Sunday, July 31, 2016

Immigration restrictions are incompatible with libertarianism (and won't help it win)

The same so-called libertarian from my last post – who I will call Matt – wrote the following to one of his friends, trying to convince her to vote for Donald Trump.

“Trump is in no way a Libertarian. I have to make that clear first because any time I say why I support Trump people immediately "HOW CAN YOU CALL TRUMP A LIBERTARIAN!?"

He is not, I know that, however I believe pragmatism is useful, particularly when there is no actual other option. Gary Johnson is not a Libertarian, for many other reasons that abortion.

We are in a situation where leftists are trying to import as many democrat voters as possible because the intellectual argument for Communism and Socialism was lost a long time ago. There is a point of no return when socialist minorities gain too much population in this country and we are heading there, with Hillary in the office that will only increase.

Libertarians have the best arguments, we are in the right, but that doesn't matter when we are not playing on a level field. We need to stop immigration so that we can convince those who respect Western values to become Libertarian. Otherwise we will never be able to argue our case and our rights (including guns and free speech) will be voted away. That is the point of no return.

Furthermore, Trump is a cudgel that can be used for Libertarian purposes. The mainstream media has forever been the key player keeping Libertarian ideas out of the argument. Trump is a cudgel that can be used to bash down this media and destroy the power held by those who shut down an argument by saying "racist!" We already see this happening as Trump forces a discussion about immigration to be had, one that would never have been had otherwise. As the power of cultural marxism wanes under Trump, the ability for Libertarians to have honest discussions about things like social spending opens up.

Trump is also the least likely to keep war from starting, should Hillary win, war with Russia is almost unavoidable and I certainly don't want that. That would be disastrous and if you don't think this is likely you need to go listen to Putin's speeches. He is constantly begging our media to talk about the war Russia is being forced into. He constantly talks about how hawkish Clinton is and how she has broken many promises after the reset button and positioned America to go to war. This is massively important.

Lastly, Trump is an advocate for Western culture, which is objectively the best for any Libertarian.”


Here are four reasons why Matt’s argument is wrong.

1. Matt’s premise is that loosened immigration policies are antithetical to liberty; in fact, they are a prerequisite to liberty, because any restriction on immigration an unconscionable infringement of liberty.

Imagine I own a farm in Arizona – perhaps even one along the Mexican border – and that I wish to hire a Mexican to live and work there.  By what right does anyone prevent that agreement?  I have a right to do what I please with my property.  Both the Mexican and I have rights to contract with others.  For armed border guards to prevent our mutually voluntary, mutually beneficial exchange at gunpoint is a clearly unjustified initiation of force - especially to people like Matt, who call themselves anarchists, and presumably agree that all national borders are imaginary lines in the sand with no moral implications. Trump and those who agree with him have no greater moral right to decide who may live and work within the territorial United States than do any of the Mexicans he seeks to deport.

If the success of libertarian ideals depends on our willingness to perpetually violate those ideals, libertarianism is already doomed.  Thankfully, it doesn’t which leads me to reason number two.

2. Matt’s argument relies on collectivist generalizations which are not only false, but antithetical to the individualism upon which libertarianism relies.

Matt assumes that the people Donald Trump wants to keep out - Hispanics and Muslims seeking entry to the US – are inherently more prone to socialist ideologies, less respectful of Western values, or less likely to be convinced by “the best arguments.” This is completely baseless.  Hispanics are free-thinking individuals linked only by skin color, and Muslims are free-thinking individuals linked only by religion.  Like whites and Christians, each group is full of independent-minded people perfectly capable of forming and evolving their political beliefs based on their experiences, interests, and conversations. Cuban Americans are famously conservative, largely because they saw how bad things got under Castro; likewise, many of those who wish to immigrate to the US today are doing so precisely because they, too, wish to flee the horrors of Islamic theocracy or South American socialism.  Even within South America, the tide is turning against the left (see the departures of Kirchner and Rousseff, and the massive losses for Maduro in recent elections) and recent polling reveals Hispanics are open to voting Republican (http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/poll-not-too-late-for-gop-to-compete-for-hispanic-vote-216587) – or at least, that they were before Trump.

