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Losing Our Soul

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Sunday’s Boston Globe featured a story in the Globe West section about medical attitudes toward Down Syndrome. The story features a family from Franklin that has a seven-year-old son with Down, and the huge evolution of their experience since they refused the advice of their physicians to abort their child, who is now an accepted and thriving member of their family. The story centered on a study of how physicians communicate with expectant parents whose unborn child has Down. The study found [emphasis mine]:

Brian Skotko, a joint-degree student at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and Medical School, last year published two research papers that concluded physicians often relay the news in an overwhelmingly negative way, focusing on the limitations and hardships a child with Down syndrome may face…“We have to decide as a society what forms of life are valuable,” Skotko said. “Do we as a society believe people should be able to terminate a pregnancy solely because the child will have Down syndrome, or any other undesired trait? Where do you draw the line?”

Ironically the National Holocaust Museum currently has an exhibit about the Nazi public health programs, including a feature on their murder of the disabled:

The Nazi persecution of persons with disabilities in Germany was one component of radical public health policies aimed at excluding hereditarily “unfit” Germans from the national community. These strategies began with forced sterilization and escalated toward mass murder. The most extreme measure, the Euthanasia Program, was in itself a rehearsal for Nazi Germany’s broader genocidal policies. It is estimated that 275,000 adults and children were murdered because of their disabilities.

The Harvard study indicates that most certainly the prescriptions (and also the attitudes, I believe) of today’s medical community toward the disabled overlap that of the Nazis. One could argue that our era has now far surpassed them, since from a global perspective the most common genetic condition causing an unborn child to be aborted today is that they are female. Yet this state of affairs seems to trouble only ‘the religious right’ in America (I would argue that 30+ years of our abortion debate in America have spawned the religious right).

Those on the political left, with the exception of a few advocates for the disabled, maintain that the right of individual choice overrides all others. Thus the Democratic Party adopts the position of pro-choice extremists by fighting tooth and nail against any legislative restrictions on even late-term abortions. The left, because of its radical skepticism towards our western and Judeo-Christian tradition is unwilling to generalize broadly about what behaviors or attitudes constitute civic virtue.

No group today tilts more uniformly to the left than tenured college faculties. This brings me to a second piece in the Sunday Globe, which is a review of former Harvard dean Harry Lewis’ new book entitled Excellence Without a Soul:

The Harvard Lewis shows us in Excellence Without a Soul is tone-deaf to the American Republic, whose liberties it relies on yet whose virtues it no longer nurtures. It has forsaken such pedagogical heavy lifting for market come-ons and a falsely compensatory moralism about sexism, racism, and ‘jock culture’ – “proxies for misgivings about deeper values.” The college no longer turns freshmen into adults who can recognize and take responsibility for hard moral choices: “The Enlightenment ideal of human liberty and the philosophy embodied in American democracy barely exist in the current Harvard curriculum.”… Harvard’s assumption that “students are free agents and should study what they wish” drains its “long-term commitment to the welfare of students and the society they actually serve,” he writes…It would be better to impose serious core curricular requirements on students than to offer “what they myopically claim to want,” Lewis writes, admitting that more teaching takes time from scholarship, but the faculty needs to “develop a shared sense of educational responsibility for its undergraduates.”

The root cause identified by Lewis – “misgivings about deeper values” – is the same as the reason for our medicine’s adoption of Nazi-like practices with respect to the unborn disabled. One cannot have the confidence to practice, teach, or demand certain values unless one also has confidence in the absolute worth of some value systems as opposed to others. The religious and ethical skepticism of today’s left completely immobilizes them in this regard. They have drifted from respect for diversity to dogmatic indifferentism. Their opponents and much of the electorate recognize this. The Republican coalition of religionists, traditionalists, and libertarians, though unwieldy, contains far more ideological common ground than today’s Democrats can find among themselves. This situation is to our collective misfortune.

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  • Arch Conservative

    Great post Harry. Although pointing out the leftist indoctrination camps that are our colleges and universities is hardly news.

