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Did modern philosophy lay the foundation for these horrible crimes?

The recent horrific deaths of children may be connected to the abandonment of natural law

By on Thursday, 1 August 2013

The mattress Daniel Pelka was forced to sleep on (West Midlands Police/PA Wire

The mattress Daniel Pelka was forced to sleep on (West Midlands Police/PA Wire

It has happened again. First there was Peter Connolly, and now there is the case of Daniel Pelka, both children tortured to death by their mothers and their mothers’ “partners”.

In the case of Peter Connolly, much opprobrium focused on the social workers who should have prevented his death but failed to do so; in particular the unfortunate Sharon Shoesmith got the blame. People always look for someone to blame, but in these cases surely the blame must lie with the perpetrators, though important questions must be asked about all those professionals who saw signs of abuse but who failed to save the child. Daniel was at school: his teachers saw he was starving, we are told. That raises questions.

But the questions about the failures of “the system” may serve to mask some other more profound questions that we would rather not face. The system exists to deal with emergencies; but how do these emergencies arise? Both Daniel Pelka and Peter Connolly were living with men who were not their biological fathers. No doubt sociologists can fill us in on this one, but the implication of this seems clear: children are more likely to be mistreated in such a family set up than in a traditional one.

However, immediately one thinks of Mick and Mairead Philpott, who were actually married in a Catholic church; and one notes that in all three cases, the perpetrators were Catholic or from Catholic backgrounds.

To kill any child is an unnatural crime; one is supposed to nurture and look after children, who cannot, after all, survive, without adult care. To kill one’s own child is particularly unnatural. Here I am invoking the concept of natural law, which many contemporary commentators tell us is an outdated and outmoded concept, and one that has no sound basis anyway.

Well, against the current of modern philosophy, I believe an “ought” can be derived from an “is”: if you are a mother, then you ought to act as a (good) mother. In so far as modern philosophy has denied any sense of moral obligation as derived from the reality of things, they have laid the foundation for these crimes. We abandon the natural law at our peril.

  • Julian Lord

    Dialectic materialism.

  • Jonathan West

    And the new law was roundly condemned by the Catholic church in Ireland.

  • Julian Lord

    And the new law was roundly condemned by the Catholic church in Ireland

    In reality, the Catholic Church made some objections to various extremist proposals that some wished to include in this law, which proposals have not in fact been incorporated into its final text.

    As usual, you base your anti-Catholic arguments on misrepresentations and mendacity.

  • Deacon Paul

    I think blaming Marx for the actions of an amoral Catholic social security scounger is somewhat tenuous.

  • Deacon Paul

    Sorry for not digging out the specific data ( I have it somewhere) bu a non-biological “father figure” is the most dangerous person in a vulnerable child’s life. Abuse and murder by step-fathers and “mum’s current boyfriend” is an order of magnitude higher than natural fathers. However in terms of abuse the #1 danger for girls is elder brothers and uncles. Sadly most abuse occurs inside the family.

  • Deacon Paul

    I don’t understand how, even humourously, you could link to a white supremist race hate website. I feel unclean just following the link.

  • Julian Lord

    Dialectic materialism is the ultimate source of social security scrounging.

    (though I suppose you could be right in this individual case, which might be a product of some ill-digested post-structuralism)

  • Tridentinus

    How pedantic.

  • x x

    Yes, let’s put these dangerous, mind-altering drugs on prescription and make it even worse. After all, we can’t have the psychiatric wards too full, can we?