July 24, 2014

A unified Orthodox Church can speak with clarity…

Read below and you'll see one reason why we need a unified Orthodox Church in America. Wesley J. Smith, human rights activist and occasional contributor to AOI Observer, warns about a bill winding through congress that will surreptitiously fund human cloning. We could have something to say about that. A friend of mine, an Orthodox priest who studied under Leon J. Kass, one of the great public thinkers in America today (see: Smith on Kass), was asked by Dr. Kass when the Orthodox are going to make their contribution. The Orthodox, he said, have the most developed anthropology of any religious tradition in the world. We're Americans. The debates will be raucous -- it's the American way, but they will substantive, fruitful, and when they are done something better will emerge from it -- that's the great promise of America and it is still fulfilled for those who understand freedom and are willing to take responsibility for it. And when unity comes (it can and it will), the important … [Read more...]

Wesley J. Smith: At what cost?

To the Source Obamacare is now the law of the land. Because health care and wellness are such essential parts of our lives and our culture, America will never be the same. For now, Obamacare preserves a private financing system—no public option. Nonetheless, it still represents a government takeover of healthcare. By eliminating risk assessment–and seizing control of benefit determinations—government bureaucrats will now choose winners and losers. Because we are all now ensconced in the same closed system, we each now have a direct financial stake in the health care received by every other one of us. Government control is, by definition, intensely political. Politically powerful “in crowds” are rarely denied what they want, while “out crowds” may be excluded altogether. The same will be true in health care. Canada is a vivid example, where terminal cancer patients are routinely refused life-extending chemotherapy by cost containment boards, while support is growing … [Read more...]

Podcast: The Animal Rights Movement from an Orthodox perspective

The Illumined Heart on Ancient Faith Radio with Kevin Allen

Human exceptionalism advocate and author Wesley J. Smith speaks with host Kevin Allen about the animal rights-animal liberation movement and its insistence on the "moral equivalence" between animals and humans! How does this compare with Orthodox teachings about the "brotherhood" of humans, animals and inanimate nature (St Gregory Palamas)? Listen and find out ! Listen here: … [Read more...]

Wesley J. Smith: Unless we all matter

Unless we all matter...

The Source "God loves each of us, as if there were only one of us." - St. Augustine. If you want to accurately predict what could soon go wrong in society, just read the professional journals.  Case in point: A bioethicist named Alasdair Cochrane, a deep thinker at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights in the UK, argued recently in Bioethics that we should discard our (already tenuous) embrace of intrinsic human dignity as the foundational basis for establishing medical ethics and enacting health care public policies. Eschewing human exceptionalism and the sanctity of human life would have huge ramifications, and in urging what he calls an "undignified bioethics," Cochrane does not shy away from describing the stakes: …the possession of dignity by humans signifies that they [all people] have an inherent moral worth.  In other words, because human beings possess dignity we cannot do what we like to them, but instead have direct moral … [Read more...]

Wesley J. Smith interviewed on National Review Online

Wesley J. Smith, noted author on human rights and occasional commentator on the AOI Blog was interviewed on National Review Online on his upcoming book, A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement. Smith discusses the difference between animal rights and animal welfare, human exceptionalism, the ongoing devaluation of human life, and about his friendship with novelist Dean Koontz, who wrote the preface. My recommendation? Read the book. If you have read any of his other works, you will know that Wesley J. Smith will, in short order, bring you up to speed on the ideas streaming into the culture that devalue human life and threaten the bulwarks built throughout the centuries against human suffering, cruelty, brutality, and finally tyranny. Smith writes from a human rights perspective, drawing on the great tradition of the elevation of the human person -- sometimes hard fought and not without sacrifice -- that informed the moral imagination of … [Read more...]

Knocking Human Beings Off the Pedestal of Exceptionalism

Occasional commentator to AOI blog and human rights activist Wesley J. Smith warns in a recent article that, "society’s belief in the unique moral value and importance of human life is under unprecedented assault...Most people still believe in human exceptionalism and are unaware that powerful social and cultural forces are working diligently to dismantle the sanctity of life ethic as the fundamental value of our social order." He is correct. Read it carefully, think through the logic, and heed the warnings. The crisis in the West is one of anthropology with ominous implications. +++++++++++++++++++++ By Wesley J. Smith. Published on The Church Report website. Society’s belief in the unique moral value and importance of human life is under unprecedented assault. Most people still believe in human exceptionalism and are unaware that powerful social and cultural forces are working diligently to dismantle the sanctity of life ethic as the fundamental value of our … [Read more...]

Keep the Human in Humane

Wesley J. Smith

Wesley Smith, occasional commentator on AOI blog published the is article on To the Source. Visit Smith's blog Second Hand Smoke. When Aldous Huxley wrote his prophetic 1932 novel Brave New World, he envisioned a dystopian future in which mankind would become, in the words of bioethicist Leon Kass, "so dehumanized that he doesn't even realize what has been lost." Huxley believed we would evolve into a society steeped in radical hedonism—where drugs would be used to erase every negative emotion and promiscuity would be not just the norm, but the expected. He also saw our future as becoming profoundly utilitarian and eugenic, depicted in his novel by genetically engineered babies being decanted through a cloning-type process rather than being born, a society without families, without the old and sick—who are done away with rather than being cared for—and without real purpose other than experiencing transitory pleasure. It is a world in which human life has been … [Read more...]

Wesley J. Smith: Orthodox Advocate for Human “Exceptionalism”

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Our culture is at a crossroad about the value of human life, argues author and human rights activist Wesley J. Smith in an interview with Kevin Allen on the "Illumined Heart" podcast (Ancient Faith Radio). Do we value human life simply because it is human, or do we value it based on notions and definitions of "personhood" including such characteristics as sentience, awareness, stages of biological development and others factors? The former allows for a universal definition of human rights. The latter reduces human beings to "subjects" that are bound to shifting and often capricious standards that determine who lives and who dies.   Listen here: widget here (43:38) It's a heated battle (one that even spills over into the comments of this blog on occasion). Often, the the level of vituperation in the attacks against religious defenders of human life arise because the utilitarians understand their view allows for no coherent defense of any human rights, Smith says. "They … [Read more...]