Friday, June 24, 2005

"It's all about me"

The most divisive social issues of the past half-century can best be summarized in four words…
It’s all about me.
Let’s take these issues in the cycle of life order.
Start with abortion.
Full disclosure – I believe in very strong limitations on abortion rights. I can find an intellectual defense to abortion when the conception is the direct result of a criminal act (rape or incest). I can also find a defense for an abortion if carrying the pregnancy to full term would be a direct threat to the mother’s health (I would hope, though, that – given the advances technology has made in recent years – efforts would be made to save both lives in the process).
But I cannot defend the procedure called “partial-birth” abortion. I cannot defend allowing minors unfettered access to abortion without parental notification – after all, if the kid skips out without paying the bill, who gets to foot it? The parents.
And I cannot find a general defense for the abortions of convenience which seem to be the majority of abortions performed in North America. It’s an abdication of responsibility for one’s behavior for convenience sake. I will grant that many of these decisions are not easy decisions to make; case studies have shown that there are long-term ramifications in many cases. But I can’t defend a culture that views terminating a pregnancy as little more than after-the-fact birth control.
Proponents of unfettered abortion rights say it’s all about the woman’s “right to choose.”
Translation: It’s all about me.
Next up: Same-sex marriage.
Full disclosure – I don’t support it. I could be convinced that homosexual couples should be receiving some – repeat, some – of the benefits of their partnership that married heterosexual couples receive. If a couple has held itself as a couple, invested in a property as a couple, etc., then I would question the hoops that they must jump through, such as being able to participate in each other’s health decisions, inheritance issues, etc. But marriage – by the definition of every society, monotheist, multitheist, even atheist – is a coupling of the sexes. Not two of one kind; one (and in polygamist societies, which I find abhorrent, more than one) of each kind. In that evolved theory, which has served societies pretty well for centuries now, marriage is an institution devoted to bringing children into the world and preparing them for adulthood. It’s about the kids.
Proponents of same-sex marriage say it’s about the two adults’ love for each other.
Translation: It’s all about me.
Last on this rant: The right to die.
Full disclosure – There is a line that I cannot cross. I can accept a person’s refusal of extraordinary measures that would merely prolong life by technological means. (I do not place feeding and hydrating in the category of extraordinary measures, by the way.) Certainly, at some point, we will die; that is one rule of nature we cannot overturn. But those who would advocate hastening death because of pain, depression, or other less-than-terminal matters are crossing a line that should not be crossed. In fact, I seem to recall reading recently that in the Netherlands, where assisted suicide is permitted, that some doctors were being overzealous in their assistance. If you don’t see this as a problem, you and I will just have to disagree.
Proponents of assisted suicide say it’s about a person’s right to end a life that is no longer “worth living.”
Translation: It’s all about me.
Rebuttal: Society, friends, is not “all about me.”