Humankind has always attempted to change the human condition. Social justice, racial equality, genetic alteration, and countless other aspects about the human circumstance are being challenged and, on occasion, being improved for the betterment of humanity. Humankind is usually made more successful as a species each time a new and successful tool, whether it be social, cognitive or technological is discovered, invented and implemented.
Over the past 50 years or so, advances in biochemistry, reproductive technology and the ability to prolong life have created an enormous impact on considerations with respect to life and the dignity of life. To be specific: 1) the proliferation and variety of artificial contraceptives; 2) the elimination of every legal restraint as to who may have access to artificial contraception; 3) abortion and the elimination of any and all restrictions; 4) the heavy emphasis on personal, individual rights; 5) a downward trend to give more rights, authority and responsibilities to children well below the chronological age of 15 years; 6) the elimination of parental rights, authority and responsibilities; 7) emphasizing a more overt display of human sexuality and the manipulation of information and data to recreationalize sexual expression; 8) making euthanasia normal and acceptable; 9) redefining personhood and when it comes; and 10) the acquisition of techniques and the re-definition of eugenics as moral, good, acceptable and necessary. Collectively, these tools have provided humankind with a plethora of questions with little resolution to them. Instead there is confusion and division among every philosophical and socio economic group in the United States and, indeed, the entire world with regards to life, reproduction, death and the quality of life.
Humanity has the ability to determine when and if it will have babies, what kind of baby it wants, and if it will be allowed to live. Likewise, humanity has to deal with the problem of longevity. So many people worldwide are living up to 100 years of age and beyond. This phenomenon is not just occurring in the United States and the Western world but societies worldwide report significant numbers of living beyond their one-hundredth year. What to do with the problems of longevity? What to do with the growing numbers of older citizens? When is it time to die? People referring to themselves as “right to die advocates”, “humanists”, and groups yet unnamed suggest that when a person can no longer contribute to the support of the community he or she lives, should consider moving over for those can contribute to the welfare of the society or state. These so-called progressive thinkers assert the earth has finite resources with limits which must be manage if everyone is to sustain a meaningful, fruitful and comfortable life.
Whether people realize it or not psychologists, social workers, medical doctors, journalists, bioethicists, jurisprudence (lawyers and judges) and educators have been called on for more than 50 years to decide for everyone every aspect of living in a post modern world. These new horsemen of the apocalypse want a world void truth, morality, value of human life, personal decision making and dignity. The overall intent is to move from individual responsibility to group decision, from a God centered moral prescription to one varies from day to day, moment to moment. For there has been a growing belief, particularly among the educated elite, that the majority of people are not capable of making informed decisions. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the educated to make these decisions for them.
Psychologists, social workers and the medical profession have now been able to dictate which families should no longer have children. With the use of educators and the public schools, health departments, jurisprudence and organizations such as planned parenthood, they recommend strongly contraceptives to families who they deem and find unfit to parent. In effect, this should reduce the population of the lower socio-economic classes, certain ethnic and racial groups and possibly reduce the instance of birth defects. Pre-teens and teenagers, as another example, are now able to receive contraceptive information and contraceptions supposedly to improve mature information about reproductive functioning, to learn about themselves, and have mature images of themselves. Yet as recent as April, 2005, it was reported that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and planned parenthood have attacked the movement to teach abstinence. The same information was taught students except a notion that sexual expression is a recreational activity. The abstinence movement teaches that sexual expression should be delayed and expressed only in a marital situation between a man and woman. This was deemed religion and in particular Christianity.
It is very clear that secular/humanistic forms of sex education is to laud recreational sexual expression and experimentation to advance the proposition that anyone and everyone may engage in sexual intercourse. Should a pregnancy occur abortion is available as a method of birth control for mainly pre-teens, teens, the poor or those deemed unfit to parent. Current sex education, in spite of what is said and advertised by the educated elite, is designed to teach pre-teens and teens not to be responsible to anyone. They are also being taught they have a right to sexual expression without cost, consequence or accountability to anyone for their actions.
The abortion issue has been allowing these procedures and drugs for any reason or for no reason at all, by anyone (at any age), at any time during the nine months of pregnancy. Along with instrumental abortions, women and girls now have available personal, over-the-counter drugs and chemicals to terminate a pregnancy just in case the day should come when abortionists can no longer perform office abortions. The medical or allied health professions along with the pharmaceutical industry has become more efficient and effective at developing drugs and chemicals in its attempts to prevent conception, empty the human womb, and to increase instances or recreational sexual expression whether pre-teen, teen or adults like it or not.
