Saturday, November 27, 2004


Towards a Constancy of Values: It Starts with the Unborn

I was reading a discussion about values, with someone who called themselves pro-choice, that is, pro-abortion.

It got me to thinking about moral stances, and their implications. Let's start with abortion. The normal argument, the argument that was presented to me at the start of this thought, is mother's rights vs. rights of the unborn.

Think about it. The choice comes down to whether a mother has the right to commit a killing of a living person in order to not have to deal with that person, either by raising it herself or turning it over to the authorities. It's overwhelmingly a choice of convenience, with only a tiny fraction dealing with birth defects, medical need or, or rape and incest. It's a case of a mother deciding that she just doesn't want to deal with it. Or her significant other, or parent.

So a human being, in the most defenseless part of its life, is killed to make her mother's life more convenient.

Any rights based on killing someone so that someone else is not inconvenienced is already an immoral choice.

The morality that says nine months of a woman's life is more valuable thatthe life of a baby. She doesn't even have to raise that baby, just give it enough time to be born. This says that life that isn't convenient is not very valuable.

When a morality that says life is not very valable, that a woman can squelch it anytime she wants before it is outside of her body, is confronted with someone who is an oppressor who is killing huge numbers of people and tossing them into unmarked graves and is supporting the murder of people via terrorist techniques, it should not be surprising atht many who hold this view say its wrong to do anything to help those people. Although they claim a moral high ground because some people are hurt in the meanwhile, what it really reiterates is that life is only valuable if it's convenient, not because it is a special thing. Fighting a war against an oppressor, especially when its a war sponsored by someone whose politics you already hate is so convenient to reject, even if the greater good of mankind is benefited by it.

Life is only valuable when it's convenient allows for all sorts of hideous outcomes. The Killing Fields in Cambodia are only bad because it was no longer convenient to ignore them, not because of the inherent evil done in the name of ideology. That murder of innocents in terrorism is only bad if it inconveniences your way of life. That letting babies and mothers starve so others can get rich by skimming large amounts of money off a program to aid them is perfectly a moral thing to do, because their death and suffering is just an inconvenience. Charity becomes the role of the state, and I shouldn't have to reach into my own pocket (the states highest in the liberal mindset are proven least likely to personally contribute). It's not convenient.

The consistancy of view here means: Life is cheap. It has no inherent value. It only becomes valuable if I want it to be valuable. Anyone else can go to perdition.

This is not a very positive view to base a morality on.

The other view, the Pro-life view, is life is sacred, a gift of God, and it should be cherished. Babies shouldn't be punished because of the mistakes of the mother, and if the mother doesn't want to raise it, why there are many, many people who will be happy to relieve her from that burden.

It means the poor need to be cared for, because they are children of God, and it means that looking down on them, creating programs that will destroy their families and keep them poor and a source of discontent and easy voters is an evil thing to do. It means helping those we can to learn how to make the best of life, by not turning our backs on them, but helping them to learn how to care for themeselves, and being there to help them if they fail. This is not necessarily the government's job only - it's the job of all people. In fact, it becomes more the job of the individual, because when he doesn't do it, he's copped out.

It means that the ill deserve respect and care, not being put down when it is inconvenient to care for them, even if they have damage like brain injury or birth defects.

It has other implications, many of them based not on what the government should do, but what we, as human beings who understand that life is sacred should do. Perhaps prison sentences should be more humane, or perhaps the death penalty should be transmuted into life without parole type sentences, or other reforms, because the people involved, even when they have done wrong, have value.

People have value beyond their being a cog in the wheel of the state. People have value because they are created in the image of God, and this is the inherent value this country was founded on:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The morality that this country was founded on in ideal (even if not in true practice) was that we are each valuable just because we are alive. And when you begin basing your morality on the convenience of life, not the sacredness of life, you undermine just those things we have been striving to create here.

And yes, it really starts with the rights of the unborn.

Also Posted at Knitting A Conundrum

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