A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sometimes the Mask Slips, a Little

...and sometimes they don't even bother wearing the mask:

Behold the re-emergence of the lebensunwertes Leben!


  1. So let me get this straight, she thinks that it's 100% within your rights to kill or let out to die ANYBODY and ALWAYS someone who is dependent on your body, no matter how arbitrary the reasons.

    By this logic, it seems that if you are keeping someone from falling off a cliff by holding onto them, that it is 100% OK for you to just let them freefall; oops, sorry, late to pick up the kids, see you in purgatory...

    Sigh... I'm suddenly starting to feel sick...

  2. Of course, building on my last post, we wouldn't want to take away from a woman the right to choose what to do with her arm; that would just be barbaric. (as we, with a straight face, insist that the lady in the front row keep her hands down until it is time to answer questions.)

    I'm starting to feel queasy again..,

  3. I love the phrase "what is right for her circumstances". I missed that one in CCD and confirmation class; non a sophisticate that I am, I fall back on the less nuanced "what is right".

  4. It is truly wonderful to see such an unstoppable force bearing down on such a vacuous obstacle:
    - On the one hand, a fetus is a life "worth sacrificing" (presumably because it is a life wholly dependent on another and, therefore, secondary in value).
    - On the other, the division between what constitutes a "fetus" (or, a wholly-dependent human being without legal protection) and a "baby" (a being with such protection) is itself entirely dependent on the other's personal (and quite possibly momentary) feelings on the subject.

    How dependent is "wholly dependent"? What kinds of dependence constitute "dependence" (e.g, financial, emotional)? What sorts of feelings constitute acceptance (and ontological promotion), and for how long? Is there a "no-takes-backsies" rule in effect? Why?

  5. When Roe first came down, I was in high school. Even then, it seemed the most obvious argument was from enlightened self-interest: if we get to arbitrarily say when life begins and when and if life deserves protection, then we've just opened ourselves up to the inevitable Mao or Committee for Public Safety. who will decide *our* life is not sacred or worth protecting, as it inconveniences them, who, after all, are the real People Who Matter. After all, why should only mother's feeling about their own child count? Other people might suffer from my existence, too. Thus, any living person should hold the line at human life always being sacred and protected by law, and beginning at conception, which is the only non-arbitrary point and the point at which the question first arises - for their own safety.

    As I grew older, and became aware that our rulers have, for the last few centuries, consistently tried to define human life as having meaning only within the context of the state, such that our value as human beings is contingent on whether we advance the aims of the state (of the rulers, of course, in practice) or not, this willingness to accept arbitrary definitions of life became ever more alarming. Fichte, Hegel and of course Marx are most clear on this, but, apart from theory, the practices of many states starting in the 20th century are very enlightening in this regard. Bracing, even.

  6. If I am using my finger, which is part of my body, to push the button that will launch a nuke at the offices of Salon, reason dictates that the live of everybody within a several mile radius of ground zero is dependent on my body and what I choose to do with it. So what if my choice ends their lives. I need to do what I need to do for me.

  7. One notices by their logic that if I donated an organ to save them, I would then have the right to hack them open to reclaim the organ -- and furthermore, to hack them open in a manner that maximized their chances of dying.

    You notice how they invariably claim that it's like their having to donate an organ, not noticing that if you don't donate an organ, you never have to lay a finger on the other person.

  8. This story is a year old. It caused a few ripples at the time it was published but not so much since. It is the default position now. It is noteworthy, perhaps, in its nakedness, but the truly committed partisans all really think that way. This is why I think that the "photos", as they are called, don't really help. They either hurt women who have had an abortion, or they simply don't have an effect on the Williamses of the world. Only prayer can do that.

  9. The honest ones were saying this in the 1970's. "Life is cheap, 'cause we're realists! People die every day. Who cares?!" I knew because I grew up with one. Fortunately she has repented by now. The clarion call of convenience being a higher "virtue" than life itself is a seductive one. The seduced won't see the problem until the error affects the seduced personally.


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