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Why 5th Graders Should Have Anal Sex and Other Arguments for Abstinence

Presently making its rounds on social media is an article describing the shock parents had in Chicago to discover instructions on how to have safe anal sex and other sexual activities… designed for fifth graders. According to the article, “CPS says the material was mistakenly put in the presentation and is not intended to be part of the curriculum.”

Since the material is hosted on one of their elementary school websites and plainly described as being for fifth graders, this seems to me to be unlikely.  However, that is an issue for the good citizens of Chicago to explore.  I wish to make some other points.  However, for reference, you may wish to look at the presentation material that was on that website.  In case they remove it (likely) the link was here:  http://www.waterselementary.org/uploads/2/2/0/1/22017434/5_lesson5_abstinence_contraceptives.pdf and I have uploaded it to my site where you can download it here:


As a quick aside, Bill Clinton famously said that he did not “have sex with THAT woman” but according to this material, sex is defined as “Sexual intercourse – Activity where the penis or another sex object is inserted into the vagina (vaginal
intercourse), anus (anal sex), or oral cavity (oral sex).”  Much turns on the definitions of things, as we will discuss more, shortly.  (Does ‘is’ mean ‘is’?)

Let me bottom line this.

If anyone takes the time to understand the progressive liberal mindset, there is not one thing surprising about this.  If you fall into the camp described in the article as, “Many parents said that although they support sex education, the material went too far for elementary school students” you need a reality check, to put it mildly.  The same spirit that drives ‘sex education’ at all embraces teaching kids about all kinds of sexual activity–from birth.  If you want the government to provide sex education at all, you will inevitably find “material” that is “too far” sprinkled throughout society.  The goal is simple:  for one day, society to agree with them that no discussion about sex of any kind be “age inappropriate.”  If you happen to be one of these progressive liberals yourself, and find yourself similarly disgusted at the idea of teaching fifth graders (in this instance) to use condoms, in graphic, explicit detail, then you have REALLY got to get your head on straight.  It’s ‘your team’ that is behind this in the first place!

It is imperative that we realize that much of this push to sexualize our children and, indeed, all of society, is part of an overarching philosophy that goes well beyond the considerations made by local school boards.

Supposedly, ‘everyone’ agrees that this material is not ‘age appropriate.’   Someone involved clearly does, since the lesson plainly describes this as being for Grade 5.  My first impression when looking at this document is that whoever these people are, they figure that since it is generally accepted that fifth graders shouldn’t be having sex (yet…), teaching ‘abstinence’ should be a no-brainer, and certainly well within societal norms. Here are the Lesson Objectives:

  • Students will define abstinence in relation to human reproduction.
  • Students will identify abstinence as developmentally appropriate sexual behavior for 5th graders.
  • Students will identify people who can support their decision to practice abstinence.
  • Students will compare and contrast contraceptive methods, including: abstinence, withdrawal,barrier methods, and hormonal methods.
  • Students will identify places to access reproductive health care.
condoms for both boys and girls

the pink condom is for the transgenders? What is the meaning of this bigotry!

From this, one might expect the presentation to be significantly weighted towards abstinence (that’s great, right!).  However, of the 61 slides, 54 of them are devoted to ‘safe sex.’   There are, literally, only three slides dedicated to abstinence.  Oh.  And a worksheet called “My Goals” with cutesy, age appropriate smiling stars.  Why they didn’t go with erect penises is beyond me.  After all, they already have smiling condoms on the slide on page 25.  I would have gone with that.  — >

Now, I ask you:  in a presentation geared towards ‘abstinence’ with 88% of it devoted explicitly to actually having sex, or what can happen if someone has sex, what is the actual message these fifth graders can be expected to take away?   I mean, seriously.

Before I take some time to corroborate my claim that this is part and parcel of the liberal worldview, I would like to first call attention to some of the elements of blatant deception built into this transparent propaganda piece.

First of all, note the slide on page 35 which covers “Emergency Contraception.”  The Morning After Pill is categorically described as “Not [an] abortion pill.”  Well, yes, if you define pregnancy as only beginning after implantation, then it is not.  But why define it that way?  Be honest, you know exactly why.   Here already in the fifth grade, ten year olds are being given the idea that pregnancy does not begin at conception, so whatever you do before implantation is “no big deal.”

You might say that this kind of nuance is not appropriate for fifth graders.  Right!  Let’s instead go over some female anatomy!  Actual slide below:

vagina-slideMoving on.

We have one deception where an ‘abstinence’ presentation seems actually designed to promote promiscuous behavior.  We have another that plainly plays into laying the groundwork for a treating unborn children as throw away fodder, which is itself a linchpin that holds the entire pro-choice position together.  There is an additional deception (albeit, it may be self-deception on the part of the presentation designers) that you can avoid pregnancy and STDs, even apart from abstinence, by using certain forms of contraception.

Now, the presentation quite correctly states that abstinence is 100% ‘protective’ of both pregnancy and STDs (in the latter case, “however some STIs can spread by genital contact alone.”) but states that condoms “protect[] against STIs and pregnancy, and oh, by the way, are available and “Free at most school based health center or community centers.”  I know if I was a fifth grader striving to be abstinent, I’d be happy to discover that I could still have as much sex as I want without consequence, for free, without my parents even knowing (see slide on page 37), if I use a condom.

This point is made in various ways throughout the presentation.  For example, on the slide on page 40, we learn:  “Just like male condoms, [Female Condoms] help reduce the risk of HIV, STIs, and unintended pregnancy.”


Sorry, I have to digress for a moment.

Some of the other benefits of using the Female Condom, which every 11 year old should know, is that you can insert them “hours before vaginal sex, so you don’t have to interrupt foreplay to be safe.”  Best of all, perhaps, you can use them not just vaginally, but also anally!  AND… wait for it… wait for it… the Female Condom is for “EVERYBODY!”  Women, men, transgender folks, gay, straight and, here’s a great feature, in “Any position.”   They don’t even need an “erect penis.”  And, every fifth grader will be pleased to know, they “adjust to body temperature, so both you and your partner can feel the heat.”  Oh, baby.  Feel the heat.

Now, the average fifth grader might be a little intimidated by the mechanics of using a Female Condom.  Great news:  they offer step by step instruction on how to use it vaginally, and, as an added benefit, anally, too.  Note the male genitalia:

female condom in the anuses of men

Of course, if you use it anally, every pre-teen should remember to use lots of lube, a point cleverly emphasized through age appropriate kid friendly innuendo:

lube up, youngster

Does anyone else think that it is not the sexual behavior of young people that is the public health menace, but rather the…

Alright, digression over.


In a comparison chart at the end of the PDF we get a good look at all of the birth control outcomes.  Abstinence gets the big green check… hurray for logic!   So also the male and female condom.  Everything else gets the big red X… for some reason the STIs get graphics, but the ‘effectiveness at preventing pregnancy’ gives us a percentage.

Now enter the deception.

The slideshow and the comparison chart (which is for the adults?) state, correctly, that condom use is not 100% protective.  The male condom is said to be 84% effective against pregnancy and the female condom is said to be 79% effective.  Both have the green check mark (which relates only to the STIs, not the pregnancies), but the fine print says that condoms only ‘help prevent STIs’ or “Offers protection against STIs.”

What are we to make of this?  It seems to me that both child and adult will come away thinking that there are two good options for them, abstinence and condoms, even though there is still a 16-21% chance of pregnancy and still a possibility of getting STDs.

What shall we call a child–nay, anyone–who has sex a hundred times?  A parent, if these rates are accurate (I’ve actually heard liberal sites promote a much narrower percentage).  This is great news for organizations like Planned Parenthood, that really need the business.

Anyway, I can’t see how kids, and perhaps even adults, won’t come away from this presentation thinking that so long as they properly wear condoms (and instructions ARE given, see page 16) they can have as much sex as they want, anally, orally, whatever, and all will be well.

Now, personally, I have trouble believing that this kind of thing is ignorance or ideological blindness.  It seems to me that the ‘experts’ have got to be aware of this, and not only don’t give a damn, but are actually trying to generate unintended pregnancies and STDs.

I felt I needed to give at least some measure of a critique before talking about the sources.

This is interesting, I think.  The presentation is backed up by links from reputable (in our present society, anyway) sources and sites.  There is of course that bastion of women’s reproductive rights, Planned Parenthood.  If anyone has incentive to reduce the number of pregnancies, its them!   We have a link to Bedsider.org, which is a project of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and has a number of competent people who can be expected to be totally unbiased.  They have another project, where they offer ‘fun and games‘ trying to persuade people to wait, but of course pretty much assume nobody will.  The CDC is linked… who can argue with the CDC.  Those people are brilliant.  And let’s not forget the National Institute for Health.

Indeed, the first line in the document indicates that the goal is to “comply with CPS policy requirements for comprehensive sexual education at the 5th grade level’ as reflected in National Sexuality Education Standards.   These standards, which appear to be part of the Common Core package (I need to verify this) can be found here.   It certainly seems that that this presentation is consistent with those standards.

I go into this because I think that any of us who get bent out of shape about this and direct our ire exclusively towards our local school boards are totally missing the point.  These are not locally driven initiatives.  They are backed by national organizations that are deemed credible and reputable such as the NIH and CDC and Planned Parenthood.   The NIH and CDC, of course, are government organizations.  Take some time to check out the members of the various sources. ‘Experts’ and PhDs, every one of them!   What we have here is a liberal progressive outlook on human sexuality enshrined at the very top levels of policy making.

This is not an aberration.  This is reality.  If you don’t like what is coming down the pike, and you are a liberal, then you need to rethink governmental involvement in these affairs AT ALL and, more than that, you need to rethink your entire ideology.  If you are a conservative and sympathetic to this post, you need to delve deep into the agendas that are driving these things and fight them at their source, and not get distracted by sideshows.

a guy who really likes female condoms

everyone should want to protect their anus. do NOT judge.

Now, what I had not noticed on other blogs about this was the fact that despite the presentation being backed by innumerable reputable sources, it was created by the Chicago Female Condom Campaign and adapted from The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health.  (panel page 60)  It also draws from an organization called The Pleasure Project where we learn that they intentionally use ‘guerrilla tactics’ trying to use pleasure to prevent… badness, I guess.  (I’m afraid to know what I’m looking at in the background image on that page.)

You’ve just got to understand that the liberal ideology is advanced deliberately through lies and deception, and whenever possible, at taxpayer expense and through public institutions.  If you don’t understand this, we’ll never see the end of such things.


If you are a liberal, and this troubles you, its time to do a re-think.   These are your peeps, working within avenues that you helped establish and advocate for and wish to fund (using other people’s money, typically).  But if you are a conservative, it means that we must be vigilant and active at every level, all the time, and in every way, state, local, and Federal.

Gird up your loins.

The folks at the Chicago Female Condom Campaign probably have a slide to show you how to do it, but its probably in their submitted curriculum for third graders.


Jonathan Gruber: The Other White Meat

So everyone is piling on Jonathan Gruber right now.  A third video has now been released where Gruber basically says what conservatives have been saying for a LONG time:  corporations don’t pay taxes; the corporations pass the tax to the consumer.  (I made this point at length, here.) In this way, you can SAY that you’ve stuck it to the big, bad, corporation and that you’ve stood up for the little guy, but, well, actually, you stuck it to the little guy.   (You actually need to look at more of the context than the CNN article alludes to… as if insulting Americans is the sole story here!)

The irony here is that he is talking about taxing so-called ‘Cadillac plans’ which liberal labor unions fought so hard for.

Anyway, we’ve got to remember that Gruber is just one of many, and they all lie.

Anyone who has been paying attention to Obamacare from the beginning knew they were always lying.  About everything really.  If anyone had the audacity to point out that the numbers simply didn’t add up they were subjected to catcalls like, “Experts say such and such… are you an expert?  That’s what I thought… idiot.”  All Gruber has given us is explicit admission, from one such expert, that the skeptics had a point.  However, we didn’t need an expert to validate our assertion that 2+2=4, or, Obamacare is built so that “healthy people pay in and sick people get money.”  And so on.

I’ve had to chuckle listening to some of the Republicans bemoaning the deception by Gruber, as if there was any doubt at any time that deception was part and parcel of Obamacare and the nefarious ways it was foisted upon the United States.

I’m afraid that this is all going to get hung on Gruber’s neck, and the rest of the people who were complicit will escape judgement.  Gruber deserves everything he’s getting, but his share in the deception must be small in comparison to people like Reid, Pelosi, and of course Obama himself.  We’ve been ‘grubered,’ alright, but by far bigger fish than Jonathan Gruber.

I’m sure Bart Stupak might have something to say about such things, but someone is going to have to track him down, first.  He was last seen walking around in a daze, his clothes in tatters, muttering, “But Obama gave me his ironclad word… his word...”

Actually, as I sit here thinking about those Republicans just now realizing that we were intentionally misled (not that some of us actually were misled) it isn’t really funny.  I personally doubt that they really are that surprised, which raises the obvious question about why they didn’t do more to address it, which in turn raises the obvious question about whether or not, even now, they’re going to do anything about, well, anything.

I, for one, don’t expect them to.  And that is a reason for sadness. (Unless you are a liberal progressive, of course.)

Something tells me that Obamacare is the ‘Gruber’ that will be dying hard, rather than the hero, the American public.

In tribute to the chewing out that Gruber is enduring, I put this together.  Share as you wish.



A Case in Point of Alinsky-Style Politics and Governing: Gruber, Transparency, Taxes, and the Mandate

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the latest video making the rounds of a certain Dr. Jonathan Gruber, a man who was involved in crafting and passing Obamacare.  I have mentioned Gruber in the past, when he made remarks that had that distinctive eugenic smell about them.

Transcript (He talked fast in some parts, verify if you excerpt from this):

It’s just, you can’t do it, politically,  You just literally can not do it.  OK, transparent financing, unless that transparent financing–also transparent spending–I mean, this bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO [Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. OK? So it’s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said healthy people are going to pay in–you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money–it would not have passed. OK? Just as–lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass. And you know, its a second best argument… Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not. So,  it’s kind of like his reporter story.  You know, yea, there’s things I wish we could change, but I’d rather have this law than not.

