Saturday, March 7, 2009

Do they owe us a living?

Life is short. Throughout history normal people wasted their lives in a meaningless existence as they toiled hard to earn a living. The average life expectancy till the modern age in Europe was 30-35. For most life was a very brutal affair. And in large parts of Europe this state of affairs persisted till the post war period. It still persists in most of the world.
Social democracy restored dignity to human life by creating mechanisms which made a basic decent living a conditional right. This right remained conditional because the mechanisms of the welfare state remained tied to the logic and fluctuations of capitalist economies.
Surely capitalism created prosperity and wealth which made life more worth living. Apart from many useless gadgets, the productive forces unleashed by capitalism have created the net, mobile telephony and so many other inventions which improve our quality of life.
We have to admit that despite the current crisis we have no viable alternative to a capitalist economy. But now that bankers' risks are being socialised, it is also the time to socialise the risks faced by everyone of us living in this dangerous world.
The current crisis has exposed the fragility of our existence. For the plans and dreams of many can be shattered in a single stroke.
The left still has the historic mission of making social rights unconditional... as entrenched as all other freedoms we value.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The sanctity of cellular life

Why should Malta's secular parliament seek moral guidance from a priest on the theme of assisted procreation?
Am not saying that politicians guided by Catholic principles should not vote according to their beliefs.
But they should take responsibility of their actions without seeking legitimacy by inviting theologians to address parliament. If they want to check what the church's position they should do their own homework. If they do not want IVF they should tell childless couples that they do not want them to have children because of the sanctity of the egg.
On the other hand the concern of secular legislators should be that of protecting womens' health and giving childless couples some hope. Nobody is doing that job, neither inside nor outside parliament.
Instead it seems that the only ethical concerns of all political parties revolve around the rights of cellular life. They know that the more eggs you implant, the greater the risk of multiple pregnancies. They all know that IVF can only be safe for women if freezing of eggs is allowed. But who cares?
The more I hear these things the more am disappointed by the dismal state of Maltese politics where everyone pontificates on the rights of eggs while neglecting the rights of adult human beings.
This is the same country which jails illegal immigrants for 18 months in conditions which have caused international outrage and where some politicians have no qualms on sending migrants back to Somalia or Darfur.