By Matt’s logic, the left should be equally fearful of Mexicans, since they are predominantly pro-life Catholics.  The left is not “trying to import” anybody; immigrants come of their own volition.  It is right-wingers who are trying to prevent their coming, by means of violent force.  That is not what it means to have “a level playing ground,” especially for a libertarian.  To give up on trying to convince the people who disagree with you, in favor of a futile effort to capture and deport them, is the height of intellectual cowardice.

In any case, libertarianism is not a right wing ideology, and “leftists” are not its enemy.  Our enemies are authoritarianism and collectivism.  These mindsets come in both left- and right-wing flavors, and Trump’s immigration policies rely on both of them.

The entire point of libertarianism is that we treat everyone as an individual, and that each individual has rights which cannot be taken away by the actions of a group. When you clump entire races of people together, associate them with hated ideological boogeymen, and use that association to justify restricting their freedom of movement and right to contract, you completely ignore that principle.

3. The particular generalizations Matt’s argument relies upon happen to be racist.

What Matt is essentially saying here is this:

“I’m no racist – I don’t hate Hispanics at all!  I just hate socialism – and by the way, Hispanics are socialist.”

“I’m not Islamaphobic – I don’t hate Muslims at all!  I just hate fascism – and by the way, Muslims are fascist.”

You see why that doesn’t work?  To say that “the best arguments” cannot win unless we exclude a certain group of people from the electorate is inherently demeaning towards that group of people, because it insinuates they lack the cognitive facilities necessary to discern which arguments are the best.

In our last conversation, Matt wrote that we need to restrict Hispanic immigration so we can “convince people in America,” because unlike Hispanics, they “generally have a respect for the ideals of equality under the law, liberty, innocence until proof of guilt etc.” The irony is that in making this argument, he advocates restricting freedom of movement for some people more than others, due to an unproven presumption of socialistic tendencies, thereby violating ALL THREE OF THOSE IDEALS!

It is true that South America has a lot of socialist leaning governments.  You know what other continent also has a lot of those?  Fucking Europe!  And yet, I don’t hear any Donald Trump supporters proposing a moratorium on all Spaniards and Italians who want to immigrate to the US.  Imagine my surprise.

To Matt – I am not smearing you.  I’ve said more racially inflammatory things in my day than you have here, and making bad arguments doesn’t make you a bad person.  Nor am I sidestepping the debate – I got five paragraphs deep in the debate before I even brought it up.  But it isn’t “shutting down an argument” to call racism by its name, and what you’ve written here is merely a fancy, dressed up version.

Finally, even if you disagree with everything I’ve written so far about immigration and race, it’s irrelevant in the larger picture.

4. Whatever contributions toward the cause of liberty you imagine a tighter immigration policy would yield are far, far outweighed by the damage a Donald Trump presidency would inflict in other areas.

Donald Trump does not espouse one single libertarian policy proposal.  Besides the immigration stances I’ve already discussed, his most prominent policy position is trade-protectionism, which is the literal antithesis of free trade.  He has no discernable foreign policy besides being “tough” on everybody, because “China is killing us.”  He enthusiastically supports torture, and has supported extrajudicial killings of the family members of suspected terrorists.  He has expressed support for liberal campaign finance reform. His tax plan is a mathematical impossibility.  He has not one iota of government experience.  He has praised the internment camps, praised FDR, praised Putin.  He has threatened to punish Apple and Amazon for not coughing up information.  He has threatened to censor The Washington Post.  He has floated the idea of a registry wherein all Muslims in the country would have to check in with government officials to track their whereabouts.  He has openly admitted that he will ignore the constitution when he deems it necessary.


