Western sense of moral superiority is a danger


Kenneth Kully’s use of sophistry does not advance his position on morality and religion (Gazette, Your Views, Aug. 4): to say you are a “servant of morality“  instead of, “what I think constitutes morality,” if it means anything means that a certain view of morality is  selected above all others and is not debatable: it is a circular argument or  truism, whereas the subject was,  “what actions are moral?”, an open question which allows for consideration of various practical options.

I don’t like the practice of abortion any more than Kully does, or do the great majority of people, and would not want to be around when it takes place. But then I would be no asset in an operating room under any circumstances. Society, however, is faced with an ages-old problem and it has found that abortion is a better solution than making women prisoners to their procreative function, with all the implicit evils.

What I never will understand is why his church forbids the practice of contraception AND abortion, because doing the former promotes the latter: if abortion is on a par with prevention of the need for it, how terrible can it be seen to be?

Kully’s sophistry shows throughout his argument. The figure of 100 million deaths directly applicable to communism, some even cite Marx, is often quoted but never substantiated. How, when and where? The absurdity of the accusation is most obvious when citing Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot: this unschooled simpleton had no concept of Marx or communism. Did he organize factories and industries where the workers were also the organizers/owners? Almost three million tons of bombs were dropped on Cambodia in a secret, illegal war and the ensuing social and political devastation were the conditions under which he took power.

The toll from capitalist war in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos was seven million dead: the latter country was pitted with craters and the immoral use of chemical agents and depleted uranium has ongoing effects in cancer and birth defects in all of these countries. Korea, again in our sights, was devastated and one seventh of the population killed in a senseless war against a phantom communism in 1953. This is just to skim over the war sins of the West.

Judeo-Christian moral sensibility, although it isn’t original and was incorporated in previous “great civilizations” as in the Code of Hammurabi, does inform society to some extent but has never been separate from political goals and political organization. God may be love but that has never prevented wars, burning of heretics, murderous sectarian rivalry and religious prejudice. Christianity as a civilizing event is also questionable: if love, as we see in nature was not also a driving force in “primitive” societies, it is difficult to see how the human species could have survived  a hostile physical environment, a small population and necessarily low birth rate without mutual co-operation and respect for life. I call that love.

It is the very Western sense of moral superiority that poses such a great danger today, as it always did. It is what made the recent devastation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia and other areas possible. It is what threatens to destroy Iran. It has contributed to a sense of superiority and promoted the cavalier, unlimited exploitation of a limited Earth. It is the delusional hubris that posits a God who will somehow save us from our greed, stupidity, callousness, brutality and arrogance. No such numinous force will save us. It never has before.

Doris Wrench Eisler, St. Albert


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