It was my coworker’s turn to spin the radio dial. He chose NPR as always. It was a segment on science’s progress to reproduce humans without the need for sex. Conversation ensued.
Me: “Trust a scientist to take the fun out of sex. Why would anybody want to do that?”
Him: “Look at it this way. Science can already create an egg from your skin cells. With this, you could have your own baby!”
Me: “NO, I could NOT EVER.”
Him: *silent shrug*
I may not be much of a Red Pill-dispensing evangelist but I know True Evil when I see it. It looks like Elites literally breeding themselves because they are THAT full of hateful, arrogant scorn for Normies.
And when the Normies fail to connect dots this obvious… “we can now ban sex entirely because self-reproduction is available to the superwealthy!”… a nasty part of me wonders if the Elites have a valid point. I don’t let it out because the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
The lack of fear of God is the beginning of… bioethics?
The problem with talking about right and wrong
By John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera, 23 November 2020
The problem with talking about right and wrong is that it’s time not spent talking about good and evil.
Perhaps the most helpful framework I know of in wrestling with moral issues comes from T.S. Eliot. Before we can know what to do with something, we must know what that something is for. For example, before we decide what we should do with human life (whether we should take it, make it, or remake it), we should know what human life is for.
A regularly featured poster on a Christian news website just said WHAT? Me, I use Genesis 1:1a for a moral framework: “In the beginning, God CREATED…”
The opposing sides of contemporary debates around bioethics, i.e. abortion, doctor-assisted suicide, in-vitro fertilization, and other assisted reproductive technologies, often proceed from very different beliefs about what it means to be human and, therefore, what it means for humans to flourish.
There are two such beliefs. The humanists believe that human life is a freak accident that means nothing, a question asked by birth and answered by death, valuable only for the wealth and spawn it produces. The devout believe that God created humanity to behave in certain ways that would honor Him as Our Father.
There is no debate about abortion. It is capital murder. There is no debate about doctor-assisted suicide. It is the purest violation possible of the Hippocratic Oath. Pick a second and seppuku if you must, but don’t task the maintainers of human life with culling it. In-vitro is no problem unless you create multiple embryos expecting to kill the ‘surplus’, at which point you’re back at abortion.
That took me one paragraph. This upcoming hack needed a book just to begin:
That, in essence, is the very important argument made by Notre Dame Professor O. Carter Snead in his new book What It Means to Be Human, which was recently called “the most important book of moral philosophy so far this century” by public intellectual Yuval Levin.
Israeli-born Jew with a PhD in Social Thought.
Snead is a bioethicist and professor of Political Science. No Christian background in either of them.
It’s obvious this post is an op-ad rather than an op-ed. Regardless, the concept of bioethics has been on my mind since that conversation with a coworker who can’t tell his left hand from his right, morally speaking.
I’m making progress, however. When we first met, he thought he was a Catholic. He is now more honest in his unbelief.
Our laws and policies and debates about beginning and end-of-life technologies are proceeding these days, says Snead, without a shared or articulated vision of “what it means to be human.” Or, to use T.S. Eliot’s framework, we are greenlighting incredible technologies and freedoms about how to begin life and how to end life without a foundation for understanding what humans are for.
Oh, no no no. We aren’t charting new territory here. Only new tools. The hubris that goes into violating the natural order to secure immortality has been around since the Pharaohs were entombed with their retainers and wealth.
Absent any official conversation, contemporary bioethics merely assumes the dominant cultural narrative about human existence: That we are autonomous individuals living in moral isolation from everything and everyone. As Snead profoundly argues, “everything” includes our own bodies.
Food for the stomach and the stomach for food… God had something to say about that two thousand years ago.
In other words, some of the most profound moral decisions are made as if people are “disembodied wills.” Philosopher Alasdair McIntyre put it simply, “We have forgotten our bodies.”
Um… where’s God in all that? His apostles? Every theologian since then?
Here’s why that matters. If we aren’t bound by our bodies, then we aren’t bound by the bodies of others, which means we have no responsibility for anyone or for any obligations that are not chosen. No relationship, not with fellow citizens, not with family members or friends, not with tradition or religion, can define for us who we are or how we live.
And that would be a bad thing? Is my life not mine to live?
