Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
March 8, 1999
It would indeed be a better world if the strong would help the weak, if the lion would lie down with the lamb. The unlikelihood of this happening could be seen last month in speeches by Premier Ralph Klein and broadcasting mogul Ted Turner. For those two, the greatest evil appears to be any objective moral norms
In Turner's view, the Ten Commandments are "a little bit out of date" and Pope John Paul should "get with it" on population control. The pope and pro-life congressmen are, in his view, "a bunch of dummies." Turner would like couples to have no more than one child each (shades of Communist China!) and world population to drop to two billion. Turner's dream is more than a fantasy - he's pledged $100 million a year for 10 years to population control groups.
One can only conclude that for Turner, all those poor people in Latin America, Africa and Asia are of no use. They don't tune in to the Cable News Network or support its advertisers and probably never will. These people don't have credit cards, access the Internet or take any interest in the Atlanta Braves. To be is to consume and these folks don't consume enough.
In his speech to the United Alternative convention, Klein was more explicit in linking issues of human life with big business ideology. His view that abortion is a matter solely for "the internal moral compass" of the individual is well known. More interesting was Klein's linking of his government's refusal to stand against abortion with its policy of "minimum interference" in the economy.
His thorough gutting of Alberta Environment, for example, can now be seen as simply allowing big business to follow its own "internal moral compass." And his decision to eliminate the provincial deficit solely on the backs of the poor, the sick and school children is but another way to ensure big business can operate without the constraints of an external moral compass.
In this light, it's worth considering the view of the late Christopher Lasch that abortion is as much a class issue as it is a moral issue. The well-to-do and the political and intellectual elite chafe at any constraints imposed upon behaviour by the common good. But the middle and lower classes still tend to value community and solidarity. Many of them still see abortion on demand for what it is - an attempt to subordinate morality to economic interests.
So, of course, the pope seems like "a dummy" to Turner. The pope believes in moral truth and original sin. He knows that while people are created by God and for God, we have an inclination to do evil. If our internal moral compasses are not guided by the bright star of truth then humanity is headed in the direction of violence and chaos.
The common good requires that people not be left in darkness, that through education and the law they be pointed towards the bright light of moral truth.
Moral truth exists to defend the weak. The powerful would rather there be no moral truth because they are quite capable of meeting their own needs without it. More than capable, in fact, they are inclined to run roughshod.
But the interests of the weak require law and solidarity. Law and solidarity prevent the schoolyard bully from stealing all of the weaker kids' marbles and pushing their faces in the mud. The bully doesn't respect others and doesn't want laws governing his behaviour. He wants freedom.
Freedom, however, must always be linked to truth. Without a respect for moral truth, freedom becomes slavery to selfish desire.
When the powerful claim the Ten Commandments are out of date and that the only morality is that between "a woman, her doctor and God," our ears should perk up. Someone is preparing to administer a drubbing to the weak and defenceless. And if we care about protecting the weak, then we will work to ensure greater respect for that supposedly out of date morality.
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