Rorate Caeli

Evangelium Vitae at 15 - I
Democracy turning into Totalitarianism

If the promotion of the self is understood in terms of absolute autonomy, people inevitably reach the point of rejecting one another. Everyone else is considered an enemy from whom one has to defend oneself. Thus society becomes a mass of individuals placed side by side, but without any mutual bonds. Each one wishes to assert himself independently of the other and in fact intends to make his own interests prevail. Still, in the face of other people's analogous interests, some kind of compromise must be found, if one wants a society in which the maximum possible freedom is guaranteed to each individual. In this way, any reference to common values and to a truth absolutely binding on everyone is lost, and social life ventures on to the shifting sands of complete relativism. At that point, everything is negotiable, everything is open to bargaining: even the first of the fundamental rights, the right to life.

This is what is happening also at the level of politics and government: the original and inalienable right to life is questioned or denied on the basis of a parliamentary vote or the will of one part of the people-even if it is the majority. This is the sinister result of a relativism which reigns unopposed: the "right" ceases to be such, because it is no longer firmly founded on the inviolable dignity of the person, but is made subject to the will of the stronger part.

In this way democracy, contradicting its own principles, effectively moves towards a form of totalitarianism. The State is no longer the "common home" where all can live together on the basis of principles of fundamental equality, but is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenceless members, from the unborn child to the elderly, in the name of a public interest which is really nothing but the interest of one part. The appearance of the strictest respect for legality is maintained, at least when the laws permitting abortion and euthanasia are the result of a ballot in accordance with what are generally seen as the rules of democracy. Really, what we have here is only the tragic caricature of legality; the democratic ideal, which is only truly such when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person, is betrayed in its very foundations: "How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted? In the name of what justice is the most unjust of discriminations practised: some individuals are held to be deserving of defence and others are denied that dignity?" When this happens, the process leading to the breakdown of a genuinely human co-existence and the disintegration of the State itself has already begun.

To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom: "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin" (Jn 8:34). ...

The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. "Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. Nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action".

As far as the right to life is concerned, every innocent human being is absolutely equal to all others. This equality is the basis of all authentic social relationships which, to be truly such, can only be founded on truth and justice, recognizing and protecting every man and woman as a person and not as an object to be used. Before the moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of the life of an innocent human being "there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the 'poorest of the poor' on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal".

John Paul II
Evangelium Vitae
Lady Day, 1995

34 comments:

Mr. Ortiz said...

"The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end."

This, along with the Thomistic understanding of the moral act, is what constitutes the core of civilized living. Everything, including, say, the Sistine Chapel, pales in significance to this eternal Truth which man must live to save his soul.

Thank you, JPII.

Anonymous said...

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An intensely human tour of the great spiritual battles in the US Catholic church during the late 20th century. Brian Gail takes us out into the trenches and ...

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Anonymous said...

Another document is needed to deal with surrogacy. Also, something has to be said by the pope on the organ transplant issues in regard to when someone is actually dead or not.

Eugene said...

Under Wojtyla's pontificate the world population went up by more than two billion people. Whether the Catholic Church like it or not, the world does need population control

Anonymous said...

Why "turning into"? Democracy is totalitarian in itself. It is not bound by anything, "people" can vote on whatever they want. The French know that.

LeonG said...

It is personally impossible to imagine a human act more foul & paganising than converting the fruitful womb into a battlefield killing vulnerable life therein. This is how once professional doctors have become mere butchers. It is a cruel reversal of the false claim made by pro-abortionists that prior to the law permitting pre-natal infanticide back-street butchers carried out such acts. It was doctors then and it is the same type today who perform this patently self-destructive & barbarous act.

The demographic consequences are now objectively demonstrable.

Jordanes said...

Under Wojtyla's pontificate the world population went up by more than two billion people. Whether the Catholic Church like it or not, the world does need population control

Are you volunteering to be euthanised in order to help solve the alleged overpopulation problem? How can we take anyone seriously that they're really concerned about the alleged overpopulation problem if they aren't willing to personally take drastic measures to solve the problem as soon as possible? Unless three billion people are murdered this year, your comfy lifestyle will be in jeopardy and you may actually have to love your neighbor as yourself, so immediate depopulation is an imperative!

Anonymous said...

Jordanes, you're probably not aware of the projected legislation in the Netherlands which allows healthy people above the age of 70 to volunteer for euthanasia when only they feel that their life is "complete".

And I'm sure that old Dutchmen will volunteer.

