A Modest Proposal

Call it an epiphany, if you will.  A triumphant solution to the issue of abortion!

Since abortion pits the present against the future, our generation versus those unborn, we should start by giving the future a voice in our present politics.

“Even if we can’t know what future citizens will actually value and believe in, we can still consider their interests, on the reasonable assumption that they will somewhat resemble our own (everybody rationally desires to live, for example).”  Since “our ethical values point one way, towards intergenerational responsibility, but our political system points another, towards the short-term horizon of the next election,” we  “should consider introducing agents who can vote in a far-seeing and impartial way.”

Wells suggests creating a public “trusteeship” of nongovernmental civic and charitable foundations, pro-life groups and nonpartisan think tanks “and give them each equal shares of a block of votes adding up to, say, 10 percent of the electorate,” so they can represent issues like “not being torn limb from limb” and “respecting essential human nature” for the unborn generation that will be deeply impacted but has no vote.

Just kidding.  Someone else came up with it already, except about the environment and not abortion.

But let’s treat it like a thought experiment–and what an experiment it is!  Think of it: a coalition, given the power of 10% of the vote, for the issues that they are concerned with most!  A very large percentage of major elections are won with less than a margin of ten percent; many minor ones fit the bill too.

It would undoubtedly allow for most current abortion law to be swept back to pre-Roe, technologically and scientifically updated, with legal wording that recognizes the human rights of the unborn.

What’s that, you say?  The unborn might not grow up to be pro-life?

Thankfully for us, this proposal addresses that already.  Instead of addressing what views they may have when they reach maturity, it acts in their interest.  That’s what the proposal allows: and if their interest is strong enough to give them a political voice, then their interest is strong enough to allow them to…survive fetal development.

What’s that, you say?  It places undue burden on women?  It doesn’t seem that big of a deal to the esteemed philosopher who thinks that we can burden all of society in the interests of the unborn; would it really be a stretch to burden* society in a lesser way, especially if systems existed to help pregnant women and mothers?  After all, it is in our best interest, and that of the unborn as well.  The philosopher quoted above was kind enough to explain that the conflict of a current lifestyle cannot be rightly pitted against the interest of future generations, which happens to be a decent point as far as it goes.  This author finds it absurdly amusing that it was applied to environmentalism.

I’m sorry?  “That’s completely undemocratic, and is a slap in the face of the idea of self-government?”  Well, this author would have to agree with you on the ‘undemocratic’ thing, and the “We know what’s best for you” thing rubs most everyone that disagrees with it (no matter what that is) the wrong way.

But it all strikes this author as fantastical.  By all means, the environment requires good stewardship; and we do need to think about the future; but if we’re going to use some very important terms in dealing with the unborn, let’s at least see where else that rhetoric and reasoning goes.

And this author suspects that most people who would agree with Wells would probably be able to turn coal into diamonds with their butt cheeks at the thought of using their language to extend the same environmental interests to matters of abortion.

*’Burden’ is loaded language, but I’m using it here since it’s the common (and uncritically accepted) rhetoric.

(Edited to remove incorrect nationality for Wells.  The author regrets the error.)