I'm reading some comments in the NYTimes about stem cell research and I notice that for the most part the writers are trying to be coherent and not very rude. There is a theme among those people who dislike stem cell research when it involves the use of unwanted fertilized eggs. They state that these objects are distinct human beings with rights of protection. Briefly getting into the idea that if life was so important to them they should also be mentioning the thousands of people we are slaughtering every week around the world in our so-called war on terror, I'd like to discuss a couple of other points.
I believe that these folks are basing their views on a religious viewpoint, or a philosophy which is is spiritual in nature. And speaking of nature, how does Nature view eggs and sperm? Well, women regularly dispose of unwanted eggs without any guilt over the loss of potential human life. Men dispose of unwanted sperm on a fairly regular basis as well. These cells make no effort to protect themselves. Nature has provided no basis for a stay of execution, She simply takes them back into the matrix of life and recycles the elements. If we say that Nature is the mechanism by which God makes His will manifest, then we can say that God apparently does not consider these objects to be potential humans because since humans are the highest order of life on this planet and His beloved creations He would logically do everything possible to protect them. Unless we're looking at a huge number of martyrs for some unknown cause, they are just cells being flushed or wiped off or out.
When a woman has a miscarriage a human life is destroyed. If we value human life so much, why isn't more being done to rescue these humans and bring them to term. I mean, after all, we can take a person who has been breathing water in a swimming pool for 15 minutes and restore them to life. Granted, it's a limited life based in a wheelchair and maintained by a staff of nurses and doctors, but life nevertheless. So why don't doctors try to place a miscarried child in some kind of life-support system? Because it's not really a human yet. It's a part of the mother that never grew away. It's sad, sure, but not the same as a premature child being kept alive in an incubator. And we know this because otherwise we would arrest the mother for some form of manslaughter like we arrest the people who inadvertedly cause the death of an adult human.
So Nature and/or God do not consider these cells to be humans.
It's not a good idea to second guess Nature and/or God.
The argument that these potential humans deserve the same respect as Einstein or Jefferson is moot, because obviously by discarding an unwanted fertilized egg we are also possibly protecting the world from another Stalin or Nixon. So potential worthiness is not a good point. The naysayers use the argument that the potential good of stem cell research is at least marred by the real destruction of these potential humans. But we are daily killing real humans for a potential goal of creating democracy and this is considered to be clear, reasonable and logical. If human life is so sacred(to use a religious term) that we must never take it, then clearly the Department of Defense(War) is a desecration of our government, since it's sole purpose is the destruction of human life which is perceived as potentially harming others.
Since we are a part of nature every action we take is therefore natural. Children around the world play war games, sometimes with real guns, and this is natural. Male cats march into a den and slaughter the kittens of another tom and this is natural, just as American soildiers march into another country and slaughter thousands of children who might grow up otherwise to be anti-American. Killing unwanted, potentially dangerous humans at any age is something we pay our soldiers to do on a regular basis. It is ironic, if not hypocritical to say that we are a culture of life, unless we mean the destruction of life or unless we mean certain select versions of life. At that point we are simply playing games with word definitions.
The Nazis experimentations on Jewish prisoners is often brought up to counter the argument that we can learn much from these slaughtered cell clusters, but they fail to bring up the fact that Americans took the documents regarding those experiments on Jewish prisoners and used them to learn better ways of killing people. We directly benefitted from that slaughter. Not to mention that we encouraged it by doing nothing to stop it until we were good and ready and the Nazi war machine was effectively weakened by the other armies of the world. So, like most everything in this ultra-right wing administration facts are pruned and picked to provide the best view of their side of the debate. When facts don't exist they make them up. They repeat them often enough that a good number of people eventually believe them to be true. The media, with their addiction to short sound bites and video clips, continue the pruning job until everybody can say they heard it on the news or read it in the paper. At least those who can still read, unlike our beloved leader. He has short pithy statements read to him by his beloved mammy. The curious thing is how many of the administration seem actually proud of the fact that our President is an illiterate.
I wonder why they find it so important to eliminate all hope for the sick and the poor? I suppose that so long as there is hope there can be a seed of resistance. Though they say they want to preserve life what they actually mean is that they want to preserve ignorance, since only an ignorant people can be fooled into thinking that imprisonment is freedom and death is life.
Isn't it ironic that it was the Goddess of Life who gave us all these extra cells because they contained the means by which we could cure all those terrible diseases and deformities which afflict us? I have heard that everything we need was given to us in the begining by the Creator.
Maybe there is an emerging business in providing tiny high-cost funerals for all those unwanted cells. Maybe there is a PAC feeding millions of dollars to the right-wing fanatics who have usurped our semi-democratic processes, and this PAC wants to start promoting the idea that we should collect all our unused sperm and eggs and bury them in hallowed ground with many of the same rites and accessories as we now use for fully formed humans. Like the Egyptians we should be saving our fingernails and the hair falling out of our heads. Vacuum up the skin cells from our sheets because they could be used to clone our duplicates. "Love me, love my clone."
The chant that all life is sacred is misunderstood by many liberals. They complain that the right wing is waging war while claiming that they respect life. The right wingers don't respect life insofar as they think killing is bad. No, they think killing is great! Life is sacred in that the taking of life pleases the deity they worship. They document it in their Holy Bible, they parade it on the streets of America, celebrating various wars and assasinations. They buy millions of toy guns from their Communist Chinese pals and teach our children that war is fun. They consign tens of thousands of Americans to lives of starvation and dispair and early deaths. They fabricate great gasoline gulping vehicles just so a single person driving to the mall can not only pollute the air, earth and waters of this planet, but provide financial support to the very terrorists we trained, released and now hunt.
Life is sacred, yes, but only in the taking of it. That's what they mean.
America owes more and more of it's culture to the Aztec and Nazis and less and less to the revolutionaries that fought and died to create it.
However, this process is very common in human history and in the long run it works out. Very much like the process in the human body where parts come and go and eventually the body dies, but Life itself moves on. Countries come and countries go and history may record the militant facist country of America which attempted to take over the planet and was destroyed by it's greed and incompetance, but left the world many scientific and artistic wonders.