Pro-Life Lite: Ben Shapiro on the Death of Grandma

I am old enough to remember the conservative outrage over nonexistent death panels in the Affordable Care Act. I am even old enough to remember the outrage over CO Governor Richard Lamm’s pronouncement that terminally ill have a duty to die and not use resources younger people could better use. And because I am so old, I am not enamored with Ben Shapiro’s (on the right below) reasoning here. Watch:

The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing the unseemly elements of some who call themselves pro-life. I have written recently about R.R. Reno and his view of society as excluding the old and medically compromised.

I have no problem with disagreements over logistics of social distancing and suppression efforts. In fact, the “lockdown” hasn’t been a complete lockdown of all economic activity. States are starting to relax some of their restrictions as more is learned about the virus and as the earlier efforts are paying off.

We also now know that the elderly and nursing homes need special attention. What is amazing to me is that the conservative, pro-life folks haven’t been on top of that. If anything, when questions of life versus standard of living comes up, you get this utilitarian garbage such as Shapiro is promoting.

We really can have public policy that takes care of everybody. We are talking about a comparison of death versus temporary limitations in mobility and standard of living. There are legitimate discussions to have about the human costs of unemployment and access to human services. Given the money being redistributed by politicians, those needs can be met and still take care of people vulnerable to COVID-19. However, public policy that can walk and chew gum is apparently too hard and complex for what passes as today’s conservative leaders.

30 thoughts on “Pro-Life Lite: Ben Shapiro on the Death of Grandma”

  1. The argument that it might be necessary to sacrifice Grandma on the altar of ‘economic progress’ is utterly fallacious. What happens to people in an economic downturn is a social and political matter: if there is the social and political will to prevent starvation and homelessness during a slump, then people won’t starve or become homeless; if there is not, then some will starve or end up with no home. There is no need at all to drag Grandma into this.

    1. So that’s Ben Shapiro.
      He looks YOUNG, doesn’t he?
      Like maybe around 30?

  2. Um. . .Ben. . .just because life expectancy in the United States is around 80 (it’s actually 78.5, far behind Japan, at 84.10, and many other nations), that doesn’t mean that people don’t live fulfilling lives far beyond that. Old people are just as deserving of care as young ones. Life at 80 may seem terribly old when you’re in your 30s, but it seems much less ancient after you hit 70. Ask me how I know.

  3. I am also old enough to remember the controversy around Richard Lamm’s remarks and have recently noted to friends that they parallel the thinking of Texas’ pro-death Republican Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who volunteers that older folks are “willing to sacrifice” themselves. It is frankly sad to see the lack of awareness that they are abandoning fundamental principles.

  4. The answer is very simple we need a massive unified pervasive national testing plan where everyone who wants a test can get a test. Till then no one will feel comfortable with a return to normalcy. Jesus heart and mind is much more concerned with the least of these not the greatest of these. We have no detailed national testing strategy which provides numerical benchmarks for how much testing is necessary. JESUS wants the FULL WEIGHT of the federal government to do ALL it can to supply a test to anyone who wants one. Trump hates testing and resists it with all his might with his con man blame placing routine chock full of distractions chaos confusion and lies. All attributes of demonic behavior. Trump is speaking with an evil spirit. Trump “ loves and practices lying.” ( Revelation 22:15) And we know who the father of lies is.
    The church’s biggest need is to renounce their alliance with the worlds political system. James teaches friendship with the world system indicates one is an enemy and hostile to God. ( James 4:4)

    1. Universal testing would be enormously helpful to figuring out where we are in the epidemic and what to do next to minimize its effects on both our health and our economy, insofar as that is possible; but the Mango Menace doesn’t want it, so we’re not going to get it until he is out of office.

      1. … but the Mango Menace doesn’t want it, so we’re not going to get it until he is out of office.

        While the Christians chorus “AAAAAAAA-MENNNNNNN!!!!!” to every word he Tweets.

  5. Well, they have been accused at times of favoring only the fetus and ignoring it after birth… I have a friend who’s a “pro-life” zealot, but he’s also very zealous to worship american individualistic “freedom” and american capitalism. He’s been rather apoplectic lately as those two idols take a divine beating. But he defends them with aplumb, including vastly out-of-context exegetes of Holy Scripture to prop up his american “freedoms”. He loves Shapiro too and is probably grateful for Ben’s rationalizations, so that he can still be “pro-life” (because Ben still is) and keep serving the other two gods as well…

    1. Yes, there used to be an old joke that christian conservatives believe you had rights up until you are born.

  6. “If somebody who is 81 dies of COVID-19, that is not the same thing as
    somebody who is 30 dying of COVID-19…If grandma dies in a nursing home
    at age 81, that’s tragic and it’s terrible, also the life expectancy in
    the United States is 80”

    If one of the two guys in the video is Ben Shapiro, notice how YOUNG they both look.

    Like around 30?

        1. Ben hasn’t quite caught on to the idea that nobody HAS to die in this pandemic. People will die, despite precautions, but the virus really doesn’t choose its targets. It just goes where it can and does what it does–very efficiently. If there were fewer older people left, then more younger people would be dying.

        2. Ben hasn’t quite caught on to the idea that nobody HAS to die in this pandemic. People will die, despite precautions, but the virus really doesn’t choose its targets. It just goes where it can and does what it does–very efficiently. If there were fewer older people left, then more younger people would be dying.

          1. Remember the teens who would come up to old people, cough hard in their faces, and think this was all Very Funny? Not much difference.

  7. Two thousand years ago:

    The love of money is the root of all evil.


    The love of money is the central core of American conservative Christianity. And it is disgusting.

      1. Anecdotal? How many evangelical bloggers have I read insisting that people should tithe over their entire stimulus checks to the church?

        1. How do you think Kenneth Copeland became the Richest Televangelist in the World?
          (Except with him it was Social Security checks instead of COVID stimulus checks as “seed money” for Prosperity Gospel many-fold returns. Adding stimulus checks should push Copeland over the Billionaire mark.)

  8. The problem with Shapiro’s (and others like him) analysis is he is comparing 2 different things and assuming they are equivalent. For the older generation, the outcome is potentially dying, for the younger generation the outcome is loss of wealth (i.e. a job), which is not fatal.

    If the outcomes where the same in both cases (i.e. death), then the trade-offs based on age would become a reasonable factor.

  9. My dad is almost 88, but still very sharp intellectually. He took a fall at the end of March, and I was so glad that after a couple of days in the hospital, he was sent home with PT, and not to a skilled nursing facility. He probably wouldn’t have survived it given the numbers of dead and infected in nursing homes that are now appearing in California news sources. The Scriptures teach us to value all life, not just the unborn or the young. Most of the compassion programs that my church administers wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the seniors. They do the monthly food distribution to the needy, tutor kids in in a nearby low-income apartment complex, and were the teachers and language helpers in the ESL program that my church piloted this past year (and that I head up). They are committed, they have time, and they have a wealth of experience from which to draw. Yes, we will all die someday, but dying alone in a nursing home with out your loved ones in the room is a death that I don’t think any one of us would ever wish for.

    1. Nursing homes are a COVID virus’s paradise for superspread. Large numbers of high-risk “patients” in indoor close quarters, with underequipped, underpaid, overworked staff with little or no sick time benefits… Like 19th Century tenements, they’re tinderboxes for any contagion.

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