There was a time, when I was younger, that I had this view that the two political parties were essentially on the same quest, with equal levels of corruption and sincerity, but following from different principles, and I thought it was a basically tenable position to say that good men could sincerely differ.   As I’ve gotten older, I’ve read more and seen more, and I know now that the problem runs much deeper than this.  Namely, this:  one of the principles that the Dems openly acknowledge as good and virtuous is DECEPTION.

This doesn’t mean that the Republicans don’t lie.  They certainly do–and often.  But when they do it, they know they are engaging in a behavior that would disgust their base, which feels strongly about truthfulness.  To illustrate further, the Republicans have become the party representing certain values regarding sexuality, in particular chastity before marriage and faithfulness after marriage.  The Democrats, however, have a worldview that assumes that everyone is going to “do it like they do it on Discovery Channel” and well, that’s ok;  moreover, only the prudes carry about the private behavior of politicians.  So, if a Democrat is caught having a torrid affair, there is a collective yawn–that sort of thing is just par for the course.  If a Republican is caught having a torrid affair, the media goes on and on about it, and that Republican’s political career is in a precarious state… in large part, because the people that elected him in the first place cannot get over their disgust.

Similar to how the Republican base upholds chastity and faithfulness, they also uphold truth.  If a Republican is caught in a lie, it disgusts the Republican base, and anyone else who thinks that truth is a good thing.  But Democrat ideologues accept the Alinsky formula (as expressed in Rules for Radicals, for example) that the ends always justify the means, and deception and character assassination are not merely acceptable tools for gaining power and exercising it, but preferred methods.

Part of this stems from other elements of the Democrat worldview, which we see implied in the Gruber clip above.  For example, liberals tend to think that their fellow man is incapable of taking care of himself or making decisions for himself that really are in his own best interest.  Thus, it is necessary in some cases to tell people what they want to hear “for their own good” or “for the common good” even if what you tell them is a blatant lie and fabrication.  They really do think that the American voter is stupid, but they have sort of a soft spot for the average imbecile on the street, so they do what they can–despite the fact that in this case, Obamacare, if the American voter had been told the truth, they would have rejected it… would have rejected what was “in their own best interests” but they were too stupid to recognize.

I am not saying that all liberals and Democrats and Progressives similarly embrace a Machiavellian outlook.  Not at all.  As I implied above, there was a day when I myself had liberal and Democrat tendencies.  However, I did think that truth was important for its own sake.  (One turning point for me was the Clinton-Lewinsky affair)  It may be possible still to have and uphold liberal values free from the utilitarian machinations exhibited by the Democrat elites… but we are long past the point where we can entertain any hope that the Democrat Party will be able to promote them honestly and fairly, in the open, publicly, so that all Americans can decide for themselves if they agree with those principles.  The fact that these elites have to hide their views and values at all perhaps tells us all we need to know.

Unfortunately, just because we have ample justification for believing the opposite of whatever a given Democrat politicians says, it doesn’t follow that the Republicans can be trusted.   And that makes me sad, because eventually, when it is absolutely known to everyone that the rule of law no longer exists and absolutely known that our elected officials will not represent the values of those who elect them, attempting to resolve differences via elections will no longer seem viable.  It’s not going to be a pretty, and my fear is that the way things are proceeding, this day draws closer faster and faster.  But time will tell.


Nancy Pearcey keynotes online conference

300x300_3I am pleased to announce that my ministry, Athanatos Christian Ministries, will be hosting its fifth annual online apologetics conference tomorrow and Saturday (Oct 24-25th, 2014).

Nancy Pearcey, author of Saving Leonardo and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, will be our keynote presenter. The theme this year is ‘Women Equipping Women’ so all of the presenters are ladies.  Men, of course, are welcome.

Here they are:

Judy Salisbury | Hillary Morgan Ferrer | Sarah Ankenman | Cynthia Velasco Hampton | Julie D Loos | Lori Peters | Letitia Wong | Natasha Crain | MaryJo Sharp | Marcia Montenegro | Melissa Cain Travis | Bonita Jewel | Kathryn Camp | Marilyn Tyner

Topics range from Intelligent Design and Darwinism to how to approach Jehovah Witnesses to practical advice for mothers wishing to instill a well-grounded faith with their children.

Cost is $21. All sessions are saved and available for registerants, so even if you cannot attend one (or any) you will still get access to the archives.

Hope to see you there!




Frieden and Obama’s “prior ideological commitment”: Utilitarianism.

Jonathan Last at the Weekly Standard puts his finger on it in an article titled “6 Reasons to Panic.”

Frieden’s entire argument is so strange—and so at odds with what other epidemiologists prescribe—that it can only be explained by one of two causes: catastrophic incompetence or a prior ideological commitment. The latter, in this case, might well be the larger issue of immigration.

Frieden’s argument prompted me to assert that we are effectively on our own.  I also called attention to the obvious casualty of a travel ban:  the question naturally surfaces… “What about the tens of thousands of people flooding over our southern border?”  We already detect the treasonous indifference by the leadership to the possibility that any one of these illegal aliens might carry an infectious disease, but it was easier for the American public to let that slide because–theoretically–those diseases are not likely to be fatal, because our expertise in health care can manage most of those risks.  Nobody except the truly ideologically deranged believes that about Ebola.

But what is the ‘prior ideological commitment’?  It may very well be, as Last asserts, that it has been decided by the elites that the cost of retaining our irresponsible border policy is some dead Americans.   The truth is, however, that this calculation has already been made.  One illustration of this is the recent report that some 167,000 illegal aliens that have been convicted in American courts remain at large.

The convictions include assaults, theft, murder, identity theft, domestic battery and obstruction of justice. The convictions usually do not include reckless driving and other driving-related offenses, unless a state’s courts treat them as serious crimes.

And who can forget Obama’s release of some 36,000 incarcerated convicted illegal aliens as a brute political ploy meant to undermine Republican ‘efforts’ to balance the budget?

The law of averages alone is enough to tell us that in a population of known violent offenders, a fair number of them are going to repeat their crimes.  Especially if they’ve already been convicted and released anyway!  And if you pay attention, you can indeed find numerous reports of precisely this happening, albeit only on local news sites and whatnot.  The compliant media also seems to have a ‘prior ideological commitment’ and also cannot be trusted to tell us what is really going on.

It should already have been apparently, therefore, that advocates for amnesty had decided that the death of (who knows how many) Americans was a price worth paying to achieve their aim.   To grasp the implications of this more clearly, consider Last’s statement quoted above:  our two basic choices are either “catastrophic incompetence or a prior ideological commitment.”  These actions stem directly from the decisions of one man, Barack Hussein Obama.  Now, you can choose to believe that all of these convicted illegal aliens is the result of some catastrophic miscalculation by the smartest president we’ve ever had, or you can conclude that BHO has actually said to himself, “Americans will die if I do this, but that is the price to pay for the cause”, but on either view, the conclusion is that we are on our own.

For Obama does not act on his own.  Our Federal government, tasked to protect American interests first and foremost, is packed chock full of people with an entirely different viewpoint.  We are not talking about a mere difference of opinion on policies.  We are talking about people in our Federal government that have decided that the death of Americans is an acceptable price to pay to achieve XYZ.  (There is no particular reason to think that this calculation is restricted to illegal immigration).  Thus, we are on our own.  It falls to each individual American to think about how best to preserve their interests, and even, sadly, their very lives.

This has short-term implications as it relates to the Ebola crisis, but we are foolish indeed if we do not think about how to correct this in the long-term.  It would obviously be helpful, knowing nothing else, if every Democrat, liberal, and progressive was completely purged from positions of power.  This, I am afraid, would be only a short term victory, because, sad to say, there are many, many Republicans that share some of the same guiding principles that we see driving liberalism.

One of these guiding principles is the utilitarian outlook itself, as I argue in this post here.  But the utilitarian outlook is itself rooted in a particular belief system.  Utilitarianism is essentially all that you are left with when transcendental moral principles are ruled out of order… or, at least ruled unfit for the public square.  (This last I touched on here, regarding the Houston pastors getting in hot water).  What I am saying is that there needs to be an ideological overhaul of the entire system, right down to the very question of just what the purpose of government is, who is allowed to be involved, and what principles they are allowed to act on.   It is not uncommon to see Republicans also framing their proposals as being for the ‘common good’ even though what they must really mean, “the most good for the most people.”  The latter clearly implies the necessity that some people will not see a good result, and they’re ‘ok’ with that.  Do we really want people in power sitting around deciding who is going to ‘win’ or ‘lose’?  Especially when the same logic allows someone to justify tolerating the deaths of the very people those people were elected to protect?  I think not.

I also don’t think it is very likely that we will see an ‘ideological overhaul’ in either the short or long term.  I think America is going to have to hit rock bottom before it collectively recognizes the trouble it is in.    I am writing this in the hopes that somewhere along the line, the true roots of the problem will be grasped.  Utilitarianism itself is not the root, but the stem.   We must get to the roots.

Is there ever a time when “the most good for the most people” is a valid moral principle?  As I argued in an already linked article, this ethical principle is really one of last resort, suitable only in cases where there are no good, moral choices.  Warfare comes to mind–which probably explains why certain ideologues are constantly declaring ‘war’ on everything… poverty, obesity, etc.  Casualties are always expected in a war, you see.   Except in this narrow situation (a legitimate war, not a fabricated one used to justify government intrusion), individuals themselves should be making the moral choices, and suffering the moral consequences, and the actions of the government should be bound by the same kinds of moral considerations, not an amoral principle such as utilitarianism.

If I am right in my analysis, the only thing you can do is tuck this away for the future in the hopes that it may make some difference.  In the meantime, look to your survival.  In the Ebola situation, we may finally have arrived at a utilitarian calculation where it does not matter if it came because of “catastrophic incompetence or a prior ideological commitment.”  Because we’ll be dead.  Like, literally.

I read once how some towns took matters in their own hands during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1917 and quarantined themselves.  Yes, it may very well come to that.

But maybe a little self-governance for a change would be just what the doctor ordered.



Frog Cries out, “Hmmm, maybe this water is a TAD hot!” — Gays, Houston Sermons, HERO, and the Death of Marriage

You’ve heard the proverbial story of the frog being slowly boiled to death.  Yesterday, I saw a bit of news that seems to give one more example.  Scanning Google News for more information, it is clear that the Christian media has noticed.   This is like the frog finally noticing the predicament it is in.

Now, there are countless angles to approach this.  There is, of course, the immediate problem.  For the Christians in Houston, there are particular practical implications.  I think that most readers, however, know that this is only a symptom.  Now, for the pro-homosexual readers, it is a symptom of a good thing going on.  In their eyes, it is about time the bigots got what is coming to them.  On their view, this is on par with the KKK being told where (ironically?) to shove it.  I suspect we might hear some of the gay marriage advocates decry this step as a threat to all of our liberties, not just those of Christians, but in the main I expect a collective shrug.  It is hard to get all worked up about bigots getting persecuted after decades and even centuries of gays being persecuted, right?  Check out the comments in the link provided above for some examples of this.

But I am not writing this with the pro-homosexual reader as my intended audience.  It is my fellow Christian, first of all, and conservatives in general, after that.  With that plainly stated…

I observe that this madness in Houston stems from two important developments.  In the first place, you have the fact that Houston recently elected an openly gay mayor, Annise Parker.  In the second place, the ordinance in question, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO, was passed by the city council.

Notwithstanding the clear Constitutional prohibition of such actions (not that it matters anymore what the Constitution clearly says), we may ask ourselves, “Don’t people have the right to govern themselves?”  In other words, the majority of the citizens of Houston elected Parker and the council that enacted these changes.  Ostensibly, then, these actions reflect the greater will of the citizens of Houston.

It may be argued that the citizens did not consent to this, as indicated by the collection of thousands of signatures in an effort to put the matter to a referendum.  As I have learned from personal experience, elected officials will not easily allow something to go to referendum if they fear they may actually be reversed.  They will lie, cheat, and reverse themselves, and otherwise do whatever it takes.  If the elected officials in Houston felt they really reflected the will of the people on this, they would allow the referendum to go forward, as it would validate not just their policies, but their philosophies, and it would set the matter well beyond the reach of opponents.  So, there is probably good reason to think that the mayor and council have bit off more than it could chew, and the mayor and council know this.

But the time to have implemented the policies you desire was at the time of the election, at the ballot box.  At that time, the philosophies of the candidates should have been vetted.  In a representative system such as permeates the United States, decisions are not made in a purely democratic fashion, where each important issue gets decided by a straight majority vote.  No, we elect representatives who operate on the fair assumption that the electorate backs the philosophy that the candidate will bring to the table.

In short, the philosophy matters more than the policies.  If you want to see the policies you like enacted in your city, then you elect people who share your philosophies.

Bizarrely, this is understood very well by the enemies of the Christian worldview, and Christians themselves stumble about blindly reacting to symptoms, rarely turning to address the core issues.

On the one hand, the enemies of the Christian worldview understand the power of the political process, where if you get over the initial hump of securing office, decisions can be legally made by small numbers of people.  (In Houston, never mind the mayor and the council–the referendum signatures were thrown out because of the decision of ONE MAN.  Think about that.)  For people with this mindset, politics is their bread and butter.  On the other hand, these people grasp that to get what they want, they need their philosophies to have the support of the populace.  To attain that support, they will use any means necessary, but in practice the best case scenario is to create more people who share their philosophies.

In other words, these people understand that they need to change the culture itself and orient it towards being sympathetic to their views.  Once that happens, everything else that happens, happens inevitably.  Not as the result of some sinister conspiracy, but because certain things rationally follow from certain propositions.

Finally, recognizing the supreme importance of having their philosophies permeate the culture and not the Christian’s, they have taken certain practical steps to have the beliefs and attitudes of Christians characterized as ‘religious’ and, in their view (with Supreme Court backing), consequently a violation of ‘church and state’ if Christians do decide to engage the political process with the goal of seeing their own philosophies and policy preferences enacted.

In effect, if Mayor Parker thinks that it is quite alright to compel churches and private organizations who allow the public to access their bathrooms make available their women‘s restroom to men, that is a purely secular matter, and entirely appropriate for citizens and elected officials to demand, whereas if you disagree, it is a religious issue, and therefore a violation of the Constitution’s supposed demand that ‘church and state’ be separate.

