Difficult Implications

“If a compelling idea implies something you don’t like, you should consider changing your mind and start liking it.” So says Will Wilkinson on the Niskanen Center blog, found via some wonks at another blog. I’ll have to dive into both of those more, but it made me think of an idea that I have never seen debated by people of good faith. I’m sure I need to look harder, but I’ll put it out there anyway.

Those who favor legal abortion any time and anywhere, who essentially assert libertarianism as a justification for their evil policy (baby killing, not libertarianism) — that is, who claim that laws should have nothing to say about what women do with their own bodies, and similar arguments — ought to be asked about the implications of their justification. Do they favor repeal of laws that control what drugs women (and men) can use? I wish they would be asked.

What is the best reply to that question? That drug use affects others, such as the families of drug abusers, so they aren’t comparable? I would almost be speechless at what that overlooked if it was the reply.

An abortionist could say that the argument that they are comparable presupposes that the unborn baby deserves as much respect as the drug abusers’ families. And it’s fair enough that much or all of the abortion debate falls back on whether one considers the unborn baby to be a person or to have the moral standing of nail clippings.

But my question is about crazy leftists who unknowingly make libertarian arguments in defense of their position. What are the odds that if they find their argument about abortion compelling, and they agree that it implies either (i) that drug legalization is justified, or (ii) that libertarianism more broadly is right, that they will consider adopting those positions?

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