Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Ethics of Infanticide

I approach with a default skepticism any statement by a figure who calls himself an “ethicist.” Morality divorced from theology is bad enough. Ethics seems to be a field that seeks to define not what is right, but rather what is permissible, and in so doing, avoids any exploration of morality.

The latest ethicist effrontery comes from Oxford University in an article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics. A group of Oxford ethicists argue that an infant is morally equivalent to a fetus, therefore infanticide should be legal. Jonah Goldberg, writing in the Corner, reflects my thoughts on the matter and expresses them far better than I could.

The Culture of Death starts from the acceptability of abortion and extends that to infanticide. The Culture of Life starts from the unacceptability of infanticide (and murder, in general) and extends the wrongness of it to aborting a fetus. Both sides accept that the fetus and the infant are morally equivalent.

The pro-life argument would work backwards to conception. Where would the line be drawn by the other side? Is there any moral difference between an ethicist who argues for infanticide and an infant?


Mike Roberts said...

Kurt, this is a great post, and I appreciate your sharing it. I read the article you referred to, and I could not believe what I was reading! I was seriously disgusted by the complete indifference toward life coming from these doctors (my grandma used to call such people "educated idiots). One of the comments below the article should serve as a startling slap in the face to our so called civilization: the greatest generation once defeated Hitler, and out generation has become Hitler!

The Organic Gardener said...

Well spotted. We need to be constantly alert to these moves.

In the words of the great explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott:
"I do not think we can hope for any better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R.Scott

For God's sake look after our people."