In his New York Times piece called The Failure of Liberal Bioethics, exemplary writer Ross Douhat chronicles how liberal bioethicists have failed to maintain a consistent standard for their ‘ethics’, and as a result invariably modified standards in response to the latest trends:
From embryo experimentation to selective reduction to the eugenic uses of abortion, liberals always promise to draw lines and then never actually manage to draw them. Like Dr. Evans, they find reasons to embrace each new technological leap while promising to resist the next one — and then time passes, science marches on, and they find reasons why the next moral compromise, too, must be accepted for the greater good, or at least tolerated in the name of privacy and choice. You can always count on them to worry, often perceptively, about hypothetical evils, potential slips down the bioethical slope. But they’re either ineffectual or accommodating once an evil actually arrives. Tomorrow, they always say — tomorrow, we’ll draw the line. But tomorrow never comes.
The particular practice Douhat is discussing here is that of ‘selective reduction’ – that is the aborting of fetuses when multiple are present in the womb. Because the IVF procedure is becoming an increasingly common, so too are multiple pregnancies which increases the demand for selective abortions. As he notes, where once the liberal bioethicists warned against this procedure, they now endorse it.
A similar creeping ethic is occurring amongst psychiatrists with regard to the official view of pedophilia. At a recent academic symposium, a group of psychiatrists, academics, and mental health workers gathered to discuss the need to remove pedophilia from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which serves as the basis for determining mental disorders. As the Daily Caller reports:
The August 17 Baltimore conference is sponsored by B4U-ACT, a group of pro-pedophile mental health professionals and sympathetic activists. According to the conference brochure, the event will examine “ways in which minor-attracted persons [pedophiles] can be involved in the DSM 5 revision process” and how the popular perceptions of pedophiles can be reframed to encourage tolerance.
This move to make pedophilia normative is of course merely one point on an inevitable trajectory that derives from the expansion of sexual mores which gained momentum with the ‘Free Love’ movement of the ’60s to the weakening of divorce laws, the legalization of abortion, the disconnection of birth from marriage and of course the growing acceptance of homosexuality – which itself began with the removal homosexuality from the DSM in 1973.
Given that there is no objective grounding in the ethics of the secular left, these sorts of changes are certain. The boundaries of what is morally and ethically acceptable are by necessity ever expanding; indeed secular leftists become conservatives exactly at the point they ceased to expand. There is no end game with the secular left, only the destruction of the current moral standards.
For moral conservatives who ground their ethics and morality in certain eternal and external realities of God’s nature, the arbitrary nature of liberal ethics comes as no surprise. Absent belief in a transcendent reality to restrain them, humans are slaves to their desires and their appetites invariably grow.
Of course the hard reality is that while human appetites have no limit, God has designed nature to correct itself – eventually societies that can’t control themselves are self-consuming, or dissipate from lack of order and growth.
Sadly, in the process they take a lot of innocents with them.