Thursday, October 26, 2017
I was blind, but now I see! [adapted by TheHumbleDisciple]
The Streets of New York
Moments of moral clarity can also come upon an entire community. Dr. Selzer tells of an experience that jolted a neighborhood out of moral slumber. In Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery, he writes:
On the morning of August 6, 1975, the people of 73rd Street near Woodside Avenue…rise from their beds, dress, eat breakfast, and leave their houses for work, they have forgotten, if they had ever known, that the garbage truck had passed earlier that morning . . . They close their doors and descend to the pavement. It is midsummer . . . You walk toward the bus stop. Others, your neighbors, are waiting there. It is all so familiar.
All at once you step on something soft. You feel it with your foot. Even through your shoe you have the sense of something unusual, something marked by a special “give.” It is a foreignness upon the pavement. Instinct pulls your foot away in an awkward little movement. You look down, and you see . . . a tiny naked body, its arms and legs flung apart, its head thrown back, its mouth agape, its face serious. A bird, you think, fallen from its nest. But there is no nest here on 73rd Street, no bird so big . . . And you bend to see. Because you must . . . It is a baby, and dead. You cover your mouth, your eyes. You are fixed. Horror has found its chink and crawled in, and you will never be the same as you were!
Now you look about; another man has seen it too. “My God,” he whispers . . . There is a cry. “Here’s another!” and “Another!” and “Another.” . . . Yes, it is true! There are more of these . . . little carcasses upon the street . . . The people on 73rd street do not speak to each other. It is too soon for outrage, too late for blindness. It is the time of unresisted horror!
Later, at the police station, the investigation is brisk, conclusive. It is the hospital director speaking. “Fetuses accidentally got mixed up with the hospital rubbish . . . [and] were picked up at approximately 8:15 am by a sanitation truck. Somehow, the plastic lab bag, labeled hazardous material, fell off the back of the truck and broke open. No, it is not known how the fetuses got in the orange plastic bag labeled hazardous material. It is a freak accident.”
The hospital director wants you to know that it is not an everyday occurrence. Once in a lifetime, he says. But you have seen it, and what are his words to you now? He grows affable, familiar, tells you that, by mistake, the fetuses got mixed up with the other debris. (Yes, he says other, he says debris.) He has spent the entire day, he says, trying to figure out how it happened. He wants you to know that. Somehow it matters to him.
He goes on: aborted fetuses that weigh one pound or less are incinerated. Those weighing over one pound are buried at the city cemetery. He says this. Now you see. It is orderly. It is sensible. The world is not mad. This is still a civilized society . . . But just this once, you know it isn’t. You saw, and you know!
I was blind, but now I see!
A Moral Touchstone
Over the years we have heard politicians from both parties voice their moral convictions on global warming, abortion, energy independence, health care, marriage, and the war on terror. For citizens confused over which policies should have primacy, it is important to realize that while they all have a moral dimension, they have different moral values.
The bedrock of our rule of law is equality and the endowed rights of every individual—the most basic of which, is the right to life. Consequently, policies that most directly and widely uphold the “sanctity of life” take precedence over all others!
That does not mean that affordable housing, environmental protection, and the national debt are not important; they are—extremely so. Each impacts the quality of our lives in one way or another.
It means that protecting the unborn, aged, infirmed, and other vulnerables from being reduced to “non-persons” is morally superior to easing the emotional and financial burden of their caretakers.
It means that saving one million children a year from the holocaust of abortion has a higher moral value than the reproductive “rights” of women.
It means that protecting children from sexual exploitation is more important than protecting the free expression of pornographers.
It means that providing clean water, affordable energy, and medical technology to the developing world is more important than reducing our carbon footprint.
It means that fighting slavery, sex-trafficking, AIDS, genocide and hunger has a higher moral value than fighting global warming.
It means that eliminating our energy and economic dependence on countries sponsoring terrorism, or guilty of human-rights violations, has priority over eliminating off-shore drilling.
It means that liberating the poor from the grip of the welfare state is morally superior to policies that create a permanent underclass.
It means that protecting traditional marriage—proven the best institution for the care and well-being of children—takes precedence over the desires of adults to express their sexual freedom.
In summary, it means that the moral value of any social policy should be judged by how profoundly it guards and defends the endowed rights for all people, especially the right to life!
I was blind, but now I see!
Excerpt - OCTOBER 26, 2017
“Moments of Moral Clarity” – Crisis Magazine