Reject the "Values Voters'" Culture of Living Death
September 26, 2007
Irvine, CA--On Monday, the Republican Values Voters Presidential Debate was held, billed as representing "America's Largest Voting Block." Most of the candidates involved, including straw poll winner Mike Huckabee, pledged their support for building a "culture of life"--a rallying cry for America's "values voters" in their opposition to all abortion and embryonic stem cell research, and in their opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide. By doing everything possible to preserve embryos, fetuses, and the incurably ill or vegetative, they say, we will bring about a "culture of life."
Alex Epstein, an analyst at the Ayn Rand Institute, denounced this idea. "Think about the reality of such a culture. Pregnant women who rationally desired to abort--whether because of accidental pregnancy, rape, birth defects, or danger to their lives--would be forced to attempt dangerous, 'back-alley' abortions, the kind that crippled or killed untold numbers of women before Roe v. Wade. Individuals with incurable and unbearable diseases would not be able to die with dignity at a time of their own choosing, but would be subjected to a protracted existence of often unspeakable agony. The potential millions who could be cured by treatments derived from the promising field of embryonic stem-cell research would instead suffer and die.
"To call this a 'culture of life' is a colossal fraud. In reality, it is a culture of suffering--of living death--in which actual human lives are sacrificed because 'God's will' commands it. It is a culture that consistently accepts the Christian ideal that human life is properly lived in sacrifice to God, and that suffering is proof of virtue.
"A true 'culture of life' would leave individuals free to pursue their own happiness--free from coercive injunctions to sacrifice themselves to religious dogma. Such a culture is what we must seek to create, as we do everything possible to fight religious conservatives' 'culture of living death.'"
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Alex Epstein was a writer and a fellow on staff
at ARI between 2004 and 2011.