The Corner

Bioethicists Don’t Let People Vote Trump!

Bioethics may not have started out as a liberal political and social movement, but–like most of the humanities in academia–that is definitely what it has become.

Indeed, unless a “bioethicist” has a modifier like “Catholic” or “conservative” in front of the identifier, you can be almost certain that he or she is a cultural leftist, political progressive, almost surely Democrat (if not Green)–and highly secular.

Thus, mainstream bioethicists all support abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and the memes of “social justice.” Most endorse euthanasia/assisted suicide, single payer healthcare, and the need to expand access to radical reproductive technologies.

The field considers infanticide–sometimes called “after-birth abortion–and killing cognitively disabled patients for organs to be worthy of respectable debate. 

That is why an hysterical article in Bioethics Today by Wayne Shelton–Ph.D., don’t you know–is such a load of sewage.

Shelton apparently sees Trump as an apocalyptic threat to the democratic and moral order. I understand that he’s not alone.

But his argumentation is pure crapola. From, “A Concerning Time for America: No Time to be Politically Silent:”

The goal of ethical resolution in our democratic context is not to arrive at the ultimate, final, or “the” canonical ethical answer, but to reach a consensus between opposing moral perspectives that preserves a plurality of moral values based on well-established moral and legal democratic principles and values.

Thus, bioethics as a field that deals with living, practical ethical conflicts depends on a stable, democratic political system in which people with diverse values and beliefs can find non-violent, indeed peaceful means of finding resolutions to their moral differences. It is in this light that bioethicists should find very concerning what is happening in our presidential election cycle.

If bioethics is so dedicated to “diverse values and beliefs,” where are all the openly pro-life tenured professors teaching in major secular university bioethics centers? (Princeton’s Robby George doesn’t count, as he wasn’t tenured in bioethics.)

Indeed, if respect and engagement with morally diverse perspectives is so central to the field, why do pro-life university students who aspire to engage in the field tell me they feel the need to hide their true beliefs in order not to be discriminated against professionally?

Shelton declares–laughably–that it would be “unconstitutional” to deport 12 million illegal aliens and to bar Muslims from entering the country. (What does that have to do with bioethics?) No, it might be unwise policy, but that isn’t the same thing.

And he gives away the game by essentially acknowledging that his readers will all be of his political ilk:

Another part of the explanation also involves evolving cultural and religious norms over the past few decades governing same sex marriage, women’s roles and their reproductive rights, along with greater ethnic and religious inclusion and tolerance—changes that we liberals celebrate as progress and essential to a growing democracy—that are anathema to many on the political and cultural right.

Bioethicists support the creation of a technocratic society in which they–as the experts–ensure that the great unwashed increasingly lose sway. Thus, it is up to the bioethicists to save the republic!

I conclude that this political season is not a normal cycle in the American democratic experiment. It is not a time for thoughtful people and thought-leaders like bioethicists, to remain silent. We must speak out individually and make ourselves heard.

Pomposity leaders, more like it.

When it comes to bioethics, it is usually wise to follow Seinfield’s old George Costanza rule: Do the opposite of what they advocate as the best way to successfully maintain a moral and truly diverse society.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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