This view of what humans are for, or perhaps what humans are not for, has been dubbed “expressive individualism,” and is the dominant worldview shaping our laws and our cultural imagination when it comes to what humans should do, and what we should be able to do with humans (including those not yet born, or who are infirmed and elderly, or who perceive themselves to be “born in the wrong body,” or who are fertile or infertile when they don’t want to be).
Expressive individualism, AKA radical individualism, AKA freedom, AKA self-determination, AKA civil-rights-before-they-meant-White-Man-Bad.
This is a Social Justice argument for justifying the Plandemic. Sure, YOU might be perfectly healthy and not afraid of the Black Coof, but if you don’t take every possible precaution including the end of civilization as you knew it, then SOMEBODY ELSE might TEST POSITIVE because of YOU!
And so we find Stonestreet’s answer to his original question:
“We should know what human life is for.” It’s for OBEYING THE STATE FOR THE BENEFIT OF OTHERS.
Stonestreet & Rivera stopped here but you know me, I went one step further.
In ‘What It Means to Be Human,’ Carter Snead Challenges Our View of Culture, Law
By Maureen Ferguson, 10 November 2020
In “What It Means to Be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics,” published by Harvard University Press, O. Carter Snead lays out an inspiring and integrated vision of the human person and proposes a new methodological approach to lawmaking based on this deeper understanding of our embodied humanity.
Snead is one of the world’s leading bioethicists and director of Notre Dame’s de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture. He has served on numerous governmental commissions and advised all three branches of the federal government on bioethics and human rights.
“I am Big Important Bioethicist with all the Proper Credentials and Friends!”
“What It Means to Be Human” builds on his wide experience across the disciplines of philosophy, science, medicine, and public policy to advance a rounded vision of the human person and human freedom.
None of that is religion. Snead doesn’t even claim to be Christian.
Snead incisively argues that our culture’s current understanding of the human person is fundamentally flawed. As a result, our nation’s laws fall tragically short in protecting persons and in promoting human flourishing.
Nothing that follows from that paragraph will resemble Christ, the Constitution or rule of law.
Echoing the work of sociologist Robert Bellah…
UC Berkeley professor, Harvard graduate and proud member of the Communist Party USA.
…Snead critiques “expressive individualism,” the regnant ideology reflected in current American law. This anthropology assumes an unfettered right to translate one’s desires into reality in an entirely self-autonomous manner. Such an approach treats people as mere products of the mind, not products of the mind and body.
Yes. You ARE a soul and HAVE a body.
We fail to acknowledge the limits of our biological constitution, which is not free to assert itself to whatever end it pleases. Rather, we are embodied and, therefore, finite, vulnerable, dependent creatures. The human body gets tired, gets sick, and can become disabled. It needs replenishing, it ages, and ultimately, ceases to function when we die.
Building on the thought of philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, Snead reminds us that we are rational creatures, yes, but dependent rational creatures bound to one another for support and care. From infancy to old age, nature—our bodies—dictate our dependency in innumerable ways.
His book was written to justify the Covidian Cult.
By reminding us of the limits of “expressive individualism” and proposing to resituate public bioethics around a more fully human understanding of the person, Snead reminds us that we belong to each other in a web of unchosen familial and societal obligations.
QED. UNCHOSEN societal obligations, he says. Coercion.
Modern expressive individualism demands freedom from pain, suffering, and unwanted death, a demand completely alien to the lived human experience, and in doing so only inflicts more of it. Only by remembering the body and building laws anew upon a fuller notion of the human person can these laws become more humane.
Anybody who says your life is not yours to live, is a modern-day slave trader.
So, how does this relate to “fertilizing your skin cells and gestating your clone in a vat of goo”? It never got discussed. How does it relate to abortion? Nobody discussed that, either, but Snead needed a full chapter in his book. That was surely not to bring moral clarity to the topic. And doctor-assisted suicide? Notice in that last quoted paragraph, “unwanted death”. Classic humanist moralizing: never say DON’T, except to individuality and freedom and Christ from whom the first two flow.
There’s lots of hot air about Snead’s new book but none of his fans can quite explain what Snead’s Brave New Bioethics are about. Our only clues are 1. he’s still welcome in the halls of power, 2. he’s selling his bioethics for profit, 3. he seeks to impose “unchosen obligations” upon you and 4. there’s an increasingly unjustifiable Plandemic going around. Now in Month Nine of “14 days to flatten the curve”!