Baby Fuel

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I suppose, like Wesley Smith, I should not be surprised that over 15,000 aborted babies were incinerated as medical waste in the UK, with some of the remains used as fuel. The systematic dehumanization of the unborn child began with the rebellion against traditional norms in the 1960s. The UK was the first of the two to legalize abortion with the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act. The United States Supreme Court, in an act of judicial fiat, legalized abortion in the January 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. As Smith notes, incinerating aborted babies is the end-result of denying personhood to the fetus. The body of an adult who dies is considered to be a body of a former person and worthy of some respect. Aborted babies, having never been considered persons, are treated like any other piece of medical waste. If they have never been persons, they are things and can be treated as mere utilitarian objects. “We need to recycle fuel instead of just throwing it away, so why not use aborted fetuses.” While logical given the premisses of the pro-abortion crowd, this use of aborted babies marks a new low in the decline of morality in the West. A society that kills its most vulnerable cannot escape the social consequences, including a cheapening of human life in general. How much lower can the UK (and Canada and the US) go? I doubt there is a bottom limit.

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(Im)moral Monday in North Carolina

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Location map of North Carolina, USA

Location map of North Carolina, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a strange phenomena in America when people hell-bent on supporting murdering the unborn protest on what they call “Moral Monday.” Initially these protests involved the usual suspects from the Left protesting budget cuts and districts set up by the Republican state legislature. The latter will not change due to the recent (and finally sensible) U.S. Supreme Court ruling lifting some of the unfair restrictions of the Voting Rights Act from the states (especially the Southern states). The latter–well, to the left, any cut in government is intrinsically evil. It is the protests against the restrictions on abortion passed by the North Carolina senate that I find particularly ironic.

Any law regulating abortion clinics has been opposed by the pro-abortion lobby despite abuses that occur that have physically harmed or caused death to some women having abortions. This gives the lie to the pro-abortionists’ claim that they are concerned about women’s health. Their actual concern is their own selfishness, a selfishness and pride so perverse that it leads them to think that babies are “parasites” (as two of my students once put in) and that murdering them is just another form of birth control. The shrillness of the voices at Monday’s protests were ear-splitting, far worse than the shouts of any Fundamentalist preacher. The pro-abortion crowd at the protests were Fundamentalists, with their religion being abortion, and the worship services of their religion the sacrifice of innocent life on the altar of selfishness. In the past I have tried to be careful to separate the position from the person–no one is wholly evil, since even the most evil person in the world is still a creature made in God’s image. However, when I saw the shrill protestors on the news yesterday supporting the destruction of unborn life in the name of the “health of the mother,” I was hearing the voices of evil.

What makes the situation worse is North Carolina’s RINO governor, Pat McCrory, refuses to sign a bill putting any further restrictions on abortion. That is so typical of the Charlotte country-club Republican crowd–and it is nauseating to see. In addition, where was there any coverage in the news on the pro-life position? I thought the WRAL reports were so one-sided as to constitute advocacy of the pro-abortion side–but this is typical of the mainstream media.

Pray for the unborn, for the millions murdered in the name of convenience, for the people who commit the terrible crime of abortion that they might repent, for a country so twisted and selfish that it has allowed the atrocity of the murder of the most helpless and innocent of its citizens. Pray for those who “call evil good and good evil,” who call the immoral moral and the moral immoral. May God strengthen the forces who fight the darkness of the Culture of Death.

Legalizing Abortion was Never About the Good of the Woman

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fetus 10weeks

fetus 10weeks (Photo credit: drsuparna)

The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell has raised issues concerning the safety and “proper operation” of abortion clinics. Yet the press, with a few exceptions, is strangely silent. The press is often eager to do undercover investigations in health care facilities suspected of mistreating patients, but the same press is quick to condemn similar undercover operations by pro-life advocates in abortion clinics. These two instances of hypocrisy reveal the abortion lobby for the evil that it is. Many of them never cared about the health of the woman as they claimed.

