A Libertarian Case for Banning Contraceptives

Yes, really. I think I’ve stumbled upon one.

Earlier this week I read an article in the National Catholic Register from 2015 about the contamination of drinking water by a host of medications, contraceptives and artificial hormones chief among them. That means most Americans – men, women, and children – are ingesting someone else’s birth control either unknowingly or against their will. Water is, after all, a basic necessity of life and common, natural resource.

If there is one function libertarians will grant to the government, it’s the task of protecting property rights. And a lot of the libertarians I know want to say that self-ownership, the right bodily autonomy, is the most basic property right.

Putting these two thing together, it becomes clear that libertarians must support a ban on contraceptives and artificial hormones. Importantly, this isn’t based on the moral status of contraceptives, but on the way they are forced upon unwilling partakers. If contaminants are being dumped into your drinking water, the state can be called upon to protect your property. Contraceptive chemicals are such unwanted contaminants. It’s virtually the same as forced castration, sterilization, vaccination, taxation, and other such travesties.

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Moar Willpower

Two things I think are related:

1) For reasons I don’t entirely understand, it has become normal in certain parts of the Christian subculture to join the secularist crusade against any concrete application of the biblical exhortations to modesty. Suggesting that bikinis or skin-tight yoga pants are not proper public attire has been castigated as legalistic and “abusive.” It isn’t a woman’s responsibility if a man lusts as a result of seeing her curves or other anatomy. (One extreme anti-modesty zealot asserted that a Christian man ought to be able to stand in front of a string-bikini-clad woman and not think a thing except something like “this could be my daughter.”)

These anti-modesty activists wholly discount the psycho-physiological realities of male sexuality. They view people, men particularly, in this case, as brains on sticks.: detached, sovereign wills that have unlimited power to act. The only factor in what a person thinks, says, or does is what they choose. External stimuli either have no effect, or can be completely conquered if only a man chooses it.

2) More understandable to me is the increasing (or so it seems to me) interest in libertarianism. Or, at least, a popular expression of libertarianism that I’ll call market fundamentalism. For the market fundamentalist, the answer to every social and economic problem is to deregulate something. Are monopolies dominating markets and undercutting mom-and-pops? Deregulate them. Are peddlers of smut delivering their wares to ever-younger victims? Deregulate them. Are corporations polluting the commons? Deregulate them. All these problems are somehow solely the fault of the government.

The market fundamentalist cannot conceive that the market might reward or encourage evil behavior, or if it does, that a person might not be able to resist those enticements. No, if we see problems in our society and economy, then those suffering under those problems are to blame. Their only recourse is to muster up their willpower and make a better decision.

Both of these errors, along LGBTism and transhumanism, share the same wrong-headed view of man; they all have a false anthropology. They see man as unlimited will. The only thing that matters is what he chooses, and he can choose whatever he will. There is no consideration of his limits. He is not embodied. He’s completely self-made.

We need to shore up our understanding of nature, custom, and human limits.