Friday, February 17, 2012

Culture of Death

To me, the most striking aspect of the Obama administration’s plan to force coverage of contraception and abortifacient drugs on all health insurance plans has been its underlying assumption. That is, having children is something the government should be in the business of actively suppressing. Along with the Left’s vigorous advocacy of abortion, this reveals the belief that children are ultimately a burden on both individuals and society at large. The fewer of them, the better for us the rest of us.

This is utter madness, of course. No society has ever survived, let alone prospered, by eliminating it’s future generations. It is contrary to any conventional morality. As Mark Steyn has been pointing out for years, this ‘live for today, don’t think about tomorrow’ attitude is contrary to the principles of basic economics. And it’s contrary to an elemental survival instinct.

Yet those advocating this belief have yet to pay a political price for it. In fact, Obama’s approval ratings have increased since this controversy reared its gruesome head, evidence that this has become the dominant thinking of our culture. A sobering, depressing realization.

But we can’t say we weren’t given proper warning. It was nearly seventeen years ago that Pope John Paul II released his Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). This was the encyclical that introduced the term “the culture of death”to describe the direction in which the world was headed. What was a prescient prediction then now describes our reality:

This reality is characterized by the emergence of a culture which denies solidarity and in many cases takes the form of a veritable "culture of death". This culture is actively fostered by powerful cultural, economic and political currents which encourage an idea of society excessively concerned with efficiency. Looking at the situation from this point of view, it is possible to speak in a certain sense of a war of the powerful against the weak: a life which would require greater acceptance, love and care is considered useless, or held to be an intolerable burden, and is therefore rejected in one way or another. A person who, because of illness, handicap or, more simply, just by existing, compromises the well-being or life-style of those who are more favoured tends to be looked upon as an enemy to be resisted or eliminated. In this way a kind of "conspiracy against life" is unleashed.

Or, to put it in other words, those of Barack Obama:

A couple more excerpts from the Introduction to the Evangelium Vitae:

… a new cultural climate is developing and taking hold, which gives crimes against life a new and-if possible-even more sinister character, giving rise to further grave concern: broad sectors of public opinion justify certain crimes against life in the name of the rights of individual freedom, and on this basis they claim not only exemption from punishment but even authorization by the State, so that these things can be done with total freedom and indeed with the free assistance of health-care systems.

The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life.

Does that sound like any politicians or institutions that you know of?

The issue of contraception is also directly addressed, and anyone wishing to understand just what it is that Rick Santorum is attempting to advocate for, this is the source document:

It is true that in many cases contraception and even abortion are practised under the pressure of real- life difficulties, which nonetheless can never exonerate from striving to observe God's law fully. Still, in very many other instances such practices are rooted in a hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and they imply a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfilment. The life which could result from a sexual encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception.

The Evangelium Vitae is an extensive and sometimes difficult document, but brilliant, bracing stuff, especially for those who might wrongly believe there is no hope for our future.