One Life to Save

Seeking to justify his 23 executive orders on guns–almost none of which would have stopped the massacre in Newtown, but that’s beside the point–President Obama said we must do something if in so doing even “one life” might be saved. In this he echoes the redoubtable governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, who, defending the onerous and unneeded use of speed cameras outside of Chicago elementary schools (which in reality are just another revenue grab), said, “If you save one life, you’ve saved the whole world.”

Liberals are good at appealing to emotion rather than logic, aren’t they? Think about it. If saving one life is the standard, imagine what an intrusive, do-gooder government might do with our liberties: outlaw alcohol, automobiles, cigarettes, fatty foods, walking across the street, heating our homes with natural gas, etc. All these things have the potential to kill us, and in fact do kill some of us.

But living as free human beings in society, we try to rationally assess the risks and make trade-offs. Yes, driving a car presents risks, and some people will die because cars are a legal form of transportation, but we have made the rational decision that having an efficient and relatively safe way to get around makes this a risk worth taking.

The “one life” standard, however, isn’t rational. It is an invitation to totalitarianism.

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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