Were he elected, our esteem as a nation in the eyes of the world would plummet.  He would be the most effective propaganda tool against democracy in the Middle East you could fathom.  Terrorist recruitment rates would increase even faster than they are now. Every State of the Union Address or major speech at some global conference would be the same uneducated, conceited, rambling stream-of-consciousness nonsense about how awesome he is as a person that it’s been so far in this campaign, and I don’t know how anyone can listen to that without being horrifically embarrassed.  He would make us into the laughingstock of the world.

If America falls, it will not be from invasion at the hands of an external power, but from irreconcilable internal discord.  Hillary Clinton is no saint, and her hawkishness on foreign policy frightens me too.  But I can say with extreme confidence that if she is elected in 2016, the country will survive as one unified nation for long enough to have another election in 2020.  I am much less confident that the same is true should Donald Trump win.  Racial tensions are already at a boiling point; were he elected, they would absolutely explode.  He may not destroy the country outright, but he would test the strength of its seams, and he sure as hell wouldn’t make it anything resembling “great.” Vote for Gary Johnson if you can, and Hillary if you must, but please don’t make my nightmare a reality.

Supporting Donald Trump is incompatible with being libertarian

I have an acquaintance who calls himself a libertarian, and yet enthusiastically supports Donald Trump.  I like to call him out on how contradictory those two things are, so I recently posted this list of reasons Trump is unfit to be president to his Facebook wall.  Below is the conversation which followed.


Trump fan: Did you even read this or just assume that I wouldn't? FFS these are the stupidest and most misleading claims ever.

RECENT:

1. Political move, every politician does this
2. He said that NATO needs to be renegotiated. Currently the US defends basically all of Europe and picks up the tab too. This gives Europeans plenty of money to spend on socialist policies. This is only a good thing.
3. I dont know anything about the sexual harassment allegations except that they are being made like 10 years after the fact.
4. Good. Obama is corrupt and putting terrible people like Loretta Lynch in charge.
5. Quoted? Really? You believe this crap? That's why he hires black people all the time he thinks they're just lazy. Jesus.
6. Yeah? When Kasich is trying to take votes away from Trump he comes out saying something bad about Trump? Can you imagine my surprise?
7. False. Even if true, so what?
8. This makes him unfit to be president?
9. And?
10. HAHAHA DID YOU EVEN READ THE ARTICLE? FFS GO READ IT.
11. Yeah? She deserves to be imprisoned. So?
12. Any entrepreneur of high up businessman will tell you the same thing, or at least "very little time". That shit take a long time and these people are very busy.

ALL:

1. DID YOU WATCH THE VIDEO? HE NEVER SAID THAT.
2. DID YOU READ THE ARTICLE? "His contempt for beautiful women who like to be abused is boundless..." He is literally talking about women who like to be abused ffs.
3. Trump likes spying. Sure, I don't like that about him. Congrats, 1 out of 15 when almost every other candidate would be just as bad.
4. He was correct. The judge is a member of La Raza. Go look it up.
5. He said the families usually know about the things they're doing. Go after their family for information since they won't give it and are allowing attacks. This is totally misleading.
6. Okay. This makes him unfit to be president? Really?
7. THAT'S WHAT A LAW IS. If you believe in speed limits you believe that people should be punished for going over the speed limit. If you believe abortion should be illegal you believe women should be punished for doing it. Are you serious?

No. I can't keep doing this crap. You clearly didn't even read this or research ANY of the claims made. It's amazing how these SJW sources work on conservatives too now days. Stop drinking the leftist kool aid

Trump fan (the next day): *crickets*

Me (the day after that): I work from 0600-1900, and we have a 13 hour time difference to navigate, so my apologies if my response wasn’t fast enough for your standards.

The beauty of a list of over 100 reasons why someone is unfit to be president is that even if it’s 99% bullshit, that person is still unfit to be president. Keep that in mind as we go here – if you lose even one of these, you concede the premise.

