The Washington Post editorializes — er, I mean reports — that “Obama aims to shield science from politics.” If that’s so, why is Obama only lifting the restrictions on taxpayer-subsized human experimentation demanded by his political base? (Hat tip: Ramesh Ponnuru.) And why is this happening so soon after new breakthroughs in stem-cell research without the embryo destruction? Perhaps the Obama administration’s science policy is not above politics.
UPDATE: The president’s remarks before signing the executive order were classic Obama: thoughtful, respectful, and nuanced — but ultimately what the rhetoric giveth, the substance taketh away. Consider:
It’s a difficult and delicate balance. And many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about, or strongly oppose, this research. And I understand their concerns, and I believe that we must respect their point of view.
But after much discussion, debate and reflection, the proper course has become clear. The majority of Americans — from across the political spectrum, and from all backgrounds and beliefs — have come to a consensus that we should pursue this research; that the potential it offers is great, and with proper guidelines and strict oversight, the perils can be avoided.
That is a conclusion with which I agree.
But the “we” who should “pursue this research” is the American taxpayer. Obama wants to respect the viewpoints of people who oppose the deliberate destruction of human embryos. But not respect their point of view enough to avoid taking money from them by force for this purpose, even as other alternatives develop.
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