Where does the self end and government begin?

Recently read a few sentences off a post shared on social media. A woman killing her own babies if they were born as female and one of the comments read: Government should arrest this woman. This is illegal. This incident triggered a chain of thoughts as to who really has the supreme authority to decide whether the babies should live? Their mother or the government? Assuming of course that the mother herself was the owner of her thoughts.

If someone roams naked on the streets, why should the government arrest that person? What harm is it to others. Why should you be punished for attempting to end your life? Why are such actions illegal even though they do not seem to affect anyone else (the opening case is a bit more complicated). Where on the spectrum of ownership, our self becomes inferior to the law. Is that limit being pushed in more? Is free will doomed to be a myth?

In the first case, when and why does the right to keep a baby get transferred from the bearer of the child to the government? Why is abortion legal then? Why shouldnt it be? Shouldnt the mother be the sole decision maker? Does she have a choice? Who should be killed and who should be protected under law, who decides that?

The only way to justify all this is to accept the fact that living in a society has made us sign invisible contracts of the community. Where our actions are not judged on the basis of ownership or their impact on fellow beings but primarily on their potential to provoke others. An action is illegal if imitating it may cause a disrupted society, more mildly put, a society deviating from the ideal, the norm. Who decides this ideal? The society obviously, the government. The deciding question now is: Will the emulation of this act cause a disorder in the society. If yes that action is illegal. The boundaries of ownership do not matter then(if they even exist).

APRIL 8, 2015



  1. _pMAY 30, 2015 AT 6:49 PM

    Interesting points, but abortion is legal only until a certain stage in pregnancy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_India) Before that, we dont considered it as a person so its different from the case you described. Its again debatable though who decided this time limit for considering someone a person .. difficult question to answer indeed. Killing already born babies is clearly criminal though, the mother could give up children to some organizations for taking care of them, no need to kill them! She doesnt own them, no one owns them.

  2. kishore jagtapJULY 2, 2015 AT 6:09 AM

    Apt analysis of the issue. Would like to add here that though society at large decides the customs, traditions, rituals, behavior,values, culture etc..What is important for an individual as well as a group or society is Morality.virtues against vice in every action..I think individual is only responsible for his action..he/she doesnt have any ownership of any individual even if it is the creator of that individual but he/she is the owner of his action and therefore fruits of his/her action is also only his/her.. good or bad depending whether the action is good or bad. ..Of all I think taking life of any living being is biggest sin Governments job is to govern, make policies, rules,enact law ( obviously as per constitution )etc to uphold morality in the society or country.

    Civilizations that have high moral values or upholders of high moral values have sustained and progressed ..history is full of evidence of this fact..Our own very example is Emperor ASHOKA and his vast empire.high moral values .to instill the same values in our society we have Ashok Chakra in National FlagEmblem in National currency notes etc. ..I hope i have not gone too far from the subject..

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