Doing a Moral 180, a Risky Proposition

By | July 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

Dead newborn with cord still attached found in trash bin.
News report

Toddler found dead behind church. Coroner will do autopsy to determine whether murder charges will be filed.
News report

Courts declare that almost-born fetuses are not “persons” entitled to the protection of the Constitution. Some “ethicists” claim that even newborns are not “persons.”
News report

Do you see the connection between the first two stories and the third? There is a connection, but many people pretend not to notice.

I’ve never had either the skill or the recklessness to do a 180 on dry pavement. I’m told that you turn the wheel briefly while applying the parking brake, and if you do it right, you find yourself driving back the way you came. I have done a 180 on ice – unintentionally – but luckily my car wound up in a snow bank and did no damage.

The experience was unsettling, to say the least. Suddenly reversing your direction, and not doing damage to yourself and others, requires skill and luck. Many people lack one or the other, and many people lack both. For most drivers, a sudden reversal of direction is dangerous.

The same is true for sudden reversals of moral direction. You need both skill and luck to avoid doing damage to yourself and others. Skill and luck are both in short supply, and we should not rely on them to keep us out of trouble.

Think about what we are doing. We teach children and teenagers that an unborn baby is just a “fetus.” We don’t teach them that the word means “offspring,” so the medical term sounds antiseptic and seems devoid of emotional and moral implications.

Not satisfied with this demotion of an unborn human being to a sort of medical specimen, we go even further. The former chairman of the California Democratic Party referred to an unborn baby as a “blob of jelly.” He saw no fundamental difference between a potential Mozart, or a budding Lincoln, and what he spreads on his toast for breakfast. This goes beyond a mere difference of opinion, and descends to the level of a vast moral chasm.

● What do we expect will happen when we teach young people that unborn babies, even in the late months of pregnancy, are worth nothing more than an ingrown toenail or a mole on one’s cheek – and are removable at the mothers’ whim, for any reason at all?

● What do we expect will happen when law professors and Supreme Court justices tell kids the same thing, but couch it in legalese so that it sounds official and scholarly?

● What do we expect will happen when liberal clergy tell kids the same thing, but couch it in religious language so that it sounds authoritative and moral?

Even worse, what do we expect will happen when we insist that partial-birth abortion of viable babies is both legal and moral? But then, one moment later, when the baby’s head emerges, the “fetus” suddenly becomes a baby, the “blob of jelly” suddenly becomes a person, and the “medical specimen” suddenly becomes a human being. Do we really expect anyone with an IQ above that of a potato to believe that such a magical and instantaneous transformation really occurs?

Secular people say that religious people have illogical beliefs. But it would be hard to find a religious belief that is as illogical, as destructive, and as contrary to human nature as this secular belief in instantaneous transformation.

● Catholics believe that at the moment the priest consecrates them, the bread and wine are mystically transformed into the body and blood of Christ. This belief is called transubstantiation. Others may find this belief illogical, but the fact remains that it elevates people and has hurt no one.

● Secular people believe that at the moment the head exits the birth canal, a worthless piece of meat is mystically transformed into a human being. This belief is called instantaneous transformation. Others may find this belief illogical, but the fact remains that it degrades people and has resulted in the death of millions.

Do we really expect young and often single mothers, who have already proved themselves to be neither skillful nor lucky, to do to a moral 180 without damaging themselves and others? Such an expectation is unrealistic in the extreme. So why do we express shock and dismay when newborn babies, and even older children, are found in the trash? What did we expect?

But wait – it gets still worse. Peter Singer is professor of bioethics at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of Human Values – a misnomer of cosmic proportions. Singer equates humans with animals, and would allow parents to kill imperfect or unwanted children up to one month old, later increased to up to three years old.

Singer was chosen to write the article on ethics for Encyclopaedia Britannica. It is frightening that he could hold such views, yet be embraced by many scholars.

Bioethicists condemn “paternalism,” but only when it is directed toward saving life. It is “paternalism” for physicians to use medical knowledge to decide what is best for their patients. Yet somehow it is not “paternalism” for ethicists – mainly upper-middle-class white males – to use their own subjective values to decide who is unworthy to go on living.

This decision is affected by how closely the person resembles the ethicist in age, appearance, and mental or physical ability. Fetuses, infants, the elderly, the deformed, the disabled, and the mentally impaired do not resemble ethicists – unless one sees that they are all in God’s image. But this requires what Singer calls “religious mumbo-jumbo.’ I recall another prominent figure who ridiculed “religious mumbo-jumbo” and also proclaimed some humans to be less-than-human. His first name was Adolf.

If a skinhead declares that those unlike himself are unfit to live, it’s called racism. If a professor does something similar, it’s called bioethics. Does a hateful belief suddenly become acceptable if it is proclaimed by a highly educated man? Dr. Goebbels, Hitler’s “minister of propaganda and public enlightenment,” had a Ph.D. in philosophy and literature from the prestigious University of Heidelberg. Did that mitigate in any way the viciousness of his racist views?

It all innocent human life isn’t safe, none is. Intermediate positions are weak and are being overrun one by one. There are reports that the Chinese government is executing more criminals and political dissidents than before, then selling their organs. But on what basis can we condemn this atrocity? Can’t we see that barbaric acts, and even the Holocaust, are the end result of declaring that some human life isn’t really human, and is unworthy of existence?

Teachers, bioethicists, professors, Supreme Court justices, and liberal clergy all tell young people that those unlike themselves, especially the unborn and the mentally impaired, are not fully human and can be killed if they become inconvenient. We conspire to convince young people that unborn babies and the severely disabled like Terri Schiavo are disposable, like used bathroom tissue.

Then we are shocked – shocked! – when young people listen to us. We are dismayed when they fail to make the moral and intellectual 180 instantaneously, the moment a baby is born. We are baffled when, again and again, we find newborn babies and older children in Dumpsters. What did we expect?

I have neither the skill nor the luck to do a 180 safely on the street. Why, in Heaven’s name, would I expect young people with even less skill and less luck to do one safely on the road of life?

Author’s Note:

The unhinged North Korean regime has nuclear weapons and is developing long-range missiles to deliver them. Islamist fanatics carry out homicidal attacks worldwide. Partisans of Left and Right dig in and become still more uncompromising. Global-warming alarmists predict planetary disaster.

In view of these acute worries, why concern ourselves with the chronic problem of abortion, with the associated problems of euthanasia and assisted suicide? I’ll tell you why. Because with our exaggerated fears of whether we will survive, we are forgetting to worry about whether we deserve to survive. Surely that should be our ultimate concern.

Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.

www.stolinsky.com

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