By prenatal scanning techniques, pregnant girls and women can determine a child’s gender, genetic condition and health potential. Because personhood has been re-defined with an emphasis on ease of parenting and economic cost and potential social gain, many, many pre-born children have been put to death by an abortionist.
As the United States and European societies move from an emphasis on the “common good” to a morass of values confusion and dysfunction, 21st century oligarchs have called for eugenics and euthanasia under the guise of compassion, love and a person “would not want to live that way” philosophy. So far no one has compiled a comprehensive list of criteria that will be required to stay alive, whether the individual is in a womb, an incubator, a heart-lung machine or on a feeding tube. However, that said, one might suspect that many professionals and eugenists and euthanasia advocates have covert mental notes of such a list.
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of all of this is the growing numbers in the public sector who accepts the notion of population eugenics. Few people want to condemn helping the poor, eradicate pain and suffering, and improve the human condition. God, in His unconditional love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness, has given humankind free will and intellect to change and to improve ourselves. It is our moral obligation to help each other’s condition and situation. However, rather than direct human resources and intelligence to eradiate deadly diseases, improve the condition of disabled persons or search for improving conditions for disabled persons and their employability, the Western world appeared fixed on advocating policies designed to eradicate those among us who just so happened to harbor a defect or disability. It is being advocated by intellectual oligarchs that it is to the benefit of us all that legislation, morality and education be directed to allow the death of the fruitless or to starve to death the unfit under the guise that if under “normal” circumstances a reasonable and rational person would not “want to live this way” because they are no long a person in their eyes. They are vegetables!
To date, advocates for eugenics and euthanasia are attempting to use calmer and more gentler terms, concepts and words to hide any notion of their true intent. Words such as “wellness”, “better health”, “quality of life”, “compassion”, and “healthy living” are a few examples of what the public is now seeing with respect to life and death issues.
Can a society or nation such as the United States justify the taking of a human life “just because”? Has Western societies reverted back to the Spartan approach to human life? Has the court system become the Spartan assessment panel that may fully determine right to life for citizens for Americans? Have Western societies come to the decision that eugenics and euthanasia are necessary on the grounds that it is for Western societies and, indeed, the whole world’s own good?
Some argue that eugenics and euthanasia are already entrenched and widely utilized in the United States and other Western societies. Daily, it is argued, hundreds if not thousands of infants, children and adults are quietly euthanasized. They argue further that the Terri Schindler-Schiavo drama focused on one of many throughout the United States and Europe. News organizations, attorneys, and government entities are telling the living to protect themselves with a living will. Others argue for well drawn up legislation and laws to protect the living. But are these going to protect anyone? This author thinks not. Not when cost, dignity and convenience are on the table. Legislation and legal protections are fine but not the solution. Respect for life and for persons with disabilities cannot be legislated. These are beliefs and values that must be caught and taught before the culture of death and its beliefs become the norm. For courts and legal instruments can be manipulated and overturned as they have been in the recent past. Our present example is the evolution of abortion from being theoretically rare to factually rampant. Abortion in the United States in 2005 has resulted in the death of 4 in utero and partially born children at a rate of 4 per second. This translates into the loss of nearly 1 in 3 children conceived for nearly two generations since the 1973 Roe versus Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand and for any reason.
Eugenics, briefly, is the science of selected breeding of a population (in this instance a human population) to obtain preconceived desired genetic/biologic results. To date, in the view of some, a person’s right to life should be dependent on their ability to make a positive contribution to the welfare of the state. Individuals unable to contribute or convince individuals assigned to assess worthiness should be eliminated. For such thinkers life is not a right but a privilege.
Euthanasia, on the other hand, is the practice of causing early death. Death to persons perceived to be in incurable pain, has an incurable disease or whose quality of life does not meet certain personal or social criteria for the sustaining of life. The Terri Schindler-Schiavo case was based on this notion. It was argued that she could not want to sustain her life due to her brain injury, lack of personhood, or ability to be a contributor to society. The difference between this case and other cases is that the Terri Schindler-Schiavo received national and international interest and concern. It revealed the reality of euthanasia and its point of view.
Will eugenics and euthanasia be a way of life like abortion before it? This chapter in the human experience is yet to be written in the histories of Western humankind.