Oct. 12, 2004 #00aPolitical Satire/Commentary where satire is always commentary but commentary isn't always satire™ 
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Commentary-- Christopher Reeve, the real Superman; Embryonic stem-cells, political stem-cells, religious stem-cells, terrorist stem-cells; George W. Bush; John Kerry.

            The death of Christopher Reeve, who proved far more courageous in real life than the Superman character he played so convincingly in movies, leaves a hole in everyone's heart.  The hopes, and concrete progress, for people suffering spinal cord injuries that flowed from his courageous battle can hardly be overstated.  Regardless of whether one agrees, or disagrees, with his position on embryonic stem-cell research (with which I agree), no one could seriously challenge the intellectual honesty and sincerity of his views.

            Are the views of those who oppose embryonic stem-cell research for religious reasons intellectually frivolous?  Of course not.  Even though I disagree with such opposition, I respect, rather than impugn, the moral basis upon which they base their opposition.  Their position is similar to the slippery-slope reasoning for which civil libertarians often oppose grants of governmental power on the ground that even though such proposed grant of power may be relatively harmless, it positions government power on a slippery slope that creates too great a danger of evolutionary abuse of such power.  Indeed, most proponents of embryonic stem-cell research recognize a need for ethical/moral limitations to prevent the process from gradually evolving into one in which nascent humans would be produced to be harvested for parts.

            Is there legitimacy to Bush's position against using government funds for embryonic stem-cell research (beyond those he described as being cells from already-destroyed embryos)?  Of course-- it's a political/moral question about which reasonable people can disagree.  It's a different question from whether government should attempt to criminalize private funding of such research-- a ban which Bush does not support.  Would I prefer that he not ban government-funded support for embryonic stem-cell research with suitable limitations against it evolving into a process of creating nascent humans to be harvested as spare parts?  Of course I would.  Would that cause me to vote against Bush in an election in which the overriding issue is whether we should pursue his Strategery Chess vision for combating Islamic fascism rather than the Tic-Tac-Toe tactics envisioned by John Kerry?  Of course not.  Bad policy on embryonic stem-cell research poses far less long-term danger to our freedoms than bad policy on dealing with Islamic fascism.  Indeed, if one looks at the world as a whole rather than merely at the United States, weakness in confronting Islamic fascism poses a great danger to far more aspects of science than mere opposition to governmental funding of embryonic stem-cell research.

 

--Jim Wrenn, Editor at PoliSat.Com.

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