Against Anti-Abortionism

The Historical Basis of Anti-Abortionist Sentiment

If we put aside all metaphysical and religious dogma and rely only on facts, or objective truths, then it is impossible to arrive at a hard anti-abortion position. Historically, abortion was condemned in Christianity (and in its derivative Islam) because it was believed that ensoulment—the obtaining of a soul—takes place before birth. In Christianity, it was held that ensoulment must take place at conception otherwise the human nature of Christ would have been fashioned in the womb, apart from His divine soul, prior to ensoulment. Since orthodox Christian theology held that Christ was not a man who became God (or a God who indwelt in a man) but rather God incarnate (the God-Man), it was necessary to insist that ensoulment happened at the very moment of conception. Thus, ensoulment was believed to take place at conception. Consequently, any abortion would necessarily constitute murder.

Only baptized individuals were allowed into heaven, which is why the early Church insisted on baptizing infants. Abortion would damn an infant/fetus to hell for all eternity as the souls of the unborn were unable to be saved through baptism. Abortion was also frowned upon by early Christians because of its association with Temple prostitution. This is the religious background for why abortion was viewed as murder. Islam, lacking the concept of a God-Man, held that ensoulment occured four months into the pregnancy. Thus, abortion was regarded as somewhat permissible prior to ensoulment, but not permissible after. The thing to note about these justifications for opposing abortion is that they are anti-scientific. They are based on arbitrary religious dogma and not on objective fact.

Beyond these old religious dogmas, the main argument against abortion is that the fetus either is human or has the potential to become a fully-developed human. This, though, is also non-scientific and non-objective. It is based on a vague sentiment and usually also on the speciesist assumption that human life is somehow more valuable than all other forms of life. This sentimentality and speciesism that lies beneath anti-abortion sentiments is really, in my opinion, based upon subconscious religious assumptions that have become ingrained in us through cultural and social conditioning—we, knowingly or unknowingly, assume that we are the greatest of all creatures, alone created in the image and likeness of God.

Is Social Democracy Socialism?

Socialism proper refers to the advocacy of some sort of collective, social, or public ownership of industry/enterprise and, usually, of land as well. We find many different varieties of socialism. Ricardian socialists advocate replacing private ownership of the means of production with worker-owned cooperatives. Marxists advocate public ownership by the State, which in turn would be run by the proletariat. Lange-Lerner socialism advocates public ownership of enterprise within a market system with central planning. Then there are the libertarian socialists, like Proudhon and Bakunin, who advocated worker-owned cooperatives alongside public ownership of land at the municipal level. Kropotkin’s variation of libertarian socialism had communal ownership, like decentralized Marxism minus the State, rather than independent worker-owned cooperatives as with Proudhon's mutualism and Bakunin’s collectivism. But all varieties of socialism have one common characteristic: they oppose private ownership of the means of production in favor of some sort of social ownership.

Capitalism, unlike socialism, refers more to the condition of things than the precise form of ownership. Capitalism is not private ownership and markets. There are countless examples of market economies with private enterprise that we would not regard as capitalism. Feudalism is a key example, as was medieval distributism. An essential characteristic of capitalism is the division of society into two classes, haves and have-nots, where the have-nots must work for the haves as wage-laborers in order to survive. Under capitalism, most people do not have any share of private ownership over the means of production, meaning that a small group of capitalists and landlords essentially rule over the masses. The vast majority of people under capitalism are not capitalists, which means that they must sell their labor to the capitalist class in order to survive. Wage-slavery is an essential characteristic of capitalism. For a system to be capitalism, it must have money, markets, and private ownership. It must be industrialized. Those are necessary but not sufficient conditions for classifying a system as capitalism. To be capitalism, wage labor must also be the normal mode of survival. Markets, private ownership of land and enterprise, and wage-slavery are the three necessary conditions that must be met in order for a system to constitute capitalism. There are other systems that also have division of people into haves and have-nots but do not constitute capitalism. Feudalism may have markets, private property, and division into haves and have-nots, but it doesn't have wage-labor as the norm and does not have an industrialized economy, so it is not capitalism.

