Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court’

On the Price of Human Life and the Planet Earth

July 4, 2015

I write this on the day we commemorate the signing of a document that states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Upon this foundation we built a country. A country that now operates on the legal basis that there is a monetary value to life, one which limits the liability of those forces that would deny us that supposedly unalienable right.

The recent supreme court decision Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency holds that, “It is not rational, never mind ‘appropriate,’ to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits.”

So there we have it, human life, an unalienable right, is of a lesser value than the cost of retrofitting aging power plants. The land on which we live, and from which we live, the land of our liberty, and land where we seek happiness, is of a lesser value than the profit margins of an entity that has no life, that has no expectation of liberty, and can feel no happiness.

There is, to my mind, a simple solution, and it lies in the law. We need to legally recognize that the value of human life is immeasurable, and that the value of the planet that allows us to live is likewise immeasurable. We need a law in place that recognizes this simple truth, and which states that any cost-benefit or monetary argument should have no standing in any court of law when it is balanced against a human life.

To say that we might not live in a country where we may live, live with liberty, and live to pursue happiness, because it costs too much to allow us these things, is more than un-American, it is anti-American, it is a crushing blow, or perhaps more accurately an evisceration, of both the words and the spirit on which this place was founded.