Pro-Life Murderers

I recently read a book review on a historical piece that tries to show that Josef Stalin was actually a model leader. I obviously disagree with this, but still, it sounds like an interesting book. I certainly wouldn’t argue that Stalin was good, or that communism wasn’t a grave evil. But I might argue that it’s no worse, or very little worse, than our current democracies…

I’ve been posting recently on the Wesnoth forums about abortion. The basic argument I was making (though I’m not sure I believe it myself – remember, this is just speculation) was that the murder of abortionists is justifiable. Here’s what I said:

It’s the same principle whereby if you’re walking down the street and you see someone beating someone else to a bloody pulp, in a way that will probably lead to the victim’s eventual death, and you see a cop standing by and doing nothing about it, you would be justified in stepping in and stopping the attacker from killing the other person. Talking to the attacker obviously will accomplish nothing, and clearly the cop has for some reason decided not to intervene, so you seem justified, perhaps even obligated, to use force, even lethal force, even if the cop would arrest you for doing so. Vigilantism, perhaps, but if the government has abandoned its people in this way, vigilantism is justified, I think.

Or imagine you’ve stumbled upon a secret government facility where they detain and execute a bunch of political prisoners, and you have the chance to break in and free them, but doing so will require shooting some of the guards (who aren’t exactly innocent, seeing as they’re responsible for running this death camp). I personally think that would be completely morally licit.

This situation is the same with abortion. There is a class of people – unborn people – that the government has for some reason decided it is legal to murder.

The main problem with this is, as I said, that it wouldn’t have any appreciable impact, and it would make people who weren’t pro-life less likely, not more likely, to become pro-life, and that it would probably result in the abortion laws becoming even more firmly entrenched. But I think the act is probably justified – it shouldn’t be practiced because it isn’t prudent, not because it’s immoral.

Remember that according to Catholic doctrine unborn people are still people. Life begins at conception and should end with natural death. Anything else is immoral.

Another question is how far you could go to change the government… here’s what I said:

I think rebellion against the government of the U.S. would also be justified. As the American Declaration of Independence says,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

Legalized murder seems to me more than a light and transient cause.

But, like I said, it’s not prudent. I don’t advise anybody to go out and start murdering abortionists or attacking Washington D.C.

I don’t see any problems in my above arguments, but I haven’t been putting maximal effort into it (I’ve actually been preoccupied recently with the aesthetic and ethical implications of dancing, if that makes sense). But anyway, this is an example of how the U.S. is, in some ways, as evil as the Soviet Union – they killed millions of political dissidents and suchlike, but we’ve killed millions of unborn children. I don’t mean to imply that the U.S.S.R. is good – only that we are bad, and that we have to try to be better. We must not be complacent. Just something to think about. If you want to comment on problems with my argument, go ahead, I’d be interested to see what people have to say.

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2 Responses to Pro-Life Murderers

  1. Julia says:

    Here’s your essential problem. You assume that you are speaking to people like you, people who have, more or less, the same worldviews (yes I’ve seen you do try to generically appeal in some places to people’s sense of morals). The bottom line is when you say, “Remember that according to Catholic doctrine unborn people are still people. Life begins at conception and should end with natural death. Anything else is immoral.”

    You have to say that to make your statement valid, unless there are others out there who aren’t in the Catholic faith that also believe that essential belief, that fetuses are actually people, with unalienable rights. That is the crux of the pro-life/pro-choice argument, and the reason why no one gets anywhere with the other party is because they can’t convince each other of their belief. If you can convince (logically) your opponents of that belief, then you will win. Otherwise, you will have to circumvent that line of thought and come at the argument from the side or behind.

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