The Displacement Continues

Exclusive interview with Om Amran on her Displacement from Daraa

Edited by Joanne Roberts

Last time we spoke with Om Amran she was in Daraa after being displaced by Assad for the fifth time. When asked whether she thought she would be displaced again. She said "No...... do not worry". Little did she know at the time that her days there were numbered.

I do not think the World let alone the Syrian people thought that Bashar Al Assad would actually empty another town of all it's inhabitants. Displace thousands of families and for what? Their only crime in this conflict was that they spoke the truth and spoke up against oppression and war crimes.
They asked for Freedom.

Q1 Whilst in Daraa is it true that the regime dropped leaflets asking you all to surrender or die? What did you think when you saw these threats?

About two months before the invasion of areas outside control of the regime in Daraa, the regime's planes occasionally dropped leaflets. The leaflets included messages from the regime which called on the people to fight terrorists and insurgents and promised that the militants would die if they did not lay down their arms. The words and phrases used by the regime were sometimes nice but often violent, included was the threat of death and murder. It should be noted that the areas where leaflets were dropped became areas of de-escalation under the truce declared in South-west Syria on July 9, 2017. It was under the control of the armed opposition factions that were not classified by the International community as extremist or extremist terrorist groups or extreme Islamic groups.

From Daraa to Idlib - One Syrian lady's tale of displacement at the hands of Assad.

The longer this war goes on the more Assad tries to silence the truth. While he displaces thousands of Syrian families they never have the chance to speak out. What was it like in Daraa? What was it like to lose your home yet again at the hands of the President and the Russians? Where do they go? What do they do?

These people have fears and worries and nobody seems to listen nor care. This is not the first time these people have faced displacement. This is just a continuation of homelessness and fear they have suffered for the past seven years. Nobody spoke up about Aleppo, nobody spoke up about Eastern Ghouta. Nobody spoke up about Daraa. We are asking you please to speak up about Idlib.

These are not terrorists as Assad makes out. These are human beings with families and children and they need our support. These are the thoughts of a lady in her 40's that was displaced from Daraa and found herself displaced in Idlib with the threat of Assad and Russia breathing down her
neck.

The Emergence of the Alt-Right and The Rise of Trumpism

Somebody said that the Alt-Right isn't really gaining popularity as much as it seems. Instead, they insisted that people like Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson are becoming more popular. To be clear, Shapiro and Peterson are Alt-Right. They're part of the same phenomena that gave us Richard Spencer and Steve Bannon. They aren't explicitly white supremacist like Matthew Heimbach and Christopher Cantwell, but they do give a nuanced and sophisticated critique of anti-racist, feminist, and anti-fascist ideas.

The right-wing in America had three factions historically. There were the classical liberals, libertarians, and traditional conservatives. The classical liberals and libertarians were substantially different, but similar enough that they are often lumped together. They were the advocates of free-market capitalism. On the other hand, traditional conservatism was rooted in Christianity and saw God as the basis for morality. Social ethics and politics were to be rooted in Christian values.

The Future of Europe: Brexit, the EU, and More

After some decades of incremental progress following the end of the Cold War, there is doubt over the future of Europe, illustrated most dramatically by the rise of ethnocentric political parties in a number of European nation-states, and the "Brexit" referendum of 2016. To understand this current situation and examination of the context of Europe is necessary, and how European unity has threatened traditional superpowers in such a way that it is in their interest to weaken this unity. For those whose political allegiance is towards individual liberties and social democracy, the fate of Europe is critical, as this is the region which has shown greatest commitment to these ideals.

Eurocentrism

Some Eurocentrism is justified, as the European peninsula of the Eurasian continental plate is central to modern world history, that is c1500 onwards. Prior to that traditional civilisations such as that of the Chinese or Arabic societies were well in advance of Europe. However, after this point, there were dramatic changes in Europe that continue to influence us today.

