The Sanctity of Life


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Gun control, same-sex marriage, abortion, welfare…the list goes on. These are some of the things that are getting a lot of attention in the news these days. “These days” being the last however long people have been alive. Maybe the terminology has changed – before guns it might have been sword control – but the spirit of it is the same. The question that lies at the bottom of each issue is this: who has control, the individual or the collective? If it is the individual then everyone can have a gun, marry whomever they choose and participate in all the abortions they’d like to. If it is the collective then guns need to be banned, marriage needs to be regulated and abortions need to be outlawed, all in the name of public safety or the greater good. So which is right? Absolute individual liberty or collective governance?

Maybe the answer is that there is no answer. I can tell you what I believe, but I can’t tell you what you should believe. I believe in the sanctity of life, and with that comes the sanctity of liberty, or in other words, the ability to act for your self.

Gun control wants to take away the possibility of gun danger, not the likelihood of it, just the possibility of it.

Same-sex marriage wants to make optional promises (covenants in my book) into regulated rights, not be a champion for love.

Elective abortion, billed as a choice (isn’t everything a choice?), overthrows personal responsibility and joins forces with disregard for human life. At least, the human life that isn’t that of the parents.

Welfare programs can be beneficial if not used to excess. As a hand up, sustaining a person as they work towards self-sustainability, is good. A hand out that impedes intrinsic motivation towards self-sustainability is bad.

Each of these issues and many others like them ask the question: can people take care of themselves? The trendy answer these days, answered mostly by politicians, is no, people cannot take care of themselves, we must take care of them. Those might not be their exact words, but I think that is their intent. This intent isn’t necessarily bad, but I think it masks the real underlying element of control. The collective wants to control the individual. They say it is for the best interest of the individual, but I believe it is strictly for the best interest of the collective. Power corrupts.

Life, in my opinion, is sacred. With that comes choice. We are free to choose, absolutely, but consequences attend our choices. When presented with two options to choose between, each carries its own consequences. When the first choice is made then the consequence of that choice brings the new choice options. There is always choice, but that doesn’t mean the  consequential options are good. Some choices bring about consequential choices that aren’t preferred, but responsibility demands a second choice be made and the consequences accepted.

The sanctity of life isn’t limited to the biology of a beating heart and breathing lungs, also included in that sanctity is the exercise of living life, which is making choices, learning, and gaining experience. I suppose all social issues, all political issues, all philosophical issues can be boiled down to an issue of the sanctity of life, both biologically and psychologically. Who has responsibility for life, the individual or the collective?

What do you think about these discussion topics? Is it a matter of control or ideological preference or something else? Are life and liberty sacred?

About paulbrodie

I am a writer and a musician. My education is in psychology with emphasis in industrial/organizational psychology. My work experience has been primarily with electronic document management. Academically and intellectually I am interested in criminology and sociology. I am married to my favorite person in the world and we have one daughter.
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2 Responses to The Sanctity of Life

  1. I believe that the very fact that the sanctity of life is an area which drives most of mankind to passionately voice their opinions makes life and liberty sacred. I believe that when an individual has the capacity to do so, he or she is responsible for his or her own life. It is in those special circumstances (unborn fetus, low-functioning developmentally disabled, and otherwise literally lacking capacity), that the collective (meaning the combined individual persons out of their own individual free wills) would hopefully feel obligated to lift up such people in need. After all, it is better to lift up another than to be pulled down! I could go on, but I believe my untamed scatter-brain is already getting the best of me. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

    • paulbrodie says:

      And thank you for the content rich reply. You spelled out the only definition of collective care that I support. Some people seem to want to allow external forces to care for those who are unable to care for themselves, by allowing those external forces to compel individuals to provide care. To me that is a form of bondage. I should be willing on my own to provide care for any who I can. If everyone individually cared for each other we wouldn’t need so much outside influence compelling us to be charitable. I like what you said and how you said it. Collective care should be voluntary, anything else robs liberty, even if it is masked in good intentions.

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