Simplicity is wonderful. Perhaps we love it because so few things in real life are simple — and yet some incredibly simple laws can explain a huge range of apparently-subtle phenomena. John Tierney in a recent essay brings this tug-of-war to mind in his discussion of the political/moral issue of abortion rights and how some libertarians approach it:
There's probably no group more eager to be left alone by the government than members of the Libertarian Party, but even they don't buy this new right. They have bitter debates on abortion, with some calling the fetus part of the woman's body, and others insisting it's like a stowaway on a ship who must be kept alive. (A few hard-core believers in property rights say that even a stowaway can be tossed overboard, but they're not in danger of being elected to anything.)
And that reminds me of a libertarian bumper-sticker I saw some years ago:
|I'm pro-choice on everything!|
Well, I'd have to say almost everything—but nuance doesn't make as fine a slogan ...
(see "Pro-choice but Anti-NARAL" by John Tierney in the New York Times (13 Aug 2005); cf. SimpleAnswers (4 May 1999), ComplexityFromSimplicity (5 Aug 1999), ComplexSimplicity (12 Feb 2000), EmbarrassedLibertarian (28 May 2000), AwesomelySimple (26 Jan 2001), ProofsAndRefutations (24 Jun 2004), AlGore (14 Sep 2004), ...)