2 Excellent George Will pieces

I like him best when he’s writing about baseball, but these are two good ones.

The first is a exposition (with help by George Weigel) of the slow and steady suicide of Europe. Will blames secularism, and makes a good case.

Europe itself is withering. On the day of John Paul II’s funeral, the European Union’s statistics agency reported that the decline of birthrates means that within five years deaths will exceed births in the European Union. By 2013 Italy’s population will begin to decline; the next year Germany’s will begin to drop. After 2010 Europe’s population growth will be entirely from immigration. By 2025 not even immigration will prevent declining fertility from accelerating what one historian calls the largest “sustained reduction in European population since the Black Death of the 14th century.”

In his new book “The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God,” George Weigel, biographer of John Paul II, argues that Europe’s “demographic suicide” will cause its welfare states to buckle and is creating a “vacuum into which Islamic immigrants are flowing.” Since 1970 the 20 million legal Islamic immigrants equal the combined populations of Ireland, Denmark and Belgium.

“What,” Weigel asks, “is happening when an entire continent, wealthier and healthier than ever before, declines to create the human future in the most elemental sense, by creating a next generation?” His diagnosis is that Europe’s deepening anemia is a consequence of living on what he considers the thin gruel of secular humanism that excludes transcendent reference points for cultural and political life. Such reference points are, he thinks, prerequisites for freedom understood as “the capacity to choose wisely and act well as a matter of habit.”

“declines to create the human future in the most elemental sense, by creating a next generation…”

Yes…that would be the end result of the preening self-absorbtion which is the fruit of secularism. I’ll have to get Weigel’s book. It sounds interesting.

Will’s second piece looks at another way humanity is destroying itself via The Eugenics of Abortion.

An Anglican curate, a 28-year-old woman who was born with a congenital defect of the jaw, tried to get a court to consider this a case of “unlawful killing.” She noted that far from being substantially handicapped, she is enjoying life — as is, by the way, her brother, who has Down syndrome, a genetic defect involving varying degrees of mental retardation. Prosecutors eventually refused to file charges, relying in part on guidance by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that stated there is “no precise definition of serious handicap.”

But the prosecutors’ refusal goes far toward supplying a definition. The refusal implies that any abnormality can qualify as a serious handicap because seriousness is determined not by its impact on the disabled person’s life chances but by the parents’ reluctance to be inconvenienced by it. How else is one to understand abortion as an alternative to surgery that corrects cleft lips and palates?

In Britain, more babies with Down syndrome are aborted than are allowed to be born. In America, more than 80 percent of the babies diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome are aborted. This is dismaying to, among others, the American Association of People with Disabilities, whose premise is that “disability is a natural part of the human experience.”

Pretty staggering, isn’t it, that we now have to be reminded that “disability is a natural part of the human experience?” I think it is. Staggering, I mean, that we have to be reminded. Once upon a time, everyone understood that part of the blessing of being one of the strong ones was that you got to protect the weak.

Maybe there are no more strong ones. Maybe everyone is weak. The ones with the strongest bodies might have the weakests minds and spirits.

I think it’s scary as hell. The next step from this would be, “hey, you were healthy enough to be allowed to be born, but it’s too bad about that car-accident or that disease…now, there’s really no point in letting you live. You’ll have to just die, please.”

Oh, what am I talking about. We’ve already REACHED that point. Ask the parents of Terri Schiavo.

Troubling, troubling days.

Read Mark’s excellent and moving piece over at Stones Cry Out, in which he writes about a 5 year old girl with Downs Syndrome, and the young blind boy she has helped. In a world where only physical perfection is counted as worthy, the world would be short this source of immediate and unconditional love and compassion…and then, what monsters we shall all be.

Maybe this is a good time to re-read Ann Althouse’s thoughts on The Church of Wellness, too.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://tomgrey.motime.com Tom Grey – Liberty Dad

    I’ve tried “secular humanism”, “culture of death”, “anti-God”, and (from the Acton Institute) “secular fundamentalism”.

    But I think most accurate is “secular hedonism” — a life of convenience first.

    Even the anti-Bush protests, supposedly to make the world better (?) in opposing something, were only big because it was convenient. No such protests against Putin; or against Mugabe, or Sudan, or Japan (OK, protests in China … maybe so many that a war is coming).

    Please think about secular hedonism — as a former “L” Libertarian, now more a pro-God libertarian paternalist, I think hedonism is the core rot of the pro-choice folk.

  • http://kmaru.blogspot.com Kobayashi Maru

    Nice post. 2:23AM?!? :)
    Michael Crichton, in his recent book ‘State of Fear’ neatly reminds us of how recent and widespread this love affair with eugenics was, and how close at hand it has always been, given that it is simply an idea – lying only semi-dormant in the human psyche and the social conversation.

  • Evon

    I went with a friend to a meeting for parents of handicapped children. A speaker there noted that those of us who consider ourselves healthy are really only TAB (temporarily able bodied)people. Eugenics is hubris at in its most personal and lethal form.

  • http://cartagodelenda.blogspot.com Matteo

    The irony is that in our fallen state, compared with what we shall be when God’s glory is revealed in us, we are all severely handicapped. The percent difference between the functioning of a Down’s syndrome person and even the most holy, healthy, and intelligent among us is simply infinitesimal. Compared to what we shall be in the Beatific Vision, we’re all a bunch of barely capable, barely sentient, and barely attractive people. It is ludicrous for such severely handicapped people as ourselves to even be making these life/death decisions for others.