    It would seem as if there will be a changing of the guard soon at these institutions as the graying guardians of leftist thought 60’s relics start to retire.

    Even if those that replace them have only an ounce more regard for intellectual honesty and objectivity we will be in mush better shape.

    I guess those on the left are just bitter that they missed individuals with downs syndrome with abortion and that’s why they have such low regard for them.

  • Speaking of leftist university indoctrintation camps Arch-How is Jerry Falwell doing at Liberty U?

  • Arch Conservative

    Actually Jet Liberty U is a private university that does not recieve tax money as oppposed to all of the state schools which do recieve public funding where the moonbat professors use our tax dollars to compare Bush to Hitler, compare the 911 victims to adolph eichman (Ward Churchill) teach revisionist american history and so on.

    Perhaps it would be better if you put a little more thought into you “gotcha” comments Jet.

  • As a religious institution Liberty doesn’t pay taxes on it’s property or income, that’s millions of dollars of government tax dollars out of our pockets.

  • Arch Conservative

    Yes therefore they are still not actually using any tax dollars to run their university Jet. Yet state schools recieve billiosn every year so that ward churchill may call 911 victims “little eichmanns.” Gotta love that huh Jet?

  • To answer you is to validate you. Must be tough driving around when you can only make right turns isn’t it ArchBat?

    Solus mei sententia

  • Arch Conservative

    Validate me?

    The left pretty much has a stranglehold on all thought and speech going on at American universities and you’re whining because Falwell has his own campus free from this leftist tyranny that permeates the educational system like a cancer?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Jet, you know, when Bing is right, he deserves credit for it, as we all do.

    Jerry Falwell’s little “uiversity of rectitude” is not important against the fact that the dumb ididots from the infantile left (the wannabe hippies in the ’60’s who didn’t have the guts to actually drop out of society) do dominate the campuses of your country – and mine as well. They try to warp the thinking of the kids who go there and run the place like the Bolsheviks they wish they were.

  • gonzo marx

    might i syuggest that those of you who like to broad brush paint things that don’t appear to agree with your worldview actually go and have a look, check your facts, and THEN make such pronouncements?

    Bog and JuJu forfend that your prejudicial comfort zone of ideology formed by a grain of Tuth surrounded by self serving propaganda be burst a bit by the actual objective reality…

    that goes for both artificial “sides”

    objects in mirror are closer than they appear…


  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Gonzo, I don’t know if you meant me in your comment, but I have had lots of opportunities tossed at me to at least check the veracity of my comments. In fact, the opportunities thrust themselves at me. I did not realize how dominated campuses in the States were by the infantile left, or how much such a mentality also dominated campuses in Israel.

    It would take an aticle or two to cite all the stuff that was thrust at me (through my e-mail inbox, of course – I don’t want you to think that they came at me like aggressive young women with their bras in their teeth – I’m a married man!).

  • gonzo marx

    and so you take the spam for the reality?

    can i offer you a great deal on a bridge Ruvy?

    no, it wasn’t meant just for you, but for any who are guillible enough to think they know rather than those who find out.

    your example is a perfect case in point…now flip that a moment, if i expressed an opinion on Jerusalem, and used a stereotypical broad brush stroke, but was informed by wha was “thrust at me” in my e-mail box by…let’s say Hamas….do you think that woudl paint a complete and accurate portrait for me?

    or would you advise me to spend some time there , taste the City, and make up my own mind after talking with a wider sampling than just a vociferous minority with good organizational skills backing their agenda?

    just a thought for those that like to sterotype, rather than find out…


  • Arch Conservative


    I have had a look…. and I speak nothing but the truth.

    I have personally been on over 100 American college campuses and observed the intellectual climate which is dominated by far left faculty who indocrtinate studetns.

    There are hundreds upon hundreds of news stories that show how the left attempts to censor any right of center thought at these universities.

    This is the reality of the American university system and if you insist upon denying may I suggest it is you that needs to visit a couple of campuses.

