Reader Mail

The Truth Hurts

Hearing about the New Eugenics. Plus: Terror eyes. What's in a tenured word? Boosting Ben. And more.

7.14.05

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THE COSTS OF LIFE
Re: George Neumayr's The New Eugenics:

Thank you for your insightful, timely, jarring article regarding the obsession with aborting the unborn disabled. I have often wished that I had a forum from which I could demand that everyone read the first chapter of A Brave New World, in which the reader is treated to a clinical description of the baby factories where manipulation of the unborn for the purpose of social engineering takes place with the cruelest efficiency and indifference. As with so many things today, our society has gone so far as to remove the possibility of hyperbole in art because we have taken what used to be considered outlandish scare-scenarios and made them into the law of the land.

My own family has had to cope with the devastation of handicapped children. My cousin Eugene, in his early twenties, suffers from spina bifida. Had he been conceived in today's moral climate, the doctors would likely have done everything in their power to convince his parents to avoid the inconvenience. Instead, my aunt and uncle chose to accept the responsibilities stemming from their marriage, their Faith, and their love and persevere. It has not been easy. But through their work and Eugene's, his life, which has always been intrinsically worth living, has been exceptional. He stubbornly learned to walk even though he lacks feeling in his legs. He swam in the Special Olympics. He was a graduation speaker for his high school class. In fact he has done so well that my aunt and uncle tell me that he has lived beyond the normal life-expectancy for spina bifida. Every day is literally a unique frontier.

Another cousin of mine, Christina, was told about a year ago, while pregnant with her third child, that the baby would suffer from Tay-Sachs disorder. The doctor not only insisted that she get an abortion, but declared that if she did go through with the pregnancy, absolutely no effort would be expended to care for newly born child. Christina and her husband Mike decided that their respect for life and their Catholicism trumped the utilitarian "expertise" of their "doctor." Several months later baby Noah was born, perfectly healthy, thanks to the faith of his parents and their willingness to spurn the intimidation and condescension of those experts who long ago traded the Oath of Hippocrates for the Ethic of Hypocrisy.

Thank you again for being a truth-teller.
-- Peter Halpin

I watched with horror as Terri Schiavo was starved, no, I'm sorry, they say she dehydrated to death....simply because she was disabled and it was inconvenient her husband to care for her. After all, he had another family already to care for, how could he be expected to care for a disabled wife.

Eugenics seeks to prevent such a scenario like this, supporters say. Well, if I had a dollar for every false/positive test when pregnant women have been told they were carrying a disabled child, only to deliver a perfectly healthy baby, I'd be a millionaire today! We are finite humans with finite tests, a lot of which give erroneous results.

Finally, I see a scenario in a few years, when if a couple desires to carry to term and to deliver a child they have been told is disabled that insurance companies refuse to carry coverage for. This is where we are heading. It won't matter if the couple sees all children as a gift from God, no matter the imperfection; it will be about the costs of having such a child. It will come down to profits lost.
-- Beverly Gunn

I live in Ontario, Canada, where at present we have a group of parents with autistic children demanding $60,000 per year, per child, from 'the public purse' -- i.e. their neighbors' wallets -- for the lifetime of each of these children, because the parents have decided or discovered that although they and they alone decided to give birth to these children, they can't or don't want to pay the freight, so the rest of us ought to be forced to pick up the slack -- for the child's lifetime.

As I am not one of those who has been brought up to believe I have a perpetual mortgage on my neighbor's paycheck, I would have difficulty in filing suit to force others to support a disabled child I knowingly brought into the world without the means to care for it. How would you suggest that such a child be supported after you forced me to bring it into the world?

I have frequently found that wealthy men have a talent for binding burdens on the backs of others and then going off in self-righteous satisfaction to their three-martini lunches on the taxpayer's tab. This sanctimonious plea to give birth to disabled babies and leave the question unanswered at whose expense seems to me yet another example of the same.
-- Kate Shaw

Faced with two sides of the issue. The sterilization, and defective abortion practices I find morally deplorable. But there is another path that will take 10-15 years to sort out. Given the pace of genetic science it will not be too long before predictions can be made by taking samples of the parents and delivering a prognosis of the chances for defects. If there are chances of defects the parents could opt for in vitro development and testing before implantation.

Is it playing God? Possibly. But I would have to defer to the parents and their wisdom on that issue.

But there is another player in this whole mix. When the predictive technologies become certain, what is to prevent an insurance company from stepping in and dictating whether they will pay for a full term baby? If they know that based on genetic paring of the parents that a full term delivery will be double the cost would they pay it? I predict they will not. Then what?
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

EXPEL ISLAM
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Small Trouble:

Terrific and so simple. I hope the powers that be are reading this.
-- Havado

The end result may be that the Muslims become a permanent pest well into the future, as they peck away at the social order of the West while their population rises in the host countries, no longer being "small trouble." Like a parasite that eventually wins out, or better yet, a cancer, only time will tell. Is it out of the realm of possibility that we simply don't allow anymore Muslim emigration to the West, and if the problem persists, we begin sending them back to their place of origin?

Why live with the problem if it can be moved back to from whence it came? Large populations have been moved before, although the results have been less than humane. Maybe the 21st Century West could be the first to attempt it and succeed with little or no inflicted harm. And yes, it would be a temporary blow to the concept of freedom for a society that promotes individual freedom, (unlike those under Islam) but it would be for self-preservation, wouldn't it be? Assuming those in the West wish to preserve their Judeo-Christian heritage. In the meantime, I suspect we need to find alternative sources of fuel (something the West should have been working on for the past 30 years) before this thought ever sees the light of day.

