately relates to anything I wrote.  Again you create a  myth that is false about my ideas.
""... it could make for an interesting twist in the abortion/rights debate, since Ellen holds that human awareness is, by nature and from birth, volitional, and that rights are dependent on volition."

My position is metaphysical: human consciousness is volitional. Therefore, I hold that at the stage when a state of human consciousness exists, it is capable of volitional action, i.e., capable of raising or lowering its actions of awareness to things external to itself. This means that to whatever extent a fetus is able to feel, hear, see, taste or smell in-utero, I would grant that it is developing levels of perceptual awareness and that its consciousness may direct and sustain
that awareness.  As Geoff Stark added, "When this happens is, of course, open for debate."

It is open for scientific investigation and factual evidence.  But, what you think this has to do with rights, I do not know.  I think the Objectivist position on rights is clear: rights are moral principles belonging to human individuals in the proper social context.  In a case of pregnancy, the rights of a woman over her body are sovereign, not subject to the dictates of others, born or unborn.

I deny that I stated "that rights are dependent on volition."  It is true that rights imply the existence of an individual, sovereign, human, volitional, consciousness, but the key factor is not volition alone.  The crucial issue is the fact that humans live together in a social context, and rights are derived from the moral principles that protect each one from being physically coerced against one's own freely chosen interests in life. Roger, I really do read and keep an open mind about your viewpoints.  At times, they are right on, and respectful.   I wish that was the case when you refer to mine. Sincerely, Ellen Moore

From: NRoarkofConn To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Re: Is Consciousness relevant to abortion? Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 18:23:29 EDT

On May 25, I wrote: >And from what we know about memory and its dependence upon perception, is it really a surprise that once a fetus begins collecting perceptual information (at about 28 weeks), the fetus also ~stores~ that information (automatically, of course)? No pun, intended, Morganis, but this is really a no-brainer. 🙂

Morganis responded: >...for the 2nd-time around: -btw: that's *2* (You just can't stop, can you? Ah, well...)

Can't stop what? Were you taking that as an ~insult~? It was not intended as one, and I'm sorry that you interpreted it as such and apparently felt offended.

"No-brainer" did not mean that I was saying you have no brain. It meant that it is a ~simple~ inference from a fetus's being capable of perception to that same fetus's being capable of memory, the two (perception and memory) being as closely connected as they are. That ~was~ the point you were focusing on with Peter.

The "no-brainer" was also used as a (hoped-to-be) humorous allusion to the issue of at what point the fetus has a perceptually functioning brain. Again, I'm sorry you took my comment as an insult. My comments in the past 10 days or so have been so mild, I thought sure that everyone would take them in the playful and intellectual spirit they were offered and not read into them some more belligerent or judgmental attitude.

I don't know if you have a policy of rescinding your "that's one," etc., but I'd appreciate it if you would not automatically assume that I am trying to attack you. If it is reasonable for people to interpret playful humor as hostility or aggression or incivility, then you might well want to review your own posts more carefully before sending them out. Best regards, Roger Bissell P.S. -- I sent this message to Morganis offlist, but I think it's appropriate that others read and consider it, too.

From: NRoarkofConn To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Re: Re: abortion EM, LFL, PinkCrash, Morg Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 19:56:25 EDT

Barbara Branden wrote: >If, for instance, the police or a private citizen learned that a child was being starved and was on the verge of death (there was exactly such a case a few years ago, and the child did die of starvation) -- I, and I'm  certain from conversations with her  that Ayn Rand would agree-- would be quite willing to pull a gun on the parents and demand that they go inside and get soup or whatever is best for the child AT ONCE.

Ellen Stuttle commented: >Why not simply "pull a gun" (if needs must) on the parents to restrain them from preventing *you* from attending to the child? In so extreme a case as you describe, isn't the thing to do to get the child out of the parents' "care" immediately rather than try to force them to act like good parents?  I don't see the example you cited as an exception to the idea that if the parents are failing in their responsibilities, then the way to protect the child is to remove the child from their custody.

Indeed, why not?

And if Ellen Stuttle is correct about this (for I agree with her), and if Peter Taylor and I and others are correct that the third-trimester fetus is a person with rights, then shouldn't Ellen Stuttle's argument also be applied to situations in which pregnant mothers seek late-term abortions? Rather than forcing the pregnant, abortion-seeking mother to be a "good mother" by locking her up under constant supervision until she gives birth, why not apprehend her and surgically remove the late-term fetus from her body, as one would forcibly remove the child from the custody of its parents?

Laura Rift and I have already gone several rounds over this last winter, and her contention is that there is a fundamental difference between forcibly seizing a life-threatened child from the parents' home and forcibly seizing a life-threatened fetus from the mother's womb. Laura objects strenuously to the idea that the mother's body is her property, and well she might object, for if it is ~just~ her property and not her ~person~ that law officers invade in order to seize and protect a life-threatened person (the late-term fetus), then there should in principle be no stronger objection to seizing the fetus (by medical intervention, such as a forced Caesarian section) than to seizing a child from its home.

Laura wrote on May 25 ("Questions about the Right to Existence"): >I am getting sick and tired of a woman's body referred to as her "property" on this list. My body is a part of me, meaning a part of my person. Please understand the distinction because it is an important one, with both moral and legal implications.  [....] there is difference between one's property and a vital part of one's person. If you destroy my house (burn it to the ground, let's say) and I am not in it, I continue to live. If you burn my body to the ground, I die because I AM my body.

