October 18, 2004

Moral Monsters

John Kerry's moral obtuseness knows no bounds. Kerry's recent radio address states that "we’re not doing everything we can to help Americans realize this dream" of medical experiments leading to cures for a variety of conditions. Of course we aren't and it's a very good thing we are not.

One of the great truths of medical experimentation is that experimenting directly yields better and faster results than experimenting indirectly. If you wish to cure a canine disease, experimenting on rats may yield a cure, but it would be a quicker and surer road to a cure to run direct experiments on dogs themselves.

This truth remains valid when it comes to finding cures for humans. The closer we come to human experimentation, the more rapid our progress would be. But if we get too close, we become moral monsters. It is not a theoretical problem, but one faced by many serious researchers both in current experiments on embryonic stem cells and past experiments dating back to WW II. The Nazis and the Imperial Japanese ran direct human experiments in concentration camps in Europe and Manchuria.

Like all experimentation, some of the data was nonsense, but some of it was quite good. All of it was monstrous. Toss a subject into freezing water, how quickly does he die? Who dies faster, women or men? If you toss a group in and they huddle for warmth, how does that affect the death pattern? I won't even get into the chemwar experiments in Manchuria as those were mostly about improving weapons effectiveness but the Nazi hypothermia experiments yielded such good data that they have never been surpassed. They cannot be surpassed because we recognize that throwing people into freezing cold water to kill them is too direct an experiment and there is no other way to gain that kind of exact data.

John Kerry claims to be a good Catholic. He claims that he believes that life begins at conception. He states that he will pass policies and orders and promote legislation to kill what he himself believes is human life in direct human experimentation, and worse, destructive human harvesting in a production line of death. He believes that somehow he can continue to uphold "the highest ethical standards" while taking human life.

What is worse is that in moving the line into what he himself believes is direct human experimentation, he gives us no moral guide to distinguish ourselves from the nazi and imperial japanese human experimentation. At the very least, he owes the country an explanation of how he will go to sleep at night knowing that according to his own personal moral code, he is sanctioning and financially supporting what we so strongly condemned at the post WW II Nuremberg trials.

What makes destructive tissue harvesting from a fetus any better than destructive tissue harvesting from a coma patient? You can sort out a coherent moral and ethical system from George Bush's record. You might not agree with it, but you know what it is. He stands with those who would use the nazi hypothermia data, not with those who would accept excess hypothermia deaths and maintain a boycott of the data. But he's against tossing more people into freezing water on the government's dime. In stem cell terms, he won't fund more killing but if you want to do it on your own, that's OK by him.

For John Kerry, there is no stated line in the sand, no defensible position where you know that political expediency will not put you or a loved one under the knife in future. Even for those who deny the humanity of the fetus, this lack of a clearly stated limit is a scary thing for the serious thinkers amongst his supporters. But there seem to be all too few serious thinkers, just an awful lot of moral monsters in a hurry for a cure and not much caring how we get one.

HT: Balloon Juice

Posted by TMLutas at October 18, 2004 02:44 AM