Thursday, January 11, 2018

The death culture advances another step

It was inevitable. Once you concede the right to kill unborn children, with time limits shifting back and forth in no-man's-land, someone would eventually suggest that infanticide could also become legally permissible, perhaps even a moral duty. That someone - and he started in on this 40 years ago - is Peter "animal rights" Singer who

"began to argue that it is ethical to give parents the option (in consultation with doctors) to euthanise infants with disabilities."

In consultation with doctors, of course. The white coat makes all the difference - remember the Milgram experiment?

At the other end of life, we have "mercy killings" - again, something to be legalised and left to doctors.

I suppose that at some point these tendencies will meet in the middle. For if allowing the deformed or crippled to live is cruelty, why should there be any upper age limit to "termination" or whatever mealy-mouthed term is in fashion at the time?

Once we accept that human life is not sacred and that it can be assessed in terms of money and convenience, we're off down the slippery slope.

Already, the British Government is encroaching on our (or our family's) right to our own bodies, proposing a presumed right to "harvest" (another sweetened obscenity) organs in the absence of an "opt-out"; the Chinese are a little further ahead at the moment, killing political prisoners on demand for their spare bodily parts:

There certainly are issues to be discussed, but one thing I won't have is an assumption that ethical matters are to be delegated to (or grabbed by) paid philosophers, politicians and doctors - authority, in short. The way things are going, maybe one day we could see posthumous pardons for a Continental government that did all the above in the 1930s and 1940s.


Paddington said...

We have always decided who lives and who dies. We just pretended that it wasn't. Think of who gets enough food, medical care, warm housing and the like, let alone sending men off to combat.

A K Haart said...

I agree with the post. The sanctity of human life is an ideal, not perfect because ideals never are, but dump it and we have nothing.

Sackerson said...

JD comments:

According to Alan Watts we live in a culture which is dedicated to the destruction of life.

This is the inevitable legacy of the 'mechanical philosophy' introduced by Robert Boyle. We are just machines, nothing more. There is no ghost in the machine and that idea is now so entrenched in science and philosophy it is difficult get rid of that particular 'mind parasite'.

Burke and Hare were 'harvesting' bodies for doctors who wished to study anatomy and now the Government wants to 'harvest' our bodies before we die to be used as spare parts.

As you rightly point out, the beginning of life and the end of life are a societal inconvenience; life is cheap. Life is no longer regarded as sacred.
The beginning of life? - The heart begins to beat 22 days after conception so if there is to be any 'time limit' on abortion it must be no later than three weeks after conception.

The end of life? Ask any nurse about end of life and they will all tell you tales of how patients who were previously uncommunicative become lucid at or near the end.

We simply do not know how or why the brain and the mind function. Neurology is still a mystery. Is birth the beginning of life? Is death the end of life? Perhaps this interval on earth is just a dream as postulated by poets and philosophers.

The most important change brought about by the new 'mechanical philosophy' was clearly expressed by Fritz Schumacher in his book "A Guide for the Perplexed" - "The modern experiment to live without religion has failed"
Cure that problem and the reverence for life will return.

Paddington said...

When exactly was there an actual reverence for life in Western society?

Sackerson said...

@P: Perhaps not generally - which country has ever declared war per se illegal? - but surely abortion, infanticide and murder used to be crimes time out of mind. I heard a policeman explain to secondary age pupils how the law had to be revised after a case in which the boyfriend killed the baby as it was being born, which technically was neither of the first two.

Paddington said...

Based on estimates from the resulting deaths, the abortion rate in the US during the Depression was at least 3 times what it is now. Val read an account by someone who grew up then, and virtually every family had someone who had been damaged during an illegal procedure. Bear in mind that all contraception was also illegal at the time.

Infanticide was also fairly common. Why do you think there were so many 'stillborn' children with problems?

What counts as murder seems to depend on the race and nationality of the victim, especially in the Deep South.

Sackerson said...

@P: but contraception is freely available now, at least in the UK, and has been for a long time. Of the 8 million or so "terminations" here since 1967, how many could have been justified under the circumstances laid down by law as the legislators envisaged them at the time the Bill was passed? Like other liberties and powers, the system becomes gradually and then intensively abused.

The main thrust of what I said in the post is that nobody else has the right to be our conscience. The people who argued for euthanasia citing the suffering of a family member needn't wait for the tickbox approval of white-coated doctors and legislators: if it's really a mercy job, reach for the pillow and do it yourself, and throw yourself on the Court's mercy.

But another point here is the implications of killing the inconvenient - the "mission creep" if you like. If the old and sick, why not the disabled? Why not the poor? Why not troublesome minorities? Trades unionists? Political opponents?

James Higham said...

There are some truly gross things going on now and people are actually defending them.