This is the way it works all the way down the line.  If you think that an organization like Catholic Charities should facilitate adoptions to gay couples, that is a secular aim.  If you don’t agree, that’s religious–and therefore, not permitted.  If you think that Christian businesses should have to participate in activities that patently condone homosexual behavior, even as far as compelling them to participate in the act of commemorating that behavior, such as by producing wedding cakes for gay couples, photographing their weddings, or hosting the weddings themselves, that is a secular matter:  “The cost of doing business in public society.”  If you disagree, that’s your religious conviction speaking, and therefore, precluded.  And, oh, by the way, you are a bigot.

But this sleight of hand is only possible if you have managed if large numbers of the populace go along with it.  Since fewer and fewer people can actually read the Constitution, and those who can, can barely comprehend what they are reading, and since the Constitution only means what 9 folks in black robes say it means, it is not too difficult to pull this off.  If you can also shift cultural sensitivities in your direction, the matter is virtually won, and you hardly have to concern yourself any more with the harder work of changing people’s philosophies.

But it must be emphasized that the rampant illiteracy and the deference to experts, judicial and otherwise, is itself the result of work done largely by people that have been elected, whether it be local school boards or the president of the United States who nominates a supreme court justice who is then ratified by US senators, who themselves are elected.  (If elected officials themselves attempt to deviate from the approved program, they will find themselves browbeat by ‘experts’, too.  Again, something I know from personal experience.)

From all this, you may surmise that getting all worked up by the subpoena of communications by religious leaders is ultimately pointless.  No doubt, it is worth being concerned about the steps after this step.  Obviously, actual prosecution and incarceration have become incrementally closer.  Probably, people other than Christians will ultimately be made to suffer, and probably,  gays themselves will someday find themselves on the wrong side of an issue, and be made to suffer similarly, on account of precedent that they helped establish.  The idea that we can stop the encroachment here, however, at this relatively minor manifestation, is absurd.

So what is the solution?  There are two obvious ones.

1., Christians need to become more politically active themselves, and by that I don’t mean protesting in the streets or trying to get signatures for a referendum.  I mean, running for office and backing those who share your values.

2., #1 is pointless, unless the culture be changed so that it is more sympathetic to the philosophies that power the Christian worldview.

These are two obvious ones, no doubt, but I am afraid even these are not sufficient.   There is also #3.

3.  Recognize that the use of government to implement one’s philosophical preferences is a double-edged sword that is more likely to be used against you than for you.

The implication of #3 is that any Christian who decides to take #1 and #2 to heart, must make the goal of having a ‘limited government’ their burning desire.  To understand why, let me submit to you another link, which is even more representative of the real ‘illness’ afflicting us than what is going on in Houston.  And, even it is only a symptom!

Marriage rates hit new, all-time low

This bit of news came out a couple of days ago, although it is a little disturbing that anyone would find it news.

It is doubtful that ‘gay marriage’ is the lead cause of this, since the trend began many years ago.  ‘Gay marriage’ is itself probably the result of the trends that have undermined marriage, although I will grant that it reinforces and deepens the overall trends.  The institution of ‘no fault divorce’ is almost certainly one of the more important catalysts to today’s situation, and that was in the 1960s and 1970s.  But what really caught my attention was this quote:

There’s no formal consensus about what’s driving the numbers, but data shows that among young adults who say they do want to get married, the economy is an issue.

34 percent of them cite financial security as an obstacle to tying the knot.

Economic reasons? Well, yes.  But what is rarely understood, and certainly very often not by Christians (who are not primed to think in such terms), is that the economic influences have been engineered with an eye towards undermining traditional marriage.  What is better?  Convincing the populace that traditional marriage (pardon the redundancy) is a hindrance and obstacle to the ‘greater good’ is a difficult thing to do.  If you just outlawed it and eliminated it by fiat, there would be an unsurvivable outcry.  But if you created the conditions by which people ‘voluntarily’ chose not to marry, or commit themselves to a paradigm that elevates the ‘traditional marriage’ model as the ideal, then people do what the social engineers want them to do, while thinking that it was their idea all along.

The phrase you’re looking for here is “voluntary unconscious selection,” or, as Charles Galton Darwin put it in his book, “The Next One Million Years,”

[civilization has the tendency] to eliminate its ablest people.  This has happened in the past, and is certainly happening now, and if it is always to happen, it signifies a recurrent degeneration of all civilizations, only to be renewed by the incursion of barbarians who have not suffered similarly.  If any civilized country could overcome this effect, so that it alone retained both its ability and its civilization, it would certainly become the leading nation of the world.  Man is a wild animal, and cannot accomplish this by using the methods of the animal breeder, but may he not be able to devise something that would go beyond the long-drawn-out automatic processes of Natural Selection?  I think he can.  A cruder and simpler method must be used than the animal breeder’s.  Something might be accomplished on the line of what is called “Unconscious Selection” in the Origin of Species.

[…] A nation might consciously adopt [a policy of facilitating selection of people with higher ability], or it might be that an economic policy adopted for quite other reasons should have this unintended result. […] The best hope [for such a measure] would be that it should become attached to a creed […] The prospect of such a creed arising does not seem very hopeful, but if by its means any country can even partly solve the problem, it will lead the world, and it will be doing so through the method of “Unconscious Selection.”  [Emphasis added]

All that it would take is for someone with this mindset to decide that perhaps one might be able to adopt an economic for “quite other reasons” with the intended, but unannounced and unpublicized, result, and then something like the institution of marriage becomes an instrument in the hands of social engineers.

To put it bluntly to my Christian conservative friends, it is no good to engage the political process with the thought that we might be able to preserve some government functions that outwardly are friendly to Christianity, religious liberty, liberty itself, etc.  Every and any governmental program represents, in the eyes of those on the other side of these issues, a lever by which society can be managed and shaped.

And that includes a state enforced and supported notion of marriage as consisting of a monogamous relationship between one man and one woman.

As this essay has already grown lengthy, let me jump from Darwin, writing in the mid-1950s, to Frederick Jaffe, writing in 1969 in a memo to Bernard Berelson, head of the ‘Population Council.’  The Population Council was co-founded by one of its early presidents, Frederick Osborn, from whom I drew the phrase “voluntary unconscious selection,’ which he coined around the same time Darwin was saying something similar.

In this memo, Jaffe submits some ideas for managing the population which include items such as “restructuring the family.”  How to accomplish this?  examples:

  • Postpone or avoid marriage
  • Alter the image of ideal family size
  • Compulsory education of children
  • Encourage increased homosexuality
  • Educate for family limitation
  • Encourage women to work

Induce “Chronic Depression” by

  • Requiring women to work but provide few child care facilities


  • Discourage private home ownership

We need not dwell on other ideas, such as adding fertility control agents into the water supply and compelling women to get abortions.  As Jaffe was a vice-president of Planned Parenthood, such ideas may cause some consternation in the minds of some.

For our purposes, take a look at the list and ask yourself whether or not we are further away or closer to seeing some of these ideas actually manifested in society.

In the minds of people like Jaffe and Berelson and all the rest, government programs and policies are tools for social engineering.  Unless such folks are going to be thoroughly driven from the halls of power and replaced by people with an entirely different perspective (ie, ours), then it will always prove unwise to have our government involved in any endeavor, period.  Some government is necessary, but still vulnerable to such machinations.  But a smaller government is easier to monitor and hold accountable, and it is easier to pay attention to who is in charge and what their beliefs and values are.

I feel I must add, though it is an aside, that Jaffe and Berelson worked together on the 1969  Rockefeller Commission report authorized by Richard Nixon, which fleshed these themes out further.  A couple of years after this, Rockefeller prompted Nixon to put the Federal government on the job, and Nixon tasked Henry Kissinger to develop a foreign policy initiative aimed at depopulating a number of countries.  This national security position was declassified eventually, and is called NSSM-200.  Not incidentally, this early 1970s foreign policy decision takes pains to say that what they plan on doing to other countries is justified by the fact that they will take the same approach in the United States.

I cannot dwell on this here.  My point in mentioning this is to illustrate that we miss the point entirely if we focus our efforts on ‘tweaking’ the current system, when in fact the folks on the other side of these issues are using the very system itself to effect their desired changes.

And, frighteningly, even that is only a symptom!  We have not, even now, arrived at the true source of the problem.

I have invested too much time already on writing this, so rather than elaborate on that problem, let me say that it has a fairly simple solution, which I will append to my list above.  If consistently implemented and sustained in the long term, this solution will accomplish #1-3 above at the same time.

#4.  Have lots of babies and raise them all to have a thoroughly thought out and considered Christian worldview.

But if you are eager to get to the bottom of things, consider this picture of a mural that someone saw on a wall.  Evidently, those on the other side of these issues see some connections that Christians, sad to say, have yet to recognize.  Study this image carefully, and see if you can figure out for yourself where the root of the problem lies.




Ebola: One more symptom that we are on our own, courtesy of the Hedonist-in-Chief.

It is not a total surprise that the mainstream media has picked up on the Ebola story or the (for the moment) more worrisome enterovirus D68.  Of course, it is not unheard of for them to fabricate a crisis ex nihilo, or ignore a crisis that doesn’t jibe with their ideology, but they still have to make a buck.  They still have to keep tabs on the pulse of America, and right now America’s heart is beating furiously.  What is surprising to me is that the American public does not seem to be comforted one iota by the assurances spilling out of the Federal government, and the CDC in particular.  I find that surprising, because there has been plenty of reason to be leery long before now.

I should clarify:  I am talking about people who normally are on the side of ‘big government’ interventions.  I detected the collective gasp when CDC chief Thomas Frieden stated that taking measures to keep Ebola out of the country would actually make matters worse.  He has since doubled-down on this, and to his credit the argument now at least has the appearance of being rational, but the damage is done.  The cat is out of the bag, the core doctrine stated so succinctly and directly that only the deliberately obtuse can ignore.  People aren’t willing to be obtuse this time, even for the ’cause,’ because, well, they perceive that life, maybe their life, conceivably hangs in the balance.  It’s all well and good… until someone dies… and that person is you.

Don’t get me wrong.  The roots of this discontent go back.  It isn’t an ebola-only issue, which is kind of my point.  More than one ‘average’ Democrat voter I am acquainted with found our efforts to ‘rescue’ Bowe Bergdahl bizarre, but the real head-scratching occurs when they are also aware of the case of marine Andrew Tahmooressi, who was at the time, and remains even now, languishing in a Mexican prison.  Apparently our government will move heaven and earth, even negotiating with terrorists, in order to liberate a man who is almost certainly a deserter, and most likely anti-American, but will lift nary a finger to liberate a man who served his country who is behind held on a ridiculous charge by, ostensibly, an ally.

Many things become clear when we understand that the White House is currently occupied by the Utilitarian in Chief and the CDC likewise has at its head a utilitarian.

Utilitarianism operates on just two basic principles:  “The most good for the most people” and “Eliminate as much suffering as you can.”  The latter stems directly from the failure of philosophical naturalists to come up with any way of defining ‘good’ in a non-transcendental manner.  All they are left with is the shaky invocation of ‘happiness’ which they would also much rather leave undefined (lest they are forced to defend the pedophile’s happiness, the rapist’s happiness, etc, etc).  This in turn forces them to define ‘suffering’ in very broad terms, such that it does not only include physical pain, but also mental pain.  And from there, you are one short hop, skip, and a jump away from endorsing assisted suicide for the terminally ill to endorsing it for those suffering from treatable mental illnesses, like depression.  The slippery slope of utilitarianism turns out to offer no friction whatsoever.

On the face of it, the utilitarian principle makes good sense for the public health, but it is not hard to spot the weak point in the sentence, the word ‘most.’  ‘Most’ necessitates that there will be some people who will not experience ‘good.’  Worse, some people may actually have to suffer, in order to enact the program of the ‘most people for the most good.’

This is the kind of calculation that men of war have to make when forced by dire circumstances to send some men to their certain death in order to (hopefully) save others or achieve a higher objective.  In other words, it is a moral stance of last resort.  When it comes to public health, however, it is the standard operating procedure.  It takes a special kind of person to knowingly enact programs where it is known with certainty some people will suffer as a result in pursuit of a ‘higher aim.’  Dr. Frieden is such a man.

But that’s not meant necessarily as a pejorative.  Here is what I think is happening:  people who normally could accept the utilitarian method at least assumed that the government agencies ostensibly dedicated to preserving the health and ‘happiness’ of Americans would ensure, at minimum, that if anyone were going to suffer, it wouldn’t be Americans!

In the refusal to take definitive steps to keep Ebola outside of America, the argument was made that in the long run, it would be worse for us.  This by itself stretched credulity.  Worse is what it implied: our government was willing to abide a certain number of American deaths in the short term in order to obtain a long term victory.   Even if Americans aren’t privy to the exact calculations made, they sensed that a decision had been made to see some of them–and it really could be any of us–as expendable.

But even that isn’t the really noxious part.

Probably, most Americans would be willing to accede to such cold calculating if by ‘victory’ it meant the eradication and elimination of the pestilence.  While they wouldn’t be too pleased if it was announced that 100 must die in order to save 1,000,000 and certainly would chafe if they learned they were among the 100, they could still accept that it was a ‘war’ worth waging because in principle, at least, the goal was to protect the interests of the American people.   Lurking in the backs of everyone’s minds, though, is that this is not the ‘victory’ that is in view.  If it was, then other simple steps, such as the blisteringly obvious one of closing down the southern border, would naturally follow.  Not only has this not happened, but Frieden’s statements against sealing our borders from the African countries where ebola is endemic seem to be designed to fend off arguments for sealing our own border.

In sum, the ‘victory’ that some Americans may die for might in the final analysis be the survival of Obama’s efforts to enact amnesty for millions of illegal aliens.  People may have been willing to fork over money to Obama’s immigration efforts, or pay more in taxes, but they were not prepared to pay with their lives for a political position.  The situation is compounded by the “children’s crusade” that the Obama administration has facilitated, importing tens of thousands of unaccompanied children and teenagers and depositing them surreptitiously around the country.  Rumors abound that there is a correlation between these deposits and enterovirus D68.  Amnesty seemed a great idea until public health bombs were deliberately placed in countless American cities, poised to explode with such intensity that even pro-amnesty folks might get sick and die.  That is a bridge too far.

