Leftist Lunacy V: a "clump of cells" sure is causing a lot of trouble
For those interested in reading the article I reference, the link is:
“And the hits just keep comin’,” as Kevin Bacon said in Mystic River. No sooner do I write a column asking about the limits of selfishness, but I read that there are no limits, as gloriously expounded in Jonathan Alter’s stem-cell column in this week’s edition of Newsweek.
Now I know that if I send the man e-mail, he’ll probably just ignore it, so I’m going to take him to task in this space, instead.
Alter starts off by saying that he is a “cancer survivor with an adult-stem cell transplant under [his] belt,” which makes me immediately question why he’s pushing so hard for embryonic research, but, as we know, the Left has said far more disjointed things. Let’s skip ahead.
The crux of Alter’s piece is that the new dividing lines are “pro-cure” and “anti-cure”, and that politicians who are “anti-cure” (i.e., against embryonic stem-cell research) will begin to pay a heavy political price, and that the issue has already “swung some votes to the Democrats.” He goes onto the say that President Bush has been “conned” into seeing this issue as “morally complex”, but to everyone else “it’s simple enough—reproductive cloning (to create Frankensteins)—no; embryonic stem-cell research (to cure diseases)—yes.” The only ones who don’t get this are,
Bush bitter-enders and the pope [who] are in the perverse position of valuing the life of an ailing human being less than that of a tiny clump of cells no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence.
But this marks the end of real rhetoric, because then Alter dives into these gems:
--That, to be really consistent, the President should shut down IVF clinics—“fat chance.”
--That “publicity from this [a potential filibuster by Senator Brownback R-KA] drama will drive support for federal research higher.”
--And, that we on the “anti-cure” side are “extreme.” (Oh there’s a new one; call someone on the right extreme!)
All of this will “inevitably lead to backpedaling and compromise and the victory of a broad-based ‘pro-cure’ movement.”
In the words of Love Story, “where do I begin?”
Let’s start at the beginning. He freely admits that adult stem cells are what saved his life, not ill-gotten embryonic ones. Adult and cord-blood cells have yielded results; embryonic ones have not. You may yell, “that’s because we’re not funding it!” But we are, and so is the rest of the world—where are the miraculous cures?
It really begs the question—why are we arguing the point at all? Why not send embryonic stem-cell research money to the research that has proven to work? Doesn’t that make sense? Cures without the ethical dilemma, which segues beautifully into my next, and biggest, beef with Alter’s piece—his crass handling of the ethical dimensions. Oh, that we were all as intelligent as the great Mr. Alter so we could see these manifestly clear distinctions!
The problem with Alter and his ilk lies in his telling remark about “a clump of cells.” In Alter’s world, the cells and the ailing human are pitted against each other, much as in the abortion debate. “Neither can live while the other survives,” to quote Harry Potter. The “pro-cure” movement is so bent on saving people, no matter what, that they will destroy this nascent life.
But we on the “pro-life” or “anti-cure” side see it differently. We want to save them both, to give them both the chance for life. There is a reason the Catholic Church is against IVF, and it is vividly seen in Alter’s flagitious writing—the Church respects life so greatly that it does not condone any actions that lead to it being devalued, as Alter has so crassly done. IVF, birth control, abortion—all of these are connected. Life is so precious, so wonderful, that it must be guarded and protected and cherished, not used as a scientific plaything. The very Pope that Alter mocks is the Pope that calls for both the embryo and the cancer patient to “have life, and have it more abundantly.” He will not pit one against the other, for to him, as to God, they are equal. There is an inherent dignity in them both.
Yet Alter and the “pro-cure” side would have us engage in a horrific Hobson’s choice, where the most vulnerable are used to save the ailing. It is to pit two vulnerable sides against each other, to enter into Hobbes’ state of nature. Alter’s side forgets the peril and leaps headlong into the pit without a thought.
We must not buy into the seductive amorality Alter argues. For the Left, who is so deliciously “nuanced” on every other issue, here they claim moral clarity is a given. It’s amazing. But Alter’s position only more chillingly crystallizes the Left’s views of human life: “it’s only a clump of cells”, infanticide on demand, doing anything to save our bodies and protect our “choice.” It’s only the “anti-cure” side that even gives a thought to saving our souls.
We all have to die, and when we do, “there will be a reckoning.” What, I wonder, will Alter argue then?
Questions, comments? firstname.lastname@example.org.