The Value of a Human Life

"I think it's important to promote a culture of life. I think a hospitable society is a society where every being counts and every person matters." George W. Bush, October 13, 2004
Throughout his Presidency, Bush has promoted what he likes to call a "culture of life," by which he means a culture in which abortion is illegal. The phrase "culture of life" comes from Pope John Paul II's encyclical Evangelium Vitae (1995). But the Pope included in that phrase a much more generous idea of reverence for life, including opposition to the death penalty and care for the natural environment which supports life on this planet. American evangelicals and “pro-life” political conservatives take a much more narrow view, and focus on the single hot-button issue of abortion. But even in the womb, children are exposed to increasing levels of toxins that put their health and development at risk. They are born into a world in which the diversity of life is rapidly diminishing and global climate change is endangering the long-term prospects for all life on the planet.

Of course, since Bush took office, between 85,000 and 100,000 civilian lives have been lost in Iraq. If anything, Bush has created a culture of death. And here's the latest irony. Under President Bush, the Environmental Protection Agency has lowered the value of a "statistical life." The value of a statistical life is used by the agency to run cost-benefit analyses on proposed environmental regulations. While Bush has promoted a "culture of life," his administration has actually lowered—by close to $1 million in the past five years—the official value of an individual American life.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hero Now Theatre's Production of "Oresteia" (adapted by Rob Hardy from the original by Aeschylus)

New Publication: "Bee Line: How the Honey Bee Defined the American Frontier"