During the 1960s debate that paved the way for the tragic Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, abortion advocates constantly harped about “back alley abortions” and claimed to be concerned about the health of women getting unsafe abortions. They claimed that legal clinics would allow “safe abortions” to take place. After abortion was legalized and became so rampant, the abortion lobby behaved as a set of religious believers, with abortion advocacy becoming canon law in the Democratic Party and abortion itself becoming a liberal sacrament, “the body and the blood.” When there are well-documented claims of safety violations or excessive patient deaths (other than the children murdered) at abortion clinics, the left either ignores or downplays them and tends not to openly advocate aggressive prosecution of offending “doctors.” Even though women die in unsafe clinics, abortion advocates would rather stifle anything that could be used to criticize their evil sacrament than to protect the health of the women about whom they claim to care.

Abortion rights were always about selfishness. The rabid individualism of American society, once it became unfettered from religion, was bound to allow the evil of abortion to be legalized. Couples could then have sex freely, and if birth control failed, abortion was seen as an alternative to allow promiscuity to continue. It is no surprise that a high percentage of abortion supporters are young men aged 18-35. They want to have sex with women without any consequences, and if the woman goes through an abortion, they don’t care. If feminists really cared about male exploitation of women, they would care about the way abortion supports men sexually using women. But most feminists (outside “Feminists for Life“) rabidly support abortion.

Abortion is also about power–power over the most vulnerable members of society. If these individuals “get in our way,” we can get rid of them. That is the real agenda behind many, and I would say most, abortion supporters–power over people who interfere with one’s selfish, extreme individualistic, aims. Even Europe, with its collapsing tomb of Christian belief, has fewer abortions per capita than the United States, and even many secular Europeans (outside the UK) are shocked at the high abortion rate in the United States.

Let’s label abortion for what it is–the murder of innocent human life for our “convenience.” Abortion advocates should stop pretending to care about the health and well-being of the woman who gets an abortion. They are hiding their real agenda in a cloak of lies.

True, There Never Was a Golden Age, but….

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Small town Arizona

I enjoy looking through the books other faculty require as reading at the university where I teach–it gives me a sense of the focus of their classes and the gist of the material taught in a particular class. One day I found a book on the 1950s, arguing that it was not a “golden age” for family life, and that families had severe problems then as they do now. My first response was to say to myself, “No kidding.” Only a fool would think that the 1950s or any other decade was some kind of “Golden Age” that bypassed human frailties. Marriages had problems in the 1950s, some spouses were abused as well as some children, and some families were dysfunctional. However, apart from these obvious facts, and apart from useful advances in technology and medicine since the 1950s, it does appear that, despite its flaws, that decade was the last true “Era of Good Feeling” in the United States. It was also the last decade in which a generally Protestant Judeo-Christian ethic was dominant in American thought, even among most Roman Catholics and Jews. Although divorce was sometimes necessary in extreme circumstances of physical and/or emotional abuse or serial adultery, in most cases divorce was frowned upon. Although the Hollywood set would get abortions as well as others, abortion was recognized as a grave moral evil. Only a small minority disagreed. Premarital sex occurred, of course, and the hypocritical aspects of 1950s sexual mores are well known, but at least there was an ideal that the wedding night would be a special beginning of  a new life between two people that is sealed by their first act of sexual intercourse. More extended families existed, especially in the South, the Midwest, and (as is still the case today) in the Italian-American community. Although people moved, outside of the military or of upper business management, extensive moving was rare. The new suburbs, for a time, retained the notion of a “neighorhood” with cookouts and regular visits between neighbors. Small town life, though declining, still flourished in many parts of the country. Alcoholism was a problem, as was always the case, but extensive use of hard drugs such as heroin was rare outside some inner city neighborhoods. There was a growing problem with juvenile crime, but most teenaged social life was tame by today’s “standards.” Although conformity was sometimes taken to an extreme, there was a strong sense that the older generation felt a responsibility to rear a virtuous younger generation. Perhaps the “greatest generation” did not understand the degree to which easy access to material things would create the spoiled and self-serving whiners of the mid-1960s onward, but most tried to rear their children with high moral values. My parents told me that at least in the 1950s a person knew whom he could trust. Today, they said, it is difficult to trust anyone.

