What’s changed in America: Value of life has measurably declined
“Welcome back to America!”, I keep thinking as we re-adjust to having been away for two years in Japan. I learned a lot living overseas, about myself, my country, and particularly about how important it is for a culture to value human life above all things.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest trends I notice upon my return is how human life has become increasingly cheap in the U.S. To illustrate this trend I’d like to talk about the following items: the war in Afghanistan, stem cells, gay marriage, Obama, and Alzheimer’s
Life has become cheaper in the U.S., even as we have supposedly become more sophisticated and caring. Take the war in Afghanistan. Back when President Bush was in charge, how often did we hear the press talk about the casualty rate and the death toll? Pretty often, nightly in fact.
Now how often do we hear about it? I’d argue much less. Why? Aren’t the soldiers dying now as valuable and important as before? The answer is no.
In this era of cheap human life, one of the only ways life has value is in the political sense. Soldiers who died in Iraq were valued more by the press because they served their political agenda. Now battlefield casualties harm their agenda and so mention of them is limited. So much for the left’s supposed concern for the lives of our military.
Human lives were also trumpeted as of paramount concern in the heated embryonic stem cell debates of the Bush administration. Those opposing embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) were characterized as callous to the suffering of those who suffer from diseases that could supposedly be cured. We were called “anti-science” and all sorts of other things for our myopic desire to protect human embryos.
But now that Obama lifted the federal ban (note, there was never a private ban on ESCR) and no new cures have been forthcoming, the attention has been lifted. If improving human life were so important, shouldn’t that subject still be front and center?
Nope. Human life served the purpose of advancing the culture of death and can now be dispensed with.
Gay marriage is another hot button topic. Since marriage is the incubator in which new human life is created and nurtured, it has been cherished and protected throughout human history in all cultures (save a very few exceptions).
But now marriage’s role in that regard is dismissed and it is now seen primarily as a vehicle for self-fulfillment, regardless of how new definitions may or may not harm children. Again, human life loses out to political expediency and self-centered considerations.
Obama himself has led the charge against life, lifting the ban on foreign aid if it was used for abortion and generally making it easier and more likely for government to fund abortion in a variety of ways. All the while, he claims the mantle of compassion for his efforts, when in fact compassion should be measured how you protect the least among us.
My last example is Alzheimer’s. This is not so much a liberal/conservative issue as it is one of our culture in general, where we ascribe value to human life only so far as an individual is able to contribute to society, or make us feel good about ourselves.
Alzheimer’s robs individuals of the ability to contribute and makes them instead human “loss centers” who consume resources, both physical and emotional, without paying anything back. We are therefore afraid of it and shy away from those who have the unfortunate condition.
I argue that if we had a proper appreciation of the value of life, we would not see any difference between an embryo, a baby, an adult, a person in a vegetative state, or a victim of Alzheimer’s. ALL individuals have inherent value regardless of their current ability to “contribute” or manifest their value to us in obvious ways.
As human life is cheapened, government continues to expand its power over the populace. Thank God there is some resistance in this country to that trend (even it is regularly derided and marginalized by the press and Democratic politicians; I thought dissent was supposed to be patriotic?).
But ever notice that there is an inverse proportion between the value of human life and the power of government? Totalitarian regimes were never known for their compassion and care and in fact viewed human lives as expendable to some greater cause.
Let us hope we are not on that path, though it sure seems like we are. As Chuck D. once said, Fight the Power!
Peachtree City, Ga.