It is hard to imagine that the health and well-being of Americans are being put at risk in order to further the political agenda of the commander-in-chief, but my sense is that more and more Americans fear that is precisely what is happening.  It doesn’t matter what the government says.  What it does speaks louder.  Everything the government has done over the last few years seems calibrated to undermine America’s security and buttress the fortunes of just one man:

Barack Obama.

Obama is also a utilitarian, but his utilitarianism belongs to a sub-category called hedonistic utilitarianism.  We could summarize this brand of utilitarianism as, “The most good for me, as defined as the most happiness and least amount of suffering for me.”  We are of course always happy when a hedonistic utilitarian takes pleasure in giving other people and could almost tolerate such a viewpoint.  The impending ebola outbreak seems to suggest that Obama is perfectly willing to sacrifice some Americans in order to preserve his political future.  To be fair, I’m sure Obama hopes to sacrifice as few Americans as possible.

I find it shocking how many people I know, have met, have overheard, who used to be pro-Obama, or at least neutral, in the name of ‘patriotism,’ who have completely soured.  I do think that we have collectively adduced that Obama views the American presidency as a tedious ‘hoop’ he had to go through, a stepping stone on his way to something greater, perhaps in the United Nations.  It isn’t because of anything he has said.  No one cares what he says anymore.  They only care about what he is doing.. or not doing… while golfing.  “Obama golfed, people died”?

Ultimately, though, we need to look hard at the utilitarian mindset and ask ourselves if that’s the framework we want to base our country’s important decisions on.  This might be the first glaring example where Americans themselves seemed to be among those excluded from the ‘most’ category, but really, one can never actually know how often or extensively that exercise has been performed.  Between the utilitarian ethics and the Federal government’s insistence on secrecy in every matter, the truth is we’ll never know in what ways Americans have had to sacrifice for which ‘victories.’

Hence, more and more Americans have realized they are effectively “on their own.” They cannot count on their own government to look to their interests. Their government has gone off the rails, and every sign and symptom suggests that the government itself, as an entity, has adopted a hedonistic utilitarian outlook, that is: “The most good for the government, with the least amount of suffering for the government.”

I for one cannot imagine anything more corrosive to a healthy republic than that.



Some Vaccines Are Made from the Remains of Aborted Babies–So What? The ‘silver lining’ argument rebutted.

Not too long ago, buzz was created from a study that linked autism to vaccines that were built on the cell lines of aborted babies.  I had remarked at the time that, notwithstanding the assertion that vaccines were somehow related to the rise in autism, many people would be shocked just to find out that some of their vaccines were derived from aborted children.  For the purpose of this essay,  I will leave aside the issue of autism possibly being connected to vaccines.

Of course, the first thought one has when encountering that information is that what is alleged is that vaccines are made from the continual harvesting of aborted remains.  To the best of my knowledge, that is not what is happening, and personally I have not seen that asserted, except by those who rise to rebut that assertion.  That some vaccines are built on the cell lines that trace back to aborted humans is undisputed, however.

Here is a link to someone that I respect (and presumably respects me, since in another place he links to my own site) that documents this: Vaccines DO NOT Contain Fetal Tissue.  Another person sent me a link which also explained that:

Varicella (chickenpox), rubella, hepatitis A, shingles and one preparation of rabies vaccine are all made in fetal embryo fibroblast cells. These cells were first obtained from elective termination of two pregnancies in the early 1960s. These same embryonic cells obtained from the early 1960s have continued to grow in the laboratory and are used to make vaccines today. No further sources of fetal cells are needed to make these vaccines.

Dr. Wile seems to think that killing of the babies was wrong, but that their use in making these vaccines is good, for it provides a greater ‘silver lining’:

Two innocent babies were killed. However, they were able to donate something that has been used not only to make vaccines, but in many medical research projects over the years. Thus, these cells have been saving millions of lives for almost two generations! Although the babies were clearly murdered, the fact that their cells have been saving lives is at least a silver lining in the dark cloud of their tragic murder.

Hopefully at this point, however, no one will argue with me that it is a fact that some vaccines are derived from aborted humans, albeit just a small number of humans, some time in the past.

I should clarify, however, that this is written specifically with those who are opposed to abortion in mind, and in particular Christians.  If you are not a Christian and you support “elective abortion” then this is not written for you.  If you are in that camp but still disgusted by the notion of human remains being used to generate vaccines, then I advise you to hurry on over to hear Jacob Appel argue that society should welcome a market for aborted remains.  Such a market would allow women to finance their way through college, for example.  He writes:

Opponents of reproductive choice will object to such a market on the grounds that it will increase the number of abortions — which will indeed be the logical result. However, such a market might also bring solace to women who have already decided upon abortion, but desire that some additional social good come from the procedure. Like the families of accident victims who donate the organs of their loved ones, these women could well find their decisions fortified by the public benefit that they generate. An additional economic incentive would further assuage any doubts, and might even make the procedure more palatable to otherwise equivocal spouses or partners. Of course, those who believe that life begins at conception will never find such a market desirable. But for those of us, myself included, who sincerely believe that human life begins far later in the growth process, I believe that we have a moral duty to women to give due consideration to the legalization of such a fetal-organ trade. Society should not curtail a woman’s economic liberty without a compelling reason any more than it should curtail her reproductive liberty.

Appel believes that such a position is the logical extension of the pro-choice concept of ‘reproductive liberty.’  He is absolutely right.  If you accept abortion on demand, you should certainly allow women to sell off the baby parts.  If you are disgusted by that, it probably means your real problem is you shouldn’t even accept abortion on demand.  But I digress.

In Appel’s statement, we see the ‘silver lining’ argument re-stated (I italicized it so the reader would notice it).

Interestingly, though, Appel compares the selling of a woman’s own aborted child with the donating of organs of people who die in accidents.  Surely there is a difference between making a profit from the systemic intentional killing of humans and trying to make the best of a tragic situation?  On such a scheme as Appel proposes, can we not suppose that women will begin conceiving for the express purpose of killing their offspring, and should not society welcome this with open hands?  And why should it matter that the offspring is ‘terminated’ within the womb?  Why not after the child is born?

Before you protest that this is absurd, remember that Peter Singer  has argued that even born children can’t be seen as entitled to life until, say–guesstimating, here…cuz its hard to find a clear line in such matters!… two years of age, and ‘ethicists’ Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva have argued in a journal submission titled After-Birth Abortion:  Why Should the Baby Live? (which cites Singer) that “when circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”  At what age, exactly, can a born person be ‘terminated’?  “[I]t is hard to exactly determine when a subject starts or ceases to be a ‘person’” they write, because, after all:

Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life. Indeed, many humans are not considered subjects of a right to life: spare embryos where research on embryo stem cells is permitted, fetuses where abortion is permitted, criminals where capital punishment is legal.

Hopefully the above quotes, in particular Appel’s and Giubilini and Minerva’s, illustrate that the principles that drive abortion on demand, when taken to their logical conclusion, do not cease to apply once one has made the trip down the birth canal.  Appel, for example, in another journal article, has argued that certain born people, when it is expected that those people will have lives of suffering, should be euthanized, and the state should be in charge of the killing.  I kid you not–the whole point of his article (titled:  Neonatal Euthanasia: Why Require Parental Consent?”) is to say that parents cannot be trusted to do the hard, but right, choice, and kill the disabled child, so the state should intervene, mediated through the doctors.  Importantly, he argues that this is logically consistent, and the logical conclusion, if one has adopted a secular ethic, saying that his position is the “inevitable consequence of our progress toward liberal humanism.”

Appel limits his argument to “cases of suffering, terminally ill infants” but we really need to ask ourselves why it matters that they are suffering or even infants.  Did not Giubilini and Minerva extend their argument to adults, albeit “criminals where capital punishment is legal”?  Has not Peter Singer argued, “If we could see our lives objectively, we would see that they are not something we should inflict on anyone”?  All human lives, of all ages, healthy or not, are rife with suffering, so it would be better, he says, if the whole human race be sterilized to ensure no human lives suffer as we have.  So says, Singer.  Not me.

From this logical progression, it is abundantly clear that the principles that call for the discarding and use of ‘fetal’ human lives justify the discarding and use of all human lives.  To this date, I have not seen a secular humanist argument that could not rationally be applied to your average, healthy, adult human male.  The only rational argument against growing adult men, say, for the use of harvesting their organs, seems to be self-interest–since I’m pretty sure anyone trying to implement such a scheme would soon have to deal with the business end of pitchforks.

Of course, many atheistic liberal secular humanists would insist otherwise, but then, they aren’t the audience intended for this essay.

Many of the arguments portrayed above have been discussed and implemented in the past, creating a foul stench that remains in our nostrils to this day.  The similarities are not superficial.  Appel, for example, explains why having doctors euthanize children when the parents won’t, hasn’t caught on in all countries, saying that it “is not terribly surprising, considering the twentieth century’s disturbing experiences with race-based eugenics and Nazi extermination.”  He appears to be unaware of the fact that before the Nazis tried to wipe out the Jews, nay, before the Nazis even existed, scholars–German and European and American–had concluded that there was no real moral problem in killing born people of all ages if their lives were deemed ‘life unworthy of life.’

When the Nazis took power, they began acting on the principles established and defended by the reputable ethicists Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche, and before they tried to wipe out the Jews, they targeted disabled people, including German disabled people, in what would become known as the T4 Project.  The technology used for exterminating Jews in vast numbers was developed first for exterminating handicapped people in vast numbers.   So much for Appel’s characterization that the Nazis acted on principles of “race-based eugenics.”  The Nazis saw what they were doing as a public health measure that was not only good for the state, but good for the persons who were being killed, and therefore, as Binding and Hoche argued, a moral imperative… just as Appel sees it as a moral imperative, although he limited his analysis to the very young, and did not extend it to older people, the way the Nazis did.

(The author of this present essay is the publisher of Binding and Hoche’s seminal work, “Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life,” so it may be inferred he knows something of the matter.)

What does any of this have to do with the cell lines of aborted children to create vaccines?

Having now officially arrived, legitimately and justly, at logic’s end in the Holocaust, we remember acutely that the Nazis did not only kill Jews, gypsies, and disabled people, but they performed nasty medical experiments on them, often while they were still alive.

The details of these experiments are ghastly, but there is one thing going for them, and that is that they produced extremely useful and reliable information about the human anatomy that had not been available before.  You can only learn so much through dissection, you see.  And besides, many, if not most, of the people they did their experiments on were going to be killed in the ovens, anyway.  Why not make the best of an unfortunate situation?

Thanks to the Nazis, we know oodles about how to revive someone who has hypothermia;  they nearly froze people to death and tried various ways to bring them back from the brink of death.  Our medical knowledge in some areas was significantly advanced because of these experiments.  Let us presume that every reader will find this quite detestable, but let us ponder a different question:  can we ethically used this information, despite its torrid origins?

We’ve now come full circle with our “silver lining” argument.  The results of the Nazi medical experiments (and also ones conducted by the Japanese during the same time frame, but lets not forget the American Tuskegee experiments!) produced some really good stuff that has conceivably saved many lives and potentially could save many more.  Are we wrong to use this information?  Do we dishonor them if we don’t?

What if it was not information, but rather the organs of the ones killed in those experiments?

We now come hard and fast on the distinction between the use of an organ taken from someone who has died in an accident, or even a malevolent act of homicide, versus one that is intentionally killed to provide a health benefit, public or private, and worse (if that were possible), part of a socially acceptable institution where such killings were done systemically.  I would be willing to wager that many people reading this would be disturbed to learn that some particular treatment was based in some part on a Nazi medical experiment but would probably go forward with it, especially if one’s very life was on the line, but would recoil at using one of the body parts of the person killed in that experiment, all the more so when it is known that it was part of a program that tortured tens of thousands.  But why?  Shouldn’t the “silver lining” argument still hold?  Shouldn’t we be delighted to find some positive benefit?

After all, it is not like there would be ongoing killing of people to procure those organs, right?

According to the “silver lining” argument, we of a Christian, pro-life perspective could ethically used the organs harvested from the victim of a Nazi medical experiment, even as we deplored how the organ was obtained, just as we, we of a Christian, pro-life perspective could ethically use cell lines from aborted humans.  In neither case, after all, is there a continual harvesting involved, right?

May I submit that there is a qualitative and substantive difference between using information obtained through a murderous scheme and using the very body of the murdered, such that even if it were suddenly possible to give every person alive perfect health and immortality by utilizing the parts of a murdered person, it would be wrong, to do so.   Would it make a difference if the person were murdered for quite another reason and that the parts were only indirectly involved, say, to be used as a petri dish for cultivating some kind of miracle drug?  So then, we’d only need one or two murdered people–such as is the case with using vaccinations that utilize cells derived from aborted humans.

If this suddenly seems to the Christian reader that we’ve brushed up against high theology, wherein we remember that it is precisely through a murdered person, namely Jesus Christ, that all who receive the ‘treatment’ will receive perfect health and immortality, I think you begin to see just how deeply we must consider this issue.  At least in the case of Jesus, he voluntarily gave up his life so that the rest of us might live.  In the case of these aborted humans, the ones who did the volunteering (so we are told… as if it makes a difference…) were the mothers, not the aborted humans.

I would wager that for all of us, our analysis would change dramatically if instead of being presented with the utilization of organs or cell lines of people who were murdered we were presented with the organs or cell lines of people who voluntarily and willingly consented.   Is that not reflected in our general acceptance today of the use of dead people (we call them ‘cadavers’ at that point) for medical research and not the Burke and Hare style of acquiring cadavers?

I trust that every decent person alive, Christian or not, would rather die then even use information, let alone body parts, if the primary way that these were obtained was to murder people to get it, or derive it from murdered people more generally.

And yet, the primary way that some of our vaccines are created is extended from the murder of a handful of humans, about as many decades ago as when the Holocaust and the T4 projects occurred.

Before I take some time to more directly state the principles that can make something more or less ethical (for the Christian), let me take some time to re-visit the arguments made by the secular scholars and ethicists above, because I believe there is quite a bit more at stake if we make ourselves comfortable with utilizing human remains in vaccines than an outbreak of chicken pox or the measles.  There is the very real problem that certain propositions have certain logical implications and certain natural consequences.

