IN Crime and Punishment, Rodion Raskolnikov ignores his own conscience and commits murder to expedite a perceived good. In his heart, Raskolnikov knows that to kill the old lady is a grave sin. No matter how contemptible his victim, and the benefits that may arise, his scruples still know better. Dostoevsky’s masterpiece is hailed as a warning against the pitfalls of this very utilitarian thinking.
Russia did of course succumb to a utilitarian ideology with catastrophic consequences. The Soviets were all too eager to commit evil against their fellow man, justified by their vision for a new and better world. Acknowledging the inherent value of all human life would have created a hurdle on the path towards the utopia.
The recognition of the inherent value and dignity of all human life is a cornerstone of Christian morality. Jesus of course said ‘inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’ (Matthew 25:40).
Further, the idea that one can commit wicked acts for a perceived net benefit is condemned in scripture. St Paul writes to the Romans: ‘And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come?”’
English common law is a manifestation of the Christian imperative to accept the inherent value of all humans. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, or as William Blackstone put it, ‘it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer’.
To infringe upon the dignity of all human life for utilitarian ends runs counter to the values espoused by those in medical professions. Those working in health care are bound to respect the inherent worth of all humans. Health care workers must value their patients’ choices, insofar as the patient should be able to direct their own care. They must ensure the patient’s right to informed consent, the right to decline treatment, and the right to medical autonomy. A doctor may feel that he/she knows best for a patient, but this must not supersede the patient’s right to make decisions with regard to his/her own body.
Despite the hitherto sanctity of these rights, many now see them as an inconvenience. A large number of the populace, including many in the health sector, are willing to dispense with these principles for utilitarian ends. For some, informed consent and medical autonomy are barriers to the fully vaccinated sunlit uplands that surely await.
Raskolnikov reasoned his way into wrongdoing and took his first steps on the road to perdition. A costly price is inevitably paid for breaching one’s own values and principles, regardless of one’s justifications.
Those flirting with the idea of mandatory vaccination are not only immunologically ill informed, but are flagrantly tossing aside the values on which our health care system is predicated. Those willing to engage in medical coercion are eroding the principles to which we owe our liberty and prosperity.
To return to Russia, many of the revolution’s greatest cheerleaders found themselves in the Gulag. Before long, the mandatory vaxxers will find themselves coerced into accepting a pharmaceutical that they would rather avoid.
Do not casually dispose of the values that have successfully served you and your society.