Another Perspective

Mosquito Mike

Bzzt: If you want people to dislike someone don't come across as dislikable yourself.

By 10.28.03

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"The week-old embryos used for stem cell research are microscopic clumps of cells, unthinking and unknowing, with fewer physical human qualities than a mosquito," writes Michael Kinsley in the Washington Post. He makes this incredible statement in the course of rebuking George Bush for insincere moral anguish about stem cell research.

"Conservatives wonder why so many liberals don't just disagree with President Bush's policies, but seem to dislike him personally. The story of stem cell research may help to explain," writes Kinsley. If Bush had likened human embryos to mosquitoes, Americans might have reason to dislike him. But only Kinsley has done that.

Because Kinsley wants human embryos treated as casually as one would treat an insect, he has to describe week-old human embryos as no more human than mosquitoes (or perhaps Kinsley means less human than insects, since he says week-old embryos have "fewer physical human qualities than a mosquito.")

Which raises the question: If week-old human embryos have "fewer physical human qualities than a mosquito," why are they so valuable as spare parts for the liberals' medical research? Why don't they harvest the parts of mosquitoes? It is the human qualities in the embryo Kinsley compares to a mosquito that liberals need in order to do their research.

Geneticists report that after conception the human embryo possesses a complete and unique genetic code that establishes such things as sex, eye color, skin color, hair color, and bone structure.

"To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence," said the French geneticist Jerome Lejeune. "Each of us has a very precise starting moment which is the time at which the whole necessary and sufficient genetic information is gathered inside one cell, the fertilized egg, and this is the moment of fertilization.

"There is not the slightest doubt about that and we know that this information is written on a kind of ribbon which we call the DNA…At no time is the human being a blob of protoplasm. As far as your nature is concerned, I see no difference between the early person that you were at conception and the late person which you are now. You were, and are, a human being."

Lejeune would be surprised to learn from Kinsley that a week-old embryo has fewer physical human qualities than a mosquito.

Kinsley tells his readers that "Bush's alleged moral anguish on this subject is unimpressive" as he parades his own lack of moral anguish about the mistreatment of embryos. "If the president is not a complete moron -- and he probably is not -- he is a hardened cynic, staging moral anguish he does not feel, pandering to people he cannot possibly agree with and sacrificing the future of many American citizens for short-term political advantage," he writes.

It takes a hardened cynic like Kinsley to reduce human embryos to the level of mosquitoes, then denounce a president unwilling to make that equation for moral crassness. Kinsley's column gives readers a good reason to dislike him.

Whenever liberals want to justify an indefensible act -- such as using human embryos as experimental fodder for their research -- they twist language to obscure the nature of the act. If they want to squash a human embryo like an insect, they compare it to a mosquito. If they want to starve to death a comatose woman, they call her a vegetable.

The brutality of liberalism is neatly concealed inside calls for compassion. And it is true that liberals do feel great compassion -- for themselves. Bush, says Kinsley, is "insulting to the people (including me) whose lives could be saved or redeemed by the medical breakthroughs Bush's stem cell policy is preventing."

Bush's resistance to a medical culture in which human embryos are treated as guinea pigs for research will save and redeem lives. But not the lives Kinsley considers important. His life is important; the lives of human embryos aren't.

Liberals normally hate Republican presidents for what they see as a lack of moral concern toward the defenseless. But Kinsley encourages liberals to hate this one for extending too much concern to defenseless human embryos.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author, with Phyllis Schlafly, of the new book, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.