As illustrated above, there is a logical progression from the principles that justify abortion on demand, where if you accept them, logic requires you to extend them further. Hence Appel’s statement that state-enforced ‘therapeutic euthanasia’ is “the inevitable consequence of our progress toward liberal humanism”, Giubilini and Minerva’s conclusion that,

If criteria such as the costs (social, psychological, economic) for the potential parents are good enough reasons for having an abortion even when the fetus is healthy, if the moral status of the newborn is the same as that of the infant and if neither has any moral value by virtue of being a potential person, then the same reasons which justify abortion should also justify the killing of the potential person when it is at the stage of a newborn. [emphasis added]

Binding and Hoche’s conclusion that the same reasoning, that lives deemed “life unworthy of life” by the state, when healthy or not, can be killed, to Singer’s conclusion that the really rational and compassionate thing to do is bring the whole human race to a screeching halt via (he says) voluntary sterilization.

These things are all of a piece, and on the same continuum.  It is all part of the fabric of the same worldview.  You cannot accept just a little part of it without logically accepting the whole part.  And history gives us a clear example of what happens when a society has accepted the whole shebang, and it wasn’t pretty.

Appel astutely noted that establishing a market in ‘fetal body parts’ will be objected to by “opponents of reproductive choice will object to such a market on the grounds that it will increase the number of abortions — which will indeed be the logical result”

Though somewhat more subtle, isn’t it self-evident that accepting the use of aborted human remains will also, logically, increase the number of areas where aborted humans are used, if not also the number of abortions as well?

Is it not the case already that opponents of embryonic stem cells are faced with proponents who submit the “silver lining” argument?  (The proponents, of course, are usually mystified that anyone could be opposed to embryonic stem cells in the first place, usually for all the very same reasons that justify abortion on demand.)

Do we not already see an expansive market in the use of ‘fetal’ baby cells, with founded suspicions that embryonic parts are being used by the makers of soft drinks to tweak the flavors of their products?  (See here;  note the similarity in the fact that the ‘parts’ are actually derived from cell lines… and also the apparent progression from a small handful of murdered humans, to the possible need for an ongoing supply.  Someone would have to ask Senomyx where they are getting their ‘fetal’ supplies to know if that progression is actually taking place, or not.)

And will anyone really deny that there has already been an explosion in the use of aborted humans for research purposes?  At this point, God only knows what products and services the average person in America makes use of that were obtained or derived from aborted humans.   Appel’s complaint, after all, was that the women themselves were not able to profit from this situation.  At any rate, here are two articles (on one page) that you can use as a start for your investigation to corroborate this, but really, admit it, you know it’s true.  Any organization that has seen fit to make it their business to give abortions on demand will not think twice about how to make additional money from  the 60,000,000+ aborted humans in America alone, since Roe vs. Wade.  Where do you think all those bodies are going?  In Asia, they eat them!

From one of those articles:

Brenda Bardsley, vice president of the Anatomic Gift Foundation, or AGF, tells Insight, “It’s sad, but maybe it makes it [abortion] easier for us knowing that something good will come out of it.” She adds, “We’re doing our best in an unpleasant situation.” Bardsley says the AGF’s fetal-tissue retrieval accounts for “less than 10 percent of the company’s business” and there are strict rules controlling when and under what conditions a technician may perform the procedures. “The decision to go ahead with the abortion,” says Bardsley, “must be made before the woman is approached about donation, and we don’t get access to the cadaver until the physician has firmly established death.” Nearly 75 percent of the women who choose abortion agree to donate the fetal tissue, she says.

I suggested earlier that we consider our feelings if we were asked to make use of information if it was generated on an on-going basis from the continuation of Nazi medical experiments, or from murdered people more generally.  There is the thought that since we are only talking about a small handful of aborted humans who were used to develop and sustain the cell lines used in some vaccines, we can swallow our heartache in light of the prospect that ‘something good may come out of it.’  But now we learn from Brenda Bardsley that 75% of the women who engage in ‘elective abortions’ donate the remains.  True, these remains may not be going to formulate vaccines, but it simply is not the case that we are talking about some kind of isolated utilization of murdered children.  It is an ongoing program, right here in the good ol’ United States of America!

The utilization of a cell line from aborted humans in the case of some vaccines is just one example of such use, and so should appropriately be seen as the tip of the iceberg of the American version of profiting from a holocaust that makes the Holocaust seem tiny in comparison.  Yet, we condemn the Germans, and struggle over the ethics of using Nazi medical technology or even some aspects of their ideology which we’d like to redeem ‘for the common good’).  What we ought to be doing is condemning the whole ‘iceberg,’ not making peace with a tip of it.

I am not saying that the acceptance of the use of aborted humans to develop vaccines led to our present situation.  I do not know enough to know if that is the case.  From my readings, talk about making a profit from human body parts, alive and/or dead, has been around for a long time.  But to return to Appel’s point about the open establishment of a market that this will lead to a greater number of abortions, isn’t it just common sense that the open acceptance of the use of aborted human remains, even for ‘noble’ purposes, will similarly lead to wider use–and consequently, to more abortions?  And from there, where?

In the sad case of Brenda Bardsley above, we get a good full look at the ‘silver lining’ argument.  Indeed, in an article where she was quoted defending herself, she lays out her Christian credentials:

“Abortion is legal, but tragic. We see what we’re doing as trying to make the best of a bad situation,” Mrs. Bardsley told WORLD. “We don’t encourage abortion, but we see that good can come from fetal-tissue research. There is so much wonderful research going on-research that can help save the lives of wanted children.”

Mrs. Bardsley says she teaches her own children that abortion is wrong. A Deep South transplant with a brisk, East coast accent, Mrs. Bardsley and her family attend a Southern Baptist church near their home on the Satilla River in White Oak, Ga. Mrs. Bardsley homeschools her three children using, she says, a Christian curriculum: “I’ve been painted as this monster, but here I am trying to give my kids a Christian education,” she says, referring to other media coverage of AGF’s fetal-parts enterprise.

Mrs. Bardsley says she’s prayed over whether her business is acceptable in God’s sight, and has “gotten the feeling” that it is. She also, she says, reads the Bible “all the time.” And though she can’t cite a chapter and verse that says it’s OK to cut and ferry baby parts, she points out that God commands us to love one another. For Mrs. Bardsley, aiding medical research by supplying fetal parts qualifies. If they were in it for the money rather than for the good of mankind, says Mrs. Bardsley, AGF could charge much higher prices for fetal tissue than it does, because research demand is so high.

May God strike me dead and send me straight to hell if I ever utter such words.

At any rate, here is your ‘silver lining’ argument in glorious, profitable, practice.

Considering how much money such organizations are making, we may very well wonder how much money organizations such as Planned Parenthood make by allowing these organizations to make money.  We may therefore wonder whether or not Planned Parenthood supports abortion on demand because of the woman and the aborted child’s interests… or to make a hefty buck.

Work it from another angle.

The ‘research demand is so high’ for ‘fetal tissue’ because we, the American people, like to enjoy products and services that are available because of such research.  If we didn’t, there would be less profit motive for groups like Mrs. Bardsley’s, which in turn would make groups like Planned Parenthood less profitable and therefore less adamant in their support for abortion on demand and therefore, there would be less abortions.  Remember what Appel said:  a market in fetal organs would lead logically to more abortions.  He is quite right;  are we so sure that such a market has already been established, and to some extent and in some way, even pro-life Christians have been beneficiaries?  Is it possible that through our dollars, unbeknownst to us, we have facilitated the very atrocity we find so abhorrent?

But, we do our best, don’t we?  When we learn that a company such as Pepsi might be using cells derived from embryos to simulate “taste receptors” we get right on the ball and threaten a boycott.  Once we know about such a use, we lodge our complaint and let our dollars do some talking, too!

But not, it seems, when it comes to some vaccines.  No, for those we turn to the ‘silver lining’ argument.

Of particular interest–though I’m sure there is no connection–we believe we directly benefit from these vaccines.

God help us.

I promised earlier to lay out some principles–for Christians–that are genuinely ethical and consistent with a Biblical worldview.  I happen to think that when the other principles hold sway in a society, a culture of death emerges which will inevitably and inexorably lead to the disposal of people of all ages, shapes, and sizes, not just the weak, infirm, and vulnerable.  I wouldn’t dare set a time table, but my point is that even if it is only for strictly mercenary reasons, we would do well to keep these principles in mind, lest things escalate beyond our worst imaginings.  Of course, I would hope that as Christians we would have more in mind than just our own best interest.  I am willing to concede that in this fallen world, with all of its dark complexities, good people can differ on some of these issues, including on the validity of the ‘silver lining’ argument.  I do hope, however, that I have painted a sufficiently clear picture that there is far more at stake here than might initially have come to mind.

Without further ado, here is a quick, very general, run-down.

1., Did someone die in order that we could make use of a product/service?

If yes, STOP.  Do not use that product/service.

2., Was someone deliberately killed for some other reason, and then afterwards had their body used for some purpose?

If yes, ask:

Were they killed because they were a convicted criminal subject to capital punishment?

If yes, proceed with caution.  Sometimes, even ‘consenting’ individuals are coerced in ways we cannot accept.

If no, you’d best find out why they were killed.  Was it so another person’s career wouldn’t be impacted?  Was the person killed to save money for the health system?  etc., you get the picture.  Probably in most cases, if you answer ‘no’ to this, STOP.  DO not use this product/service.

3.  Was someone accidentally killed, and then afterwards had their body used, with the un-coerced consent and knowledge of loved ones and/or the person who died themselves (ie, as may have been made clear on an organ donor card)?

If yes, you’re probably going to be ok, but remember that sometimes ‘consent’ is more coerced than we realize.

Motives matter, and likewise the reasons we bring to bear to them.  I would argue that history shows us clearly that in scenarios #1 and #2 above, when the dead human is later utilized “for the common good,” things advanced inexorably in a particular direction, such that if you answered “no” in #2, there was no good reason not to proceed to #1.  What makes something a ‘common good’ turns out to be very much in the eye of the beholder.  It’s best not to go down that road at all.

In my opinion, the ‘silver lining’ argument is only valid and is only safe to society, in scenario #3, and even there, in a society that has fully embraced Appel’s “liberal humanism” is fraught with dangers.  But this raises even more difficulties, especially for the Christian:  just how many of the values and beliefs do we have that are part and parcel of a worldview that is incompatible with Biblical values?  how many of the products and services are the fruit of values that are incompatible with Biblical values, or worse, actually built from those values?

This line of thought raises practical difficulties, as it is nearly impossible to know the source and development of the bulk of services and products we use.  This reality itself leads to the need to invoke a form of the ‘silver lining’ argument, for in some very important ways, there is just no way to ensure that our lifestyle is free of ‘tainted’ elements.  Indeed, might it even be said that to do anything, use anything–to live at all–is to come to terms with the fact that we have to make the best out of a fallen, sinful world?  Many readers will have encountered this issue for the first time, and may feel quite convicted about it, having given and received vaccination shots without knowing that some of them could entail moral compromise. To now wonder just how many other instances are like this might prove overwhelming.

God has forgiven of us of all sins, known and unknown.  We would not be eternally saved even if we did purge ourselves from unrighteousness, which, as anyone familiar with the Scriptures knows, cannot be done anyway, and is really the whole point of the Gospel.  We cannot beat ourselves up too much.  Nonetheless, we must be as innocent as doves and as wise as serpents.  We must be thoughtful and careful.  We cannot take things for granted, even if we are surrounded by those who do. The Scriptures call us to be discerning.

Is it possible for a Christian in good conscience to use vaccines derived from aborted babies?  Well, I suggested that such a thing could be the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of a much more pervasive and pernicious ‘culture of death.’  I have tried to give some evidence for why I think that is worth your consideration, but it is of course possible that it can be defended on independent grounds.  That is, one might admit (as I suspect Dr. Wile might, when he sees this) that the ‘iceberg’ is very real and of grave concern, but these sorts of vaccines, or vaccination in general, is not made of ‘ice’ at all, rather it reflects some other ethos, which Christians can embrace, or at least endure.  In the spirit of Romans 14 that says (highly abridged),

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.  Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. …

…. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

My hope is that at the very least, someone coming across this essay will do their part in becoming “fully convinced in their own mind.”  Thus far, our obligation.

After that, “To their own master, servants stand or fall.”









Scottish Secession and the ‘Right to Secede.’

Scotland is about to vote on whether or not to secede from Mother England and the most noteworthy part of it to me is the fact that this may be pulled off without a massive amount of bloodshed.

In my opinion, one of the greatest mistakes made by the framers of the US Constitution was their failure to include a process for peaceful secession.  Human associations are a complicated affair, and one of the things that creates constant difficulty are differences of opinions on how those associations are to be managed.  The beauty of the US Constitution is its ability to hold those differences in harmony, enacting checks and balances to make sure that there are non-violent mechanisms available for resolving those differences whilst preventing one particular group to do too much damage to the other group.  A situation where these protections and mechanisms would prove insufficient ought to have been anticipated and integrated into the document.

Clearly, one of the other great mistakes was to compromise with the pro-slavery states in the first place.

Theoretically, then, these states would not have signed on to the whole program.  Are we really quite sure that this would have been all that bad?  After all, the situation would spiral out of control to a point where more than a half million Americans would die at each others’ hands, not to mention the rest of the chaos it created.  Does this mean that there would still be slavery in America today?  I doubt that very much.  While it may have taken a couple of more decades for the pro-slavery cause to lose its argument, the weight of theology, philosophy, and economics were against them.  Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.  When the Constitution was drawn up, the anti-slavery folks were passionately for abolition, and for them to compromise on the question of slavery surely meant that there was some other cause they felt more pressing.  Looking back, I would say they were wrong.   Obviously, they did not have access to the same data, since they were then living in and through it.

But there is something wrong with ‘unionism’ in principle and practice that needs a ‘check and balance’ erected against it, which to this point has not happened.

There is a special kind of arrogance required to argue that some other group of people should remain associated (as subjects?) with another group, with whom they have severe disagreements.  Add to that the willingness to kill the people who will not remain associated–that there is a special kind of madness.   All this, in the name of ‘union.’  But how is it that ‘unionism’ is so sacrosanct?

The ‘right to free assembly’ has currency throughout the world these days, which is good.  However, would not such a right logically entail, as its converse, the ‘right to dis-assemble’?  Yet whenever we read of a group looking to part company from another group, there are catcalls and insults and, usually, cries that the other group is being selfish.  Ostensibly, this is in defense of ‘union’ but it seems to me that something else is going on.

