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Man has been trying to improve himself by his own power since the beginning. The results speak for themselves.
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Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Authentic Liberal Spirit

When I was an adolescent and a teen, I was a liberal.  I simply liked the whole spirit of liberalism as I saw it then: Defending the defenseless, helping the helpless, speaking for the voiceless. It spoke of heroism and self-sacrifice in the name of justice, like those civil rights workers who were killed down south.  I admired them in the same kind of way as I admire the martyrs of the Church.  Somewhere around the early to mid 1970s, though, liberalism got off track and it abandoned the most defenseless, helpless, and voiceless among us in the name of defending another oppressed group.  Suddenly, liberalism's platitudes fell flat.

There is an Australian woman whose website title is her name, Melissa Ohden.  The subtitle: "Abortion survivor. Voice of the Voiceless."

There you go.  As an abortion survivor, she speaks for the contents of the uterus that are removed and discarded in abortion.

In the pursuit and defense of the rights of minorities against injustices of all kinds, liberalism began grasping for "rights" that exceeded justice.  Everyone and every group has a right to an education and other services that are every bit as good as what any other group is getting. But does any oppressed group have a right not only to secure equal treatment, but to go beyond that and attain preferential treatment?

Logic and justice tell us No. When the fight for justice become a fight for preferential treatment, it becomes instead a fight for institutionalized injustice, which is exactly what liberalism is supposed to fight against. It also becomes a fight simply to overturn social structures - social structure requires an authority structure, which in some people's minds is inherently oppressive to someone; therefore, social structures are evil and must be overthrown. It doesn't really matter what those social structures are. (This is a principle, by the way, of the Communist Manifesto.) The destruction of the social order is couched in phraseology of social justice.  Insofar as contemporary liberalism actually does stand for social justice, I would support it.  Insofar as it goes beyond that, I do not.

The abortion issue is certainly a key bioethical issue of our day.  Authentic bioethics must adequately consider the plight of the pregnant woman, and do so thoroughly of course.  I have extreme compassion for women in difficult pregnancies. However, authentic bioethics must also give adequate consideration also to the other end of the abortion procedure. Abortion is never the only way of dealing with a medical difficulty in pregnancy, and most abortions - like the one that failed in Melissa's case - are not for medical difficulties.  What was in her mother's uterus? The question is actually falsely worded.  Not "what" but "who".  Either way, the answer is Melissa. A Melissa or Ashley or Michael or Stephen is in every uterus in every pregnancy that is terminated. There is no science to prove otherwise, and all scientific evidence that can be brought to bear on the topic, not to mention reasoned logic, only supports that answer.

Their position on abortion has caused what we call "liberals" today to fall on the wrong side of a whole host of bioethical issues as far as I can tell - almost all of them in fact, except for maybe the death penalty, and so I wonder why they are on the side they are about that. 

Instead of heeding Melissa's voice, abortion providers have stopped using that particular procedure, so as to better ensure that voices like Melissa's are never heard. Silencing the small voices. Keeping the weak in their place. If liberalism lived up to its original principles, the principles that resonated in my heart when I was a kid, I'd be a liberal today. Melissa Ohden is living up to those principles.

One last thing.  If I call liberalism to task for abandoning its roots - for abandoning me - that is not to say I am therefore endorsing any other place on the political spectrum.  If I say I don't like orange, it doesn't mean I therefore like blue.  Maybe I do like blue, but maybe I like green or red or something else or maybe nothing else.

Thanks to NewAdvent.org for linking to a post on ProlifeBlogs.com for relaying a post on AustralianChristianLobby.org.au for linking to Melissa's website.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Know the Tree by the Fruit

There clearly was no deep friendship among the four, a lesbian couple and a gay couple; their association was simply one of utilitarian expedience.  As soon as the relationships experienced a little stress, it fell apart.

They had an arrangement to conceive a child among them. Then they fought over parental rights of the child, much like four collaborating inventors or songwriters would over the rights to their common labors. Yet, it's easy to divide a song or an invention into four equal parts by dividing the revenues it may generate.  It is not so easy to divide a child in that way.

The child is "a product" of a "number of fine people," reasoned the judge in the case. That says it all: The child has no rights because it is property of four people, four people so fine they can't even agree as to what is best for the child and they squabble over him like spoiled brats. He doesn't need to know who all four are and how he came to be; it is more likely that such knowledge will only give him difficulties later in life.

Where is Solomon when you need him?  Solomon at least understood that the real mother of the child would out of love prefer the child be given to the other woman than let him be divided.  Even if Solomon said that one woman should raise the child for half the year and the other woman the other half of the year, the child would still be divided.  This child is split four ways.

Of course, only two the people involved are actually the child's parents.  What happens if the two same-sex couples both split up? This arrangement cannot be good for the child, and all four of the "parents" agree that the child should be split.  Not one has said, "No, do not divide the child but let the others raise him undivided." One could conclude, contrary to what the judge has said, that the child is not "dearly loved" by them -- except insofar as they dearly love their car or computer.

Such things don't happen except in cases of artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and surrogate motherhood.  When was the last time four people argued over visitation rights for a baby born to a married couple who conceived so as to add to their family?

But they fought a bloody war to stop the Nazis

We all know that the Holocaust was a horrible genocide against the Jewish people.  But lest we forget how horrible it was, we need to remind ourselves that it didn't begin with the Jews nor did it end there.  It began with sterilization and elimination of "undesirables" and the "unfit" in a general sense, to keep them from breeding.

The Nazis signed a peace treaty with Poland, and then attacked them.  Same with the British.  Now, sadly, there is a British "intellectual" advocating Nazi-like policies in Britain, namely, the forced sterilization of the "unfit" to keep them from breeding.  You can find an article here.

This fellow is a little more subtle.  The Nazis didn't want them to breed at all and perpetuate their genetic code in society.  This fellow says it's for the sake of the children, so that they don't grow up with abusive or dysfunctional or otherwise irresponsible parents. Those kids are better off not being born.

But note the arbitrary definition of the unfit. Drug addicts, alcoholics, and people with psychological problems, whose unfitness has persisted at least 5 years.  OK, why have a 5-year duration? Why not 1-year? Why not immediate?  Why limit it to those difficulties? Oh, and what exactly constitutes a psychological problem anyway?  I am sure there are influential intellectuals who think that believing in a God is insane or at least indicative of subnormal intelligence, just as some think that disagreeing with the gay-lesbian social agenda constitutes a hate crime, which in turn indicates an irrational phobia and an inability to control oneself.  But I do not pin this mentality on gays, since they (particularly those not butch) were among the first of the Nazi's victims.

The point is, it is a dangerous mentality to target certain subgroups of society as requiring forced sterilization. It begins with drug addicts, etc., but it will not end there. Indeed, it begins with the low-hanging fruit, the ones for whom -- if it makes any sense at all -- that it makes the most sense and finds the least opposition in society.  I am surprised he did not mention criminals, particularly those convicted of violent crimes.  But give it time.  I would not be surprised to find that the fellow in Britain has his sights not on drug addicts and people with mental illnesses, but on some other group.  (I am not saying that he does, I am just saying it would not be surprising to find out that he does.)

Just like the other person in the article notes, the notion of it being "for the children" is just plain silly. But she still sees the sense of forced sterilizations; she simply is more willing to endorse it for what it is: Elitism.