The Corner

Bailey and The Kass Debate

Bailey makes some reasonable points, and it’s a very well-written piece. But as I’ve said before, the folks complaining about the stacked Kass council would be more credible if they mentioned the actual diversity of opinion that exists there. I haven’t seen these critics, including Bailey, mention the fact that the new appointee Peter Lawler told the Baltimore Sun that he is not opposed to therapeutic cloning. To be sure, whether he is for or against it is somewhat beside the point, since the council has already issued its report on the subject and is now seems likely to turn to the subjects of neuroscience and the treatment of the age. But cloning seems to be the issue that most vexes the critics who say that the council is stacked.

If, on the other hand, the appointment of Lawler is to be condemned because he seems, in general, skeptical of claims that biotechnology should be left unregulated, then perhaps the critics have a point. But my sense is that the vast majority of people do not share Bailey’s almost-anything-goes views on this subject. That doesn’t mean Bailey is wrong, of course. But it does take away a lot of the force behind the stacked-council critique.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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