The West operates under the rule of law, but laws can be changed especially in order provide for the very survival of the civilization and its cherished institutions. This is done historically during war time. And last time I checked, we are in a war; a long, protracted conflict that may easily last decades. Unless some of the more violent and xenophobic tenets of Islam are exorcised from their cult, this problem will persist. It is part of their body politic, religion and history. Everywhere in the world where Islam exists, its adjacent non-Islamic societies are in a tense relationship. Then again, it may not matter given the West is not reproducing at a rate to maintain itself, especially in Europe. Never mind?
-- David P. Bennett
Chicago, Illinois

Very interesting article! What was missing as with most other discussions is addressing, with frank reality, where the terrorist threat is being developed and what should be done. Reluctance to address the religious extremists by isolating the clerics and the mosques they use to ferment terrorism will continue to prevent getting to the core of the threat. Freedom of religion should not be used as an excuse to avoid confronting fanatic terrorists in their lairs.
-- Harry
Albuquerque, New Mexico

PINNING THE CHATTERING CLASS
Re: David Holman's Wising Off:

Yep. That's Bush. Just drifting around down there without a clue. Except for forcing the terrorists to confront our main forces in Iraq. Except for forcing the issue of Social Security solvency onto the national agenda. Except for realigning the Supreme Court toward, what was that... oh, yes, a "conservative nutcase" from David Mr. Moderate Gergen. I guess he means a conservative nutcase like James Madison. (I always like Rush's question to self-identified moderates: "what is it you are moderate about?")

What do all these issues have in common? Hmmm...oh, yes. Bush campaigned on them. So, I guess... nothing new there.
-- Greg Richards

Can anyone tell me why anyone listens to David Gergen? As far as I can tell, he is a nothing and as annoying as a pesky fly.
-- unsigned

If we stick a pin* in a member of the "Chattering Class," an expert (who can't tell the difference between a US Soldier and a terrorist), will he/she explode, leak warm, wet liquid, or whimper?

Let us see!

*(''Figuratively'' speaking...''of course.'')
-- unsigned

OBSCURE LABOR
Re: Jack W. Brown's letter (under "Professor of Terminologenesis") in Reader Mail's Word Possessors:

Regarding Jack Brown's claim of copyright for a single word in the title of a book he once wrote, it is my understanding that titles are not copyrighted, and there is no way he's going to copyright a lone word anyway. It was an interesting way to advertise his book though.
-- unsigned

Permit me to bandy a few English words to describe the tone of the eminent Professor Brown in today's letter to The Spectator his coinage of the term "deprisonization." If any of the following are copyrighted, please apologize to the appropriate academics when they return to work this fall -- arrogant, conceited, disconnected, self-important, jejune, condescending, imperious and, of course, vain.

That bastion of higher learning -- Glenville State College (The Fighting Lexicographers) -- should be proud to have such a world-class wordsmith among them. Hardly a conversation happens in this locale without someone using the term "deprisonization" or wondering how the Glenville State cross country team did this weekend.
-- Deane Fish
Altamont, New York

RATZINGER'S PATH TO ORTHODOXY
Re: Vincent Chiarello's letter (under "Ratzinger the Liberal?") in Reader Mail's Word Possessors:

It is silly of Vincent Chiarello to assert that Pope Benedict has shown no inclination "to alter his 'liberal' outlook as the unintended consequences of Vatican II worked themselves out." It reminds me of a recent assertion that Judge Pryor is not a conservative.

The whole point of Ratzinger's participation in the founding of the Communio journal of Catholic theology was that he was breaking with theologians like Kung who were producing Concilium: International Journal for Theology.

Concilium examined this change in 1981 (No. 141, on The Sociology of Religion). Indeed, that issue on "Neo-Conservatives: Social and Religious Phenomenon" included an article only on Ratzinger.

A list of examples of Ratzinger's shifts can be found, among many other places, in Garry Wills's article in the New York Review of Books, Vol. 48, No. 7, 4-26-2001. It includes the assertion that Ratzinger as theologian participated in bringing about the censure of Kung and Metz. Wills mentions ideas Ratzinger put forth as a Vatican official including: opposition to liberation theology; downgrading of bishops' synods and lay initiatives; discomfort with the priest facing the people at Mass and with papal prayer with other churches and religions at Assisi in 1986; opposition to calling humans the image of God rather than the Augustinian image of Christ; opposition to artificial contraception, married clergy, and women priests; and criticism of the Mass as produced from Vatican II.
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

FINE BY ME
Re: "Handicapping Ben" letters in Reader Mail's Word Possessors:

Odd that the two people writing to criticize Ben Stein's article about his latest real estate acquisition prefer to be anonymous! Snide snipers usually do.

It's okay with me if Ben Stein pads his pieces with descriptions of his limo, his limo driver, his first class seat on whatever airline, his digs at some ritzy hotel...I look on at as the Sweet Charity Syndrome. "If they could see me now, those dusty pals of mine, eatin' fancy food and drinkin' fancy wine...Holy Cow, they'd never believe me..." Well, you get the picture. Ben still can't believe it's happening to him and he writes about it. Why is that not okay?
-- Diane Smith
So. San Francisco, California

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