What do hookup culture and abortion have to do with embryo selection and mass incarceration? In this provocative book, Charles Camosy insists that each is a symptom of “throwaway culture” — a hyper-consumerist society that radically reduces human dignity to the point where we don’t recognize some people as people.
In throwaway culture, we reduce human dignity by using language that makes people easier to discard. This is how the poor and immigrant become “welfare queens” and “illegals”, and how fertilized embryos become “products of conception”. In throwaway culture, we place money-making and consumerism at the center, even when people are involved. This is how we get for-profit prisons with incentives for inmates to return, and why not feeling like a “productive member of society” becomes a reason for contemplating suicide.
The practical outcome is a culture that is inhospitable to human life and that continuously sketches thicker boundaries for who can and cannot be welcomed into human community. Following Pope Francis, Camosy encourages an alternative “culture of encounter” — a society where the sick and the dying, the immigrant and the prisoner, the prenatal child and the disabled are all welcomed for their inherent dignity.
Pick up a copy of Resisting Throwaway Culture: How a Consistent Life Ethic Can Unite a Fractured People, a rigidly compassionate and well-researched book that cuts through political side-taking in search of a consistent ethic of life. You can also listen to the Catholic Camosy talk to a few Baptists about the book on the Countermoves podcast.