Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Reason trumps Sentimentality

So the Stem Cell research bill squeaked by in the house, just as the Senate moderates made their compromise just in time. (FWIW, seven of CC's firm's clients were for the bill. )

It's early to declare a trend of moderation winning out over conservatism, but these recent developments are a good sign.

Also, I really like this essay.

I knew about the Faustlings' history and had been thinking about them often during the debate over this issue.

Addendum after reading Joel's response:

It is possible that Bush did make a mistake by fighting this one on moral rather than financial grounds. The issue really was government funding of the research rather than the research itself.

But I can also see why Bush fought it the way he did.

1. Arguing morals has worked for Bush many times before.
2. Fighting government funding of research quickly leads to questions about if we should be paying for the expensive yet immensely popular NASA. Even libertarians don't mind the government paying to research weapons, and weapons development does not happen independently of developments in other sciences.

People who attack this bill as a ban on the research itself are wrong.

People who attack Bush for arguing as if his problem is with the research, not necessarily the funding for it, are justified in doing so because that's the position Bush himself has taken in using the "snowflake babies" etc.



Anonymous said...

I liked the essay less than you, because it perpetuates a myth (to use the polite word). Bush is an evil, pyschotic so-and-so because he's banning stem cell research, forcing all those embryos to be thrown away? False. Wrong. Nothing is banned but the use of TAX DOLLARS.

It's similar to the constant charges of book banning. When you hear the charge of book banning, you get the mental image of authors thrown in jail and publishers closed. when you look into it, what they mean is that somebody refused to use tax dollars to purchase a book.

A related phenomenon is all the handwringing over how little foreign aid the US gives compared to other countries... of course, when you look into it, only GOVERNMENT money is counted; private donations, such as the child I sponsor, don't count- and the fact that the total number of dollars from all sources is greater per capita than any other country is never, never mentioned. Or tsunami relief- same story; the US was chastised for being miserly, because private money- which was greater than government money- didn't count.

I've never understood the mindset that anything worth doing requires a government bureau, with offices in so many Congressional districts that it has a constituency of it's own.

Joel Monka

Chalicechick said...

If Bush was making the government's support of the research his sticking point instead of parading cute little kids around, I don't think Fausto would have reacted the way he did.

Bush is making this debate about the research itself, rather than government funding of it. Not Fausto. Not me.

No, I don't at all have a problem with the government sponsoring scientific research. They've been doing it forever and if they don't, we are fucked.

Usually when you hear about a book being "banned," it's a book that taxpayers have already bought that is being taken out of a library.

The US was mostly challenged on the Tsunami because the goverment was spending a lot on the inauguration and less on Tsunami relief. (Yes, some of the inauguration was privately funded. But don't get the DC police, who were stuck with paying for tons of extra security and not reimbursed by the Bush campaign or anybody else, going on the subject.)


Chalicechick said...

I reread some of Bush's statements and am even more certain of my own position.

THIS BILL was about government funding.

But BUSH'S STATEMENTS have been largely about the research itself.

His strategy was to keep this about morality rather than money.
That sometimes works. But it didn't this time.

And I think Fausto's response to Bush's statements is entirely appropriate.