The Slipping Value of Life

If some alien being fell directly into one of the “super zips,” those zip codes within the US that can afford pretty much anything they want, he would see a lot of mostly young looking people who have a passion for exercise, and an obvious love of all the things life has to offer. He might conclude that here in America, we love life.

But then he might look a little deeper, and begin to wonder —what is that clinic tucked away over there in the corner of the county? Women seem to go in pregnant, and leave not pregnant. And what are these large campuses full of older folks, pushed out of the view of all those beautiful people roaming the streets? Then he might wonder, what is all this I read about someone who kills because they “hate” getting harsher sentences than those who just kill? Isn’t murder, after all, always a hate crime?

On looking at all of these, he might decide he was deceived in his belief that America values life. In reality, America only values quality of life.

Abortion tells us that America only values those lives “worth living.” If creating a new life will damage the life of the mother, or if the new life created just won’t be what we consider “perfect” in every way, then it’s not worth creating. Much better to destroy it in the womb.

Hate crime laws tell us that some lives are of higher quality than others, that if someone falls into a “minority,” as if people were cattle, then their life is worth more than the lives of those who fall outside that “minority.” We’ve become so focused on making certain we all have the “right opinions,” that we’re willing to kill people for having what we consider to be the wrong ones (it is possible to have a jail sentence “upgraded” to the death penalty because you “hate” the person you are attacking).

Euthanasia tells us that once life has stopped having the quality we desire, or we think is good, then it’s time to end that life. That once we’ve stopped being able to taste our food, there’s no point in eating.

This alien might just be justified in saying that America doesn’t value life, but quality of life —that we’ve become so focused on the perfect life that we can’t imagine any other life being worth living.

And in this, we’ve lost the meaning of life itself.

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