May 7, 2008

WHEN ENDIVES CRY (via Jim Siegel):

The Silent Scream of the Asparagus: Get ready for 'plant rights.' (Wesley J. Smith, 05/12/2008, Weekly Standard)

You just knew it was coming: At the request of the Swiss government, an ethics panel has weighed in on the "dignity" of plants and opined that the arbitrary killing of flora is morally wrong. This is no hoax. The concept of what could be called "plant rights" is being seriously debated.

A few years ago the Swiss added to their national constitution a provision requiring "account to be taken of the dignity of creation when handling animals, plants and other organisms." No one knew exactly what it meant, so they asked the Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology to figure it out. The resulting report, "The Dignity of Living Beings with Regard to Plants," is enough to short circuit the brain.

A "clear majority" of the panel adopted what it called a "biocentric" moral view, meaning that "living organisms should be considered morally for their own sake because they are alive." Thus, the panel determined that we cannot claim "absolute ownership" over plants and, moreover, that "individual plants have an inherent worth." This means that "we may not use them just as we please, even if the plant community is not in danger, or if our actions do not endanger the species, or if we are not acting arbitrarily."

The committee offered this illustration: A farmer mows his field (apparently an acceptable action, perhaps because the hay is intended to feed the farmer's herd--the report doesn't say). But then, while walking home, he casually "decapitates" some wildflowers with his scythe. The panel decries this act as immoral, though its members can't agree why.

Well, as Friend Siegel points out, Switzerland is synonymous with cuckoo.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 7, 2008 8:11 AM

Somehow I get the feeling that such concerns for life aren't applied by these folks to the unborn or the elderly.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 7, 2008 9:06 AM

Like Princeton's Peter Singer ("kill the disabled"), they are merely following their world-view to its logical end.

Posted by: Gideon7 at May 7, 2008 9:17 AM

This is grievous, pagan apostasy.

Posted by: Lou Gots at May 7, 2008 9:31 AM

The only living thing should be eradicated are humans. May be those folks can start eating their babies, and disables to save animals and plants.

Posted by: ic at May 7, 2008 12:49 PM