Abortion and self-adoration: Do what you want, but don’t claim you can escape the consequences. You can’t.

Whether you like it or not, seeing your self committing atrocities is abhorrent to your mind, and no amount of rationalizing self-destructive behavior will turn vices into virtues.

Whether you like it or not, seeing your self committing atrocities is abhorrent to your mind, and no amount of rationalizing self-destructive behavior will turn vices into virtues.

Rethinking your stand on abortion today? That seems wise to me. This is me in April of 2012 demonstrating why being involved in an abortion is necessarily self-destructive. –GSS

I have written a ton of polemical essays in my life, but I’ve never written an argument about abortion. Given the method for evaluating values in Chapter 7 of Man Alive, it’s not very difficult to work out.

That’s funny, isn’t it? The most contentious political issue in modern-day America, and I can address it in a way that seems to me to be incontestable in just a few lines. That’s the power of working from the right map of the universe.

Politically, as a matter of human liberty, other people’s families — or pets or property — are none of my damn business. But having an abortion, performing one, encouraging one or paying for it are all morally-reprehensible acts. They cannot advance or enhance your own self-adoration, and, necessarily, they must retard and diminish your self-love, in the immediate moment and enduringly thereafter. It is not even necessary to look for real-life evidence of this argument, but, of course, that evidence abounds.

Do you want to dispute this? If one abortion enhances your self-love a little, will six abortions cause you to love your self a whole lot more? How about strangling kittens? Whether you like it or not, seeing your self committing atrocities is abhorrent to your mind, and no amount of rationalizing self-destructive behavior will turn vices into virtues.

You could argue that abortion or exposure can be exigently necessary — as, for instance, in extreme emergencies or when your family is already starving to death. But even then, the action cannot make you love your self more and must make you love your self less. Again, existentially, in real life, there are no counter-examples. Too much the contrary.

Obviously, I am arguing from my own ethical system, but since that system is based in actual human nature, the theory and the evidence correspond to each other. The map corresponds to the territory, where it quite clearly does not for every pro-abortion argument: Obviously the babies don’t love their lives more afterward, but neither do the adults involved.

Would I do anything to prevent abortions (or exposures) from taking place? No. I boycott doctors who provide abortions, but I doubt they notice the loss of my business.

Meanwhile, I have my own past sins to atone for. I’ve always been very careful to contain my own enthusiasm, as it were, but I paid for a family member’s abortion, and encouraged another one, with both of these episodes occurring decades ago. You will note that my regret for both of these atrocities endures. It could not be otherwise.

Looking at the issue of abortion from the point of view of one’s own on-going self-adoration, there really is nothing to be debated. The pro-abortion argument is at war with the real, unchangeable nature of the human mind, and, hence, abortion must always be judged as a moral evil.

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  • Michael Wurzer

    >>Politically, as a matter of human liberty, other people’s families — or pets or property — are none of my damn business.<<

    If the child were five years old, would it still be none of your business?

    • Hi, Michael. Thanks for the comment. I really appreciate it, even if you conclude 15 seconds now that I do not. 😉

      >> Politically, as a matter of human liberty, other people’s families — or pets or property — are none of my damn business.

      > If the child were five years old, would it still be none of your business?

      This is not what the post is about, but I like questions like this, so I’ll play along.

      So: Is the homicide of five-year-olds common where you live? What do you do about it? I mean you yourself, in response to a real child murder, not an imaginary crime prosecuted by a hypothetical Batman.

      You do nothing, right? Me, too. None of my damn business.

      Partly, this is the Fallacy of Special Pleading, conflating the exceptional event (child homicide) with the common one (abortion).

      Even so, there really are a lot of infant and child murders happening near you. They’re just reported as accidents. What do you yourself do about them? Nothing, right? Me, too. None of my damn business.

      Here’s a much more common atrocity: Some of your neighbors force their dogs to live outdoors, separated from the pack, perhaps feeding them nothing but garbage. This is cruelty, an awful life for a wonderful animal. What do you yourself do about that? Nothing, right? Me, too. None of my damn business.

      One objective of this web site and of Man Alive! is to show people why bad behavior is self-destructive — and why good behavior results in infinite Splendor. But if some people still choose to behave atrociously, it’s none of my damn business until some value of mine is injured.

      This is how you behave with respect to your neighbors, too, right?

      Would your own self-adoration be enhanced if you declared yourself to be that hypothesized Batman, rushing from house to house to instruct your neighbors forcefully in the greater and lesser virtues? Do you think they would welcome these intrusions? Would they thank you for imposing taxes on them to fund your Batmania?

      If you say it would be a good thing for you to behave in this thuggish fashion, would it be a good thing if all your neighbors did it, too, with everyone pushing everyone else around, with no one minding his own business, and with each one of you trying to steal his livelihood from all the others?

