In our pomo-age some professions and careers have ceased to have any meaningful existence. "Ethicist" is one. Why, in the post-modern world should we have any regard for ethicists? It's like having the career of a handsome cab builder--quaint, but hardly relevant.
It was this challenge which immediately came top of mind when we read the following piece:
Killing Babies No Different From Abortion, "Experts" Say
Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued. [Our emphasis.]So, in pomo-world a "person" is someone with a "moral right to life". If they do not have a moral right to life, they can be killed at will. What, on earth, we hear you ask is a "moral right to life"? Good question. Let's just pluck something out of the air, shall we, to answer:
By Stephen Adams, Medical Correspondent
The article, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, says newborn babies are not “actual persons” and do not have a “moral right to life”. The academics also argue that parents should be able to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born.
The journal’s editor, Prof Julian Savulescu, director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, said the article's authors had received death threats since publishing the article. He said those who made abusive and threatening posts about the study were “fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society”. The article, entitled “After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?”, was written by two of Prof Savulescu’s former associates, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva.
They argued: “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.” Rather than being “actual persons”, newborns were “potential persons”. They explained: “Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’.
“We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.” As such they argued it was “not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to become a person in the morally relevant sense”.So if people think they are going to be deprived of existence, then it's not OK to kill them. Says who? Remember, it's pomo-world. Says who? By what standard does one define "a loss". What might happen when someone cannot express or communicate their experience of self-value? It's pomo-world; so, who cares? And what of people whose infirmities make it impossible to communicate whether they still have a sense of self-value? Once again, it's pomo-world; who cares? And what would happen if we changed our definition of "person" to be one whom others believed it would be a loss if they were killed? What then? Equally valid, or not? If not, why not? Who cares?
But we could go further. The whole notion of ethics is an oxymoron in a pomo-world. There ain't no standard, no rule--only habits, conventions, perspectives. The very idea of claiming to be an ethicist is more than pretentious, it is to be a living, walking, breathing oxymoron. And there will be plenty of folk who would say that those whose lives are a contradiction-in-terms have lost their personhood, and, therefore, their particular right to life. Off to the gas chambers for the ethicists. And, what's wrong with gas chambers anyway?
Now that our "ethicists" have plucked a particular and peculiar definition of personhood from the ether, they want to apply it consistently. Children in the womb can be killed because they have no sense of self-worth. It's a view which our "ethicists" rush to agree with. These unborn children are right on the money. They have no sense of self-worth; therefore, everyone else oughtn't to attribute worth to them either. If it's "right"--to employ that old quaint language once more--to murder babies in the womb, it must equally be "right" to kill newborn infants.
The authors therefore concluded that “what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled”. They also argued that parents should be able to have the baby killed if it turned out to be disabled without their knowing before birth, for example citing that “only the 64 per cent of Down’s syndrome cases” in Europe are diagnosed by prenatal testing.Charming. What wonderful rules, rights, and wrongs our pomo-ethicists are coming up with. Once more, please forgive the oxymoron. It's unavoidable, after all.
But now the wolf begins to remove his sheep's coat.
While accepting that many people would disagree with their arguments, he wrote: “The goal of the Journal of Medical Ethics is not to present the Truth or promote some one moral view. It is to present well reasoned argument based on widely accepted premises.”So what would it take to start killing off pomo-ethicists, such as Professor Savulescu? Nothing. Nothing at all, as long as the premises were widely accepted and tolerable. Consequently, the plaintive whine from Prof Savulescu which follows is risible:
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, he added: “This “debate” has been an example of “witch ethics” - a group of people know who the witch is and seek to burn her. It is one of the most dangerous human tendencies we have. It leads to lynching and genocide. Rather than argue and engage, there is a drive is to silence and, in the extreme, kill, based on their own moral certainty. That is not the sort of society we should live in.”But, my dear Professor, as long as the witches' premises were widely held, you would have no complaint, would you. Why use such emotive terms such as "lynching" and "genocide" to describe yourparticular execution. It's only the people exercising their rights arising out of "widely accepted premises". Welcome to pomo-world. Your world.
When you kill babies it's OK because the act is sanctioned by widely held premises and views. But how come when people want to kill you, it's not OK, despite the fact that they are morally certain and their beliefs are pretty widely held. You moan that that's not the sort of society we should live in--but is it not true that that's precisely the kind of society you believe is the ethically just and morally superior society. It's pomo-ethics at work. Like Socrates you should welcome your execution--for the greater good, of course.
Pomo-"ethicists"--what precious petals they are. That's what happens when you are walking, talking, living oxymoron.