Posted on March 30, 2018
Cannibalism becomes too familiar
If somebody whose diet consists of vegetables is called a vegetarian, then calling oneself a humanitarian may soon take on a new meaning. Consider the following three news stories, all of which have been reported during the past month:
* A Japanese ambassador angrily denies an internet rumor, which probably originated from a spoof website, that Japan had legalized cannibalism, and that there was a popular Tokyo restaurant called “Edible Brother” where human flesh was sold.
* In Latvia, a “performance artist” posts a Facebook video in which he appears to cut pieces of flesh from the backs of two volunteers, fry them in a pan, and feed them to those same people, mimicking the brain-eating scene from the movie Hannibal.
* An article in The Independent speculates that lab-grown “human meat” could be produced and fed to people, causing atheist Richard Dawkins to rejoice that we may soon “overcome our taboo against cannibalism.”
Coincidence? Not likely, at least not smack in the middle of what pop culture historians will one day call the “Zombie Era,” in which everybody who used to be somebody is eating somebody else. In movies, television and video games, representations of people eating people have gone from shocking to mundane inside of a decade.
That such debasement of humanity fails to elicit horror in entertainment anymore should come as no surprise, given the way it’s been winked at in the real world. Almost three years ago, executives from Planned Parenthood were recorded casually discussing their organization’s procurement and sale of fetal body parts over lunch. “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver,” explained PP senior director Deborah Nucatola, while pecking away at a salad. In another video, medical director Mary Gatter sat in a restaurant booth while offering to “use a less crunchy technique to get more whole [fetal organ] specimens.” Not only have these and other horrors not meant the demise of the world’s largest chain of abortion clinics, but it continues to enjoy taxpayer subsidies to the tune of over a half-billion dollars a year.
The latest advance in the euthanasia movement is to couple the practice with organ harvesting. This began, predictably enough, in the Netherlands and Belgium, and by last year it spread to Canada. People who are not otherwise dying are getting guilt-tripped into consenting to their own killing, by being told that they’re worth more dead than alive. Nobody has yet proposed that the remainder of the deceased’s bodies be processed into green wafers, but can that really be so far behind?
For the purpose of producing more easily transplantable organs, euthanasia activists are suggesting that those people consenting to the donations actually be killed by the act of having their vital organs removed. The “live organ transplants” sketch from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life may soon become a reality, and it won’t be any funnier this time around.
Fertility clinics create countless “extra” human embryos without consideration of the ethical consequences. Destructive experimentation on these cryogenically preserved human beings is justified on the flimsy basis that they’re “going to be discarded anyway.” Mind you, these embryos have no expiration dates, and are not about to die unless somebody actively kills them. If human meat is to be produced from stem cells in laboratories, then one might argue that every clinic freezer is a bottomless food supply.
The point of all this is not that cannibalism is about to become part of our everyday lives, but only that we are in danger of it being destigmatized. We cannot accept a utilitarian view of human life at its extremities without it infecting humanity as a whole. Once we endorse the sacrificing of one innocent human being for another, neither of them any longer has any human rights. There are simply those people who are valued by those who have power over them, and those who are not, and one of the former can join the ranks of the latter in a heartbeat. By this point, people are mere objects, which may be freely destroyed, dissected or even eaten, just as long as these things are done in order to serve some megalomaniac’s idea of the greater good.
It’s not so outlandish that a restaurant could become a trendy destination for avant-garde foodies by serving human meat. It could even sign an endorsement deal with Anthony Hopkins, and sell tee-shirts that say, “I survived dinner at Hannibal’s.”
Just don’t serve it with fava beans. Those things are nasty.
The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press