I’m relatively uninterested in the 12 “new” ones and don’t know why Slate chose to highlight them at the top of the article (maybe just to even out the vote exposure time disparity?). Your rebuttals are still mostly unconvincing. The plagiarism was far and above what most politicians commonly do and telling the world she came up with the same two paragraphs of text in isolation is a laughable lie; the comments about the system being rigged against him (when he inherited a real-estate empire worth hundreds of millions and got sent to an Ivy League school as a legacy applicant) are so preposterously out of touch that they indicate near total ignorance of the systemic problems a president will have to deal with; Erdogan is turning into a totalitarian tyrant, which probably shouldn’t be praised. But I do admit 10-12 are bullshit (which is probably why they’re down-voted and ranked last), and most of these do not make him unfit on their own. So for the sake of brevity, I plead no-contest on all 12 – we’re down to 141.

I will now start at #1 on the big list. Buckle up.

1. DID YOU WATCH THE VIDEO? HE NEVER SAID THAT.

I did watch the video, and in that video he plainly defends and reiterates a desire to do two things: 1) torture enemy POW’s with waterboarding or worse, and 2) kill the unarmed families of terrorist suspects.

Both of these things are war crimes under the Geneva Convention and Uniform Code of Military Justice.  As soldiers, we are trained to never do these things, to disregard any order to do so, and to report anyone making such an order to the Legal Office for a criminal investigation.  Trump doesn’t need to explicitly say the term “war crimes” himself for his proposals to be no shit, full out WAR. CRIMES.

This makes him unfit to be the Commander and Chief of our Armed Forces on face.  Torture is not only horridly immoral and completely ineffective, but also strategically unwise.  It aids enemy recruitment far more than it helps us eliminate the threat, damages our national security and devastates our influence and moral high-ground abroad.  I made a brief moral and practical case against it here.  Opposing it strongly is a NO-BRAINER political position for anyone who fancies themselves libertarian.

Intentionally killing the unarmed, captive family members of terror suspects is even worse than that, from both a moral and strategic perspective.  That he has occasionally backtracked from this in the face of massive public backlash does not console me, nor fool me into thinking he wouldn’t still secretly do it.  The comments alone have already done irreparable damage to our image abroad, and as someone who serves abroad, that makes my job harder.  I am embarrassed by the thought of what he might say – and even more horrified of what he might do – should he actually win.


Trump fan: Preamble: No, if one of these things is true about him that is not conceding the point. If one of these things are true about him that does not mean he is unfit to be president. Moreover, even if he is, then it's all relative. Nobody is fit to be president because there should be no president. So to say that in strict terms is useless. Really this is a question of strategy, who will be most useful to the cause of Liberty? Undoubtedly Trump.

1. "Said he would force the military to commit war crimes"
Wrong. He never said that. He said they would not refuse him.

You've made a lot of -opinions- about torture clear and so did that article. Sorry, statistics please. How you or others -feel- about torture is irrelevant when discussing whether it works. And an opinion about whether it is necessary (ie philosophically moral) is not relevant to whether he is unfit to be president.

Watch the video. Go after =/= kill. Watching that makes it clear that his intention is to not treat the family as though they are entirely innocent and ignorant of the terrorist plots.

5. He said the families usually know about the things they're doing. Go after their family for information since they won't give it and are allowing attacks. This is totally misleading.

No, that’s not what he said!  His original remarks were in December: the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. They, they care about their lives. Don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families.”

If you sit there and try to bullshit an explanation for how “take out” could be anything other than a euphemism for kill, in that context, you are transparently lying to yourself and the world.  And if you admit that Donald Trump proposed the killing of terror suspects’ families as a means of deterring terrorism, you admit that he proposed killing unarmed civilians (which is a war crime under the Hague and Geneva Conventions), and then defended that proposal for three months, only to reluctantly and temporarily retract it when it proved politically dangerous to him.

