Monday, September 8, 2008

ethically musing

Classes are starting up. Wills, Trusts, & Estates starts this week, Ethics next month, and Legal Research and Family Law the end of next month.

I always trip in lecturing in my head at this time of year. Start stalking the talk. The start of an Ethics class came to mind.

An egg is fertilized. The fertilized egg will subdivide and, left uninterrupted and disease- or condition-free, will create a life complete with a functioning brain, heart, and circulatory system. Eyes will see the world and interact.

To interrupt that process is to cease the development of life itself. Call it murder or a choice; it is inarguable that the development of life has been halted.

Every day, the development process is interrupted. Every day someone yells “murder” or “choice.”

Drive to the grocery store in virtually town and you can see the result. Stacked in the refrigerated section in cartons of 12 or 18 is the very evidence of life interrupted.

Am I drawing some moral equivalency between a human abortion to a chicken egg? Of course not. But think of it from the chicken’s perspective. It is one in the same. Perhaps a chicken cannot intellectualize the issue, but it is, mechanically at least, the same. I know, the rumor is that chickens look up to the sky during a rain storm and drown – or is that domesticated turkeys?

But the issue is this: Given the same act but with different surrounding facts, we can have a robust political argument over one – human abortion – but rarely see the irony in doing so over breakfast.

While there is no measurable equivalency between the human and chicken, I use the example because they may be viewed as similar yet so far apart that the differences are obvious. In ethics, sometimes the differences between two or more courses of action is just as obvious – other times we need to work to find the differences because two courses of action may seem quite close.

But the result is the same. Each course of action is different. Each course of action can be compared and contrasted to another.

Think about that as you fry up some eggs next time …

I don’t know if I’ll use it. Just writing …

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