What Is the Libertarian Position on Abortion? UPDATED

That is the question posed by Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey to Reason Magazine’s Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie for their “Ask A Libertarian” video series:

Ed reacts with appreciation for a “measured, thoughtful response.” As you might expect, I’m not so charitable.
No, Ed, this was not a thoughtful response. A thoughtful response would have asked what the scientific evidence reveals about the humanity of the unborn, and the discussed how the answer relates to the nature of liberty (you know, the root word of “libertarian”) and the libertarian purpose of government. Instead, all we got was platitudes about respecting differing views wrapped around, quite frankly, Naziesque talk of a “sliding scale of humanity” and how “definitions of life and death change with time.” Gillespie even admits that the sliding scale is an intuitive idea, rather than a logical argument.
I’ll be the first to acknowledge that there are principled, consistent libertarians out there, like Libertarians for Life, who embrace the full implications of the statements “all men are created equal” and “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.” But in what might be the most disturbing part of the video, Welch claims that only about 30% of libertarians call themselves pro-life. If that number is accurate (and I don’t know if it is), then that confirms my worst suspicions about libertarianism being merely a form of liberalism that wants to keep its paycheck rather than a sincere, coherent liberty ethos.
But hey, that moral and intellectual confusion is one of the reasons I’m a conservative and not a libertarian. That’s their knot to untangle, and I hope for the sake of the Right as a broader coalition that pro-life libertarians are successful in untangling it.

UPDATE: Speaking of libertarians and social issues, Ann Coulter nukes Ron Paul and company along similar lines, in a column so good we’ll let slide her misguided infatuation with Chris Christie:

Most libertarians are cowering frauds too afraid to upset anyone to take a stand on some of the most important cultural issues of our time. So they dodge the tough questions when it suits their purposes by pretending to be Randian purists, but are perfectly comfortable issuing politically expedient answers when it comes to the taxpayers’ obligations under Medicare and Social Security.

If they could only resist sucking up to Rolling Stone-reading, status-obsessed losers, they’d probably be interesting to talk to.

In my book “Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America,” I make the case that liberals, and never conservatives, appeal to irrational mobs to attain power. There is, I now recall, one group of people who look like conservatives, but also appeal to the mob. They’re called “libertarians.”

Bill the Bigot

The ever-reprehensible Bill Maher is at it again. This time, he’s launched a blatantly bigoted attack against Pope Benedict XVI. ALL has the details, and a call to action, at FireBillMaher.com. I’ve signed the petition, and so should you.

A Glimpse into the Heart of Evil

Back during the 2003 debate over partial-birth abortion, Slate ran an editorial by abortionist Warren Hern entitled, “Did I Violate the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban?” His thesis is that the law’s language was vague, which would lead to problems. Full disclosure: I haven’t looked at his argument in detail (I might for a future post, and if you want to read the law for yourself, click here). In my opinion, there’s no substantive moral difference between a month-1 abortion and a month-9 abortion. But right now my interest is in Hern’s closing paragraph:

“Earlier this year, I began an abortion on a young woman who was 17 weeks pregnant. Because of the two days of prior treatment, the amniotic membranes were visible and bulging. I ruptured the membranes and released the fluid to reduce the risk of amniotic fluid embolism. Then I inserted my forceps into the uterus and applied them to the head of the fetus, which was still alive, since fetal injection is not done at that stage of pregnancy. I closed the forceps, crushing the skull of the fetus, and withdrew the forceps. The fetus, now dead, slid out more or less intact. With the next pass of the forceps, I grasped the placenta, and it came out in one piece. Within a few seconds, I had completed my routine exploration of the uterus and sharp curettage. The blood loss would just fill a tablespoon. The patient, who was awake, hardly felt the operation. She was relieved, grateful, and safe. She wants to have children in the future.”

Read that again. This “doctor” is describing an act of murder, admitting that his victim was “alive” at the time, and doing so without the slightest hint of regret or embarassment; indeed, he is proud of the grotesque way in which he makes a living! I’ve never been surprised at the existence of evil in this world, but the degree of acceptance his kind has achieved in so-called civilized society still makes me sick to my stomach.