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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Aesthetics and murder.

Good people can own slaves. Good people can tell women and children to go into gas chambers, claiming they are showers. They can also murder babies the moment they are born. They can starve innocent women to death. GOOD PEOPLE can do all these things. They just need the right rationalization.

Sometimes the rationalization involves tribal or racial differences, as in the Holocaust or the periodic genocides in Africa. Sometimes they involve new technologies for which society lacks developed ethical systems, such as the forced euthanasia and sterilization campaigns so popular in Europe before WW2, or partial birth abortion in America today. Sometimes a neat acronym, such as PVS, is all that is necessary. Sometimes even that is not necessary. Once one GOOD PERSON has accepted evil, a hundred other GOOD PEOPLE can accept it, rationalizing that the first GOOD PERSON would not have accepted it if it really were evil.

The rationalizations allows GOOD PEOPLE to frame questions in ways that make doing evil palatable. Slavery is about property rights, not slaves. Partial birth abortion is about the right to control one's body, not about a baby. Sterilization is about eugenics, not sterilizing people.

Terri Schiavo's case is not about starving a human being to death, it is about state's rights. Or it is about keeping the Christians in check. Or it is about the right to die with dignity. The videos of Terri laughing, responding to her mom, responding to the swab test, tracking a balloon... None of these matter to the GOOD PEOPLE, (and no, I am not being sarcastic, they are GOOD PEOPLE) entranced by those three letters, PVS, or by the other rationalizations.

Championing aesthetics is the only way I see to combat the power of PVS. The GOOD German who puts a pistol to a Jewish child's head and pulls the trigger is ignoring the aesthetics of the situation... Call it what you want- but there is something in a human that can recognize another human IS human, IS like, and I call it aesthetics. And I contend that that German has to choose to ignore the aesthetics of the situation.

And I say the GOOD doctor who pierces a 9 month old babys skull and vacuums out the brains is ignoring the aesthetics of the situation. And I say George Washington and the other Founding Fathers, all GOOD PEOPLE, ignored the aesthetics of the situation when they refused to spend their lives freeing every slave they could.

And I say the GOOD PEOPLE who champion starving Terri Schiavo to death are ignoring the aesthetics of this situation. I say they should visit this sight, and they should scroll down to the video section, and watch each and every video, and they should listen to their hearts.


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