The “Great Society” and the destruction of underclass society which arose through their dependency on federal aid, was in the future. The vast majority of children, white and black, were born in stable two-parent homes. A strong work ethic permeated most of American society.

This is not to say that the 1950s did not have deep flaws–struggles over race and the threat of nuclear war, for example. However, I would have rather lived in that kind of culture rather than the upside down world of 2012, in which people “call evil good and good evil” and Nietzsche’s “transvaluation of values” took place, though not in the direction of the Homeric virtues as Nietzsche desired. Christian culture is rapidly declining in influence, with a new breed of young secularists coming into view who, as Rush Limbaugh (who is right on this point) notes are both desirous of a government “nanny state” to take care of their physical needs while at the same time desiring that the government let them “do their thing” regarding gay marriage, abortion, and other “choices” they deem “personal.” The rapidity of the decline in American character since the 1950s has been astounding. In my own lifetime the world has turned upside down, to the delight of the anti-Christian left and to the chagrin of the few traditionalists standing against the plague of barbarism overwhelming the country.

No generation is unfallen. Yet most members of the 1950s generation would admit when they did wrong. They might do bad things anyway, but they understood them to be morally wrong. Today people strut immoral activity without believing it to be immoral. Academia has been part of the fuel for the fire of relativism, but it is, ironically, an absolutist relativism that denies traditionalists their right to express their views. The universities have become cesspools of relativism, Marxism, and a stifling politically correct orthodoxy. At least in the 1950s, faculty had academic freedom to express their views. Traditional conservatives may have been a small minority, but they were not censored. The university was generally a place of open discussion of ideas rather than the cesspool of radical orthodoxy it has become now.

It is too late to go back–the United States as I knew it as a child is dying. The sense of anomie I and other traditionalists feel has driven some to emigrate from the country and others to retreat to enclaves of like-minded people. In the 1950s I would have felt at home. Even in the 1980s there seemed to be hope for the future. Now I feel like a stranger in a strange land, and I am sure many other people do as well. There are times I want to go back to my grandparents’ house where my parents lived with my sister and I from 1965-1969 and enjoy the simplicity of it all before the madness of the 1960s froze into place in the 1970s. It may be a good thing for Christians, for it forces us to focus on God as the only One who is eternal, the only One who does not change. Going back to the past is pointless–traditionalists have lost the culture. We can trust in God, try to live good moral lives and be good examples to others, be active in church, and enjoy visits with like-minded people without isolating ourselves from the larger society. We know that God will triumph in the end, but until then, we wait “with earnest expectation” for Christ to come.

 

Multiple Reasons for Romney’s Loss

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Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ashland today

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ashland today (Photo credit: tvnewsbadge)

Mr. Romney lost the 2012 presidential election for multiple reasons, not just one. The rapid secularization of the United States is one reason, in which the 19% of the population that consider themselves secular vote overwhelmingly Democratic. They also populate the media and Hollywood, institutions that have an exaggerated effect on American thoughts and opinions. The same media adoration of Obama as a god continued during this election cycle. The leftward trend of Americans educated by liberal college and university faculty has accelerated. Even Evangelical Christians have sharply moved to the political left over the past ten years.

The government as an open source of welfare benefits helps a growing number of citizens and immigrants, both legal and illegal. U. S. demographics reveal an increasing minority population dependent on federal benefits rather than doing productive work in order to survive. Such minorities vote overwhelmingly  for the Democratic Party candidates. Now when I turned 18 and voted for the first time, I knew that a vote for Mr. Reagan would mean a reduction in student Pell Grants and students loans, which would hurt the chances of me getting loans or grants. I voted for Ronald Reagan because I believed him to be better for the country if worse for me. Most people are not that way, and if they are welfare-dependent tax consumers, they are more likely to vote for whom they believe will continue or increase their welfare income.As Hayek stated, a socialistic system will inevitably run the characters of people who are under it. Federal entitlements have ruined the character of the American people, and other than older people (over 65) who supported Mr. Romney +11, most people on entitlements voted what was good for them. They do not give a d..m about what is best for the United States of America.

