Gorillas, internet mobs, and the culture of the living dead
May 31, 2016
“The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual . . . what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.”
So reads an excerpt from a 2012 study from the Journal of Medical Ethics, edited by Prof Julian Savulescu, (the director of Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, who will presumably have his ass kicked by CS Lewis at the moment of his death. But I digress.)
Rather than being “actual persons”, newborns were “potential persons,” the study explained: “Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’.
Simcha Fisher wrote a piece last month that resonated deep, and wiped the last vestiges of hope from my brain that Western civilization could be rehabilitated, wholesale. We’re beyond that. Once death becomes an option, Simcha reasoned, then it becomes the only option. For there will always be a perfectly reasonable explanation for culling the herd of humanity for someone else’s sake.
When our lives cease to be acknowledged as divine in origin, the claim to any sort of inalienable right falls on deaf, progressively aloof ears.
How can a clump of cells be valuable, except to the host who carries it in her womb, and even then, only to the extent that she desires it?
How can a tangled, palsied mess of stiff limbs and a vacant stare be valuable to parents who signed up for a baby, doesn’t matter boy or girl, “as long as it’s healthy,”?
How can a defiant, aggressive, self or sibling-harming 2 year-0ld (most of whom are borderline feral, as any honest parent will admit) be anything other than a mistake we could perhaps scrub from the roster and make another go at?
How could an ailing, demented parent with glaucoma and the first stirrings of Alzheimer’s be worth keeping, to the tune of $20,000 a month, in an assistant living facility, fading in and out of twilight and burning through the grandchildren’s inheritance?
How, any of us?
Who among us is universally convenient. Useful. Pleasant. Smart. Sweet-smelling.
Who among us has never been a burden to another human soul, and can solemnly swear to avoid the near occasion of burden for all their days, so long as they live?
People have become so very disposable. And real love, the 21st century reasons, means learning to say “I’d kill you” should the circumstances demanded it.
A 4 year-old falls into a gorilla enclosure because his reckless, negligent mother had the audacity to lose him in a crowded zoo, and the world falls to pieces over the death of, wait for it … the ape. The mother of the nasty little boy who I presume ought to have been left to face the consequences of his own poor choices, Hunger Games style, is now receiving death threats by the hundreds and angry, internet-fueled hate missives by the thousands.
The two leading presidential candidates for the United States of America have either tacitly or explicitly endorsed the wonderful work done by Planned Parenthood, that behemoth of death, again and again.
We’re not sure if we want to live any longer.
We’re not sure if it’s worth living any longer.
Welcome to the dictatorship of relativism. Welcome to an existence so tentatively fixed in reality that one rough semester of junior high could determine whether you live to see your high school graduation, and which locker room you’ll use to change into your cap and gown, should you begin as Brad but end up as Brittany.
Everything is fluid, nothing is certain, and a subjective emotionalism seems to have swept into the vacuum left by our collectively-vacated common sense. Can a society survive the complete abdication of reason? And is it possible to maintain peace without an objective standard of goodness to which we all of us citizens aspire and cling?
I’m not talking about multiculturalism or pluralism, because of course, civilizations have flourished in their diversity, and precisely because of their diversity. But even pluralistic societies tended to be composed of citizens who hold to objective moral truths and adhered to a shared moral order, something along the lines of “don’t kill, don’t cheat, don’t steal.”
We’re beyond that, now. We’ve thresholded to a new echelon of humanity, where the old stodgy moral norms of the Abrahamic religious traditions can at last be swept away like so much patriarchal tartar, built up over millennia of brainwashing.
We have new gods: convenience and technology. All the rest can be jettisoned.
This is depressing as hell to read, isn’t it?
Because it is hell. This is actually what hell is like: an utter disregard for the good of the other, a complete rejection of God, and profound, terminal selfishness. So when you look up, bewildered, from another spiraling news cycle and wonder what in the hell is going on in the world, you’re on the right track.
Hell is precisely what is going on, in the world.
And that is why He came. That is why He’ll come again.
Jesus is the only possible solution to a world as broken as ours. And whether or not it’s broken any worse than Nazareth circa 2 BC is up for debate. But He is and has always been The Only Possible Solution.