This is one of those stories that just show clearly how upside down the world is, that any tether to reality has thinned to the point of snapping.
At the request of the Swiss government, an ethics panel has weighed in on the “dignity” of plants and opined that the arbitrary killing of flora is morally wrong, according to the Weekly Standard.
This is not a joke. I know you’re thinking that I’m just making up stories but this is real. The concept of “plant rights” is being seriously debated.
A few years ago the Swiss added to their national constitution a provision requiring “account to be taken of the dignity of creation when handling animals, plants and other organisms.” No one knew exactly what it meant, so they asked the Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology to figure it out. The resulting report, “The Dignity of Living Beings with Regard to Plants,” is enough to short circuit the brain.
A “clear majority” of the panel adopted what it called a “biocentric” moral view, meaning that “living organisms should be considered morally for their own sake because they are alive.” Thus, the panel determined that we cannot claim “absolute ownership” over plants and, moreover, that “individual plants have an inherent worth.” This means that “we may not use them just as we please, even if the plant community is not in danger, or if our actions do not endanger the species, or if we are not acting arbitrarily.”
The committee offered this illustration: A farmer mows his field (apparently an acceptable action, perhaps because the hay is intended to feed the farmer’s herd–the report doesn’t say). But then, while walking home, he casually “decapitates” some wildflowers with his scythe. The panel decries this act as immoral, though its members can’t agree why. The report states, opaquely:
At this point it remains unclear whether this action is condemned because it expresses a particular moral stance of the farmer toward other organisms or because something bad is being done to the flowers themselves.
Mind you that about 15% of all pregnancies in Switzerland are terminated by abortion. The law states that for a woman in Switzerland to procure an abortion (even late term) they must state that they are in distress -which includes threat of severe physical or psychological damage to the mother.
Now back to the farmer who decapitated the flowers. Shouldn’t we take into account the emotional distress those flowers were causing him?
In a sane world, we wouldn’t be having these conversations. We are, however, not residing in one. My hope, however, resides in the future, that some anonymous man in the 24th century will read old news articles and laugh uproriously as to how insane everyone was way back when.