Sunday, July 10, 2005

Killing Babies Is Ethical Now?

In an article that was certainly meant to be inflamatory in the NY Times Magazine this week, the author talks about euthanasia for babies as progressive, about the sanctity of life as a backwards idea, and about ethics as dinnertime conversation. Call me crazy, but killing babies is not what I like to discuss over food, and I do believe that life - any life - is sacred. (And I'm a Democrat!)

But even more than that, what was really disturbing to me about the article was the assertion that ethics is a small-talk, chit-chat, sort of non-essential conversation piece. Ethics - however we define them - should be about the way we live our lives, how we make the decisions that alter what we do and who we are. Ethics are essential to our lives and how we live them, and the author fails to recognize them as anything more than intellectual fodder.

But then what can you expect from a man who thinks it's ok to kill babies.


At 7/10/05, 5:59 PM, Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

You might be interested in Peter Singer. He's an ethicist who has a pretty controversial view on the whole (actual, post-birth) baby-killing issue. Pretty much everybody disagrees with his unusual points, but he's worth reading.

At 7/10/05, 6:06 PM, Blogger Stx said...

Wow, I'm surprised something like that could even be published! Freedom of the press, and all that...

Putting the baby-murder aside (as if such a thing were possible!), one thing that I found incredible (the proper translation being something like "hard to believe") was the introduction:

"One sure way to start a lively argument at a dinner party is to raise the question Are we humans getting more decent over time? Optimists about moral progress will point out that the last few centuries have seen, in the West at least, such welcome developments as the abolition of slavery and of legal segregation, the expansion of freedoms (of religion, speech and press), better treatment of women and a gradual reduction of violence, notably murder, in everyday life. Pessimists will respond by citing the epic evils of the 20th century -- the Holocaust, the Gulag. Depending on their religious convictions, some may call attention to the breakdown of the family and a supposed decline in sexual morality."

I was just going through some old papers, and I found an old report on "Pornography and the Internet" that my professor encouraged me to write. Now, I didn't get into any specifics, but I just discussed the easy availability of inappropriate sites on the internet and the way that it has affected society, kids, etc.

In one particular paragraph, I wrote a topic sentence that said something like "Due to the obvious decline in morality, people nowadays are..."

Her comment? Something like: "Obvious? I think you'll find it difficult to back up this claim."

I laughed when I saw it. And then, on second though, I decided that I wanted to cry instead.

At 7/10/05, 8:54 PM, Blogger TRW said...

Sounds like the lecture I heard at work my second day (or at the beginning..). The discussion was over the ethics of child pornography, and whether it's an art or a completely disgusting or awful thing. Um...they didn't agree with the latter. They came to the conclusion that ethics is relative, so there is no such thing as ethics...

Naivite is such a lovely thing...


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