Rumors are swirling today that The Blaze has cut their rising star Tomi Lahren loose over comments she made about abortion on the View recently. To whit:
“I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say, ‘I’m for limited government but I think the government should decide what women do with their bodies,’” she said.
She continued, “I can say, ‘you know what, I’m for limited government, so stay out of my guns and you can stay out of my body as well.’”
Conservatives are up in arms against Tomi, but for such a disappointing reason. I can easily disagree with Tomi on her assertion that the government has no right to ‘decide what women do with their bodies’ on logical grounds alone. Does the government have a right to intervene if I decide to use my body to, say, choke a feminist until she’s dead? Hey, it’s just my body, right? I’m unarmed. What’s the problem?
Sadly, it seems that conservatives are out with knives for Tomi because she did not toe the party line. The same critics who scoff at liberals who appear to have no room for pro-life feminists are now sharpening spikes for Tomi’s head, because apparently conservatism has no room for pro-choice conservatives. To be absolutely clear here, I disagree with Tomi, but I am wholly in favor of her right to be completely and utterly wrong!
Regular readers of this blog may recall that my views on abortion have been incoherent, confused and often wrong. It’s a complex subject that does not and cannot lend itself to easy answers. While I believe violence to be the only truth, death is irrevocable, and by definition, any decision that involves death will be complex and fraught with ethical implications. The left avoids this conundrum by squealing that abortion isn’t death, and this argument is sufficient for many, it would appear. It cannot and should not be sufficient for anyone willing to think deeply and coherently on the subject.
Before we get back to Tomi, I want to take a moment to share with you an argument I recently had with a man whose intellect and intelligence I greatly admire and respect. We were speaking about abortion and he asked me if I thought ‘future people’ could exist, and if they could, did they have any rights? Feminists have been very successful at casting the abortion argument in terms of gender: if you oppose abortion, it’s because you hate women. If you support abortion, it’s because you love women and believe in equal rights. This is utterly preposterous, of course. The abortion issue is not a discussion of misogyny or equality. It is fundamentally a discussion about when life begins, and who has a right to take that life.
It’s possible, as some bioethicists have done, to argue that parents have an absolute right to take the life of their children. Children are property, full stop. Curious that there is no argument for selling children. Surely, if children are property, like cars or shoes, we should be allowed to sell them? We can sell eggs and sperm and rent wombs, but we can’t sell living, breathing babies. We can sell dead babies and their useful parts, but not living ones. Why not?
Feminists have argued that women should be able to kill unborn children for any reason, at any stage, up until the moment of crowning, with no questions asked. The justifications on offer are few and far between, beyond “because reasons and why do you hate women?”
Not terribly compelling.
Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, and based on the Constitution, that life is inherently valuable and the state cannot deprive anyone of life without a really good reason.
The question then becomes when does life begin? Who counts as alive? Anti-abortionists tend to believe that life begins at conception. Pro-abortionists tend to believe that life begins once a breath is drawn outside the womb. Many feminists do not think it matters and just want women to have the power to determine life and death for everyone. Each of these beliefs can be challenged on merit alone, and they should be! Anti-abortionists who offer God as the sole and single reason for why they oppose abortion are as easily dismissed as feminists who offer Vagina as a single and sole reason. Both are nonsensical. Both are antithetical to the values of the Enlightenment, which, by the way, is the reason Western culture is superior to all others.
My philosopher friend, however, walked me through a rational, reasonable, logical reason for why life might begin at conception, and why abortion is thus always ethically wrong (from a Constitutional perspective of life being inherently valuable).
The anti-abortion argument rests on future people.
My first reaction to the idea of future people was to scoff heartily. Future people are akin to pink elephants and honest salesmen. They don’t exist. End of story. Period. Move along there is literally nothing to see here.
But wait a second.
Imagine for a moment a young man or woman who is in some sort of accident that renders him or her incapable of having children. Birth Control Spiderman gets bit by a radioactive arachnid and can never produce viable sperm. White Water Rapids Barbie takes an oar splinter throw both ovaries (I don’t know how – just play along for the moment) and can never produce viable eggs. Neither Barbie nor Spiderman is ever going to have children, period.
Do they have a right to sue for that damage and on what grounds? What is lost? What is the value of what has been lost?
Future people Barbie and Spidey might have wanted to produce have been lost and that is a significant loss. Now we get to another tricky question: is that loss accrued to Spidey and Barbie, or the future people themselves, who do not yet exist? Is the loss accrued to the wider society? Is it a loss at all? Anyone who has an immediate answer to this is either brilliant, or not really thinking. Future people are difficult little critters to consider. If future people do exist, and they do matter, and they do have rights, (and yes, those are mighty big ifs), when does the life of a future person begin? You don’t even have to agree that future people matter or have rights to answer the central question: when do future people begin? At what point does the egg and the sperm become a life?
It is logical and rational to conclude that life begins at conception, in these terms. I think the argument falls apart on deeper consideration and still believe that human life is the product of a brain and a body that must operate in unison, but I can understand perfectly why others might disagree and it has nothing to do with ‘because God’. For me, life begins when the brain begins to function in such a way that an ‘I’ is present. I am not opposed to abortion prior to that moment of sentience or consciousness (we don’t even have a good word to describe that moment, which is odd). After that, it’s no longer ‘your body, your choice’. Someone else exists in their own body, and that someone has rights.
Including the right to life.
I would be perfectly happy to sit down with Tomi and talk to her about these ideas, and I think Tomi has no objection to considering other points of view. She may very well conclude that I’m wrong, or decide to cling to her illogical and irrational view that limited government should include the government ignoring what can rationally be construed as murder. No matter what the circumstances, Tomi’s misstep on abortion does not negate every other sane, solid, rational thing she has said, nor does it invalidate her considerable and admirable work for other important conservative causes.
Throwing Tomi and Milo and other outrageous, provocative conservative stars to the wolves when they say something truly outrageous or provocative is playing by the rules of the other side. Which aren’t rules at all so much as they are barbed constraints designed to fetter and control.
I personally have a great deal of faith in both Milo and Tomi.
Throw them to the wolves and they will return.
Leading the pack.
Watch and see.
Lots of love,