No one has any right to your body but you. Your body is the one and only thing in your life that is unquestionably yours, that absolutely can never be “made up” to you in any way, shape or form should you lose it or should it be taken from you in any way. Your body, and everything inside it, must belong absolutely and only to you. There is no way that anyone else’s “right” to any part of your body whatsoever can ever trump your moral right to always and forever at any moment in time whatsoever decide what is being done with it.
What that means is, if you give someone permission to touch your body, that permission can be withdrawn at any time. There is no permission that gives anyone a right to the use of any part of your body that you can’t withdraw instantly and forever if you so choose. If you want to end your own life, nobody has any right whatsoever to prevent you from doing so; it’s your body. Nobody else has any right to ever end your life against your will; it’s your life. If you want to donate organs, you should not be hampered in the slightest; if you don’t want to, absolutely NOBODY gets to require that you do so by force. And most notably in the context of abortion, if you choose to use your uterus to cultivate another human life, that is ONLY and ABSOLUTELY and FOREVER your own choice, and as long as your uterus is being used for this situation, you have complete and total control over the course and duration of its use. If at any point you decide you are done with the situation, then that’s that. There is no further moral argument that can be brought to bear that supercedes your absolute right to control of your body, your organs, your life.
Today we all recognize that we live in an economy and culture that is addicted to oil. We know that our system of industrial agriculture is, in Joan Gussow’s words, “floating on a sea of oil.” We recognize the irony that the Gulf oil spill is occurring in what is already a dead zone due to agricultural run-off carried down the Mississippi River.
We recognize, too, the temptation to become angry and frustrated. It is tempting to wage war against BP. But waging such wars makes about as much sense as trying to inject Slow Money into the gusher of fast money, hoping it will somehow “top kill” it…
…let’s remember that you can launch a war, but you cannot launch peace. You can launch money into an investment portfolio, but you cannot launch peace of mind. You can launch chemicals into the soil, but you cannot launch fertility. Peace, health and fertility can only be found through what Wendell Berry calls “millions of small acts of care and restraint.”
It is not surprising that we find ourselves, today, captive to markets that are themselves captive to the enormous momentum of the economic growth that they have made possible.
What is surprising, however, is the degree of our reticence, our impotence, our unwillingness–in the face of the collision course between unlimited economic growth and the limits of culture and the biosphere to absorb our accelerating levels of extraction, consumption, and pollution–to dare to imagine another way.
We have to start growing up. This won’t be easy, of course. Getting there will require a concerted, planetary effort, and the ascendance of values — reverence, humility, love — bigger than the ones that drive the age of oil.