Sound and Ghastly Reasoning

I read something that shook me to my core today. I mean, this is exactly the kind of thing that makes so many of us fear for the 21st Century. It's written with a tone of compassion and sensitivity and sometimes even logic but what this columnist from the Times Online is saying is so ghastly that it essentially creates a ghastly road map of inhumanity for coming generations. After reading this, I'm more convinced than ever that the evil of our time will gain the halls of power donning the mask of compassion and whispering soft words of tolerance (as if it hasn't already.)
Several parents of babies and children with Down’s, and representatives of pressure groups, said publicly how much love and happiness such children bring, despite any “challenges”, and how they can, with support, live happy, independent lives.

More or less disguised was a strong tone of moral disapproval of anyone who feels that the birth of a Down’s baby is a misfortune, to be avoided if possible. Hardly anyone now dares to say so. The word “eugenics” is often used by Down’s lobbyists to make the nasty suggestion that people who think it is right to abort a foetus with a Down’s diagnosis are as bad as Nazis. This is argument by abuse.

I protest out of long personal experience.

Someone close to me in our family has a learning disability, which has been a handicap and a sorrow to her, and my lifelong experience of children and adults with learning disabilities, including many with Down’s, as they have grown older has given me a different perspective. I am convinced that it is a grave misfortune for babies to be born with Down’s or any comparably serious syndrome. It’s a misfortune for their parents and their siblings as well. Sad observations over decades have convinced me: a damaged baby is a damaged family, even now.

I resent the moral condescension of those who claim that people who think like me are not only wrong but hateful; there have been vicious attacks on me in the blogosphere by disability-lobby extremists. My point of view does not make me a heartless eugenicist.

For one thing I do not think that any woman should be pressed, for any reason, to have an abortion. To do so would be wrong. She must be free to choose and free to make a bad choice. What’s more, I firmly believe that people with disabilities should get all possible help and understanding to lead fulfilling lives, from society in general and from the taxpayer.

My belief that certain foetuses would be better not coming to term has nothing, logically, to do with my belief that everything possible should be done to help babies who do come to term and are born among us to share our imperfect world.

There are some strange contradictions surrounding the question of abortion. People who reject abortion as always wrong are consistent and one cannot argue with them. But anyone who thinks abortion is acceptable under some circumstances, and who yet disapproves of what’s emotionally seen as “eugenic” abortion, is in an untenable position. After all, people accept abortion for certain “social reasons”, and what more powerful “social reason” could there be for an abortion than the virtual certainty that the foetus would be condemned to a life of frustration, disappointment, dependence, serious illness and poverty, to the great sorrow and hardship of its family?
The columnist is right on one count that it is hypocritical to support abortion over financial concerns but oppose it because it reeks of eugenics. But instead of seeing the difficulty and reconsidering her own pro-abortion opinions she goes the other way with it; instead of questioning her support she simply says every form of abortion must warrant respect.

There are so many things about this column that should frighten you that we can talk about in the combox. But this argument is wrongheaded in that it weighs everything on one side of the scale. She speaks in fearful tones of lives of frustration, disappointment, dependence, serious illness and poverty which in reality is just part of being human. But more importantly, what the columnist is replacing all these sad experiences with is death. Death, in her world, plays the role of the great liberator from our human condition. In her world, death has the power to remove all the negatives which makes up a life. Death and death alone has the power to make things right.

For Christians, the sting of death was removed two millenia ago with the willful sacrifice of life of our liberator Jesus Christ. For many secularists, death itself is our liberator.

HT Hot Air

Comments

  1. "Argument by abuse"-- I think they mean "ad hominem abusive" or "argumentum ad personam."

    When someone is saying that you, as someone who is promoting an idea, are similar to the best known promoters of said idea-- that is, the removal of those who are genetically "inferior"-- then it's not "ad hominem."

    Now, saying that this person is a Nazi because Nazis are bad and this person is bad, that would be ad hominem.....

