L. Neil Smith's

Number 4, January 1996

With Liberty and Justice for Some...
Libertarians' Faulty Logic

By Christine Krof Shock

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

"Sooner or later all politicians die swallowing their own lies" ...Claire Luce

         It is amazing how the Libertarian National Committee and its potential presidential nominees can talk out of both sides of their mouths at the same time. On one issue, abortion, they believe that since there is no specific constitutional guarantee to the right of an abortion, that they can delegate these rights to the states for decisions. However, when it comes to concealed carry of weapons, they certainly believe that neither the federal government nor the states should have the power to regulate. What Libertarians forget is that like abortion, there is no specific constitutional guarantee to concealed weapons. The courts have determined that the states have every right to regulate the way citizens carry weapons.
          There are definite parallels between the two issues. Carrying a concealed weapon and abortion up to the point of quickening were both legal at the time the constitution was written. These were individual liberties that were in the hands of the people. The Founding Fathers did not foresee these rights being abridged by the states, thus made no direct provision for them in the constitution. The original framers did include general provisions on the right to bear arms and the right to privacy. It is these general provisions that have been modified through court decisions. In most states, it is almost impossible to gain access to a concealed carry permit. It is also becoming harder for women to obtain an abortion due to restrictive laws passed by states. Libertarians are outraged when they are told they may have a waiting period before obtaining a weapon. Shouldn't they be just as outraged when a woman is told that she will have to wait 24 hours before she can access the services of her doctor?
         A basic tenet of Libertarianism is that, if you must ask permission before exercising a right, you are not free. Libertarians who believe in this tenet are disgusted by the micromanagement of concealed carry permits. In most states obtaining a permit is not seen as an undue burden upon the individual who would carry a weapon. This leaves Libertarians at the mercy of local or state governments if they choose to exercise concealed carry. They must hope a sympathetic sheriff or other law enforcement official will grant them a concealed carry permit. Woman face much the same micromanagement when they choose abortion. In most states, permission issues such as 24 hour waiting periods, parental consent, judicial review etc., have not been seen to cause an undue burden on a woman seeking abortion. Women must hope that a sympathetic parent, judge or state will grant an abortion. Libertarians are demeaned when they have to beg to carry a gun. Shouldn't Libertarians be just as demeaned when women have to beg for an abortion?
         Libertarians are horrified by the tragedies at Waco and Ruby Ridge. Cries of "The government overstepped its bounds" and "jack-booted thugs" ring through party meetings. Libertarians see these incidents as direct government assaults on basic liberty. A comparable assault occurred when a home was stormed by state police. This family's crime; they had consented to their 15 year old daughters abortion. The New York Times reported that their house was violently invaded by the boyfriend, his parents and friends; their daughter was taken from them in the middle of the night by law enforcement officers determined to stop her from having an abortion; she was put into foster care, and finally, she was ordered by a judge not to abort the pregnancy. The state has shown that it will abuse the powers accorded to it, just as the federal government abused its powers in the Ruby Ridge and Waco incidents. Libertarians are furious that the Feds may have the right to invade their homes at any time and for any reason. Shouldn't they be just as furious that the states have the right to invade a woman's womb?
          States should have no power when it comes to individual liberties. As it has been shown, the states have no more respect for individual rights than the federal government. Whether it be concealed carry or abortion, the use of force against individuals should not be tolerated at the federal, state or party level. When members join the party, they sign a pledge not to use coercion to achieve personal, ethical or religious goals. Nor should members be compelled to tolerate force against a specific right, just because it is unpalatable to our candidates or our party. As for individuals and parties that would entrust individual rights to the states, I give them the wisdom of Ayn Rand .

...not a defender of individual rights, but merely of states rights -- which is far, far from being the same thing. When he denounces Big Government, it is not the unlimited, arbitrary power of the state that he is denouncing, but merely its centralization -- and he seeks to place the same unlimited, arbitrary power in the hands of many little governments. The break-up of a big gang into a number of warring small gangs is not a return to a constitutional system nor to individual rights nor to law and order.

         Coercion by any other name, even under the guise of states rights, is still coercion.

Christine Krof Shock has been an advocate for reproductive freedom since the early 1980s when a friend unsuccessfully tried to self abort because of restrictive parental consent laws. She has vowed to Never Again witness the aftermath of a another illegal abortion or to let the states turn back Roe v. Wade. She also gives permission for this to be reprinted on any media -- including electronic.

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