Jordanes said...

I'd heard of that. Expect the pro-death movement to advance throughout the nations of the post-Christian West.

At first these suicides will be voluntary. Later they will become mandatory.

Anonymous said...

"At first these suicides will be voluntary. Later they will become mandatory."

Of course. But what's really sad, we had already gone through this before.

Listen to what Bernard Shaw has to say about it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tLkpFQYrp8

(BTW, the entire film "Soviet Story" is very interesting).

People just never learn.

Anonymous said...

Overpopulation is a myth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZVOU5bfHrM&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBS6f-JVvTY

Eugene said...

Jordanes, I didn't suggest that people should be euthanized. Population in the Third World is exploding. When you have nothing to eat, you shouldn't have ten children. We are not living in the Middle Ages anymore. Whether you like it or not, contraception will solve the overpopulation problem. The rest is just words and pious rhetoric. Fortunately, people do start listening to common sense.

Joe B said...

Of course, there is no overpopulation on a worldly level. This is a material discussion, and capitalism can provide for all your needs and wants, no matter what the size of your personal space. Take a drive between, say, Fort Worth, Texas, and El Paso, Texas, sometime and you will see that you could put a hundred New York Citys out there. Canada is empty. So, in large part, are most countries in the world. The most populous country in the world used to be tiny Belgium, which was also mostly very hilly and, one would think, difficult to populate comfortably. It was a beautiful place to live, though. Lots of windy streets curving through rows of attractive apartments, houses, and small businesses. Of course, it was relatively capitalist, which as I said, provides not only for all one's material needs, but for all one's desires, good and bad. But for the concerned overpopulationist, it solves all, and I mean all, your materialist woes. In fact, the only places I know of where overpopulation is an issue is in countries and cities where socialist, communist, and dictatorial governments try to run things through policies that discourage material abundance. You see, people tend to work to get the life they want unless you get in their way, and thanks to the God-given nearly infinite combined intelligence of humanity, they tend to succeed at it pretty well.

Which brings us to the atheism of those who claim to be concerned about overpopulation. What? You believe in God? Then does your God have infinite intelligence, more than sufficient to design Earth and the universe for the needs of humans for as long as the world would be around, seeing as how He will be the one to end it? They call Him the Master Builder for a reason.

The design of the Earth isn't the problem, nor is procreation, which is a good thing. The problem is you. Your arguments lead to governmental controls and policies which lead to the detriment of materialism and, thus, the creation of your own worst fears in the form of a Frankenstein government.

Jordanes said...

Jordanes, I didn't suggest that people should be euthanized.

Well then, you're part of the problem, not part of the solution. Unless advocates of population control volunteer to be euthanised immediately, they aren't really serious about solving the overpopulation problem. If it's true that there are too many people on this planet -- i.e., there are a lot of people alive now who should never have been born and should die as soon as possible -- then the best solution is to kill a lot of people as fast as possible. Those who believe in overpopulationism should be true and consistent to their principles and kill themselves. If they won't be true to their professed beliefs, then they should be ignored as the hypocrites they are.

Population in the Third World is exploding. When you have nothing to eat, you shouldn't have ten children.

It's mighty convenient for affluent overpopulationists that the alleged overpopulation problem is a Third World fault, not a First World fault. Affluent overpopulationists get to keep living the high life, patting themselves on the back that they're doing their part by throwing condoms and contraceptives at those impoverished Third World breeders, and convincing them to brutally dismember their unborn children. It's so much easier than actually loving their Third World brothers and helping to improve their lot.

Whether you like it or not, contraception will solve the overpopulation problem.

There isn't an overpopulation problem. There's an inadequate food and resources problem. There's a deficit-of-charity problem. Those who practice and advocate contraception are not showing charity for their fellow man.

Fortunately, people do start listening to common sense.

It is common sense that sex and procreation go together, and that inducing sterility is an assault on nature.

Anonymous said...

"There's an inadequate food and resources problem. There's a deficit-of-charity problem."

There's no inadequate food and resources problem. There's an unnatural, immoral economical system problem. It's the Third World's fault that they stick to ineffective socialist system or just plain anarchy without any respect for private property and law.

The Third World leaders are just robbers, thieves and murderers.

Africa is an unbelievably rich land in terms of natural resources. Are there any natural resources in Singapore or Hong Kong or Liechtenstein? Of course not, but they have effective economical systems, so they're rich.