Moral relativism is another reason Mr. Romney lost. Many Americans do not believe in moral absolutes and support unlimited abortion, physician-assisted suicide, active euthanasia, aggressive wars against nations that have not attacked nor harmed the United States, and homosexual marriage. Such a “transvaluation of values,” to use Nietzsche’s term, is more compatible with Mr. Obama rather than with Mr. Romney.

Race-based politics, in which minorities vote for other minorities (at least when such minorities are politically liberal) remains a problem due to the poison of identity politics that college and university professors as well as the NAACP buy into. Obama easily swept up the minority vote.
Changing demographics make it highly unlikely that any Republican candidate will be able to defeat a Democratic candidate, at least for the foreseeable future.

The cultural divide between rural/suburban and urban was clear from the county maps of the votes. Since many more people live in cities, and these inner city voters have been effectively mobilized by the Democratic Party, states with large urban centers are more likely to vote Democratic.

If the culture war is a popularity contest, the Right has lost. Its lingering influence may be seen in a Republican House of Representatives for a few more Congresses, but such a situation is not likely to continue long-term. The economic battles is also lost since Mr. Obama exploits class divisions effectively for his benefit.

I do not find hope for the United States to remain a major world leader in the future. Its course is downward, toward a third-world status. Even if defense suffers large-scale cuts, entitlements will continue to cost more than the country can afford. Defaulting on Chinese loans would be disastrous for the economy. Obama Care will create another massive federal bureaucracy that will further increase the deficit. I know doctors and PAs who are serious about moving to anther country if Obama Care continues—thus weakening an already downsized system overloaded with patients.

The Obama Cult is the final reason I will mention for people voting for Mr. Obama. That cult has gone to nauseating heights–from children signing a “hymn” to Mr. Obama in schools . Obama has replaced MLK as the Great Neo-God of America. The situation is as disturbing at Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book and the hymns Chinese schoolchildren sang to honor him. People who worship like this will vote for him.

Mr. Romney ran a good campaign. It was not enough to stop many converging factors that any Republican will have to overcome to win the White House. I do not see how these factors can be overcome by a future GOP candidate.

The Fetus, Parasites, and Narcissism

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This is am image of a fetus about to be vacuum...

When I stop thinking that I can be shocked by what another person says in this narcissistic society, someone proves me wrong. I was part of a group discussing the issue of whether the man should play any role in decision making concerning abortion. Both males and females took one side or the other in about an equal ratio. One woman, however, burst into the discussion and said in an angry tone, “No man is going to make me carry a parasite in my womb for nine months!” Taken aback, I wondered how people would respond to her—and a woman with children said that children already born were parasites. If she had used a joking tone of voice that would have been fine. She was serious. This illustrates how far the “cultural of narcissism,” a term coined by the Christopher Lasch, has penetrated into the psyche of some Americans.

It was after artificial contraception became common that children ceased to be considered a gift. I am not opposing artificial contraception—there are cases in which it is the best option—but the mentality that children are burdens rather than gifts has been a toxic byproduct of the ready availability of the pill. The notion that carrying a child in the womb for nine months is “carrying a parasite” ignores the fact that half the parasite’s chromosomes came through the mother. We are not talking about an alien life form sucking away the essence of the mother. The opposition to the natural bond between mother and child represents an attitude that is wholly oriented toward the self and not toward a dependent being. What would this person think about old people in nursing homes, the homeless, or people on welfare. Anyone wise would shudder at such attitudes among some Americans today. What is more disturbing is the willingness to share such a selfish view. Do people lack the ability to discern when they come across as self-centered spoiled children rather than as adults? Do others listening to comments calling a fetus up to the ninth month—or even a born child—a “parasite” realize that there is something seriously flawed about such an attitude. Too many people do not hide their narcissism. Abortion is the ultimate instance of narcissism, especially considering that the vast majority of abortions are done for the purpose of birth control. People desire the pleasure of sex, and when that results in conception, then they have the “parasite” killed as if they are killing a paramecium rather than a person. The devotion to the autonomous self and the rejection of natural bonds are characteristics of modernity, and with the decline of Christianity in late modernity there are no restraints on narcissism. 1.2 million abortions a year are only one symptom—the increasing acceptance of physician assisted suicide among young people is another. One hopes that T. S. Eliot’s version of the end of the world will not come to pass, but extreme narcissism always results in violence. May God help us.

