Bye-bye, baby! 6

This is from the Telegraph:

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.

Before you say “Oh well, if it’s disabled …” please read on.

The article, entitled After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?, was written by 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.”

Note the “her”. If that was the only word you read in their manifesto of death, you’d know they were a pair of politically correct lefties.

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”.

Death – you must understand – is no damage at all to someone “becoming a person”.

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 …

Note now the distance put between the condemners to death and the executioners. Just give the order, have it taken away to be done in, and think no more about it.

… 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.

Once such children were born there was “no choice for the parents but to keep the child”, they wrote.“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.”

“When the state provides …” Sure, let the state provide for you, and you are its thing. It can do what it will with you and your child. If a family cannot afford to keep a child, there is the possibility of finding foster parents or would-be adopters, but if the state has the final say … bye-bye, baby!

Well, in such a society, one in which the individual is a thing belonging to the state, maybe it is best to have no babies.

Is death preferable to slavery? Discuss.

Then back to the Telegraph’s report on the ideology of Giubilini and Minerva:

They did not argue that some baby killings were more justifiable than others – their fundamental point was that, morally, there was no difference to abortion as already practised.

They preferred to use the phrase “after-birth abortion” rather than “infanticide” to “emphasise that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus”.

… Minerva was a research associate at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics until last June, when she moved to the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at Melbourne University.

Ah, “practical ethics”. None of your airy-fairy theories about right and wrong. It’s what’s practical that counts. If you don’t like the baby, why keep it? If the state’s budget for babies is all used up, away with this one.

And “public ethics”. There’s a phrase to conjure with. A whole “public” can now be deemed to have a conscience, to think, to arrive at a justifiable conclusion. Such a public we need to meet! A many-bodied monster with one head.

What Melbourne University means, of course, is a bunch of academics deciding what is good for “the public”. We’d rather meet the monster than the academics. We might call it “God”, just for fun.

Giubilini … too has gone on to Melbourne … to the city’s Monash University.

Defending [his] decision [to republish the article] in a British Medical Journal blog, Professor Savulescu said that arguments in favour of killing newborns were “largely not new”. What Minerva and Giubilini did was apply these arguments “in consideration of maternal and family interests”.

And the interests of the state.

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.”

“Well reasoned arguments”: If your baby is a bother to you (or the state), it’s okay to kill it.

“Widely accepted premises”: If your baby is a bother to you (or the state), it’s okay to kill it.

But wait. It’s not the child you should feel sorry for – it’s Minerva and Giubilini who need your compassionate concern. Apparently the authors – former associates of the good professor – have been receiving death threats provoked by the publication of their article.

The journal’s editor, [that same] 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 very values of a liberal society”. If you don’t think parents should be allowed by law to call the exterminators and have the baby collected for the gas oven or whatever, you are opposed to the very values of a liberal society. Good grief – don’t you understand that approving the extermination of unwanted babies is the very essence of  liberal values? The contemporary liberal society is defined by that approval. Tolerance and open-mindedness are defined by it. Community co-operation is defined by it. To be opposed to it is wildly abnormal. Only sociopaths and fanatics would go so far as to raise an objection.

[Professor Savulescu] 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 to silence and, in the extreme, kill, based on their own moral certainty. That is not the sort of society we should live in.”

See – he’s against extremism. He’s against killing. He’s against people acting on their own moral certainty.

So no doubt are Minerva and Guibilini.

If you thought otherwise, you must be not just illiberal and fanatical, but unable to comprehend a simple text written in plain English.


Note: We dealt with the Giubilini and Minerva thesis when it was first published. See our post The Nazi ethics of the left, March 5, 2012.

Posted under Commentary, Ethics by Jillian Becker on Saturday, August 10, 2013

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The Nazi ethics of the left 12

The moral foundations of our civilization are crumbling.

Law is the essence of civilization. Certain moral principles underlie all law. Chief among them is that murder is wrong.

Prohibition of murder, theft, fraud, and false witness is much older than the Bible, the Hammurabi Code, or any known codification of laws.

But now, as an intense hatred of humanity is spread by the intellectual elite of the Western world, some of whom even advocate the total elimination of the human species, murder is no longer a crime. It is what enlightened, responsible, university-educated people approve of and believe should become state policy.

Especially they advocate the murder of the most helpless and defenseless – babies and small children.

No doubt the same people who want to kill children because they cost too much to keep in energy, effort and money, will go on protesting against the judicial execution of murderers. They want to protect the guilty and do away with the innocent.

We, unfashionably, see the necessity to protect the innocent and do away with the guilty.

Of course we recognize the existence of moral dilemmas: the question of euthanasia will always remain a difficult one. Whether to kill out of compassion is a different moral question from whether to kill for one’s own convenience.

We hoped to hear an outcry of moral rage against the advocacy of legalizing child-murder by parental choice or state order. We are watching for columnists, pundits, opinion-formers to protest in the strongest possible terms.

We have found, heard, read only a few.

One who can be relied on for moral clarity is Bruce Bawer. He correctly labels the two “ethical scientists” who advocate the killing of children if they’re a nuisance to their parents or the state, Nazis.

[I learned about ] an article … by two individuals named Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. The former is connected with the Department of Philosophy at the University of Milan and with the Centre for Human Bioethics at Monash University in Melbourne; the latter is associated with the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne and the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford University. Both share the same job description. They are “medical ethicists”.

The point of their article is simple. They argue for the morality of what they call “after-birth abortion” – in other words, as they bluntly put it, “killing a newborn.” They say that such killing “should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.” They explain that they prefer the term “after-birth abortion” to “euthanasia” “because the best interest of the one who dies is not necessarily the primary criterion for the choice, contrary to what happens in the case of euthanasia.”

Their case for the moral legitimacy of “after-birth abortion” is this: a newborn, they say, has not yet “formed any aim that she is prevented from accomplishing” if you snuff her out shortly after birth. Though newborns, like fetuses, are indeed “human beings and potential persons,” a newborn is not yet “a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life.’” Giubilini and Minerva explain that for them, the word “person” signifies “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.” Since newborns are not “persons” in this sense, their “alleged right…to develop their potentiality … is over-ridden by the interests of actual people (parents, family, society) to pursue their own well-being” – for “actual people’s well-being could be threatened by the new (even if healthy) child requiring energy, money and care which the family might happen to be in short supply of.”

So speak the “medical ethicists” – one of them connected with Oxford, no less. It is all quite chilling …  Giubilini and Minerva – if I keep repeating their names, it’s because I want to make sure you and I remember them – are purportedly talking here about what constitutes humanity, but their very language is the epitome of inhumanity. And it is all too much of a piece with the language of the Western elite generally, which does a good deal of talking about the poor and the helpless and the greater good, but which, more often than not, is less concerned with attending to difficult real-life responsibilities than with puffing up its own image while making its own existence as smooth, comfortable, and problem-free as possible.

Nazi science: to be straightforward about it, that’s pretty much what Giubilini and Minerva are selling. And a lot of people in our time seem eager to buy it.