By now, a majority of people are aware, in some capacity or other, of the recent videos documenting Planned Parenthood’s participation in baby body-part trafficking. This alone is remarkable considering the lack of attention given it by mainstream media. Apparently uncovering a verifiable, real-life house of horrors involving the ripped-apart limbs of babies is not Kim Kardashian-enough to keep people’s attention for longer than 3.4 seconds. Nevertheless, most people are aware that some videos have come out.
The responses to the videos have tended in various directions. Some pro-life advocates have expressed outrage, calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood and pointing to the horrors shown in the videos. Some pro-abortion activists have expressed similar indignation, with their ire aimed at the savage monsters daring to expose the inner workings of child slaughterhouses. Hillary Clinton recently referred to pro-life Republicans as terrorists for standing in the way of women’s rights. Terrorists. Apparently the current Democratic frontrunner has found some profound similarities between those persons who oppose the murder of unborn children and those radical Islamists on the other side of the world plotting the downfall of the United States and teaching their 12-year-old children to saw off people’s heads. It’s an amusing comparison, for sure, but I just don’t see it. The irony here, of course, is that the actual terrorists are the abortionists, systematically taking the lives of a million Americans each year.
It seems that there will always be people supporting Planned Parenthood. They will continue to appeal to all the good things Planned Parenthood does, despite the fact that nothing could possibly be more irrelevant to the current conversation. 20,000 STD screenings per day don’t justify a single abortion. A person can’t just take a bunch of little goods, add them up, and negate a giant evil; it doesn’t work like that. But even the outing of Planned Parenthood as an organization that participates in fetal body part trafficking hasn’t been enough to be deter the support of some.
But perhaps the most perplexing response to the videos has come from the vast majority of Americans who have responded with complete and utter indifference. There are not too many people left who are unfamiliar with the videos, even if few have actually watched them or read the transcripts. A majority, at the very least, are at least aware of their existence.
Maybe it’s just me, but I expected more from our country. I expected that when it came to light that a federally funded organization was committing federal crimes, more of the general public would be frowning with disapproval. Some are, but a lot are not. I hoped I would see more news stories. I expected the revelations in the videos would be shocking and grotesque enough to stir people out of their indifference. I would’ve thought I’d see more trending stories about Planned Parenthood floating around on social media. I expected something, anything, to happen. But now, even with the revelation that Planned Parenthood is shipping whole, intact fetuses to be used for research, it appears as though nothing will happen. Nothing. We will watch videos of things that take place in horror movies, concede that it’s happening in real life, and move on with our days.
In my opinion, the reason behind the indifference is that we, as a society, have fallen prey to the sickness of selfism. We are, collectively, too engrossed in our own lives, chasing our own wants, harnessing our own abilities, to be bothered with an epidemic of baby-killing. Selfism has become such a part of us that we hardly even recognize its presence in us, much less that it might be a problem. We have been indoctrinated into it, and nobody is immune. To greater or lesser degrees, we have all been infected.
The Plague of Selfism
Selfism, a first-cousin of relativism, is an ideology in which each person puts his or her own desires above all else. It can be considered radical devotion to self-interest, and it becomes a sickness so debilitating that it allows us to come face-to-face with videos documenting the trafficking of human body parts and yet not pay any attention. Our culture is slowly succumbing to this illness, and I rue the day we have been totally overtaken. You might assert that day has already arrived, and I wouldn’t be able to muster much of an argument against it.
Selfism has devoured us, eaten away at us like a cancer designed to slowly eradicate the country of any shred of morality. It started slow, with the psychological concepts of individuation, self-expression, and self-acceptance. Eventually it continued to metastasize and the idea of self-fulfillment was elevated to the level of supreme importance. It became self-preservation taken to the extreme. We all want good things for ourselves, but when we continue to focus solely on ourselves to the neglect of others, we place ourselves on pedestals. When we do this, we have perverted the natural order. We were not made for self-worship, we were made for God-worship. But radical devotion to self-interest has become a sort of new, universal religion. It’s a religion where truth doesn’t matter. Not a real religion, mind you, but a dumbed-down, false, hollow caricature of a religion.
