02 May, 2014

What Happened to Switzerland | Web Exclusives | Daily Writings From Our Top Writers | First Things



In 2008, bioethicist Yuval Levin in his book Imagining the Future: Science and American Democracy identified a subtle but momentous shift in the philosophical driver of the West:
 The worldview of modern science . . . sees health not only as a foundation but also a principal goal, not only as a beginning but also an end. Relief and preservation—from disease and pain, from misery and necessity—become the defining ends of human action, and therefore of human societies.



At first blush, this seems a minor matter. Who doesn’t want to alleviate suffering and promote the general welfare? But read the above quote again. That reasonable approach to the problem of suffering is not the attitude Levin describes.



Rather, it seems to me that he detected a fundamental paradigm shift driving us away from the reasonable mitigation of suffering in favor of a Utopian—and ultimately dangerous—eliminationquest that threatens the unique dignity of man and relativizes the importance of human life.



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What Happened to Switzerland | Web Exclusives | Daily Writings From Our Top Writers | First Things

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