A human life matters only to the extent it has value, but given the naturalistic materialism that reigns among our cultural elites today, any value assigned to a life is purely arbitrary. On naturalism, human beings have value only insofar as they're useful to someone else. Otherwise, they're little different from cattle - suitable for manipulating, herding and even slaughtering when it suits the purposes of those in power. The notion that an individual human being has an inherent right not to be harmed is a useful fiction, a Noble Lie we tell ourselves to enable us to live more securely with each other.
In fact, it only makes sense to speak of inherent rights if those rights are conferred by a transcendent, personal source. Indeed, what else could possibly ground them? On naturalism, however, there is no such transcendent source and thus human beings have, on this view, no intrinsic rights because they have no intrinsic worth and no intrinsic dignity.
It is this view of human beings that from time to time manifests itself in what Hannah Arendt once called, when describing the ordinariness of the perpetrators of the Holocaust, the banality of evil. To witness a contemporary illustration of the banality of evil watch Planned Parenthood's Dr. Deborah Nucatela work on her salad and sip wine while she casually describes how she butchers unborn children in order to procure their organs to sell to those who traffic in human tissue.
The left is outraged that Christian businesspersons for religious reasons would decline to participate in a gay wedding. They're outraged when animals are vivisected for medical studies. Are they outraged by what Dr. Nucatola does in her abattoir? How many liberal news outlets have had anything much to say about Dr. Nucatola's starring role in this surreptitiously filmed video?
David Harsanyi at The Federalist writes:
In America, it’s illegal to donate money to a candidate without first reporting it to the government. Even then, if you give more than is permissible you might end up in jail. In this country, you can’t add trans fats to your foods or smoke cigarettes in your own bar. Here, Little Sisters of the Poor can’t tell the state they’d rather not buy condoms and bakers can’t tell a couple they’d rather not participate in their wedding.John Locke declared that human beings have a right to life because we are created in the image of God and are His property. Thomas Jefferson inserted that principle into the Declaration of Independence when he wrote that we are endowed by our Creator with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Alas, those men lived long ago and they were white and patriarchal and therefore oppressors whose words are no longer relevant for the enlightened and humane 21st century.
But it’s completely legal to kill an unborn baby for convenience and then sell its parts for cash.
Let’s forget the legality of the issue for a moment. And let’s forget religion and politics, if that’s possible. Let’s forget the disconcerting economic incentives inherent in these types of transactions and ask: what kind of person nonchalantly describes “crushing” the life from another living being—a being that might have already been named and loved; a loss that might have a tremendous negative impact on a person or family or community—over a glass of wine and some giggles?
Well, an executive at euphemistic Planned Parenthood, that’s who. We can tell ourselves that a life can simply be written off whenever we deem it inconvenient. We can celebrate the right to end life. But the depravity of Deborah Nucatola’s conversation betrays where it all leads—and also where it started.
If this was a video of some product researchers talking about the same process, but describing the vivisection of a monkey or a cat for organ harvesting instead, most Americans would be justly repulsed. Yet, because this is Planned Parenthood, an organization fulfilling its eugenicist founder’s goal of population control, it will be treated as just another dispute in the culture wars, completely devoid of scientific and moral context.
Because this is Planned Parenthood, most of the media will frame this as a political tug of war rather than explore the politics and ethics of allowing Americans to terminate a life and then harvest organs. Some in the media will probably have a difficult time even comprehending why anyone would deem this much of a story at all. You’ll recall how a number of politicians and reporters struggled to explain the distinction between a run-of-the-mill late-term abortionist and Kermit Gosnell. (Answer: one has a license.)