That is literally evil.  I joined the military on the supposition that should we ever go to war, we would be the good guys – not the ones killing unarmed women and children to send a message.  And he wonders how ISIS gets more recruits?

The most generous interpretation of this behavior is that he didn’t really mean it, but just has no idea what the fuck he’s talking about during interviews, so he rambles on spouting ideas to test the waters until he sees which poll well and which do not.  Even this, most generous characterization of such remarks renders him unfit to be president.

6. Okay. This makes him unfit to be president? Really?

YES. It really, really does. See point #1.

***

Me again: 3. “Trump likes spying. Sure, I don't like that about him. Congrats, 1 out of 15 when almost every other candidate would be just as bad.”

You cannot be fucking serious dude…This isn’t about spying.  The NSA is spying.  Obama and Hillary “like spying” too, maybe they are “just as bad” on surveillance issues.  That’s not what Donald Trump proposed.  Donald Trump proposed creating a database OF ALL MUSLIMS in the country, with legal requirements for them to check in with the government solely on account of their religion.   http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trump-says-he-would-certainly-implement-muslim-database-n466716
……

….again, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

This violates so many constitutional provisions I don’t even know where to being.  Multiple clauses in the 1st amendment…probably 4th amendment unreasonable searches/probable cause, definitely 5th amendment due process rights, even 10th amendment reserving powers to states (it sure as hell isn’t an enumerated power)……Rounding up everyone of a certain religion, marking them as a potential threat that needs supervision, and burdening them with special legal requirements people of other faiths/races don’t have is like textbook Nazism in it’s infancy.

Whatever it is, it sure as fuck isn’t libertarianism.  It’s regressive, it’s authoritarian, it’s unconstitutional and it undercuts all our human rights advocacy aboard.  It’s a discriminatory, plainly bigoted disaster for race relations that stirs up statistically unfounded suspicions and racial division/hatred, at a time when more of that is the last thing we need.  It also plays off these baseless fears to justify new and ever-growing government agencies, and if you were a sincere advocate of liberty and small government all of this would make you sick to your stomach.  How can you support this guy so enthusiastically in one breath, and then call yourself a libertarian in the next, while keeping a straight face?

I reject the whole dichotomy of the two-party system and I don’t think “well at least he isn’t Hillary” is a good answer on any of these points.  You’re not holding your nose and complaining about this awful choice we have but reluctantly voting Trump, anyway – you’re all aboard this MAGA train and cheering him on.  But to the extent the comparison is relevant, it’s worth mentioning that no Democrat would dream of doing this.  Libertarianism is socially liberal, or at least socially tolerant, and this is about as intolerant as it gets.


Trump fan: Yes it violates the constitution, most things he says do. Same with every other president. Like every single one. Including George Washington. Trump wants to target an ideology (a religion is an ideology). Fine. Obama and Clinton label people who support the Constitution as potential terrorists as well.

But this is the bigger point, which would save us from having to go into all of this:

"I reject the whole dichotomy of the two-party system and I don’t think “well at least he isn’t Hillary” is a good answer on any of these points."

I am an anarchist. I don't believe in any government. Anybody I support I do so out of practicality. The Constitution means nothing, it is just a piece of paper that happens to be very old. I want to further the cause of liberty, and am looking for the most practical means of doing so. I don't like the dichotomy either, in fact I wouldn't like it if there were 100 different choices. It makes no difference. Gary Johnson is not practical, he will not win and if he does he will not further the cause of liberty. PRACTICALLY, having more socialist hispanics and islamists is going to result in a future where all of our rights are voted away and we are oppressed further. That is the future of an open borders policy. The best way to spread Libertarian ideals is to close the borders so that there is a fair playing ground, and try to convince people in America, who generally have a respect for the ideals of equality under the law, liberty, innocence until proof of guilt etc. Importing more people who will vote for cultural marxist ideologues will only serve to destroy Liberty. I never said Trump is a Libertarian and I never will, he is not, he is a useful means of securing Libertarian ideals for the future. That is all.