  • gonzo marx

    Bing, what makes you think i haven’t?

    i never said there weren’t both leftist and rightist elements within our american colleges…

    but take your statements and to see just how silly they can be, try and apply them as an axiom to , oh let’s say Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Harvard and Yale…just to toss a few out there.

    my most recent familiarity is with both UNH and the Maine College of Art…in both cases i found quite a bit of “left” leaning ideas….and a suprising amount of “rightist” ideas as well, from both faculty and students…something one woudl consider very strange in a prestigious Art school like MECA, but was just fine…and a subject of contemplation, discussion and debate among the students…

    which is as it should be, yes?

    as for you speaking “nothing but the Truth”, Bing… i’ll take you at your word that you believe such…but my own bservations based on your typing here leads me to think that what you “speak” is a far cry from the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth…

    oh, man…


  • The difference is that ArchBat went there with an agenda to find something, so he did, because that’s what he was looking for… probably all in right turns.

  • Never try to convince me that academia isn’t permeated by the left. When I was going for my doctorate and had to pick a committee of 5 professors out of a department of over 40, I ended up with two marxists on the committee because I could only find 3 out of the whole department who weren’t marxists. And it was a relevant issue in my selection because I was writing on economic history.


  • Ah, you found a few marxists on one campus, that makes them all marxists. Jerry Falwell would be proud of you

  • I never said everyone was a marxist, but they’re certainly there, along with other brands of leftists, and there’s no question that taken together the left absolutely dominates most faculties. This is also true of high schools, of course. At every step of the educational system socialism and leftism are being promoted and literally forced on the students. You don’t get a good grade if you paper isn’t politically correct. Many classes are more like indoctrination than education. Ask the wrong questions and you get singled out for ridicule. It’s like a cancer and it needs to be changed.

    To me teaching a political ideology in school is just as bad as teaching religion there. Education ought to be separate as much as possible from politics and religion and any other form of indoctrination or mental programming.


  • How about this:

    College campuses are full of idealists

    There. Now you all agree. STFU, GBTW.

  • That seems to confirm the theory that the more educated you are the more liberal you are.

    Solus mei sententia

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    If your in-box was full of junk from Hamas, I would advise you (assuming that you couldn’t just drive down to Logan Airport and hop a plane here) to go to somebody else’s site and I’d cite you a few.

    I did that with the uiversities here and in the States – I have grand-nephews in school in the States and hope to send at least one of my kids to university here.

    I don’t mind intelligent socialists trying to enlighten and teach what the system is – its faults and its strengths – and giving examples of systems that either worked and ceased to and why or that work now. That is badly needed in your country. That is what I hoped to find. But I found indoctrinators of the type the Dave Nalle describes.

  • gonzo marx

    funny…i have yet to find an hyonest to goodness marxist in the political sense, or even an actual socialist, outside of europe..

    just me, i guess

    but i tend ot agree with Suss’ earlier statement, and also wanted to add that in america at this point in our history, it’s the idealists who are willing to forgo financial reward for the satisfaction of their jobs who wind up teaching…

    the right wingers are in business to make money

    nuff said


  • Dave Nalle

    That seems to confirm the theory that the more educated you are the more liberal you are.

    This may be true, but there comes a point where you become so liberal that you’re no longer compatible with the American Left, because socialism and communism are basically not liberal philosophies at all.

    The real trend among academics is to become ossified and dogmatic in beliefs that they embraced when they were in college and never matured out of because they lack the real world experience to put their idealism in perspective.


  • Marxists in the USA? Only if they follow Chico or Harpo, not Karl!

  • Arch Conservative

    Can we cut the fucking bullshit?

    We all know that American campuses are dominated by leftist thought and that anything else is often openly and actively frowned upon.

    It’s like saying the sky isn’t blue.

  • Christopher, you forgot Gonzo!

  • indeed I did, Jet; I see Archie’s brief spell of restraint is over. Either that or the meds/booze/weed just ran out!

