Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Remorseless Machine

One of my cultural heroes, Dennis Prager, brought the following to my attention a couple of days ago on his radio program:

Immediately after president Bush vetoed (for the second time) a bill seeking to overturn prohibitions of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, Senator Hillary Clinton struck out at the president. "This is just one example of how the president put ideology before science," she said to the press.

Prager pointed out the utter moral corruption implied by this statement. Does the New York senator actually advocate that scientific research be completely unguided and separated from moral considerations? Take a moment to think of the implications of this... Actually, you don't have to think about it, because we have a perfect example of the implications in history.

Nineteenth century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche advocated a "hygiene of knowledge" devoid of value from any authority outside of self. He declared that, "Truth is fiction," and said, "I call Christianity the one great curse, the one enormous and innermost perversion, the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means are too venomous, too underhanded, too underground, and too petty."

In The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,William Shirer wrote that Adolph Hitler, "often visited the Nietzsche museum in Weimar and publicized his veneration for the philosopher by posing for photographs of himself staring in rapture at the bust of the great man." Hitler personally presented a copy of Nietzsche's works to Benito Mussolini. He was so influenced by Nietzsche's writing that he based his Nazi concept of the master race on Nietzsche's idea of the "superman" the philosopher thought would emerge from the slaughter, madness, and chaos he predicted would occur in the twentieth century due to the "death" of God in Western civilization.

The horrors committed by Nazi scientists and doctors, unmoored from any moral consideration, untrammeled by any criterion other than the acquisition of knowledge, are so well known it doesn't require my retelling.

My point is not to compare Senator Clinton to Hitler, but to highlight the stupidity of her statement. I hope it was an example of careless speech; I fear it was not. I'm alarmed that it's another example of subtle manipulation of language, designed to move our culture slowly but inexorably toward the redefinition of human life, away from the intrinsic dignity endowed to us by our Creator (as stated by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence), to a worth measured only by utility. It's a move that has already given us abortion levels worse than many European countries, physician-assisted suicide in Oregon, and 3 billion dollars in taxpayer funds from the state of California for the destruction of human embryos to use for stem cell research. What else can we look forward to if "ideology" (the ideas that govern our behavior) is ultimately forced to kneel before a remorseless machine of science?

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