What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Killing the untermensch

It's always worth remembering that the worldview of the left is not, in fact, ultimately kind and gentle and loving. In particular, idealistic young Christians who are, shall we say, trying to learn from the left should remember this fact. What fellowship has light with darkness? The left has identified itself squarely with the murder of the helpless again and again, and this is no accident. It is the logical conclusion of an ethical worldview that devalues human life.

Some links that bring that fact home. In Switzerland, the Salvation Army runs a nursing home. They have been told that they will lose "charitable status" if they do not have the killing of their elderly residents (you know, "assisted suicide") carried out on-site. I don't know all the legal and financial ramifications of the loss of charitable status in Switzerland. Presumably it means the loss of any government funding. In the U.S. such a loss would also mean that donations are not tax deductible, that in-take of money is taxable, and (at a local level) that the property can have heavy property taxes levied. This would drive many charities out of business, precisely because they really are charities rather than for-profit entities and cannot afford to operate as the latter. Similarly, Quebec requires all hospitals and nursing homes, including those with a Christian identity, to offer euthanasia.

Ethical health professionals are thus faced with a devil's alternative--go out of business and leave the field to those with no qualms about murder, or participate in the killing. The only tertium quid is quiet, secret civil disobedience. But it is unlikely that that would be allowed for long. Any institution that refused a family's request for euthanasia for an elderly relative would doubtless be "outed" quite quickly and the "wrong" put right.

I believe that suicide and assisted suicide are wrong even for the person in his right mind (otherwise). But the murderous program of the left doesn't stop there. Did you think it would?

In California (yes, here we Americans can't be shaking our heads at those Canadians and Swiss anymore) the new euthanasia law expressly makes provision for the killing of the mentally ill, including those who are so mentally ill that they have had to be institutionalized to prevent them from...er...killing themselves. See also here. Wesley J. Smith also tells in detail about a case in Oregon (where people were told all about the wonderful "safeguards" on the suicide law) where a man named Michael Freeland was hospitalized for, inter alia, suicidal ideation. He had cancer and already had a lethal prescription at home, given to him by a suicide activist doctor. But evidently he went to get help for his depression rather than taking it. Wesley Smith quotes a cool chart note about Freeland when he was sent home from the hospital.

[A] January 24 chart notation noted that Freeman "does have his life-ending medications that he states he may or may not use, so that [in-home care] may or may not be a moot point."

Well, that would make things convenient, wouldn't it? In the end, Freeland did not commit suicide but died naturally, surrounded by friends who were willing to help him rather than encourage him to kill himself.

What all this makes clear is that, in both Oregon and California, assisted suicide is for those who are considered better off dead. Rational choice is in the picture only in a distant, hypothetical sense. See this post on the philosophy of Ronald Dworkin for more on that point.
So much for "rational suicide."

Let's move beyond suicide to the killing of those who have never been able to have any wishes on the matter--the unborn. The Danes are moving towards eliminating Down Syndrome by murdering all unborn infants with Down Syndrome before they see the light of day. And one opinion poll found 70 percent of Danish men and 50 percent of Danish women believe that it is a good thing that fewer children with Down Syndrome are being born. (Side note to misogynists who like to use statistics: In this particular case, the men seem more ruthless than the women. Then again, we don't know if the Danes in the survey fully realized that fewer children with Down Syndrome are being born because they are being killed.) (HT to colleague Sage for the story.)

This would be a great opportunity for the organization Saving Down Syndrome to try to get Denmark charged with genocide, as they have attempted in the case of New Zealand.

Big picture moment: Recently I saw a discussion of how we can do the most good to help the world with our time and talent. Heinous philosopher Peter Singer has, as it happens, a book called The Most Good You Can Do, and I found that this book was being blandly cited as a part of the "literature" (even by Christians) on "effective altruism," as though Singer were an authority on how we can do the most good in this world. In one passage, Singer makes the (pretty trivial) point that sometimes we can do more good by working on some issue that might seem less urgent than another, if it is an area that is understaffed, as it were. Singer's example? His own decision to work in the area of animal rights for his philosophical career. Let's remember that this is the area where Singer has developed the word "speciesism" in order explicitly to reduce the notion of human exceptionalism to the level of racist bigotry. This is the area where Singer has explicitly attempted to tear down any notion of the imago dei. This is the area where Singer has explicitly elevated animals at the expense of humans by popularizing "personhood theory" according to which some humans (notably newborns and the seriously cognitively disabled) are not actually persons (that is, they are untermenschen) while some animals with high animal intelligence actually are persons. And all of this is nicely integrated with Singer's murderous overall utilitarianism that justifies, e.g., parents' killing a disabled newborn infant in order to "replace" him with a healthier child they give birth to later.

That's Peter Singer. But if you go into ethics, you'll be expected to treat him as an authority on how you and I can do the most good in this sad, sorry world. While he congratulates himself on developing his wicked theories as an instance of an effective use of one's time and talents to do the most good. Arguably, the world would be a better place if Professor Singer had instead spent all of his time on something relatively frivolous like, I dunno, yacht racing.

