Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Voegeli on conservatism

Our friend Bill Voegeli has a brilliant piece in the current issue of the Claremont Review of Books.

His survey of what the friends and enemies of conservatism have to say about its way forward is a must-read.    

Discussions - 8 Comments

A great article.

Can congress make a law banning abortion if it creates a market based system to accomodate it?

In other words no one really disagrees that abortion is probably murder, or at least the destruction of a potential human being. What is missing is essentially a measure of how pro-life or how pro-choice americans are. It is altogether easy to take the moral high ground on abortion, but what if as Freaknomics notes/suggests the reduction in crime was due to abortion?

Why not propose legistlation banning abortion if and only if a group of people willing to sign unto a list to addopt children is sufficient to accomodate the increased birth rate?

This would give folks who are pro-life the power to make the law of the land pro-life, so long as enough folks were willing to addopt the children born. If the number of folks willing to addopt dropped bellow a certain threshold then abortion would become legal.

By signing on to the pro-life list you agree to take on a child from that point foward assigned randomly. All who would otherwise get abortions would be required to bring the child to term and then hand it over randomly to the addoption agency which would distribute it.

In other words to get rid of abortion we will have a nationalized addoption system that will act directly as a threshold for preventing abortion. In order to be pro-life you would have to be willing to addopt and your willingness to addopt would be the check upon the woman's right to choose. Because essentially the choice would still exist to be or not be a mother, but the terms of the termination would simply be black box addoption. The woman who would have otherwise had an abortion would simply have the child and then it would go to the state from which point it would go directly to a person who was pro-life and would be the responsibility of the pro-life mother as if it were her biological child(A more libertarian version of Plato's Republic?).

Being pro-life would essentially mean being willing to addopt, and the woman's right to choose motherhood would still be intact.

My bold two cents worth on a policy republicans could put foward(and actually work seriously towards).

My bold two cents worth on a policy republicans could put foward(and actually work seriously towards).


That's a silly policy proposal on several levels. For instance, congress cannot do any of the things you mention, as the Supreme Court exercises complete control over the matter of abortion.

In other words to get rid of abortion we will have a nationalized addoption system that will act directly as a threshold for preventing abortion.

This seems to be the latest would-be clever idea from the left. The moral and practical problems with it are overwhelming, but it's not meant to be taken seriously, it's meant to a "gotcha".

For instance, how would you react if I suggested that affirmative action should be voluntary, and that good liberal companies should hire all the unqualified minorities and allow conservative companies to opt out?

Or perhaps, liberals could bear the costs associated with liberal policy and start picking up a bigger share of the tax burden?

Just my bold two cents.

Crime is down due to the abortions. Wow, that is funny to see eugenics making such a strong comeback. If we just get rid of dirty blood and bad genetics we can have a utopia in our lifetime. Forced abortions for the feeble minded!.... this has all been tried many times already and it really is just a self serving line of bull crap.

I don't think Levitt is advocating eugenics, he is simply being a rogue economist. His blog at the New York Times is exceptional and his book is good.

If there were more Levitt's I think we could come to an equitable solution on abortion and a wide range of other issues.

I think the pro-life side has won the moral argument on abortion, what it needs to face and what the republican party needs to face is the practical means and obstacles towards implementing victory.

It is not clear to me that the supreme court exercises complete control over abortion. Which means that a woman's right to choose only exists in a bubble where the alternative choices are murder vs. complete moral tyranny over the right of the mother to property in her person(in the strongest Lockeian formulation).

If congress were to nationalize adoption provided enough people were willing to addopt it could claim emminent domain over the fetus.

In my opinion by extending the government more fully into the student loan business, Obama is moving the united states closer towards the vision of Plato's Republic, and opening up/broadning the field of public use.

King Solomon argued that the baby should belong to the woman who was willing to give it up rather than have it cut in half, but abortion is less complicated because the woman who wants it cut in half is also willing to give it up.

A challenge of the abortion regime via emminent domain would be brilliant, and there is nothing ethically that stands in the way of argueing that a woman has a right to choose abortion as opposed to adoption that is not simply a question of relative convenience.

The pro-life forces has exagerated the issue of responsibility free convenience, but if we call this liberty we must grant that at the very least the moral claims of those who are pro-life trump the inconvenience of the woman forced to bear the child to term.

In other words the moral arguements of the pro-life position in conflaguration with the extentions Obama is making in Eminent Domain should lead to the conclusion that the Government can declare that a woman seeking an abortion has met the threshold for condemnation. The transfer of the child upon birth to the government and then immediately to an individual willing to raise the child could without exageration fullfill a civic use and lead to the economic development of human capital.

I am not willing to concede that the pro-life side has won the moral argument on abortion. They are a long way from establishing that a fetus is a human being from the 'moment' of conception,(since there is no such moment), but even granting that, they are a long way from establishing full membership in the moral community. Of course my requirements for winning the argument require zero question-begging appeals to this or that religious metaphysics, or bankrupt potentiality or identity arguments. The adoption stuff mostly just points out conservative hypocrasies. The Voegeli article points to the problems all fundmentalist ideologies have - how to expand from a fanatical base. Hamas has a similar problem.

Ren, get a clue. You (and every other human being on this earth) were conceived when the sperm fertilized the egg and started the dynamic growth over nine months when you were born and grew up into an adult. Didn't you take 6th grade health class? Get rid of all the obfuscation and look at some very basic science. Based upon this fact, now decide when it's OK to deny life to this new life.

Ren, that is pretty petty of you. I love that you "require zero question-begging appeals to this or that religious metaphysics," as if the very ground you stand on is value-neutral. Hint: science could never tell us what justice is to the degree that it actually mattered, and requires many "question-begging appeals" itself. It seems that you seek answers to policy based solely on some construed idea of logos that you hold up, as if that were all one needed to be a good citizen.

If you were ever to take "this or that religious metaphysics" seriously, then you might learn something higher than what any fourth-rate reader of the Bible could blabber to you. And you then might understand why conservatism rejects most of the notions of such false gods you idolize: you might even come to understand the ancestral. Because without that knowledge it would seem impossible to understand both history and humanity. Of course, this will never happen as long as you stay inside your "moral community" which, from I understand of its naturalization requirements, no human being could ever be a part of.

Thanks for the kind words about my article, Joe, and posting the link to it.

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