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sanctityofhumanlifeWhen arguing about abortion and other moral topics, one is almost guaranteed to hear this lofty phrase trotted out.  Like a a gentle desert sirocco, you only miss it when it isn’t there.  People seem to have some very strange ideas about how we regularly treat each other here on Earth.

Realistically speaking, the phrase “sanctity of human life”is a misnomer.    We here in the ‘Civilized West’ extinguish human life at a record pace whether actively though war or passively through indifference and neglect.

“But Arbourist!”, says the lay reader of DWR, “we in the West, have technology, capitalism and democracy that raises all of the boats and keeps our people well off.  Well yes lay reader but, our relative prosperity is a direct result of our society almost always wielding the bigger stick and vigourously applying it to all of those people around us until they acquiesced or died under our not so gentle ministrations.

We laid waste other civilizations and then built our own in the blood soaked ashes of the wanton slaughter we perpetrated.  There was no sanctity of human life then: it was us or them and jebus willing, it had better be them.

Yes, our lovely notions of morality are quickly set aside once it gets down to us vs. them.  The best part is that “them” does not even need to be a threat; our benevolent political leadership will kindly manufacture a threat to dehumanize whomever stands in the way of our geopolitical goals (those damn Arabs having the temerity to live on top of our oil, for example).    Sanctity of what again?  If it wasn’t Churchill gassing the Arabs for being uppity for not subscribing to the benevolent British dictatorship administered by local satraps, it was those same Arabs who needed a good bombing/droning by the enlightened US of A to make them see all the benefits of a US sponsored benevolent dictatorship.

So many flavours of tyranny!

So many people that need to die before they understand what is good for them (us).  All this respect for human life, and we’ve covered the ever so smallest part of the active destruction of humanity.  For a change of depression let us flit over to the passive neglectful side of our deep commitment to the sanctity of human life.

From the Unicef site:

More than 70 per cent of almost 11 million child deaths every year are attributable to six causes: diarrhoea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth.

These deaths occur mainly in the developing world.  An Ethiopian child is 30 times more likely to die by his or her fifth birthday than a child in Western Europe. Among deaths in children, South-central Asia has the highest number of neonatal deaths, while sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates. Two-thirds of deaths occur in just 10 countries.

And the majority are preventable.  Some of the deaths occur from illnesses like measles, malaria or tetanus. Others result indirectly from marginalization, conflict and HIV/AIDS.  Malnutrition and the lack of safe water and sanitation contribute to half of all these children’s deaths.

But disease isn’t inevitable, nor do children with these diseases need to die. Research and experience show that six million of the almost 11 million children who die each year could be saved by low-tech, evidence-based, cost-effective measures such as vaccines, antibiotics, micronutrient supplementation, insecticide-treated bed nets and improved family care and breastfeeding practices.

Neat how that works.  So much waste of human life, for what?   A slight reduction in the standards of Western living?  Well we certainly can’t see their suffering and dying, soooo…it doesn’t really count then right?

Right?  Because sanctity of human life is such a important moral precept over here in the West.   Because we value life so damn much and it is so important to us.



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