So readers this is a heavy subject. Now that you’ve been cautioned to reading on, hear me out.
I’m a strident and proud capitalist. My political and economic philosophies endorse individual rights, reason, the protection of private property, and the true free market system that naturally extends. It would seem that I am one Atlas Shrugged reference away from an Ayn Rand disciple, but really I’m not.
In many important regards I believe that Ayn Rand was a influential an intelligent philosopher and author. To many of us she will be remembered for articulating something the United State of America will always need, a moral defense for free-market capitalism. The issue in my opinion was that she was also something of a paranoid polemicist with borderline delusions of grandeur and a tendency for overt if not dangerous idealism.
As a result the the intellectual mainstream that could have better contributed to her notion of Objectivism essentially banished her works because of her inability to admit that her philosophy isn’t a closed, or perfectly circular system. It is fluid and ever changing, ever expanding.
The crux of the problem for her is that her philosophy gives too much control of human values to our will and rational mind when in truth, our genetic make-up accounts for much of it. This accounts for her utter inability to explain and deal with children. Humans have a genetic nature and built into it is the occasional bit of tribal altruism. This is why the question of abortion is so entangling for many Libertarian or Conservative leaning individuals.
I think that most reasonable human beings would agree that both a second or third-trimester abortion are pretty repugnant because you have to perform an explicit act not only to remove the fetus from the womb but also to end his or her life. That second act to me separates late-term abortions from first trimester ones. Outlawing this procedure seems reasonable and just.
However, can we as a society collectively draw a line as to when it should happen?
Because of it’s scientific, emotional, and moral ambiguity abortion has become a leading political and moral wedge issue (while other important issues are left unnoticed) in America today. As a result political parties have essentially realigned along pro-choice and pro-life factions while abandoning scientific, and philosophically useful dialog and judgement.
The champions of reason and individual liberty are incapable of leaving abortion to discussion simply because Ayn Rand didn’t. The result is a divided libertarian outlook on the issue. We are all suffering as a consequence of this schism.