The View From 1776
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Morality is not Ideology
Marxists and other liberals place religious or ethical dictates about the sanctity of life under the negative category of ‘ideologies.’ They believe that there is no reality beyond the material conditions of society controlled by the regulations of the political state.
Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro contends that religion and morality are “an ideological agenda that undermines science and the public health.”
The quotation appears in a February 22, 2006, article in the Hartford Courant and my local newspaper, The Stamford Advocate, headlined “Advocates, Officials Want `Morning-After Pill’ Widely Available.”
The lead paragraphs tell us, “The culture war over emergency contraceptives has heated up on several fronts in recent weeks, with battles fought in pharmacies, state legislatures, political campaigns and Congress.
“On Tuesday, advocates for sexual assault victims called on Connecticut lawmakers to require that all Connecticut hospitals - including the state’s four Roman Catholic hospitals - provide emergency contraception to rape victims.”
Further along in the article we are informed, “In Washington, meanwhile, lawmakers such as Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, have urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to adopt recommendations made by its own advisory committee more than two years ago and make Plan B available without a prescription.
“Democrats say the FDA bowed to pressure from conservative groups in delaying approval of over-the-counter emergency contraceptives.
“There is no reasonable medical evidence to support the FDA’s delay, only an ideological agenda that undermines science and the public health,” DeLauro said Tuesday. “The FDA must not allow ideology to supersede public health.”
DeLauro is saying that belief in the primacy of human life undermines science and the public health. How does this square with the Hippocratic Oath, the classical version of which contains the following paragraph?
“I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.”
Moreover, the Wikipedia describes the Hippocratic Oath as, “...an oath traditionally taken by physicians, in which certain ethical guidelines are laid out.” In other words, ethics lie at the heart of the practice of medicine. because sick people are in varying degrees at the mercy of the physician.
Additional light on this aspect is found in Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland’s “Maimonides,” a biographical and doctrinal interpretation of the life and teachings of the Jewish world’s most towering figure of the Middle Ages. People know of Maimonides as an authoritative interpreter of the the Talmud and other Jewish scriptures. Less well known is that he was also a justly famous medical doctor.
Dr. Nuland is a clinical professor of surgery at Yale University Medical School, where he also teaches bioethics and medical history. He writes that, in the “Ethics of the Fathers” sections of his “Commentary on the Mishnah,” Maimonides articulates a theme that appeared repeatedly in his writings:
“..[the purpose of wealth] should be to expend it for noble purposes, and to employ it for the maintenance of the body and the preservation of life, so that its owner may obtain a knowledge of God, in so far as that is vouchsafed unto man. From this point of view, the study of medicine has a very great influence on the acquisition of the virtues and of the knowledge of God, as well as on the attainment of true spiritual happiness. Therefore, its study and acquisition are pre-eminently important religious activities.”
Congresswoman DeLauro’s diametrically opposed use of the term ideology to dismiss the ethical side of medicine, one may conjecture, derives from its usage by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to represent metaphysical, or spiritual, concepts as fictional ignorance, in contrast to the materialistic forces of the atheistic world of socialism.
DeLauro is an apostate Roman Catholic who, after graduating from Marymount College, migrated to the London School of Economics and Columbia University, both major institutions for the advancement of socialism and other doctrines arising from atheistic materialism. Subsequently she became executive director of EMILY’s List, an organization open only to women who are members of the Democratic Party or the Australian Labor Party and who are advocates for abortion.