Human Exceptionalism

Discard Human Exceptionalism and You Discard Universal Human Rights

I  am very concerned that too many of us complacently believe that the reigning societal value under which we were raised–the sanctity/equality of human life–continues to control society. But that is no longer true. We are in the midst of an attempted coup de culture that seeks to supplant human exceptionalism with a toxic mix of utilitarianism/hedonism/radical environmentalism-scientism as the sources of our personal values and public policies.

Thus, I take every chance offered to issue the warning.  Today, I have a piece up over at the Church Report, in which I assert that rejecting human exceptionalism is to reject human freedom. From “Knocking Human Beings Off the Pedestal of Exceptionalism:”

Society’s belief in the unique moral value and importance of human life is under unprecedented assault. Most people still believe in human exceptionalism and are unaware that powerful social and cultural forces are working diligently to dismantle the sanctity of life ethic as the fundamental value of our social order.  But the time has come to pay attention.  If human life is knocked off the pedestal, universal human rights will be impossible to sustain.

I get into issues many people don’t dwell upon; bioethics and personhood theory, animal rights “panience,” materialistic Darwinism’s “species differences are irrelevant,” and radical environmentalism’s casting of us as the villains of the planet–all of which we have discussed here at SHS.  Then, I close with this warning:

These, and other, attacks on human exceptionalism are profoundly dangerous to human life and liberty. It is our unique moral status in the known universe that gives rise to both universal (human) rights. It is the sanctity of life ethic that compels us to care for the weak, vulnerable, and elderly among us.

Either we all matter equally, simply and merely because we are human—or our value becomes relative, our rights, and indeed, our continued existence—determined by the reigning power structure of the day.  After all, if we are merely another animal in the forest—or worse, the planet’s enemies—why should any of us be treated as if we have any special meaning at all?

I’m tellin’ y’all, I know what I am talking about here. Let us hope that forewarned is forearmed.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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