Will the University of Nebraska Place Human Dignity above Knowledge?
The University of Nebraska is debating whether to ban experimentation on human embryos, a move that is earning them fierce criticism on the part of some, and high praises from others.
This piece of news is no less than historic.
An American institution of higher education is considering that human dignity may just be the one thing more important than the otherwise unbridled pursuit of knowledge. In secular academia today, this pursuit is the only "self evident truth" and is the absolute, unyielding criteria for an educational institution to be truly "academic." Of course, to be truly academic is not the same as being purely academic. Unfortunately, secular academia has for many decades equated the two, insisting that "ideology" of any sort (including morality and ethics) is at odds with the purposes of higher education.
Let me be clear: ideology is most certainly a retardant to inquiry. It places limits on our methods, especially on legal and ethical grounds. U.S. law does not permit, for example, involuntary experimentation on humans (with the exception of those in their embryonic stage of development, thanks to President Obama). The question is, Are the ideals of pagan academics compatible with the ideals on which civilized society are built, namely, the dignity of the individual person?
This issue is a microcosm of one of the basic tensions intentionally built into the U. S. Rule of Law: the tension of freedom and ethics, one ethic of which is justice. Far too many Americans forget that America is not simply the land of the "free." It is also the land of the just. For one person's freedom is another person's bondage. Freedom has limits, because the unrestrained expression of our whims and impulses is anarchy, resulting in an infinite potentiality of terror. No, America is not the land of unrestrained, limitless freedom. And insofar as institutions of higher learning insist on casting off all restraint on their pursuit of knowledge they are at odds with the spirit—and Constitution—of America.