All Life Is Sacred*

Michael Kinsley, riffing on the "for conservatives, the right to life begins at conception and ends at birth" joke in today's Washington Post:

Bush, as we know, believes deeply and earnestly that human life begins at conception. Even tiny embryos composed of a half-dozen microscopic cells, he thinks, have the same right to life as you and I do. That is why he cannot bring himself to allow federal funding for research on new lines of embryonic stem cells or even for other projects in labs where stem cell research is going on. Even though these embryos are obtained from fertility clinics, where they would otherwise be destroyed anyway, and even though he appears to have no objection to the fertility clinics themselves, where these same embryos are manufactured and destroyed by the thousands -- nevertheless, the much smaller number of embryos needed and destroyed in the process of developing cures for diseases such as Parkinson's are, in effect, tiny little children whose use in this way constitutes killing a human being and therefore is intolerable.

But President Bush does not believe that the deaths of all little children as a result of U.S. policy are, in effect, murder. He thinks that some, while very unfortunate, are also inevitable and essential.
Because a six cell blastocyst that could one day be an American is more valuable than an Iraqi child? I'm just asking.
A commander in chief who must face life-or-death questions such as these deserves a bit of sympathy. I would sympathize more with Bush if his answers weren't so preening and struggle-free. It is wonderful to be so morally pure that you won't allow a single embryo to be destroyed in the quest for medical cures that could save lives by the thousands. You are way beyond Gandhi, sweeping the path ahead to avoid stepping on an insect: Insects have more human characteristics than a six-cell embryo.

And regarding Iraq you are quite the man, aren't you, "making the tough decisions." A regular Harry Truman, consigning thousands to death in order to bring democracy and freedom and peace to millions. But Truman actually produced democracy and freedom and peace, whereas you want credit for your hopes. That's not how it works. If you want to be the hard-ass, you get judged by results. And you can't be Gandhi and Truman at the same time.
Well, that's true only if the person watching FoxNews knows who both Gandhi and Truman are and what they did. And besides, what self respecting 'Muricin Republican would want to be like a Democrat and a foreigner?

As much sense as Mr. Kinsley is making, he's forgetting the most important fact: God told Bush to do it. That's why he's not troubled by lingering ethical questions. One doesn't need to worry when the highest arbiter of moral action told you to do it.


*May not apply in all cases.

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