      I’m thinking “none of my damn business” works out pretty well, on balance. How about you?

      • Michael Wurzer

        >>But if some people still choose to behave atrociously, it’s none of my damn business until some value of mine is injured.<<

        I guess I'm uncertain about what you mean by none of your damn business. I was assuming you meant none of anyone's damn business except the murderer, and so it shouldn't be against the law or there should be no law.

        • >> But if some people still choose to behave atrociously, it’s none of my damn business until some value of mine is injured.

          > I guess I’m uncertain about what you mean by none of your damn business.

          My business is my person, my property and my family. Nothing else. If you should happen to interfere with my business, I’ll be sure to let you know.

          > I was assuming you meant none of anyone’s damn business except the murderer,

          And any other interested parties — parents, grand-parents, other family members, insurance companies. There cannot be any other injured parties. There are no general or imaginary or hypothetical injuries.

          > and so it shouldn’t be against the law or there should be no law.

          On what basis could you assert the authority to push your neighbors around at gunpoint against their will? If you can’t do it, how could anyone else?

          Did you fail to notice that with all the laws and all the cops and all the prisons, child homicide in the form of faked “accidents” is fairly routine? Are there too few laws and cops and prisons?

          And yet again, how often does child murder come up in your everyday life? Why would focus on something that, practically speaking, does not matter to you, rather than on the things that do?

          Instead of asking, what will I do if one of my neighbors behaves badly, why not ask, instead, how can I help my neighbors understand the inescapable and enduring consequences of bad behavior? Why not help them discover the salutary benefits of self-love?

          To head off the next question, I am opposed to all statute law, and all coercive-monopoly tort law. Injured parties in a child murder case could have recourse to free-market civil courts, but that won’t being the kid back to life. If you want to make sure you children won’t get killed by your spouse, don’t marry an evil person.

          None of this matters now, Michael, so it’s absurd to even talk about it. When we have chopped away 99% of the leviathan, then we can talk about what to do about the last 1%. Right now, the world is going up in flames and you’re indulging in hypothetical horror-shows that have nothing to do with your real life. I would argue that this is self-destructive behavior: Deck chairs on the Titanic.

          My answer to all of your questions is to read the book. It’s built to take you through my way of thinking from the ground up, so that, when you finish, you will be able to work everything out on your own. The point is simply this: Your moral and political arguments are based in ontological claims that are false to fact. When you look at human nature for what it really is, as this post is doing, you can untie any intellectual knot.

          • Michael Wurzer

            I read it. The only reason I posited a 5 year old instead of a fetus was to avoid the issue of whether the child is human. I suggest that the murder of a child does hurt you and me, and so is our business. The child cannot defend itself but still has a right to be free. I guess you’re suggesting only the immediate family members should be concerned with defending the child. Unfortunately, many family members are exactly who children need defense against, as certainly is true in the case of abortion.

            • Michael, if you want to defend the child, then defend the child. That’s hardly the question here.

              The question is whether your desire to defend the child, and your unwillingness (for whatever reason) to do it yourself, gives rise to a claim against me and everyone else to do it for you.

              If the five-year-old has “the right to be free,” then surely we do too, and so the obvious answer to that question is, “No, it doesn’t.”

            • > I read it.

              Bless you. Thank you.

              > The only reason I posited a 5 year old instead of a fetus was to avoid the issue of whether the child is human.

              Completely inessential. The morality of an action inheres in the actor, not in the thing acted upon. This is why I referenced strangling kittens in the post.

              > I suggest that the murder of a child does hurt you and me, and so is our business.

              I’m from Missouri. Can you send me a photo of your injury? Of course you can’t. You are asserting a sentiment, one which results in zero existential consequences in your life and is backed up by zero purposive action on your part. Why aren’t we talking about things that really matter to you?

              Stop and think: How many innocents will die today that you know nothing about? Are you injured by all of those killings? By all of the innocent deaths in all of human history? How do you bear up to the strain of all that injury?

              > The child cannot defend itself but still has a right to be free.

              He can leave home. Or you can adopt him. But as before, for three exchanges now, we are talking only about imaginary children. Imaginary children have every right to be free of all ontological constraints, since they don’t exist.

              > I guess you’re suggesting only the immediate family members should be concerned with defending the child.

              This is the way reality works for real children. For real kittens, too.

              > Unfortunately, many family members are exactly who children need defense against,

              Can you name these children? Of course not, since they’re imaginary.

              > as certainly is true in the case of abortion.

              Another opportunity for adoptions on your part. How many lives have you saved this way?

              You will not change reality by wishing for it to be different. As I am noting for the third time now, your laws and threats protect zero children from homicide. My strategy will address this one fairly rare problem along with many, many others, some of them entirely too common. Why would anyone, including you, prefer a method that beyond all doubt does not and cannot work in preference to the one praxis that does work, self-responsibility?