If self-worship is the new religion, then we become the gods. And when we become the gods, then abortion has to be the highest sacrament. It must be. It’s where we exercise control over life and death, and this is how we land on the doorstep of Planned Parenthood. Selfism requires us to be okay with abortion. If our own wishes and fulfillment are sacrosanct, it follows that anything that stands in the way needs to be removed, and that includes unplanned pregnancies. Before you know it, we are funding organizations who will help women take the life of their own child, choosing between life and death for their own offspring. It’s like a myth where we have discovered the fatal flaw of the main character. We watch sadly as our once-great country descends into moral ambiguity, and we witness the destruction of life at the hands of those who are supposed to be protecting it. Except it’s not a myth, it’s reality, and it’s happening all around us right now.
It’s clear that selfism has even infiltrated religion. A person could argue that Christianity is still the predominant religion in the United States and, technically, he or she would be right. But look around and you will see Christians adhering to their faith only so long as it suits them. A great number have been led to believe that they can reject whatever is displeasing to them doctrinally, and at the end of the day, all that matters is their own fulfillment. But this is not Christianity, it’s selfism, plain and simple. Only a selfist would presume to think he could pick and choose whatever bullet points of a religion he would like to follow and ignore the rest.
Like any disease or sickness, selfism comes with symptoms, and it’s clear that the defining symptom selfism is indifference to evil. We have become so radically devoted to our own self-interest that it is hard for us to express genuine concern for other people, even when they are being killed, tortured, or otherwise cast aside as less-than-human beings with no rights or protections. If it’s not about us, we are not required to pay attention. If it’s inconvenient, like a stack of aborted baby body parts, we can simply ignore it and recite some catchphrase like “It doesn’t affect me”.
It’s not that selfists can’t care about others, or that they can’t have a moral order. They can. But the difference is that they don’t have to. Any moral code espoused by a selfist is essentially meaningless, as they can cease adhering to it whenever they would like. They could pretend that they are motivated by the common good, or love of neighbor, and perhaps they are. But it is not required of them. In fact, the only thing required of a selfist is the on-going pursuit of whatever he or she deems important for self-fulfillment at that time.
A Damaging Ideology
The ideology of selfism is terrifying in its implications. Imagine a world where everybody was his or her own god. Perhaps the most frightening of all the implications is the loss of an objective moral order. If we are the gods of our own lives, it follows that nobody can tell us whether something we are doing is right or wrong. We can justify virtually anything. We can excuse any behavior. This makes perfect sense. We have no objective moral order to fall back on, and so when we see piles of aborted baby limbs, we shrug and say “Well, women’s rights”, or “Who am I to judge?” Selfism is perhaps the most damaging ideology known to the modern world. We have forgotten how to genuinely take responsibility for other people. In some sense, we have forgotten that we have any responsibility to anybody else at all.
It’s pretty easy to see how selfism leads us to the doorsteps of Planned Parenthood. Really, it can’t NOT lead us there. The moment we acknowledge that abortion is morally abominable, we have appealed to a standard of morality, a standard that necessarily has been put in place by a power greater than ourselves, and this sentiment is anathema in a world consumed by selfism. To suggest that there is an objective, moral order is to be bigoted, hateful, and intolerant. What people who hurl these epithets are really saying, under all the selfism disguised as tolerance, is “If Person A has decided that behavior B is right for him or her, then it must be true”. In the saddest of juxtapositions, that which is seen as objective, morally upright or religious is now deemed by our society to be profane and something to be derided.
A society consumed by selfism will always have a relative moral order. At that point, the destruction of the society is inevitable. It’s foolish to suggest that a society could survive when its citizens are bound by no objective moral order.
But there is still a chance to still save our dying, relativistic society, and we have to act. The answer to the problem of self-worship is, of course, God-worship, and I suggest we turn our attention there. God alone has the power to make things new again, to change hearts and minds, and to bring about a renewal of our culture. He alone is Truth, and in Him we ultimately find our fulfillment. Not in ourselves, not on Facebook, and certainly not on the doorsteps of Planned Parenthood.
So let’s immerse ourselves in prayer and humble worship. Before it’s too late.