Our Enslavement to "Freedom" | Dr. James Hitchcock | IgnatiusInsight.com
For almost fifty years a series of radical changes in human existence have opened a wide gulf between ourselves and our ancestors. The changes appear to be inevitable, and they have occurred with such speed that most people have scarcely had time to think about them.
New methods of contraception have severed the connection between sex and the procreation of children and, in case contraception fails, abortion is now legal. But despite this preoccupation with avoiding pregnancy, it is now possible for women to become pregnant through technology rather than sexual intercourse. It is within the realm of possibility to manipulate conception in order to choose the sex of the child, and allegedly it is even possible to create life in laboratories.
Sexual relations between people of the same sex are considered normal, and people can have their sex changed by surgical procedure. Meanwhile, at the other end of life there is a push towards assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Each of these denies aspects of our traditional understanding of what it means to be human: sex is not necessarily related to procreation, sexual identity and the family are not fixed by God or nature, human life is not sacred, and we are not answerable to any higher power.
Encompassing all these is a denial of our inherent dignity. Human beings are merely one species among many and actually constitute a threat to nature. There are too many of us, so that anything that holds down our number is laudable.
Each of these changes looks like progress, because they
involve breakthroughs in technology. Western civilization has always had an
almost unlimited openness to technological change -- more so than any other
culture in the world -- and only rarely has there been significant resistance
to such changes.
Other IgnatiusInsight.com columns by Dr. Hitchcock:
Conscience and Chaos
Homosexual Orientation Is Not a "Gift"
The Divine Authority of Scripture vs. the "Hermeneutic of Suspicion"
Ordeal by Ideology: The Grilling of Judge Roberts
The Supreme Court's Penumbra of Politics
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: Man for the Job
Confronting Modern Culture; Asserting the Gospel
Conservative Bishops, Liberal Results
Is Tolerance Intolerant?
The Myth of the Wall of Separation
The Church and the Media
Personally OpposedTo What?
Theory of the Enlightened Class
Dr. James Hitchcock, (e-mail) professor of history at St. Louis University, writes and lectures on contemporary Church matters. His column appears in the diocesan press, in the Adoremus Bulletin, and on the Women for Faith and Family website. He is the author of several books, including The Recovery of the Sacred, What is Secular Humanism?, and Years of Crisis: Collected Essays, 1970-1983.
Princeton University Press just published his two-volume history of the Supreme Court, The Supreme Court and Religion in American Life: The Odyssey of the Religion Clauses (Vol. 1) and From "Higher Law" to "Sectarian Scruples" (Vol. 2). He is also a regular contributor to many Catholic periodicals, including Catholic World Report.
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