Conservative Political Commentary

...anti-socialist, anti-globalist, and usually with an attempt at historical and economic context

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Culture of Death Marches On: What’s Next?

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An article by Jonah Goldberg (“The Pro-life, Pro-Infanticide Consensus”)* at National Review Online alerted me to an article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics (“After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?”) that claims that killing newborn babies, whatever their condition, can be justified, since newborns are “morally irrelevant” and “have no moral right to life.” He cites an article (“Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say”) in the Telegraph (U.K.) that quotes and links to the journal article. The so-called “ethicists” who wrote the article are Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva.

The journal article abstract reads as follows:

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that 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.
The authors call this kind of murder “after-birth abortion” rather than “infanticide.”
They “show” the moral irrelevance of newborns mainly by stating it. You can read the article to see that they do not support it with any argument that would convince anyone other than the most hardened abortion advocates. Yet to get this kind of drivel out there in a supposedly respected journal opens the door to wider consideration by people of borderline morality.

Goldberg says, “Now, my hunch is that for the vast majority of the civilized — and, frankly, uncivilized — world, the only thing these authors have demonstrated is their own ‘moral irrelevance.’”

This kind of thing could find a ready audience among Nazi war criminals, but if it achieves any level of acceptance in the “civilized” world, it is a disturbing and frightening development. Yet in the culture of death preferred by leftists, it should be shocking even if not surprising. Most people would object to killing a puppy, let alone a newborn baby.

The “slippery slope” of abortion which Goldberg mentions, indeed leads to infanticide as anti-abortion advocates warned, and as liberals said it wouldn’t.

We are on that slippery slope, and the sliding is starting to accelerate. Infanticide is a fact of life in many hospitals today, generally passive, and with attempted justification by some terrible condition of the infant.  This paper recommends a further step by not considering the health of the infant.
It might be claimed that someone is harmed because she is prevented from becoming a person capable of appreciating her own being alive. Thus, for example, one might say that we would have been harmed if our mothers had chosen to have an abortion while they were pregnant with us or if they had killed us as soon as we were born. However, whereas you can benefit someone by bringing her into existence (if her life is worth living), it makes no sense to say that someone is harmed by being prevented from becoming an actual person. The reason is that, by virtue of our definition of the concept of ‘harm’ in the previous section, in order for a harm to occur, it is necessary that someone is in the condition of experiencing that harm.

If a potential person, like a fetus and a newborn, does not become an actual person, like you and us, then there is neither an actual nor a future person who can be harmed, which means that there is no harm at all. So, if you ask one of us if we would have been harmed, had our parents decided to kill us when we were fetuses or newborns, our answer is ‘no’, because they would have harmed someone who does not exist (the ‘us’ whom you are asking the question), which means no one. And if no one is harmed, then no harm occurred.  [Emphasis added]
This so-called argument assumes that killing a newborn (or a fetus) does them no harm, nor does it do anyone else any harm. It is hard to imagine a more false argument. Fetuses and newborns definitely feel pain. They are harmed by their loss of life, as any murder victim would be. They are persons, like it or not. The parent who authorizes such a murder then incurs serious guilt which is not easily dealt with. All this, not to mention the horrifying spiritual consequences. But in one’s ivory-tower office, perhaps it’s easy to imagine oneself playing God.

Leftism in the West has become a secular religion, one that demands human sacrifices. Many millions of abortions, of which a very small percentage involved rape, incest, or life of the mother, have been performed, depriving the world of people we’ll never know.
Abortion is the cultural cancer eating away at civilization and spreading into other forms of death: “voluntary” euthanasia that soon progresses to murder, devaluation of little life that leads in due course to child abuse, sexualization of children and other evils. What next? “Ethicists” recommending cannibalism?

In ancient days, the Israelites had as neighbors some tribes that sacrificed their children by fire to the idol Molech. The Israelites were sternly warned to have nothing to do with those people, but some got involved with this evil practice.

Leftism involves the strong denunciation of Judeo-Christian morality, which we see happening increasingly in American society. As G. K. Chesterton pointed out, when people give up believing in God, they won’t simply believe in nothing; far worse, they’ll believe in anything.

If a newborn’s life (or a fetus’s) is so inconsequential that it may be destroyed at will, where is the boundary? Wherever it is, it is soon to fall if these “ethicists’” thinking is given acceptance. May God help us to restore sanity and order to our civilization.

* * *

*Goldberg notes that while pro-life and pro-infanticide views are polar opposites, they agree that killing a fetus is morally like killing a baby.
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