What is the value of a human life? Over the course of the last 75 years one could argue that it has become devalued significantly.
Life’s value in this culture seems to be measured by its capacity to entertain. If this is not the case can you explain the proliferation of reality TV in our society? Just look at the dozens of frenzied Americans rushing to find seats in the spectator section of a courtroom in central Florida, while countless more sit at home witnessing a trial of a young mother accused of murdering her own child. I don’t know who is to blame more, the people foaming at the mouth rushing to find seats and become witnesses to this tragedy, or the news media broadcasting it to enhance their ratings.
How does man become so impervious to violence and destruction? In the aftermath of the Holocaust many Jews turned their backs on God, wondering where He was. They declared that He must be dead, otherwise how could He have permitted the destruction of so many innocents? The question they should have been asking is, where was Man?
In many cases, our technical achievements have enhanced human life. There is an underbelly to all this progress, however. Our technological age, for all of its advances, has brought about a distancing that has allowed us to interact less and less and lose the feel for genuine communication. It is reminiscent of an earlier time that helped bring about the destruction of six million of our people along with millions of other citizens. It was allowed to happen because of human complacency. It was stopped because of the courage of a few world leaders who had seen enough; but by then it was too late for many.
Just like in the 1930s’ the world stands idly by, permitting the Iranians to export their state-sponsored terror around the globe. Like Neville Chamberlain, the international community pretends that the Iranian president and the mullahs who control him can’t be serious in their desire to wipe the Jews from the face of the earth. If history is any indicator, this could happen in our lifetime. One need only look to the African nation of Sudan and the horrific slaughter in Darfur to understand how utterly cheap life is.
The Holocaust happened for the same reason that Darfur is happening. It is the same reason that the Armenian genocide happened and the slaughter of Native Americans, believed to be no more than heathens, happened. People don’t care enough about their fellows, and life is cheap.
Life becomes less and less valuable each day. As long as innocent victims of tragedies like Darfur continue to suffer, and as long as people crowd a Florida courtroom for the thrill of witnessing a spectacle, we cheapen our very existence.
I am spoiled. For each one of my 56 years I have lived in the glow of a Jewish homeland. The thought of that no longer being the case colors my entire sense of well-being. Were it to happen I would rather not even draw breath.