Laura's objection is well answered by one of her fellow Pro-Choice advocates, George Smith, who wrote on May 25 ("Questions about the Right to Existence"): >To speak of "property in one's person," or self-ownership, is not only a venerable tradition in individualist thought, it is also a highly useful way of conceptualizing the moral issues involved. It does not entail, as has sometimes been alleged, the bifurcation of the individual into two parts, as if one part supposedly "owns" another part. Rather, "property" was used by philosophers such as John Locke to mean "dominion," or "moral jurisdiction," which is why Locke and many others would speak of "property in one's person," etc. Thus, as Locke put it, "Where there is no property there is no injustice."  > Granted, this is a someone antiquated meaning of "property," but I think it is one that deserves to be revived. Ayn Rand  adopted a similar usage on occasion, as when she wrote that man "is a sovereign individual who owns his own person, his mind, his life, his work and its products" (CUI, p. 18). And she even used the interesting expression that "a right is the property of an individual (VOS, p. 93). This usage of "property" is very much in line with Locke and other early individualists.

Also, it should be noted that one may or may not die during the forcible seizure of one's life-threatened child from one's home, just as one may or may not die during the forcible seizure of one's life-threatened late-term fetus from one's body. There is a definite risk in each case, one that should not be considered lightly. But the very ~first~ person who should be deeply pondering such consequences is the father or mother who engages in the life-threatening behavior in the first place. If babies and/or late-term fetuses have rights that justly deserve defending by government, then fathers and mothers are responsible for setting in motion the chain of events that lead to their own possible endangerment. Why is it that we are so anxious to consider the safety and well-being of aggressors, anyway?

Now, perhaps we need to look back to "square one," which is Ellen Stuttle's point to Barbara Branden about intervening on behalf of endangered children. If life-threatened late-term fetuses are persons but ~don't~ justly deserve defense of their rights by government, then maybe life-threatened babies (we all assume they are persons, I take it) don't justly deserve defense of ~their~ rights by government ~either~.

It's a two-edged sword, folks. You can't concede that late-term fetuses are persons "but...." It's either/or. Either they are persons and have rights, in which case they are entitled to the same defense of their rights by governments as babies and children -- or they aren't and don't. So, all of the blaming and finger-pointing at Doris Gordon & Company for their supposed "anti-libertarian" and coercive ways is the failure to focus on fundamentals. If they are ~correct~ about there being a person with rights from conception onward, then when its life is threatened by an abortion-seeking mother, the government ~should~ step in. If they are ~not~ correct, then the government should ~not~ step in. And the last time I studied libertarianism and the nature of rights, this is what government is ~supposed~ to do (assuming, against the anarchists, that it should do ~anything~).

So, let's try to keep on track with our arguments and not get off on these side-issues, OK? And let's acknowledge the fundamental aim on ~both~ sides of wanting to defend the non-conflicting rights of all parties involved in pregnancy and child-rearing -- and not resort to calling our opponents "frauds" or "monsters", OK?

On May 23, 2001, Barbara Branden wrote: >[...] even if I were, for the sake of argument, to grant your position, it still would not be an argument that third-semester abortions should be made illegal. The question you would have to answer is: *What happened to the rights of the mother?* How does she, at a specific time, lose the right to decide what shall be done with the contents of her body? (Please note the  rarity of third-trimester abortions, SOME of which one may disapprove of on moral grounds. But to demand legal action is another thing entirely.)

There can certainly be grounds for the mother to decide at the third trimester than she does not want to give birth. The circumstances of her life can have changed such that what she may earlier have wanted has become impractical and self-destructive. How does anyone -- particularly the State – have the right  to tell her that her life circumstances are of no concern, that she must have the baby?

>Even if I agreed that the fetus has become capable of some form of  perception -- although what it is supposed to perceive, I cannot imagine  -- that would not be a reason to conclude that the mother no longer has rights over her own body and her own life. You are not demanding merely that she give birth; for a responsible woman, who does not give babies away like old clothes, you are demanding that she give many years of her life to an occupation that will destroy *her* plans for her life, not merely your plans for her life.

Presumably a "responsible woman" would not "give away like old clothes" a premature baby of 7 or 8 months, which is currently legally recognized as having the right to life -- yet she ~would~ not just "give away like old clothes", but have a surgeon brutally squash the head of a fetus that is ~better developed~ and more capable of surviving than the preemie that she "responsibly" holds onto. Where is the logic or humanity in this??

Further, we should look carefully at the parallel between the pregnant woman wanting to do away with her late-term fetus and parents wanting to do away with their child. When I insist that parents have negative obligations not to harm or kill their child and positive obligations to support and feed it, am I somehow making an anti-libertarian, anti-Objectivist claim that the parents no longer have any claim over their property and their lives? Hardly. I am simply saying that parents who threaten, whether by acts of commission or acts of omission, the lives of their child, the government should rightfully intervene on behalf of the child, in order to defend the child's rights against its parents. As I have already argued in a post earlier today, the parallel argument applies to pregnant women and their late-term fetuses -- ~if~ you accept the argument about their being persons with rights. ~That~ is the issue that must be addressed, not pseudo-libertarian, pseudo-Objectivist concerns about the supposed right of the pregnant woman to kill her late-term fetus by having a surgeon crush its skull and remove its corpse from her body. ~If~ it is a person with rights, its pregnant mother has no more right to abuse and kill it than do a baby's or child's parents to abuse or kill it. All 4 now, Roger Bissell

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