Me: "The best way to spread Libertarian ideals is to close the borders" may be the most ironic political statement I've ever read.

 “4. He was correct. The judge is a member of La Raza. Go look it up.”

First, no, he isn’t - you look it up.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/06/07/trump-supporters-false-claim-that-trump-u-judge-is-a-member-of-a-pro-immigrant-group/.  The judge is a member of the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, which is non-partisan and completely distinct from the National Council of La Raza.

Secondly, Trump originally made no reference to the La Raza thing, he just said he was unqualified solely on account of his “Mexican heritage.”  That’s an interesting thing to say for someone who bloviates about how beloved he is by Latinos and insists his policies would be good for them.  It’s also completely preposterous, and literal de jure racism, to suggest that Mexican heritage should disqualify someone from serving as a judge in any case, but especially a case about Trump University that has nothing to do with immigration at all!  Even Newt Gingrich admitted Trump was totally out of line here.

Finally, even if he were a member of the real La Raza, and even if that were what Trump originally objected to, so what?  La Raza is not like some terrorist organization, it’s just a political advocacy group.  Judges are allowed to hold political opinions!  It’s ordinarily understood that they will be able to keep their opinions on political matters separate from the facts of a case, especially on unrelated matters.  Had a white judge presiding over an NSA spying case been discovered to be a member of the NRA, nobody on the Obama administration’s legal team would have dared suggest a conflict of interest; the NSA has nothing to do with guns, and judges are professionals, trained not to let personal vendettas against a defendant color their judgment.  For Trump to do otherwise when the issue is racial is to hold white and minority judges to a double-standard regarding how much their impartiality can be trusted, which adds to the enormous mountain of evidence that Donald Trump both bigoted and deliberately stoking racial tensions for political gain.  That is extremely unpresidential.

Trump fan: Typical unnecessary and unusually strict and narrow interpretation of what he says. He is a normal human being who talks like a normal human being. Yes he said Mexican. Any rational human being without an ideological brainwashing lens can look at what he said and understand what he meant.

Mexican heritage is not what disqualifies him, it's the political opinions that may cloud his judgment. But nitpicking his exact words is the only way to make a case against him so that is what you'll do.



Me:
“7. THAT'S WHAT A LAW IS. If you believe in speed limits you believe that people should be punished for going over the speed limit. If you believe abortion should be illegal you believe women should be punished for doing it. Are you serious?”


When abortion was illegal, that prohibition was enforced at the point of sale – doctors were prohibited from providing them, and punished if they were found to be doing so.  But even then, decent people recognized that those desperate women who sought dangerous, back-alley, coat-hanger abortions needed HELP much more than they needed jail time, fines and moral scolding.

I won’t get into the abortion debate here, but by analogy, another part of being libertarian is supporting bodily autonomy on drug use.  Ideally, this means legalizing all drugs, or at least marijuana for starters.  But as an interim policy, many states and countries are moving to “decriminalization,” wherein it’s still illegal to use and can’t be sold in stores, but those found to be using it are merely given treatment, or sent to drug courts with non-punitive aims.  This isn’t nearly as good as legalization, but it’s still preferable to War on Drugs style criminalization.

In the same way, supporting punitive measures for women who seek abortions amounts to CRIMINALIZING abortion, which is a much more severe position than merely prohibiting its legal sale.

To be fair, if you watch the interview in which Trump made those remarks, he seemed to not really know the difference.  This should not reassure you that he is qualified to be president.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Late-term abortion and subjective morality

Is any one opinion on late-term abortion more morally arbitrary than another?

