This was almost a post about abortion and euthanasia, but then I decided I didn’t have the time/mental space/spoons to arbitrate the free for all that would open up. So, in a month or so. You have that to look forward to.
It is however a post about human life and humanity as a concept.
It is important.
I believe in Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, among the inalienable rights of humans. But the question, asked in a dirty little voice from a corner of my mind as I say that is “who is human?”
Look, we can’t really claim that this used to be beyond dispute. Humans have always had issues with this concept. I am, undoubtedly human, freighted with all the rights and consciousness of a thinking, sentient being. You, my friend, almost certainly so. Those buggers over there, whom I’ve never met? Children yet unborn or too young to speak? The elderly so old their mind wanders and they have no idea who they are or what they’ve done? The demented? The impaired? Are they human?
Bah. Who is to decide?
For millenia, humans being tribal creatures, creatures of the band, it was decided by positional and relational criteria. My tribe is human. Those buggers over there? Not so much. Look, they eat weird things, and dress funny, okay?
Though exceptions were always made for those known and friendly. Because humans are funny. And not funny ah ah.
Christianity brought about the “all children of G-d.” So that the stranger with completely different skin, manners, features, was your brother or sister. All human. All redeemed by the one sacrifice that redeems us all. Young, old, impaired. It didn’t matter.
It’s kind of funny in the present day Christianity is presented as the most racist religion evah. Never mind. We live in funny times. And not funny ahah.
The twentieth century and the growth of the state to replace the church (note I say replace. This was intentional. Having a vast state might be okay — all right, by me it isn’t but hey — if it didn’t try to become the religion: the only ones to decide. The moral and thought of the nation it controls. As we know that’s impossible with any derivation of Marxism.
Which is what made the twentieth century (and possibly the end of the 19th) funny and not funny ahah.
The state, being controlled by a group of people who consider themselves qualified to decide who is human — or if you prefer — who gets any rights, considers most of humanity widgets. Mere chattel to be disposed of.
Only the insane or idiots would say things like what Bill Gates openly says, about reducing humanity — whose numbers he doesn’t know. Whose lives he can’t hope to understand — to 20% of its numbers. Because they too are human, and would realize it if they took a minute. Crowned heads and peasants alike have been “reduced” suddenly and horribly, and he’d see that, if he removed the hubris from his eye.
But in our day oligarchs, and the very rich who think they control them, say this casually.
They have forgotten or never understood the horrors of the 20th century that killed over a hundred million human beings, who were deemed not human because they were the wrong ancestry, the wrong religion, the wrong color, the wrong “utility” or simply because they wore glasses. Over a hundred million humans, as real as any of us reading this, were sent to their graves, sometimes in horrible ways, because those with power to decide decided they weren’t human.
Worse, millions more were reduced to lives that we wouldn’t inflict on our own domestic animals, because they weren’t deemed human. (The Nazi experiment of feeding concentration camp inmates on old rags and paper still horrifies me more than death.)
They weren’t deemed human by other humans, temporarily in power.
Only an idiot or a madman would think this is right. Only an idiot or a madman prey to a sadistic compulsion would try to do this. And forget the fate of Robespierre.
I was raised to think that “the important thing is not to be happy, but to be good for some thing.”
Both sides of that equation are flawed. Of course, the important thing is not to be happy. Happiness is a fleeting state. You can pursue it, but never hold it. Unless the happiness you crave is the sort of satisfaction when it’s late on cleaning day, and everything is done, and you snuggle up to your husband. A sort of glowing contentment. Or what Foxfier called “a sense of “this is good.””
But being good for something is the utilitarian evil rearing its head. Babies, the extreme aged, the infirm aren’t good for something. Either temporarily or permanently.
Does this mean they’re not human?
It took me till I was thirty, a stay at home mom (and very ill, but I didn’t know that) and making no money, and found myself listing for anyone I met that day everything I’d done that day for me to understand my grandmother’s habit of doing the same. It was “justifying my existence” since I was not making anything TANGIBLE. So I had to tell everyone how many times I’d changed the baby. I was ransoming my life for another day.
A sad and evil impulse. Human, of course. And not funny, ahah.
The truth is every time you give humans the power to decide who is human and who isn’t, you get this sort of thing. “Prove you’re useful.” Or “prove you’re useful to me.”
The worst part? As we saw through lockdowns, those who would order who is to live and who is to die don’t even understand what makes the world work. Or to quote a headline from the NYT (No, I didn’t read it. Do I look stupid?) “No one knows what makes the economy work.” (Oh, reeely? No. We do. It’s free humans trading freely. Those who would decide who’s to serve and who’s to eat? Not so much, no.)
You can’t decide who’s to live and who’s to die. No one can. More importantly, no one should. Certainly not a bureaucratic body, or someone who considers himself “scientific.”
That’s not how any of that works. To be human is to be flawed. The mote in your eye will not let you see clearly. Ever.
Judge not lest you should be judged.
Or if you prefer and if you don’t believe in G-d: To give humans the power to decide on the humanity of others is a corruption, which eats society and in the end makes everyone into things.
I believe in Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness. For all humans.
And I believe anyone saying “We are human, but those deplorables/stupid people/people who tan/weird ones over there aren’t, and they get fewer rights” is an idiot or a madman, and courting the fate of Robespierre.
Let my people go.