The worldview that holds that human beings are special and each uniquely valuable and that deliberately killing an innocent human being is always wrong is completely at odds with the worldview of the Dworkinses and Singers. They are bound to come to radically different conclusions about a whole host of morally urgent issues, issues that are on the table today, issues that will affect the lives of all healthcare professionals, caregivers, and of the most vulnerable among us. If we're tone-deaf to this and attempt to make our peace with the utilitarian ethicists of our day, because they sound so concerned for the poor (for example), we will sell our souls.

So let's not do that.

Comments (6)

Hey, you didn't mention Trump at all! :)

Prager had a video recently wherein a study was mentioned; a finding of the study was that two thirds of the participants said that they would save a dog over a human who was drowning. I thought, 'That can't be. People' aren't that obtuse!'

I found a simmilar report here https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animals-and-us/201306/would-you-save-puppy-or-child-burning-building. The setup is similar - a modified trolley problem - and about 40% would save their dog over a human (if foreign tourist, less if more closely related). Less - a still alarming 12% - if it was a random dog. Hopefully they would act differently than they said they would if it were real life, yet it is still quite alarming. One wonders how much of this attitude has worn off from the musings of "ethicists" like Singer, and how much more views will change. (Do they think that species doesn't matter, or are they just going to be weak and prefer what makes them happy?)

I have recently read the chapter on animals in David Oderberg's "Applied Ethics" and found it persuasive, however, most animal rights advocates and those harping on speciesism point to 'they have language' 'they have emotions' etc. to justify their rejection of human exceptionalism. In doing so I think they fundamentally misunderstand it. For example, take this quote:

It's time to debunk the myth of human exceptionalism, a shallow and self-serving perspective on who we are. Of course we're exceptional in various arenas as are other animals.

It seems that she is equivocating on what it means to say 'humans are exceptional.' It seems that this attitude is like saying, 'We have exceptional thinking abilities, free will, awareness of acting for the good, and apes have exceptional strength, and whales are exceptionally strong, and well, since we are all conscious, have emotions, and like some others can make tools there is no difference in those previous exceptions - we are all exceptional!'

It's time to debunk the myth of human exceptionalism, a shallow and self-serving perspective on who we are. Of course we're exceptional in various arenas as are other animals.

J. Budziszewski related this encounter:

I once listened to a scholar present a paper rejecting what he called theocentric and anthropocentric ethics and defending what he called ecocentric ethics. He said all life deserved equal concern and respect. He wondered out loud why we don’t consider the rights of bacteria. During the response period I posed him a problem: "I am driving in my automobile. A little girl darts into the road from the right, and at the same moment two dogs dart into the road from the left. Should I swerve to the left to miss the girl and hit the dogs, or swerve to the right to miss the dogs and hit the girl? After all, they have equal rights, and there are two of them and only one of her." His reply: "I admit that there are some unresolved problems in ecocentric ethics."

That's an understatement.

Ha! Scott, that's hilarious. Of course it has unresolved problems - it's as dumb as mud on a rock. You have to be as dumb as a rock to pass from wondering about it for a moment or two, to concocting a whole theory, to actually presenting a paper and displaying to the whole world that you are as dumb as a rock.

But I have to tell you, it isn't going to stop at animals. There are plenty of people who are convinced that "plants have feelings too". And, in an amazingly prescient move by a legal beagle, some judge back in the 1970's proclaimed that "rocks and air have rights". Presumably he was a former hippie, and was probably still high, but it was very forward-thinking.

Given that the stuff that's spouted about it taking by mass 10 times as much plant food to feed our animal food (pigs, cows) as it does to feed us directly, and if you extend that, I would presume that under Singer's principles humans have to go. All of us. And SO DO ALL THOSE ANIMALS, by the way: they too use up too many plants to justify their existence, if you go by mere number of individuals involved. Yeah, he spouts some nonsense about higher sensitive faculties and thought to be "worth more" or something, but that's just him preferencing what WE HUMANS have, there is no principle to it (once you ditch the principles he had to ditch).

What if two bacteria darted in front of your car from the other side? :-)

Tony raises the interesting question as to why it is considered more *rational* to prefer the distinctive traits of sentient beings than to prefer the distinctive traits of humans. After all, one is making a "species" cut either way. I can only conclude that the answer is supposed to be that the preference for sentience is part of an overall utilitarian worldview in which pain and the minimization thereof have a special place. I have mentioned before that often when ethicists demand (particularly of Christians) what they call a "non-religious" reason for something, what they really mean is a *utilitarian* reason. Utilitarianism is viewed as rational and non-arbitrary in and of itself.

One has to wonder at the insanity of some people. Sadly, in most cases, it can't be explained away by supposing that they are high on drugs. (Also, drugs probably have rights - just wait!) It all reminds me of what Paul says, 'Thinking they were wise, they became fools; thus their hearts were darkened.'

"rocks and air have rights"
As long as God doesn't have rights, I think we'll be okay. I'll even tolerate some human rights, if we don't talk about His rights.

Just came across this study about communicating with people who are locked in. The indication is that they do want to stay alive. Seemed relevant to the overall topic of euthanisia.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603512/reached-via-a-mind-reading-device-deeply-paralyzed-patients-say-they-want-to-live/

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