First of all, it should be obvious that the secessionists have some kind of reason for what they are doing and this reason will in large measure concern actions by the other group that bother them, and no other way to rectify the problem has surfaced, short of violence itself.   Rather than acknowledge that it is possible to push one’s opinion onto another too far, the ‘mother’ group essentially declares, “My way or the high way!”  This can work and people can co-exist in such a situation, but only to a point.  When this point comes, it is useless to say, “Oh well, it is just because you are a selfish cretin for not submitting to our demands.”

Second of all, as often seems to be the case, the majority has erected a scheme that requires the participation of every person, or else it will not work at all.  Socialism/Communism is such a scheme, which is why the the Soviets gobbled up as many territories as they could and sought to expand its “Union” to the globe.  As is usually the case, such schemes are advanced with purely noble intentions, eg, ‘for the common good’ or ‘the general welfare’ or ‘the most good for the most people.’  And as also seems to be the case, the tyrannical and monstrous nature of those schemes reveal themselves by the fact that more and more people subjected to those schemes try their darnedest to get away from them.  The Communists had to put up a wall in Berlin to keep their people in, not to keep anyone out–for there were precious few that would voluntarily subject themselves to such schemes.  (It is not a coincidence that the writer of the Pledge of Allegiance, which includes the word “indivisible”, was a proto-communist.)

To put it bluntly, a good sign that it will take tyranny to maintain a union is when the people are increasingly trying to secede from that union, by voting with their feet.

But what if they cannot vote with their feet?

When even this option is eliminated, there are very few options left on the table.  As these slowly get stripped away, the one option that is always on the table, becomes the last option:  violence.

When people en masse turn to violence, it almost always means that some other group has crossed the line, and no other way to rectify the situation plausible.

There are disturbing signs that this is precisely where the United States is going.  Take for example Obamacare, which, we are told, will only work if everyone participates.  The ‘losers’ in Obamacare are expected to ‘take one for the team.’   Like all socialist schemes, it is plainly understood that when implemented, even successfully, some people will suffer more than they would have so that (in theory) other people will suffer less.  But there is a big difference between people voluntarily taking suffering upon their shoulders and people being told by bureaucrats that they’ve been selected to serve as the sufferers.   (In Obamacare, indications are that this will be the elderly–to start with.)  Such a scheme can only be enforced so far before the people turn rebellious, but Obamacare will not let people out.   As in the case of Berlin, people are voting with their feet–or trying.  Far fewer are trying to get into the ‘paradise’ that is the Obamacare East Berlin than they expected and far more are trying to scramble over the wall into West Berlin…  except there is no wall and no West Berlin because under Obamacare, there is no where to go, except, it seems, to some other socialist country.

Left without recourse, what are they to do?  In poll after poll, we learn that the majority in the US are steadfastly opposed to Obamacare.  The 2010 elections represented a landslide victory for those who were opposed to Obamacare, but this proved futile.  So, the people are against it and their elected representatives are incapable or unwilling to reverse it.  Nine people in black robes, and one in particular, effectively removed all legislative mechanisms.  In this bizarre situation, it is the majority’s will that is being thwarted.  It is hard to see how that can end well for the minority.

If it were just Obamacare, it would be one thing.  However, as all of the ‘limited government’ protections provided by the US Constitution have been eroded, and, worse, perhaps, a ‘big government’ ethos has come to pervade every layer of government–Federal, state, and local–majorities at all levels of government have seen fit to intrude themselves in the lives of the minorities, and demand that these (only a hair smaller) populations “eat it and learn to like it.”  It is thus the case that all across the country, people are complaining about overreach.  This includes areas dominated by Republicans.  But it is in response to the overreach of liberals where we have seen actual attempts to secede.  Parts of California and Colorado come to mind, but whole states, such as Texas, have been in the news.

These ‘secession’ conversations should be seen for what they really are:  signs that in the eyes of many, non-violent options for self-government are steadily being removed from the table.  As stated, there is a continuum here, and the Republicans are definitely on it.  It just that in some areas and on some issues, the liberals have drawn much closer to people’s breaking point.  Neither the Republicans or the liberals seem to have taken the hint.

Secession is the last non-violent option on the table.  If we grant a ‘right to assembly’ we should similarly grant a ‘right to secede.’  Splintered regions certainly have some disadvantages, but it is far better that the people in those regions weigh the advantages and disadvantages for themselves and voluntarily choose whether or not they will bear the cost and risk of remaining separate from some other region.  In my opinion, no union merely for the sake of having a union is worth the killing of thousands of people in order to preserve that union.  Great Britain seems to have gotten that part right, and that is to its credit.  Perhaps a day is coming, and sooner than we think, when we may have to draw a lesson from Scotland.


Open Letter to Everyone but Richard Dawkins

Most observers of Richard Dawkins are not surprised to hear that he has said something outrageous. More and more, even his fellow atheists are surprised when he says something sensible. The latest row is over his comments suggesting that people have a moral obligation to abort a child diagnosed with a defect (in particular, Down Syndrome). Again, even his fellow atheists were put off by this, since the party line on abortion it is morally neutral, and a woman can get one or not get one, as she pleases.

The reactions, from both foes and fellow travelers, imply that the crux of this issue is that Dawkins is being rude. From this perspective, there are certain things you don’t say in polite society, even if you think them, and Dawkins has found one of them (again). The problem, you see, is one of decorum and Dawkins’ irascible personality and a violated social contract.

Dawkins, however, insists that what he is saying “simply follows logically from the ordinary pro-choice stance that most [of] us, I presume, espouse.” He sympathizes with his critics, but notes that their point is “an emotional one not a logical one.” And oh, by the way, what he is saying is not in the slightest “advocating a eugenics policy.”

Never mind that he is rude. Is he wrong? He has invoked logic, implying that there are propositions, premises, and inferences not far back from his comments. Moreover, he expects that his own fans share these foundational views and is more than a little surprised that they have not taken them to their logical conclusions. And what views might these be?

We are fortunate in the case of Dawkins to know what animates him: his atheism, his Darwinism, and his hatred for religion and religionists. He perceives that he has an impartial, objective, scientific basis for these views. In his ‘apology’ itself he states explicitly that “my own moral philosophy [is] based on a desire to increase happiness and reduce suffering.” This is a utilitarian ethic which harkens back to Bentham, Mill, and arguably Darwin himself.

Excepting the hatred of religionists, may we now suppose that these elements are also what drives the “ordinary pro-choice stance”?

What would it be about a utilitarian, atheistic, Darwinist outlook that drives Dawkins to derive a logical conclusion from them related to unborn children diagnosed in the womb with a birth defect? What prevents his co-idealogues from following suit?

We will treat the former and leave the latter for a later essay.

Leave Dawkins out of it.  The rest of us should be thinking about whether or not the worldview Dawkins is acting on is true.

It should not be terribly difficult to see how Darwinism might fuel the “ordinary pro-choice stance.” On this view, it is scientifically beyond all reasonable doubt that the human person has lately descended from puss. The notion that humans have some kind of intrinsic worth and dignity, cannot be more than mere fantasy.

It does not take a rocket science to see that if you believe that humans are nothing more than nature’s belch after millions of years of digesting, you will care very little about a tiny clump of cells. Indeed, you will care very little about very big clumps of cells, too. Big clumps of cells tend to fight back, however, so it’s best to extend your indifference to the ones that can’t, namely the unborn, newly born, the infirm, and the old. It is no great shock to discover that the ‘ordinary pro-choice stance’ is usually associated with euthanasia and assisted suicide, as well.

But the atheism plays a part here, too. With no Creator in view, if you determine at some point that you have been a little too cavalier with human lives, there really isn’t any great harm. There is the matter of one’s own conscience, perhaps, but it isn’t like there is anyone to answer to. In the end, we’ll all melt back into the cosmic sea of matter and whether any particular person lived or died won’t matter a lick.

There is a problem. Humans seem ‘designed’ to be moral creatures, that is seeking justification for their actions on a basis that extends beyond their own person, but atheism and Darwinism combine to render ‘morality’ a farce. How can substance be given back to our ‘moral sense’? Utilitarianism: the most good for the most people; the elimination and reduction of suffering, the highest good.

Utilitarianism has the added benefit of, in many cases, bringing to bear ‘scientific objectivity’ to moral questions, for it is in many cases possible to determine whether or not ‘suffering’ is taking place. This is fortunate, if the reduction of suffering is your highest guiding value. According to Dawkins, a human is not a person “before it develops a nervous system.” Not coincidentally, it is maintained that one cannot suffer before there is a nervous system, either. The presence or absence of a nervous system can theoretically be determined scientifically. In cases where science has shown that a human will suffer if they continue to live, then the moral thing to do is to prevent that from happening.

Is this indeed the underlying rational framework for the “ordinary pro-choice stance”?

I suggest that in broad strokes, it is. To defend that would require an essay far longer than I am prepared to pen right now, so instead I will put to the reader this challenge: if the above does not form the foundation for Dawkins’ claim to ‘logic’ what do you suppose does? And if it does, is he wrong? If he is right, and you share the same views, but find his assertions about their logical implications reprehensible, what does that suggest?

Bottom line: both friends and foes seem bent on reforming Dawkins’ social skills rather than addressing the substance of his argument. The message will be clear: “Believe what you want, but there are some things you just don’t say.” That is perhaps well and good for social tranquility, but with those who are engaged in influencing and carrying out public policy, honesty is much more preferable. These same will have gotten the message loud and clear: “If people find out why I’m really doing this, there would be a public outcry. I should just do it, and keep my mouth shut.”

Surely the reader can see how that is more dangerous than Dawkins spouting off on Twitter.

(I suspect it would be useful to understand that Dawkins is not alone in his assessment about what ‘logically follows’ from the “ordinary pro-choice stance.” There have been many who have made the same kind of arguments based on the same premises. They haven’t been cranks, either. Some have died, but others are still alive and well and even in power today. If it would be helpful for you to see that others believe that Dawkins’ logic is valid, and it is not just a matter of Dawkins’ sour demeanor and bad taste, you will want to read the optional part 2.)


Open Letter to Everyone But Richard Dawkins, Part Two

In the first part I sought to tease out the basis for Dawkins’ claim that what he said “follows logically from the ordinary pro-choice stance.” It is to the reader to decide if my analysis is correct, and if not, what the real basis is. It is important, however, to understand that Dawkins is not the only person who has made such assertions, and not the only person who has stated or implied that their positions flow logically from a Darwinian, atheistic, and utilitarian point of view. The people listed below, in varying degrees according to each of those ‘three planks’ follow suit.

If you find what follows concerning, then it is not enough to be offended. The argument must be tackled on its merits.

The following individuals represents just a small sample of people who seemingly accept Dawkins’ premises and draw the same conclusions.

 Jacob Appel

A certain ‘bio-ethicist’ named Jacob Appel has even suggested that women farm out their unborn babies for spare parts as a way to pay their way through college. He has urged for mandatory genetic screening, insisting that it is ‘smart science.’ Richard Dawkins says, “my own moral philosophy [is] based on a desire to increase happiness and reduce suffering.” Appel joins him in this utilitarian ethic, stating, “The most obvious advantage of mandatory screening is that it will reduce the long-term suffering of the children who are spared disease.” Appel submitted a paper arguing for neo-natal euthanasia–that is, killing disabled children that are already born. In this paper, he argued that these decisions should be removed from the parents, who are blinded by their affection, and given to the doctors, who will be more objective. Richard Dawkins says that his position “follows logically from the ordinary pro-choice stance.” Appel says that “expanded access to neonatal euthanasia appears likely” because it is “an inevitable consequence of our progress towards liberal humanism.”

 Alberto Guibulini and Francesca Minerva

Dawkins targeted the unborn ‘defective’ persons for destruction, while Appel realized that the principles of ‘liberal humanism’ logically entailed the killing of born ‘defective’ persons, too. But how important, really, is the fact that the persons are ‘defective’ if you have already embraced a position that allows for abortion on demand, that is, for no particular reason at all? Why get bent out of shape about aborting ‘defective’ people if you have no compunction with aborting perfectly ‘healthy’ ones? Is that not what the “ordinary pro-choice stance” entails?

Therefore, it should not be a surprise that another batch of fellow travelers have picked up where Appel left off, euthanizing born, defective, children, by arguing that by the ‘ordinary pro-choice’ logic, euthanizing born, healthy children rationally follows as perfectly acceptable and morally permissible. The two scholars in question, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, insist “that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including where the newborn is not disabled.”

They arrive at this view, logically, in part, by asserting that “the moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus, that is, neither can be considered a ‘person’ in a morally relevant sense.” On this, perhaps, Giubilini and Minverva would take Dawkins to task, on the view that ascribing a ‘moral status’ as a ‘person’ is ‘subjective.’ Recall that Dawkins had said, “I support those philosophers who say that, for moral purposes, an adult, a child and a baby should all be granted the rights of a person.” In this, Dawkins is only being logically consistent with his own worldview by assuming that it is in his rights to be granting other people’s rights. Why he takes the view he does is probably just him being subjective, but then, that may only be because he hasn’t yet found something more objective: “There is no hard and fast dividing line.” Once one is found, does anyone doubt where Dawkins would come down?

Jeremy Bentham, one of the forefathers of the utilitarian ethic, declared in 1823:

 “What else is it that should trace the insuperable line [between humans and animals]? Is it the faculty of reason or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog, is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?”

 A little over three decades later, Darwin would prove in many minds that there was no ‘insuperable line’ between humans and animals.   Darwin’s theory did more than that, it also revealed that morality was itself the product of natural selection. In one fell swoop, the floor was taken out of all the traditional moral systems. That did not, however, change the fact that people behaved in ways they believed were ‘moral.’ However, a new basis was needed. When they weren’t trying to simply invent new moralities on the basis of ‘might makes right’ they often turned to the utilitarian outlook of Bentham and John Stuart Mill, who advocated for the ‘greatest good for the most people,’ which, in practice, meant the elimination of as much suffering as possible as the greatest governing value.

Dawkins, likewise: “my own moral philosophy [is] based on a desire to increase happiness and reduce suffering.”

