Man’s Power over Nature?

“Let us consider three typical examples:  the aeroplane, the wireless, and the contraceptive.  In a civilized community, in peace-time, anyone who can pay for them may use these things.  But it cannot strictly be said that when he does so he is exercising his own proper or individual power over Nature.  If I pay you to carry me, I am not therefore myself a strong man.  Any or all of the three things I have mentioned can be witheld from some men by other men–by those who sell, or those who allow the sale, or those who own the sources of producion, or those who make the goods.  What we call Man’s power is, in reality, a power possessed by some men which they may, or may not, allow other men to profit by.  Again, as regards the powers manifested in the aeroplane or the wireless, Man is as much the patient or subject as the possessor, since he is the target both for bombs and for propaganda.  And as regards contraceptives, there is a paradoxical, negative sense in which all possible future generations are the patients or subjects of a power wielded by those alread alive.  By contraception simply, they are denied existence; by contraception used as a means of selective breeding, they are, without their concurring voice, made to be what one generation, for its own reasons, may choose to prefer.  From this point of view, what we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercied by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.”

-C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

I’m a person, not a “childbearing goal”

Samantha smile

Just in case anyone was unsure.

Sometimes NPR makes me sad.  These two stories ran back to back on Monday, and I’m trying to decide which part to focus my angry/disappointed/how can people really think this way?! letter on.  (The text on the page is not the same as the story that you’ll hear if you click the “Listen Now” button at the top – they cut whole paragraphs, but actually come out as two significantly different stories.)

And by the way, the Guttmacher Institute who did the study at the beginning of the first article (50% of US pregnancies are unplanned) is basically Planned Parenthood.  Who funds NPR, and is funded by several of the same huge endowments/foundations which keep NPR running.  (In case you were curious, as I was, about any potential bias here.)  When/if the angry letter gets written, I’ll post a copy here.  We have a wedding in Houston this weekend and I have a long day at school tomorrow, so it may be a while.