"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Moral Cretins

Sometimes you think that the difference between liberals and conservatives is semantics.   Sometimes you think it's a difference in approach to solving problems or reaching common goals.   You think that there is, at the very least, a common vocabulary that would allow discussion, reasoning, debate.  

Other times, though, you realize that the difference is so fundamental that there really isn't much left to talk about.    Either they are monsters, or else the most fundamental beliefs we have are nonsense. 

Here, for instance, is an article from the Weekly Standard about the profession of "medical ethics" regarding a mother's right to "choose" to abort her child even after it's born:

.... a pair of medical ethicists took to their profession’s bible, the Journal of Medical Ethics, and published an essay with a misleadingly inconclusive title: “After-birth Abortion: Why should the baby live?” It was a misleading title because the authors believe the answer to the question is: “Beats me.” 

Right at the top, the ethicists summarized the point of their article. “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 argument made by the authors​—​Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, both of them affliliated with prestigious universities in Australia and ethicists of pristine reputation​—​runs as follows. Let’s suppose a woman gets pregnant. She decides to go ahead and have the baby on the assumption that her personal circumstances, and her views on such things as baby-raising, will remain the same through the day she gives birth and beyond.

Then she gives birth. Perhaps the baby is disabled or suffers a disease. Perhaps her boyfriend or (if she’s old-fashioned) her husband abandons her, leaving her in financial peril. Or perhaps she’s decided that she’s just not the mothering kind, for, as the authors write, “having a child can itself be an unbearable burden for the psychological health of the woman or for her already existing children, regardless of the condition of the fetus.”

The authors point out that each of these conditions​—​the baby is sick or suffering, the baby will be a financial hardship, the baby will be personally troublesome​​—​​is now “largely accepted” as a good reason for a mother to abort her baby before he’s born. So why not after?
That such an argument could be published and accepted as "scholarly" is extraordinarily damning, both to the authors, and to the "profession" they profess.   Medical ethics, apparently, is fundamentally unethical, fundamentally immoral, even inhumane.    Who could write such things?   What society would tolerate such writings by "scholars"?   Do they have no decency?   No shame at all? 

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