  • Baronius

    I didn’t get the article’s connection between the academic Left and the eugenics mentality in medicine. Harry says that both of them are motivated by a lack of certainty in one’s beliefs. I think the opposite is true: both are totalitarian. The campus leftist cannot imagine that any intelligent human would disagree with him. He sees the right-winger as mentally or morally inferior. The euthanasia supporter likewise assumes he has the moral authority to decide who lives and who dies. Do you think that both these mindsets share the same assumptions or foundations? If so, why?

  • Oh great! he sums it all up in one paragraph, now what is there to talk about?

  • Baronius,

    I was trying to make the point that neither the academic left nor modern medicine can make a case against medical practices reminiscent of the Nazis. Why? Because their “misgivings about deeper values” are profound. Most of them cannot make a case they believe for accepting one set of values over another. This leaves them with no answer to oppose someone who wants to abort a child simply because the child is female, which is the most likely reason for abortion today, global statistics suggest.

  • Baronius

    Gotcha. Thanks.

  • Arch Conservative

    “Most of them cannot make a case they believe for accepting one set of values over another. ”

    Harry, I believe the term is “moral relativity.” The belief that right and wrong are illusory concepts regardless of what they are being applied to.

  • I think he’s quoting Anita Bryant.. either that or Phylis Schafley

  • Arch Conservative

    As usual Jet comes out of left field with an off the cuff remark in response to something that was never even mentioned by any poster in this thread. Why is it so difficult for some to actually respond to something that was actually said?

    You said that leftists have misgivings about deeper values Harry. How do you think they actually reconcile these misgivings in life’s situations that concern “deeper values?’

  • THe issue doesn’t concern personal decisions, but the relationship of values to law. I believe that generally the left envisons a law that is ‘neutral’ with respect to values, but such a code of law would have no content.

    The way that the left has stripped our law of recognition of gender differences (except for laws concerning rape and affirmative action!) is typical. Even marriage law in Massachusetts is now gender-blind.

  • gonzo marx

    Harry sez…
    *THe issue doesn’t concern personal decisions, but the relationship of values to law. I believe that generally the left envisons a law that is ‘neutral’ with respect to values, but such a code of law would have no content.*

    i must respectfully disagree on soOOOoOOOoooOOOoo much here, but we will start with the quoted line, shall we?

    it appears to me that ALL you are looking at are “personal decision” in which you place a moral value and want the law to reflect your stated values in this respect according to your doctrine…is this a reasonable assessment?

    now, i have a problem with some of that, form a strictly libertarian point of view

    firstly…NO ONE can legislate morality…ethics can be codified under the Rule of Law…but the “values” of a “morality” in large part are internal to a religious or social code that has NOTHING to do with desirabel Law, or a consistent code of ethics

    i know that’s not too easy to follow, so let me cite a few examples for the sake of discussion…

    there are many who think it is moral to protest outside a clinic…and by their code it very well maqy be, and that is acceptabel under our rule of Law…however, Ethics state that before you go and spend time and money imposing your “values” unasked, one woudl be far better served spending that time with LIVING children, supporting an orphanage or volunteernig that time to a “big brother/sister” type of organization…

    another would be a portion of those folks who decry the death of some cells,l yet vociferously advocate the Death penalty over lifetime incarceration…or pre-emptive war over negotiations and sanctions.

    i heard a minister speaking on some of this, and i was incredulous that this well educated “man of god” was all for, and advocating the concept of “it’s better to fight them over there than over here”…as if the lives of Iraqi civilians were worth LESS than anyone else’s

    i don’t know of anyone, “left” or “right” who have aproblem with folks following the dictates of their Faith in their daily lives…

    but THEIR “faith” is NOT a basis fo rthe Rule of Law, it’s implications, legislation or enforcement

    we’ll leave that up to folks like the Taliban, shall we?


  • VERY well put, Gonzo… slightly mispelled (like I have room to talk) but very well put!!!

    Solus mei sententia

  • Arch Conservative

    The way that the left has stripped our law of recognition of gender differences

    Except for when the left wants to invent new genders like “transgender.”

    Leftist zealots at a local university in NH here have demanded that the univ offer “transgender” restrooms.

    I am sorry but if you are so psychologically damaged that you seek to define you as transgender society has no obligation to accomodate you.