Free Trade vs. Laissez-Faire: Markets and Republicanism

I am not a proponent of laissez-faire, but I do advocate free trade. Effective and beneficial market systems require a certain amount of government intervention. I believe, like F. A. Hayek and Hernando de Soto Polar, that government intervention should be non-arbitrary and designed to create rules and order that allow for rational economic planning. Markets only work if there is a system of law governing property and contracts and a system of courts, judges, or tribunals for arbitration and dispute resolution. De Soto has made the observation that “property rights is the precursor to addresses.” Enforcement of contracts is very difficult, if not impossible, without addresses. If you want to file a civil suit against someone that ripped you off, how are they going to summon the other party to court without an address to deliver the summons to? And how would you send the police after someone that robbed you without an address? So, government creates this framework for property and addresses that makes law-enforcement and adjudication possible. Furthermore, government creates the legal framework that allows corporations to issue shares, which allows businesses to get money to do what they do. All of these things that are basically necessary components of market systems are products of government. For markets to work efficiently, government must intervene but it must not intervene arbitrarily—that is, government intervention must follow predetermined rules that allow individuals to plan accordingly. The government must not have the authority to arbitrarily interfere in economic affairs.

Social Democracy As An American Ideal

Many people refer to social democracy as "socialism," so that is probably where I should start. It is, for the most part, inaccurate (or meaningless) to call social democracy "socialism." In the modern context, the term is either just a slur devoid of substance or virtue signaling. Social democrats that call themselves socialists do so because it makes them sound more radical than they really are, which makes them feel cool, whereas people on the right use the term because it is a term of derision in their estimation. In either case, the term is devoid of any substantial meaning. Back in the day, social democracy was regarded as "socialism," because socialism just meant any critique of, or alternative to, the status quo in industrialized society. When Eduard Bernstein—the father of modern social democracy—was writing, his ideas were considered socialistic. At the time, the term "socialism" was so broad that advocating laissez-faire was considered socialism. Libertarian socialists like Benjamin Tucker and Ricardian socialists like Thomas Hodgskin actually advocated free-markets as the alternative to capitalism. You see, "capitalism" just meant actually existing economic arrangements in industrial societies, while "socialism" just designated anything other than that. Referring to social democracy as socialism harks back to a time when laissez-faire was also considered socialistic. Historically, it was correct to say that social democracy is "democratic socialism," but it is basically inaccurate to refer to social democracy as "socialism" today, even though some social democrats like Bernie Sanders do so. To refer to modern social democracy as "socialism" is anachronistic. "Socialism" isn't quite an accurate description of social democracy in our modern age. Language evolves over time and the definitions of terms change with it.

The Progressive Implication of Republican Liberty


Republican Liberty

Following the civic republican conception of liberty, I define freedom as the absence of domination. According to this classical republican conception, a man is free to the extent that no one has the ability to arbitrarily intervene in his choices. This contrasts with the liberal conception of liberty. The liberal conception defines liberty as the absence of interference. A man is free to the extent that no one does interfere. The absurdity of the liberal conception is that you can, according to their definition, have a free slave or a libertarian totalitarian monarch. If a slave has a benevolent master that simply never makes him do anything he does not want to do, then he is actually totally free upon liberal assumptions. If a king has absolute rule but chooses not to exercise it, and lets his subjects do whatever they like without restriction, then the liberal conception sees the king's subjects as totally free men.

The American founding fathers rejected liberalism in favor of republicanism. They rebelled against the king of England, but not because he was a particularly harsh ruler. In fact, according to liberal standards, American citizens were actually much freer before the revolution than they were after it. But the founding fathers did not see it that way. According to them, their relation to the kind of England was that of a slave to a master. They saw themselves as unfree because they lacked representation. If there are others who can impose arbitrary rules upon you without your consent, then you are unfree, even if they never actually choose to impose any such rules.

Contra the Austrian School on Deflation


Following the recession in 2008, Mark Thornton of the Austrian School of economics coined the term apoplithorismosphobia to refer to the “fear of deflation” prevalent among economists. He then proceeds with a half-assed, one-sided economic analysis to justify the laissez-faire approach of the Austrian School. Thornton points out that low interest rates and easy credit encouraged malinvestments during the boom and that deflation is part of the market correction process. Furthermore, he suggests that the average consumer ought to be delighted to see lower prices. He says,

“As malinvestments from the bubble are liquidated, the economy begins the correction process. The value of the malinvestments plummets. The values of loans backing these investments falls, and the money supply contracts as banks reduce lending. The price of capital and labor falls, and entrepreneurs discover new profit opportunities to redeploy the capital and labor that had been misdirected by the Federal Reserve's boom or bubble. As the price of goods falls, potential consumers become actual buyers.” (Mark Thornton, Bernanke's Apoplithorismosphobia)

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