August 16, 2005

Article at Authory

Future Shock

In his book How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, author Thomas E. Woods Jr. tells the story of how English monks were on the verge of introducing the Industrial Age to Great Britain when King Henry VIII closed the monasteries and destroyed Catholic religious life in England. As a result of a monarch’s greed, the Industrial Age may well have been postponed some three centuries.

It got me to thinking: what breakthroughs has our modern culture of death prevented us from accomplishing? Although we have accomplished a great deal in the realm of modern science, much of it has been devoted to both fighting and perpetuating the culture of death. The search for cures for deadly venereal diseases (caused in large part by the unchaste lifestyle of modern man) and the fascination with manipulating human life has taken up much of our time, energy, and resources. What if it had been possible to devote those resources to furthering the culture of life?

We can now routinely save premature babies as early as twenty-four weeks gestation, and have had spotty success as early as twenty weeks. That is no small accomplishment. But will future generations remark that if we hadn't been consumed with finding ways to murder first-trimester babies in their mothers' wombs, we might have been able to routinely save first-trimester babies in danger of miscarriage?

If we hadn’t had to designate resources toward fighting the worldwide HIV/AIDS pandemic, could we have found a cure for cancer, multiple sclerosis, influenza, or the common cold? Would we have been able to reliably export to the developing world the medicines needed to cure childhood diseases that devastate youngsters in the Third World but are merely a rite of passage in First World countries?

If we hadn’t been diverted by the Cold War and the "need" to compete in the arms race, could we have redirected money used to stockpile weapons of mass destruction into helping developing nations reach maturity on the world stage?

If we hadn’t been consumed with the alleged "right to privacy," "freedom of choice," and "right to die," would we have turned our efforts to the rehabilitation (where possible) and comfort care (where not) of our disabled, elderly, and otherwise dependent citizens? Could Terri Schiavo have been rehabilitated, perhaps even cured, if our society hadn’t been more interested in warehousing and eventually murdering her and those who suffer from similar catastrophic illnesses and disabilities?

How will future generations judge us? Somehow I doubt they will be impressed with our ability to clone sheep, walk on the moon, and treat (but not cure) venereal disease. They will be more likely to sigh, shake their heads, and note a lot of similarity between our society and that of Tudor England during the Protestant Reformation.

(Image: "Mary and a Watchmaker Monk," Wikimedia Commons.)