The same Democrats who derided the science of Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” program now believe in the futuristic science of “Superman” stem-cell research. “When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk,” promises John Edwards, sounding far more credulous and superstitious than the Southern preachers liberal Democrats disdain.
In this evening’s debate, Kerry is expected to speak about “science” and its importance to the nation’s future. President Bush should remind the audience that Kerry wasn’t always so enthusiastic about futuristic science. In the 1980s, he opposed Reagan’s nuclear missile defense plans with the zeal of a Luddite. Kerry called the science of missile defense “dangerous,” “crazy,” and hubristic — adjectives he has never applied to embryonic stem-cell research.
“It’s guaranteed to threaten the heavens — the one line we haven’t yet crossed with weaponry: the heavens,” he said as he called on his colleagues to vote against a nuclear missile shield.
Recently Kerry chastised Bush for spending “billions” on the “unproven” science underlying nuclear missile defense. Bush has a “near obsession with missile defense,” he said.
Kerry’s suspicions about science vanish when he talks about spending money on his obsession, the unproven science of embryonic stem-cell research. Kerry prefers his science fiction liberal. He won’t spend billions on using missile defense science to address the nation’s security needs. But he will use the money of taxpayers to experiment on crushed embryos in the hope that handicapped celebrities will one day walk.
Most scientists regard the scenario of stem-cell research raising celebrities from their wheelchairs as improbable. Missile defense is far more promising. But Kerry distrusts science for national security, considering it a diversion from the real needs of the country. After all, as Kerry has said, a nuclear shield could alienate allies and give America a unilateral edge over the rest of the world. Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, Kerry said, threatened “mutual restraints of antimissile defense…essential to maintenance of the stability of the superpower balance.”
A nuclear missile shield is a chilling thought to Kerry. Can Americans be trusted with it? he wonders. But he is confident that his countrymen can handle cloning. Kerry’s ominous comments about a nuclear shield interfering with the “heavens” reflect an environmental preciousness and piety never seen in his comments about science involving destroyed embryos. Perhaps it is time for an Endangered Embryo Act to update the species list environmentalists like Kerry always vote for. The pet hamsters of Senators have more rights than the hundreds of thousands of embryos Kerry intends to transform into spare parts for science.
Kerry’s concept of science is corrupt. His attempt to dignify the wholesale destruction of embryos with the name of “science” or “progress” won’t make it any less barbaric. Science is supposed to support life, not destroy it, empower all mankind, not empower one group of men over a weaker group of men. Kerry’s reservations about nuclear missile defense are far more appropriate to the Brave New World science he advocates. A nuclear shield is designed to save lives; the research Kerry advocates will necessarily result in the ongoing destruction of life.
According to Kerry we are supposed to mourn the lost potential of Christopher Reeve, but rejoice in the lost potential of human embryos sacrificed to science. When Kerry was asked in the second debate why he supported science that requires killing embryos, he said that the embryos were headed for the trash anyway. He was indulging in a moment of crassness he would never allow himself were the subject elephants instead of embryos. Discarding embryos or experimenting on them is a false choice. The former altar boy forgot the third choice: Let them live.
It is typical of liberalism to create a crisis — “We have 200,000 embryos just lying around,” liberals like to say — then use that crisis to create a new crisis. Kerry suggested in the second debate that the gross manipulation of embryos would stop with those left in the limbo of In Vitro fertilization. The research he favors on stem cell lines wouldn’t come from “aborted” babies, he said. What solicitude for aborted children: Kerry doesn’t think they have a right to life, but he will protect their right not to be experimented upon? Under Kerry we would go from taxpayer-funded abortion to taxpayer-funded embryo destruction to taxpayer-funded cloning. There’s no piety in Kerry for “the heavens” now.
George Neumayr is executive editor of The American Spectator.