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  2. Aside from perhaps archvillian nemesis types, people don't like to think of themselves as bad people. To me this seems purely a strike a justification because she doesn't want to examine the philosophical roots of her ideas and their moral impact. It is scary. Let's all pray for her.

    On the bright side, just the other week out of the UK I found an absolutely lovely article on a similar subject (perhaps hers is in response to this?).

    Keeping our Down Syndrome baby was our best decision ever.

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  3. If we lay first, for a sure ground, a very fast faith, whereby we believe to be true all that the scripture saith (understood truly, as the old holy doctors declare it and as the spirit of God instructeth his Catholic church), then shall we consider tribulation as a gracious gift of God, a gift that he specially gave his special friends; a thing that in scripture is highly commended and praised; a thing of which the contrary, long continued, is perilous; a thing which, if God send it not, men have need to put upon themselves and seek by penance; a thing that helpeth to purge our past sins; a thing that preserveth us from sins that otherwise would come; a thing that causeth us to set less by the world; a thing that much diminisheth our pains in purgatory; a thing that much increaseth our final reward in heaven; the thing with which all his apostles followed him thither; the thing to which our Saviour exhorteth all men; the thing without which he saith we be not his disciples; the thing without which no man can get to heaven.

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  4. "Someone close to me in our family has a learning disability, which has been a handicap and a sorrow to her, and my lifelong experience of children and adults with learning disabilities, including many with Down’s, as they have grown older has given me a different perspective."

    O find it interesting that the author uses such vague terminology as "learning disability". This would include a wide range of conditions, or is she quietly putting forth the idea of putting people with dyslexia to death?

    The learning disability is a sorrow to her family member. Why is it such a sorrow to her? Is it a lack of love and support from the family? It wouldn't be such a surprise is the author is any indication.

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  5. I read this quote:

    Someone close to me in our family has a learning disability, which has been a handicap and a sorrow to her, and my lifelong experience of children and adults with learning disabilities, including many with Down’s, as they have grown older has given me a different perspective. I am convinced that it is a grave misfortune for babies to be born with Down’s or any comparably serious syndrome. It’s a misfortune for their parents and their siblings as well. Sad observations over decades have convinced me: a damaged baby is a damaged family, even now.

    And I was thinking how this quote might look culturally from the perspective of an Indian family:

    Someone close to me in our family has a [birth defect], which has been a handicap and a sorrow to her, and my lifelong experience of children and adults with [birth defects], including many with [vaginas], as they have grown older has given me a different perspective. I am convinced that it is a grave misfortune for babies to be born with [vaginas] or any comparably serious [birth defect]. It’s a misfortune for their parents and their siblings as well. Sad observations over decades have convinced me: a damaged baby is a damaged family, even now.

    Doesn't read too nicely, does it. The problem comes when other people decide to take upon themselves the evaluation of the quality of life for someone who is not them. Different people consider different things "defects".

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  6. That is the most disgusting thing that has been written or printed this millenium.

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  7. That is the most disgusting thing that has been written or printed this millenium.

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  8. Isn't this exactly what Pope John Paul the Great meant when he spoke of a "culture of death" as one in which life's problems are "solved" by death?

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  9. What a disgusting little article. Just because someone suffers does not mean he or she is not capable of humanity. It does not mean that he or she is not worthy of life or the pursuit of his own happiness. And since when does Down Syndrome or any kind of disability automatically equate to "suffering" anyway? True, I think suffering may be a part of it. A life with any kind of disability will present challenges and hardships and loneliness. But it also presents certain joys and happiness, too! I know people with Down Syndrome and their families, and it disgusts me that they are thought of as lesser beings because they are born a certain way.


    And I loved this quote: "For one thing I do not think that any woman should be pressed, for any reason, to have an abortion."

    When society insists that Down's babies are better off dead than alive, a woman IS BEING PRESSED into having an abortion, plain and simple!!

    I truly thank God for my church, who teaches what is RIGHT, and not necessarily what is easy, or what we want to hear.

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