Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Debating morality in a liberal age

If liberalism is to be reduced to any single position it is the belief that autonomy is the overriding good in life.

I was reminded of this when reading a Twitter debate about abortion. The anti-abortionists were arguing that a woman should not take the life of the fetus in her womb. The pro-abortionist rejected this on the basis that the woman's autonomy trumped everything else.

He took this position to its logical conclusion in tweets like the following:

Something becomes moral, in this point of view, not because of its intrinsic nature, but if it is consensual. If a fetus fails to gain consent from its mother to live in her womb, its position becomes morally untenable. That is where the logic of making autonomy the ultimate test of morality - the ultimate good - takes us.

Update: A participant in the debate added what I think is a good insight into the possible mindset of liberals like "idahogie". It's worth considering:


  1. Socially acceptable attitudes toward abortion are the ultimate test of a society. We've failed.

    Perhaps we should welcome Islam - seriously. Islamic attitudes toward abortion are one positive. Another positive is their attitude toward usury. There are probably many others - I'm sure they don't embrace transgender indoctrination of children. I'm largely ignorant of Islam, but I find many aspects of our liberal society disgusting, abortion being a being one. The more degenerate our liberal society becomes the more attractive Islam will become.

    However sympathetic I might be to Islam, I am not sympathetic to Muslims. Why? Because they are alien to me and my people. I want my people to adopt some cherry-picked Islamic beliefs, but I don't want to be invaded by Muslim foreigners whose other cultural practices undermine our cohesive society.

    - Does that make sense?
    - Is it possible to be an Islamophile but hate Muslims?

    1. The more degenerate our liberal society becomes the more attractive Islam will become.

      Especially given that Christianity is no longer a viable alternative to liberalism. In fact Christianity today to a large extent is worse than secular liberalism.

      For anyone looking for a belief system that has a realistic chance of defeating liberalism Islam now seems like the only option. Perhaps a Europeanised variant of Islam?

    2. I'd chalk those stances up to leadership, with its background in academia, and increasingly homosexual. The average Church of England member, hardly a far-right group, wants the invasion to stop.


      Islamic attitudes on abortion are rather utilitarian, their higher fertility rate can be chalked up to the patriarchal nature of Islam, especially when enforced by Sharia as the civil law.

  2. Why shouldn't "autonomy" extend to the fetus? I will buy the "control over a woman's body" argument just as soon as women can create life in the womb without men or sperm. No doubt transhumanists are salivating over this very possibility, or inevitability.

    1. Autonomy is a logical consequence of universal suffrage. Abortion is highly unlikely to ever be made illegal by the democratic process.

      Using liberal thought, men should have the right to abortion as well, but liberals cannot allow this for fear of social unrest. At best they explain it away by saying that women bear the consequence of pregnancy, which is always somehow less than 18 years of financial support. An "unprincipled exception" as Auster said. It could be possible to have the courts create "male abortion", and it also might be created by referendum in a country like Switzerland.

      The unspoken assumption of the current system is that men need to be kept in a state of fear, in order to counterbalance their physical and fiscal superiority. I'm not quite opposed to that, but I wish it would be made explicit.