Ethical blind spotsFor the entire article, click here.
When I traveled to Auschwitz a few years ago, one question played over and over in my mind: Did they know? Did the German people know what was happening in this camp near their own border, in their own occupied territories? With the trains coming and going year after year, with the long lines of prisoners and the billowing smokestacks, did they just turn a blind eye to the atrocities? Had they become desensitized to the point that they could no longer see the carefully choreographed death operations nearby?
Some concentration camps, like the one in Dachau, were set in comfortable suburbs right inside Germany itself, and the townsfolk could stroll past them during their daily routine. The grass in those suburbs continued to grow as green as anywhere else, young people got married, babies were born, men went to work, and life went on.
Walking through a place like Dachau or Auschwitz, one wonders: could it ever happen again? Could a similar scenario play out today in middle-class America? Most would instinctively say “no” -- after all, we live in a more enlightened time and culture. A more perceptive eye, however, can discern troubling parallels. Nowhere are these parallels more evident than in the bioethical issues of our day. Our society, in fact, faces virtually the same temptation that Germany did: the temptation to normalize certain well-scripted death operations in the midst of polite society.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Father Tadeusz on Moral Blindness
Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk has yet another of his excellent reflections over at the Boston Pilot. Below are the opening paragraphs to whet your appetite.