My summer vacation this year has been rudely interrupted by the most ridiculous news. I think the world has lost its mind. Some sort of mass psychosis or something has set in.
It began with a Princeton professor, with a blatant disregard for logic, attempting to articulate the most absurd argument for abortion. Then continued with mobs of highly agitated people destroying various civil war monuments because it is always better to forget our history that way we can relive it again and again with all the old familiar mistakes.
Let’s not forget the white nationalists/Nazi group marching with lit torches (a bit dramatic). If Planned Parenthood hadn’t taken a position of righteous indignation against this racism, the left would not have this fantastic opportunity to see their hypocrisy! Yes, Planned Parenthood kills way more people of color than the KKK ever has or ever will. This is why their “clinics” are located in mostly low-income areas (not to mention the clear intent of their founder to root out the “human weeds” of minorities).
To top off this apocalyptic news cycle, CBS has been so good as to bring us the news of Iceland’s successful efforts to eliminate 100% of Down Syndrome – or rather just the people who have it by killing them in the womb. CBS seems to think this is laudable news.
What is the common thread in this nonsense? Perhaps it is easiest to see the answer if we paint the picture of the logical conclusion when we follow this path of dystopia. Lois Lowry gives us a terrifying answer in the classic book, The Giver.
Most middle school or high school students read this book and quickly see the truth in this satire. The protagonist, Jonas, lives in a world where all is sameness. All elements of difference and individualism have been eliminated, including music and color, and love, and natural families. Those who reach a certain age or who demonstrate an undesirable difference (even babies) are sent to “Elsewhere,” which is a way of saying they are killed or euthanized. There are no grandparents or history as even memories are forbidden. No memories of love or suffering to give meaning to life. Jonas is the Receiver of memories from the one Giver in the community allowed to hold all the memories of humanity (good and bad). Jonas is allowed to experience love as part of his roll as Receiver. He reflects:
“I liked the feeling of love,’ [Jonas] confessed. He glanced nervously at the speaker on the wall, reassuring himself that no one was listening. ‘I wish we still had that,’ he whispered. ‘Of course,’ he added quickly, ‘I do understand that it wouldn’t work very well. And that it’s much better to be organized the way we are now. I can see that it was a dangerous way to live.’ . . . ‘Still,’ he said slowly, almost to himself, ‘I did like the light they made. And the warmth. . . ‘Gabe?’ The newchild stirred slightly in his sleep. Jonas looked over at him. ‘There could be love,’ Jonas whispered.”
What would Jonas say about the Icelander’s decision to send all the inconvenient babies with Down Syndrome to “Elsewhere?” He lamented this ruling ethic of convenience, “The life where nothing was ever unexpected. Or inconvenient. Or unusual. The life without color, pain or past.” Jonas found this false life of sameness to be a crime against nature that is full of color and even inconvenience. He saw love as the higher good or ethic for humanity, not convenience and control (nothing unexpected like illness).
Even Jonas knew that fear brings about our own destruction, “I knew that there had been times in the past-terrible times-when people had destroyed others in haste, in fear, and had brought about their own destruction.” The crazy lunatic who plowed through a crowd in Charlottesville killing a young woman has only brought about more fear and destruction. That’s what fear does; it destroys. Fear of a genetic abnormality or illness destroys a life as well.
What Lois Lowry’s book does not explain well is how we get from here to there. I would argue that we have already arrived. Evil is insidious. Evil does not conquer in giant leaps, but in small steps of convenient lies.
Roe vs. Wade was made law in 1973. Nearly twenty years later, the “Casey Decision” offers us the result of the slow creep of the earlier decision to alter reality itself. The famous “mystery clause” from the Supreme Court’s “Casey Decision,” (1992) which declares: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Jonas lived in a world that put this clause into action. When humanity decides to play God and define life and meaning and the universe (narcissism run amok) we lose what makes us human in the first place.