Who has a right to life? De Marco discusses a 1941 Barbara Stanwyck movie where it is clearly inferred that no one has the right to decide who should live and who should be killed. Not so now: Peter Singer, for example, supports the killing of babies who do not possess a "preferential state". In other words, there are useless individuals who are a drain on society and ought to be got rid of. At least, Singer is consistent when it comes to promoting his utilitarian views.
De Marco superbly comments on a piece entitled " Should Pope Francis rethink abortion?" by Dr Gary Gutting of Notre Dame University. According to Dr Gutting, Pope Francis should make exceptions to the rule that the intentional killing of innocent human life is intrinsically evil. He cites a famous article by Judith Jarvis Thomson which compares a pregnant woman to a kidnapped violinist. As De Marco notes, there can be no such comparison. Central to Gutting's position is the metaphysically illicit distinction between a human and a "potential human". But, as De Marco notes, potentiality does not exist without a being in act which contains potentiality. In other words, the human zygote is a human being with potential.
De Marco writes about the troubling case of Professor Bogdan Chazan, one of Poland's leading medical doctors. His hospital's perinatal mortality rate is twice as low as the average in Poland and he has been a champion of women's health throughout the world. Yet he was found guilty of using Poland's conscience clause improperly as not only did he refuse to do an abortion but he failed to refer the woman to a doctor who would.
On marriage, De Marco writes with wonderful clarity: "Most apple trees, but not all, produce apples. Most marriages, but not all, produce children...by participating in the nature of marriage, a couple is oriented toward an openness to life".
De Marco notes that there are two prevailing philosophies that are pernicious to marriage. One is relativism which holds that the value of anything is not inherent in the thing itself but is entirely subjective. I can therefore choose to re-define marriage to suit my own needs. The second is deconstructionism which maintains that notions such as "man", "woman" and "marriage" have been arbitrarily constructed and can therefore be de-constructed and re-constructed.
These are a series of superb, easy to read and pithy essays on some of the critical subjects of the day. Dr De Marco helps us stay sane in a world that has gone mad.