The Personalist Project

Accessed on September 26, 2023 - 6:24:21

On the need to recover our sense of the value of persons as ends in themselves

Katie van Schaijik, Mar 18, 2013

Rabbi Schmuley has an outstanding article at the Huffington Post about the terrible case of the two Steubenville high school football stars convicted yesterday of raping a 16 year old girl at a alcohol-feuled party last year.  He discusses it in terms of the perverse values infecting our society, above all

...the attitude of teenage men toward girls. Immanuel Kant wrote that the definition of immorality is treating a fellow human being as a means rather than an end. The abomination of American slavery was that a white child was taught to see a black child as a walking bale of cotton. Slavery trained a white man to see a black woman as lacking the same spark of the divine that lent him his humanity. When he looked upon the woman, she was stripped of her own dreams, her own opinions, her own aspirations. She was nothing but an extension of the white slave owner's drives and ambitions. Like a third arm she existed to simply to do his chores.

Something analogous is happening with the growing sexualization of women wherein teen boys are being taught to see young women not as their equals but as the walking fulfillment of their sexual desires. 

The Kantian ethical principle the good Rabbi refers to is of course the one Karol Wojtyla makes his own (with some qualifications) and dubs "the personalistic norm."