Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
If we hadn’t, Europe might now be a socialist confederacy of nations dominated by a German economic powerhouse. Hostility to Jews and Catholics might be rampant on the Continent at this hour. A worldwide colossus dedicated to the abortion of the unfit and founded by a racist whose banner was “Eugenics: To create a race of thoroughbreds!” might, even now, be continuing Hitler’s work of killing millions. Our culture, might, even now, be paying high honors to those who cherish the lives of animals over those of human beings just as Hitler loved his German Shepherd Blondi while ordering the unfit to be massacred. Heck, we might even be torturing and experimenting on prisoners or adopting the tactics (and euphemisms) of the Gestapo in the name of National Security. There could be serious talk among the intelligentsia about arresting the Pope on a trumped up charge and even dreamy wishful talk in state-sponsored news media of pursuing him through the sewers of Europe and riddling his corpse with bullets. The brave Dutch Catholics who resisted Nazi oppression might, even now, be abandoning their faith in droves in conformity with the Culture of Death and embracing the notion that murdering innocent people whose lives were deemed by Authorities to be “Lebensunwertes Leben” is a good thing and praising German jurisprudence as a masterpiece of enlightenment on the matter. And the practice might even be spreading to our shores.
Indeed, nationally recognized journals of reputable popular science like Psychology Today might be publishing things like:
Thus, the injunction against assisted suicide – like that against unassisted suicide – is commonly underwritten by the doctrine of human dignity. But the whole edifice starts to crumble once we bring Darwin into the picture. With the corrective lens of evolutionary theory, the view that human life is infinitely valuable suddenly seems like a vast and unjustified over-valuation of human life. This is because Darwin’s theory undermines the traditional reasons for thinking human life might have infinite value: the image-of-God thesis and the rationality thesis.
But if human life is not supremely valuable after all, then there is no longer any reason to think that suicide or voluntary euthanasia is necessarily wrong under any or all circumstances. In fact, it starts to seem decidedly odd that we have elevated human life – i.e., pure biological continuation – so far above the quality of the life in question for the person living it. Why should life be considered valuable in and of itself, independently of the happiness of the individual living that life?
And powerful people might be quietly asking themselves, “What’s so special and sacrosanct about “happiness” or “consent”? If it’s true that Darwin’s theory undermines the traditional reasons for thinking human life might have infinite value, isn’t it just as true that Darwin’s theory undermines the traditional reasons for thinking human life might have any value if it gets in my way? If human beings are just one more product of the same mindless process that made that anthill in my front yard, why shouldn’t I treat human beings the way I treat those ants when they get in my way? It certainly worked for Hitler when he came to power. His problem was not that he was immoral or “evil”. As Psychology Today has argued to my satisfaction, all that “morality” stuff is just genetic programming design to perpetuate the species. If I can defy my genetic programming by wearing a condom, why not defy it when I need to kill somebody who is in my way? Yeah, Hitler’s problem was not that he was for killing whole populations that got in his way anymore than a shark is “evil” for devouring a school of fish. It’s what happens in nature. No. Hitler’s problem is that he got sick and weak. His problem is that he lost. So if I can retool the system in such a way that it’s legal to do so and I won’t face punishment for my so-called “sin” (what an outdated concept!), why not kill people who get in my way just as I kill ants that get in my way? If Darwinism is about anything, it’s about the survival and proliferation of the strong!
Yes, it’s sure a good thing Hitler lost and his ideas died with him.