Important issues abound in the nation’s capital, but the “moral” ones tend to be the most difficult to resolve. It is hard to compromise on abortion, stem cell research, and gay marriage.
Yet the answer often is easy, if not obvious. Government should just do nothing.
Consider the battle over stem cell research. I don’t claim to know the value of embryonic stem cell research. Given the wonders of modern medicine, new discoveries are likely to emerge. However, those who would benefit from bountiful federal subsidies have an incentive to oversell their cause.
Surely opponents are right to raise a moral alarm. We should be particularly careful in how we treat the human person.
Yet for life to arise, implantation is necessary. The moral status of an isolated embryo is not obviously the same as that of a fetus.
What to do? The President has it right. Although media coverage tends to glide over the details, George W. Bush has merely barred federal funding. Private (as well as state and foreign) research can proceed unmolested.
In short, in a case where the moral equities are complex, a significant portion of the population objects strongly, and the program does not reflect an essential public role, keep the government out of it.
That doesn’t work for, say, the defense budget (though a volunteer military appropriately preserves choice in that sphere). But stem cell research need not be federalized.
The same rule should apply to the range of controversies now surrounding the “right of conscience” for health care workers. Should hospitals be forced to provide abortions? Should medical schools force doctors to learn the procedure?
Should physicians be required to provide artificial insemination for lesbians? Must doctors assist in sterilizations? Should physicians and nurses accede to a patient’s desire to end life-extending treatment?
Must doctors prescribe Viagra for single men? Should pharmacists have to fill those prescriptions, as well as ones for birth control pills and abortifacients?
Even the seemingly mundane has become an issue. Must an ambulance driver deliver a patient to an abortion clinic?
On the one hand are those who would force everyone to do everything. Several states mandate that pharmacies fill all prescriptions. Many jurisdictions require abortion training in medical schools.
Argued attorney R. Alta Charro: “As soon as you become a licensed professional, you take on certain obligations to act like a professional, which means your patient comes first. You are not supposed to use your professional status as a vehicle for cultural conquest.”
But the fact that the state licenses professionals does not eliminate the role of individual conscience. And a patient comes first only if he or she is acting morally.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?