A far-left friend recently posted a link lamenting how Hillary Clinton had picked such an anti-abortion candidate as her vice-president.  I found this amusing, because it appeared on my screen just below a far-right friend lamenting how any Catholic could be so pro-abortion as Tim Kaine.  So far as I can tell, Kaine and I currently have roughly the same opinion on the abortion policy, which is that it should almost always be safe and legal, but that some restrictions are justified in rare occasions during the third-trimester (post fetal-viability). So, the following exchange ensued.

*****
Me: It's funny because my hard right Catholic friends are blasting him as a traitor to Catholicism for being so rabidly pro-choice.

Should abortion be legal the day before birth? What about the hour before? Should infanticide be legal in the week after birth? If not, are you not also drawing the line somewhere based on your "personal ideology" of right and wrong?

Far left friend: yep, it's my personal ideology that everyone has the right to bodily autonomy--which must be the only exception to the NAP, then, if you are claiming that there can be a line drawn other than that one where a fetus is no longer part of the mother's body? So private property is sacred and defensible but an individual's body isn't? Sounds a lot like the logic that underpinned "all men are created equal--except for those people that aren't men and those men that aren't white, they don't have a right to shit because we own them"

Me: "...other than that one where the fetus is no longer a part of the mother's body"

And when is that, exactly? That's the entire debate. Where, when and why does one body begin and another end? You imply birth, but there's no medical/scientific reason that makes birth special. If a baby has been born, but the umbilical cord is still attached, is it still "a part of the woman's body?" which she can do with as she pleases? Or does seeing it and hearing it cry and react to pain and light and touch make it abundantly clear that it is now a separate body, whether or not the cord has been snipped?

I'm pro choice for so long as there remains any doubt as to the child's viability, but once that doubt is gone, the NAP and bodily autonomy apply as much to the child as they do to the mother. To say otherwise is to say "All men are created equal, except the ones I pretend haven't been fully created yet."

Far left friend: This "since they are all equally arbitrary..." reasoning is ridiculous. Who the fuck are you or I or a doctor to make that decision for the person whose health/life is ACTUALLY impacted by this choice. Birth is the line arbitrarily drawn by nature (or the cutting of the umbilical cord if you really want to get silly, assuming a trivial amount of time between the two) so I'm going to use that as my guideline.

Me: Once again you beg the question. It seems to me that post viability, there are at least two people whose health/life are ACTUALLY impacted by this choice, whether or not actually is written in all-caps. Kaine allows medical exceptions for the mother's health anyway.

It takes a special sort of conceit to insist there's nothing arbitrary about a moral opinion with which at least 85% of Americans disagree (and surely even larger majorities in the world at large). Those are just people who think third trimester abortions should be illegal, mind you - it's very likely that jumps over 90% when you get to the final week before birth. These people feel this way, for the most part, because on some level they recognize that the creation of morally meaningful human life occurs gradually over time, which makes any instantaneous transition from no rights to full rights unworkable. To kill a born child with cord attached runs contrary to our every honest moral intuition of right and wrong because it's clear that person has been fully “created”, and it's no less so an hour before that time. That's all my example was designed to illustrate.

Thankfully, our disagreement is usually immaterial, as the vast, vast majority of abortions take place before the third trimester anyway. Those should be safe, legal, and as common as women want them to be. But sooner or later, you'll need to confront a truth that's as inconvenient for me as a libertarian as it is for you here: that the field of philosophy pertaining to autonomy and human rights is sometimes messy and unclear, such that rights exist on a spectrum and sometimes conflict with one another. I don't expect this to change your mind about late term abortion, but eventually I hope it will make you a little less angry at the world.

Far-left friend: People who de-politicize real political issues by reducing them to the vacuum of "all else being equal" thought experiments are exactly what make me so angry at the world. Unless you have a uterus and will have to choose whether or not to abort a child at some point in your life, please keep your moralizing about the threshold of "viability" to yourself. It is the mother's choice, not yours and not mine.

*****


I let him have the last word at that.