Charity doesn't solve anything. The Third World leaders just steal or waste what the naive Westerners send them (guess what happened with Live8?). Giving them "aid" is actually immoral as it just worsens the situation.

No one is going to admit that, but the only way to solve the problem of hunger in Africa is to re-colonize the continent and enforce effective economical system on them. But that's politically incorrect, so we let them die.

Jordanes said...

There's no inadequate food and resources problem. There's an unnatural, immoral economical system problem.

Rather, there is an inadequate food and resources problem in those countries that are supposedly overpopulated BECAUSE there's an unnatural, immoral political and economics problem in those countries. These aren't mutually exclusive explanations -- the former is caused by the latter.

Charity doesn't solve anything.

Charity -- the corporal and spiritual works of mercy -- is the only thing that can solve the problems of impoverished countries.

No one is going to admit that, but the only way to solve the problem of hunger in Africa is to re-colonize the continent and enforce effective economical system on them. But that's politically incorrect, so we let them die.

Recolonisation is not the only solution, and anyway it is a practical impossibility.

Anonymous said...

"Charity -- the corporal and spiritual works of mercy -- is the only thing that can solve the problems of impoverished countries."

Sending money and food does not solve the problems of impoverished countries, just like giving vodka to an alcoholic does not solve his problems.

I think it is Comrade Kim of North Korea (or maybe it was Mengistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia, communist murderer guilty of 1,5 Million lives? They're all the same) who gave a small part of the received aid to the army and party officials, sold the rest elsewhere and bought more arms. I wouldn't call sending him food an act of charity. I would call it a crime.

SJG said...

Regarding the "recolonization of Africa" issue, most of the problem is that we've already essentially colonized the continent by providing systemic aid to African governments that wouldn't be able to govern otherwise. Rather than allowing the people of Africa to decide for themselves how they should govern themselves, we (in advanced, western, secular nations) prop up puppet governments that then tyrannize the native population while keeping everything in just enough order to justify begging for more money from us.

Dambisa Moyo is an African economist who has an interesting book on this subject called "Dead Aid". She's one of the "contraception will help solve the problem" crowd, so I hesitate to recommend her work wholeheartedly, but she's pretty spot on about how first-world western governments keep Africa in poverty by throwing money at governments that aren't accountable to the population they govern.

Jordanes said...

Sending money and food does not solve the problems of impoverished countries, just like giving vodka to an alcoholic does not solve his problems.

Food pantries and soup kitchens also don't solve the problems of poverty in affluent countries, but it sure is helpful if you're out of work and you can't get enough food for your family. After all, Jesus won't say to the blessed at His right hand, "I was hungry and naked, and you told me that giving Me food and clothing would be like giving vodka to an alcoholic." If we can be sure that aid gets to its destination, it's morally obligatory for those whom God has blessed to help those who are in need.

Anonymous said...

"pretty spot on about how first-world western governments keep Africa in poverty by throwing money at governments that aren't accountable to the population they govern."

Which somehow resembles the relationship between the USA and the USSR since the beginning of the Germany-USSR war in 1942 and after the peak of the Cold War...

Rick DeLano said...

Thanks to Jordanes for a singularly sharp, effective, and devastating refutation Eugene's fatuous Culture of Death apologetic.

Bravo.

Anonymous said...

How much more evidence is needed that until the Pope fulfills the simple request made by Our Lady of Fatima that we will sink ever deeper into the mire.

It is past the time to consecrate Russia to Mary's Immaculate Heart. Pray that Benedict will fulfill this simple request in the manner prescribed. Pray a Rosary daily for this to happen.

Don

Anonymous said...

Someone always eventually adds a comment to every post on Rorate Caeli insisting a consecration of Russia will solve every problem.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, with that type of response regarding the consecration of Russia, we see why it has not been done. Oh ye of little faith.

It is the hope for this world and a period of peace. Do you pray for the consecration to occur?

M. A. said...

"Someone always eventually adds a comment to every post on Rorate Caeli insisting a consecration of Russia will solve every problem."
_________________________

It wouldn't hurt anything to try it, would it? What have we to lose? The Holy Father would only be obeying God's request, after all.

Anonymous said...

First of all population control programs (runned by secular humanist governments) are set up to kill off all poor people in third world countries. Hong Kong is overpopulated and Holland is overpopulated but you don't see people complaining about it because they are wealthy countries. Killing off poor people in third world countries by population control is just as big of a mortal sin than anything else. Also, America has never really had a pure democratic system. It is a classic example of a republic just like Rome was in the time of the Ceasars.