              Everything starts with carrying your claims back to the object. Unless you are talking about real things, you are talking about nothing. And as soon as you take account of the actual inalterable nature of the real things considered, it becomes obvious that you cannot ever compel good behavior — nor prevent bad behavior. Human beings are indomitable. The rational thing to do is to respond accordingly.

              But, yet again: Why aren’t we talking about things that really matter to you?

  • Greg gave the perfect answer for the case at hand, and I’d like to deal with the principle. I don’t mean to pick on you, Michael, since you’re to be commended for saying anything at all, but you’re all we’ve got right now…you didn’t bring anyone else with you!

    You see, that’s the point. Everything in YOUR life is about what YOU do. Your words look innocent enough–who wouldn’t say them, after all–but here’s how they translate: “I want X, but I don’t want to do the actions to achieve X.”

    That’s it. That’s what it says. The “thought leaders” will come up with all sorts of rationalizations that this isn’t what it says, like, “I want a civil society and in a civil society, we don’t engage such actions on our own.” Sounds right, but it’s bullshit. That would be an argument for efficiency maybe, but not for morality. There can be no action that would be justified for an agent of yours, that isn’t justified for yourself. This should be obvious but if it’s not, just ask.

    This is the “meta-point” I’m trying to address, and it’s what the book is all about. There are only individuals out there and collectivizing the action doesn’t change its nature. If it is true that, “I want X,” then an immediate conclusion from that is that the responsibility for obtaining X–whatever the hell X is–lies with the person who desires it. This is an /existential fact/, not merely some ethical judgment. It becomes an ethical judgment when we understand what it implies, but I’m just offering the identification. If YOU want something, then the responsibility of obtaining it lies with YOU and nobody else. Until I agree that I want it too, I have no part in it.

    I guess all I’m saying is that one of the tricks our “thought leaders” use, is to remove the responsibility for something–ANYTHING–from the free-willed soul who desires it, to some imaginary collective that supposedly will accomplish it nonetheless. And of course, being a misidentification of reality, it doesn’t work.

    Little wonder so few of the good desires get accomplished, eh?

  • Michael Wurzer

    >>the one praxis that does work, self-responsibility<<

    Responsible to yourself for actions against others. For sure, but not enough.

    • >> the one praxis that does work, self-responsibility

      Responsible to yourself for actions against others. For sure, but not enough.

      That is, you won’t be happy with 6 until it is 9.

      My advice: Read the book again. Read it until you stop wishing for the impossible.

    • Michael Wurzer

      Also, what is the interest of the family in a purely self-responsible world?

      • > Also, what is the interest of the family in a purely self-responsible world?

        Whose family? Again: Unless you are talking about real things, you are talking about nothing.

        What is it that you’re trying to shoo away, like a cloud of gnats swarming your skull? Let’s that about that.

  • Michael Wurzer

    You posted about abortion and said it was no one else’s business other than the person aborting the baby. I’m trying to shoo that away. Your clarification that the family also has an interest is interesting to me, as I’m not sure how it follows from your first position. Overall, though, I’m certain we disagree about the nature, depth and reach of relationships, which likely is the source of our passing each other in the night. I congratulate you on publishing your philosophy and trying to engage others.

    • > said it was no one else’s business other than the person aborting the baby

      But I did not say that. I said it was none of my business, just as your family is none of my business.

      > Overall, though, I’m certain we disagree about the nature, depth and reach of relationships

      I specified my exact position in the book: Communities persist to the extent the members continue their voluntary participation in them.

      Take note that you do not have relationships with people you cannot name and who cannot name you.

      > the source of our passing each other in the night

      I’m pretty sure the problem is you insisting that you must have things you cannot have. That will self-correct in due course.

      My best to you.

      • Michael Wurzer

        >>Take note that you do not have relationships with people you cannot name and who cannot name you.<<

        Yes, this is where we disagree.

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  • Matt

    Great essay. I agree 100%. I have never been religious. I also have the attitude of ‘do whatever you want, doesn’t make it right’. I just mind my own business, which is probably wrong.

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  • MikeA

    Well. You’d have loved the article in _Harper’s_, in which the magazine asked a number of quoteable people to comment on abortion. One of the quoteabillies wrote that she considered abortion a matter of empowerment — an act whereby the woman having the abortion joins, as if spiritually, with her “sisters” throughout the world. Having an abortion isn’t merely a practical matter, then. It’s a political one — a defiant, revolutionary statement. Something of a self-esteem-booster, it seems. (The inert lump of cells in question, on occasion referred to by fascist patriarchs as “a baby,” was not available for comment.)

    • Faked abortion-pride is a fashion lately. They’re losing the battle for (unharvested) hearts and minds. Everyone born since 1973 knows it could’ve been him.

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