 Peter Singer

Not to be outdone, another fellow traveler and renown utilitarian, is Peter Singer. Singer, of course, gained some fame and notoriety by calling attention to the fact that there is ‘no insuperable line between humans and animals’ by insisting that there was nothing wrong with humans and animals having sex with each other. He was just being logical. Singer might perhaps stand along side Giubilini and Minerva (he was even cited by them) in challenge to Dawkins’ subjective assessment that a baby is a person, as Singer has argued that a person might not be a person even until the age of two years old; but then, “There is no hard and fast dividing line.”

Singer is certainly one who is willing to take his ideas to their logical conclusions. Not too long ago, he published an editorial in which he urged that every person alive sterilize themselves in order to make this the ‘last generation.’ You see, Singer says, “If we could see our lives objectively, we would see that they are not something we should inflict on anyone.” He wonders, “[is] the continuance of our species justifiable in the face of our knowledge that it will certainly bring suffering to innocent future human beings?”  Fortunately, the New York Times is a fringe, extreme, publication, that no one reads or takes seriously.

We would be remiss if we did not point out that if Singer really cared about eliminating suffering, and saw animals as morally equivalent as humans, he’d really be calling for the destruction of every living thing that can conceivably suffer. That is, you will recall, Bentham’s Maxim: “Can they suffer?” But this may be a digression.

Singer is, of course, a card-carrying member of the “ordinary pro-choice stance.”

Julian Savulescu

Dawkins insists that he is not advocating for a eugenic policy because “Down Syndrome has almost zero heritability.” From this we can gather that Dawkins believes that eugenicists only care about improving the genome. Another fellow traveler, Julian Savulescu, is one of the few alive today who unabashedly accepts the label of ‘eugenicist.’ Several years before Dawkins stated that someone was morally obligated to abort a ‘defective’ person, Savulescu had already gone one better, arguing that we are morally obligated to select for ‘superior’ traits. The title of the essay probably says it all: “It’s Our Duty to Have Designer Babies” The article in the UK edition of Readers Digest goes on to say,

“Screening embryos like this is illegal at present, but isn’t rational design something we should welcome? If we have the power to intervene in the nature of our offspring—rather than consigning them to the natural lottery—then we should. Surely trying to ensure that your children have the best, or a good enough, opportunity for a great life is responsible parenting?”

The utilitarian ethic is clearly on display: “A critical question to ask when considering whether to screen for some gene is: will it benefit the unborn child?”

The great problem with the Nazis, Savulescu says, is that they used coercion. “Modern eugenics,” he says, “…is voluntary. So where genetic selection aims to bring out a trait that clearly benefits an individual and society, we should allow parents the choice. To do otherwise is to consign those who come after us to the ball and chain of our squeamishness and irrationality.”

Drawing nearer to stating his underlying Darwinian principles then most, Savulescu concludes by saying, “Whether we like it or not, the future of humanity is in our hands now. Rather than fearing genetics, we should embrace it. We can do better than chance.”

From this excerpt we see that even if ‘heritability’ is not in view, there remains the question of the future health and happiness of the unborn child. Isn’t this how any ‘responsible parent’ should feel? Is it not mere “squeamishness and irrationality,” dare I say, emotionalism, to suggest otherwise?

The scope of what constitutes ‘eugenics’ turns out to be broader than how Dawkins presented it. The “ordinary pro-choice stance” urges that “every child a wanted child” is the mark of responsible parenthood. Here is one eugenicist at least who joins with our parade of scholars and ethicists in suggesting that what they propose rationally follows from their belief system.

If Savulescu aims to distinguish his perspective from the Nazis by placing it on a ‘voluntary’ basis, there have been others who, like Appel, thought it necessary to segue to more ‘mandatory’ measures.

John Holdren

As far as abortion goes, perhaps one of the most glaring examples of advocating for compulsion is found in a text book written in the 1970s by John Holdren and Paul Ehrlich called Ecoscience. In one passage, the authors say “if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society” then “compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution.” And before you ask–this was written after Roe vs. Wade.

Ehrlich of course had some fine things to say on his own on this score, declaring that “We must have population control at home, hopefully through changes in our value system, but by compulsion if voluntary methods fail.”

Of more pressing interest is Holdren.

John Holdren credits a certain Harrison Brown whose book, The Challenge of Man’s Future, as ‘transforming his thinking about the world and the sort of career he wanted to pursue.’ In this essay giving tribute to Brown, published in 1986, Holdren says, “Thirty years after Harrison Brown elaborated these positions, it remains difficult to improve on them as a coherent depiction of the perils and challenges we face.” He lauds “the combination of logic, thoroughness, clarity, and force with which he marshalled data and argumentation on every problem and on their interconnections.” There’s that invocation of logic again.

Brown expounds at length on one way to address the “deterioration of the species” through a compulsory system that aims to “improve the species by carrying out a process of planned selection” by abandoning normal procreation for “permitted inseminations” and ‘tweaking’ “the number of aportions and artificial inseminations permitted in a given year” saying,

“It can be argued that such a procedure would be ruthless and would deprive many people of their individual liberties. Yet would it be any more ruthless than the policy which is now followed in the United States? Only a small fraction of the populations would be affected. The vast majority of persons who might want to conceive would be able to do so, and the majority of those who might desire to terminate unwanted conceptions would be able to do so under hygienic conditions. Contrast this with the status quo, where abortion must be obtained frequently on kitchen tables, usually at great expense and under circumstances where the victims have the “freedom” to choose between giving birth to unwanted children and endangering their lives by subjecting themselves to illegal operations under insanitary conditions.

Control of aids to conception and of abortions could also provide a mechanism for slowing down the deterioration processes associated with the elimination of biological competition. Priorities for artificial insemination could be given to healthy women of high intelligence whose ancestors possessed no dangerous genetic defects. Conversely, priorities for abortions could be given to less intelligent persons of biologically unsound stock.

Such steps would undoubtedly contribute substantially to a slowing down of species deterioration. But it is clear that they would by no means be sufficient. A broad eugenics program would have to be formulated which would aid in the establishment of policies that would encourage able and healthy person to have several offspring and discourage the unfit from breeding at excessive rates. “

In another place, Harrison worries that “at the present time there is little, other than to prevent breeding in persons who present glaring deficiencies clearly dangerous to society and which are known to be of a hereditary nature. Thus we cold sterilize or in other ways discourage the mating of the feeble-minded.”

He has hope, however, that after “another ten or fifteen generations have passed, understanding of human genetics will be sufficient to permit man to do a respectable job of slowing down the deterioration of the species.”

Holdren appeals to Brown. Brown, in making his case, quotes Sir Charles Galton Darwin’s The Next Million Years.. Judging from that man’s name and pedigree, you can easily surmise what kind of basis Darwin, Brown, and Holdren are all operating on–one that tracks ideologically back right to the ‘original’ Charles Darwin himself, with the father of eugenics, Francis Galton, as the bridge.

Here, the ideological family history of a man who believes that compulsory abortion can be justified under the US Constitution. But why care what some fringe fanatic believes about compulsory abortion and the Constitution? That has nothing to do with the “ordinary pro-choice stance,” right? Except that this particular man, John Holdren, is the current chief science officer in the Obama administration. The ideas expressed above, we have every reason to suspect, are the sorts of things that certain members of the US government are perfectly willing to consider. These would be the ones that Dawkins might refer to when he appeals to the ones he believes that “most… espouse.”

Incidentally, Holdren was asked about an aspect of this at his confirmation hearing. He only said that he ‘no longer thinks its productive’ to focus on establishing an ‘optimum population.’ This does not seem encouraging. The bottom line in this instance is that we have a man in office who lauded the works of another man who wanted to “prevent the breeding” of defectives, who himself in turn built his arguments on Darwinism, in particular reference to the Malthusian elements of Darwin’s theory.

Finally, we should say a word about three gentlemen who even more directly speak to the particular issue of the morality of aborting ‘defectives.’ Dawkins insists that he does not consider his statements at all related to eugenics, not knowing, apparently, that this is a specific issue that eugenicists themselves focused on after the horrors of the Holocaust tied their hands significantly.

Three Eugenicists: Gordon Rattray Taylor, Frederick Osborn, S.C. Reed

Gordon Rattray Taylor

In the first place, consider Gordon Rattray Taylor’s The Biological Time Bomb, published in 1968.

After appealing to both the suffering of those who are born with a ‘defect’ and the genetic integrity of society as a whole, in a section on eugenics, Taylor says:

“To discourage people carrying a known defect from transmitting it is clearly desirable. Moreover, if this can be done consistently, the defective gene will, at the end of one generation, vanish from the gene pool.”

Dawkins wrote: “It would be immoral to bring [the Down Syndrome child] into the world if you have the choice.” His plea that Down Syndrome isn’t hereditable does not immunize him from the charge of presenting a eugenic perspective,  as he is clearly engaged in “discouraging people carrying a known defect from transmitting it” which is, according to eugenicists themselves, part and parcel of a modern eugenics policy.

Once again, we find that what eugenicists themselves conceive of eugenics is more broad than Dawkins lets on.

And who should care about Taylor? He evidently had some influence, as he, and other eugenicists, ended up cited in the majority opinion in Roe vs. Wade. It should go without saying that Roe vs. Wade factors heavily into the “ordinary pro-choice stance.”

We should perhaps understand Justice Ginsburg’s confusion when she confessed that she had thought the purpose of Roe vs Wade had been to address concerns related to “population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

Frederick Osborn

In Frederick Osborn’s The Future of Human Heredity: An Introduction to Eugenics in Modern Society, Osborn declares:

“Heredity clinics are the first eugenic proposal that have been adopted in a practical form and accepted by the public. They are run by scientists and their findings are based on scientific knowledge. The word eugenics is not associated with them. The couples who go to them for advice are interested in not having an abnormal child, rather than in the less personal goal of improving the race. If they suspect that they may be carriers of a particular deleterious gene or group of genes, they want to know whether their children will suffer the defect. It is the function of the heredity clinic, after careful examination of the family record, to advise on the chances of the defect being passed on to the children. Reports from these clinics indicate that couples are considerably influenced by the information they receive n the clinics, and generally, but not always, they are influenced in a eugenic direction.”

According to Osborn, the most effective eugenic policies are the ones which work to modify public opinion, so that people will ‘voluntarily’ do what the scientists deem best. For example, “irresponsible parents,” such as ones with larger families or are not married or ones that are on welfare–or, you may be quite certain, carry ‘deleterious genes’–“should feel the weight of an adverse public opinion, instead of the favorable attitudes which now too often accompany their childbearing. Community leaders of every kind should encourage this kind of wise discrimination.”

Osborn should know a thing about ‘heredity clinics.’ He was involved in making them a reality. Since the Nazis had ruined any prospect for compulsory measures, he advocated for heredity clinics where parents would eliminate ‘defectives’ through “voluntary unconscious selection.” Unconscious–that is, they would not know what principles they were applying or how they arrived at them. Selection–that is, in a Darwinian framework. Voluntary–that is, the parents themselves, without knowing how they arrived at the values they possessed, would choose the decision that the eugenicist desired them to make.

“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,” Theodosius Dobzhansky had said. Writing in the foreword for Osborn’s book, Dobzhansky says, it represents “what eugenics was, is, and ought to be.” If anyone would have known whether or not Osborn is incorrectly applying Darwinism, it would have been Dobzhansky.

Today, what happens in a ‘heredity clinic’ has been transformed into what we now call ‘genetic counseling.’ Osborn wasn’t the only one, by any means who had pushed for carrying out eugenics policies via sessions with genetics counselors. Each of them, however, invoked Darwinian principles as their justifications.

S.C. Reed

As president of the Minnesota Eugenics Society, a certain C.F. Dight told Hitler that he was “praising your plan to stamp out mental inferiority among the German people. I trust you will accept my sincere wish that your effort along that line will be a great success and will advance the eugenics movement in other nations as well as Germany.”

When Dight died, he left his estate to the University of Minnesota to fund the “Dight Institute for the Promotion of Human Genetics” which in turn, under the direction of Sheldon C. Reed, sponsored some of the first ‘heredity clinics’ in America.   Reed had wrote, “there is no important distinction between research in ‘pure’ genetics and research in ‘applied’ genetics such as eugenics. Our present day use of the term ‘human genetics’ may be financially and politically expedient but there is no great philosophical difference between them.”

S. C. Reed was a member of the American Eugenics Society, of which the aforementioned Frederick Osborn was president for a length of time. In 1956, about when Osborn was advocating for the establishment of ‘heredity clinics,’   Reed was instrumental in transforming the notion of ‘heredity clinics’ into ‘genetic counseling’ and prided himself in obliterating the eugenic connection between the two. He helped establish genetic counseling as a professional field in its own right.

Reed served as a president of the American Society of Human Genetics, which, you may wish to know is still in operation.

The third president of the ASHG, Lee Dice, also promoted heredity clinics: “The danger of deterioration of the world’s stock of human genes through the accumulation of harmful mutations was forcefully pointed out at the 1949 annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics by our president for that year, H. J. Muller.”   The methods of the Nazis to address this problem, Dice admits is “utterly repugnant to most persons.” This leave just two options: “Either those persons who carry hereditary defects may be segregated or sterilized by the state, or they may voluntarily refrain from reproduction.” Of these two options, the only one with practical promise is the ‘heredity clinic,’ where the parents can ‘voluntarily,’ but based on ‘unconscious’ principles of selection, make the ‘right’ call.

Hardly anyone knows about the original eugenic basis for genetic counseling anymore, not even the genetic counselors themselves, many of whom would be horrified at the suggestion that their work is ‘eugenic’ in nature.

I know a little about genetic counseling.

After my daughter was diagnosed in the womb with spina bifida, the immediately asked if we wanted to ‘terminate’ her and promptly sent us to the genetic counselor for more information. Little did I know at the time that 150 years of pregnant philosophy was giving birth at that time to a particular point of decision: you are carrying a child with a birth defect. It will have a life of suffering, but even if not, as Guibilini and Minerva might say, “…to bring up such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.” You are continuing to pollute the gene pool, and putting a burden on the scarce resources available to society. In the old days, natural selection would have intervened. Today, we can “do better than chance.” Don’t you want to be a responsible parent?