Anonymous said...

Also I can't believe some of the conversations taking place here. The Roman Catholic Church is for the preservation off all life. Read the Encyclicals of every pope since Leo XIII. You guys talking about killing off billions is sickening. We don't have that say. You know who wants the earths population at five million? SECULAR HUMANISTS!

LeonG said...

Militant advocacy of demographic control emanates from the psychology of the sociopath & psychopath. Neither have any genuine empathy with human beings, they are mostly self-centred and entirely manipulative. They want a world with as few as possible permitting the fewest possible as an elite to enjoy the fruits of the Earth provided that they are left alive to do so & not others whom they define as unworthy of life. They would even be willing to implement the policies necessary to annihilate the numbers artificially estimated to represent the optimum population count. They would also go to the extent of enslavement of certain groups to satisfy their own egocentric demands thereafter.

Such a myopic, self-obsessed and definitively morbid world view.

Furthermore, Pope John Paul II (RIP) had little to do with the growth of population since he was celibate. He rightly defended life and the right of the infant in the womb. Those who chose to propagate that life were guided by the human need to proceed thus and multiply which desire Almighty God created into a normal healthy human psychology.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"There isn't an overpopulation problem. There's an inadequate food and resources problem."

Just to illustrate this:

In 2007, the Philippine Department of Agriculture announced that 50% of my country's fish and vegetable production had gone to waste due, among other things, to the lack of adequate transportation routes by which these could reach urban markets. 10-15% of the rice harvest had also been destroyed by spoilage.

The media practically ignored the report.

You'd think that the government would allocate as much money as it could to construct farm-to-market roads. Instead, the government is today spending millions of dollars on buying condoms and contraceptives.

There is also the question of untrustworthy census figures. What few seem to realize is that it is in the interest of corrupt governments to bloat the population figures for their territories, as this can be a means of snaring bigger budgets / dole-outs / foreign aid.

Anonymous said...

I can't find a "support moral blackmail" or "support murderous regimes" commandment.

Anonymous said...

It's not a secret that an excessive number of young men in the population leads to war. This can also be said of overpopulation in general.

When Hitler was writing "Mein Kampf" the German population was rising by 900,000 people every year.

The very fertile Albanians have smoked out the moderately fertile Serbs from Kosovo and have taken over their country.

Now the Chinese have an excessive number of young men, and too few women for them. This means war sooner or later.

Maybe those evil "secular humanists" just want to have peaceful, gentle world filled with joy, love and kindness instead of hunger, war, hate and constant threats?

Jordanes said...

I can't find a "support moral blackmail" or "support murderous regimes" commandment.

There isn't one. But then nobody here has advocated supporting moral blackmail or supporting murderous regimes, Anonymous.

It's not a secret that an excessive number of young men in the population leads to war. This can also be said of overpopulation in general.

No, it can't. It is when a population has an imbalance of men and women (or when a population practices polygamy), with a vast number of young men having no prospect to marry and raise a family, that societies become more violent and prone to militarism. When there is a good balance between the numbers of men and women (i.e., when abortion and contraception are not practiced), then the society is less prone to militarism. The total size of the population, whether it's 100,000 or 100 million, has nothing to do with it.

Maybe those evil "secular humanists" just want to have peaceful, gentle world filled with joy, love and kindness instead of hunger, war, hate and constant threats?

If that's what they really wanted, they would not eagerly rend unborn babies to pieces. There's nothing peaceful or gentle or joyful or loving or kind about waging war on babies and procreation.

Another thing that often leads to violence is when a fertile population moves into a country where the natives have chosen to make themselves infertile. The prospect of watching their culture dying out can provoke those who have made a covenant with death to make a last desperate attempt to preserve their way of life by attacking and oppressing the fertile newcomers. This is what happened to the Hebrews in ancient Egypt. When populations abolish abortion and contraception, they become more peaceful and enjoy greater tranquility. (Just compare crime rates, especially violent crime rates, in Western countries before and after abortion and contraception and divorce were legalised. The differences are staggering.)

Agnes of Rome said...

You know, that first paragraph seemed to remind me of a description of politics given by some one else. Who was it?... Oh, that's right. It was Thomas Hobbes. Scary thought.

Anonymous said...

"Giving them "aid" is actually immoral as it just worsens the situation." That's contradictory to the Gospel. And Absurd. Tell that to the Pope and see what he tells you. He definately won't say what you said.