Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Capitalism and Death Challenge

There have been many comments in recent threads across the net (such as this one) stating that to find the problem with abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, etc one must simply follow the trail of money.

Let me first define money in economical terms.
Money is a
Do they believe the "Culture of Death"to be a product of capitalism?
Why do we not hear, follow the trail of voters or political pull?
Let's hear your replies.
What do think the Culture of Death is a product of?
Is money the trail to follow to reach the root of the problem?
And how do you commend we fix it?


Zac said...

The "culture of death" you speak of is actually a product of freedom. However, I disagree with the label "culture of death" and claim it is exactly the opposite.

To clarify: the "culture of death" includes support for euthanasia, stem cell research, human cloning, abortion, and contraception: all victimless crimes. A victimless crime is a "crime" against some concept of morality but not against any persons. A polity is engaging in the "culture of death" when it does not suppress this sort of behavior.

Only governments can enforce victimless crimes. How else but with government interference could you enforce non-use of contraception? Deal with euthanasia? Its impossible - you would have to interfere in a transaction. A victimless crime is one in which the only people who object are those external to the transaction.

The "culture of death" is a product of capitalism - it is people getting and doing what they want without interfering with, or being interfered with by, others.

The "problem" is that Christians are simply, plainly wrong about moral philosophy. My recommendation? Toss scripture and start with On Liberty (1859) by John Stuart Mill and think about the virtue of toleration and what actually constitutes "harm."

Ian Dunois said...

To claim that abortion is a victimless crime is rather extreme. A life was beginning and it was brought to an end. There is a crime committed against a victim here. In Society today when you murder a pregnant woman, you receive two counts of murder.

The argument on abortion is on where rights begin. For most Christians, it begins in conception.

The argument on stem cell research is finding that embryonic stem cells can become cancerous while adult cells can be used for the same purpose the embryonic cells are said to be useful for. Christians do not have a problem with adult stem cell research.

I am not trying to debate the points on these issues, but on the question, are they a product of capitalism?

Capitalism is not freedom. Capitalism does not beget freedom, because there is freedom, we have capitalism. It is not the other way around.
Capitalism is a social mechanism the is developed from our interactions with one another.

So to say that the death of unborn children is a product of freedom, then I would have to argue that I rather not be free. For by your own use of John Stuart Mill's definition on harm, those choosing to have an abortion are harming the unborn baby.
"That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection."-JSM

I would recommend turning to scripture along side our readings on the likes of Mill, Smith, and other great economists and social philosophers.

Take a look at the book of Samuel 1:8
As Christians it is not to turn to government to stop the culture of death, but by teaching morality.
God allows individuals to choose to love him or to sin against him. The duty of the Church is to teach what sinning is, not to invoke governments to interfere with the choices one would make.

Therefore all the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah
and said to him, "Now that you are old, and your sons do not follow your example, appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us."
Samuel was displeased when they asked for a king to judge them. He prayed to the LORD, however,
who said in answer: "Grant the people's every request. It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.
As they have treated me constantly from the day I brought them up from Egypt to this day, deserting me and worshiping strange gods, so do they treat you too.
Now grant their request; but at the same time, warn them solemnly and inform them of the rights of the king who will rule them.""

Zac said...

Well, capitalism is the social system spawned by freedom. So I was using them synonymously. To be clear, my claim is that things like abortion, embryonic stem cell research, contraception, and euthanasia which are all part of the "culture of death" as the term is used by Catholics, are a product of free exchange. Government has the power to stop the exchange, but it would be inefficient (and a violation of liberty) to do so. To be against these things is to be against free exchange and individual autonomy, which is why I have consistently argued that Christianity is incompatible with libertarianism.

I don't think claiming abortion is a victimless crime is extreme. To me it is common sense- a fetus is not a person. It is a developing cluster of cells. It cannot be harmed because it does not have interests in survival - only autonomous, rational human beings do. Abortion may offend your sensibilities (it does to me, to some degree) but it does not constitute harm in any real sense.

Euthanasia is perhaps a more salient point because we can both agree what it means: an adult person wants to die yet needs assistance. So they enter into an agreement with an assistant who can ease their passing. There is no coercion, just the exercise of free exchange and property rights.

And don't get me started on contraception, which the Church calls "intrinsically" and "seriously evil." This coming from the organization responsible for this.