Our daughter is now a beautiful seven-year old who brings tremendous joy into the lives of everyone who meets her.   Dawkins would call this an ‘emotional argument.’ If ‘joy’ is an emotion, then I suppose that is true. Is it logical, however, that it was immoral for us to bring her into the world?

On an evolutionary paradigm stripped of all transcendental realities and thoroughly entrenched in the sterile abstraction of utilitarianism, it certainly is logical.

Concluding Thoughts

Nearly all the people who have been mentioned above, and many more that could be mentioned still, have a worldview where Darwinism is a key underpinning. (An exception would be Taylor who was an evolutionist of the Lamarckian sort). Few of them have any room for the existence of God in their worldview, indeed, many of them hold that thought in contempt. Most, if not all of them, sought to establish a moral code that was consistent with their reductionist outlooks, and settled on a philosophy that raised ‘suffering’ as the highest moral evil, with the consequence that eliminating it wherever it surfaced became the obvious ‘moral’ choice.

These, then, can obviously be expected to transmit this viewpoint through their positions of influence. Holdren, as ‘science czar’ in the Obama administration. Singer as professor at Princeton University. Savulescu and Minerva, as professors at Oxford. Giubilini as professor at Charles Sturt University. Taylor’s influence was embedded in the minds of the Supreme Court justices who wrote the majority opinion in Roe vs. Wade. Some, like Dight, Dice, and Reed, you will have never heard but set in motion institutions that still exist today; indeed, in Dight’s Minnesota, the screening of newborns for genetic defects is mandated by law. And so on and so forth. Living and dead, you can be quite certain that all of these people acted on and attempted to further their worldviews.

Not that they are to be blamed for that. It is self-evident that people will act on their worldviews and almost as self-evident that they will try to further them. The problem is when the rest of us fail to grapple with the underlying logic with their worldviews, treating their comments as ‘extreme’ when in fact they are only being consistent. Or, as in the case of Dawkins, dismissing his comments as thoughtless when he presents them as logically flowing from his worldview–a worldview he has been expending considerable effort and energy on extending as far as he can before he dies.

The reader may be somewhat surprised that an essay which began with the implied proposition that Darwinism, atheism, and utilitarianism were the core ingredients in the “ordinary pro-choice stance” did not take more time to demonstrate that more explicitly. There is no question in my mind that this case can be made, but I am doubtful that anything short of a full length book treating each aspect would possibly be taken seriously.   Many readers, however, will find the above quotations disturbing, all the more so when it is learned that the ones making those statements currently occupy or previously occupied places of power, prestige and influence. And not in Nazi Germany.

What ‘logic’ is driving these people to the positions they have?   Surely that is more important than whether or not they have said something that has offended our sensibilities! They seem to take for granted the same set of facts and arrive at similar conclusions which Dawkins characterizes as the “ordinary pro-choice stance.”   What is that ‘set of facts’ if not what I have claimed?

Some research into the deeper convictions of the people discussed above will no doubt be enlightening.

Which brings us back to Dawkins, whose ‘deeper convictions’ is a readily accessible bit of public knowledge. Instead of focusing on how he, or those with similar positions, can be so rude, perhaps we should be asking the more important question: are they in fact, wrong?

Many of the people who took offense to Dawkins’ comments accept all of his premises, and to reject the conclusion merely because you don’t like them is not a very robust protection from abuses.

Even those of us who reject his premises should not dwell on his rudeness, as if we obtained an apology we will have actually accomplished anything. The most substantial thing that will be achieved is people will have odious viewpoints which they will not share aloud anymore, but that won’t keep them from acting on those viewpoints. It would be a case of the proverbial ‘white-washed tomb.’ As far as Dawkins goes, there will not be a change of heart until there is a change of mind.

But perhaps that is true of everyone, and the real point of this essay.


A Villainous Children’s Book

Some friends of mine released a children’s book called The Villain: The Noble Adventures of Georges & Jean-Luc.   I haven’t had a chance to look at it personally, but here is a review you can check out:

villain-thompsonThe Villain: The Noble Adventures of Georges and Jean-Luc

By Katherine Thompson
Illustrated by Gary R Thompson

Purchase on Amazon

Georges and Jean-Luc are all boy. They live in a world enriched by their imaginations, imaginations formed by the grand old tales that have enchanted children forever. No small world theirs, they look out over the plains and see distant countries to be explored and conquered. Valiant hearted boys, they nevertheless fear one citizen of their little town: the baker. They never go to the baker without their mothers because the villain is terrifying. In the end, a combination of personal courage, respect for authority, and sheer desire for a cookie helps them overcome their fear.

Unlike many contemporary read-aloud books for children, this one feeds their hearts and minds with rich fare. The illustrations are a feast for the eyes and help convey the story. Close scrutiny of the pictures is rewarded in many ways but children are especially delighted to find the tiny blue observer hiding in each one. They invite readers into the story, show what the characters are thinking and why. The illustrations are not simplified, childish drawings colored with stark colors as if children cannot appreciate the beauty and complexity of art.

Finish Reading the Review


Apologetics Inverview Questions Part 4: Most Challenging Question and Denominations

7. You’ve been in many dialogues with nonChristians. What is the most challenging question you’ve had to answer?

Intellectually, why God should have had the Israelites kill even the infants of the pagan tribes. Culturally, I understand why this would have been done. I could even see God himself performing the task. Having the Israelites do it, though… that is hard for me to fathom.

Emotionally–many people who aren’t Christians used to be Christians, but have suffered somehow at the hands of other Christians, or have endured some tragedy where God seems to have been absent. Obviously, non-Christians can fit into both of those categories, too. They come at you with what they portray as intellectual objections but actually, they aren’t. They are deep-seated intuitions tinged with grief and despair. If you are lucky, this comes out early in the discussion. Since many of my conversations are over the Internet, I usually won’t discover this at all. I do, however, tend to just assume it. One has to work gingerly; if there appear to be clues present that something else is going on, I try to move the conversation in that direction.

As you might expect, they’d prefer to keep the conversation on their ‘intellectual’ objections.

8. Are you of a particular denomination? Do you feel there is a right denomination?

My background is in a conservative Lutheran denomination. That has certainly had an impact. C.S. Lewis (that man again!) observed once that in the ‘center’ of all the denominations, there seems to be folks who are very much alike, even theologically. I think this is true.   I’m not a big fan of denominationalism. I think a lot of it is shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. Denominational structures will be consumed with fire, along with the universe. Only the people will be left. I think a lot of the effort expended in denominational upkeep amounts more or less to ‘systems management’ and as I just said, the Church is not a system, it is a body.

At the same time, ideas have consequences. Doctrines have implications. False doctrines can have seriously bad consequences, temporally and eternally. We cannot be indifferent to this and still be Biblical. Small scale ‘systems’ are unavoidable, but we should always bear in mind that they are temporal.


Free and Cheap is Not Necessarily Good Stewardship; Also: A warning to those in Christian apologetics

I remember a few years back discovering that I had totally misunderstood a particular Bible passage, Galatians 6:6.

It reads:  “Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.”

Come to find out, ‘share all good things’ means, “give materially.”  In modern parlance, it might be, “donate” or “give money.”

In a sense, this came too late for me to give materially to my own teachers, although of course by paying tuition and such I indirectly did this.  I had been aware of the passages that say “A worker is worth his wages” and “Do not muzzle the ox while he is treading out the grain.”  These passages clearly state that a person has a right to earn a wage from their work, even if that work is in spiritual fields.  But the Gal. 6:6 passage is different, in that it does not speak to the right of the minister to expect a material return on their work, but rather who ought to provide that return.

I remember vividly receiving a complaint about the online apologetics academy that my ministry hosts.  The gentlemen, a fairly wealthy person, insisted that we should be hosting those courses for free.   The courses were good and solid… so good and solid that no obstacle should be placed before people who want to take them.  He said, “I know about the whole ‘the worker is worth his wages’ thing, and the instructors ought to be compensated, but…”  I then suggested that he subsidize those courses for people, if he felt that way, and he demurred, saying he already supported a number of other worthy causes.

He thought what we were doing was a worthy cause, felt that the workers (the teachers) should get their wages, did not want potential students to be put off from taking the courses because of the expense, and  yet still did not himself feel like he ought to support the academy.  It was a very strange exchange that left me scratching my head at the time, and even to some extent I remain perplexed

However, I think I have some sense of what was going on.  One may recall that there was a time when just about anything could be found online for free, and I don’t mean illegally.  People, businesses, and organizations, were handing out things for free left and right in a bid to attract traffic and hopefully have them buy other things on the site, etc.  This ‘free-onomy’ I believe created a culture that encompassed both the content providers and the content users, that led to an untenable situation.  The first-fruits of that situation was the Dot-Com Bubble.

Because, simply put, even if people wanted to, they cannot work for free.  On the short term, yes.  But not on the long term.   Unfortunately, we had a whole society oriented towards wanting things for free on the long term, and we had any number of operations out there offering valuable services for free, on the hopes of eventually turning that into a revenue stream.

Whether or not this is a good marketing approach is not really my point.  For the Christian–and the intended audience of this post is the Christian–this sort of consumer-mentality is potentially poisonous and toxic.  The rationalization is that getting something for as cheap as you can is just good stewardship… and, why, if you can get it for free, that is next to godliness!   Whether or not this is ever a healthy approach I don’t know, and is not my concern, because I know that it is not a healthy approach to handling our fellow Christians and the ministries that they carry out, whether it be as a pastor, teacher, or Christian apologist.

It is not good stewardship to find the cheapest way to give a fellow Christian their ‘due wage,’ especially when you are the direct recipient of the benefit that Christian is providing.  That Christian cannot continue providing that benefit if the ones they are serving are skimping out on them, unless, of course, someone elsewhere is subsidizing the efforts.  But there you see we have crossed over into different territory.  Galatians 6:6 doesn’t say, “Share all good things with your teacher unless someone else is paying for it.”

It seems to me that a Biblical attitude towards stewardship should incorporate and take into account the immaterial relationship that exists between the one providing the benefit and the one receiving a benefit, and it is probably not insignificant that Paul here specifically references those who teach, and teachers connected with the Scriptures, in particular.  I emphasized ‘immaterial’ to highlight my belief that there seems to be some genuine principle of the moral universe in play here.  We don’t usually think of it in these terms, but once we do some of it becomes self-evident:  it just makes sense that the person who makes use of the thing ought to reward the one who made it.  The reader should reward the author, the diner should reward the cook, and so on and so forth.  This ‘sense’ is transcendental in nature, and it is probably no surprise that where transcendental connections have been broken, so too have been the direct connection between the provider and the recipient of the provision.

The fact that in our society, the reader doesn’t reward the author directly, but rather the publisher and retailer, who in turn reward the author, is probably more significant then we realize.  The fact that the chef who cooks for you at a restaurant is not paid directly by the diner, but by the one who owns the restaurant, probably strains at unseen realities in ways we don’t understand.  There is a universal intimacy that is forsaken here, with callouses formed that are hard to put our fingers on.  We perhaps come closest to grasping its power when we consider the mother and father cooking and preparing and serving meals to their children, day after day, year after year, until, many decades later, the children will do the same for their elderly parents.

There are deep things at work, here.  Is it possible that these ‘callouses’ I refer to are subsumed within our culture’s present two-worker families, where mother and father work so hard to generate an income that there is not time enough for regular family meals, and decades later, the children find it most appropriate to invest their money in places that will take care of their parents instead of the children doing it?  I do not know;  I do know, this is a complicated affair, where one would not be wise or charitable in casting judgment.  I only suggest that these intimate associations between the provider and the one provided for are not something to be indifferent about–certainly not in the name of ‘stewardship.’

There is, then, a need to re-awaken the Christian’s sense that they have an actual obligation to materially provide for the one that provides them a service.  This obligation is probably moral; it is probably deeper than that, on the order of the transcendental.   If you receive a spiritual benefit, especially from a teacher of the word, of spiritual things, of people involved in spiritual work, you should make an extra effort to see to it that they receive a direct reward, even–and perhaps especially–when they would do it for free, if they could.

But there is another side of the coin.

I know of few involved in Christian ministry who would not do what they do for free, if only they could.  Perhaps it is just that I am fortunate enough to rub shoulders with so many good men and women, but it seems to me that nearly all of them wish that finances were never a consideration.  I know this is true of others, too, such as authors, who must write, or else they would die.   Whether or not they get paid or not, they must write!  Being involved in apologetics, I am also especially sensitive to the mindset of my fellow apologists and their situation.  While every Christian is called to be an ‘apologist,’ anyone who has put their hands to the task know that it is far more work than one things before one begins.  It is so tempting for those involved in ministry (or other immaterial ‘products’, such as books and films) to offer their work for free, but I would caution them against doing so.

Our culture has perhaps brought us to that point where it seems practically necessary in order to ‘compete’ but, as I have tried to argue, there are deeper things afoot; and besides there are clear passages that insist that the worker is to receive his wages–from the one receiving the benefit.  Maybe we can’t change the whole culture, but then, that is not our ultimate concern, anyway.  See Galatians 6:10, 1 Peter 4:17, and 1 Cor  5:12-13.

We would not be wise to uncritically contribute to a culture of materialism, and from the above I hope you see that I mean ‘materialism’ in multiple senses.

There is also the matter of that intimate connection between the one providing and the one receiving, which by offering your products, services, and ministries for free, or well below its actual value, you risk severing.  Moreover, you should understand that in setting the ‘right’ value on what you are doing, you are not just inculcating that intimate relation I’ve been speaking about, you are giving those people the opportunity to support you in your work.  That is, those people may not be in a position to devote hours to reading, writing, and discoursing, but by supporting you materially, they are able, through you, to participate in your mission.  You deprive them of this opportunity if, out of your great love for what you are doing, you put into practice your willingness to work for free.

And besides, we recall that you cannot do that work in the long term if you are dead, and if you cannot eat, that’s precisely what you’ll be.

Let us also give weight to the fact that if others are asking, say, $10 for a product and service which you are simply giving away, you undermine everyone’s ability to be a ‘worker worth his wage.’

This is a subject that I cannot say that I’ve heard very much about.  Not from the pulpit and not in books.   These principles nonetheless seem to be threaded throughout the old and new testaments, and Christians, whether in the act of providing or in the act of being provided for, should seek them out and act on them to the best of their ability.