The Right to Life is not an Achievement

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English: Personhood NOW banner flies in front ...

English: Personhood NOW banner flies in front of the United States Supreme Court during the 2009 March for Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I saw another cartoon defending women’s so-called “reproductive rights,” asserting that they concern a woman’s own body and no one else. Besides being based on a radically individualistic premise, the claim begs the question regarding the status of the fetus (“fetus” is used here as shorthand to refer to any stage between conception and birth). Slogans–on both sides of the abortion camp–hide the real issue of the personhood status of the fetus. Moral rights apply to persons. Thus, removing a human being from the category of human personhood serves to deny it the moral right to life. With no moral right to life, there need be little or no protection for the human being who lacks personhood.

The problem with such views of personhood derived from Locke’s view that human personhood supervenes over the human being is that these positions are based on the notion that a human being accrues personhood as the result of an achievement of some kind. Some deny personhood to the fetus until the possibility of twinning and other divisions of the fertilized egg into multiple organisms. Bonnie Steinbock believes that personhood supervenes on the human being when the nervous system reaches the level of sophistication to allow sentient experience in the fetus. Justice Harry Blackmun in Roe v. Wade placed the point of personhood at viability, when the fetus can survive outside its mother’s womb. Judge John Noonan considers the fertilized egg to be only a potential person, but with such a high degree of probability of becoming a person that it deserves legal protection. Mary Anne Warren believes that some ability to reason is essential before a human being can be labeled a “person.” Peter Singer and Michael Tooley hold that personhood only begins after the child is born and has lived a few years.

It is interesting that those who propose an achievement view of human personhood disagree so radically with one another on the nature of the person-granting achievement. Despite over forty years of debate, this issue remains unresolved. The answer given depends on what the philosopher him/herself values as being important in human life. For Singer and Tooley, the ability to reason and consider alternative courses of actions is what makes a person a person. Steinbock, following Bentham, holds that sentience, the ability to feel pleasure or pain, is what is essential to personhood. How can those positions be reconciled? How much achievement is necessary before a human being becomes a human person? Given such radical disagreement, would it not be safer to follow the most conservative position possible in order to avoid the chance of killing a human person?

It is also important to point out that the achievement view can be applied at any point in life, since a person can be injured and lose the ability to reason or the ability to have sentient experience (though it is difficult to know when these properties have been lost given our ignorance of the subjective conscious experience of the injured individual–some would argue it is practically impossible to determine level of consciousness, sentience, or reasoning ability, especially since some individuals have normal cognition with only a small amount of brain tissue [see the link at http://www.flatrock.org.nz/topics/science/is_the_brain_really_necessary.htm%5D). Thus if a person loses the ability to reason, then on a Singer/Tooley/Warren account, the individual loses personhood as well. But then we are thrown back to the intractable debate over which achievement is the person-granting one–and taking the most conservative position possible is best to avoid killing someone who may well be a human person.

Now if the person is constituted by a formed, functioning organic body, as Aristotle and Aquinas believed (note that both matter and form–form being the “soul” of a living thing, are essential, and the organism is a soul-body unity), then human personhood begins from the first moment of a formed organic body. That takes place at conception in which a new genetic code is formed and a new organism comes to be. Growth and development are filling in the patterns already found in the form through protein coding by genes. If someone argues that there is not a true organic body until a short time after conception, it is still best to take the most conservative position possible and affirm that human personhood begins at conception and that killing a zygote is as much murder as killing an innocent adult. If that is the case, then a fetus is not merely a part of a woman’s body, and the rhetorical argument based on the woman’s rights to her own body fails.

 

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