Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Capitalism and the Abortion Debate

During the heated debates over the past week about a woman's moral right to choose abortion, a number of people have asked, "Why is the CAC talking about abortion at all? What does that have to do with capitalism?" This is a reasonable question, though it was often posed in the middle of ranting and sometimes violent tirades.

From: S
... And what has the issue to do with capitalism, anyway? ...

All life should be respected. And if that is not to be honored, I humbly submit that the author of this atrocious article should be deemed of no value and he be first in line.

During this time of national fiscal crisis -- one in which large swaths of the financial system are being nationalized -- why spend time on abortion?

The answer is very simple and clear: individual rights. The protection of individual rights is the fundamental prerequisite for a free capitalist society. This does not mean just some of them. A woman's right to keep the rewards of her productive effort -- her right to property -- is irrevocably tied to her right to her own life, i.e. her right to choose what to do with her own body.

Capitalism is not simply an economic concept that can be divorced from all other areas of life. Capitalism doesn't only describe Wall Street, or the Wal-Mart down the street. Capitalism is a full social system based on the primacy of individual rights. Thus, any attack on individual rights is an attack on the very foundation of our country. A threat to individual rights is a threat to our capitalist society as a whole.

Don't be fooled into thinking the debate is between religious conservatives who supposedly favor free markets but wish to impose their Christian morality in all other areas of life, and progressive liberals who supposedly favor free speech and other civil liberties but wish to socialize the economy in the name of egalitarianism. This is a false dichotomy; you cannot have true "civil liberties" without "economic liberties." The individual rights of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness cannot be upheld piecemeal. We are either free to live our lives in all spheres of action, or we are not.

It is also important to note that although these two "opposite sides" are commonly seen to represent "economic liberties" vs. "civil liberties," in practice, neither side can resist imposing state controls over all aspects of our lives. The Right is currently overseeing the largest nationalization effort in America since the New Deal. The Right is no friend of the free market. Meanwhile, the Left engages in vicious attacks on free speech. The Left is the enemy of any speech it doesn't like.

Thus, the alternative is not a choice between Left and Right, between civil and economic liberties, but between state control over our lives on one side, and full, unabridged freedom of action and thought, of laissez-faire capitalism and individual rights on the other side. This is stated in full recognition of the fact that we do not currently live in such a free society; it has been under attack for well over 100 years and every year brings increasing statism. And yet, it is still the freest country on earth, which makes it all the more important to defend against every encroachment upon our individual rights.

This is why it is not only understandable that the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism would defend the absolute moral right of a woman to choose to abort her fetus based on her own judgment, but it is also vital that we do so. The stakes are high; they represent the very underpinnings of the free capitalist society we hope to achieve.


Grant said...

Given the swarm of now regular "pro-life" commentors your blog has attracted, the silence in response to this post in particular speaks volumes

Grant said...

or, it could be the fact that it was written by an author besides Mr. Provenzo and it was posted a mere three hours ago. I'll shut up now.

Adam Reed said...

Is there really a general symmetry between so-called "right" and "left?"

That there are some specific instances of symmetry, as cited in your article, is not surprising given that both sides share a heritage of American Pragmatism, and therefore have no principles to adhere to.

But the left is open to persuasion by fact. Robert Heilbroner, not long ago the world's most promonent Marxist economist, and Frank Furedi, his contemporary as the world's most eminent Marxist sociologist, have both abandoned the advocacy of Socialism, and have published extensively on the deadly results of attempts to enforce equality by force. In my experience, the leftist will meet argument with argument, and given enough reason and evidence against his position, will change his mind.

The Theocratic Right, on the other hand, lives by faith - and, as we have seen here, responds to an argument mainly not with arguments but with wishes for and threats of violence, including murder - the argument from the fist and the knife. They are reason-proof (credo quoia absurdum) and evidence-proof. In their brains, arguments from reason and evidence invoke not thought, but resentment against the intellect for being capable of thought. It is this resentment of the intellect that is the direct cause of the appeal to violence in their responses - and in the policies that a McCain-Palin government would enact and enforce.

Anonymous said...


I agree with you to a point. The Left is less faith centered than the Right. But can you really say that the Angry Left is open to argument? Have you seen Leftist blogs like Daily Kos or Democratic Underground? It seems to me that many on the Left are just as closed to argument as the Religious Right. Plus the Left treats egalitarianism and environmentalism like a religion most of the time anyway. I agree that religion is man's oldest and greatest nemesis. But this country's most *immediate* threat is the nihilist, skeptical Communist Left. Their version of secularism is so openly irrational that they are turning people in droves towards religion.


Anonymous said...

J.D. wrote: "I agree that religion is man's oldest and greatest nemesis. But this country's most *immediate* threat is the nihilist, skeptical Communist Left. Their version of secularism is so openly irrational that they are turning people in droves towards religion."

I disagree with J.D.'s assertion that the nihilist, skeptical Communist left" is the country's most immediate threat. The Left wouldn't be a threat at all if it weren't for me-tooers such as John McCain and most other Republicans, who are the most immediate threat because they are non-ideological pragmatists.

The threat is that these cretins have a "tradition" of selling out the country every time to the Democrats and the rabid leftists in the latter party just to retain seats in Congress.

I have heard it suggested elsewhere that the Republicans deserve to lose the election just to teach them a lesson and perhaps that will wake them up to begin adopting a more rational, pro-freedom political philosophy. I don't think that would serve any purpose. The Republicans are too vested in non-ideological "principles" to "get it." And any Republican who would suggest that perhaps religion and tradition aren't the ways to go, perhaps we need a radical, reality based philosophy, wouldn't get very far.

Ed Cline

Anonymous said...

It is very disappointing that many of those who have posted responses to the blog entries regarding Sarah Palin have been uncivil, obscene, or even threatening. As a pro-life individual, I want to make clear that these hateful words do not represent what the pro-live movement stands for. However, the sentiments that have been expressed by Mr. Provenzo are very problematic. While it seems that Mr. Provenzo is now trying to backpedal from some of his earlier comments, I think that the extreme nature of those comments should be highlighted. It is one thing to be pro-choice and to assert that a woman has the right to abort a child; while I disagree with this proposition and will work against it with every breath in my body, it is, unfortunately, a common viewpoint in 2008 America. However, to publicly criticize someone for knowingly carrying a Down Syndrome child to term and to refer to that decision as the "worship of retardation" goes far beyond standard pro-choice rhetoric. Mr. Provenzo is actually saying that abortion is not only an acceptable decision for a woman to make when her unborn child is found to have Down Syndrome, but is the ONLY acceptable decision for a woman to make in those circumstances. That viewpoint presupposes that Down Syndrome children's lives -- or the lives of other handicapped children -- have no value. I believe that it is appropriate to strenuously disagree with this radical perspective. I call upon other pro-life individuals to express that disagreement, and to do so in a civil and appropriate manner. For more information on Down Syndrome children, see