(Yes, I know, I just wrote yesterday not to give this more attention than it deserves.)
I’m not even sure where to begin!
Even considering the writing errors and dropped words (obviously it was written in a hurry; these errors are not typically acceptable for a prestigious journal), the straw-man arguments, and the cherry-picking of comments to make the opposition look dumb and/or racist, the most striking thing to me was how shocked the editor was.
Could anyone really be shocked that this article would receive such an emotional response?
Actually, I believe he was shocked; I don’t believe the editor was being disingenuous.
We all tend to hang out with people like us. In an interesting article from some years back, Why everyone you know thinks just like you, Shankar Vedantam pointed to research that suggested we can discover a person’s political views by knowing the views of their friends.
So, if the editor, Julian Savulescu, behaves like most of us, he spends most of his time with people who believe what he believes, which creates a self-justifying cycle about what is and is not acceptable to think and talk about.
In this case he tells us what he believes:
However, the goal of the Journal of Medical Ethics is not to present the Truth or promote some one moral view. It is to present well reasoned argument based on widely accepted premises. . .
The Journal does not specifically support substantive moral views, ideologies, theories, dogmas or moral outlooks, over others. It supports sound rational argument.
See the problem? Quite a few of us don’t believe the killing of vulnerable people – be they unborn or born – is worthy of intellectual engagement because it is inherently wrong. Therefore, there can be no well reasoned argument in defense of this inherently wrong thing.
Moreover, they do believe in Truth, moral views, ideologies, theories, dogmas and moral outlooks – they simply call it rational argument.
In this case, their rational argument begins with the premise that bigger, stronger people get to make decisions about the worth of smaller, weaker people.
I’m going to guess that Dr. Savulescu hangs out with people much like himself, so he doesn’t run into folks like us too often. It is easy to caricature and dismiss people you don’t know and don’t respect – I’m tempted to do so all the time until God reminds me he saved me while I was still a sinner.
Thus, we should not be surprised at their confusion at people being genuinely angry, nor should we be surprised at their dismissing our arguments as being irrational.
So, here’s the real challenge for people living the life of disability – we have to constantly repeat ourselves about the value of all human life, including those who live with disabilities. This is so self-evident to us that we can forget that not everyone agrees.
Clearly, not everyone agrees.
That’s ok. Someday our persistence in telling and retelling an old, old truth will be rewarded:
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
(Galatians 6:9-10 ESV)