Would Mises be "Pro-Life?"

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    “Beings of human descent who either from birth
    or from acquired defects are unchangeably unfit for any action (in
    the strict sense of the term and not only in the legal sense) are practically
    not human. Although the statutes and biology consider
    them to be men, they lack the essential featurc of humanity. The
    newborn child too is not an acting being. It has not yet gone the
    whole way from conception to the full development of its human
    qualities. But at the end of this evolution it becomes an acting
    being.” p. 14 Human Action

    Would Mises have been pro-life? He seems to say that individuals who do not have the capacity to purposefully employ means for the attainment of ends (take action) by definition lack a characteristic of humanity. It may be that his recognition of the fact that a baby will ONE DAY be able to act is enough to support their right to life… so then, shouldn’t his definition of “human” be more precise to specify “acting humans?”

    And at what point is a person considered to have “one the
    whole way from conception to the full development of its human
    qualities?” Doesn’t all of life consist of learning and development?


    I think he is making a sociological/economic point here rather than a moral/ethical one.


    Mises was a Utilitarian, so it’s hard to say. Actually, it’s hard to say where many people would come down on this question until they’ve taken their position and explained how it connects to their general world view.

    I mean, Rothbard was a Natural Law theorist, and many (but by no means all) adherents to Natural Law are pro-life, but Rothbard was not.

    But be that as it may; what matters most IMO isn’t where they came out on this specific issue, but what you think is the correct position, even if that position is based on accepting their own general principles. I happen to think Rothbard went badly wrong on the whole issue of children (much less the unborn). A fair number of “Rothbardians” also think he did. Even great thinkers are not always correct (Mises utilitarianism I find unsatisfying, to say the least, and I think Rothbard was on firmer ground in taking a Natural Law approach).

    But it’s not really possible to ascribe views on this subject to anyone who didn’t explicitly take them, themselves. (It may be that Mises did express himself on the issue of abortion et al; I can hardly claim complete familiarity with all of his statements, alas).

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