Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Madness of King George

We are beyond Hooterville now. We have rocketed right into the Twilight Zone.

George W. Bush, the only president to advocate the killing of people who have done nothing to us - the author of the "Doctrine of Pre-emption', which says, "If I don't like you, I can bomb the sh** out of you, whether you attack me or not!", has decided to use his veto (instead of using 'signing statements' to exempt himself from adhering to the law) for the first and only time in the 6 years that he's been in office - to ban stem cell research!

This is beyond crazy.

This blood-soaked killing machine, who thinks nothing of bombing innocent men, women and children in a country that he doesn't like - people who are, may I say, already living, breathing, fully-formed humans - is suddenly the Sovereign of the Snowflakes, almost Buddhist-like in his respect for all living organisms. All creatures great and small, yada, yada, yada.

In the most hypocritical administration in the history of the United States, this has to take the cake. It is, though, consistent with the policies of these heinous criminals - raise a great righteous hue and cry over complete non-issues, such as protecting the flag (burn some cloth, go to jail), protecting the Pledge of Allegiance (a bill on the floor to advocate for keeping the phrase 'under god' in the pledge of allegiance--a phrase that is already there!) gay marriage (which poses no danger to heterosexual marriage whatsoever) or keeping brain-dead people on life support (which was the only issue ever important enough for Dubya to leave a vacation for - not Katrina, not the threat of a terrorist attack).

In this bogus concern for the 'sanctity of life' and the protection of the smallest group of cells, he doesn't seem to be so very informed about the facts. One fact is that women lose between 60 to 80% of their naturally-conceived embryos during their menstrual cycle. In an article for Reason (a magazine advocating "free minds and free markets", not a liberal rag) , Ronald Bailey points out that
This is not miscarriage we're talking about. The women and their husbands or partners never even know that conception has taken place; the embryos disappear from their wombs in their menstrual flows. In fact, according to John Opitz, a professor of pediatrics, human genetics, and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah, embryologists estimate that the rate of natural loss for embryos that have developed for seven days or more is 60 percent. The total rate of natural loss of human embryos increases to at least 80 percent if one counts from the moment of conception. About half of the embryos lost are abnormal, but half are not, and had they implanted they would probably have developed into healthy babies.

So millions of viable human embryos each year produced via normal conception fail to implant and never develop further. Does this mean America is suffering a veritable holocaust of innocent human life annihilated? Consider the claim made by right-to-life apologists like Robert George, a Princeton University professor of jurisprudence and a member of the President's Council on Bioethics, that every embryo is "already a human being." Does that mean that if we could detect such unimplanted embryos as they leave the womb, we would have a duty to rescue them and try to implant them anyway?

"If the embryo loss that accompanies natural procreation were the moral equivalent of infant death, then pregnancy would have to be regarded as a public health crisis of epidemic proportions: Alleviating natural embryo loss would be a more urgent moral cause than abortion, in vitro fertilization, and stem-cell research combined," declared Michael Sandel, a Harvard University government professor, also a member of the President's Council on Bioethics.

As far as I know, bioconservatives like Robert George do not advocate the rescue of naturally conceived unimplanted embryos. But why not? In right-to-life terms, normal unimplanted embryos are the moral equivalents of a 30-year-old mother of three children.

Of course, culturally we do not mourn the deaths of these millions of embryos as we would the death of a child—and reasonably so, because we do in fact know that these embryos are not people. Try this thought experiment. A fire breaks out in a fertility clinic and you have a choice: You can save a three-year-old child or a Petri dish containing 10 seven-day old embryos. Which do you choose to rescue?

Stepping onto dangerous theological ground, it seems that if human embryos consisting of one hundred cells or less are the moral equivalents of a normal adult, then religious believers must accept that such embryos share all of the attributes of a human being, including the possession of an immortal soul. So even if we generously exclude all of the naturally conceived abnormal embryos—presuming, for the sake of theological argument, that imperfections in their gene expression have somehow blocked the installation of a soul—that would still mean that perhaps 40 percent of all the residents of Heaven were never born, never developed brains, and never had thoughts, emotions, experiences, hopes, dreams, or desires.

Yet millions of intelligent people of good will maintain that seven-day-old embryos have the exact same moral standing as do readers of this column. Acting on this sincere belief, they are trying to block biomedical research on human embryonic stem cells that is desired by millions of their fellow citizens.
Okay. How long is this insanity going to be debated with a straight face? How long are these bizarre contradictions in logic going to be treated as if they were rational arguments?

The only thing I can conclude from this is that the only 'life' the Kowboy Koward of Krawford is really interested in is life without a functioning brain.


Lew Scannon said...

I'm so sick of the pandering to the religious right by the Republicans. "Gotta keep 'em worried about nothing before they find out we're up to something."

Alicia said...

That's because they know that they only win elections because the fundies vote the way their pastors tell them to. Then, once in office, they can't give them what they promised them iin exchange for those votes.

So, this is what they do instead, to keep the fundies from howling for Republican blood.