Changing the Definition of “Death” Turns Human Beings Into Exploitable Commodities: Commentary

Maintaining the concept of “death” as a biological, rather than sociological, event is one of the few remaining impediments to exploiting the most weak and vulnerable among as mere natural resources. If death can be “redefined”–an ongoing project in bioethics–to include the end of the subjective concept of being a “person,” then the unborn–supposedly, not yet persons–and those who through injury or illness have lost the ability to express personhood, can be deemed dead, or perhaps better stated, as good as dead. This issue is discussed regularly above the public’s awareness in bioethics and medical journals. Every once in a while, I think it worth the time to bring some of this advocacy to a wider readership to alert my readers to what the elites in bioethics would like to impose upon us. From, “The Death of Human Beings,” by bioethicist N. Emmerich, in the medical journal, QVM: When we say that someone has died, we do not merely mean that some biological entity no longer functions. We mean that they, some unique mind or person, understood as a cognitive phenomena or psychological entity, has ceased to exist. Despite being a non-biological term, personhood admits of the application of the terms life and death and, furthermore, reflects the ordinary meaning of the terms. We should think very seriously about the consequences of changing death from the irreversible biological end of the integrated organism, to the subjective determination that personhood and relevant “capacities” have ceased. It would mean that clearly alive individuals could become exploitable–or used instrumentally–in the same way as we do biologically dead bodies now. That wouldn’t just...

Austria Court Refuses to Rule Hiasl the Chimp a Person

An Austrian court just refused to declare him a person. This is good news, but animal liberationists who seek his entry into the moral community of humans will keep at it in Austria and elsewhere until they find a court radical enough to presume to redefine personhood to include animals. From AP: He’s now got a human name–Matthew Hiasl Pan–but he’s having trouble getting his day in court. Animal rights activists campaigning to get Pan, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, legally declared a person vowed 27Sept to take their challenge to Austria’s Supreme Court after a lower court threw out their latest appeal. Silly lead to the story: Hiasl only has a name because it was given to him by humans. We do that kind of thing, for ourselves and for animals. It is part of what we, unlike any other species, do. AP: A provincial judge in the city of Wiener Neustadt dismissed the case earlier this week, ruling that the Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories had no legal standing to argue on the chimp’s behalf. The association, which worries the shelter caring for the chimp might close, has been pressing to get Pan declared a “person” so a guardian can be appointed to look out for his interests and provide him with a home. Is that the real reason? No, they want him named a person so they can utterly upset the human/animal apple cart and destroy our belief in human exceptionalism. [AP, posted by Wesley J. Smith,...